iPhone X Portrait Lighting Vs Real Professional Studio Lighting [Comparison]

Apple was clearly proud of iPhone 8 and iPhone X when it was introduced to the world during its September 12, 2017, event. In addition to showing off a number of the more important features, including Face ID, Tim Cook’s team also introduced the stunning new Portrait Lighting mode in the native Camera app.

This feature is designed to try and simulate the more popular lighting conditions that you would typically only find in professional studio environments. A very popular addition to iPhone X’s arsenal of tricks, available on both rear and front shooters, but just how good is it? Photographer Daniel DeArco has tried to find out.

It’s probably fair to suggest that a number of professional photographers have stopped to seriously consider how good Apple’s Portrait Lighting feature is when compared to actual studio results. DeArco is clearly one of those photographers and has taken the opportunity to put it to the test and creating a comparison video which shows both results side-by-side. Various reviews of iPhone 8 and iPhone X have already concluded that Apple’s Portrait Lighting mode makes for stunning photographs, but as expected is somewhat limited when you take the opportunity to compare it to a studio full of professional equipment.

Daniel DeArco has arrived at a similar conclusion. The photographer is full of praise for what Apple has achieved with the new Portrait Lighting feature on the device and even takes the opportunity to run through the various modes on the device with a model on location. However, the conclusion he arrives at is that it’s “a fun gimmick” to use on the iPhone 8 and iPhone X but that it simply will not be replacing professional studio lighting anytime soon for those who really need that diverse and professional setup. We aren’t sure it was Apple’s actual mission to replace, but more to actually give everyday users more options and power when it comes to snapping stunning images on the move. Because as they, the best camera is usually the one which is always in your pocket and iPhone X fits that bill perfectly when compared to DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.

And, of course, if you were a cynics, you could say that photographers may just have a vested interest in ensuring that everyone knows that their expensive rigs and studio equipment are still needed in that industry. It’s still a very interesting comparison and wonderful to see the quality of photographs that Apple’s devices are capable of snapping.


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