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The iPhone SE 2’s camera setup is going to lean on Apple’s software

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Apple’s newly introduced second-generation iPhone SE (or iPhone SE 2 as we’ll be calling it) is the corporate’s first telephone with a single rear digital camera since 2018’s iPhone XR. Whereas its digital camera {hardware} is fundamental, the brand new $399 machine is powered by final 12 months’s A13 Bionic chip, so it’ll profit from Apple’s newer work on picture processing. It’s a mix that would reveal how a lot of Apple’s pictures strengths lie in {hardware} and what number of lie in software program.

From a {hardware} perspective, the iPhone SE 2 has a comparatively easy setup. On its rear is a single 12-megapixel f/1.Eight digital camera, which, from a numbers perspective, is strictly the identical as what may very well be discovered on the again of the iPhone XR. It’s additionally just like the 2017 iPhone Eight that the SE 2’s look so carefully imitates. Which means there’s no further 12-megapixel ultrawide digital camera just like the iPhone 11, and there’s no 12-megapixel telephoto digital camera just like the 11 Professional. Across the entrance, there’s a 7-megapixel selfie digital camera, which is, once more, the identical decision because the cameras within the Eight and the XR.

Whereas the {hardware} is a bit old school, the software program facet of the pictures equation is extra fascinating. As beforehand talked about, the iPhone SE 2 is powered by Apple’s A13 Bionic chip, which made its debut on final 12 months’s iPhone 11 lineup. Apple says it’s utilizing this chip’s picture sign processor and the Neural Engine to supply a number of software-based enhancements to the SE 2’s pictures.

Essentially the most vital of those is the truth that the telephone is now utilizing a extra superior model of its Sensible HDR algorithm that debuted with final 12 months’s iPhone 11 lineup. “Semantic rendering,” as the corporate calls it, is designed to acknowledge particular person components inside a picture with a purpose to gentle them correctly.

Primarily, Sensible HDR works by taking a sequence of underexposed frames and an overexposed body and makes use of them to seize further element the place it thinks the picture wants it. Then Semantic rendering alters the photograph primarily based on what’s in it. It’d sharpen hair, for instance, de-noise the sky, or gentle a face extra evenly. You possibly can learn extra concerning the expertise in our iPhone 11 Professional overview from final 12 months, and it ought to imply pictures are way more evenly lit.

In comparison with the iPhone 8, the SE 2 can also be distinctive in with the ability to create portrait mode pictures with only a single lens. (The iPhone Eight Plus had the function as a result of it had twin cameras.) The iPhone XR had this similar function, and in our overview, we really most well-liked it to how that 12 months’s XS generated its portrait mode pictures because the XR’s primary digital camera had a wider subject of view and aperture. Because the SE 2’s digital camera has that very same broad f/1.Eight aperture because the XR, we’ve acquired excessive hopes. The identical expertise can also be accessible on the front-facing digital camera to create portrait mode pictures from its single lens.

In different areas, nonetheless, the digital camera expertise discovered within the iPhone SE 2 has been round for for much longer. Optical picture stabilization, a 6-element lens, a flicker sensor, 4K 60fps video recording, slo-mo, and cinematic stabilization may all be discovered within the iPhone 8. Then once more, that is Apple’s funds machine, so it’s not stunning that it’s not breaking a lot new floor.

There are inevitably going to be areas the place the iPhone SE 2’s {hardware} will probably be a limitation. For instance, there’s no wide-angle lens right here, and no quantity of software program processing goes to have the ability to seize knowledge from outdoors of the primary digital camera’s subject of view. However in these circumstances the place you’d usually solely depend on the telephone’s primary digital camera, Apple’s up to date software program may do much more of the heavy lifting, and we’ll get our greatest look but at how far it’s come.

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