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iPhone 13 camera rumors: The specs and upgrades we'll likely see

From a bigger zoom to improved wide angle and lidar all round, here's what we might get from the iPhone 13's camera.

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Apple's iPhone 12 Pro Max has impressed us with the professional-standard photos you can get from its multiple rear cameras. Even the more-affordable iPhone 12 can take great snaps and shows Apple's commitment to providing excellent imaging capabilities in its phones. The longer zoom and the addition of ProRaw on the Pro Max means that that camera can take shots that give traditional DSLRs a run for their money. So what can we expect from the cameras on Apple's next phone, the iPhone 13

Read moreiPhone 13's juiciest rumors: 120Hz always-on display, smaller notch, lidar and more

Improved wide angle

The biggest rumor right now is an improvement to the super wide-angle lens. At the moment the aperture of the super wide on the iPhone 12 is f2.4, but a report seen by MacRumors suggests that aperture will be f1.8 on the next model. The smaller the aperture number, the more light the lens lets in, resulting in better-looking images, particularly in low light. The report also suggests that this upgrade will be common across all iPhone 13 models, not just the more expensive Pro line.

The night mode is already superb on the iPhone 12 with its regular lens, but as we found out in our test against the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Pixel 5, the iPhone 12 Pro Max doesn't do well at taking super-wide night shots. Hopefully this boost would let that wide lens keep pace with the others. 

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

12 Pro Max specs on cheaper phones

The above report also suggested that some of the specs of the current top-end iPhone 12 Pro Max would move down the range onto the regular iPhone 13 and Pro. In particular, the longer 2.5x telephoto zoom. 

It's also possible that the lidar feature for improved depth sensing -- currently only available on the 12 Pro models -- would be available on the entire iPhone 13 range.

No big surprises

There are no credible rumors right now that speak of any drastic changes to the camera, so it's safe to assume that the overall triple-lens setup will remain much the same. That's no surprise really; Apple has only just refined its telephoto lens on the 12 Pro Max, so it's unlikely to replace it straight away with, say, a 10x zoom (despite Samsung's S21 Ultra kicking the iPhone's ass at zooming in). That said, an early rumor did suggest that we may see a longer "periscope zoom" on the iPhone, but that this may not appear, if at all, until 2022. 

But we'll be keeping our eye on the rumor mill and will be updating this article with the most credible reports as they appear.

Read more: 5 tips for better night photos with iPhone 12, Galaxy S21 or other phone cameras

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