Which photomobile is the king of natural bokeh?


You may remember the iPhone 7 Plus – a phone that brought a telephoto lens and made multiple cameras mainstream, something we’ve taken for granted for years. However, it was not the first to have more than one rear camera, nor was it the first to play with artificial bokeh – the HTC One (M8) had done so about 2 years before. But thanks to Apple’s ability to set trends, the Portrait 7 Plus mode has become an essential feature throughout the industry.

Where are we going? In 2022, the smartphone’s camera improved significantly compared to the times of the iPhone 7. And one of the areas in which we have seen significant developments are large sensors and light and / or long lenses. So could faux bokeh on smartphones become a thing of the past now that we have cameras that can deliver the real thing? Or can they?

Ever since the Xperia 1 IV passed through our doors in early May, we thought we’d look at what her telephoto lens can do for people. After all, an 85mm equivalent lens with an aperture of f / 2.3 sounded like a recipe for nice bokeh. We’ve come up with a more comprehensive comparison of the latest cameras in phones for portraiture – all without the software enhancements to portrait modes that every phone now has.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
ZTE Axon 40 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G
Sony Xperia 1 IV
Honor Magic 4 Pro

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra • ZTE Axon 40 Ultra • Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G • Sony Xperia 1 IV • Honor Magic4 Pro

We had a general overview of the practicality of depth of field and blurred blur – simply put, brighter lenses and close objects provide a shallower degree of freedom. We also understood the effects of sensor size and focal length in terms of their relationship to background blur (and also foreground, but let’s simplify it) – from experience and intuition.

Bokeh experiments

But when you have a lot of phones, each with two or three cameras with significantly different sets of specifications, intuition can’t tell you how all the numbers are connected and how the end results – photos, will be comparable. So we counted a bit.

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