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Posts tagged with "photography"

Sebastiaan de With’s iPhone 14 Pro Max Camera Review

Sebastiaan de With, part of the team behind the excellent camera app Halide, has published his annual iPhone camera review, this year putting the iPhone 14 Pro Max through its paces in and around San Francisco, Bhutan, and Tokyo. de With’s review is packed with details about every lens and Apple’s computational photography pipeline, taking readers behind the scenes in ways that Apple simply doesn’t.

Regarding the front-facing camera de With says:

In our testing, the iPhone 14 Pro achieved far sharper shots with vastly — and we mean vastly — superior dynamic range and detail.

The ultra wide camera was substantially improved too:

…with iPhone 14 Pro’s ultra-wide camera comes a much larger sensor, a new lens design and higher ISO sensitivity. While the aperture took a small step back, the larger sensor handily offsets this.

However, it’s the 48MP main lens that impressed de With the most:

While arguably, a quad-bayer sensor should not give true 48-megapixel sensor resolution as one might get from, say, a comparable ‘proper’ digital camera, the results out of the iPhone 14 Pro gave me chills. I have simply never gotten image quality like this out of a phone. There’s more here than just resolution; the way the new 48 megapixel sensor renders the image is unique and simply tremendously different than what I’ve seen before.

Overall, the advances made to Apple’s Pro-line cameras are impressive this year. With new shooting modes and changes across all of the cameras, I’m looking forward to spending more time experimenting with what the iPhone 14 can now do.

Be sure to check out the full review for de With’s stunning photography and details on the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s other lenses, as well as what’s improved and what hasn’t when it comes to Apple’s Photonic Engine processing pipeline.

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The Halide Team Compares the Camera Specs of the iPhone 14 Pro to the iPhone 13 Pro

If you’re curious about the technical changes to the iPhone 14 Pro’s cameras, the Halide team has you covered with a side-by-side comparison between the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro. There are a lot of interesting details in the post, but it looks like the most significant changes are to the Main (formerly known as Wide) camera:

The Wide camera sees the greatest changes. The lens gets a bit wider, a 2mm focal length difference. The aperture is smaller (‘slower’), means the lens collects less light. This was probably necessary to work with a larger sensor. We calculate that the Wide camera is able to collect 20% more light compared to last year’s camera, even with this slightly worse aperture, thanks to its larger size.

We’re astonished by the improvement in the camera sensor’s ISO range. It goes far beyond previous iPhone cameras. Given high ISO values are accompanied by more noise, it’s highly likely this ISO range is made possible by how its higher resolution sensor combines 4 pixels into one, vastly reducing noise.

How these spec changes play out in practice will be interesting. We got some initial impressions in the reviews published earlier today, and Austin Mann’s review reveals some of the practical implications of the numbers cataloged by the Halide team. Still, I’m eager to see what Halide’s Sebastiaan de With and others think once they’ve had more time to push these cameras to their limits.

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Austin Mann Reviews the iPhone 14 Pro’s Cameras

Source: Austin Mann

Source: Austin Mann

Austin Mann’s review of the iPhone 14 Pro’s cameras is out, and as usual, he’s back with beautiful photos from an interesting location. This time it’s the Scottish Highlands where Mann put the iPhone Pro’s new cameras to the test.

One of the advantages of the new 48MP camera is more latitude to crop images without reducing their resolution too far. There’s a great example in Mann’s review of a tight crop on a rooster that illustrates how far an image can be cropped and still retain lots of detail. Still, Mann concludes that he’s more likely to shoot at 12MP than 48 in most situations because it’s still the fastest way to shoot and performs so well in low-light. Mann was also impressed with shooting video in Action Mode, although he notes that it requires good lighting and crops the resulting video substantially.

Mann’s bottom line:

With high-resolution imaging capability, Action mode stabilization, and a Cinematic mode that now supports 4K at 24 fps, the iPhone 14 Pro is a powerful imaging tool in the pocket of a creative pro. Beyond the cameras, new safety features like Emergency SOS via satellite and crash detection are exciting to have with me (and with my loved ones).

Now I’m just hoping we see some monster steps forward in the digital workflow so we can quickly get these beautiful files off our cameras and into our projects to share with the world!

For examples of the kind of shots that are possible when the iPhone 14 Pro is in the hands of a professional and more details on the camera’s performance, be sure to visit Mann’s site.

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Hands On: iCloud Shared Photo Library and Family Checklist

iCloud Shared Photo Library

Over the years, I’ve shared family photos with my wife Jennifer in three ways: iMessage, AirDrop, and Shared Albums. However, of those, iMessage won hands down, not because it’s the best way to share photos, but because Messages is an app we already use every day to communicate. Plus, sharing photos with Messages is easy whether you’re already in the app and using the Photos iMessage app or in the Photos app itself and using the share sheet. From conversations with friends and family, I know I’m not alone in my scattershot approach to sharing photos with my family.

