The iPhone 15 lineup could include the best camera phones ever made

iPhone 14 Pro Max review camera
The iPhone 14 Pro Max (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Of all the upgrades rumored for the iPhone 15 line – USB-C, an Action Button on some models, a Dynamic Island for all – it could be the cameras that are the biggest, according to a new report.

This is according to TrendForce (via MacRumors), which claims that the iPhone 15 camera upgrades will be the “star of the show” at the Apple September event and “a pivotal factor that could tip the scales for potential buyers”.

So what’s so special about these camera upgrades? Well, for one thing the report corroborates claims that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will feature a new Sony sensor. Apparently, this sensor will extend the dynamic range of images, which could allow for more striking HDR (high dynamic range) imagery.

The report doesn’t mention how many megapixels this sensor will have, but we’ve previously heard that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will have a 48MP main camera, up from just 12MP on the iPhone 14.

TrendForce describes this new sensor as “cutting-edge”, so it sounds like you can expect big things from it.

Zoom further

The report also echoes claims that the iPhone 15 Pro Max will have a periscope lens, allowing for longer-range zoom than the iPhone 14 Pro Max. How much longer isn’t mentioned here, but we’ve variously heard 5x-6x and even 10x optical zoom mentioned by different sources. For reference, the iPhone 14 Pro Max offers 3x optical zoom, so any of those would be a big change.

There could be other upgrades too, with one early leak mentioning a massive new sensor for the main camera on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, though this isn’t something we’ve heard more recently.

Regardless, it sounds increasingly like the cameras on all three of these iPhone models could be major highlights, with the iPhone 15 Pro perhaps being the odd one out, as this isn’t expected to get the periscope upgrade of the Pro Max, though it may still see sensor improvements.

You can see what we think is the most likely camera setup for each phone, based on the leaks and rumors we've seen thus far, in the table below.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
iPhone 15 (rumored)iPhone 15 Plus (rumored)iPhone 15 Pro (rumored)iPhone 15 Pro Max (rumored)
Main camera:48MP 1/1.5-inch48MP 1/1.5-inch48MP f/1.8 1/1.28-inch48MP f/1.8 1/1.28-inch
Ultra-wide camera:12MP f/2.4 120-degree12MP f/2.4 120-degree12MP f/2.2 120-degree12MP f/2.2 120-degree
Telephoto camera:NoneNone12MP f/2.8 3x zoom12MP periscope with 5x-6x zoom
Front camera:12MP f/1.912MP f/1.912MP f/1.912MP f/1.9

The most-needed upgrade

If the cameras are as good as TrendForce suggests then that could be a big win for Apple, because as great as its phones are, the cameras are rarely a match for those on the very best Android phones.

Right now, for example, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, Pixel 7 Pro, and Pixel 6a all rank ahead of any iPhone on our best camera phones list. The Pixel 6a is there in part because of its price and value, but the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Pixel 7 Pro simply take better photos.

Apple typically wins for video, but the photography experience on iPhones is in need of an upgrade, and hopefully it'll get one with the iPhone 15 line. We’ll find out on September 12, as that’s when the iPhone 15 series will be unveiled. So check out our guide covering how to watch the Apple event online, and head back to TechRadar then for all the news and analysis.

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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.