Does The iPad Take Better Pictures Than The iPhone?

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by Jack Taylor | Last Updated:  February 25, 2020

Both the iPad and the iPhone offer stellar cameras. But which camera is better, the camera on the iPhone or the camera on the iPad, and if one is better, does that mean that each each camera serves a different purpose?

When comparing the best iPhone with the best iPad available today, the iPhone offers a superior camera by far. However, when considering what the camera for each device is designed for, both the iPhone and iPad offer an excellent camera experience for its intended use.

When considering the difference between the camera on the iPad and that of the iPhone, you Must consider what each camera was designed for. What is the intended use for the camera on the iPad? What is the intended use for the camera on the iPhone? Once we answer these questions, I am confident that you will have a greater appreciation for each camera and how to use it to maximize the moment. You will see that they are not in competition with one another, but rather compliment each other when used as intended.

Before we begin, to be fair, when comparing apples to apples, (pun intended), I will be comparing the best iPhone with the best iPad to date. Of course, in time, each device will only get better, but it’s not fair to compare the base model of the iPad (a $329 value), with the iPhone 11 Pro Max (starting at $1,099). So, when comparing the camera of each device, we will compare the best iPad with the best iPhone.

The Camera on the iPad Pro was Designed for . . .

Briefly, I’d like to mention the specifications of the camera found on the iPad Pro, but just briefly. According to Apple, the “iPad Pro has two great cameras equipped with Smart HDR. A 12MP camera for stunning photos, 4K video, document scanning, and AR experiences. And a TrueDepth camera perfect for Portrait selfies, FaceTime, Animoji, and Memoji.

My guess is that you want more than that. I think you just want to know if you can use your iPad to take great pictures. The answer is yes. Yes, you can take great shots with your iPad. In fact, you can take incredible pictures with your iPad.

In order to determine the intended use for the camera on the iPad, Let’s first take a look at a couple of major benefits that the iPad offers that you don’t find on the iPhone.

The Size of the Display

This is obvious, but it’s almost easy to miss this one. The sheer size of the display itself offers a lot of insight into how the camera was intended to be used and who might take advantage of such a large display.

With such a large viewfinder, one can more easily compose a photo because it is easier to see, and if you have difficulty seeing, a large display makes it so much to compose a picture.

The elderly, and those who have a difficult time seeing, for example, greatly appreciate such a large display to capture pictures. Not only does it make it easy, but it makes them feel welcome to experience the joy of photography. It’s Almost as if Apple intentionally made it a point to ensure that this segment of the population was not neglected, by offering a camera on the iPad, which brings me to my next point.

The FaceTime Experience

Another tremendous benefit of such a large display is found in using the iPad to FaceTime friends and family. There’s just something about being able to communicate with a loved one on such a large display. It really is the next best thing to being with your friend or family member.

For example, when using FaceTime to call my parents, who currently live over 1,200 miles away, I intentionally use my iPad Pro. I can more easily see the meaning behind the words they are saying.

The quality of the camera in conjunction with the screen resolution make for an incredible experience when speaking with loved ones across town, or on the other side of the world. Need to FaceTime Grandma? The iPad is the one to use. With the iPad, you can see Grandma in all of her glory, her joy, her sadness . . . where memories are made . . . and remembered.

The Camera on the iPhone 11 Pro was Designed for . . .

Frankly, it was designed for teenagers who live to take selfies.

It was designed for Mom who loves to take pictures of her kids while at the park.

It was designed for nature lovers who are really into macro photography, you know, those who like to take really close-up shots of flowers like this one taken in my back yard.

According to Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, [the iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Max] “. . . are packed with sophisticated technology that pros can count on to get their work done, and for anyone who wants the very best device made, even if they are not a pro.”

The iPhone 11 Pro Max has three lenses, and each lens captures your picture, blending all three images into one beautiful picture, all in an instant. The three images below show the specifications for each of the three cameras that make up this beauty, and where they are located on the phone.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max was designed to deliver stunning National Geographic-like photos by people of all ages, and it has succeeded in doing just that.

Recording Video on the iPhone 11 Pro is Second to None

As of this writing, there is no better camera on a phone that can record video as well as one can on the iPhone Pro Max. Of course, that will change in months, or even weeks. But right now, the iPhone is King when it comes to recording video.

As an example, take a look at the 4K video movie clip that was recorded on an iPhone 11 Pro below. This could not be done on the iPad Pro.

What the iPhone can do in low light is simply stunning. How does it compare with the iPad? It doesn’t. The iPhone 11 Pro Max was designed to far exceed the abilities of the iPad Pro on every front, and it does soundly. But remember, both the iPad and the iPhone serve different purposes.

The iPhone is by far more portable, easy to pull out of your pocket and instantly take pictures. It can’t, however, offer the large display that the iPad does. It was designed for a different purpose, and that’s the point here.

When to Use the iPad to Take Pictures

I have heard it asked, “Under what circumstances might I use the camera on the iPad over the camera on my iPhone?” The answer is simple. If you find that it is more convenient to use your iPad to take a picture, then use the camera on the iPad. If not, then don’t.

Which Camera is Better?

I wouldn’t recommend using your iPad to record your favorite band at a rock concert. I don’t think you’d make too many friends if you did. But out of convenience, you may find that using your iPad to take a photo of your kids building a sandcastle at the beach as you sit reclining reading a e-book is the perfect opportunity to snap a photo with your iPad.

Are the camera specs on the iPhone Pro Max better than that on the iPad Pro? Without question. However, that does not mean that the camera on the iPad is not a great camera to use. It has been said that the best camera is the one that is in your hand. You never want to miss an opportunity to take that perfect shot.

The movie producer is going to want to use an iPhone Pro Max to take Cinematic photos or video. However, the camera on the iPad might be better utilized when scanning documents. Again, who is using the camera and what are they going to use the camera for? The bottom line is that both the iPad and iPhone serve different purposes, but both cameras offer stellar images for their intended purpose.


Jack has been helping people with computers needs for several years, and he loves to help people succeed. He brings a wealth of wisdom and insight from an entrepreneur's perspective and enjoys freelance writing. In fact, when he's not writing an article or working on his YouTube channel, you might find him binge-watching Suits or formatting his computer . . . again, just for fun. To learn more about Jack, click here.
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