It’s into that chaotic, ad hoc mess and all of its variations that users have improvised over the years that Apple is stepping in with iCloud Shared Photo Library, its marquee new Photos feature for iOS and iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura. And you know what? It just works.

The feature lets anyone with an iCloud photo library share part or all of their photo library with up to five other people. Once activated, a new library is created that sits alongside your existing one and counts against the iCloud storage of the person who created it.

One critical limitation of iCloud Shared Photo Library is that you can only be a member of one shared library, a restriction that is designed to limit the library to your immediate household. That means I could share photos with my wife and kids because there are fewer than six of us, but I couldn’t set up another library with my siblings or parents for our extended families. Nor could I invite one of my extended family members to use the extra slot I’ve got in my family library unless they were willing to forego being part of any shared library their own family created.

Unwinding a shared library.

Unwinding a shared library.

So, what do you do if you’re in a shared library and want to join a different one? There’s a button in the Photos section of Settings to leave a library, so you can do so with one tap, saving all of the photos in the shared library to your personal library or keeping just those you originally contributed to the shared pool. Deleting libraries is possible too, but only by the person who created them, who is given the choice of keeping all images or just the ones they contributed when they do so.

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Pixelmator Photo Switches to Subscription Pricing and Provides a Sneak Peek at the App’s Upcoming Mac Version

Source: Pixelmator.

Source: Pixelmator.

The Pixelmator team announced today that its iPhone and iPad photo editor, Pixelmator Photo, has moved to subscription pricing, and a Mac version of the app is on the way.

Existing Pixelmator Photo users won’t have to subscribe to continue using the app and should be able to add the Mac version at a discount when it’s released. New customers can subscribe for $4.99 per month or $23.99 per year after a 7-day free trial. There’s also a lifetime purchase option that costs $54.99. Pixelmator says that the subscription pricing will increase for new subscribers when the Mac app is released, so now is a good time to subscribe if you were hoping that the team would add a Mac version.

Pixelmator Photo for iPad.

Pixelmator Photo for iPad.

There are a lot of reasons for Pixelmator Photo’s move to a subscription model, which are explained in detail in the team’s blog post. As with any move from paid-up-front to a subscription, some users will be left behind, which is a shame, but I’m not surprised by Pixelmator’s move. I’m more surprised that the switch didn’t occur earlier. Pixelmator Photo is a top-notch, high-quality app that is continuously developed to keep up with advances in Apple’s photo editing frameworks and hardware updates. That’s not the sort of app that can be offered for a set price indefinitely, as demonstrated by the many other sophisticated apps, including other photo editing apps, that have made the leap to a subscription model. Hopefully, the switch to subscriptions will allow the Pixelmator team to continue to develop Photo for a long time to come.

There aren’t many details about the Mac version of Pixelmator Photo to share except for the image at the top of this story, but I like what I see. If you’ve used the iPad version of Pixelmator Photo, the Mac app will be immediately familiar with its spare UI and focus on the image being edited. There’s no word yet on when the Mac version might be released, but when it is, we’ll have a complete review.

The Pixelmator Photo update that adds its new subscription pricing model is available on the App Store now.


Photo Editor Acorn Adds Deep Shortcuts Integration

Photo editors are the perfect fit with automation tools because, so often, there’s a set of edits, filters, transformations, or file exports that you want to apply to multiple images. Many apps come with some sort of built-in batch processing tool, which is great, but supporting automation opens the door to integrating users’ photo editing processes with system features like Finder and other apps.

Earlier this year, Pixelmator Pro added deep Shortcuts integration, which opened up a long list of the app’s functionality via Shortcuts, enabling shortcuts like the machine learning-based super resolution one that Federico shared during Automation April. More recently, that app has been joined by Acorn, a Mac app with a long history of supporting automation with AppleScript and JavaScript support, as well as Automator actions.

With the release of version 7.2 at the end of July, Acorn added its own deep catalog of Shortcuts actions for users, including actions to:

  • Create images from the clipboard
  • Crop, rotate, flip, trim, and resize images
  • Apply individual filters and presets
  • Change the color profile of photos
  • Search for text in images

There’s some overlap with what can be done with other apps like Pixelmator Pro, but not as much as you might think. By combining Acorn’s actions with other system and third-party app actions, extremely sophisticated workflows that would take substantial time to complete one image at a time can be reduced to running a single shortcut, which, of course, is what Shortcuts and other automation schemes are all about.

Acorn is available directly from Flying Meat Software for $20.00, 50% off the regular price. The app is also on the Mac App Store for $20.99.


Adobe Announces Major Updates to Fresco and Photoshop for iPad

Source: Adobe.

Source: Adobe.

Today, Adobe announced substantial updates to Fresco, its drawing and painting app for the iPhone and iPad, and its image editor, Photoshop for iPad. I haven’t had a chance to spend much time with these updates yet, but based on Adobe’s announcement, the changes promise to be among the most significant releases yet.

Source: Adobe.

Source: Adobe.

