Deep Fusion is now available - but only for developers in the iOS 13 beta. Here's what you need to know about Apple's latest camera feature.
What is Deep Fusion?
Deep Fusion is essentially Apple's version of neural image processing.
It's not yet available for everyday iPhone 11 users to try themselves. Apple says it will follow in an over-the-air software update, but it's probably already the iPhone 11's most interesting feature.
How does Deep Fusion work?
Deep Fusion uses the iPhone 11's A13 Bionic processor and neural engine for its machine learning prowess. The phone camera takes nine shots (two groups of four, prior to pressing the shutter) and one longer exposure (at the point of press, at various shutter settings). It then automatically looks through these shots and selects the best combinations and composites them for the sake of sharpness.
This is also a clever way to help negate image noise - that multi-coloured dotting that can appear in images. As noise won't appear identically in each frame, the system will be able to select the least noise-ridden parts into the image for a cleaner, sharper result. Apple is looking to use processing, rather than cramming pixels onto a sensor, to produce its best results.
Deep Fusion is not visible; there’s no indicator in the camera app, photo roll, or even in the EXIF data. The iPhone 11's standard wide-angle lens (which has Apple’s enhanced Smart HDR for bright to medium-light scenes and Night mode for dark scenes) uses Deep Fusion in the background for medium to low-light scenes. The tele lens uses it, too, but the ultrawide lens does not support it.
And it all takes about a second longer than, say, an Smart HDR image, which means the feature won't work in burst mode.
As for how well it works in the real world, we'll have to wait and see.
Deep Fusion examples
Apple senior VP Phil Schiller described Deep Fusion as “computational photography mad science” when he introduced the feature for indoor and medium-lighting situations. Here’s a sample shot shared by the company:
Here’s another Deep Fusion image from Apple:
Which devices have Deep Fusion?
Deep Fusion will be exclusive to the iPhone 11, Phone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Max, as it requires their cameras and A13 Bionic processor.
When will Deep Fusion be available?
Apple’s Deep Fusion photography system has arrived in the latest developer beta of iOS 13 and in the latest public beta of iOS 13. If you’re enrolled, it should be available now for the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro. Bookmark this page and we'll let you know when Deep Fusion becomes generally available for all users.