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Thursday, 08 September 2016


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More accurately, this is the first time an Apple smartphone has had three camera modules.

Fujifilm and Lomo make Instax cameras. Instax was Fujifilm's best seller last year or so I've read. If you like multiple lenses you should check out the Light L16.

It does more than those two things. I believe (though I'm not sure if it's true) that if you zoom between 28 & 56, it's not just an enlargement from 28, but a computed interpolation from the two, and there will be a feature enabled with a software update to offer you simulated shallow DOF by looking at images taken with two lenses and computing depths of objects in the frame. Pretty neat stuff. I wouldn't run out and upgrade my phone for it (never mind that the "plus" is a bigger phone than I want to carry) and I wouldn't consider replacing a camera with it, but if my phone had these features, I could see making use of them.
Of bigger significance, though, is the elimination of the headphone jack.

"…I don't exactly have my thumb on the pulse of pop culture."

Nor should you — it's essential to use your fingers. The thumb often carries a detectable pulse itself, resulting in confusion as to whether you're registering your own pulse or that of your subject. (A similar confusion may be be present when people claim to be 'taking the pulse' of cultural trends.)

Ah. "One more thing..." I see what you did there.

Seriously, though, my 6S+ has become my lunchtime-walkabout point and shoot, producing reliably usable images in good lighting. The dual camera capability will make the 7S just that much handier.

When I saw the iPhone 7+ being rolled out yesterday I thought that Nikon should be getting worried about now. Not that I feel the urge to replace my iPhone 4 (!) but rather thinking about the demographic that buys Nikon entry level DSLRs. My daughter and her family have a Nikon D7100, a Sony R100iii and her iPhone 6. She is quite expert in Photoshop, and visually sophisticated, but the camera that gets by far the most use to take pictures of her soon-to-be-one year old son and family, is the iPhone 6. The 7+ would be a great upgrade. The Nikon and Sony sit unloved. (By the way, as the family lives within driving distance of Carmel, in California, I suggested a year ago that an appropriate name for the new arrival would be Ansel or even Weston, but sadly, this was rejected out of hand!)

Interestingly, most of the printed pictures that are on display at their work places and in the home were taken by me when visiting. And these are mostly my B&W prints – some even taken on film. So there seems ample room for both technologies for a while yet. (And I'll need to check out the Fuji Instax Monochrome soon! I've looked at the Instax cameras but couldn't find an excuse to buy one up till now.)

Pocket Lint reports iPhone 7 Plus' camera lenses are 23 mm f/1.8 at wide angle and 56 mm f/2.8 at telephoto.


[I think that's a typo on their part. Apple doesn't list the lens focal lengths in its official specs, but the Apple guy at the official presentation stated 28mm. You can see it here: http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/7/12828714/apple-iphone-7-isght-duo-camera-plus-announced


I'm happy about the new Instax black and white film. I'm sure I'll be using it, especially after my small stash of Fuji's 3000 speed "pull-apart" black and white film is all gone.

I have several Instax cameras made by Fuji and Lomo. They come in two sizes, Instax Wide, which is about the size of the old Polaroid SX-70 film, but in a wide format, and Instax Mini which is about the size of a wallet photo.

One thing that all the cameras for these films have in common is that they suck. Fuji automates everything. On the cameras I have there isn't even a way to turn off the flash. I use black gaffer's tape to solve that problem, but it confuses the meter so lots of fudging and trial and error is required.

The Lomo camera, if anything, is worse. There seem to be more controls, but for some reason (Hipster cool?) Lomo decided to make up their own unique names for every control on the camera. And then they marked those controls with only the first letter of their new, made up, name. I can never figure out the controls without looking stuff up.

I shoot the old Fuji 3000 film with my Speed Graphic so I have full control. I don't understand what the problem is with putting aperture and shutter speed control on one of these instant cameras. If some company can do it at a reasonable cost I'll be buying one. Or maybe someone will make a back that I can use on the Speed Graphic...yea, sure.

You were mentioned today in theverge.com. A reference to iPhone and bokeh.



As an interesting side note, the iPhone software/firmware continues to grow in sophistication. Fabio Riccardi is working at Apple (since LightCrafts) and is involved in camera algorithms. As the architect of my favorite photo processing software, I find that reassuring...


FWIW, I also own one of the Fuji Instax cameras. My wife asked for it for Christmas, so despite my severe misgivings, I bought it for her. As with so many things in life, she was right. The camera is actually a lot of fun, and there is something to be said for a camera that my 8 year olds can operate and that delivers an actual physical picture instantly. We have Instax pictures lying around on our coffee table, on the doors of our kitchen cabinets, in my kids' rooms, etc. Whereas most of the pictures taken with my "real" cameras are...on a hard drive, in my desktop computer (which we hardly use in this age of ipads) in my office.

