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Chinese New Year 2021 through the eyes of the iPhone 12

Recently, we decided to have a little bit of a photoshoot in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebrations this year. Since it would be irresponsible to have big gatherings with a lot of your family members, and it would be illegal to balik kampung, the theme had to be something along the lines of being connected while apart.

These photos were all shot on an iPhone 12 with minimal editing on native Apple photo editing applications.

The iPhone 12 put up a surprisingly good show, and its neutral colours allowed us more freedom to do a little post-processing to just help them pop a little bit. Our photographer Zach did minimal colour tweaking on the default MacOS photo app on his MacBook Pro 16.

One thing that also remained the same was the fact that shopping malls like Pavilion KL still put up extravagant CNY decorations, so we decided to grab a couple of socially distanced photos with them too. The most impressive thing here is how close the image quality on the ultra-wide is to the regular wide camera—something you don’t often see on other smartphones with similar setups.

Low-light was also an interesting experiment, especially when it came to low-light portrait images. The simulated bokeh looked incredibly natural, which is actually quite impressive. But if you want to capture this kind of contrast in your scene, you’ll have to turn off the night mode because otherwise it would render the scene too bright.

Perhaps the only thing we missed from the new iPhone 12 is a telephoto camera. Typically, portraits are more flattering when taken with a telephoto camera because you don’t get much barrel distortion and you get a compressed background and more natural proportions.

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But, as far as image quality goes, there really isn’t much to complain about. The more natural colour palate also made pushing these images in post much easier.

With how far technology has come, as well as how good and easily accessible video conferencing software has gotten, it’s not impossible to have a good time this new year. Sure, having physical contact is more intimate, but the important thing here is that you can still see and talk to all your relatives. Plus e-angpows are a thing now so at least you’re not losing out on the most important part of CNY.

Photography by Zachary Yoong on the iPhone 12.