The ability to adjust focus in a regular ‘pro’ camera by changing aperture sizes has been greatly simplified over the last 30 years with aperture-priority programs in single-lens reflex cameras. Now Apple brings something similar using fixed aperture lenses and software. It is revolutionary.
It’s a software feature that uses the two lenses of the iPhone 7 Plus to create the look and feel of an image shot with portrait settings on a camera with a telephoto lens.
Simply put: a pleasing blur that separates the foreground (person) from the background (other junk). I’m going to get a bit wonky in this piece because I feel the context will be sorely lacking once this feature hits widely — and there are some that are interested.
I’ve enjoyed using the iPhone camera for snap shots but because the lens is a fixed aperture, it holds everything in focus. This reduces the creativity that can be achieved with a SLR and removable lenses.
In those set ups, one can adjust both shutter speed to control for acton and aperture to control for depth of focus (blurriness). The photographer has tremendous flexibility to make a work that represents their vision, rather than simply a copy of reality.
Now, using 2 lenses and software, Apple can mimic some of the effects seen with an SLR by mimicking the look of an aperture priority photo. Check out the examples in the article.
The cool thing here is that as time goes one, Apple will be able to provide even more software approaches. There is no reason that the data cannot be provided to an application (say Aperture) where the user would now has full control over the blur, its depth and so on.
With a little more tweaking, an amateur would have access to more of the techniques of the pros.