I don't care about the lack of sharpness in the pictures, but I do wish the flash did a better job of throttling down when taking pictures close up. And the viewfinder is very hard to use, too.


Wait. Black and white is back? In a new instant film? And the new iPhone is a TLR (sort of)? And so is the Huawei P9 (sort of)? Did a bunch of April Fools press releases get lost and recently turn up? Is it the end of the world?

I may need to put off reading TOP until after my first cup of coffee, for the sake of maintaining my delusions of sanity.

Another significant product introduction is also occuring today: the Fujifilm X-T2 is shipping worldwide. Amazon had some in stock which sold out immediately, and now shows a 1-2 month order fulfillment time. Mine will arrive Tuesday in California from B&H.

It's not much of a stretch to hypothesize the X-T2 will be a grand-slam home-run for Fujifilm.

I can't speak to the Fuji Instax cameras, other than they have been a massive hit in SE Asia (along with the X-A series of cameras). This film will also be available for the small SP-series of Fuji Instax printers as well, which is way cool. These little printers let you print direct from the camera via WiFi. I carry one in my Think Tank Retro 5 bag. Giving prints instantly to your subjects when out doing street photography is a wonderful ice-breaker.

Apparently there is a Instax wireless printer for use with digital cameras.


When I hang out at my local camera store, I'm always impressed by the number of very young people and families who come in to buy Instax film. I didn't even know it was a popular thing, but that would explain why the 20-shot film pack of Instax was the best selling photography thing on Amazon last Christmas.

iPhone 7+ strikes me as a potentially brilliant camera with a phone attached. The phone part is unimpressive, no significant upgrade from current iPhones. Interesting...a deliberate step along the product roadmap, or have they hit a development air pocket outside of photography?

My way around the kludgy fuji and lomo cameras was to get the fuji instax printer, and print to it wirelessly from an iphone or fuji camera. Works well, can edit photos first, and less wasted film (which is a good thing at over 50 cents a print).

I've had my eye on Instax and the small printer market for a while now. The new B&W film is for business card size prints. In addition to being built in to several cameras, you can buy a standalone printer for this size film. The printer works with smartphones and many Fuji cameras.

Sadly, there is no standalone printer for the Instax wide film. Also no Black and White Instax wide film has been announced yet. Clicking around on instax.com will give a lot more information.

The instax cameras are great fun and I've been wishing Fuji would release a B&W film for years. Finally!!

Having said that, shooting with them, it's hard to suppress the feeling you are just burning through money. That's why mine have been shelved for a while.

My 18 year old daughter and her boyfriend use Instax cameras now and again. But the main camera that she chose for herself (rather to my amazement) is a Nikon D3300, and she is teaching herself to use Lightroom, and has done some excellent work in black & white.

Like everyone her age (and like me), she takes lots of pictures with her iPhone, but unlike many, came to realize its limitations. (Not great for wildlife photography, for instance.)

Maybe I've just gotten too old for the new stuff, but I hate iPhone photos. I hate looking at them on the phone, because they're too small, they never are quite what I was seeing, etc. I think their ultimate use is the selfie, and I'm old enough that I don't much enjoy looking at pictures of myself anymore (I still imagine I look like I did when I was 34.) I hate them like I really kind of hated the Instamatic, not because I thought they were useless, but because the results offended my aesthetic sense. They're half-assed photos. I do use them for making notes (like price tags.)

In other news, I don't think there's an automatic switch between B&W and color. Some of my favorite photos tend toward the monochrome, but color monochrome, like those yellowish-reddish desert landscape you sometimes see, or photos of the High Plains, which are often almost, but not quite, B&W. B&W also has its own stance as an alternative to color, of course, but it has another stance at the end of the monochromatic spectrum. If you see what I mean.

I was going to make a wisecrack about the "thumb on the pulse" line, but I see somebody beat me to it. But you oughta be able to use your thumb for something metaphorical.

Was Kodak 10 years ahead of the curve?


I noticed all the fanfare of the Instax Black & White release and wondered what the hub-bub was all about... if I want small-ish black and white prints, and not have to invest in another camera to do so, I could just pick a handful of my shots and send them to parabo press and have them print them in a square-format, on decent paper and call it good. No muss, no fuss...

Or, print them myself in my own home...

But then again, my wife has mentioned that I seem to becoming a bit of a curmudgeon in my middle age...

Oh, and by the way, one more thing... Ha Ha! Good one Mike!

@Peter Wright here's a good review of the MiNT InstantFlex TL70 2.0 http://www.japancamerahunter.com/2016/07/mint-instantflex-tl70-2-0/

If I was still working, and someone wanted me to shoot a campaign aimed at tween and teen girls I'd shoot it with an Inastax Mini. Either that, on an iPhone using some trendy app. Many kids don't know the meaning of stilted, but hey know it when they see it.

