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Posts tagged with "iPhone 11"

Sebastiaan de With Explains Why the iPhone 11 Camera Is Such a Big Leap Forward

Sebastiaan de With, part of the team behind the camera app Halide has published part 1 of a multi-part breakdown of the iPhone 11 camera. It’s a fantastic analysis of what makes the new camera different from past versions and goes into great depth while remaining accessible, even if you have only a passing familiarity with photography.

To put this year’s camera into perspective, de With recaps what Apple did with last year’s iPhone cameras explaining how Smart HDR works and its shortcomings. The iPhone 11 features Smart HDR too, but as de With explains, Apple has significantly improved how it handles the dynamic range of an image.

Another aspect of the improvement is in the camera sensor hardware. Despite its diminutive size, the iPhone 11’s image sensor can resolve more detail than any iPhone camera before it.

However, many of the iPhone 11’s camera improvements come down to better software. The new camera post-processes each component of an image differently, applying different noise reduction to the sky, a face, hair, and clothing, for example. Apple calls the feature Photo Segmentation, and it’s aided by machine learning.

One of my favorite features of the new camera is Night Mode. As de With notes:

In the iPhone 11 Night Mode, you can also see detail vanish in some areas. Except that it really seems to only affect parts of the image that you don’t really care that much about. Night Mode has a remarkable if not uncanny ability to extract an image that is sometimes even sharper than the regular mode, with strong sharpening and detail retention occurring in areas that are selected by the camera during processing.

The iPhone 11’s camera is also the first one de With thinks rivals standalone cameras:

In the past, iPhones made great photos for sharing on social media, but blown up on a big screen, the shots didn’t hold up. It’s why I frequently still pack a ‘big’ camera with me on trips.

With these huge improvements in processing, the iPhone 11 is the first iPhone that legitimately challenges a dedicated camera.

There are many more details in de With’s article, including a close look at the iPhone 11’s ultra wide lens. Every section of the post has photos and side-by-side comparisons that illustrate the analysis too, which makes the full post a must-read].

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Eternal City, Modern Photography: The iPhone 11 Pro in Rome

The Colosseum at night. Shot on iPhone 11 Pro using the wide lens, with night mode enabled. Unedited. Zoom in for details.

The Colosseum at night. Shot on iPhone 11 Pro using the wide lens, with night mode enabled. Unedited. Zoom in for details.

In many ways, the iPhone 11 Pro’s camera system feels like the culmination of over a decade’s worth of judicious, relentless improvements. Not only is the device’s camera the best and smartest Apple has ever shipped, but it also affords the most photographic freedom, allowing non-professional photographers like me to produce amazing shots with minimal effort.

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    Shortcuts Corner: Quick Contacts, RSS Feeds, Inspecting Lenses for iPhone 11 Photos, and Turning Reminders to Notes

    In this week’s installment of the Shortcuts Corner, I share two app-based shortcuts (for Quickness and Fiery Feeds) that I teased earlier this week, which let you create new contacts and subscribe to RSS feeds, respectively. Additionally, I’ve been working on an iPhone 11 Pro photography story, and I’ve created a shortcut that lets you double-check which camera was used to take a particular picture. Lastly, I share a preview of a shortcut to batch-convert reminders to notes, which is exclusive to Club MacStories members this week. Let’s dive in.

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    Apple’s Deep Fusion Camera Feature Launching as Part of the iOS Developer Beta Program

    According to TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino, Apple will roll out the Deep Fusion camera feature announced at the company’s fall iPhone event today as part of the iOS developer beta program.

    Deep Fusion is Apple’s new method of combining several images exposures at the pixel level for enhanced definition and color range beyond what is possible with traditional HDR techniques. Panzarino explains how Deep Fusion works:

    The camera shoots a ‘short’ frame, at a negative EV value. Basically a slightly darker image than you’d like, and pulls sharpness from this frame. It then shoots 3 regular EV0 photos and a ‘long’ EV+ frame, registers alignment and blends those together.

    This produces two 12MP photos – 24MP worth of data – which are combined into one 12MP result photo. The combination of the two is done using 4 separate neural networks which take into account the noise characteristics of Apple’s camera sensors as well as the subject matter in the image.

