The iPhone 15 Pro (Max) has seven different focal lengths

On the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max you have seven different focal lengths at your disposal. Despite most of these being controlled by software, it feels like you have seven pro lenses in your pocket, wherever you are.

The iPhone Pro models only have three physical lenses, but thanks to computational photography you can use them with multiple focal lengths. You can choose between macro, 13mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 48mm and the telephoto lens. On the 15 Pro this is 77 mm and on the 15 Pro Max 120 mm.

iPhone 15 Pro: focal lengths

In recent years, the camera system of the iPhone Pro models has always consisted of three lenses. This is no different with the iPhone 15 Pro (Max), but Apple has added several focal lengths. For example, you can choose from seven different lenses in the camera app. But how is that possible with only three lenses?

© Apple

Apple has made several software adjustments and thanks to computational photography, the lenses are optimized in such a way that you can choose from seven instead of three focal lengths.

Lenses extended

Below we list the options of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max lenses:

  • Ultra wide angle lens: macro and 13mm
  • Wide angle lens: 24mm, 28mm, 35mm and 48mm
  • Telephoto lens: 77mm (Pro) and 120mm (Pro Max)
iPhone Pro 7 pro lenses
© Apple

Computational photography

But how can one lens have multiple focal lengths? Apple uses software tricks for this. The standard wide-angle lens in particular plays an important role in this. It has a 48 MP camera with a quad-pixel sensor that adapts to the photo being taken. In most photos, the quad-pixel sensor bundles four separate pixels into one large quadpixel of 2.44 µm. This gives a nice result in low light and also keeps the size manageable at 12 MP.

The quad-pixel sensor also makes 2x telephoto photos (48 mm) possible. The center 12 megapixels of the sensor are used for full-resolution photos and 4K videos without digital zoom. This results in optical quality at a common focal length, which is ideal for portrait mode, for example.

iPhone 15 optical zoom

On the Pro’s main camera you can switch between three commonly used focal lengths: 24mm, 28mm and 35mm. Apple also uses a certain part of the sensor (megapixels) for this. So you can say that the focal lengths are high-quality crops of a photo at sensor level.

Change wide-angle camera focal length

As a Pro user you can choose which main camera lens you work with by default – 24mm, 28mm or 35mm. Tap the 1x button to change the focal length. If you always like to take photos with 28 mm or a different distance, you can also set default or remove distances via Settings ▸ Camera ▸ Main camera.

adjust camera focal lengths iPhone

Macro photos and Zooming

For macro photos, you use the ultra-wide-angle lens and not the zoom camera. That may sound strange, but an ultra-wide-angle camera can bring you much closer to a subject without losing quality. Focusing and autofocus are then controlled by software so that you can keep the lens up to 2 cm away.

Do you want to zoom in? Then tap the 3x or 5x button, then you use the telephoto lens and you can bring the subject optically closer. The 2x zoom comes from the wide-angle lens, as described above. You can zoom out with the ultra-wide-angle lens by tapping 0.5x.

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