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One thing that’s clear from early iPhone XS and XS Max reviews is that the cameras are exceptional. To the untrained eye, the key numbers look the same as the last few years: a 12MP wide-angle camera and a 12MP telephoto camera. But megapixels aren’t everything.

As explained by John Gruber in his detailed iPhones XS review, Apple has quietly enhanced its camera sensors by some way, allowing 50% more light in when shooting. Combined with a new ‘Smart HDR’ feature (powered by a staggeringly fast neural engine) it enables images that are noticeably clearer in poor and medium lighting conditions, even when put side-by-side with shots from last year’s iPhone X. It’s a stark improvement that’s difficult for Apple to convey in its marketing materials without getting overly technical, but will be good news for photography enthusiasts.

Writer and podcaster John Gruber as shot by the iPhone X (left) and iPhone XS (right)

To showcase these improvements, former White House photographer Pete Souza has been taking pictures with the new iPhone XS. They show off a range of subjects and locations, and some of the shots are absolutely stunning. The photos were taken exclusively for dailymail.co.uk, and the full range is well worth your time to check out.

Stunning detail on these cacti, as shot by Pete Souza with iPhone XS

What’s amazing is that the $250-cheaper iPhone XR includes the same improvements to the camera sensors and neural engine that make these shots possible. It lacks the secondary telephoto camera entirely, sure, but the wide-angle camera is identical to that of its more expensive brothers.

If you want to improve your own photos, with or without an iPhone XS, be sure to check out our friends at the iPhone Photography Academy for a bunch of free guides and a full-fledged photography course.