It seems like every new smartphone feature comes with a gimmicky marketing name. And Apple isn’t above this trend. Deep Fusion is the name for a new photo processing technique that will only be available in the new iPhone 11 lineup. The feature is out now in the iOS 13.2 public beta.
But is Deep Fusion the groundbreaking feature Apple holds it out to be, or is it just a fancy named feature you will never notice?
The short answer is, yes. Deep Fusion could be the most significant leap forward to computational photography yet. And there is also a chance you will never notice it.
On stage during Apple’s iPhone 11 event, Phil Schiller described Deep Fusion as “computational photography mad science.” To keep things understandable, Deep Fusion is Smart HDR on steroids designed primarily to reduce image noise in the photos you take.
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The feature will kick in when shooting pictures in medium to low light. Smart HDR does a good job keeping photos sharp in bright daylight. However, the iPhone has always struggled to maintain detail in less than ideal conditions.
The new Night Mode feature handles scenes with nearly no light, while Deep Fusion will manage medium-light scenarios, like photos shot indoors. One reason Deep Fusion could be a blockbuster feature is most iPhone users take pictures in these situations.
How does Deep Fusion work?
Diving into the “mad science,” when Deep Fusion is active, the iPhone is continuously capturing multiple images. Smart HDR does something similar, but only combines three photos at different exposures. Deep Fusion takes things up a notch and combines nine photos, including a long exposure.
The Deep Fusion mad science divides the reference image into multiple regions and identifies different aspects of the image like the sky, water, hair, walls, textures and other details. The feature then fuses the images applying fine detail to some regions and better tone and color to other areas. The result is a photo optimized to look great in every region.
Is there a Deep Fusion indicator on iPhone 11?
Even with all the hype, Deep Fusion could fly under the radar with many iPhone users. Unlike other camera features, there is no indication Deep Fusion is active. However, this is what I appreciate most about Deep Fusion. A majority of iPhone users don’t have the skills or time to hop into Photoshop and edit an image to perfection.
Protip: Deep Fusion will only work if you disable the ‘Capture outside of frame’ feature in the Settings.
Apple has created this incredibly complex image processing that allows iPhone 11 users to capture an image that looks comparable to a photo edited by a professional photographer. Not to mention, it takes only seconds, while it may take a professional over an hour to shoot the photo, open it in Photoshop, make the edits and finally export.
Deep Fusion gives the everyday iPhone user the ability to capture professional-looking photos right out of the box. I think it may be the blockbuster feature that will convince many users to upgrade to the iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro.
Have you had a chance to test out Deep Fusion? Let us know what you think in the comments below.