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Posts tagged with "photography"


Halide 1.7 Brings New Depth Photography and ARKit Features, Darkroom Integration

We first reviewed Halide, the powerful third-party camera app by Ben Sandofsky and Sebastiaan de With, when it debuted in the summer of 2017, providing a powerful and elegant alternative to Apple's Camera app that fully embraced RAW photography and advanced controls in an intuitive interface. We later showcased Halide's iPhone X update as one of the most thoughtful approaches to adapting for the device's Super Retina Display; to this day, Halide is a shining example of how the iPhone X's novel form factor can aid, instead of hindering, complex app UIs.

While Halide was already regarded as an appealing alternative to Apple's stock app for professional photographers and RAW-curious iPhone users (something that designer de With covered in depth in his excellent guide), it was lacking a handful of key features of the modern iPhone photography experience. Sandofsky and de With want to eliminate some of these important gaps with today's 1.7 update, which focuses on bringing the power of Portrait mode to Halide, supporting the iPhone X's TrueDepth camera system, and extending the app's integrations via a special ARKit mode, new export options, and native integration with the popular Darkroom photo editing tool.

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Sebastiaan de With Tackles RAW Photo Editing

Editing RAW photo files can be intimidating for beginners. There are a seemingly endless number of adjustments that can be made, and it’s not always clear what each does. However, if you take the time to learn the tools and shoot RAW images on your iPhone or another camera, the results can be stunning.

Sebastiaan de With, the designer of Halide, an excellent RAW camera app for iPhone, has published the second in a series of articles about shooting and editing RAW photos. As de With explains at the outset of this second article in the series:

This guide will walk you through the basics of RAW editing and adjustment. Most of these pointers also apply to editing RAW files from other cameras, but some parts focus on iOS editing workflows and how to transfer your RAW files from your iPhone to your Mac or PC.

The remainder of the article is full of great tips and eye-opening examples of what can be done on a Mac or iOS to edit RAW photos. If you’re interested in photography on any platform, this is a must-read article. In an upcoming installment de With will cover advanced editing and editing with depth channels.

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Pixelmator Pro First Impressions: A Beautiful Modern Interface with Advanced Image Editing Tools

Five years in the making, Pixelmator Pro debuted today with an all-new look and host of new features. The new interface eliminates visual clutter and anchors tools in side panels, so you always know where they are. Much of the app’s chrome has been eliminated too, putting your project in the spotlight where you can focus on it and not the app. It’s a modern, clean style that makes the app feel spacious and professional.

Pixelmator Pro adds a raft of features as well. Layer styles, color adjustments, and effects are all highly customizable, can be saved as presets, and shared. I’ve only had a little over 24 hours to put Pixelmator Pro through its paces, but based on my first impressions, it’s an impressive debut that I expect will replace the original version of the app as my go-to image editor.

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Khoi Vinh on iPhone X’s Portrait Mode

Fair and balanced take on the iPhone’s Portrait mode by Khoi Vinh, who generally prefers a DSLR to capture special moments:

More to the point, quibbling over the finer points of photographic effects is somewhat (though not entirely) pointless. What really matters here is that there will be tens if not hundreds of millions of these cameras in the hands of countless people everywhere before too long, and those people will take billions of pictures with them. Only a vanishingly small number of these people will ever object to the details I’ve listed here; most will be incredibly pleased with how portrait mode performs and will share the fruits of their labors avidly.

Just on the merits of sheer volume alone, portrait mode will become a part of our collective visual vocabulary.

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Focos: Powerful Depth Image Controls in a Fun Package

The iPhone's camera has long been one of its most important features. Every year when new models are introduced, it's a sure bet that camera improvements are part of the package. Last year that remained true, but it also proved an even more special year for the iPhone's camera setup. The introduction of dual rear-facing cameras with Portrait mode was something different – pictures no longer just looked a little better than on older iPhone models, they looked almost professional-quality.

This year, whether you picked up a new iPhone or not, Portrait mode is a better feature than before. Part of this is due to software improvements in iOS 11, but another key benefit is that third-party developers now have access to the depth information in Portrait photos. For the first time, Portrait images taken with the iPhone can be edited and enhanced in unique ways, and Focos is a new app that takes full advantage of that opportunity.

