How to use the iPhone 7 Plus camera: The ultimate guide

The iPhone 7 Plus has two lenses: wide-angle and telephoto. Here’s how to use them!

Both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have great camera systems, but the iPhone 7 Plus has a few features over its smaller cousin thanks to its secondary 56mm-equivalent “telephoto” lens system.

NOTE: Though many (myself included) have argued that this system is closer in comparison to a normal or portrait lens than a true telephoto, I understand Apple’s intentions here: Because they’re marketing the lens in conjunction with a 2x feature, it may seem more appropriate to call it “tele” than “normal” or “portrait” to the average user — especially considering Apple’s Portrait feature that utilizes both lenses. For that reason, I’m referring to the lens as Apple names it — tele, or telephoto — even though I don’t necessarily agree with that branding.

If you happen to find yourself in possession of an iPhone 7 Plus, you can shoot using the 28mm-equivalent wide-angle lens using Photo mode, zoom up to 10x digitally, shoot with an added depth of field effect using Portrait mode, and more. Here’s what you need to know!

How to use Zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus

Digital zoom is never going to be great — you’re essentially just cropping and enlarging pixels from the original photo. But, more often than not, we use digital zooms when composing iPhone images — especially if we’re shooting a subject from far away. Thanks to its multi-camera system, the iPhone 7 Plus offers an up-to-10x digital zoom when composing your images — and better still, that zoom is now a one-handed circular swipe. Here’s how it works!

How to use Portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus

If you’ve been lucky enough to get your hands on an iPhone 7 Plus and iOS 10.1, you have access to iOS’s newest camera feature: Portrait mode. Exclusively available for the iPhone 7 Plus, this mode shoots with the 56mm-equivalent “telephoto” lens on your iPhone; as such, it only works in fair- or brightly-lit conditions (though you can trick it to fire by shooting in low-light with bright light sources nearby).

Portrait mode is currently in beta, and only officially supports taking pictures of people with its face and body mapping — but you can experiment with other subjects, too. Here’s how!

How to shoot with the telephoto lens on the iPhone 7 Plus

When you pick up an iPhone 7 Plus, you’re also getting a great multi-camera system to take photographs and shoot video. By default, you shoot with the iPhone’s 12-megapixel wide-angle f/1.8 lens, but you can also amp up the magnification and take photos with the new 56mm-equivalent “telephoto” lens — both in the Camera app, with Portrait mode, or in a variety of great third-party apps.

More great Camera content

Want to learn more about shooting photos with your iPhone? Check our our full Camera Ultimate Guide!


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