RSS
 

Posts Tagged ‘mode’

Microsoft adds ‘Ultimate Performance’ mode to latest Windows 10 Pro build

16 Feb

Microsoft has introduced a new “Ultimate Performance” power scheme in its latest Windows 10 preview build. The new mode will be available to Windows 10 Pro for Workstations, a high-end version of Windows 10 that Microsoft introduced back in August. The company explains that Ultimate Performance is a way to “provide the absolute maximum performance” on these workstations for users who need as much power as possible.

Ultimate Performance mode builds upon the existing High-Performance option, working to eliminate micro-latencies, says Microsoft, that are “associated with fine grained power management techniques.” Ultimately, the new mode is designed for reducing those micro-latencies and it may result in increased power consumption; as such, Microsoft hasn’t made this mode available on system powered by batteries (like laptops).

For creatives who need to squeeze the most power possible out of their Windows machine as they edit 8K footage in Premiere Pro or cull and edit thousands of photos in the speedier new build of Lightroom Classic, the new mode could potentially give you a performance boost in exchange for higher power consumption.

Both OEMs and users can enable Ultimate Performance via Control Panel > Power Options > Hardware and Sound. The feature is only available to Windows Insiders running Windows 10 Pro for Workstations via Preview Builds 17079 or greater, for now.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on Microsoft adds ‘Ultimate Performance’ mode to latest Windows 10 Pro build

Posted in Uncategorized

 

Noa N7 smartphone captures 80MP images with ‘high-resolution mode’

15 Feb

Lesser known Croatian brand Noa might not be the first manufacturer that springs to mind when you think about mobile photography, but the company will be launching a new mid-range device with some very interesting imaging features at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of this month.

The Noa N7 comes with a dual-camera setup that features two 16MP Sony IMX298 1/2.8″ image sensors. At this point, there’s no further detail on how the two cameras play together, but we would assume there will be a shallow depth-of-field simulation mode and some kind of computational merging for better detail and reduced noise.

What the camera will definitely feature, however, is a 80MP high-resolution mode, presumably using image data from both lenses in combination with a pixel-shift technology. Looking at the demo video below, it seems the mode will require a tripod, but that’s still an attractive option for landscape or architectural photography who require maximum detail.

Main camera aside, the phone will offer a ceramic casing, Face-ID unlocking via the front camera, DTS stereo sound and an octa-core MediaTek MT6750 chipset. Images can be framed and viewed on a 5.7-inch display with 18:9 aspect ratio, and HD+ resolution.

If the 80MP mode has sparked your interest, the Noa N7 might be worth a closer look. Fortunately, the high pixel count won’t come with an expensive price tag—Noa says the N7 will retail for about 250 EUR ($ US 310) in Europe. We are looking forward to testing the high-resolution mode at MWC, so stay tuned!

Press Release

Koprivnica, 15th of February 2018

NOA will focus on its latest smartphone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona – NOA N7, with a 5,7 HD+ screen with an 18:9 screen ratio. Ceramic case, improved photography, Face ID and Face Beauty functionality along with an affordable price are the main key selling points of this new model.

The first two thing you’ll notice about this model is its design and a wonderful „royal blue“ color of the ceramic casing. This smartphone’s subtle elegance will certainly be noticed by everyone around you.

What makes this phone especially noticeable is the photo detailing and its quality, something that you’ll experience when you zoom in the photo and notice the perfectly rendered details. The N7 model will feature 2x 16 MP back Sony cameras with an IMX 298 sensor, which enables the creation of photographs up to 80 MP using oversampling technology.

The front 16 MP „selfie“ camera will support „Face ID“ and „Face Beauty“ functionalities. This means that you’ll be able to unlock your smartphone by scanning your face, which adds extra functionality in this price range, and rounds our the feature list with attractive and novel technologies. Your selfies will look sharper, more detailed and be of better quality. Thanks to the „Face Beauty“ feature, you’ll always look your best in photos, whether you’re taking them in the morning or evening.

Users who like to listen to music will also enjoy themselves with NOA N7, thanks to the world famous DTS sound technology. DTS Sound is an all-in-one audio solution that offers improved stereo sound quality, internal speaker optimization, and creates a panoramic audio experience while using earbuds.

NOA N7 is based on the 8 core Media Tek MT6750 processor with a 1,5 GHz frequency and a 5,7” screen. The screen resolution, complete with HD+ technology is 1440×720 pixel and an 18:9 screen ratio. NOA N7 will have 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of ROM storage, expandable to 128 GB with the help of an SD card. NOA N7 comes with a 3.300 mAh battery and will use the latest Android 8.0 as its operating system.

NOA N7 smartphone will be in the price bracket of up to 250 EUR.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on Noa N7 smartphone captures 80MP images with ‘high-resolution mode’

Posted in Uncategorized

 

Simplifying Manual Mode to Help You Take Control of Your Images

05 Feb

As the owner of a DSLR camera, you may have heard the pros encouraging you to graduate to Manual Mode or M on your camera’s dial. While there are different schools of thought on which mode to use, Manual Mode allows you the greatest control over your settings.

Simplifying Manual Mode to Help You Take Control of Your Images

So why are so many people still daunted by it and how do you take next step to start working with Manual Mode? In this article, I’ll try to simplify it for you so you can understand how to use it and take better images.

Simplifying Manual Mode to Help You Take Control of Your Images

Why Manual Mode?

If you use the other modes, the camera helps you figure out some or all of the settings. For example, if you choose Aperture Priority mode, the camera works out the shutter speed and vice versa if you choose Shutter Priority. So if it already does all this, why bother with manual?

Sometimes these automated or semi-automated settings are not always in line with your vision. They may even be incorrect or tricked by unique lighting situations. This is where you take back control by using Manual Mode. You tell the camera how you want your output and your photos to look.

Simplifying Manual Mode to Help You Take Control of Your Images

Understanding the Big Three

As stated before, with Manual Mode you have control over “everything”- but what exactly does this mean? Well simply put, there are three variables that determine the exposure of your photograph and Manual Mode puts you in control all of them. These variables are the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, which together make up what is known as the Exposure Triangle. The balance of these three points of the exposure triangle is what Manual Mode is all about.

Aperture

Also known as f-number or f-stop, aperture refers to the size of the hole in your lens that lets in light. With a larger aperture (smaller f-number like f/2.8), more light hits your camera sensor. The reverse is also true (a larger f-number like f/16 lets in less light).

NOTE: It is often confusing for beginners because the smaller the number, the larger the hole. Just remember that the aperture is a ratio or fraction so f/2 is like 1/2 and f/20 is like 1/22. So remember that one half of anything is larger than 1/20th. 

Your control of aperture determines the depth of field in your photo – or how much of your image is sharp. A wider aperture (like f/2.8) results in a shallow depth of field. This means that only a part of your image is sharp, leaving the rest blurred or out of focus. Portraits are a good scenario to use wider apertures.

Simplifying Manual Mode to Help You Take Control of Your Images

Here a shallow depth of field has been combined with a fast shutter speed to get this shot.

If you want most of your image to be sharp, use a smaller aperture. Smaller apertures (higher f-numbers like f/16) are commonly used when shooting outdoor or landscape scenery.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed refers to the length of time that the shutter inside your camera is opened and light is allowed to hit the sensor. So to double the amount of light, you can double the length of your exposure.

If you want to freeze motion, use faster shutter speeds to limit the amount of time that light hits the sensor. Conversely, if you want to blur motion in your scene, use slower shutter speeds (or long exposure photography).

