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How does the iPhone X’s Studio Lighting compare to actual studio lighting?

Published Nov 14th, 2017 11:04PM EST
iPhone X studio lighting comparison
Image: Daniel DeArco

In recent years, phone-makers have turned to software and alogirthms to catch up with pro photographers. The most common trick is to use the increasingly common dual-camera setup on the back of phones to generate a depth map of an image, which lets the software blur the background and keep the subject in focus, creating a virtual shallow depth of field that simulates the effect of a $500 DSLR lens.

With the launch of the iPhone X and 8 Plus this fall, Apple took things up a notch. Portrait Lighting uses the same algorithmic models to artifically change the lighting on a subject in order to simulate the lighting conditions that are normally the preserve of a photography studio. To see how Apple’s digital lighting matches up to the real thing, photographer Daniel DeArco took photos on the street and in a studio with the iPhone X, all to see how the iPhone’s software compares.

You’ll want to watch DeArco’s full video to understand the circumstances for yourself and look at the results, but the short version is simple: The iPhone X isn’t a match for real studio lighting, but it is a fun tool to play around with, and it can produce some good-looking results. Just don’t go and try and open a studio with one.