Editorial: Why I can't stop taking iPhone Panoramas
So Apple unveiled a couple of new iPhones last week - you may have heard. After lining up for the new flagship iPhone 5s last Friday morning (long story, even longer line...) I spent the weekend shooting with it, and in general it was a positive experience. I've been alternating between very big (Nikon D800) and quite small (Fujifilm X100S) cameras for the past few months and leaving everything behind except my phone - which I always carry anyway - is liberating, if a little nerve-wracking.
Apple's new mobile operating system, iOS 7, is a significant visual refresh compared to what I'm used to, and after diving pretty deeply into it over the past week or so, it is obvious that the company is investing a lot of energy in highlighting the photographic capabilities of its hardware and software. The iPhone 5s's camera app is available right from the lock screen (this has been a feature for some time now) and in use the camera is fast, responsive and generally very accurate. In good light images are really nice, low light shots are decent if not outstanding, and the new dual-color flash definitely makes a difference to low light portraits. You'll find a link to the full gallery of pictures taken in a range of lighting conditions above.
We'll be publishing a full review of the iPhone 5S on connect.dpreview.com in good time, but for now, before the week gets too busy I want to take a quick look at what I think is the strongest feature of the new iPhone: its panorama mode. Now, automatic panorama modes aren't new, they've been around for a while, and the feature is now almost standard in most mid-range compact cameras, many smartphones and even some mirrorless cameras. iPhone users have had the functionality since the launch of iOS 6 last year. But the panorama mode in the iPhone 5s is a little different, and that little difference is seriously impressive.
It got a little bit buried in the presentation of the phone (Shiny! New! Fingerprint sensor! Comes in gold!) but for me, the iPhone 5s's panorama mode is definitely its most interesting photographic feature. Why? Well, it's just ridiculously good, that's why. Very fast capture (30fps as you pan across the scene), a simple and effective UI, and spookily accurate stitching make the mode useful, but the killer feature is what Apple is calling 'dynamic auto exposure'.
Available in the iPhone 5s only (presumably because of the processing power required) dynamic auto exposure is basically what it sounds like - exposure is automatically adjusted dynamically across a scene, as you move the phone to create the panorama. So if your scene incorporates bright and dark areas across its span, the phone will take that into account and adjust the metering as you go, delivering a final composite image with a balanced exposure.
As you can hopefully see from the images below, the iPhone 5s's dynamic exposure panorama mode works very well. That's why there are so many panoramas in the samples gallery we published recently, and why I've spent the past few days taking panoramic shots of pretty much anything I can! Keep an eye out for more coverage of the iPhone and all (other) things mobile on connect.dpreview.com.
|Llyod's Building Elevators by Jonathan Shapiro|
from Your City - Elevators
|Fire Lake by bbadgett|
|Tail Fins...1961 Cadillac Sedan DeVille by J Warren|
from Car Shows 2018
Think Tank Photo has updated its line of heavy-duty rain covers and introduced a new, compact version for emergency situations.
The X-T3 is our first opportunity to analyze what's likely to be Fujifilm's next generation image sensor. Take a look at how it performs next to the competition in our studio test scene.
Canon's new normal is seriously sharp wide open. After shooting with it for a few days, we've prepared a gallery of real-world sample images.
Nikon will cease offering Brazil-based customer service and technical support, though the company stresses that it will still offer technical assistance and warranty repairs for valid warranties.
Two years ago, CatLABS of JP announced a plan to save Packfilm from the dead. Now, it's announced it's giving up its efforts to better focus its resources elsewhere.
The GoPro Fusion is designed to make it easy to capture 360-degree video and stills. We took it out recently on a typically hot Seattle summer day to see what it can do.
We've got our hands on a full-production Nikon Z7 camera and have updated our gallery with additional samples.
A new Kickstarter campaign seeks funding for Chroma Chrono, a programmable RGB camera flash that emits multiple colors during long exposures.
Think Tank Photo has launched a new lineup of six dual-access, water-resistant protective lens cases it calls Lens Case Duo.
Canon and Nikon finally entered the full-frame mirrorless market this summer with the brand-new RF and Z mounts. Now that we've had some time with the cameras, we wanted to revisit our earlier predictions and take stock.
The devices' camera specs look pretty much identical to last year's iPhone X but under the hood a number of important improvements have been made.
Blackmagic Design has announced the public beta of its new Blackmagic RAW video codec. The company says the new format combines the benefits of shooting Raw video with the ease of use and smaller file sizes usually associated with non-Raw video files.
Serif, the company behind the Affinity suite, has announced the latest update for its mobile Photoshop competitor Affinity Photo for iPad.
The Atomos Ninja V external video recorder and monitor will be ready to ship at the end of this month. The 5.2in Ninja V is designed to provide a smaller option, while still offering many of the features of the larger 7-inch models.
Having shot with the camera, spoken to Canon and read the tea leaves, here's what DPR Technical Editor Richard Butler thinks the EOS R tells us about Canon and the RF's mount's future.
After last week's teaser, lighting manufacturer Profoto has announced its 'small big' new product. The B10 is designed to be used as studio flash head but in a very small body, and has a powerful continuous light source for videographers as well.
Konseen has launched Photo Studio, a new light box tent large enough to photograph people, as well as objects.
Seagate has introduced new high-capacity hard drives for Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices: the 14TB IronWolf and 14TB IronWolf Pro HDDs.
The case was first announced earlier this year as a Kickstarter campaign and comes with a range of features aimed at iPhone photographers.
Manfrotto has introduced a new two-in-one tripod to its Befree lineup. Called the Befree 2N1, this new addition is both a tripod and monopod in one and is available with both of Manfrotto's locking mechanisms.
This new high dynamic range editing software comes with an AI-powered Quantum HDR Engine for improved photo merging.
Apple has unveiled the next generation of its iPhone X in the form of three variants: the 5.8" iPhone XS and 6.5" iPhone XS Max with OLED screens, and the 6.1" iPhone XR with an LCD and single rear camera.
Ahead of the launch of the CamRanger II the company has announced a mini version of its wireless remote control system that it says has a longer range than the original in a body half the size.
Lens manufacturer Sigma has announced a trio of fast cinema lenses for full-frame camera systems, that it says will also be available in the future in the LPL mount for Arri’s large format camera system.
LumaPod is a a new tripod being funded on Kickstarter that takes just four seconds to set up and uses patented tension technology to keep your shots steady in a compact design.
X-Rite ColorChecker Video XL is an oversized color target for wide-angle, long distance, and aerial shooting.
ExperimentalOptics has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its second lens design, a 35mm F2.7 lens it claims is the world's 'smallest fastest pancake lens.'
The new XF 8-16mm F2.8 R LM WR and XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR are aimed at enthusiasts and professionals, and add considerable versatility to Fujifilm's growing XF lens lineup. We've been taking a look.
The Getty family is working to regain control of stock photo agency Getty Images, according to multiple reports published late last week.