The Portrait Mode simulates the effect of a blurry background of lenses with large Aperture. The chip on a smartphone is tiny and this makes the image sharp from Paris to Moscow. Apple tries to create the effect with software. I made some examples with the beta on the iPhone 7 Plus.

The Portrait Mode

The iPhone 7 plus comes with two cameras and using both cameras for the same time, Apple create an image map for masking the object in the foreground. They called it Portrait Mode, because the effect is very common in portrait photography, because the look of the photos is much better if the person is separated from the background. But you are not limited to use this mode on people. The fake Bokeh does work on things as well.

As you can see, the object is very well detected and masked. Sometimes you will notice that some details like hair is gone in the final image, but if you will not look at the photo without this fake bokeh, you will not recognize it.

Maple Detail with iPhone 7 plus fake bokeh

Separating objects with the technique is great. Your images will get a much better focus and the bokeh does work very well. I think loosing some details are worth the price.

Maple detail with fake bokeh of the iPhone 7 Plus

Course of sharpness

Even simple things will get interesting if you shoot them with the Portrait Mode. It is amazing how well this does work.

Maple detail with fake bokeh of the iPhone 7 Plus
I am surprised how this faucet is separated from the background and how good Apples software recognise the objects in the foreground. I think this photo is not very easy for this, because of the background with all the structures. But it works very well and the result is good. You can notice some "glow" around the faucet, but it is still ok. This 100% crop shows you how this detail looks like.

Faucet detail with fake bokeh of the iPhone 7 Plus

How does it work?

I have to say that i am very pleased about the results. This feature opens the door to another level of iPhone photography and the results are surprisingly well. It is not the same quality and you don't get the results of much faster lenses on DSLR or Medium Format Cameras, but it enhances the look of the iPhone photos. The iphone camera is very good and sharp. Faster lenses tend to be not super sharp at the largest aperture and you will notice this effect on the iPhone too. But a larger Aperture is much more welcome than a super sharp image (on 100% view on your monitor).