It’s taken me a while to test the night video capabilities, but it turned out that it was the iPhone 13 video stabilization performance that really impressed me!

A TV professional friend once said to me that the most common shot seen in any movie or TV show is one taken on a locked-off tripod …

Camera movements have their place, of course. Dolly movements – where the camera moves in toward something, or backs away from something – are Hollywood staples. Crane or drone shots are commonly used to create drama or visual variety. Walk-and-talks can be incredibly effective in dramas. Changing angles can be used to good effect to create a sense of unease or tension. Some of today’s videographers especially tend to use all kinds of funky camera movements.

But my friend is right – a static shot is still the most common one you’ll see in professional footage, and with good reason. A static shot lets you frame a video with the same care you’d take with a still photo, and generally you want all the attention to be on the actors and the action. And even if you want to pan or tilt, a tripod is the best way to get a smooth movement.

When I shoot video, I use tripods a lot. I do have a mini one I use with an iPhone holder if I know in advance that I’m going to want to shoot video. But of course, a huge part of the benefit of an iPhone is that it’s the camera you always have with you, so sometimes footage is spontaneous – and that’s when I often wish I had a tripod.

But what I discovered in this test is that the iPhone 13 video stabilization offers close to tripod-level stability when shooting handheld, as long as you exercise a little care in your stance.

Yes, there is some movement visible, but it’s very small indeed. So much so that although I tried adding post-stabilization in Final Cut Pro, the difference between that and straight-from-camera footage is absolutely miminal. In the sample video below, you can see the raw footage first, and the FCP stabilized version second.

For casual usage, the in-camera stabilization is nothing short of miraculous. Would I use it for anything more serious, like short films? I’d still prefer the 100% stability of a tripod for locked-off shots, but it’s honestly very close to the point at which I’d be willing to use it, and I might well do so for panning and tilting movements, which look almost as smooth as tripod-mounted shots.

The only area where it failed was walking shots – those were no better than I’ve seen from previous models, and I wouldn’t consider them usable, so I haven’t included any.

Cinematic Video got all the headlines – even though it very definitely isn’t yet ready for real-life use – but perhaps the stabilization feature should have been the one to get the attention. This really is ready for real-world use.

Check out the video below.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

Ben Lovejoy's favorite gear