I'm a 16 y.o trapped in a body that's ¾ of a century old. So I tend to keep up-to-date on all the latest in new and new/old tech. Due to my age small/light is what I need—there is an iPhone 7+ in my future.

@PhilService: No Raw captureon the iPhone 6 or 6+ as far as I can see. Raw seems to start with the 6D and 6S+ according to that Apple page.

I have a 6 and had been intending to keep it when my current contract runs out in the New Year, but I may now change my mind. All the little improvements between the different versions add up to something significant.

Couldn't care less about the I-thing... much more interested in the also-twin-camera-phone Huawei P9. For two reasons: lenses by Leica (eh!) and advert by Scarlett Johansson. Can't beat that:)

I have a friend who is currently (and very professionally) grafting an Instax back to a Yashica 635 TLR. Instant pictures through a good lens, what's not to like.

Iphone 7 ..... Abandons the age old head phone jack .... Thats HUGE environmental waste to boost enormous profits for adaptors and cordless headphones.

The uneccessary increased pollyrion and waste means my iphone 5 is my last Apple Phone. Apple may provide Apple Care for a price but do they CARE?

Well It will save me a few bucks.

[We'll see. I felt like that way back when they omitted the built-in floppy drive. My brother felt that way when they changed to OSX--he resisted for a very long time. Happens with Apple. --Mike]

The best thing about Instax may actually be its buoying of Fuji's imaging profits which allows for more X-series development. Instax makes up 2/3rds of Fuji's revenue (if I'm reading the graph at the link below correctly), which can only mean good things for the shrinking (but ever more laser-focused on the enthusiast) sales of digital cameras.

I thought there was a more recent report than this one, but it's all I could find: http://www.fujirumors.com/fujifilm-2015-financial-report-imaging-solutions-significantly-increases-profitability-thanks-to-instax-x-series/

I would love to pick up one of the Instax printers to go along with my X-T1 - great for event and travel photos for sharing with the people you meet.

What means this word 'color'? I have maybe 30 rolls of unexposed film, 120 and 135, plus perhaps 150 feet left of Pan F. And I'm a very minor player compared to some of the folks on the various photo forums.

SEMI-OFF TOPIC: my 7Plus is now on order, and it was my experience with the 6 that made me do it. I like the pano feature because it shows the image as it's being captured; and then you get an instant review. That lets me develope my pano ideas MUCH faster and more effectively on the spot. Every camera ought to have that.

I am a reluctant smart phone user. for various reasons, it's necessary to be tied to the leash.

Call me old and cranky, but I liked the six sigma reliability of the dial tone. Instead of spending money for long distance calls, I wrote letters. And better yet, I got hand-lettered first class letters in return.

I take pictures with my iPhone 5c. The photos are sort of mediocre. Mostly, I use the phone cam for taking pictures of stuff I want to remember--lists, legal notices, bills, tracking info, and an occasional snapshot. My wife is glued to her iPhone 6. She is adept at getting the most out of the camera--both stills and movies. Last year, I bought her a minty Olympus EPL-1 with the kit lens for her to keep in her purse. After six months, I took it away from her. She didn't use it.

I love my Oly EPL-5, 17mm f/1.8 combo. Used EPL-5s are dirt cheap. The 17mm f/1.8 not so. The camera/lens combo is small--fits in baggy pockets, feels comfortable in the hand, takes outstanding photos.

Although AT&T had a virtual monopoly, it simplified telecommunications. I am glad that AT&T no longer wields the power it once did. However, "smart phones" have had a lot to do with the dumbing down of 'merica.

I hate the way texting has reduced the English language to "newspeak." I am chagrined by the way smart phones stifle face-to-face social interactions.

I am baffled by groups of people sharing a table at a restaurant who ignore each other while all stare into their phones texting to and fro. For all I know, they might be texting to each other--one way to avoid eye contact and rest the vocal cords.


Can't pretty much all digital Fuji cameras print wirelessly to instax printers? I see the option in my X-T1 as well as x70 but don't have the printer to experiment with...

Grumble, curmudgeon, grumble... 56mm-e is hardly telephoto and RAW is approximately the last thing I want in a mobile phone camera. If I wanted to waste hours sweating over fine control of noise-reduction, sharpening, white-balance and lens distortion, I'd do it with a load more megapixels to start with.
I'm actually happy with the ipHone 6s+ camera app - optical stabilization and in-app HDR. Just what I want and what the app needs to overcome hardware dynamic-range limitation. Sorted.

Incidentally I'm in the process of adapting an instax wide film back for lomography to a Tachihara 4x5 and the famous Travelwide 4x5. Here's hoping that they decide to make a wide version of the new monochrome film!

Smart phone cameras just might rule one day. In any case, the best camera is the one you always have with you. That's because over the long run the best pictures are of the stuff we know and see over and over again, the stuff we live. Like that pilot who has the two really fine posts here. Falling in love with life and it's setting brings out the best of self and gear.

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