Simplifying Manual Mode to Help You Take Control of Your Images

Taking control of your shutter speed can change your usual day shots. Here a long exposure was used to add a motion blur to the moving water.

ISO

To keep the definition of ISO simple, it is the way your camera controls its sensitivity to light. Increasing your ISO value allows you to shoot in lower light conditions without a tripod. Note that higher ISO values add digital noise to your image which affects image quality. Fortunately, most cameras now handle digital noise better that those of times gone by, so experiment with it as it can be quite useful.

Simplifying Manual Mode to Help You Take Control of Your Images

Higher ISO values can add noise (grain) to your image but it is sometimes necessary to do this.

How to use Manual Mode

Now that you are familiar with what Manual Mode controls, how do you start working with it? Well, after you decide what you want to shoot, pick one the points of the exposure triangle as your starting point.

To shoot a landscape, for example, decide how much you want in sharp focus. Let’s say you choose an aperture of f/16. After your aperture is set, turn your shutter speed dial until the exposure is balanced. You can use the camera marker on your exposure chart as a guide. Theoretically, you have just balanced your aperture and shutter speed.

Start with your ISO at 100 and take a shot. Is your photo too bright or too dark? Based on the results, adjust your settings and retry. When working with the exposure triangle, most times when you adjust one setting, you usually have to adjust one of the other two (in the opposite direction) to get a balanced result and a proper exposure.

Simplifying Manual Mode to Help You Take Control of Your Images

Conclusion

Manual Mode may seem daunting, but as you learn more about controlling light, it becomes easier with time. While nothing is wrong with using the other available modes of your camera, the ability to control the final output of your vision is a great skill to develop.

If you have any tips or tricks that worked for you when you were learning Manual Mode, please share with us in the comments below.

The post Simplifying Manual Mode to Help You Take Control of Your Images by Nisha Ramroop appeared first on Digital Photography School.


Digital Photography School

 
Comments Off on Simplifying Manual Mode to Help You Take Control of Your Images

Posted in Photography

 

Aperture Versus Shutter Priority – Which Shooting Mode to Use and When

01 Feb

I too was once a beginner and I completely understand that how difficult it is to move into using Manual Mode directly from shooting Automatic. Thankfully camera manufacturers have also thoughtfully provided us with Aperture and Shutter Priority modes. These two camera shooting modes are possibly the best ways you can understand the nature and role of aperture and shutter speed.

Aperture and Shutter Priority are semi-automatic, or we can call them semi-manual camera modes. These two modes can help you get away from the fully automatic modes (P, Auto) and at the same time get you a step closer to using Manual Mode.

What is Aperture Priority Mode?

The Aperture Priority shooting mode allows you to take control of the aperture, whereas the shutter speed and ISO (if you are set on Auto-ISO) are still controlled by your camera. This means that you can adjust the amount of light entering into the camera through the lens. So using Aperture Priority you can set the aperture value as per your need and control the depth of field.

Aperture Versus Shutter Priority - Which Shooting Mode to Use and When

Unlike the automatic modes, this mode gives you the freedom to adjust the aperture value and set the amount of blur effect that you want in your photo.

When should you use the Aperture Priority Mode?

As we discussed, Aperture Priority mode allows you to control the aperture value, which ultimately affects the depth of field. This shooting mode is ideal if you wish to adjust the depth of field as per your desire, whereas leaving the shutter speed and ISO value selection up to the camera.

Situation 1: Portraits

While taking portrait or close-up shots, I am sure you would want to keep the subject in focus and blur out the background by choosing a large aperture (small aperture value). Using Aperture Priority Mode you can manually choose the required aperture value such as f/1.8 or f/2.8 to achieve a shallow depth of field.

Aperture Versus Shutter Priority - Which Shooting Mode to Use and When

Situation 2: Landscapes

While shooting landscapes or cityscapes, you might want to have both the foreground and the background very much in focus. This is only possible if you manually choose a small aperture (high aperture value). Aperture Priority Mode gives you the freedom to select desired aperture value such as f/16 or f/22 to get deep depth of field, while your camera takes care of the shutter speed and ISO value.

Situation 3: Low lighting

Suppose you are in a dim lighting condition and your photos are coming out underexposed. By increasing the size of the aperture opening (selecting a smaller aperture value like f/1.8), you can allow more light into the camera and capture a better-exposed photo. Read: 6 Tips for Getting Consistent Results Shooting in Low Light

Situation 4: Midday bright sunlight

If you are shooting in broad daylight and are getting overexposed photos while shooting in automatic mode, you can close the aperture opening. This means that by using a higher aperture number (like f/16), you can minimize the amount of light entering the camera through the lens.

Aperture Versus Shutter Priority - Which Shooting Mode to Use and When

What is Shutter Priority Mode?

As the name suggests, Shutter Priority mode allows you to take charge of the shutter speed. Just to brainstorm, shutter speed is the duration for which the camera shutter remains open for the light to enter the camera and ht the sensor. The slower the shutter speed is set on the camera, the more the light is received by the image sensor. Similarly, the faster the shutter speed the less light would hit the image sensor.

Aperture Versus Shutter Priority - Which shooting Mode to Use and When

While you are shooting in Shutter Priority mode, you have the freedom to adjust the shutter speed as per your requirement while the camera chooses the aperture and ISO value on its own.

When should you use Shutter Priority Mode?

As we just discussed, if you want to take full control of the shutter speed and experiment with your camera then this is the ideal camera mode. Let’s look at two situations when you are most likely to shoot in Shutter Priority mode.

Situation 1: Freeze a moving subject

If you want to freeze a fast moving bird, animal, or car in your photo, using Shutter Priority mode will allow you to do so by setting a fast shutter speed. A shutter speed of anything faster than 1/500th of a second is considered ideal for freezing an object, but this may vary depending on the speed of the subject. Your camera will judge the required aperture and ISO values as per the available light.

Situation 2: Showing movement

If you are out and planning to capture star trails, light trails, or blue hour photos, you would have to select a slow shutter speed so that the subject’s movement is well captured in the single photo. To capture long exposure photos, you must carry a tripod along to avoid any kind of shake.

Aperture Versus Shutter Priority - Which shooting Mode to Use and When

Situation 3: Dim lighting

If you are in dim lighting conditions you might get underexposed photos while shooting in automatic mode. By simply reducing the shutter speed (e.g. from 1/200th to 1/50th), you can allow more light into the camera and capture a well-exposed photo.

Note: Watch out for the shutter speed going too slow as to introduce camera shake into your image;

Situation 4: Broad daylight

Let’s suppose you are shooting in broad daylight and your camera is capturing overexposed photos while shooting in automatic mode. Here you can increase the shutter speed. This means that by using a faster shutter speed (e.g. from 1/200thh 1/1000th), you can minimize the amount of light entering the camera sensor.

Aperture Versus Shutter Priority - Which shooting Mode to Use and When

Conclusion

Using Aperture and Shutter Priority camera modes enables you to get familiar with how the lens’s aperture and the camera shutter works. These modes ensure that you get well-exposed photos with your desired selection of aperture value or shutter speed, unlike automatic mode (where the camera makes all the choices for you).

So if your utmost priority is to manually choose the desired aperture value in order to get a particular depth of field, then you must shoot in Aperture Priority Mode. Otherwise, if your priority is to choose a specific shutter speed to capture something creative with the available light (freeze or blur motion), then you must go with Shutter Priority camera mode.

The post Aperture Versus Shutter Priority – Which Shooting Mode to Use and When by Kunal Malhotra appeared first on Digital Photography School.


