Digiscoping w/ the iPhone 14 Pro - 26 Nov 2022
My iPhone 7 has worked well for me for many years now, but its camera (12 Mpx) has been somewhat of a disappointment in terms of image quality when used for digiscoping. So, this past week, the phone finally died and it was time to be replaced. The brand new iPhone 14 Pro appeared to be camera to get given its new 48 Mpx camera. I was intrigued to see how it would behave as a digiscoping camera and how it would compare with my current digiscoping rig (Sony a9 and Sony 40mm f/2.5) and my professional kit (Sony a1 and 600 mm f/4).
DPreview has nice overview of the iPhone 14 Pro camera system and provides all of the technical specifications necessary to compare with other phone cameras. Of special note is that the 48 Mpx resolution is only available when the camera is a 1X magnification. At all other magnifications the 3 camera system only produces a 12 Mpx image. This is a critical factor when digiscoping since the camera at 1X shows a considerably large vignette circle. So the next question raised, "how does cropping the 48 Mpx image compare to the 12 Mpx 2X images?".
I took my Swarovski STX85 and 25-60X eyepiece into the field out back to test and compare the various rigs. With the recently-purchased PhoneSkope adapter for the iPhone 14 Pro I was anxious to see how well it would perform. The iPhone 14 Pro fits snugly into the PhoneSkope adapter while the plastic eyepiece adapter provides a nice, snug fit against the scope.
The good news is that you can crop the original 1X image to the same size as the 2X image and get similar resolution (12 Mpx to 12 Mpx).
Again, image quality from the 1" Full-Frame sensor and 50 Mpx will always be technically improved over the iPhone camera phone, but as you can see, there is not much perceived difference in image quality between the iPhone 14 Pro and the mirrorless cameras. Another thumbs-up for the iPhone 14 Pro.