Photograph by Austin Mann
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Up close with a young blackback mountain gorilla, shot on iPhone 7 Plus in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Photograph by Austin Mann
AdventureGear Review

4 Features on iPhone 7 That Will Make Your Adventure Photos Pop

Travel photographer Austin Mann test-drives Apple’s upgrades with Rwanda’s endangered mountain gorillas.

With my brand-new iPhone 7 Plus in hand, we trekked up Mount Sabyinyo in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park for several hours. In the thick of the jungle, we listened to the garbled radio transmissions from gorilla trackers. Hacking our way through the bush was utterly exhausting, but there’s nothing like that moment when you first lay eyes on a silverback in the wild.

Photographing critically endangered mountain gorillas with the new iPhone 7 was an exhilarating and unforgettable experience. (Check out the full in-depth iPhone 7 camera review on my website, along with an exclusive behind-the-scenes video of our trekking adventure with the gorillas!)

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The mist is gone almost as fast as the sun appears over the tea fields. Panorama shot on iPhone 7 Plus in southwest Rwanda

Here are the four new features that it easier to capture crisp and stunning adventure images, with or without great apes.

Dual-lens with 2x optical zoom

The biggest upgrade this year is the dual lens found only in the iPhone 7 Plus. This sweet setup means the ability to shoot much better portraits, zoom in on wildlife (like gorillas), and perform significantly better in low light.

Most people tend to think about shooting landscapes as wide as possible, but I also like to play with shooting them with telephoto. Next time you are out in the field, try looking at the landscape through your 2x zoom. You might be surprised at much it can change the way you capture a scene.

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A visit to the Sabyingo gorilla family with the iPhone 7 Plus in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Water and dust resistance

Protection from the elements means the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are better suited to be our primary adventure cameras. A splash on a boat, unexpected rain on a motorcycle ride, or even a quick dip shouldn’t affect it, so no need to hold back! The iPhone 7 is well equipped for just about any adventure, though you should hold off diving with it just yet.

I love to set up time-lapses of clouds and storms. Often those clouds turn into rain, so I’m always setting up in a protected location with that in mind. Now you can set up time-lapses in the open and not worry about rain showers that may come. In fact, you may even wish for rain—it could make a great shot!

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Claude and his buddy take selfies together on Lake Kivu. Shot after sunset on iPhone 7 Plus at the Congo/Rwanda border

Longest battery life, ever

Apple claims this is the longest battery life ever provided in an iPhone, and after a week of testing, I believe it. The company achieved this through a combo of more efficient processing and extra battery capacity, which means you can venture out farther without worrying about the need for backup batteries and conserving power.

Actual results will vary on usage, but I’ve been shooting a ton of content all day every day here in Rwanda, and I have yet to see the camera die in the field. I did get all the way down to 1 percent, but it seemed to last forever!

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Early morning in the wheat fields at the foot of Mount Sabyinyo, one of the few habitats left for mountain gorillas. Shot on iPhone 7 Plus in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Brighter display

It can sometimes be challenging to see and frame your shot outdoors, especially in direct sunlight. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus is equipped with an all-new display (wide color gamut) that renders colors beautifully, and it’s also about 25 percent brighter than its predecessor. It will be easier to get a great shot, even outdoors in extremely bright conditions.