Apple’s latest ads for the iPhone 7+ are touting the “Portrait Mode.” As I have written in the past, I love the bokeh-like capabilities of this mode which blurs out the background elements. Sure it isn’t the same as the real lens on a real camera (like my old Leica Summicron 50mm on my Monochrome) but still not bad on a phone. I have argued that it’s like having a brand new camera.
That said, portrait mode is a hit-and-miss feature. It works about three out of five times. You need really good light and clear definition in the subject to get it right. The distance from the subject and light requirements are not predictable, and as a photographer I am always searching for the sweet spot make the photo. If you try and let the phone take the photo, often the subject itself gets blurred out. In other words, the portrait mode is still work in progress. It definitely needs more polishing and still feels like a beta product.
That said, when “portrait mode” works, it is pretty amazing! Check out these photos of mine!
May 3rd, 2017. San Francisco!