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We reviewed three of the more popular 'pocket printers,' the Canon Ivy, Fujifilm Instax Share and Polaroid ZIP. Here's the one we recommend...
Aside from folks who still shoot film, almost nobody uses the term 'digital photography' anymore – it's simply 'photography,' just as we don't keep our food in an 'electric refrigerator.' Given the changes in the camera system in Apple's latest iPhone models, we're headed down a path where the term 'computational photography' will also just be referred to as 'photography,' at least by the majority of photographers.
The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max feature the same dual-camera and processing hardware; the upcoming iPhone XR also sports the same processing power, but with only a single camera: the same wide-angle F1.8 one on the other models. The image sensor captures 12 megapixels of data, the same resolution as every previous model dating back to the iPhone 6s, but the pixels themselves are larger at 1.4 µm, compared to 1.22 µm for the iPhone X, meaning a slightly larger sensor. (For more on the camera's specs, see "iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR cameras: what you need to know.")
More important this year is upgraded computational power and the software it enables: the A12 Bionic processor, the eight-core 'Neural Engine,' and the image signal processor (ISP) dedicated to the camera functions. The results include a new Smart HDR feature that rapidly combines multiple exposures for every capture, and improved depth-of-field simulation using Portrait mode. (All the examples throughout are straight out of the device.)
This feature intrigued me the most, because last year's iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X introduced HDR as an always-on feature. (See "HDR is enabled by default on the iPhone 8 Plus, and that's a really good thing.") HDR typically blends two or more images of varying exposures to end up with a shot with increased dynamic range, but doing so introduces time as a factor; if objects are in motion, the delay between captures makes those objects blurry. Smart HDR captures many interframes to gather additional highlight information, and may help avoid motion blur when all the slices are merged into the final product.
The iPhone XS image almost looks as if it was shot using an off-camera flash
Testing Smart HDR proved to be a challenge at first, because unlike with the HDR feature in earlier models, the Photos app doesn't automatically label all Smart HDR images as such. After shooting in conditions that would be ripe for HDR – bright backgrounds and dark foreground, low-light conditions at dusk – nothing had that HDR indicator. I wasn't initially sure if perhaps the image quality was due to Smart HDR or the larger sensor pixels; no doubt some credit is due to the latter, but it couldn't be that much. As it turns out, it's only once you've enabled the option to keep the original image that you'll see an HDR label on your photos. However, there's no way to force it on.
Comparing shots with those taken with an iPhone X reveals the enhanced effect of Smart HDR. In the following photo at dusk, I wanted to see how well the cameras performed in the fading light and also with motion in the scene (the flying sand). The iPhone X image is dark, but you still get a fair bit of detail in the girl's face and legs, which are away from the sun. The iPhone XS image almost looks as if it was shot using an off-camera flash, likely because the interframes allow highlight retention and motion freezing even as 'shutter speeds' become longer.
|Shot with iPhone X|
|Shot with iPhone XS|
As another example, you can see the Smart HDR on the iPhone XS working in even darker light compared to the iPhone X shot. At this point there's more noise in both images, but it's far more pronounced in the iPhone X photo.
|Shot with iPhone X||Shot with iPhone XS|
Smart HDR doesn't seem to kick in when shooting in burst mode, or the effect isn't as pronounced. Considering the following photo is captured at 1/1000 sec, and the foreground isn't a silhouette, the result isn't bad.
|iPhone XS image shot in burst mode. It's dark, but picks up the detail in the sand.|
|iPhone XS image shot in burst mode.|
|iPhone XS non-burst image captured less than a minute after the photo above.|
The iPhone's Portrait mode is a clever cheat involving a lot of processing power. On the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple used the dual backside cameras to create a depth map to isolate a foreground subject – usually a person, but not limited to people-shaped objects – and then blur the background based on depth. It was a hit-or-miss feature that sometimes created a nice shallow depth-of-field effect, and sometimes resulted in laughable, blurry misfires.
On the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, Apple augments the dual cameras with Neural Engine processing to generate better depth maps, including a segmentation mask that improves detail around the edge of the subject. It's still not perfect, and one pro photographer I know immediately called out what he thought was a terrible appearance, but it is improved, and in some cases most people may not recognize that it's all done in software.
