Are the iPhone 13 Pro cameras worth the upgrade?

In my testing of the iPhone 13 Pro I’ve come to discover that the upgrade cost justification comes down to camera and screen. Putting the screen to one side for now let’s talk cameras. I’m especially interested going from an iPhone 11 because I also use a DSLR and I’m currently wondering if I’ll keep the 13 Pro.

In my experience so far in good outdoor lighting I’m not seeing a big enough jump from my iPhone 11 to justify the 13 Pro in those conditions.

In low light the iPhone 13 Pro is less grainy definitely. It’s a better camera for indoor shooting. The iPhone 11 is still great too but if you pixel peep between them you’ll see the difference.

Night sky photography is definitely better on the 13 Pro. The iPhone 11 will do ok but when you compare them there’s no competition, the iPhone 13 Pro beats it out.

There’s no macro on the iPhone 11 and whilst it’s fun on the iPhone 13 Pro it’s not worth the upgrade. It focusses well on the center of the image but it falls off on the edges. It’s also hard to get good lighting as the iPhone tends to block the light as you get close to the subject.

The zoom is something I’ve missed on my iPhone 11. The reach you get on the iPhone 13 Pro is really nice and the image quality at least outdoors is good. Indoors you’ll see some noise, it’ll be a bit darker but on the whole it’s better than when I had the iPhone 11 Pro with it’s 2x zoom.

I don’t take a lot of video but in my testing the cinematic mode is hit and miss. I found it struggled to pick something to focus on when I was out testing walking through some woods. It fell down just like portrait mode does sometimes. Missing edges of things like bushes and branches and I was a bit underwhelmed by it. It’s better with people in my testing. I also found the image stabilisation to be ok, not as good as I expected.

For me the upgrade comes down to two choices.

1. Is the iPhone your only camera? If it is and you can afford an upgrade then go for it. If you’re using a DSLR or you take a smaller camera out then stick with your current phone. I’m actually thinking of returning the 13 Pro and investing in a nice smaller bodied camera I can keep in my pocket on walks.

2. Are you on an older phone? The iPhone 13 models in general I feel are for those on a XS or later. The jump in camera quality on the iPhone 11 was noticeable and I personally aren’t seeing a huge step up on the 13 Pro that warrants a £1000 iPhone upgrade.