As a photographer, one might assume that upgrading to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, Apple’s most powerful camera phone yet, would be a no-brainer for me.
However, despite my background as TechRadar’s former cameras editor and my current use of the iPhone 11 Pro, I’ve decided to skip this latest release. Here’s why:
- The Price Tag Isn’t the Issue: While the iPhone 15 Pro Max comes with a hefty price tag of $1,199 / £1,399 / AU$2,099, I’ve invested even more in my Fujifilm X-T5 camera body alone, without any lenses. So, the cost factor isn’t the primary reason for my decision.
- Delayed Shipping: The fact that the Pro Max isn’t shipping until at least November doesn’t deter me either. I’m in no rush to upgrade, and patience is a virtue when it comes to technology.
- Loyalty to iOS: Having been an iOS user since the iPhone 3GS, I’m not inclined to switch to Android. My loyalty lies with Apple’s ecosystem.
My main rationale for holding off on the iPhone 15 Pro Max is a rule that has served me well over the years – I always wait for the second generation of any new Apple product or hardware feature. This approach proved wise with iconic devices like the original iPhone, MacBook Air, and Apple Watch.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max boasts a significant camera hardware change – a new 5x optical zoom, which is undeniably enticing. However, my past experiences with Apple’s first-gen camera features, like the ultra-wide lens in my iPhone 11 Pro, have taught me to be cautious. The initial ultra-wide camera had a tiny sensor, a slow f/2.4 aperture, and a fixed-focus lens, resulting in distorted edge details. I rarely used it except in emergencies.
Subsequent generations, particularly the iPhone 13 Pro, rectified these issues, demonstrating Apple’s tendency to refine and improve its camera features over time. While it’s no surprise that iPhone features evolve, I’ve learned that it’s particularly prudent to skip major first-gen camera features.
In fact, I believe I should wait until at least the iPhone 17 to ensure a polished telephoto experience. Ultra-wide lenses, in particular, are notoriously challenging to perfect, and it took two generations to fine-tune them.
So, as tempting as the iPhone 15 Pro Max may be, I’m content to bide my time, confident that Apple’s track record of iterative improvement will deliver an even better camera experience in the future. For now, I’ll cherish the capabilities of my trusty iPhone 11 Pro and eagerly anticipate what the next generation of iPhone photography will bring.