Why the iPhone 11 just made your ‘real camera’ obsolete for travel

Sep 17, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It’s been less than a month since I reviewed Galaxy Note10+. Now, in typical Apple fashion, Samsung’s biggest smartphone competitor has an iOS handset that matches or bests many of the Note’s top-notch specs, giving would-be Android users plenty of reasons to stay put in Apple’s tight-knit ecosystem.

The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max (yes, it’s a mouthful) are available to pre-order now, and will be in stores beginning this Friday, September 20. I’ve been testing out the largest device, the Pro Max — it’d be quite the understatement to say I am impressed.

I’ll be following this up with a travel-focused review later in the week, but for now, I wanted to share some initial impressions with my favorite iPhone 11 feature of all: Night Mode — a tool so powerful that, especially when paired with the iPhone 11 Pro’s other photography chops, renders your “real camera” obsolete. Scenes so dim that you might consider using a tripod with a point-and-shoot or DSLR can be shot handheld with an iPhone. Yup — it’s that good.

To best illustrate the iPhone 11’s low-light capability, I also shot the same scenes with Google’s Pixel 3 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note10 — two of the other top “night mode” contenders — along with last year’s flagship, the iPhone XS, which doesn’t offer a nighttime shooting option at all.

With this first scene, in a private dining room at The Fulton in New York City, I was most impressed with the iPhone 11 — details are incredibly sharp both inside the very dim room and out, with balanced exposure and colors.

The Note10 didn’t perform quite as well with this particular scene, with washed out colors and oversharpened details.

The Pixel 3 did a commendable job overall, though colors — especially outside — had a heavy blue hue, making for an image that didn’t look especially accurate.

Finally, the iPhone XS — well… I think the image speaks for itself. No-go.

Next, I stepped out on the balcony at The Fulton, and repeated the process.

At first, I was impressed with the iPhone — it was a challenging scene, and details are sharp throughout, aside from the overexposed tables.

This time around, the Note really blew Apple out of the water, though — details are a bit too sharp, yet again, but the exposure is far more balanced, especially at the tables, which were washed out in the iPhone shot.

The Pixel performed better than the iPhone here as well, though the colors aren’t accurate at all, just as in the private dining room inside.

And then the once-flagship iPhone XS. All I can say is… LOL.

All versions of the iPhone 11 now sport an ultra-wide lens, too, enabling some incredible shots, such as what I captured below. The base model includes a 12-megapixel 13mm f/2.4 ultra-wide camera and a 26mm f/1.8 wide-angle camera, while the Pro models add a third built-in cam: a 12-megapixel f/2 telephoto, with a 52mm focal length.

And, finally, yes, you can rest assured — all three versions can take pictures of food.

For more on the latest camera-killing smartphones and more, see:

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.