What You Need to Know About the iPhone 8 and iPhone X Cameras

September 12, 2017

By Greg Scoblete

The iPhone has become a major photographic tool and as its done on every new model release, Apple is looking to further improve iPhone photography with its new iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X models.

In fact, the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X represent Apple’s most audacious attempt yet to use artificial intelligence and its dual camera system to create professional-looking images.

Here’s a look at what you can expect:

iPhone 8 & iPhone 8 Plus

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will feature larger backside-illuminated image sensors with entirely new processing and GPU chips to improve noise reduction, image recognition, faster low-light autofocusing and more.

The iPhone 8 will feature a 12-megapixel sensor fronted by an f/1.8 lens, while the iPhone 8 will offer a pair of 12-megapixel image sensors to support Apple’s Dual Camera technology. The wide-angle lens will feature an f/1.8 aperture while the telephoto lens will feature an f/2.8 aperture.

Both iPhone 8s offer optical image stabilization and a new quad LED True Tone flash with a Slow Sync feature for improved uniformity.

The iPhone 8 Plus will build on Apple’s portrait mode (which simulates a shallow depth of field) with a new, more ambitious Portrait Lighting mode. In this mode, the dual cameras create a depth map and  a map of “facial landmarks” using machine learning and then applies lighting effects to those facial features. The aim is to mimic studio lighting via software in the iPhone. Apple says the mode is still in beta, but will be available at launch.

You can view a sample of Portrait Lighting effects in the gallery above.


Both models will offer the same core video features, including the ability to film 4K video at up to 60p. HD recording is available up to 60p with a slow-motion mode of 120 or (new) 240 fps. Optical image stabilization is also active during video recording.

Video is saved in either the HEVC or H.264 formats.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will be available for pre-order on Sept. 15 starting at $699.

iPhone X

The iPhone X will be largely identical, photography-wise, to the iPhone 8 Plus, though its telephoto lens will be faster at f/2.4. It will also have the new Portrait Lighting mode.

Among the major differences between the X and the 8 Plus is the display. The X boasts a Super Retina OLED display with a resolution of 2436 x 1125 (2.7 million pixels). That works out to 458 pixels per inch, the highest ever pixel density for an iPhone.

Beyond the rear-facing camera, the front-facing camera has been completely revamped to enable facial unlocking. Using multiple sensors, the camera creates and saves a map of your face. All you need to do to unlock your phone is stare at–something we’ve all mastered at this point.

The front facing cameras can also use your face to animate emojis (see here).

The iPhone X will be available at the end of October starting at $999.