Digital Photography School

 
Comments Off on Aperture Versus Shutter Priority – Which Shooting Mode to Use and When

Posted in Photography

 

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos

30 Jan

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos

“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.” Ernst Haas

Do you ever ask yourself why the images you capture are not like the ones you see in your mind’s eye?

Do you ever wonder why your photos don’t look as good as a professional’s? What makes theirs look so great?

The answer is – probably because you are shooting in Auto!

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos5 seconds, f/8.0, ISO 100

Get more creative with Manual Mode

A professional takes full creative control over every aspect of the photo and makes creative choices in the image creation process. Aperture, shutter speed and ISO are the base. If you don’t control these then you will be unable to create the best possible image.

Digital cameras nowadays make exposure so easy. There doesn’t seem to be a good reason to shoot on manual. But there is – it’s creativity. Specifically, creative exposures.

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos1/200th, f/2.2, ISO 500

Take control of the process

If you want awesome photos, then shooting with control is the most important part of the creative journey with photography. With Manual Mode, you get full control. Total creativity.

I know a lot of people feel intimidated trying Manual, but I have taught hundreds of people to feel comfortable and confident with it so I know it’s totally possible for anyone to learn.

Even if you aren’t tech-minded, you can do this! All you need is the basic understanding of the process – and practice.

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos30 seconds, f/10, ISO 200

The camera cannot (at least at the moment) make creative choices in the way that you can. You’ll often end up with un-dynamic exposures when the camera chooses for you.

How many well-exposed photos do you see on Facebook? The majority are shot using some Automatic Mode or another. They are all the same base density. Sure, they are properly exposed, but that base exposure is just the beginning when shooting with intent.

All those exposures start from the same base, zero. Many photographers just leave it there because it looks good, it looks “correct”. That is Auto.

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos1.6 seconds, f/10, ISO 50

Exposure is part of photographic artistry. Don’t pass on it just because your photos look good….they can be so much better!

Here is the simple method I use to explain the process of shooting in Manual Mode.

The Exposure Triangle

Shooting in Manual Mode means controlling three fundamental settings in photography:

  1. ISO
  2. Aperture
  3. Shutter Speed

Together they are collectively known as “The Exposure Triangle”.

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos13 seconds, f/9, ISO 250

What do these three controls do?

  • ISO is the camera’s sensitivity to light. Think of it this way – do you want the sensor to absorb light quickly, sacrificing detail and contrast (high ISO), or do you want to let the light in slowly absorbing every color, capturing every juicy detail (low ISO)?
  • Aperture controls the INTENSITY of the light flowing onto the sensor. Think of coming out of a Saturday afternoon matinee and how intense the light is after being in the dark for a few hours. You’re practically blinded for a moment (until your pupils adjust to the light and become smaller – the aperture opens and closes much the same way). That’s intensity!
  • Shutter Speed (SS) is a time value – in other words, how long is the exposure. The time is combined with the intensity of the light from your Aperture setting. Shutter speed is represented as 1/250th of a second, for example.

These three settings are all you need to know about making a manual exposure. That’s it. Now let talk about how to approach it.

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos1/30th, f/2.2, ISO 3200

Think ISO first

When making a manual exposure ISO should always be your first consideration!

There are two questions you have to ask yourself before you start making exposures.

  1. How much light is on the subject?
    This is essentially a technical decision. (ISO)
  2. How can I make my subject look its best?
    This is essentially a creative decision. (Shutter speed and Aperture combination)

The answers to these questions are the key to the whole process. Once you have the answers, you can set your exposure.

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos1/125, f/13, ISO 400

This is how I shoot in Manual Mode, explained in three easy steps.

Step #1 – How much light is on the subject?

Do I have:

  • Full daylight
  • A gloomy interior
  • A heavily shaded area between buildings
  • And so on…

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos2 seconds, f/10, ISO 320

First off, I’ll set my ISO accordingly. I usually go for the lowest ISO I can get away with shooting handheld. If I have a tripod I’ll go even lower. You can go almost a whole day without needing to change your ISO much.

It’s the easiest thing to set and forget. But if you need to move it you can. This is not a big deal on modern cameras where image quality is amazing at almost any ISO.

ISO scale - Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos

TIP #1

Set your ISO and don’t think about it unless the light level changes a lot – like you go indoors, the sun sets, or you walk into a heavily shaded area, etc. You get the point.

TIP #2

Look at the light! Photography is a study of light, after all, so your first step is to learn to really see it, to observe what it is doing, its strength and quality. When you have a deep familiarity with light from willfully observing it, you grow to know it.

Being aware of light levels makes shooting in manual much easier. When you are out, be tuned in to the light.

Step #2 – I ask myself “What is my priority?”

How do I decide what is the priority for my shot?

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos10 seconds, f/11, ISO 50

It all comes down to what I’m shooting – prioritizing shutter speed or aperture to whatever I think will make my subject look its best.

  • Am I shooting landscapes and want a wide depth of field? (select a small aperture like f/16).
  • Am I shooting portraits and so want a shallow depth of field? (aperture again, this time a wide setting like f/2.8).
  • Perhaps I am shooting sports or action, and want pin-sharp images of fast-moving subjects? (shutter speed this time – choose a fast one to freeze the subject like 1/2000th).

I’ll make my choice of shutter speed or aperture as my top priority. Now I have two points of the exposure triangle set. For the last setting, I adjust the exposure on the light meter scale.

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos1/15th, f/4.5, ISO 12,800

Step #3 – Adjusting the exposure

Now is the time to look at the camera meter.

Use the light meter scale – get the marker near the center or thereabouts with the one remaining dial (in other words if you chose the aperture in step #2, the last one being set here is the shutter speed). On this -2 to +2 scale, where you place the exposure matters a lot! This is the essence of creative exposures. It dictates the mood of the photograph.

Being in the centre or “0” position is rarely the right exposure for me.

Light meter scale - Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your PhotosLight Meter Scale

Remember, each point of the exposure triangle is NOT fixed. Each click or interval (usually in 1/3 increments) are equal, so 2 (+) clicks of ISO is equal to 2 (-) clicks of aperture or shutter speed. These are called reciprocating exposures and they are the key to shooting creatively.

So, if you find yourself in a situation where you would like a little faster shutter speed, then do it. But compensate with an equal but opposite amount of another setting. What choice you make at this point is completely creative, not technical.

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos3.2 seconds, f/4.5, ISO 100

TIP # 3

Let’s say you are shooting a landscape with a good foreground, a large tree perhaps, You set your aperture to f/16 for good depth of field (priority), ISO is at 100 and you have a shutter speed of 1/60th. This is a classic landscape exposure – with a lot of Depth of Field.

For an alternative image of the same scene, you could think of the tree as a portrait photo and open up the aperture to f/4 (+4 stops) and adjust the shutter speed to 1/1000th (-4 stops) keeping the ISO at 100 and the exposure the same.

You would lose most of the Depth of Field, but gain a nice bokeh making the tree isolated, like a good portrait. Now you’ve created a different feel to a classic landscape using a reciprocating exposure. But wait, there is still more you can do!

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos2.5 seconds @ f/4.0 ISO 100

Now, how about underexposing this scene by 1-1.5 stops to create a more low-key moody image. If the tree was in bright sun and the background shaded, I would instinctively underexpose to emphasize that contrast.

Putting it all into practice

You will miss a few exposures now and then. Everyone does, but don’t let it discourage you. I think a big part of the fear of shooting in Manual Mode is the, “I will miss the shot”echoing in people’s heads. Like I say, it happens to everyone.

