Can the iPhone 8 Plus Cut it as a Camera?

I was recently set a task by Three (that’s the phone peeps), to capture some awesome fashion pictures on the iPhone 8 Plus.  With my task and a little bit of guidance pre-shoot, I decided there was no better place than London Fashion Week for the job.

Ok, first things first, this phone is a little bigger than I’m used to.  It’s nice and light and if you’re a pre-gen 8 iPhone user you may or may not know about the Portrait feature within the camera options.  Basically, you know those photos you see on every Bloggers Insta feed where the product in the font of the shot is crisp and clear but the background is blurred?  That’s been shot on Portrait mode and it’s the feature you never knew you couldn’t live without.  It was first introduced on the iPhone 7 Plus and further refined for the 8 Plus and X models, it allows you to shoot in incredible detail from further away.

So, the aesthetic of the phone is like any standard iPhone, central Home button at the bottom with fingerprint or passcode unlock feature, all pretty standard.  The camera is where this phone really shines, the True Tone technology automatically adjusts white balance to match the light around you and the colour vibrancy is the best in the industry.  Fact.

So what’s so special about the camera on the iPhone 8 Plus?

Well, this one has a more advanced 12MP camera than previous iPhones.  The sensor is bigger and faster and the colour is deeper and more vibrant.  Throw in optical image stabilisation for both still photos and videos and you’re looking at something that’s been designed to rival a DSLR.  If you use the zoom function on your cellphone camera then you’re probably already aware that the quality diminishes drastically when you start zooming in, with iPhone 8 Plus, the wide‑angle and telephoto lenses on iPhone 8 Plus enable optical zoom, as well as digital zoom of up to 10x for photos and 6x for videos meaning that you can get in closer without sacrificing quality.  I’ve tried it and it’s not an overstatement.

Where to shoot my iPhone 8 Plus Photo Challenge

I took the iPhone 8 Plus to the FW18 season of London Fashion Week and had to plan how to complete my photo challenge.  I wanted to make sure I could get some really awesome photos that focussed on and showcased the pieces in each collection without the distractions of audience etc. so that I could really showcase the qualities of this cellphone camera.  The best place to do this?  In fashion presentations – the perfect opportunity to showcase what this nifty (not so) little iPhone can do.  Presentations allow you to get up close and personal with the garments and capture every tiny little detail, provided your equipment is up to the job of course.

How to use the iPhone 8 Plus as a Camera

Ok, the idea of this project was to show you that the iPhone 8 Plus can be a great alternative to carrying around a DSLR camera.  Yes, a DSLR will give you the most crisp pictures you can imagine with exceptional depth of field, but, if like me, you’re an out of towner attempting to travel light and post quickly, sometimes a cellphone is just the best option out there.  with the iphone 8 Plus it’s a simple as opening the camera, pointing and shooting.  There’s no set up required, no apps needed and the focus is automatic, allowing you to select the part of the image that you want to be the central point.  Clever stuff.

Shooting with the iPhone 8 Plus

Ok so it’s a pretty big phone, we know that.  If you’re already in Camp Apple then you’ll be familiar with phones of this size as it’s the same as the 6 and 7 Plus models.  It’s uber light which means it’s pretty easy to just whip out and shoot with.  One thing to note is that because it’s pretty big, shooting is probably a two handed job.  It’s very responsive, once you’ve selected something to capture there’s an on screen option to focus available light on your chosen target, or leave the phone to adjust automatically, then you simply click.  It can handle multiple frames (non-burst) in quick repetition and doesn’t distort image quality in doing so, meaning that shooting runway shows was a breeze too.  In the past I’ve struggled to capture decent runway images as cellphone cameras haven’t been so great with multiple things moving in one frame.  That is until now.

Show me the images man!

Ok, ok, so, at London Fashion Week presentations take place in a variety of locations, some are super bright and lit for press, others are in low light or natural light.  The iPhone 8 Plus managed well in all of those situations.  In low light it photographs “as seen” meaning you see on camera, what you see in real live and then need to manually adjust which is super simples.  I adjust using the functionality within the iPhones own photo viewer but Lightroom is pretty good too if you can get to grips with all of the different settings.  I didn’t plan for that and because of the rate of image turnover at London Fashion Week, I stuck with what I know which worked really well.

You can see the different lighting situation and how the phone camera has managed to pin pont detail with in each capture.  From the wet look hair in the Minki Presentation, to the blanket skirt colour spot detail at Merchant Archive, for a cellphone, you’ve got to admit, that’s pretty damn good.  So, how would it cope with multiple moving targets, say on a runway?

These motion stills were all taken from varying distances, some using the zoom function which didn’t appear to distort the images.

What will it cost me?

It’s an iPhone, you already know it’s not going to be cheap.  The good news is that it’s not the top of the range iPhone, that honour goes (at the time of writing) to the all singing, all dancing iPhone X.  The iPhone 8 Plus comes in two capacities: 64gb and 256gb which retail at £799 and £949 respectively.  If you’re browsing the Apple website and thinking, “but the non plus version of the iPhone 8 is a bit cheaper, I’ll go for that”, DON’T.  The regular iPhone 8 model doesn’t come with the same camera functionality, Apple use that extra handset size to pack in a double lens feature that offers that Portrait mode functionality and crisp zoom.  Trust me, if you’re investing, opt for the Plus.

Yes, it’s a lot of money, but the chances are you drop that kind of money on a cellphone regardless.  Plus, if you’re a Blogger who doesn’t want to have to carry a camera around on quick shot assignments, particularly at London Fashion Week where there are multiple shows each day, all over the city, then the iPhone 8 Plus from Three might just be your new best friend.  You’re welcome.


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  • Just came across this post and so glad I’ve read it, my upgrades dies next month and was torn with the idea of the 8 plus (currently have the 6s plus) I like the bigger phone and those images seem class! Looks like it Defo is the 8plus for me 🙂 I had a look at the iPhone X and to be honest wasn’t that impressed.

    • I actually have the iPhone X as my own phone and whilst I love it, I honestly think the iPhone 8 Plus has the better camera. It’s completely new technology in the iPhone X & it’s excellent, but when you see the images next to the ones taken on the X, the depth of field and colour isn’t as good.

    • What did you decide to do in the end? Did you treat yourself to an iPhone 8 plus whilst you were in the States???