The iPhone 15 Pro Max takes great portrait photos. | Photo by Sam Price-Waldman for The Verge

What many folks are calling a slow year of advancements in the iPhone 15 lineup is far from true for the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s camera. Willy-nilly use of the word “lenses” aside, there are more framing options this year thanks to extra digital lenses and a dedicated 5x telephoto lens. The video quality is now the best you can get on a smartphone and even offers a ProRes log output. Photos of people at night have improved dramatically. And a software trick allows you to add a portrait mode blur effect after a photo is taken. These are some of the small changes that make for a better experience, but as a professional photographer, there is still a missing piece.

Every year, I set out to take 1,000 photos with the newest smartphone camera…

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