Losing a few shots is still worth the wealth of knowledge and creativity you get from sticking with it and totally controlling your photography. Those missed shots will appear less and less as you improve, and your new found skill shooting in manual will reflect in your photos.

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos2 seconds @ f/5.0 ISO 50

I recommend you shoot at least 1,000 images in your practice. If you really focus, you could nail Manual Mode over a weekend. There is no substitute for practice.

Slow down and have fun! It will be worth every bad shot you take.

Study your images in post-production

Once you have taken your images, it is a really good idea to study your images in post-processing. All of the information about exposure is stored in the metadata which you access in a program like Lightroom (you can filter and sort your images by ISO, Aperture, etc.).

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos1/30th, f/8, ISO 50

A few more final words – and action steps!

Did you know that two of the best ways to fully learn something is to:

  1. Practice it
  2. Explain it or teach it to someone else

By practicing it over and over you are teaching it into your body, almost like muscle memory. You do it so many times you’ll end up with it being automatic like it is for me (and those with years of experience who make it look effortless).

Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos1/400th @ f/4.0 ISO 200

By explaining it, preferably a few times, to someone else, your brain starts to build new neural networks (which happens anytime you learn anything). So if you want to remember anything, you need to keep the neural networks alive, and by repeating it, explaining it, and practicing it over and over you’ll make that a solid memory in your brain.

So the short term work of repetition leads to remembering it long term. How cool is that?

I really, really hope this has helped you “get” Manual Mode. I love the creative possibilities of photography, and it makes all the difference when you feel comfortable with your tools. I would love to know if this has helped you – and if you’ll take the leap to practice shooting in manual.

The post Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos by Anthony Epes appeared first on Digital Photography School.


Digital Photography School

 
Comments Off on Super Simple Introduction to Manual Mode and How it Will Transform Your Photos

Posted in Photography

 

Portrait mode perspective: the iPhone X versus the Canon M100

22 Jan
With all the latest photo-centric smartphones including a form of Portrait mode, are interchangeable lens cameras still coming out on top?

It’s safe to say that Portrait mode, the artificial blurry-background generator on modern smartphones, isn’t going anywhere. And now that it’s here, it’s only going to get better. It’s an incredibly handy feature to have, and for the vast majority of users, is easily good enough that they may rethink the need to purchase a so-called ‘real’ camera in the future.

But ‘good enough’ is a subjective assessment. So, we set up a tripod and grabbed an accessible entry-level camera that’s specifically aimed at smartphone users, and did our own informal comparison. It turns out, though, that things aren’t all that simple.

The first comparison

We found through our informal exercise that the iPhone X’s built-in Portrait mode on its default camera app appears to roughly approximate the blur from shooting a 35mm F2.8 lens on an APS-C camera. In this case, we used the Canon EOS M100.

iPhone X in Portrait mode Canon EOS M100 w/ EF-S 35mm F2.8 @ F2.8

Unfortunately, the tripod needed adjustment of an inch or two to make sure the iPhone image and the Canon image ended up a broadly similar positioning of the subject in the frame (there may be some distortion or other corrective effects at work that we don’t have full insight into).

For this comparison, the iPhone X had HDR enabled in Portrait mode, and the M100 image was processed through Adobe Camera Raw using an adapted EF-S Macro 35mm F2.8 lens.

Apple also includes ‘lighting modes,’ so let’s see if that makes a difference in your preference.

The second comparison

iPhone X in Portrait mode with Contour Light Canon EOS M100 w/ EF-S 35mm F2.8 @ F2.8

Here, we re-processed the iPhone’s image to use the ‘Contour Light’ option. It gives the iPhone’s image a much more ‘purposed’ look to the light, almost as if there is an umbrella off-camera left, instead of just a window, while the Canon image looks the same, because, well, it doesn’t have ‘portrait lighting’ modes.

The third comparison

iPhone X in Portrait mode, Focos app set to F1.4 iPhone X in Portrait mode, Focos app set to F20 Canon EOS M100 w/ EF-S 35mm F2.8 @ F2.8

Lastly, there’s a free app called ‘Focos’ that allows you further tweaks on images taken in Portrait mode. You can even specify the level of blur you want, measured in approximate f-number. Here, we see the two ends of the spectrum currently included in the app, from ‘F1.4’ to ‘F20.’

What’s the big deal?

We’re approaching a time of reckoning for traditional camera manufacturers. Not only are computational cameras getting better, but they’re increasingly in people’s pockets, at the ready whenever they’re needed.

There are, of course, aspects of traditional cameras that phones can’t replace; the form factor, the controls, the feel of the thing. But those are increasingly diminishing requirements for a broad range of photographers (especially since, as you well know, everyone these days is a photographer).

But to remain relevant, these sort of software ‘tricks’ are something that camera manufacturers are going to need to think more and more about. There may yet come a time when, finally, you don’t absolutely need a bigger sensor for better results. And it’s not necessarily a matter of ‘if,’ but a matter of ‘when.’

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on Portrait mode perspective: the iPhone X versus the Canon M100

Posted in Uncategorized

 

Google Camera mod brings Pixel 2 portrait mode to older devices

03 Jan
Portrait Mode on the Google Pixel 2

Google’s Pixel 2 comes with one of the best-rated smartphone cameras in the world, and is one of very few single-lens devices to offer a background-blurring, fake bokeh portrait mode. Unlike dual-lens setups, the camera uses machine learning and neural networking to generate a foreground-background segmentation on both front and rear cameras. On the rear, the Pixel 2 also uses depth data from the image sensor’s dual-pixel technology for this task.

Thanks to Charles Chow, developer of the Camera NX Google camera mod, the feature is now also available to users of the original Google Pixel as well as the Nexus 5X and 6P smartphones. Portrait mode was included in version 7.3 of the Camera NX app but, due to a lack of dual-pixel technology on older Google Android smartphones, uses the exclusively software-based approach of the Pixel 2’s front camera.

The developer says the functionality has so far only been tested on the Nexus 5X, although it should work on Nexus 6P and first generation Pixel phones as well. If you want to try Camera NX and the new Portrait Mode you can find all technical details and download links in Charles’ article on Chromloop.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on Google Camera mod brings Pixel 2 portrait mode to older devices

Posted in Uncategorized

 

The Myth and Reality of Shooting in Manual Mode

21 Dec

I’ve heard it. You’ve heard it. And it’s a great big steaming pile of…baloney.

Myth – Professionals Only Shoot in Manual Mode

I recently read an account of a new photographer who heard that “expert” photographers only shoot in manual mode, so he headed out to shoot. Camera firmly set to M, he shot away, happy as could be. However, the results from that first exploration were, needless to say, disappointing; overexposures, under-exposures, and a lot of crappy, blurred photos.

Professionals Shoot in Manual Mode

I had about 10 seconds to make this image of a grove of Baobabs in Botswana. Had I been fiddling with finding the right manual settings, I likely would have missed the shot.

Here is the reality: Professionals and other experienced photographers use just about every shooting mode on their camera.

Those modes are there for a reason. Settings provide simplicity, speed, flexibility, or full control. Depending on the conditions in which you are shooting, any one of these may be appropriate. While other articles here at dPS discuss how to use each of the settings on your camera, I want to talk about the myth of Manual Mode, but also why it’s important to use it

Professionals Shoot in Manual Mode

Moving subjects and quickly shifting scenes are not conducive to manual mode.

