iPhone SE (2020) offers portrait photos despite a simple camera

The iPhone SE (2020) offers you many features at an affordable price that are otherwise reserved for more expensive smartphones from Apple. This also includes the so-called portrait photos, which have a blurred background. The cheap iPhone uses a trick to achieve this effect.

The iPhone SE (2020) is the first iPhone that creates the bokeh effect in portrait photos exclusively using software, the makers of the camera app Halide report on their blog. This feature is called “Single Image Monocular Depth Estimation”. The name already reveals how it works: the camera software estimates which objects in the photo are in the foreground and which are in the background.

Recommended only for people

The feature is correspondingly susceptible to errors, since the conversion for the so-called bokeh effect is based only on assumptions. In the iPhone SE (2020), it takes place exclusively on the software side – a first in Apple smartphones. This was also not the case in the iPhone XR. Because even though this smartphone only has a lens on the back, the “focus pixels” help on the hardware side.

That’s why Apple limits the bokeh effect of the iPhone SE (2020) to people. Here it is much easier for the software to recognize them and separate them from the rest of the photo than with other objects that require a “correct” depth perception. According to Cult of Mac, there are already apps that enable such portrait photos with animals, for example; however, the results are not always satisfactory.

iPhone SE (2020) with old sensor

As the teardown by iFixit showed, there is an old friend in the iPhone SE (2020): the same camera sensor as in the iPhone 8. Although the sensor is already three years old, it can still enable good photos. The teardown also showed that the device was relatively easy to repair: the testers awarded six out of ten possible points.

In the hardness test by JerryRigEverything, the iPhone SE (2020) has already proven to be robust. With regard to photos, the question of which camera Apple is equipping the Plus model, which is currently still haunting the rumor mill, is exciting. The new, affordable and compact iPhone has been official since mid-April 2020. Features include the fingerprint sensor and the A13 Bionic chipset.

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