On the iPhone 7 Plus, 8 Plus, and X, Two Rear Cameras Are Better Than One

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

The 7 Plus, 8 Plus, and X iPhone models have not one but two rear cameras, and they work as a team. With this dual-camera system, you tap the 1x or 2x button on the iPhone display to switch from a 1x wide angle (28mm-equivalent focal length) to a 2x telephoto (56mm lens) shot or back.

You are taking advantage of the optical zoom feature on the phone, which as we explained is more of a big-deal benefit compared to digital zoom.

Of course, you can put the digital zoom to work here as well, to a max of 10x. You can employ the pinch to zoom gesture (at which you now excel). Or, after tapping to get to 2x with the optical zoom, slide your finger in either direction to zoom left or right.

Another benefit for the 7 Plus, 8 Plus, and X is a depth-of-field portrait mode, which lets you keep your main subject sharp and in focus while the background remains blurry but only in an artsy way. Photographers refer to this concept as bokeh. On models that have the feature, another shooting option, named Portrait, appears on the Camera screen (next to Video, Photo, Square, and so on).

Meanwhile, the 8 Plus and X models boast a feature called Portrait Lighting. When you choose Portrait mode on these phones, you can apply dramatic effects, either before or after you take a picture. It works like this: After you select Portrait, a wheel appears so you can choose effects labeled natural light, studio light, contour light, stage light mono, and stage light. This last setting is like applying a spotlight on the main subject of your photograph while the background remains otherwise dark.

Incidentally, you’ll be able to exploit Portrait Lighting on the front or rear cameras on the X. On the 8 Plus, the feature works only with the rear cameras.