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iPhone XS portrait mode

One of the new features on the iPhone XS is depth control. It simulates the effect of stopping down a lens to control depth of field like you would on a dSLR. I adjusted this shot to simulate f/1.8.

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Caption:Photo:Lexy Savvides/CNET
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Lots of colors

Here's a photo taken on the iPhone XS under harsh indoor lighting. With Smart HDR on, it makes the light look more even on the subjects.

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iPhone X regular HDR

This is the same photo taken with the regular HDR mode active on last year's iPhone X. As you can see, there are a lot more bright highlight areas, like on the lollipop in the center and on the faces, that distract from the image.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Lexy Savvides/CNET
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Depth control

Here's a shot edited with a simulated aperture of f/1.4 using depth control on the iPhone XS.

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Natural portraits (iPhone XS)

Here's a portrait photo taken on the XS with no adjustments to the depth of field. See which one you prefer between this and the next slide.

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Natural portraits (iPhone X)

I prefer the more muted, smooth spread of highlight and shadow detail on the previous photo. But some people I showed this to preferred the greater contrast on this image.

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Portrait mode (iPhone XS)

Another comparison between portrait modes on the XS and X (see next slide).

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Portrait mode (iPhone X)

Same scene, different phone.

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Outdoors (iPhone XS)

For landscapes, you won't notice a huge difference between the XS and X, but I did find that the colors are a little less intense and saturated on the iPhone XS.

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Outdoors (iPhone X)

You might prefer the deeper blues and more saturated red channel of the iPhone X.

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Portrait mode (iPhone XS)

Another portrait from the XS.

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Portrait mode (iPhone X)

The same shot on the X.

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Smart HDR (iPhone XS)

Taken with the telephoto (2x) lens, see the detail retained in the lights in the background compared to the next shot.

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Regular HDR (iPhone X)

The lights are blown out and look glowing compared to the same shot on the XS.

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Low light (iPhone XS)

Time to get into low light. Here, the detail is retained around the lights, although there's not as much difference between this shot and the next one to my eyes.

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Low light (iPhone X)

The lights are a little blown out, but again, there isn't that much difference. 

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Overhead (iPhone XS)

An overhead shot for comparison.

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Overhead (iPhone X)

An overhead shot for comparison.

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Selfies (iPhone XS)

With Smart HDR on, selfies on the iPhone XS look much more evenly lit than with the iPhone X.

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Selfie (iPhone X)

The lighting is much more harsh and the background is blown out.

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Smart HDR on (iPhone XS)

The same shot with Smart HDR on ...

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Smart HDR off (iPhone XS)

... And off.

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Regular HDR on (iPhone X)

The same photo on the iPhone X.

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Low light (iPhone XS)

The XS has a slight edge in low light here. Highlights don't blow out, and there's not as much noise in the shadows.

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Low light (iPhone X)

The iPhone X has more contrast in the image, which you might find more pleasing. But the highlight detail creates hot spots.

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Smart HDR (iPhone XS)

It makes a dramatic difference in some shots.

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Regular HDR (iPhone X)

The same photo from the iPhone X.

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More detail in portraits (iPhone XS)

Overall the XS looks like it captures slightly more detail in portraits (see the hair).

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iPhone X

Slightly less detail in the hair here.

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HDR on (iPhone XS)

Here's another comparison with Smart HDR on ...

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HDR off (iPhone XS)

... And off.

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Portrait mode again (iPhone XS)

Another portrait comparison.

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Portrait mode again (iPhone X)

Another portrait comparison.

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More portraits (iPhone XS)

Even more comparisons!

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More portraits (iPhone X)

Even more comparisons!

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Published:Caption:Photo:Lexy Savvides/CNET
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