The iPhone 15 could have a ‘state-of-the-art’ camera for significantly better photos

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max top two thirds
An iPhone 14 Pro Max (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Apple’s handsets almost always rank among the best camera phones, but there could be a huge jump in photo quality for the iPhone 15 line, as the latest leak suggests these phones will feature an advanced new sensor.

Word comes from Nikkei Asia (via Apple Insider), in a report that states Sony will supply Apple with a “state-of-the-art” camera sensor, that’s expected to be used in the iPhone 15 series.

So what makes this sensor so good? Well, apparently it “roughly doubles the saturation signal level in each pixel,” allowing it to capture more light, which could be beneficial to low light scenes.

The real highlighted advantage to this though is that it can reduce overexposure and underexposure, which can be particularly problematic when there’s a big difference in lighting between the foreground and background of an image.

The source gives the example of clearly photographing a person’s face even when they’re standing against a strong backlight.

We would, however, take this claim with a pinch of salt, especially as Apple only just upgraded the primary sensor on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max to a new 48MP unit.

It’s not Apple’s style to make such a change two years in a row, so perhaps this new sensor will just be used for the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus – but that would suggest it’s not as good as the current 48MP snapper features on the 14 Pro and Pro Max.

Another option is that if the rumored iPhone 15 Ultra happens, then this sensor could be reserved for that handset, to help it stand out above the iPhone 15 Pro.

Apple iPhone 14 camera array

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Analysis: not the only camera upgrade

If any phones in the iPhone 15 series do have this new Sony sensor then that could make for quite a photographic upgrade, but it probably won’t be the only one, as previous leaks have talked of a periscope camera being added too.

This would allow for the optical zoom distance to be extended from the 3x of current Pro models to likely around 5x but potentially as much as 10x, in line with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

On top of that, the iPhone 15 Ultra and possibly also the iPhone 15 Pro might be able to record 8K video, according to one source.

So in other words we might see big improvements to the wide and telephoto cameras on some iPhone 15 models, as well as to video recording, with only the ultra-wide camera possibly staying the same.

With these phones probably not out until September 2023 we’ve got a long time to wait, but if what we’re hearing is right then the iPhone 15 series is already shaping up to be among the best phones of 2023.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.