iPhone 7 Camera Put to the Test at Disney's Animal Kingdom

P. Taylor

By P. Taylor, Sep 21, 2016

WDWMAGIC Contributor

The new iPhone 7 is with us, promising one of the best camera systems of any phone on the market.

Featuring a new 12MP camera, iPhone 7 has a new optical image stabilizer to reduce camera blur, an f/1.8 aperture that allows in more light than previous models, and a six element lens for more detail.

The iPhone 7 Plus takes things a step further with a second camera equipped with a 57mm telephoto lens in addition to the wide 28mm lens, delivering a true optical zoom for the first time on iPhone. Both phones also now include 4K high resolution video.

Rather than providing a scientific lab review, we got our hands on the flagship iPhone 7 Plus model, and took it to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for a real-life test run.

All of the photos are directly out of the phone, without any retouching or editing.

Bright Light Conditions

Welcome sign in full sun

Animal Kingdom's main entrance in full sun

Tree of Life in sun, with the foreground rocks in shade

Island Mercantile in full sun

Tricky Light Conditions

Scenes with lots of shade and brightly lit areas in the same shot often cause problems for cameras.

The Oasis in dimly lit conditions but with bright sun spots thing through the trees

Shooting into the sun, with the light behind the bird

Lots of shadow and highlight in a single scene

Strong color with lots of shadows and highlights

Dark Conditions

Low light conditions often present the most challenging lighting for any camera system. We took the iPhone 7 to the very dimly lit Expedition Everest gift shop for this test.

Inside the very dark Expedition Everest gift shop

Close-up of a prop in the Expedition Everest gift shop

And some of the trickiest lighting of all, fireworks. 

Wishes Fireworks

Telephoto Lens on iPhone 7 Plus

In each example, two shots were taken standing in the same spot. The first is at the wide angle setting of 28mm, and the second is at the telephoto setting of 57mm. 

Winged Encounters at 28mm wide angle

Winged Encounters at 57mm telephoto

Harambe Guest House at 28mm wide angle

Harambe Guest House at 57mm telephoto

Harambe Market at 28mm wide angle

Harambe Market at 57mm telephoto

iPhone 7 Plus 4K Video

Make sure to select the highest resolution available in the YouTube settings to see the video at its best.

iPhone 7 Plus Slow Motion Video - 240fps 720p

Make sure to select the highest resolution available in the YouTube settings to see the video at its best.

Summary

There is no question that the current top-of-the-range phones deliver excellent images from their onboard cameras. In almost all cases, the cameras will get a shot, where in some cases a lot of users would fail to do so with a dedicated camera. The ability to just hit the button and have the phone make all the decisions and processing delivers a very high success rate.

It may well be that cameras such as the iPhone 7 are now largely superior to many of the point and shoot dedicated cameras, and really can be considered as a main camera for using on trips to Walt Disney World.

The ability to switch into video mode is also a significant benefit, and the video capture is extremely impressive for such a small device. 4K video, while extremely high quality, uses a lot of storage, but the iPhone 7 continues to offer 1080p for HD with less storage requirement.

Claims that phones can deliver DSLR or mirrorless quality continue to be a stretch. When viewed on small screens the difference can be minimal, but on closer examination, when viewed larger, or in very challenging lighting conditions, DSLRs continue to heavily outperform phone based cameras. This of course should be expected, due to the much large image sensor, lens and body available to the DSLR.

P. Taylor

P. Taylor

A fan of all things theme parks, photography and technology.
Articles written by contributors represent the author's own view and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WDWMAGIC or its editors.