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RAW Power for iOS Review

Earlier this year, I reviewed RAW Power for macOS and was impressed by its power and flexibility. Yesterday, Gentlemen Coders released a no-compromises version of RAW Power for iOS that matches the macOS version’s features and adds the ability to manage your photo library and make Depth Effect edits to Portrait mode photographs. There are a few rough edges here and there, but by and large, the app delivers on its promise of desktop-class, non-destructive photo editing on iOS devices.

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Austin Mann Reviews the iPhone X Camera

On paper, the differences between Apple’s iPhone cameras can be hard to discern year-to-year. That’s why I find photographer Austin Mann’s iPhone camera reviews so valuable. Every year, Mann puts Apple’s cameras through their paces while traveling around the world. In September, Mann took the iPhone 8 Plus to India. He’s back, this time from Guatemala, with a review of the iPhone X’s cameras.

Mann was particularly impressed with the iPhone X’s telephoto lens:

When we got the telephoto lens in the 7 Plus, it was a huge upgrade but the telephoto quality was noticeably less than the wide lens, especially in low light. This created a shooting conundrum… often wishing to zoom in but not wanting to sacrifice quality. Apple closed that gap this year by investing heavily into improving the telephoto lens.  

The iPhone’s screen gets high marks too:

This probably the most amazing display I’ve ever seen. Colors pop, blacks are true black and contrast feels just right. I actually found it more rewarding to shoot & share because of how amazing the screen is. 

During his tests, Mann also discovered that the iPhone X’s slow-sync flash has been substantially improved:

One of my favorite things about the iPhone 8 Plus review was the slow sync flash comparison against the 7 Plus so I decided to take the iPhone X to the streets for a similar test. While I set out to see the difference in slow shutter effects, what I actually found was the iPhone 7 was easily 2 seconds slower in focusing/firing when shooting moving objects in low light…

The technical differences between the lenses in an iPhone 8 Plus and X may seem small on paper. Austin Mann does an excellent job demonstrating the added flexibility those differences afford users in everyday situations. Be sure to check out his post for examples of what the iPhone X’s camera can do.

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Pixelmator Pro Announced

Just before WWDC, the Pixelmator team teased a Mac app they’ve been working on for five years. The big reveal came today with an announcement that Pixelmator Pro will be joining the Pixelmator family of image editing apps this fall. Reimagined and rebuilt from the ground up, Pixelmator Pro promises a whole new level of power and ease-of-use.

According to the announcement:

“Pixelmator Pro provides every tool you could ever need to create, edit, and enhance your images on a Mac in an incredibly intuitive and accessible interface”, said Saulius Dailide, one of the founders of the Pixelmator Team. “And with its GPU-powered, machine learning-enhanced tools, it’s truly one of the most advanced and innovative image editing apps on the planet.”

I haven’t tried Pixelmator Pro yet, but judging from the announcement, I expect we’re in for a treat. The most noticeable thing about the new app is its striking UI. Gone are the floating toolbars, replaced by left and right-hand side panels that fade into the background, so the image you’re working on dominates your workspace. I like the one window approach a lot, if for no other reason than I know exactly where my tools are at all times. The combination of a minimalistic toolbar, sparse chrome around the panels, use of transparency, dark interface, and ability to hide UI elements give Pixelmator Pro an expansive feel that emphasizes the image in your workspace instead of the tools.

The changes announced go much deeper than just a redesign, though. The Pixelmator team has taken the opportunity to incorporate the latest Apple technologies and harness Machine Learning. Pixelmator Pro’s editor takes advantage of a Mac’s GPU using Metal 2, the graphics framework announced at WWDC that will debut with macOS X High Sierra. CoreML, also announced at WWDC, will drive much of Pixelmator Pro’s editing engine according to the announcement. There’s also support for the new HEIF image file format.

Also, editing in Pixelmator Pro will be non-destructive:

Pixelmator Pro’s color adjustments, effects, styles, and layouting tools are completely nondestructive, giving users the freedom and flexibility to go back and modify or delete individual changes at any point in the editing workflow. Thanks to the new presets feature, you can create endless combinations of multiple adjustments, effects, or styles, save them to your favorites and reuse them in any of your images. Drag-and-drop sharing also makes it a breeze to share presets with others.

I expect the ability to share combinations of effects, styles, and adjustments will be especially popular.

Pixelmator Pro will be available exclusively from the Mac App Store this fall alongside the current Pixelmator app.