These IndyCar pictures show how important the new iPhone’s dual lenses will be to photographers

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus launched last week, and one of the most hyped features has been the camera(s).

This is especially true with the 7 Plus, which now has two cameras — one wide angle and one telephoto lens. This means you can now optically zoom in to 2x, which means you can get closer to your subject without suffering from any of the distortion that comes with digital zoom.

While being able to optically zoom is obviously a benefit to any photographer, it’s sort of hard to imagine the difference a 2x zoom can make until you actually see two shots side by side.

Brad Mangin, an iPhone-only professional photographer we’ve covered before, was on assignment for INDYCAR at their race in Sonoma last weekend and brought along an iPhone 7 Plus. He was able to spend some time playing around with the phone’s new telephoto lens, and shared some pictures where it really makes a difference.


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For example, the two shots in the gallery above are Brad’s attempt at capturing a scenic shot of a car on the track. Brad took the picture on the left using the phone’s 2x telephoto lens, and the one on the right using the standard wide-angle lens.

Without the telephoto, the car is too small, the track signs and leaderboard are essentially unreadable and Brad’s shadow is even in the shot. And while he could have used digital zoom, that would have diminished the picture quality.

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The two pictures above are another example. Brad explained this was a photo shoot where he wasn’t allowed to move — and while the shot on the right is still a great picture, it’s a little too wide to show the details on the trophy (and bread!). The 2x zoom let brad get the shot he wanted in a situation where he couldn’t physically move closer to the subject. Without the telephoto lens he would have essentially had to miss out on the shot, because he is only shooting with his iPhone these days.

Of course, these types of shots are possible using third-party iPhone lenses too — Brad mentioned he’s even considered using the new ZEISS iPhone lens, which we’ve also taken a look at. But the need for a special iPhone case and need to hold the lenses somewhere when he wasn’t using them ended up being too big of a deterrence — after all, he did become an iPhone-only photographer so he could forget about all the crazy restrictive equipment a normal photographer has to lug around.

Brad was also able to get some shots on the 7 Plus that didn’t take advantage of the telephoto lens, but still turned out pretty great.

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All of the above photos where shot and edited (using Snapseed and Instagram) on the 7 Plus. As Brad has mentioned before, the portability of using a phone to shoot lets him get close to subjects without them acting differently — something people often do when someone is using a giant camera to take a photo of them.

While INDYCAR obviously has a staff of photographers armed with traditional DSLR cameras, Brad’s shots are a unique, behind-the-scenes view of the event. He calls it shooting the “edges of the fringes of events” — essentially capturing the interesting moments that someone attending (or even photographing) a sports event may never pay attention to.