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iPhone 8 Plus and 7 Plus photos: What's the difference?

I compared the photo and video capabilities of the 8 Plus and 7 Plus. And while the 8 Plus has a leg up, can you spot the improvements?

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Patrick Holland
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1 of 56 Josh Miller/CNET

iPhone 8 and 7 Plus camera shootout

The iPhone 8 Plus has new larger camera sensors, a new processor and nifty new software tricks like Portrait Lighting Mode. But how much better is it than last year's 7 Plus?

Let's take a look.

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iPhone 8 Plus

Here are a handful of my favorite photos that I took with the 8 Plus.

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iPhone 8 Plus

I love the way the colors came out in this picture. It really makes that red Fiat 1100D pop.

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iPhone 8 Plus

It's hard to take a bad picture of a sunset over San Francisco when there's no fog.

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iPhone 8 Plus

Singer Camille Safiya taken in Portrait Lighting Mode - Natural Light.

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iPhone 8 Plus

Take a look at the detail of the books.

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iPhone 8 Plus

Here are a bunch of comparison pictures taken with both the 8 Plus and 7 Plus. First up: Stella the cat taken with the 8 Plus.

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iPhone 7 Plus

This 7 Plus photo looks good, but the one from the 8 Plus has more detail.

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Cat comparison

Notice her fur and how the 8 Plus photos has a wider dynamic range of color.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Dolores Park

Dolores Park taken with the 8 Plus. Notice the color of the sky and grass.

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iPhone 7 Plus - Dolores Park

Now Dolores Park taken with the 7 Plus.

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Dolores Park comparison

It's really hard to tell the difference. If you look at the lettering on the building, it's a smidgen easier to read in the picture from the 8 Plus.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Cable car

A cable car taken with the 8 Plus.

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iPhone 7 Plus - Cable car

And now taken with the 7 Plus.

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Cable car comparison

There is a little more contrast in the photo from the 8 Plus.

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Portrait Mode comparison

And here is a Portrait Mode photo taken by each phone. The one from the 8 Plus (right) pops a bit more than the 7 Plus (left).

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iPhone 8 Plus Portrait Lighting Mode Effects

Here are all five Portrait Lighting Mode effects on the 8 Plus side by side. From left to right: Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage and Stage Mono.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Portrait Lighting Mode Stage Light fail

The hardest lighting effect to get to work correctly was Stage Light which blacks out the background.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Portrait Mode Lighting Stage Light fail

It didn't work much better on inanimate objects.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Portrait Lighting Mode Stage Light success

But when it did work, like here on singer Xiomara, the results were gorgeous.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Portrait Lighting Mode

Here are a couple more Portrait Mode photos from the 8 Plus.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Portrait Lighting Mode

I was impressed with how the 8 Plus handled his curly hair.

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iPhone 7 Plus - Flash

Then there's flash photography. Flash pictures from the 7 Plus can have the classic red eye and hard white zombie skin look that make me never want to use a flash.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Flash

But the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X all have Slow Sync Flash. As seen here.

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Flash comparison

Slow Sync Flash keeps the shutter open longer making the background less dark. The flash blends in better. This is my favorite feature on the 8 Plus.

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iPhone 8 Plus Slow Motion

The 8 Plus can shoot slow motion video at 1080p 240fps vs. 120fps on the 7 Plus. The 240fps makes juggler Melanie Webster and her flying potatoes look even cooler. Check out this video to see the footage at full resolution.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Nourish Cafe

The rest of this gallery are photos that I took with the 8 Plus like this quinoa waffle from Nourish Cafe.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Nourish Cafe

I love the blue sky in this photo.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Nourish Cafe

Overall, the 8 Plus is the best iPhone for photos and video. 

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iPhone 8 Plus - Nourish Cafe

But in November the iPhone X comes out.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Twin Peaks sunset

Internally it is exactly the same as the iPhone 8 Plus.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Twin Peaks sunset

The rear cameras are the same, aside from the telephoto lens.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Twin Peaks sunset

The iPhone X, improves the rear telephoto camera with a faster f/2.4 lens and adds optical image stabilization.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Twin Peaks sunset

On paper, it should take even better photos and video than the 8 Plus.

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iPhone 8 Plus - Castro at night

But will the difference be drastic?

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iPhone 8 Plus - Los Straitjackets

We'll have to wait and see.

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Los Straitjackets - iPhone 8 Plus

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iPhone 8 Plus - Los Straitjackets

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iPhone 8 Plus - Los Straitjackets

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iPhone 8 Plus - Los Straitjackets

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iPhone 8 Plus - Los Straitjackets

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iPhone 8 Plus - Classic car

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iPhone 8 Plus - Classic car

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iPhone 8 Plus - Octo mural

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iPhone 8 Plus - Green VW van

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iPhone 8 Plus - Fireman's ladder

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iPhone 8 Plus - Four Barrel Coffee

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iPhone 8 Plus - Four Barrel Coffee

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iPhone 8 Plus - Dramatic Flare

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iPhone 8 Plus - Mission High School

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iPhone 8 Plus - Dolores Park

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iPhone 8 Plus - Dolores Park

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iPhone 8 Plus - Dolores Park

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iPhone 8 Plus - Dolores Park

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iPhone 8 Plus - Dolores Park

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iPhone 8 Plus - Twin Peaks sunset

For more on the differences between photos and videos from 8 Plus and 7 Plus, check out my in-depth comparison.

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