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iPhone SE 2020 Detailed Camera Review

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iPhone SE 2020 Detailed Camera Review

“Music” Hey guys it’s Sagar from Tecworkz, and here is my very detailed camera review of the 2020 iPhone SE. I have had this phone for about 10 days, and in that time I have put it through rigorous Tecworkz style camera test.

Till now I have clicked close to 750 images and videos with it in various lighting conditions, and I am going to share about 70 of those in this video, so you guys know how this camera performs in every one of these situations.

Now the iPhone SE gets just 2 camera, one at the front and one at the back. Looking at what other manufacturers are doing by adding 3,4 or even 5 cameras just at the back of their phone, even thinking of a phone having a single camera sounds a bit out dated.

With this phone Apple wants to show us that the number of cameras don’t mater, and you can achieve plenty with even a single rear camera and a very capable processor and software combo to back it up.

Is this true, or is this going to be just another average camera? Let’s find out. The one and only camera at the back gets the same sensor as the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X. It is a 12 megapixel sensor with F/1.

8 aperture and it gets optical image stabilisation. It can shoot 4K videos at 24/30/60fps, 1080p videos at 30/60/120/240fps, and 720p videos at 30fps. The front facing camera is also the same as the iPhone 8.

It gets a 7 megapixel sensor with F/2.2 aperture, and it can only record 1080p videos at 30fps. These specs sound a bit underwhelming, but the image signal processing on the A13 bionic chip and the computational photography features, give the new SE a totally different photography experience.

Interface of the camera app is similar to what we saw on the iPhone 11 and the 11 Pro, with a few exceptions. Since this phone just has one camera, there is no lens selection button, and there is no night mode option on this phone.

Before we move on to the image and video samples, if you are new to this channel, please make sure to hit the subscribe button and the bel icon next to it. That way, you wont miss out on any of the amazing videos on this channel.

As I mentioned at the start, I took a lot of images in various lighting conditions, but we are going to start with the ones that I took in bright day light. I am going to be honest with you guys, when I went out to take these images, I had already dismissed the camera on this phone by looking at its specs, and I wasn’t expecting too much from it.

But as I started taking these images, I was surprised by how well they turned out. You can see for yourself how good these images look. Although this is just 12 megapixel sensor, that too a 2 and a half to 3 year old one, it can capture plenty of details.

Even as I zoom in on this image, you can see how sharp the image is. On the 1st day, the weather was bright and sunny, and on the very next day, it was raining and completely overcast. Which is actually good because I got to see how the SE performed in these situations.

And just as I expected, it did not disappoint. Even in this diffused light, it kept on capturing detailed images, and wonderful looking colours. Speaking of colours, like in typical Apple fashion, they are very well balanced, and not overly saturated.

No matter the lighting conditions, the white balance is perfect in each of these shots, and the colours look exactly as they were in real life. Now this is one of my favourite shots from the iPhone SE.

This was one of the 1st shots I took with it, and I wasn’t too sure if it would turn out even half as good as it actually did. Looking at everything from the colours to detailed and dynamic range is just amazing in this shot, and this is when I knew that this phone is no joke when it comes to the camera.

I like that instead of saturating them and adding a lot of contrast, Apple chooses to keep the colours looking natural. If you don’t like how they look, you can always edit these images and make them look however you want.

The one touch edit option in the built in editor works like a charm. Thanks to the next gen SmartHDR, Dynamic range in these images is very impressive. Again this is the same sensor from the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X, but I have used both those phones, and I don’t remember the dynamic rage on those phones being so good.

So this is all thanks to the A13’s image signal processing and iOS 13. Just look at these shots, there is so much information in the shadows, and highlights are also not blown. This is another one of my favourite images.

We are going to look at it again later on, but for now look at the colours of the sky, and how well this phone did to capture so many details in the shadows and in the sky. Coming to close up shots. Again, these look amazing.

Just as you would expect form a good camera, just pull it out, walk up to your subject, it sets the focus without any hesitation or trying too hard, and within a flash you have such good looking close up shots.

Now it is monsoon season, so you are going to see lot of water drop shots in my videos, but leaving that aside, try to analyse this shot. It was still raining, so the droplets were changing continuously, and the trees in the background were also moving because it was pretty windy.

But the iPhone SE has no problem taking this shot. I also had the OnePlus 8 at this time, and while it ended up taking the shot, it took a lot longer to set the focus. You can see the subject closest to the camera, or the part that I tap on is in perfect sharp focus, and the foreground and background are very nicely blurred out.

This is not a large sensor, so there is no fringing on the edges of these objects, which is nice. Let us take a look at the portrait shots from this iPhone SE. Since this gets the single camera, everyone including me was worried about how these shots would turn out.

Like they did on the iPhone XR, edge detection is blurring of the background is all taken care via software. We saw the Pixel phones with single cameras do this as well, but with those phones, you could only see the blur after the image was shot.

On this iPhone SE, you can see the amount of blur being applied in realtime on the view finder. A13 processor makes sure that these portrait mode shots turn out just the way you would want them to be.

Look at how well it separates the subject from the background. It still missed to keep some strands of hair in these shots in focus, but it was windy when I took these shots, so I wont read too much into it.

