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Wednesday, 20 September 2017


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For a second there I thought it can actually alter the lighting on the photo, as in actually altering the lights and shadows position and strength, which would be beyond mindblowing. But no, it's just some filters with cool name. Alright then, nothing to see here, moving along...

Oh no it isn't!

Sorry; practising for the up-coming Panto season. ;)

If I were running a camera company I'd be pretty damn worried right now. Apple especially, and to a lesser extent Google, keeps doing cooler and cooler things. The sensor size might be small, but it may be that software is eating the camera world: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111903480904576512250915629460.

If I were a camera maker, I'd be laser focused on making Android the default camera OS and exposing APIs to the world's software developers. Yet none of them seem to care, even remotely. It's like none have learned Nokia's lesson. I wrote this: https://jakeseliger.com/2014/03/25/photography-and-tyler-cowens-average-is-over/ in 2014 and it's still true today.

"Not learning Nokia's lesson" is a very dangerous place to be. And I like the Panasonic G85 I have! But I find myself looking at phones like the iPhone X and thinking, "Maybe my next camera won't be a camera."

Mike, I'm looking at upgrading from an iPhone 6, mainly for raw and the improved camera. Still haven't decided which model, but may consider a 7 or 7+ for price.

May I ask why you prefer your 6+?

LOL, like cameras, I will wait for my smartphone to break before I replace it nowadays. The ideal time for a smartphone to break, if you're an Apple guy, is around September-October. For me, my 5s crapped out in July and I had to replace it right away (those things are indispensable, right?). I went with the 7.

I was hoping my 5s was going to make it through the fall, but no luck. I could have gotten a temporary "bridge" phone, but swapping things out takes time. I'm happy with the 7.

63% charged. You never forget your first iPhone picture

As I remarked a post or two back, I have decided to update my iPhone 4 from 2010 for an iPhone X. My wife thinks this is an absurd amount to spend on a phone. I have of course, countered by pointing out to her that my ability to do great phone calls is bring held back by restricting myself to what I currently have. I will expect to be able to talk to people in the future without so much background noise to contend with, and have larger, deeper and more meaningful conversations; people will call up to say they love me, the tax people will call to say that there is an error in my favour. And if that doesn't happen, I can always use it as a camera.

8 Plus is for saps, a waste of money when the X costs a couple hundred more and has all those mouth-watering, deeper pixels.


Mike - you do realise the Huawei P10 (and Plus variant) has a dedicated filterless monochrome sensor, right? It sits behind one of the two identical lenses and can be used for depth of field shenanigans, or as the sole producer of a really rather nice 20MP B&W image. Apple's computation-based approach will no doubt prove successful, but for this one brief iteration, there is a nice sweet spot using a 'traditional' approach.

Well, I'm considering possibly, maybe, upgrading my reliable 3GS to the X. Not really concerned about cost, since, the amortisation period I follow makes the concern kind of moot. Not a picture taker with an Iphone. OMD is my kinda camera.

Off topic but with all the video features of today’s cameras I wonder what and how people choose to display their videos at home.

I plan to stick with my 7+ also, Mike. It's excellent and weather sealed (which has come in very handy lately). The 8+ does seem to bring anything new that I want or need. I really don't know much about the X yet.

As I've recently noted that I'm traveling I'll add that perhaps 75% of the images I'm taking on this multi-city trip are with my 7+. That's by intention. Practice, practice. Honestly, I'm getting some images that I probably could only have gotten with the iPhone due to its total unobtrusiveness. I absolutely believe that HCB and Capa would be shooting with phones, not Leicas, today.

marcin wuu is wrong. It's not a simple global filter (or even just a vignette and contrast changes). It's more interesting than that.

These effects use depth info (from the depth map that the camera's two imagers generate) to modify the lighting in the image in a selective and realistic manner.

I suspect they're (amongst other things) generating gradient info from the depth map (is the slope positive, pointing upwards e.g. on the nose or negative, pointing downwards e.g. under the chin) and then using the gradient info to change the brightness selective in portion of the image.

They could even do something similar to ray tracing using the depth map to determine which parts of the face occlude other parts of the body and get "illuminated" by the lights.

Just the way portrait or stage lighting does with real lights. Or computer animation does with virtual lights.

That's also how they "drop out the background" in the stage lighting portrait style looking for parts of the image that are behind the subject and dropping them to black.

So it's not a "simple filter". It's both computational photography and (a static version of ) augmented reality (and probably uses the same ideas and code provided by ARkit).

It's not perfect. There are already examples of how it can fail. The problems mostly lies in figuring out where the subject ends and the background begins: the universal problem of making masks with fuzzy or indistinct edges.

