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Thursday, 15 October 2015


No, you have to forget things as you get older to make room for all the new stuff!

The point of reviewing the camera is to find out if there is enough dynamic range and good-contrast detail to be worth upgrading from the previous version. Since iphones are a ubiquitous necessity for certain people - like those internal combustion auto-mobiles were for your generation - the question is not if to trade in, but when.

The more significant thing is that these are the devices that will record the childhood of most kids born in the last five years. We should be cheering this cameramaker on, they are doing a good service, putting a camera better than 95% of all film era cameras, in the hands of young parents and grandparents every day without fail.

Cameras people take care of, that people charge the daily, and that have (potentially) unlimited remote, secure, storage space.*

It's an enormous achievement.

*and a fixed 35mm-e prime sometimes with image stabilization, a favorite spec for that Johnston fella.

From the Apple material, the new displays provide a greater colour gamut than Ctein's version. Apple says:

"Many cameras, including DSLRs and professional video cameras, can capture a far wider range of colour than the typical sRGB colour gamut. And with a new P3-based wider gamut, the iMac Retina display is able to bring more of those real-world colours to the screen. So go back and reprocess those RAW images you’ve saved — and reveal colour you haven’t seen in them before."

I also pick smartphones based upon what they do as smartphones, and having very extensive experience with both Android and iOS, the obvious choice for me personally (it is of course a personal choice because neither is better in an absolute sense) is Android.

The fact that there are so many different Android phones with top-rated cameras (for phone cameras) is an added plus. I can't help but to keep the camera performance in mind when choosing a new phone.

One reason to be aware of the phone cameras is the quality is creeping up. I find mine takes suitably good pictures in 'good' light. The definition of good is getting broader with time. Certainly they capture enough (too many?) pixels for their intended use. I expect before long we'll start seeing cameras in phones that aren't stuck with 24mm equivalent lenses and start seeing longer effective focal length. And flash that can illuminate more than one's meal. The future of mass use photography is in consumers' pockets. I'm fairly confident Apple will lead the way with multi lensed computational photography, as they're the only manufacturer that seems to be putting genuine effort into improving the cameras in phones, everyone else seems to be quarter-assing it.


"Did you know that a company is properly referred to as "it" in standard copyediting?"

Americans are inconsistent. We use the plural pronoun but the singular verb: "Apple *is* the largest company . . . *They have* increased in value . . . ." Nonsensical.

The British are consistent; they use the plural pronoun ("collective noun") and plural verb: "Apple *are* the largest company . . . *They have* increased in value . . . ."

The Americans are wrong in one and the British are wrong in both. Correct usage: "Apple *is* the largest company . . . *It has* increased in value . . . ."

The UK's Financial Times, however, is careful always to get this right. Recent examples: "Apple *is* searching for a place to test . . . ." "But *it* is thought to have plans . . . ."

The better-edited publications in America get this right too. A company is singular because it is a single company. It doesn't matter that it is made up of multiple people and other things. One pizza is singular, even though it may be divided up into multiple slices. That does not make the pizza a "they."

Do people really pay any attention to DxO? No-one I know does.

My film and digital cameras are going, going ... soon to be gone.

I'm keeping an iPhone 4s, a couple of GoPros and the 4x5 monorail. I'll be making some animated GIFs, a few short videos (90-120 sec) and the occasional still life (with the 4x5).

Why Camera Phone reviews ... might as well, can't dance (1950s). Others prefer the smartphone over a camera ... different strokes for different folks (1960s). 8-)

...a company is properly referred to as "it" in standard copyediting? "They" is demotic and improper in written English, despite its widespread use.

The reason I find that widespread misuse so annoying is that is reinforces an utterly incorrect perception which damages everyone but the oligarchs.

Corporations are not people. They are legal constructs, nothing more, notwithstanding misguided United States Supreme Court decisions to the contrary. Referring to a company as "they" connotes "peoplehood." Many who do so are writing about the people employed by and/or controlling the company. That humanizes the corporate entity, and it's wrong.

In order to counter continuous erosion of individual human rights, I suggest everyone begin calling a corporation they're writing about "it." That makes clear why oligarchs ought not derive undeserved rights/privileges/benefits from their simple liability-shielding incorporations.

[That's the political perspective, but another mis-perception worth mentioning is that "they" and "them" implies a monolithic group with the same goals, outlooks, ideals and ideas. Which, as anyone who has worked for even a small corporation knows, is an illusion. Actually corporations are often composed of individuals and groups fighting tooth and nail with each other to get their ways.