The Professional Reality

Try shooting on full manual control while making images of birds in flight. Go on, try it. I’ll wait.

Professionals Shoot in Manual Mode

On the off chance that you actually went out and tried that exercise, I suspect you ended up with a lot of really bad photos. As birds passed quickly in front of different backdrops, as the sun darted in and out from behind clouds, the lighting conditions were undoubtedly in constant change. To adapt to those changes on the fly would be a nearly impossible task.

Professionals Shoot in Manual Mode

Rather, any professional would use one of the other settings. I, for example, would probably choose Shutter Priority mode under those conditions. That would assure I could maintain sharp (or artfully blurred) images as I shot, and leave the decision on aperture up to the camera. If I wanted a brighter or darker exposure I’d adjust the exposure compensation.

Now, if I was carefully shooting a landscape and had a particular vision for the final image, that’s when I’d make the switch to Manual Mode. In manual, I can take full control of the scene. I can adjust the depth of field, the exposure, incorporate blurs, or selective focus. In Manual Mode, I own all aspects of the final image, for better or worse.

Professionals Shoot in Manual Mode

My point here is simply this – professionals use all the tools at their disposal. If it were true that pros only use Manual Mode, then pro-level cameras would only have one setting. Quite obviously, that is not the case.

You Still Need to Shoot in Manual

Shoot in Manual Mode, but not all the time. But understanding exposure, focus, shutter speed, and aperture and their effect on the final image is the heart of photography. To master the technical aspects of image-creation, you need to be able to put all these together without the help of your camera.

Professionals Shoot in Manual Mode

Manual Mode is perfect for landscape photography because you have the time to dedicate to creating the image you envision.

Manual means full control

I regularly practice the art of manual settings. When a scene is in front of me, I’ll imagine a particular way to portray it. I’ll envision how bright I want the image to appear. I select the focal point, whether motion blur is incorporated or eliminated, and how deep the depth of field should be.

Once I’ve got the image in my mind. I’ll select the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture without using the camera’s light meter to help me. Then I click the shutter and have a look.

Professionals Shoot in Manual ModeThis exercise reminds me of light and settings and how the camera works, sure. But more so, it turns every aspect of the image into a purposeful decision. There is no “spray and pray” photography when you are shooting in Manual Mode. Setting your camera to that scary “M” means you grant yourself full control and full responsibility for whatever emerges.

Professionals Shoot in Manual Mode

Aurora borealis and most other night photography require the use of Manual Mode.

There is no better way to learn about your camera, light, and about thoughtful photography than to set your camera to Manual Mode, turn off the autofocus, and go make images.

Summary

It’s absolute nonsense that pros only shoot in manual. Utter garbage. Your camera has a bunch of settings for a reason. Shooting in just one would be like only eating one type of food. Each has a purpose, and each has their place in the art of photography.

Professionals Shoot in Manual Mode

Purposefully underexposed images are also well-suited to Manual Mode, particularly when you want to retain a shallow depth of field, as I did with this flower image.

However, and this is a big HOWEVER, shooting in Manual Mode may be the best tool at our disposal for turning our photography into a purposeful exercise. Using manual will force you to understand depth, light, exposure, blur, and focus.

So yes, you should shoot in manual mode. Just not all the time.

The post The Myth and Reality of Shooting in Manual Mode by David Shaw appeared first on Digital Photography School.


Digital Photography School

 
Comments Off on The Myth and Reality of Shooting in Manual Mode

Posted in Photography

 

Hasselblad adds X-Pan mode and EVF preview to X1D, plus AF to H lenses on the X system adapter

19 Dec
The X-Pan crop mode with the XCD 30mm F3.5

Hasselblad has released new firmware for its X1D mirrorless medium format camera that brings it as close to a digital X-Pan (you can read Hamish Gill’s writeup of the 35mm X-Pan II here) as we can sensibly hope for. Firmware v1.20 adds a series of crop modes that includes the 65:24 X-Pan ratio, as well as classic 1:1 square and other well-known medium format proportions.

The update also brings the much needed instant image preview mode to the camera’s EVF as well as the ability to review captured pictures via the viewfinder. And now autofocus can be used with certain H system lenses when they are fitted to the X1D via the XH adapter.

$ (document).ready(function() { SampleGalleryV2({“containerId”:”embeddedSampleGallery_0590489974″,”galleryId”:”0590489974″,”isEmbeddedWidget”:true,”selectedImageIndex”:0,”isMobile”:false}) });

During a recent trip to Hasselblad’s factory I was able to shoot with a camera loaded with the new firmware to try out the new features. I have to say I was disproportionally excited to use the X-Pan crop mode, and once I’d set it I had trouble switching it off because it makes everything look so good.

The camera had been set so the different crops could be cycled through using the front custom button, and with 50 million pixels on hand on the sensor I wasn’t too worried about a heavy crop leaving me with no resolution. Even with the dramatic crop that the X-Pan mode makes we are still left with an image area of 8272×3062 pixels – or 25.3MP.

Only the Raw files show the crop, and the crop isn’t permanent – at can be shifted, altered and undone entirely so the full image can be used.

While we get to see the crop in the viewfinder and on the rear screen of the camera, even the JPEG files are captured as whole 4:3 images. The crop only appears on the Raw files when they are displayed in Hasselblad’s Phocus software – and even the crop can be adjusted, shifted around or switched off.

Of course, you can crop any image you want to 65×24 using any software, but the fun here is in seeing the letter-box in the viewfinder and in the atmosphere composing with this anamorphic-style format creates. The unused area of the viewfinder is blacked out, but users can adjust the density of the mask so the whole scene can be viewed to make composition easier.

The new crop modes:

  • X-Pan Ratio (65:24),
  • 1:1
  • 7:6
  • 5:4
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 2:1
  • A4
  • US Letter

The new preview mode in the viewfinder is nothing special, but shows Hasselblad catching up with a feature offered by every other mirrorless camera. The new option to back-up images from one SD card to the other in slot two is hardly revolutionary either, but very useful all the same.

Ove Bengtsson, Hasselblad product manager, explains that the HC lenses are designed for a phase detection system, but that they can now be used with AF on the X1D

What will be interesting to existing H system users is the ability to use contrast detect AF with certain HC lenses with the XH adapter. Ove Bengtsson, Hasselblad’s product manager, explained that while the AF would be fast enough for a hand-held portrait it won’t be quick enough to shoot sport or action.

‘Our AF system is designed to be accurate rather than quick’ he told me. ‘These are lenses designed for phase detection systems, and we have to move a lot of glass. We don’t use internal focusing systems with small AF groups as these will, at some focus positions, compromise image quality. We often have to move the whole lens construction during focusing, so when working with a contrast-detection system the most difficult thing is to stop the lens after it has passed the peak and bring it back to the correct position. But as I said, image quality is our priority – not AF speed.’

The X1D can now provide contrast detection AF with certain H system lenses when they are mounted via the XH adapter.

To bring AF to the HC series the lens needs its firmware updates as well as the camera. The following lenses will be compatible:

  • HCD 4/28mm
  • HC 3,5/35mm
  • HC 3,5/50 mm
  • HC 3,5/50 mm II
  • HC 2,8/80 mm
  • HC 2,2/100mm

New v1.20.0 firmware for the H6D brings many of the updates that the X1D received, including the crop modes in Live View, dual card back-up and the lens data inserted into image EXIF information. Both cameras also have a new display mode when the spirit level is active that includes basic exposure information instead of just showing a blank screen.
For more information see the Hasselblad website, where you can download the X1D firmware and the H6D firmware.

