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iPhone 15 Pro Max – the good and the bad

I spent the day out and about with it yesterday – I have stuff to say

iPhone 15 Pro Max against London skyline

This week’s video is going to be about my 6 months with the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Yesterday I decided to break free from the studio and take the phone out with me for the day. There have been plenty of other days over the past six months that I’ve had the phone with me on days out – but yesterday was a little different.

This was all about the iPhone.

I wouldn’t be plugging it into the car to charge it all – I wanted to stress test the 4,422mAh battery on the 15 Pro Max to see what it was made of.

I was going to be shooting quite a lot of videos and taking many, many pictures as well. I wanted to take a close look at the three focal lengths on the 48MP main camera and use the 5x 120mm zoom as well. And aside from that I’d be streaming music in the car to Apple CarPlay – although as it turned out I didn’t need to use sat nav at all. Bluetooth would be on all day as well. In other words, this was using my phone as I’d normally have it set up.

My normal day finds me at the desk with the phone sitting on my MagSafe charger meaning it’s hard for me to judge what the battery is like – but yesterday it was put through its paces. I left home just before 9.45 AM with 92% charge.

First stop – Royal Windsor.

Changing of the Guard

You know what it’s like – when you live right on top of something you take it for granted.

Windsor Castle – one of the regular residences of King Charles is less than 10 miles from my home. Although I go to the shops there pretty regularly I take for granted the magnificent Castle. I think I’ve only been in it once – and that’s when I was about 5 or 6 years old on a school trip.

As I was planning out this week’s iPhone 15 Pro Max video I thought I should make use of what was on my doorstep. Three days a week (5 in the summer) there is a ceremony – The Changing of The Guard. I’ll leave you to go and find out the backstory as to what it’s all about – but I knew it would be a graphic way to start testing out the video side of the phone.

My grand plans were scuppered though – crap weather meant that the full pageantry of the day was ruined. Because of the drizzle yesterday the band that normally leads the new guard into the Castle was dropped and the full red uniforms were replaced with my subtle greys – but even so, it was still great to watch – quite stirring actually…

I decided not to shoot in ProRes/log as I wanted this to be a more realistic ‘day-in-the-life’ of the iPhone 15. Although all photos were shot in RAW all the videos I shot were with the native camera app at 4K/24FPS.

iPhone 15 camera test

As I mentioned earlier, one of the main new feature sets that came to the 15 Pro Max was the three different focal lengths on its main camera.

You can now shoot at 1x with the 24mm lens but then you can also choose to shoot at both 1.2x with a 28mm focal length or 1.5x with a 35mm setting. The speed and simplicity that you can switch between the settings means it’s useable too.

Pixel peeping in Lightroom these images hold up well. There is some serious quality to the images even when I compare them to the RAW files from my Canon. The quality comes from the fact the files are big! That 24mm 48MP lens is capturing a ton of information. The first picture below is the 1x 24mm and that file is 8064 x 6048 and 86 MB…I come from a print & design background and I can tell you that file size would be useable for print…that is a lot of data!

After that, the next three images were taken using the 28mm/35mm/120mm lenses and although you may not be able to tell here, even at 120mm 5x on a very dull day the image is crisp, sharp and with virtually no ghosting. It’s the first time that I have looked this critically at the images taken with the iPhone 15 Pro Max – and with a semi-professional eye, I’m impressed. These were taken hand-held and don’t forget the light and conditions were not great.

It’s interesting to see what the iPhone did with the ISO on the various focal lengths dropping from 100 ISO on the 24mm to 50 ISO at 120mm. We forget just how clever these phones are – making all these adjustments on the fly in the background. If these were shot on my Canon I’d be having to make all manner of adjustments manually. For those of you who love data – the lens aperture on the 48MP main camera at 24mm/28mm/35mm was ƒ/ 1.78 and on the 12MP 5x telephoto the lens aperture ƒ/2.8. And even on the 120mm zoom lens, there is still useful amounts of data – the file is 30MB and 4000 x 3000.

Oh, by the way, when folks bang on that there is no AI with Apple – just look at the info that the Photo app gave me on these images…pretty impressive huh!

Before leaving Windsor the local police got in on the act…and fair play to them, they were great even looking after all my equipment when I went to grab coffee…

The good and the bad…

The title wasn’t clickbait – promise.

Whilst I had been mighty impressed by the results the camera was giving me, the same can’t be said for the battery – just 2 hours into the day and it was not holding up well as you can see below – oh, and it’s one of the few times that the Dynamic Island comes into use – keeping track on my car park session….

London Calling

Next up for the day was to follow the Thames from Windsor to London – Battersea to be exact.

Battersea is home to both Apple’s head office and also their latest flagship store. Again here you can see the might of the 5x lens – I am becoming quite a fan of it. To give you context the first image is shot with the 24mm 1x lens and the second with the telephoto lens – you can even clearly read the words on that monitor on the desk which is barely visible on the 1x shot – bloody amazing!

In the store, I went to take a quick look around the iPad Pro. As you know I’m thinking of buying one if we get the OLED displays that have been promised – I saw how Stage Manager works on an iPad for the first time – now it makes sense. Perhaps…perhaps I can see myself using one after all…

The rest of the afternoon in London was spent shooting a short on the iPhone and some other shots of the Thames which runs behind the Battersea store. The weather was still dull and dank but the camera did its best to make the best of awkward conditions.

This is a 35mm shot of the famous Battersea Power Station chimneys.

All good things must end

After I finish writing this I’m going to start editing the video. I think I got all the shots & content I needed and possibly having written this I have just thought of a follow-up video as well…

Having pulled apart the camera for the first time – looking closely at the images in Apple’s Photo app, Lightroom & Photoshop I am properly impressed. For everyone but the highest-end professional users the stills camera set-up on this iPhone is going to get the job done.

The same is true of the video camera. Using the native video camera gave great results but all the good came at a cost. You can see from the attached metadata & screenshot I got home almost 8 hours to the minute after leaving home in the morning.

In those 8 hours, the phone was in constant use – 1 long-ish call, no sat-nav but streaming music. I shot around 50 pictures and about 10 videos – none of them long and there was no hot-spotting.

But to get back with only 10% battery was a shock. Surely it would be fair to expect more than 8 hours of use, wouldn’t it? This is Apple’s flagship iPhone – the Pro Max.

Those two words in this context are telling Pro and Max. This iPhone is designed for Pro’s and being the Max it has the biggest battery. If that battery can’t last a full day what does that mean for the other phones in the lineup?

There were many good points to come out of yesterday’s test – but the results of the battery dulled off those highs.

What a shame.

I still think the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the best iPhone I’ve ever used…but at over £1000 we should expect more from the battery – surely?

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