I think I detailed on the site a while back a situation in which a camera company actually used a competing company's video technology rather than its own video division's tech, because it didn't want a different division within the company to be sharing the credit for its product.

Saying "they" and "them" about a camera company creates an illusion of a harmonious group speaking all with one voice, as if "they" are all on the same page with each other. Not always the case. In fact not often the case! --Mike]

The right-tool-for-the-job dept.: My wife is a painter, but takes reference and scouting shots with a digital camera. She has a Canon Powershot Pro 1, a camera that came out in (and was purchased by us) in 2004! At the time, it was a whopping One Grand! But, it has 8 (count'm 8) megapixels and a Canon "L" lens! Not too shabby.

As small as the camera is, she has long wanted something smaller. She has experimented with some P&S, but they did not give her the quality of the old Canon. She likes my Lumix, but still wants smaller.

After doing her research and due diligence, she settled on an iPhone 6. She carries a phone anyway, so it's one less device and does what she needs it to in a camera.

Would I want to be limited to a phone camera - any phone camera? No. But that's just me ...

I don't see why people wouldn't buy one of these to use as a camera but then use the phone that comes with it, just because it comes with a phone built in. Phone photography is now pretty much a thing in its own right with its own fashions and quirks.
I still use a non-smart phone myself.

And for short they call it the Roid. Which for me does not create a positive association.

I'm not sure I 'get' the DxO phone rankings either
I'm guessing that they use a different scale for phones which sort of defeats the purpose of camparing their progress against dedicated cameras.
Having owned the iPhone 6 + and Now the 6s+ I can attest to the fact that under the right conditions they can be amazingly good, and extreemely useful.
My dedicated cameras of choice since 2007 have been Canon 1Ds III's.
State of the Art in 07, now technically surpassed by many other cameras. I haven't changed cameras because I like the results I get, and Canon hasn't offered a 1 series of higher resolution (although the 5Dsr looks very nice)
Interestingly, my camera scored an 80 on the Dxo Benchmark Two points lower than the phone.
That's not what my eyes see, so I assume that Dxo mobile uses a different arbitrary scale, which means you can only use it to compare phone to phone?

@"Did you know that a company is properly referred to as "it" in standard copyediting?"

While this is certainly true in American English, I have a notion it's not necessarily true in that strange variant of English that the English speak. I can't swear to it, but I believe the plural "they" might be the proper pronoun for a company when speaking/writing British English. Someone will know the answer ...

[And yet the British often use the singular when talking about companies or teams, whereas we use plural. --Mike]

The times they are a-changin'! As usual we have a generation gap.

In this election cycle we are seeing something new. In the past, spending a lot money on advertising, would raise your position in the polls. So far, the only pol doing any advertising (Jeb!) is dropping vs his opponents who aren't advertising. The reason is social media, something that didn't exist just a few years go.

Many, though not all. old folks are sorta stuck in the past—not necessarily a bad thing, but a thing none the less. Their slang, the music they listen to, etc is out of date. My parents didn't like rock 'n' roll, but that didn't cause music to die.

"Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin' ..."

Our sons & daughters don't drive sportscars, they don't buy cameras (but the kids love making photos). And they post these photos on social media with their phones 8-)

Dear Mike,

Oh just for the sake of pedantry, because why not...

The singular "they" is not yet (again) a part of SWE (standard written English), but it was a century or so. It'll come back around, I suspect-- too useful a nongendered pronoun.

In any case SWE is not the only written English, not even the only "proper" written English.

I use the singular-they freely. Probably to some of my editors' distress, but then that's part of an author's job.

OK, that's not honest. It is not a requirement that authors vex editors.

More of a fringe benefit.

pax / Ctein

The distinction is legal. A company was original a company of persons engaged together in a joint venture (e.g. the South Sea Company); hence, referred to as "they". But in most legal jurisdictions today, certain forms of companies are treated at law as if they were persons (that is, they are legal persons in contradistinction to a natural persons); hence, and being without gender, those companies are referred to as "it". Companies that are not legal persons (e.g. in Australia, an unincorporated association or a firm that is comprised as a partnership) should properly still be referred to as "they" - because that is who they are.

The British usage of "they" rather than "it", when speaking of companies comes from Victorian times, when many large firms were partnerships, and not publicly held joint-stock corporations.