Why isn't one of the camera companies incorporating a cell phone, increased processing power, and a key pad into a traditional (e.g., DSLR, MLC, PS, etc..) camera? It seems like they could forestall their own demise with say a watch and traditional camera set-up that did everything the iPhone did but with better glass and a larger sensor. Just wondering out loud here.

Here is a review of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus as a phone, but most of the illustrations include a pair of Leica cameras as eye candy! One's a IIIa with a nice-looking Summar, the other is an M6 with a well-worn 35mm Summicron. It would have been nice if someone had extended the Summar in some of the shots.

For people impatient to always have the latest iPhone, due to the rapid improvement of its camera technology, Apple does offer the "iPhone Upgrade Program" that replaces your iPhone with the newest model every year.

Collecting an iPhone 8 at 8:30 Friday an upgrade from the 4 I have had since launch day. Paying £50 more for this new phone, than I paid for my first phone in 1989. That first phone was a second hand Mobira Cityman. The size of a brick and needed two batteries to last a day.
Also from the past calls cost different amounts at different times of the day. Full minute billing so if a call lasted 20 seconds it cost a minute. also calls cost more in London than the rest of the country. That was if you could get reception in the rest of the country.

Although phones (and probably iPhones) will fairly obviously kill large chunks of the camera market, they are missing a critical feature: a viewfinder.

I'm not saying this because of some elitist 'my camera is better than yours' silliness, but because I can't understand how anyone older than about 50 can use a camera without one. I'm shortsighted, and can now either wear my glasses, in which case I can see well more than about 1.5m away but not see the screen on my phone, or I can not wear them in which case the reverse is true. People who were not originally shortsighted generally have the opposite problem by their 50s.

If I'm going to use a camera I need both to be able to see things clearly in the distance and to see what the camera is looking st. And that means the camera must have a viewfinder: I can't see the screen clearly enough.

Phones don't have viewfinders, so I, and I suspect most older people, will never find them usable as cameras.

How do you load the film? I'm experimenting with Bergger Pancro 400 lately, and am quite taken with Rollei RPX 100. I am under the impression that the latter is an Ilford/Kentmere derived emulsion.

Rationalization in action:

I am typing this on an iPhone 6s Plus which was an upgrade from my 5s.
I would rather have the iPhone X than the 8+ for the simple reason it will give me the plus size screen in a shorter form. The 6,7,or 8 plus is a bit too long and sticks out of my pockets. That’s my rationalization and I am sticking to it. The rest of my rationalization is its only $150 more than an 8 plus, has 20% longer battery life, and allows me to say to myself I am upgrading every third cycle rather than second time. Oh, and this time I will sell off my old phone.

The camera rationale worked in the past, but while I can rationalize upgrading a real camera, my current iPhone seemed good enough. Can you believe I said that?

OK, I've read a couple of articles about the iPhone 8; they all mention that the back of the phone is glass. One says that makes the 8 heavier than the previous phone. None say why the back is glass. It's not transparent, as far as I can tell. Why is it glass?

Also, what Tim Bradshaw said. I can't use cameras without viewfinders. I don't use "live view" for anything except macro because I can't see the screen and what I'm shooting at the same time. Not to mention the glare on the screen. I use my phone camera for taking notes, remembering addresses, showing the hardware store guy what's broken. Never for taking pictures.
Everyone gets old, if they're lucky. Everyone will eventually have the heartbreak of presbyopia, and have to stop using their phone as a camera.

Scott Paris: "None say why the back is glass. It's not transparent, as far as I can tell. Why is it glass?"

To permit contactless inductive charging (with the Qi standard chargers). You can't do that through a (conductive) aluminum or stainless steel back.

The iPhone 4 and 4s previously used glass backs (for the looks and design symmetry more than anything else).

Presbyopia means you need glasses for close viewing so it only stops you using your phone if you don't use glasses (you do look at the display at it at other times, don't you?).

I think the prevalence of smartphones will mean that presbyopes will start wearing glasses full time (even if their distance prescription is zero). Perhaps well move away from the idea that older photographers have that you have to hold the phone at arm's length to see it.

I know we're not supposed to have discussions here, but:

Presbyopia means you have to put the glasses on to see the screen and take them off to look at the subject. (If you're wearing reading glasses, you can't see at any other distance.)
Clumsy and inconvenient.
Yes, there are bifocals, but they're pretty annoying too.

Additionally, if you didn't grow up with point and shoots, the ergonomics of cell phones-as-cameras are pretty awful. Nothing to hold on to, nothing to brace against.
I'll stay with my viewfinders, thanks.

But seriously, thanks for the answer about the glass back.

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