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Tuesday, 10 November 2020


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Just watched Andy To's video on my 13-inch MacBook Pro, and it looked fine. Wide variety of color and lighting situations came through clearly. Otherwise, what a fabulous, imaginative and creative video. A fascinating portrait of my current (and for the last many years) city.

The Wikipedia description is fairly good, albeit somewhat succinct. For example, you can only combine the results from multiple studies statistically if the studies are relatively homogeneous.

A more thorough explanation can be found at the Cochrane Collaboration:


(Potential conflict of interest: I am an editor at one of the Cochrane groups).

The video looks fine here as well.

Meanwhile, given the rumors about next year's iPhone 13, I can't imagine how any iPhone user would go for the 12 - short of simply needing a new phone right now.

Personally, I would wait until that second-version of Apple's 5G iPhone is out. Advances to the iPhone's camera interest me not at all. Sure, I'll use the camera in a pinch. But, at least for me, there is no joy involved in its use.

I watched Andy To’s video and it look good on my side. He does say in the video description that it was filmed in HDR mode.

Ecosystem definition:

Ecosystem, the complex of living organisms, their physical environment, and all their interrelationships in a particular unit of space.


The 12 mini has a smaller battery, and shorter battery life than 12 or 11, by two hours according to Apple. But it has two hours longer battery life than any of the other small phones, SE2, 8 or SE. So if size matters, it is the best choice. That is the only reason why I am likely to get it.

I also enjoy YouTube videos from 'Mrwhosetheboss' (Arun). His take on the advantages of the iPhone 12 Pro Max's cameras, as compared with the 12 Pro's, is rather different from MKBHD's, and he has also done an interesting comparison between the 12 Pro Max, the Samsung Note 20 Ultra and the Huawei Mate 40 Pro.

I think that most tech reviewers - the betters ones, anyway (e.g. MKBHD, Arun and some others) - recognise that very few people actually upgrade their phone every year. So the significant differences are between this year's phone and that of two, three or more years ago, rather than last year's/

A "coming soon" feature of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is Apple Pro Raw. Tech Radar writes ...

As Alok Deshpande, Apple's Senior Manager of Camera Software Engineering, explained, ProRaw "provides many of the benefits of our multi-frame image processing and computational photography, like Deep Fusion and Smart HDR, and combines them with the depth and flexibility of a raw format".

He then went into a little more detail about how this is done, adding: "In order to achieve this, we constructed a new pipeline that takes components of the processing we do in our CPU, GPU, ISP and neural engine, and combines them into a new deep image file, computed at the time of capture, without any shutter delay. And we do this for all four cameras, dynamically adapting for various scenes while maintaining our intuitive camera experience."


What TOP reader doesn't want to fiddle a little with RAW files?

I'm kind of excited to see what the 3d images made possible by lidar look like and how they will be used. I believe that Adobe has or will have tools that work with 3d images.

Great to see that article on Apple's Pro RAW format.

More generally, would love a TOP guest feature on the increasing role of *computational* photography. Here it is much less the optics that determines the quality of the picture, and much more about dedicated hardware (like Apple's neural engines) and software algorithms to produce image quality far greater than the raw optics would suggest.

In other words, smartphones produce images far beyond what the optics would suggest. And dedicated digital cameras could improve by leaps and bounds if those firms were able to effectively combine superior optics and sensors with hardware/software-based improvements that phone makers are using.

Thanks, Nate, for pointing us to Andy's description. Shooting in HDR mode could very well account for the "mildly wonky" (and I think us older-ish types might be more bothered by it). Andy also notes that it was uploaded as HDR, and he doesn't understand why it's "kinda underexposed". So there you go, even Andy thinks it looks off.

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