And usually, the name of the firm consisted of the names of the principal partners followed by an "and company" or "& Co." or perhaps an "& sons" or a "brothers", to denote additional members in the group.

In America, we had Lehman Brothers, and Salomon Brothers, and Goldman Sach & Company, all partnerships when they first succeeded. But American 19th century large scale capitalism relied heavily on public equity capital subscriptions, and partnerships were rarer than across the pond.

Nowadays, partnerships are rare in the world of large business firms anywhere. But the usage persists in Britain.

*Did you know that a company is properly referred to as "it"...

Yes, I've long known and quietly fumed about this. Companies are entities and singular. They are not people. "Apple, who...", "IBM, who..." are wrong. "Apple, which..." is correct.

My rule is also that only people can be called who or whom. To say, "The dog who bit the ..." is wrong. The dog which, the horse which, etc.

Signed, Pedantic Pete

Being British I used to use "they" for companies but I now work for an American outfit and it insists I use "it" in my writing.

Just checked and (probably) the best newspaper in the world (The Economist) uses "it". It is renowned for its high quality of writing and editing.

Singular and plural: to get the maximum expressive juice out of this, and to confound the literalists, I prefer to be quite fickle - relying on whether, in that moment, I am considering Apple more as a thing, or as a bunch of people.

This has come up before - relating to all kinds of group entities and assemblages... and of course a lot of it is mere local custom, with scant actual logic involved.

Yet I especially enjoyed the gymnastics implicit in (IIRC) Fowler's suggestion to the effect that we might say "the management board IS divided over issue A", yet say that "the management board ARE unified on issue B" (grin).

FWIW, the biggest problem with the iPhone as a camera has nothing to do with the lens, the sensor sensitivity, the dynamic range, the resolution or any of the other flaws that are commonly pointed to. To me the biggest problem is the shutter release. You have two options:

1. Using the on-screen shutter release. I don't think I have ever managed to take a picture the first time I tried to tap the on-screen shutter release. Usually I try to hit it while staring at the subject on the screen to hold my framing. After a few stabs, I look over to find my finger is missing the virtual button, and manage to move my finger over and successfully take a picture...though by then I have ruined my framing because my arms -- nicely extended so I can see the screen -- are unstable and moved while I was trying to find the shutter release. When I use the on-screen shutter release, I now resort to furiously tapping all over the place with my finger, hoping that at least one of those taps will hit the button. In practice, this usually results in either zero pictures (because the touch screen isn't registering my finger taps) or 10 pictures with poor framing and camera shake.

2. Use the volume buttons on the side as a shutter release. This is a great improvement, but the buttons are still small, fiddly, and too hard to push, which then throws off my framing or again results in camera shake.

In my opinion, phones need a dedicated shutter release button that is fairly large, fairly "soft" (i.e., not "clicky") and very responsive. I can deal with the substandard (compared to dedicated cameras) image quality, but I can't stand not being able to take a picture of what I want, when I want to.

Best regards,

Proper British usage is a bit more flexible than that. When discussing a collective entity, you can use the singular or the plural depending on whether you want to stress the unity or the plurality of what's going on. "The committee has decided" but "the committee have been arguing among themselves for ages". Sports teams are typically plural: "Liverpool have set up a wonderful attacking move", etc.

And re Ctein's point, the singular (and gender-neutral) they is now very acceptable in the UK, but I often get pushback from American editors.

Sony has started to put their compact camera sensors into their Android phones.

For example the new Sony Xperia Z5 compact is a iphone-sized phone that is also a very good compact camera:


I recently acquired an iPhone 6s. While I did not buy it primarily for the camera, I was interested in the camera's performance, which had been reported as significantly improved over the iPhone 6 "non-S".

I can't really speak to how much improved, as I've not used a 6, but I am impressed with the camera in the 6s as a smartphone camera. I'm not enamoured with the native camera app, so I've installed Camera+, which has better tools for exposure and other controls.

I totally agree that the iPhone is awkward to use as a camera. One of the "features" of the iPhone 6/6s is that it is thinner and lighter. For me this makes it harder to use as a camera. My old Blackberry was actually easier to use because it was chunkier and had more heft. YMMV.

For serious work I am one of those who needs a "real" viewfinder to compose and even shoot. But the iPhone 6s is convenient and the quality is good enough for convenience, record shots and having fun.

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