iPhone Digital Zoom Limitations & Solutions

How do you compensate for the loss of image quality when shooting with your iPhone's digital zoom?

iPhone Digital Zoom Limitations & Solutions

Above is the edited version of a picture.

Below is the original. As you can see, it has noise, debris, and lacks clarity.

Steps

  1. Topaz Labs DeNoise AI: Used this to, as the name suggests, remove excess noise from the image. It also recovered some of the detail, but not enough to turn it into a quality photo. The challenge is that the AI doesn't know what it's looking at. It just works based on patterns from the training data it's been fed. Perhaps in the future, the AI will know that the object is a turtle and be able to add the appropriate detail.
  2. TouchRetouch: Since the photo couldn't get by on its merits as a nature shot, I decided to go for an artistic look by removing all debris and visual clutter.
  3. PhotoLemur: Tried this to add more color and light. Worked nicely.
  4. Photos for macOS: Used the Dramatic Cool filter. I should really have gone through Polarr's range of filters, probably would have found something better, but was tired and just wanted to finish off the work. Also used its denoise function, but it didn't seem to add much.

Issues

I'm not happy with the banding occurring in the water. This is a problem I also get in skies sometimes. Fixing it is beyond my current skill set, so it's on my list of things to learn. Sometimes filters by Polarr can compensate and make banding all but invisible. However, since the filters which can do this are limited, you're better off fixing the banding first before choosing a filter.

Artistic Versions

Made the following using filters in BeFunky:

Second Example

But wait, there's more! Similar situation. Used the same steps as above.

Here's the unedited original:

I couldn't get the edited version to have sufficient detail, so attempted to go the artistic route: