iPhone 7 Plus: The Case for 56 mm

I love this well-illustrated piece by Astramael, praising the idea of the secondary 56 mm equivalent telephoto lens on the 7 Plus:

If you get an iPhone 7 Plus, don’t just use the 2× mode when you want a little more zoom. Try it out for awhile. Think at fifty-six millimeters. Frame shots with it, isolate subjects with it, shoot parts of things rather than the whole thing, find interesting perspectives, fill the foreground, and so much more. I am excited because this puts a much more versatile photography tool into the hands of millions of people.

It might not be an ultra-fast, stabilized camera. It might not even be the same sensor. But it’s good enough to change the way you think about phone photography. Which is really the point, and almost certainly part of the reason Apple did it. You have to care about photography to build this feature.

56 mm really is a great focal distance. We’ll soon see a ton of shots in Apple’s “Shot With iPhone 7” campaign from the Plus’s 56 mm camera.


Despite “telephoto” sounding a bit funny for a lens that is only 56 mm. It is technically possible and perhaps not just marketing. If the sensor is 1/3-inch it likely contains a telephoto group, and the focal length of the lens is very likely longer than the lens’ physical length. Therefore it is, probably, actually a telephoto lens. The math doesn’t quite work out for it to be a 1/3-inch sensor without altering the optical center. So either there is a telephoto group, or the sensor is smaller than 1/3-inch.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016