On a recent trip away to the Maldives, we travelled with the intention of capturing some incredible moments with a range of different cameras. Packed away in our bags were an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, GoPro Hero5, Samsung Gear 360, and DJI Mavic Pro. For the purpose of content both at ground level and above it, it came as an unexpected surprise that, of all the pieces of tech we brought the one we used most was sitting in our pocket.
Yep, the iPhone 7 Plus easily spent the most time in our hands. Apple has made a point over the past few years to really boost camera quality and that showed on this particular trip.
In the words of award winning photographer, Chase Jarvis, “the best camera is the one that you have with you”, and that’s how the iPhone 7 Plus felt. When you’re constantly on the move you don’t always have the full array of equipment at your disposal. Not only that, but there are bound to be candid moments that you’re drawn to capture as they happen. The point and shoot nature of the iPhone 7 Plus camera allowed us to do that at points where we didn’t have all the gear with us.
Capturing The Moment
Being spoilt by such a tropical backdrop, we’d often come across local wildlife and sea-life that caught our attention. While we’re not suggesting the iPhone 7 Plus is an out and out substitute for professional cameras, neat features like the new Portrait Mode made for some pretty stunning shots nonetheless. This mode introduces the bokeh effect when switched on, using software and the dual lenses to create a ‘blur,’ which essentially adds depth of field to the shot. We stumbled across fallen leaves and shells scattered on the sand and the 7 Plus captured it beautifully. Shots of meals and drinks also looked sharp so long as the background wasn’t too busy.
Baby sharks and schools of fish swam past as we walked along the jetty; the kind of moments we travelled to the Maldives for. The iPhone’s 2 x optical zoom was a nice feature to have on our side as it allowed us to get closer to the creatures without losing image quality.
While exploring, we wanted to film some bike rides around the resort and discovered that doing so was a whole heap of fun. With the phone being the only weapon in our arsenal at the time, Apple’s image stabilisation produced footage that was vibrant and not disturbed by shaking or blurriness. Upon testing both the GoPro and the phone, we found the 7 Plus to naturally be a lot smoother under harsh movement.
Heading down to the bar and then the spa later on in the evening was where we saw the extent of the camera’s capabilities. SLRs can be tricky to shoot with in low light and quite difficult without a tripod on deck. The iPhone 7 Plus performs quite well in low lighting with a wider aperture and ‘wide colour capture,’ so night photos can turn out nicely if it’s not overly dark. The improved flash mechanism (dubbed ‘Quad-LED’) also produced some awesome shots and has been designed to adjust to the surrounding environment.
Time-Lapse and Slow-Mo
Early mornings were a real highlight for us and we felt as though stills didn’t always do it justice. Without wanting an elaborate time-lapse setup, we switched into the time-lapse mode on the phone. Despite having to exercise patience while waiting for the capture, the results were pretty impressive.
Similarly in slo-mo, shooting the water rising up through the jetty and blanketing our feet was just as satisfying. Supporting 1080p resolution, the 7 Plus slo-mo quality is plain to see. If at any point we wanted to snap a photo, we could simultaneously shoot at 4k video while photographing 8MP stills.
The Wrap-Up – iPhone 7 Plus Camera Review
Even though each of the cameras you take away serves their own unique purpose, the reality is that you’re probably going to use your phone a lot more than the other gear. The most cherished photos and videos are often serendipitous, captured on the camera you carry the most. Being one of the best mobile cameras available, we’re happy we had the iPhone 7 Plus on us.