(Pocket-lint) — During its September event where the latest iPhone 14 lineup was announced, Apple unveiled something called the Photonic Engine. It’s a new iPhone camera technology that promises better photos in low-light conditions. Here’s everything you need to know about it, including how the Photonic Engine works and the iPhone models that support it.
What is the Apple Photon Engine?
Simply put: The Photonic Engine is a trademarked Apple-branded computer imaging technology. It uses hardware, machine learning, and software to enhance your photos, especially those shots in less-than-ideal lighting.
Has the photon actuator replaced the night mode?
number. Optical Engine is a technology that improves images in general. It is located separately from the night mode. For more information on how to use night mode, see Pocket-lint guide: How to turn night mode on and off on iPhone.
How does a photon actuator work?
The beauty of the photon engine is that it runs in the background. There is no setting to enable. It’s basically an expansion of Apple’s Deep Fusion image processing technology that was launched inside the iPhone 11 in 2019.
The optical engine takes advantage of the hardware inside the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max and applies some machine learning and the magic of iOS 16 software. Results? Shots taken in medium to low light should be greatly improved. Apple described the photonic engine as a “giant leap” for low-light imaging. She said the Photonic Engine uses machine learning to process images on a pixel-by-pixel basis, improving texture, detail and noise throughout the image. Apple promises a “significant increase in quality” – including colors – but fine details won’t be negatively affected.
The hardware in the iPhone 14 lineup is also essential to the optical engine. The main camera, telephoto camera, and TrueDepth camera on the latest iPhones have been significantly upgraded from the iPhone 13 so that it performs two times better, according to Apple. Meanwhile, the ultra-wide camera appears to benefit from up to 3x better performance in low-light conditions.
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The main thing to take away is that larger sensors, faster apertures, and more advanced lenses – all combined with smart software and Apple’s proprietary silicon – enable the Photonic Engine to work.
Here’s how Apple describes the Photon Engine:
Through deep integration of hardware and software, the Photonic Engine improves performance in medium and low light images across all cameras: up to 2x on the Ultra Wide camera, 2x on the TrueDepth camera, and an impressive 2.5x on the new main camera. The optical engine dramatically increases quality by applying the computational benefits of Deep Fusion early in the imaging process to deliver extraordinary detail, preserve finer textures, provide better colors, and preserve more information in the image.”
What iPhone models support Photonic Engine?
Optical Engine Technology is on iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Written by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Britta Opwell.