Apple IPhone 8 Plus Review: Video Recording

By 11:30 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments

4K video recording at 60fps

Apple iPhone 8 Plus brings recent video recording modes, all of them - optically stabilized as usual. There are now 4K at 60fps and 1080p at 240fps. Those are available exclusively when the capturing camera is set to store pictures and videos on the recent high-efficiency format (H.265 HEVC). The regular 4K at 30 fps, 1080p at 30, and 1080p at 60fps are available for both H.264 and HEVC. And now there is a recent film mode as well - 4K at 24fps.

All of these modes are accessible for the telephoto camera, and you acquire a zoomed view, naturally. The telephoto capturing camera lacks optical image stabilization but Apple still includes software-based stabilization and it does a remarkably fine job of stabilizing the telephoto videos.

The camcorder UI is as simple as it can get, offering nothing but the flash setting. You can find the resolution and file format switch in the Settings menu instead of having a shortslit in the viewfinder, which is as annoying as it has ever been.

The video options along with the other capturing camera related settings are all buried far away in the iOS Settings menu.

The H.264 4K videos carry a bitrate of around 46Mbps, but audio is recorded in mono at 96Kbps in AAC format. Yes, Apple may be pioneering the 4K video with 60fps but it's still stuck in mono audio capturing for a decade. Let that sink in. If that's not lazy, we don't know what is. Apple should really have a see at what LG and Nokia are doing in this field.

The 1080p videos at 30fps have a bitrate of 16 Mbps, keeping the same audio, while the 60fps ones came out with 23Mbps bitrate.

The H.265 4K videos at 60fps carry a bitrate of 54Mbps, while the audio is still mono. The 4K at 30fps clips are captured at 24Mbps - half the H.264 ones. The 1080p 30 and 60fps bitrate are also halved at 8.5 and 12.5 Mbps respectively.

The 4K videos captured at 30fps are virtually identical albeit the bitrate difference. The quality is very close to the still images - plenty of detail but just average foliage presentation. Oddly - we noticed some corner softness. The colors are great, and so is the contrast and white balance. There are no focus problems or compression artefacts. And once again - the dynamic range is nothing short of impressive.

The corner softness is gone in the 1080p, whether those are 30 of 60 fps. Once again, the H.264 and the HEVC videos turned out the same in spite of the bitrate difference. Zooming in to 200% even revealed some advantage in favor of the HEVC clips, which seems impossible.

Anyway, the 1080p videos captured by the iPhone 8 Plus are one of the best, as usual, with lots of detail, smooth frame rate, and fantastic dynamic range. The foliage looks somewhat better here.

The 4K videos recorded at 60fps are surely the highlight of the iPhone 8 Plus. The frame rate is steady, and no compression traces are noticeable. The samples benefit from everything so far - lots of detail, accurate focus and white balance, lively colors, superb dynamic range. A side-by-side comparison with the 30fps one revealed a slightly softer background and corners, but you can't really see it until you compare such samples. And we have to say we've seen far worse 4K@30fps videos from self-proclaimed flagship smartphones than the 60fps videos taken with the iPhone 8 Plus.

The telephoto capturing camera offers the same video capturing abilities - all the way up to 4K at 60fps. In fine light, the it matches the main one in video quality. Detail levels are high, sharpening is balanced, and dynamic range is almost as wide as on the main camera, which is impressive considering the smaller sensor size.

When the light is low, the iPhone 8 Plus will, once again, utilize a digitally-zoomed wide-angle camera, instead of the telephoto one.

The Apple iPhone 8 Plus is ready to meet the competition in our Video Compare Tool.

Apple iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone 7 Plus vs. Galaxy Note8 in our 4K video compare tool

Telephoto: Apple iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone 7 Plus vs. Galaxy Note8 in our 4K video compare tool

You can directly download the wide-angle 4K@60fps (HEVC) (66MB, 10s), 4K@60fps telephoto (HEVC) (68.5MB, 10s), 4K@30fps (HEVC) (32MB, 10s), 4K@30fps (H.264) (57MB, 10s), and 1080p@30fps (H.264) (19MB, 10s) video samples.



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