Press release

HASSELBLAD FIRMWARE UPDATE 1.20 FOR X AND H SYSTEMS

Hasselblad continues to push the development of their systems further with new features in the 1.20 Firmware update.

Hasselblad continues to expand on the capabilities of its highly unique and renowned camera systems with the latest firmware update. The 1.20 Firmware brings exciting new updates and functionality to the X and H Systems that allow photographers and artists help capture their creative vision.

These new features include Instant Preview and Imaging Browsing through the X1D EVF, a beneficial utility that many photographers rely on. Firmware 1.20 also offers creative Selectable Crop Modes including the popular X-Pan Ratio (65:24), 1:1, 7:6, 5:4, 3:2, 16:9, 2:1, A4, US Letter and more.

“Hasselblad is a company that designs and creates tools for photographers. We have released many firmware updates in the past year. It shows our dedication to our customers and that we are listening to their feedback on how to improve.” said Ove Bengtsson, Product Manager.

Hasselblad is pleased to also announce contrast autofocus compatibility using the XH lens adapter with a select group of HC/HCD lenses. A full list of updates for the X and H Systems can be found below along with compatible lenses for the XH lens adapter.

https://www.hasselblad.com/x1d/firmware/
https://www.hasselblad.com/h6d/firmware/

X1D: v1.20.0

  • Instant preview and image browsing in EVF
  • Selectable crop modes
  • Back-up to secondary card
  • Added EXIF tag: Lens Model
  • Spirit level overlay: More info added (Exposure time, Aperture value, ISO)
  • Touchpad: Pan in zoomed-in EVF live view
  • Touchpad; Move focus point with HDMI attached screen
  • Contrast auto focus with XH adapter*
    *works now with following lenses:
    HCD 4/28mm
    HC 3,5/35mm
    HC 3,5/50 mm
    HC 3,5/50 mm II
    HC 2,8/80 mm
    HC 2,2/100mm

The lenses need to be upgraded to lens firmware version 19.0.2
More info here: https://www.hasselblad.com/x1d/firmware/

H6D: v1.20.0

  • Selectable crop modes in Live View
  • Back-up to secondary card
  • Added EXIF tag: Lens Model
  • Spirit level overlay: More info added (Exposure time, Aperture value, ISO

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on Hasselblad adds X-Pan mode and EVF preview to X1D, plus AF to H lenses on the X system adapter

Posted in Uncategorized

 

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

14 Dec

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Like it or not, 2017 is the year that background-blurring Portrait Modes gained major traction in smartphone photography. Apple and Google both offer improved versions of the mode in their latest devices, making for better-looking results all around. But the two manufacturers take somewhat different approaches to the process, each with different limitations and strengths. Take a look some side-by-side shots to see how they square up, and learn about some of the underlying technologies in the accompanying text.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/60sec 4.459mm ISO 382

Because the Pixel 2 back cameras use both a depth map (stereo) generated from the split pixels as well as ‘segmentation’ (which uses machine learning to identify people / faces vs. background), both subjects in this photo are largely in focus. This is a result one wouldn’t expect from real optics, since the person behind should also be blurred. This doesn’t always happen with the Pixel 2, but sometimes it does if the subjects are close to one another and both identified as people / faces. Sometimes it’s actually desirable, but at other times it can feel unnatural.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/40sec 4.459mm ISO 400

Because of the F1.8 lens and HDR+ noise averaging (with alignment of images), the Pixel 2 can take photos of even slightly moving subjects in low light. Again note the progressive blur here: the back of the baby seat is only slightly blurred as are the switches in the background but the trees against the sky very far away are far more blurred.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/120 6.6mm ISO 80

Here the iPhone’s longer – albeit slower (F2.8 vs. F1.8) – lens renders the background blurrier than the similar Pixel 2 shot. Note the odd dark/light patterns in the out-of-focus highlights though. This is commonly seen in out-of-focus highlights on iPhone shots, but not on the Pixel’s shots.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/209sec 4.459mm ISO 50

The background is a bit less blurred vs. the iPhone shot, probably largely because of the shorter focal length. Note the algorithm has mistook the bike’s steerer tube as part of the background (or foreground). Note the slightly darker centers in the out-of-focus highlights. More on this in the next photo…

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/209sec 4.459mm ISO 50

Lenses in smartphones have complex aspherical elements in them, which can lead to somewhat unpleasant disc-shaped blur that lends itself to things like donut-hole and generally ‘busy’ bokeh. Portrait mode helps mitigate this effect by blurring background and foreground pixels enough that these odd effects are essentially ‘evened out’. But not perfectly: the pixels in the dark rings in the center of each OOF highlight are still replaced by translucent (larger) discs of the same color, meaning there will still be some dark translucent circles in those areas. It’s subtle, since most of the pixels in those OOF highlights are light, not dark, but it’s still there if you look for it (in the previous photo).

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/120sec 6.6mm ISO 320

Two things of note in this iPhone shot here: (1) note the patterning within the out-of-focus highlights (it’s not a uniform disc) and (2) the blown highlights on the wood since HDR is shy to activate in Portrait Mode. Often tapping on the bright overexposed portion in your preview will darken the image enough to force the iPhone to turn on its HDR mode, but results can be inconsistent. The Pixel 2 cameras in comparison are always operating in HDR+ mode, even in Portrait mode, and are less prone to this.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/120sec 4.459mm ISO 89

Note the far better exposure vs. the iPhone: HDR+ ensured the wood in Portrait mode shot did not blow out.

Also, note the brightest out-of-focus highlight, just to the left of the plant. It does *not* have a darker middle as we saw in the bike shot. This is because in the original shot (next photo), this highlight is completely blown, so the algorithm isn’t starting with the donut-hole disc we saw in the out-of-focus yellow lights in the bike shot. Completely blown out-of-focus highlights will look smooth and uniform – more so than with the iPhone 8.*

*It’s important to keep in mind that since the blurs are largely algorithms, some aspects of the bokeh may be updated simply by software updates. The comments we’re making throughout here are only really applicable for the software versions we shot the images with.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/120sec 4.459mm ISO 89

Note the three major out-of-focus highlights just to the left of the plant. The darker ones show donut-hole bokeh but are dim enough that they get completely blurred into surrounding pixels in the Portrait mode shot (previous photo). The blown out-of-focus highlight to the left of them gets blurred to a pleasing uniform disc, without a dark center (which was not the case in the yellow out-of-focus highlights in the bike shot, which had slightly darker centers).

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/120sec 4.459mm ISO 218

Sometimes, with very close-up objects, we’ve noticed the Pixel 2 cameras do not blur the background much, if at all. Compare this Portrait image to the original image (next photo).

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/120sec 4.459mm ISO 218

Non blurred version of previous image. It’s not much different. We haven’t noticed this issue with the iPhone.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/120sec 6.6mm ISO 200

The sprouts in the back cause artifacts in this image (see next image for comparison). This can happen with dual camera setups, since the two cameras often see very shifted stereo pairs for close objects. If the two cameras see two different things at what it thinks is the same location in the shot, this can cause artifacts not as easily caused from less separated stereo pairs (although lower separation comes with its share of issues as well).

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/120sec 4.459mm ISO 127

The Pixel 2 cameras’ stereo pair viewpoints are less than 1mm apart (roughly the diameter of the lens), and appear to have fewer issues with artifacts when shooting close-up objects against farther backgrounds. Since overall stereo disparity in the pair isn’t drastic, there’s less of a chance that the two perspectives see different things at the same image location. Note the sprouts here don’t get blurred oddly as in the iPhone image.

