You don’t need to spend more than $1,000 on an iPhone, but if you want the best camera experience and you aren’t restricted by budget, then the iPhone 12 Pro models are for you. Specifically, the iPhone 12 Pro Max (9/10, WIRED Recommends). For $100 more than the iPhone 12 Pro, you get a larger image sensor and better stabilization tech, so the camera can absorb more light and produce the best low-light photos and videos of any smartphone. Both phones have telephoto cameras but the Pro Max can zoom a tiny bit more than the regular Pro. They also have a lidar scanner, which shoots out lasers to measure depth (and for faster autofocus), letting you take Portrait Night mode photos.
Being the largest iPhone to date with a 6.7-inch screen, the Pro Max also has the advantage of lasting more than a full day on a single charge. Still, if you don’t want a Big Phone but want the camera perks, stick with the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro (8/10, WIRED Recommends). You’ll get excellent OLED screens either way you go (they get brighter than the iPhone 12), and a durable stainless steel body. Down the road, these two phones will be able to capture photos in Apple’s new ProRAW format, which offers greater editing capabilities. That’s on top of the other features from the iPhone 12, like 5G, water resistance, and HDR video capture.
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