Review: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Camera in 2024 – Is It Worth It?

As a fervent supporter of iPhone photography, I have penned a plethora of articles on the topic. Nevertheless, I have yet to evaluate the actual device I utilize for my photos. After a year of ownership, it is time to provide a long-term assessment of the iPhone 14 Pro and answer the query of whether to upgrade to the 15 Pro.

Introduction

Upon the release of the iPhone 14 Pro, it garnered significant attention. This was justified given the substantial upgrade it represented compared to the 13 Pro. The camera not only received a software overhaul but also a hardware enhancement, the battery life was extended, and the ProMotion 120 Hz display was finally included. Additionally, the phone received various other upgrades and had a fresh appearance with the dynamic island.

I had no intentions of purchasing the 14 Pro at all; in fact, I was entirely content with my 12 Mini and planned to continue using it for a few more years. However, fate had other plans, and my 12 mini was irreparably damaged under unrelated circumstances. Consequently, I had to revert to using an iPhone 6 until the 14 Pro became available, which prompted me to purchase the new phone. At the time, I had several options to consider, most notably the 13 Pro, 14, and 14 Pro. As a dedicated mobile photographer, even with the 12 Mini, I always found it to be deficient in camera features, which led me to take the plunge and invest in the 14 Pro. Admittedly, I succumbed to the marketing, or so I thought. It turns out that the camera on the 14 Pro is remarkably impressive, the phone itself is incredibly fast, and the battery life is sufficient to last an entire day if not used for gaming. With that said, let’s delve into my experience with the 14 Pro and whether it is worth upgrading to the 15 Pro.

Build Quality

The iPhone’s simplistic design is crafted from glass and aluminum. While not as extravagant as Titanium for the 15 Pro, it quickly becomes apparent that the 14 Pro is constructed much more robustly than the 15 and is less susceptible to damage. Nevertheless, given that the back of the phone is made of glass, it is advisable to purchase a case to protect it, as the cost of repair comes with a hefty price tag. Unfortunately, this means you will need to spend extra to safeguard your phone. Although I generally don’t handle my tech with great care, I am somewhat more cautious with the iPhone due to its inherently fragile design. Despite this, my phone has endured a few falls without a case, and has remained unscathed. There are no visible cracks or major scratches. Overall, it’s not as durable as a brick phone, but it is sturdier than the 15 Pro. Special mention should be made of the water resistance of this phone. I have submerged it underwater and taken it into the shower to listen to music. In fact, the 14 Pro serves as an excellent underwater camera, as I have tested it. Who needs a GoPro, right? Although many may be hesitant to immerse their treasured device in water, I take a different view. If the specification indicates water-sealed, I will make sure to put it to the test.

Features

The iPhone 14 Pro boasts numerous features that distinguish it from the rest. Everything from the dynamic island to the display brightness, speed, and reliability. The feature that holds the greatest significance for me is the camera, so let’s discuss that. As mentioned earlier, the iPhone 14 Pro’s camera has a larger sensor than the 13 Pro. This hardware improvement translates to several benefits for photographers. Let’s examine why a larger sensor size is advantageous. The larger sensor has led to significantly improved low-light performance on the 14 Pro, as well as enhanced dynamic range and more detailed capture. This is especially true for low-light video. While the iPhone 14 Pro excels in bokeh in regular mode, this can be disregarded since portrait mode is used to achieve artificial bokeh in any case. Interestingly, I don’t use portrait mode on the iPhone as much as I should. The enhanced Lidar technology enables much more precise portrait captures. Additionally, the iPhone is remarkably adept at capturing and processing skin tones, which is highly desirable when photographing people.

However, there are drawbacks to the camera. For instance, if you want to achieve the best results in low light, you are pretty much restricted to using the 1x camera. If you attempt to use the 3x zoom, the outcome is fairly grainy and underwhelming. Another issue I observed with some users taking photos is the excessive sharpening that Apple applies by default. It is possible to reduce this by configuring your camera. A technique I personally enjoy is capturing everything in black and white. This eliminates the unnecessary contrast that Apple imposes on their images, as well as reduces the sharpening to some extent. Nearly every photo I capture with my iPhone is in black and white. While it may not serve as a replacement for a camera, the 14 Pro is an exceptional everyday camera that can be used to practice photography.

The Bad

The aspect that most people found disappointing about the iPhone 14 Pro is the absence of a USB-C port. This is arguably the only downside that I personally perceive with the 14 Pro. Naturally, as with almost any Apple product, the iPhone requires a case; otherwise, the back screen could be easily damaged.

What I Liked

  • Camera
  • Battery Life
  • Dynamic Island
  • Build Quality and reliability

What Could Be Improved

Closing Thoughts

Thus, the 14 Pro is an outstanding phone in 2023 and is certain to remain a solid choice until the 16 Pro is released, at which point I would discourage purchasing the 14. As for an upgrade, I intend to continue using my current phone for a few more years, provided it does not suffer irreparable damage. Having seen the camera of the 15 Pro, I must admit that it is not as impressive as the 14 Pro. Although the USB-C port and video enhancements may appear to be compelling reasons to acquire it, they truly are not. Essentially, the camera in the 15 Pro remains the same, so only time will tell. In summary, the 14 Pro is virtually a perfect phone, and with a USB-C port, it would be ideal. Should you acquire it in 2023? Absolutely! If you are deliberating between a 14 Pro and a 15 Pro, I would recommend opting for the 14 Pro and saving some money.

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