Also note the progressive blur in the bread, with the closer parts of the bread less blurred than the further parts. This is because Google uses the stereo pair of images to generate an actual depth map. The subject in focus shows no stereo disparity, objects progressively behind show more and more disparity while objects in front show more disparity but in the *opposite* direction. This is how the algorithms can generate essentially a ‘heat map’ of further and further behind the subject (or in front) from which it decides how much blur to apply to each pixel.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/60sec 6.6mm ISO 320

The iPhone version of this shot has more blown highlights than the Pixel 2 version, presumably because HDR did not kick on automatically.

Also, there are more depth map errors around the subject’s hair, again possibly because of how close to the camera she is (where the two cameras are likely to see different things at the same image location).

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/120sec 4.459mm ISO 147

The Pixel 2 version of this shot has far fewer depth map errors around our subject, particularly her hair.

Also, since HDR+ is always active on Pixel 2 cameras, the captured dynamic range is far higher.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/120sec 6.6mm ISO 32

We found the iPhone to struggle a little more with autofocus in backlight and low light, but it did nail focus here for the most part.

Interestingly, the iPhone appears to preserve more of the out-of-focus highlights in the background than the Pixel 2 (next photo).

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/867sec 4.459mm ISO 50

The Pixel 2 appeared to struggle less with autofocus than the iPhone 8 Plus, nailing it here.

Of note though is that the Pixel 2 appears to have preserved fewer of the out-of-focus highlights (‘bokeh balls’ as we call them here around the office), or at least dimmed them compared to the more obvious ones in the iPhone shot. We wonder if this has something to do with the HDR+ algorithm, but are purely speculating.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/60sec 6.6mm ISO 250

Often, the iPhone 8 Plus in Portrait Mode would overexpose high contrast scenes, instead of activating HDR mode. HDR seemed reticent to activate in Portrait mode, leading to the blown highlights on faces here.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/120sec 6.6mm ISO 160

Tapping on the blown highlights resets dims the exposure and often forces HDR mode to activate. The Pixel 2 phones don’t have this issue, as they’re always operating in HDR+ mode.

Once exposure is adjusted though, the result is a very well-lit image with nice colors and convincing background blur.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/120sec 4.459mm ISO 52

Since the Pixel 2 cameras are always operating in HDR+ mode, blown highlights are well-controlled here resulting in a well-exposed image. Sometimes with very high contrast scenes, though, HDR+ images can start looking a bit ‘crunchy’ (the same thing happens in HDR merging software depending on the ‘radius’ setting).

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/120sec 6.6mm ISO 25

Here the iPhone 8 Plus produces a more pleasing result, with fewer depth map artifacts. It also preserves the warm tone of the sunset scene. Auto White Balance was generally stable and produced desirable results across many different shooting scenarios on the iPhone 8 Plus.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/1560sec 4.459mm ISO 86

The Pixel 2 cameras often show rather extreme variation in White Balance from shot to shot. Quite often, it neutralizes color casts too much: for example, here, it should have chosen a white balance closer to Daylight instead of neutralizing the warm sunset tones.

Also, when tones in the background and foreground are very similar, depth map errors can result. Note the errors around the hair of our subject, which might have been hard to distinguish from the dark trees in the background.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/1560sec 4.459mm ISO 61

Another example of depth map errors due to objects possibly appearing to similar to one another. Look at the artifacts around the hair on the right side of our subject and around her sunglasses. Next, look at how these regions might appear similar to one another in a lower resolution depth map by comparing to the un-blurred image (next photo)

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/1560sec 4.459mm ISO 61

You can see the areas of the blurred photo (previous) that contained artifacts are regions where the foreground and background (the hair vs. tree branches; the sunglasses vs. the dark background) might appear indistinguishable as you try and build a lower resolution depth map.

Another possibility is errors in segmentation, the process of identifying the entire foreground subject using machine learning.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/120sec 4.459mm ISO 281

For such a complex scene, the Pixel 2 did remarkably well, choosing to blur more than the iPhone in this case (next photo).

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/60sec 6.6mm ISO 800

The iPhone also does well, but here keeps more foreground leaves in focus before extremely defocusing the farther background.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/120sec 4.459mm ISO 281

Note the progressive blur: objects further in the background are blurred more than objects closer. This is because the depth map is generated from actual stereo measurements of how far an object is from the focus plane.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/60sec 6.6mm ISO 500

Apple quoted with the iPhone 7 that it calculates 9 different layers when making its depth map. It presumably does so by a process of precalibration, where certain stereo disparities from the focus plane correlate with certain distances from it. We wonder if this might be why sometimes the subject looks somewhat cut-out from a far away background, if there aren’t enough objects behind the subject that fall within those 8 layers (or however many Apple is now using) before that 9th (hyperfocal or infinity) one.

Either that or the masking in this photo makes the subject look somewhat cut-out (see around the hair).

It’s impressive though that the arm rest in front of our subject is properly blurred.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/120sec 4.459mm ISO 207

The blur in this image looks more natural and progressive to us. The colors leave a bit to be desired though, with somewhat desaturated, greenish skintones.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/120sec 4.459mm ISO 159

This looks more natural to us than the ‘cut-out’ look of the iPhone image, interestingly. However, what’s odd is the color tuning, which is different from the front-facing camera (next photo).

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/60sec 6.6mm ISO 400

We can’t help but feel our subject appears more ‘cut out’ against the background here. We wonder if this has something to do with the number of layers of depth mapping, or a suboptimal masking process (around the hair particularly).

Skintones are more pleasing than with the Pixel 2 image, though.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F2.4 1/60sec 3.38mm ISO 149

The front facing camera oddly has a different color tuning than the back camera and, arguably, a bit more pleasing. Skintones are more magenta as opposed to the cool, sometimes greenish skintones with the rear camera.

It’s worth noting the iPhone 8’s front camera cannot do Portrait mode. The Pixel 2’s front camera does not have a dual-pixel sensor on its front camera, so performs this blur simply through a process of segmentation. That’s where machine learning comes in. Google trained a ‘convolutional neural network’ with nearly a million images of people (‘and their hats, sunglasses, and ice cream cones’ according to Principal Engineer Marc Levoy) to learn which pixels belong to people vs. not.

And impressive result, given the lack of a depth map. You won’t get the progressive gradual blur you get with the real camera, but for selfies this is probably ‘good enough’.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/60sec 4.459mm ISO 382

I’ve included this here because I just wouldn’t have expected a smartphone to generate an image like this if you were to ask me just a year or two ago. In low light, dual-pixel AF got focus (it’s a little soft because Portrait mode uses a digital crop, then upscales), and foreground and background blur are both well controlled. Look at the progressive foreground blur on the right side of the plastic food table.

The image remains clean thanks to multi-image averaging, while using 1/60s indoors to ensure at least some sharp shots of even a toddler.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/60sec 6.6mm ISO 1250

The iPhone’s F2.8 aperture in Portrait mode (and smaller sensor), and likely the lack of the 9-frame image averaging HDR+ uses on the Pixel 2 results in many unusable Portrait mode images in low light. Compare this shot to the Pixel 2 one next…

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/60sec 4.459mm ISO 258

The use of a faster aperture (and likely larger sensor even after the digital crop) and 9-frame image averaging of HDR+ generally yields far more pleasing low light portraits on the Pixel 2 than on the iPhone 8 Plus.

