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Israel Sukhanov
Israel Sukhanov

Flash 14


While Apple continues to use the tried and tested True Tone flash in the iPhone 14, it has switched to what it calls an Adaptive True Tone flash. As explained by iPhone product manager Vitor Silva during the presentation, the new flash has a "new adaptive behavior based on the focal length of the photo."




Flash 14



In plain terms, it has updated the flash to change how it fires based on how zoomed in or zoomed out the camera is when it's taking a photograph. If it's zoomed in, it will concentrate the light with minimal spread to the sides, while for wide-angle shots, it will spread the light out as wide as possible.


The top half of the speedlite is the flash head, which consists of an empty tube that contains the main flash unit. At the top is a lens with a pattern of ridges, used to control how light exits the flash, including how light falls off toward the edges.


At a low zoom level, such as 20mm, a camera would take a wide shot, and a speedlite would disperse its light over a wide area. Likewise, 200mm would be a telephoto or zoomed-in photograph on the camera, while the flash would narrow the light coverage to match.


The 20mm wide zoom level positions the flash element very close to the lens to spread light as much as possible. At 200mm, that same element is far from the lens, so light is directed more directly forward.


To see this effect for yourself, shine a small flashlight through a tube, with the bulb close to one of the ends, then as far back so it has to shine through the entire tube length. As the torch bulb descends the tube and further away from the opening, you'll see the spread where the light exits the tube narrows down.


The technique used by speedlites requires the flash to travel back and forth from the lens and the opening. This is not an option for an iPhone, which has to share its 0.31-inch depth with other elements like a display.


The different segments of the LEDs shine light through different parts of the lens stack and illuminate whatever it is shining on in different ways. In effect, by controlling the pattern that the LEDs fire, Apple can control the light from the flash, shaping it to better fit different levels of zoom.


Firing the large central LED on its own results in a relatively narrow beam of light exiting the flash, making it ideal for telephoto shots. Mid-range zoom can be created by firing the mid-sized LEDs in the center top and bottom, and middle left and right positions.


This is because it adds a bright and focused beam of light that will affect the center of the photograph alone. That part of the image could end up being overexposed simply from the bright flash in that area.


Leaving the middle LED off for a wide shot means the surrounding LEDs can work together to create a more even image. As Silva said on stage, the flash now provides "up to three times better uniformity compared to our previous generation."


Using so many LEDs also plays into the claim that the flash can be "up to twice as bright" as the previous version. But, since Apple controls the intensity, it may not necessarily use full power for the LEDs that often.


Apple could have gone down the lazy route and used a brighter or bigger LED flash instead of going to all this extra engineering effort. Instead, Apple went the tougher road and came up with a design to give the flash results it wanted to provide its users.


An interesting and informative article for any iPhone shooters who don't have prior experience with professional speedlites. (Though I agree with Skeptical above: good speedlites aren't cheap.) I've always found a giant disconnect between Apple's marketing of iPhone's flash performance and how it actually performs. Apple has been promoting "perfect" flash pictures for the past 4 or 5 generations of iPhone and they've been anything but. To the average snapshooter, the flash may seem fine, but if you've actually shot with a speedlite, not so much. Shaping the LED pattern of light based on lens focal length for the photo is an important step on the way to better flash pictures, but I think we're a LONG, LONG way from this article's headline of iPhone Pro flash creating 'perfect light for your photos."


charlesn said: An interesting and informative article for any iPhone shooters who don't have prior experience with professional speedlites. (Though I agree with Skeptical above: good speedlites aren't cheap.) I've always found a giant disconnect between Apple's marketing of iPhone's flash performance and how it actually performs. Apple has been promoting "perfect" flash pictures for the past 4 or 5 generations of iPhone and they've been anything but. To the average snapshooter, the flash may seem fine, but if you've actually shot with a speedlite, not so much. Shaping the LED pattern of light based on lens focal length for the photo is an important step on the way to better flash pictures, but I think we're a LONG, LONG way from this article's headline of iPhone Pro flash creating 'perfect light for your photos." Hobbyist photographer here. I agree. I never use the flash on my iPhone. Off-camera flash is much better. 041b061a72


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