A new report from PetaPixel reveals that iPhone 11 Pro’s Night Mode doesn’t work with the telephoto lens.
As you might know, the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max are the first handsets from the brand to feature ‘Night Mode’. It captures multiple photos with different shutter speeds and merges them to produce a brighter and more detailed picture, which is beneficial in lowlight conditions.
You get the option to use the Night Mode with the primary camera, as well as, the telephoto lens. However, it turns out that when you activate the Night Mode with the telephoto camera, the iPhone doesn’t actually use the telephoto sensor. Instead, it shifts to the primary lens and zooms in digitally, mimicking the FoV of the telephoto camera.
When you zoom-in a subject while capturing an image, you get a lower resolution picture. So, if the iPhone is using the primary camera and zooming-in digitally, it should be evident in the metadata of the photo, right? Well, Apple upscales the resolution of the image, fooling the users into thinking that the handset is actually capturing the image using the telephoto lens.
So, how did PetaPixel find it out? Well, it was simple. Just put your finger over the telephoto lens while using it in the Night Mode, and you can still see the subject in the viewfinder of the iPhone, proving that iPhone doesn’t actually use the telephoto camera when you activate the Night Mode while capturing a 2x zoomed image. Moreover, the focal length and aperture of images taken with a 2x zoom FoV give it away.
PetaPixel shows that the focal length of an image captured with the primary camera in Night Mode is the same as that of the picture taken using 2x zoom in Night Mode. As for the aperture, the official spec-sheet for iPhone 11 Pro lists that the telephoto camera has f/2.0 aperture. However, the metadata of the image captured with 2x zoom using Night Mode shows an f/1.8 aperture, once again proving that Night Mode in the iPhone 11 doesn’t work with the telephoto lens.