And I am really happy with the portrait shots from this iPhone SE. When it comes to portrait shots, it is not only about the edge detection, but you have to look at the colours, skin tones, white balance of the entire image, details in the subject and the overall dynamic range, and the iPhone SE is hitting all these points.

The only disappointing part for me is, you can’t take portrait mode shots of objects. This was same on the iPhone XR. Since both of them have single camera, the software needs to detect a face in the frame so it can separate it from the background.

Other than that, I dint find the portrait mode on this phone to be any different from the portrait mode on the iPhone 11, and that is saying a lot. Now moving on to images in artificial and lower lighting conditions.

It does well and manages to keep the images looking good, even as the light starts to go down. At F/1.8 the aperture is wide enough to let in a lot of light on the sensor, and there is optical image stabilisation, so the sensor can capture this light for a few extra milliseconds, which results in very usable images.

But as the light lets lower, more and more noise started to creep in these images. Even then, some of its images turn out to be phenomenal. We have seen this image before, but this time focus on low light aspect of it.

The sun had almost set, and it was getting pretty dark for a smartphones camera, but the SE still managed to pull out this incredible image. When there is ample light around, it still manages to take good images, with colours looking as they are in real life.

But as we zoom in, we see a lot of noise, and very less details in the dark areas. Unlike the iPhone 11, there is no night mode on this phone. It has the same A13 processor as the iPhone 11 series, and I am sure night mode depends on software rather than on the camera sensor, so Apple could have enabled it on this phone.

But for some reason, they did not. Leaving this phone in the dark, pun intended. Now even without the night mode, if there is some ambient light, you can take good looking images with it. Honestly, so far, the low light performance has been the only underwhelming part of this camera, that too when you are in very low lighting conditions.

If you are in indoors or at some place there is plenty of ambient light, it can still take good images. That brings us to the front facing camera. Before the iPhone11, I was never too happy with the selfie camera on the iPhones.

And since this phone again uses the same sensor as the iPhone 8, I was not expecting to like it, but once again I was wrong. I was judging it based on the on paper specs, and those don’t tell the complete story.

Look at these selfies, they are sharp, colours and skin tones look good, and even as I zoom in, we see them being very detailed. Apple’s is doing some magic in the background, and that is making all these images look really good.

Even the portrait selfies are amazing from this phone. This doesn’t have the true depth sensor array like on the iPhone X, XR, or the 11, so all of the blurring is achieved via software, and I would say it is going a really good job.

Unlike other android phones that we saw in some of my recent videos, this iPhone SE manages to capture really good dynamic range in these portrait selfies. Now this phone is doing better then the iPhone 11, when I have multiple faces in these portrait selfies.

because the iPhone 11 just blurry out the 2nd face even if it is just a few centimetres behind me, but the iPhone SE is doing well to keep it in focus as well. So the Selfie camera gets a thumbs up from me.

Here is a video from the front facing camera of the iPhone SE. This video is capped at 1080p 30fps. You can see how it is handling overall colours of the scene, exposure and stabilisation when I am walking around with it.

Coming to the video performance. iPhone SE can shoot the best videos in its price range. Look at how good this 4K 60fps video turned out. I have a feeling that the stabilisation is not on the same level as the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, but these videos are looking very good nevertheless.

When it comes to slow motion, it can shoot 1080p videos at 120 and 240fps. While this video turned out much better than I would have imagined, I still think Apple should give us a few more frame rate options.

I am sure the processor is very much capable of handling 1080p 480fps footage as well, so I just hope Apple enables that with a software update. All in all, I am really impressed with the cameras on this iPhone SE.

In my unboxing video, I said that 3 things that matter to me the most on any smartphone are the Software, Camera and the Battery. Even before this video, we knew that the software part had been taken care off by Apple, and my 2 main concerns were battery and camera.

Well I am happy to tell you, that other than in very low light, the cameras on this 2020 iPhone SE are equipped to take on any of its rivals. I am a bit disappointed with not being able to take portraits of objects with the native camera app, but like I did on the iPhone XR, I can use some 3rd party apps like Halide to take those shots.

And for low light, other than for these camera reviews and comparisons, I don’t take too many images in lower light anyways, so it is not a deal breaker for me. But if you are someone who takes a lot of images in lower light, I will strongly suggest you to consider the iPhone 11.

You might feel that I am being overly exited for the camera on this iPhone SE. But what I didn’t tell you guys is, I had the iPhone XR and the iPhone 11 along with me when I was taking these images, and looking at how little difference there is between these 3 cameras had got me surprised.

I know I already gave away a lot, but I don’t want to spoil the camera comparison video between these 3 phones, which by the way is coming up in the next few days. That is going to be a very interesting one, so make sure you have the notifications turned on, so you don’t miss out when that video drops.

I feel the iPhone SE is becoming a very good option for someone who likes smaller phones. If you are using an iPhone older than the 8, this iPhone SE is going to give everything you hoped for, minus the bigger display.

So these have been my thoughts about the camera on the 2020 iPhone SE. Based on the images you saw in this video, what do you think about it? Let me know in the comments. That is it for this video guys.

Please hit the like button if you enjoyed this video, and subscribe to the channel for more quality tech videos like this. You can also check out some of the other videos on this channel. This has been Sagar, and I will catch you guys in the next video.

Take care.

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