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Tuesday, 17 September 2019


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OK, somewhat off-topic but I need to tell this story. I'm a member of a Facebook group for people who use a particular brand of pizza oven. People like to post photos of the pizzas they make. The other day a guy posted "Finally used a decent camera to photograph my pizzas instead of my iPhone!" He then posted two full-frame screenshots from his iPhone, where the apparently nicer photos could be seen, very small, in landscape mode on a portrait canvas (i.e., black bars above and below that were bigger than the actual images). Zero people commented, likely because every one of us were thinking "what's the point of ..." (the rest is obvious), but then shrugged and decided this isn't worth starting a fight over.

As I've said many times in the past: the only person I have to impress is me 8-)

I've already ordered an iPhone XI. The only reason I ordered the XI, was for the improved camera.

Mike , you have to remember that for Apple to include a feature it has to be locked down, supply chain secured and enabling technologies in place ( in this case 5G)
If you read Hugh Crawford’s linked article , pretty much none of that is yet in place.
And given the complexity of this stuff and Apple’s policy of having lots of engineers working on pieces of what could be multiple applications it sounds like plenty of work for 800 engineers under time pressure.

I have an iPhone X , it’s a great device, I’m always surprised about how it handles difficult light. I don’t feel a burning desire for a new one, and haven’t yet decided if I’ll upgrade now or wait until next year but I’m still awed by what they have brought the world.
And yes, next years will be even better.

"if you're waiting to upgrade your iPhone for the sake of the camera, wait another year or two..."

… unless you are shooting at night. Or unless you are shooting video and want to zoom in or out, switching between three fixed focal length cameras seamlessly. I wonder how many engineers it took to do that!

Just getting three different fixed focal length cameras to show the same color and tonality on still photographs is not an easy task.

The Verge has a camera focused review of the 11 Pro up on Youtube now. For a cameraphone that you claim is primitive and disappointing in its computational photography chops it is amazing how many tricks it can do, like analyzing the contents of the scene by using facial recognition to process the highlights on a face differently than highlights in the surrounding scenery and hair recognition to apply extra sharpening. All in real time.

Will there be a better iPhone next year? Of course there will.

Take a look at this for some details on the changes:


They do use the term telephoto. I suspect that battle is lost, it would be too confusing for billions of cellphone camera users to call the 51mme lens "normal". For these people 28mme is their normal (usual) lens.

800 people is a measure of the complexity of being in the camera business in 2019 compared to back in the day of Oskar Barnack.

I would spend the $1,000 on a Ricoh GR III which will alway be a better camera. I guess it doesn't have that phony bokeh portrait mode. I am probably not the one to ask. I usually always have a camera with me. Either a Ricoh or a Fuji if I'm not specifically going out to shoot something. They are small and easy to carry and I have never seen a single iPhone photo that has the same quality as a GR or an X100. I'm not saying the photos are better but there is a substantial difference in image quality to the extent I find the camera on my iPhone 8 Plus useless. I make calls with the phone and take photos with my camera. I suppose that is complicated nowadays.

A smartphone camera is just another camera, better at some things than at others. Were the type not so popular and praised, it wouldn’t draw so much vehemence of opinion and put so many noses in the air. Celebrity’s always a target.

For its first year I didn’t use my iPhone 6’s camera - not once. Since then I’ve had all the models leading to my current Xs Max. All have made images with distinctive characteristics. I like the Xs Max best overall. These cameras have had unique features that well suit my narrow subject range and approach, and now the Xs Max is all I use for it. I’ve entered a few juried shows, regional, state, and international, been accepted in all, and have won a prize, and made a sale. So for me the iPhone camera has been OK.

At a recent regional show a huge, bright, and colorful digital print hung next to a small, dark, drab one by the same photographer. The latter’s rendering of detail was coarse, but it’s masses were out of this world and drew me from across the room.

There was only a dimly lighted bend on a road thru dark, dense forest that loomed on all sides and nearly obscured a rustic building set on a bench above the road. The big digital companion piece was absorbing, but the little one brought a lump to my throat, and it had won a prize.

When thinking about that little pictures coarseness, “35 mm Tri-X” came to mind. That film’s characteristics never were mistaken for those of larger format films, and yet a lot of important work was done with it. People swore by it, as beset by the limitations of design as it was.

On the other hand


This iphonedo youtuber might have figured out what the 800 engineers have been up to.

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