HDR+ uses intelligent tile-based image alignment that can keep even moving subjects sharp by selecting appropriate ’tiles’ from the sharper images of the subject within the 9-frame buffer used for a single shot. That’s right, the camera is constantly shooting 9 full-resolution images at a minimum of 60 times a second – which also ensures zero shutter lag.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2
F1.8 1/60sec 4.442mm ISO 213

We’ve found some depth map errors can occur around high contrast edges. Note the dark rails surrounded by light backgrounds can cause problems. Still, this is a heck of a pleasing image of constantly moving toddler… taken indoors on a smartphone.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/3344sec 4.459mm ISO 51

Running toddler. Focused (well enough). Isolated from the background. Taken on a smartphone.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/294sec 6.6mm ISO 20

This is a good example of progressive blur with the iPhone 8 Plus. Note how the grass only a bit behind the subject is less blurred than the grass far behind the subject.

Furthermore, in this scenario, HDR did kick in in Portrait mode quite often, resulting in even exposures.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/5848sec 4.459mm ISO 61

This is another good example of the progressive blur thanks to the depth map on the Pixel 2: while all the grass and the background looked pretty much in focus in the original, the grass nearer to the subject is blurred less than the grass further away.

There are some artifacts around the subject’s hair, but that’s not surprising considering she was running toward me while I was running backward. The Pixel 2’s superior Dual Pixel AF allowed me to get the right moment more easily – it’s often as fast and responsive as a high-end ILC – while the iPhone 8 Plus would often experience a re-focusing lag after pressing the shutter button.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/585sec 6.6mm ISO 20

The extra telephoto reach of the iPhone is useful for further compressing foreground and background (and magnifying the background), which can be useful. The iPhone 8 Plus also tended to render more pleasing blue sky tones, and saturation generally.

And remember, since you’re shooting HEIF, you get extra storage space savings, and the advantages of 10-bit files with support for more colors thanks to the wide gamut P3 capture. Encoding in P3 gives the cameras a wider color palette to work with after Raw capture.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/2342sec 4.459mm ISO 51

Naturally there’s less compression with the Pixel phones due to their wider angle camera used in Portrait mode, but I quite like wide-angle portraiture.

Note the overall lower saturation, and somewhat bland skies. This is up to personal preference, but one thing to note is the Pixel cameras only output sRGB images. This means the color palette with which the camera can ‘draw’ is limited compared to recent iPhones. Google probably chose this method for now because sRGB is a good standard for most people, and Google doesn’t have a key advantage Apple has: a proper ecosystem. Apple is implementing P3 displays in all its devices, from its iPads to its Macbook Pros to its iMacs. That means you’ll actually be able to enjoy those extra colors in those P3 images – if they’re there – across all Apple devices.

The movie industry has already accepted P3 as the new standard (think of it like Adobe RGB but with more saturated reds, yellows and greens, but a little less cyan-green and cyan saturation). The video industry is eventually aiming for an even larger gamut: Rec.2020, which is only a bit smaller than ProPhoto RGB, and it’s great to see Apple pushing the stills industry to adopt it as well.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Sony a7R II
F1.8 1/4000sec 55mm ISO 100

Just for fun, we’ve included this full frame 55/1.8 shot. On a high resolution screen, or viewed at 1:1, the quality is obviously far above what either smartphone can produce. But flip to the next image and view it at an image level. For many people, the Pixel 2’s result is good enough. Especially for a device you have on you at all times that requires just one button press to take a well exposed, focused photo.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/4673sec 4.459mm ISO 62

Compared to the full-frame F1.8 previous shot, for many people this result will be good enough. Especially for a one button-press device you always have on you. Just be careful: don’t pixel peep.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/168sec 6.6mm ISO 20

The iPhone’s result is smudgier with more artifacts around the hair, but the blur and colors are quite pleasing.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/252sec 4.459mm ISO 51

Compared to the iPhone 8 Plus shot of this same scene, the Pixel 2 retains far more detail than the iPhone shot. This is likely due to its HDR+ mode that is always using multi-image averaging, therefore requiring less noise reduction. The iPhone shot (next) in comparison looks like it’s had a lot of noise reduction applied to it, at the cost of detail.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/120sec 6.6mm ISO 160

The smaller aperture on the iPhone combined with the less (or none at all) multi-frame image averaging in Portrait mode than the Pixel 2’s 9 shots means the iPhone 8 Plus uses more noise reduction than the Pixel 2. The result: a far smudgier image under the same (yet bright) conditions with far less detail.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/17sec 4.459mm ISO 413

In low light, HDR+ on the Pixel 2 ensures decent noise levels by aligning and averaging multiple images.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 8 Plus
F2.8 1/60sec 6.6mm ISO 1250

The combination of F2.8 and the requirement of 1/60s to avoid camera shake (no OIS on the telephoto lens), and possibly not as advanced multi-frame noise averaging as the Pixel 2 leaves a lot to be desired in low-light portraits on the iPhone.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone 5c
F2.4 1/20sec 4.12mm ISO 50

This is in here to remind us of how far smartphone cameras have come. Compare this iPhone 5c image to the Pixel 2 image (next)…

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/120sec 4.459mm ISO 215

Indoors, but only what should be blurred is blurred! The subject is sharp and in focus, with a blurred background, thanks to a fast shutter speed, HDR+ multi-image averaging with alignment so not much noise reduction is required, and a proper depth map to gradually blur subjects further from the focus plane.

And having this sort of a camera in your pocket at all times means you can capture fleeting moments like when your daughter doesn’t want you to leave for work.

Imagine what’s to come…

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

iPhone X
F2.4 1/60s ISO 320

We’ll leave you with one final comparison to whet your appetite for our next shootout: the iPhone X vs. Pixel 2. This is an iPhone X shot and it’s immediately obvious that the camera on the X does a better job at ‘cutting around’ hair, people and objects than the 8 Plus. Our best guess as to why is that perhaps it generates a higher resolution depth map, but that’s pure speculation. It’s repeatably better, though, at making heads look less cut out from the background.

Compared to the 8 Plus, OIS and F2.4 (compared to F2.8) on the telephoto lens both help Portrait mode on the X. Compared to the Pixel 2 shot of the same scene (next slide), the out-of-focus highlights are rendered more specular, and the colors are more pleasing.

Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Pixel 2 XL
F1.8 1/60sec ISO 233

The Google Pixel 2 XL shot of the same scene results in a far more candid portrait. Not only is the image sharper with more detail than the similar iPhone X shot, it’s closer to the shot I wanted. I was able to capture this fleeting hug instantaneously due to the fast autofocus. The previous iPhone X shot looks more posed and less candid because inside the Apple Store here, lighting was dim enough that the iPhone X was often slower at acquiring focus.

To our knowledge, Apple’s ‘Dual PDAF’ technology only dedicates roughly ~4% of its sensor’s pixels to AF. The Pixel 2’s Dual Pixel AF technology uses most of its sensor for AF, pixel binning to read out a low resolution, but also low noise, set of ‘left-looking’ vs ‘right-looking’ images. The 9-frame HDR+ buffer also helps reduce the noise for these sets of images, making autofocus in challenging situations vastly superior to any other smartphone we’ve tested.

The colors, on the other hand, leave a lot to be desired, with greenish skintones. The out-of-focus highlights are also not as specular as the iPhone’s result.

Stay tuned for an in-depth shootout of the Pixel 2 vs. the iPhone X…

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on Portrait mode shootout: iPhone 8 Plus vs Google Pixel 2

Posted in Uncategorized