    Apple told Panzarino that the technique “results in better skin transitions, better clothing detail and better crispness at the edges of moving subjects.”

    There is no button or switch to turn Deep Fusion on. Like the over-crop feature that uses the ultra wide lens to allow photo reframing after the fact, Deep Fusion is engaged automatically depending on the camera lens used and light characteristics of the shot being taken. Panzarino also notes that Deep Fusion, which is only available for iPhones that use the A13 processor, does not work when the over-crop feature is turned on.

    I’ve been curious about Deep Fusion since it was announced. It’s remarkable that photography has become as much about machine learning as it is about the physics of light and lenses. Deep Fusion is also the sort of feature that can’t be demonstrated well onstage, so I’m eager to get my hands on the beta and try it myself.

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    iPhone 11 Pro and Apple Watch Series 5 Impressions: The Best of Iteration

    The general expectation leading up to this year’s iPhone and Apple Watch debuts was that “boring” updates were in store. The iPhone, it was reported, would have an unattractive triple-camera system and little else in the way of improvements; some thought the Apple Watch might not get an update at all.

    When Apple officially introduced its new devices to the world, my own reactions were largely positive, though a little mixed. On paper, the latest iPhone and Apple Watch models offer less year-over-year improvements in quantity than Apple usually treats us to. But the advancements that are here – cameras and battery for the iPhone, always-on display for the Watch – are qualitatively huge.

    Apple is really good at making two key things: revolutionary products and iterative ones. Every now and then the company creates something that’s truly transformative, a product with undeniable cultural impact. The iPod, iPhone, and iPad are classic picks, but more recently AirPods and the iPhone X deserve similar recognition. However, in-between these giants sit a lot of iterative updates, where existing products get a little bit better. Stacked against the culture-shakers these iterative updates are comparatively less exciting, but they’re almost always objectively better products than their predecessors.

    The iPhone 11 and Apple Watch Series 5 lines aren’t revolutionary, but they may well be remembered as some of the best iterative products Apple has ever shipped.

    My early impression, after just a few days with the iPhone 11 Pro and Watch Series 5, is that this year’s updates have the potential to stand out over time for one main reason: they give users what we’ve all been asking for.

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    Austin Mann on the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro Cameras

    Source: austinmann.com

    Source: austinmann.com

    Every year I look forward to Austin Mann taking the latest iPhones through their paces somewhere in the world. This year, Mann is on tour with cellist Yo-Yo Ma in China where he went out into the countryside to capture some stunning portraits and landscapes.

    Mann’s review covers the new Ultra Wide lens, Night Mode, Smart HDR improvements, and ability to capture outside the frame, along with wishes for additional improvements. Mann’s take on Night Mode:

    As long as I can remember, the top question I’ve received from iPhone photographers, beginners and pros alike, is How can I shoot better pictures in low light? This year’s addition of Night mode is the answer to the question. It’s easy to use, crazy powerful, and because it’s automatic it will completely change how everyone shoots on their iPhone.

    Mann confirms what seemed to be the case from the photos that Apple showed off last week at its event in Cupertino – Apple has implemented Night Mode in a way that doesn’t try to turn night into day:

    One thing I love about Apple’s approach to Night mode is the strategic balance of solving a technical problem while also caring deeply about artistic expression. When you look at the image above, it’s clear their team didn’t take the let’s-make-night-look-like-day approach, as some of their competitors have. Instead, it feels more like an embrace of what it actually is (night) while asking, “How do we capture the feel of this scene in a beautiful way?”

    How Apple accomplishes Night Mode is interesting. As Mann explains:

    From what I understand, the way Night mode actually works is the camera captures a bunch of short exposures and slightly longer exposures, checks them for sharpness, throws out the bad ones and blends the good ones. On a traditional dSLR/mirrorless camera, a 5 second exposure is one single, continuous recording of the light throughout the duration of the shutter so any movement (of subject or camera) is recorded.

    But with iPhone 11 Pro the rules are different… it’s not capturing one single continuous frame but blending a whole bunch of shots with variable lengths (some shorter exposures to freeze motion and longer shots to expose the shadows.) This means the subject can actually move during your exposure but still remain sharp.