Fresco is adding a magic wand selection tool that allows selections to be made based on color. A slider adjusts the color that defines the selection, which gives artists fine-grained control over what is selected. As with magic wand tools in other Adobe products, the purpose of the new tool is to eliminate tedious manual selection methods where possible.

Source: Adobe.

Source: Adobe.

The app has also added a liquify tool that blends colors on Fresco’s canvas as though they were paint. Liquify, which is part of the Transform set of tools, allows users to push, pull, and mix adjacent colors in a way that looks quite natural in Adobe’s demonstrations.

Fresco first added tools that brought compositions to life with motion last year. Today’s update adds the ability to adjust the opacity of motion frames from the Frames action menu and move, resize, and rotate motion paths. Fresco’s update includes several other new features, including a recent brushes list, new vector manga brushes, and the ability to define reference layers, a handy way to separate line work from color fill work, and capture a perspective grid from an imported image.

Source: Adobe.

Source: Adobe.

The Photoshop update has added a new AI-based Content-Aware Fill tool that can use surrounding parts of an image to remove and fill unwanted sections of an image with a single tap. Content-Aware Fill is one of the marquee Photoshop features on the Mac, so it’s nice to see it added to the iPad now too. The app has also added a single-tap background removal and replacement tool, which relies on Adobe’s Select Subject technology.

Source: Adobe.

Source: Adobe.

To make quick adjustments to an image, Adobe has introduced auto-tone, color, and contrast tools to Photoshop too. Adobe says these are three of the most frequent actions taken by users on the desktop, so bringing them to the iPad should make it a much more attractive platform for editing images. Adobe’s font browser with over 20,000 fonts is available on Photoshop for iPad too.

I continue to be impressed with the pace at which Adobe apps, but especially Fresco and Photoshop, are advancing on the iPad. Both have grown into some of the most sophisticated iPad apps available and feel natural and native to the platform in the way they implement the equivalent of desktop features on the iPad.

Fresco and Photoshop are available as free downloads on the App Store and offer In-App Purchases to unlock certain features.


Apple Announces Winners of Its Shot on iPhone Macro Challenge

In January, Apple announced what has become its annual ‘Shot on iPhone’ photography contest. This year, the challenge presented to photographers was to take macro shots using the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. Here’s what Apple has to say about the winners:

Today, Apple is announcing the 10 winners who highlight the global and diverse community of iPhone photographers, with finalists from China, Hungary, India, Italy, Spain, Thailand, and the US. Their stunning images will be featured on apple.com, on Apple’s Instagram (@apple), and on billboards in select cities.

The winning images were picked by a panel of expert photographers that included Anand Varma, Apeksha Maker, Peter McKinnon, Paddy Chao, Yik Keat Lee, Arem Duplessis, Billy Sorrentino, Della Huff, Kaiann Drance, and Pamela Chen.

The image above, ‘Strawberry in Soda’ by Ashley Lee, was taken in San Francisco and is my personal favorite. The photo’s bright colors and the crisp bubbles offset against a dark background convey an energy that really sets it apart. Every photo picked by the judges is unique and stunning in its own way, though, so be sure to check out the winners in Apple’s press release and be on the lookout for them on Apple’s Instagram account and on billboards.


Pixelmator Pro 2.4 Adds New Color Adjustment and Effects Layers, Plus 200+ Vector Images

Source: Pixelmator.

Source: Pixelmator.

Pixelmator Pro 2.4, the photo and image editor for Mac, was released today with two new layer types, a redesigned layers sidebar, and over 200 built-in vector images.

Today’s addition of color adjustment and effects layers adds new flexibility to Pixelmator Pro that should simplify the creation of more complex layered projects. According to Simonas Bastys, lead developer at the Pixelmator Team:

One of the things that users love most about Pixelmator Pro is how it makes advanced layer-based image editing incredibly easy. And with the addition of color adjustments and effects layers, layer-based editing in Pixelmator Pro becomes even more powerful, enabling all-new workflows, such as advanced selective editing of photos.

I haven’t had a need for Pixelmator Pro’s new layers yet, but the possibilities are intriguing and something I plan to spend some time experimenting with more in the weeks ahead.

Adding new layer types to an image.

Adding new layer types to an image.

Pixelmator Pro has expanded well beyond photo editing to become a full-blown design tool. With today’s update, the app adds over 200 vector images designed by artists that can be incorporated into design projects using the app’s Shapes tool. The collection includes all sorts of shapes and symbols, along with categories like science and activities.

M1 Mac optimization isn’t a new feature of Pixelmator Pro, but the Pixelmator team reports that thanks to the app’s M1 tuning, machine learning tasks like ML Super Resolution and background removal run up to 1.7 times faster on Apple’s latest M1 Ultra chip. So, if you’ve got a new M1 Ultra-based Mac Studio, all of those computationally-intensive tasks should be faster than ever.

Pixelmator Pro is available on the Mac App Store as a free update to existing customers and is $39.99 for new users.