iPhone 12 taunts Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra with big camera upgrade

The iPhone 12 looks set to improve on last year's model with this big lens change

iPhone 11 Pro
(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 12 looks set to build on the iPhone 11's roaring success. As well as one of 2019's best phones, we rated the iPhone 11 Pro the "best camera on a phone so far". 

Despite the triple-lens camera array only packing 12MP, the incredible software behind the telephoto, wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lenses helped secure iPhone's spot as the top camera phone.

Shortly after, Samsung came back with a vengeance with the Galaxy S20 series. Its flagship, the S20 Ultra, blew the doors off its competition by sheer brute force, the obscenely large 100x zoom and 108MP sensor on the main lens doing most of the work here. The massive camera garnered worldwide headlines, and the iPhone 12 series must respond in kind if it hopes to retain its status as the leading camera phone. 

Fortunately, Apple seems to have it in hand. News outlet Digitimes reveals the supply chains creating cameras for Apple phones are using new 7-element lenses, or 7P, as opposed to the 6P lenses from previous generations. There's no word on how many MP will be packed into each sensor.

(Image credit: Hadrian / Shutterstock)

Element lens numbers refer to the individual glass lens elements which make up a single lens. A Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 wide-angle camera lens for a DSLR, for example, contains 14 elements. It's not always as simple as "more" equals "better", but elements do work to reduce distortion, noise and other unwanted elements in the final photo.

Apple's efforts to eradicate these and create a clean picture is emblematic of the differences between it and Samsung: while Samsung wants bigger sensors, more lenses and headline-grabbing digital zoom, Apple is looking for crisp, clean photos every time. You might not use the enormous 108MP sensor every day, but Apple wants to make it easy for you to take an excellent photo without effort.

Will the iPhone 12 have a quad-camera setup?

(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

The leak published by Digitimes also makes mentions of Apple using AMOLED screens for the next set of iPhones. The iPhone 11 Pro was also rated to have the best screen around at time of release, although it's been since rivalled by Android competitors like the OnePlus 8 Pro and the Oppo Find X2 Pro. 

However, the AMOLED screens are probably a vehicle to show off the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max's hotly rumoured ProMotion modes, Apple's own 120Hz adaptive smart-screen tech. Already seen on the current generation of iPad Pros, the ProMotion technology will ensure Apple's forthcoming screens rank up there with the best of 2020. 

Liked this?

Matt Evans

Matt Evans now works for T3.com sister brand TechRadar, covering all things relating to fitness and wellness. He came to T3.com as staff writer before moving on, and was previously on Men's Health, and slightly counterintuitively, a website devoted to the consumption of Scotch whiskey. In his free time, he could often be found with his nose in a book until he discovered the Kindle.