    If you’ve been wondering about the new Ultra Wide camera on the new iPhones or the other new features of the camera app, be sure to check out Austin Mann’s full review for great technical and artistic insights about what Apple has accomplished with its new cameras as well as some absolutely fantastic examples of what they can do.

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    iPhone 11 and 11 Pro Review Roundup: The King of Cameras?

    Today the first reviews for the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro dropped, and they should inspire excitement in anyone planning to pick up a new iPhone later this week. Apple’s claims for massive battery life increases on the Pro models seem to have proven true, Face ID is better than before, and each device is more durable than before too, but the cameras are where this year’s iPhones truly shine. In years past the iPhone was the undisputed camera king, and with the 11 and 11 Pro Apple is building a compelling case why that’s true once more.

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    The Potential of the iPhone 11’s Ultra Wideband U1 Chip

    A feature of the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro that didn’t get stage time this week was Apple’s new U1 chip, which adopts the relatively new Ultra Wideband wireless technology. The UWB Alliance, an industry trade group, describes the technology as follows:

    UWB is a unique radio technology that can use extremely low energy levels for short-range, high-bandwidth communications over a large portion of the radio spectrum. Devices powered by a coin cell can operate for a period of years without recharge or replacement. UWB technology enables a broad range of applications, from real-time locating and tracking, to sensing and radar, to secure wireless access, and short message communication. The flexibility, precision and low-power characteristics of UWB give it a unique set of capabilities unlike any other wireless technology.

    For now, all Apple has said is that the U1 chip will permit users to point an iPhone 11 at another iPhone 11 and “and AirDrop will prioritize that device so you can share files faster.” However, the same iPhone 11 Pro preview page also notes that the U1 is “going to lead to amazing new capabilities.” In light of recent rumors that Apple is developing a hardware tag for tracking your belongings, it’s not hard to imagine at least one application that the company probably has in mind. However, Tile-like item tracking is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Over on Six Colors, Jason Snell has dug deeper into UWB technology. Snell spoke to Mickael Viot, the VP of marketing at UWB chipmaker Decawave, to better understand other use cases for UWB:

    But the possible applications of UWB go way beyond AirDrop and tracking tags. Decawave’s Viot says potential applications include smart home tech, augmented reality, mobile payments, the aforementioned keyless car entry, and even indoor navigation. (And it’s not a power hog, either—Viot says that Decawave’s latest UWB chip uses one-third of the power of a Bluetooth LE chip when in beacon mode, as a tracking tile would be.)

    It’s interesting to consider what UWB could enable, especially inside the home. Apple will expand the automation capabilities of NFC tags, which are useful for home automation setups, in iOS and iPadOS 13.1. However, NFC tags still need to be scanned to trigger actions. UWB has the potential to go well beyond NFC by using spatial awareness and presence to expand how we interact and automate all sorts of smart devices.

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    iPhone 11 and 11 Pro: The MacStories Overview

    Today Apple hosted its annual September event at Apple Park in Cupertino, unveiling new hardware for the fall and the launch details of its latest services. New iPhones were a large focus of the event, as always, with Apple debuting three flagship models: the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. All new models will be available for pre-order this Friday, September 13 starting at 5AM PDT, and will ship the following Friday, September 20.

    The iPhone 11 is the successor to last year’s iPhone XR model, with a 6.1-inch LCD display, while the two Pro models succeed the iPhone XS and XS Max, retaining their 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch sizes in newly upgraded OLED screens. These names represent a shift in how Apple is positioning its different iPhone models. 2018’s iPhone XR model was presented by Apple as the lower cost sibling of the XS and XS Max flagships. The device’s high level of feature parity with the XS line meant it was actually the best option for the masses, but Apple’s naming and marketing failed to communicate that well. This year there’s no question: the iPhone 11 is the flagship iPhone, while the Pro and Pro Max exist as higher end options for customers who value the specific advantages they offer. Ultimately, however, all new models share far more similarities than differences.

    Each new iPhone comes with a variety of improvements, such as the upgraded A13 Bionic chip, which enables significant battery improvements, plus there’s faster and easier to use Face ID, increased water resistance, spatial audio, and more. Over and above all these things, however, the clear emphasis for Apple this year was on cameras. Though the 11 Pro and Pro Max offer the greatest improvements, the standard 11 likewise seems poised to offer significant leaps forward in photo and video capabilities.

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