The notable addition to Portrait mode in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max is the ability to edit the simulated depth of field within the Photos app. A depth control slider appears for Portrait mode photos, with f-stop values from F1.4 to F16. The algorithm that creates the blur also seems improved, creating a more natural effect than a simple Gaussian blur.
Apple also says it's analyzed the optical characteristics of some "high-end lenses" and tried to mimic their bokeh. For instance, the simulated blur should produce circular discs at the center of the image but develop a 'cats-eye' look as you approach the edge of the image. The company says that a future update will include that control in the Camera app for real-time preview of the effect.
Portrait mode is still no substitute for optics and good glass. Sometimes objects appear in the foreground mask – note the coffee cup over the shoulder at left in the following image – and occasionally the processor just gets confused, blurring the horizontal lines of the girl's shirt in the next example. But overall, you can see progress being made toward better computational results.
One thing I noticed with my iPhone XS is that it produced more noticeable lens flare when catching direct light from the sun or bright sources such as playing-field lights, as in the following examples; notice the blue dot pattern in the foreground of the night image.
Since I wanted to focus on the Smart HDR and Portrait mode features for this look, I haven't shot many Raw photos using third-party apps such as Halide or Manual (the built-in Photos app does not include a Raw capture mode). Sebastiaan de With, the developer of Halide, determined that in order to make faster captures, the camera is shooting at higher ISOs with shorter exposures, and then de-noising the results via software and image averaging. With Raw photos, however, that results in originals that aren't as good as those created by the iPhone X, because they're noisier due to - quite often - shorter exposures. You can read more at the Halide blog: iPhone XS: Why It's a Whole New Camera. But keep in mind: if you shoot Raw on recent smartphones, you relinquish the very real benefits of the computational approaches these devices are taking.
Overall, though, the camera systems in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max turn out to be larger improvements than they initially seemed, especially for the majority of iPhone owners who want to take good photos without fuss. Apple's computational photography advancements in these models deliver great results most of the time, and point toward more improvements in the future.
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We reviewed three of the more popular 'pocket printers,' the Canon Ivy, Fujifilm Instax Share and Polaroid ZIP. Here's the one we recommend...
The Olympus OM-D E-M1X is a more powerful dual-grip evolution of the E-M1 II. Aimed at sports shooters it promises improved AF, including advanced subject recognition, along with the highest-ever rated image stabilization system.
If you're looking for a high-quality camera, you don't need to spend a ton of cash, nor do you need to buy the latest and greatest new product on the market. In our latest buying guide we've selected some cameras that while they're a bit older, still offer a lot of bang for the buck.
What's the best camera for under $500? These entry level cameras should be easy to use, offer good image quality and easily connect with a smartphone for sharing. In this buying guide we've rounded up all the current interchangeable lens cameras costing less than $500 and recommended the best.
Whether you've grown tired of what came with your DSLR, or want to start photographing different subjects, a new lens is probably in order. We've selected our favorite lenses for Sony mirrorlses cameras in several categories to make your decisions easier.
|FIS World Cup GS 2018 by rmw18k|
from Ski season
|Little burrowing owl by Minas_Eye|
from A big year - birds 2019
|Surf's Up at the Wedge-1461 by vbuhay|
from -Insta-worthy- #Vacation_Moments #Lifeisperfect #YOLO
40 percent of Sony's new engineer hires in Japan will be allocated to the company's chip business.
We've had a little more time to shoot around with Panasonic's high-resolution full-framer and thus, top off our sample gallery. We've also had the chance to add a whole lot of Raw conversions.
Lens manufacturer Tokina has officially released details, price and on-sale dates for the Opera 16-28mm F2.8 lens it first showcased at Photokina in back in September. Expected to ship mid-March in Canon EF and Nikon F mounts, this wide-angle zoom will cost $699.
InukTech is planning to...well...kickstart its Kickstarter campaign for a unique take on a transformable tripod it calls Inuk.
The Ricoh GR series has long been a favorite of street photographers, and the latest iteration - the GR III - brings a new sensor, redesigned lens, in-body stabilization and on-sensor phase detection. We spent some time with a pre-production model in London and have some initial impressions to share.
The Ricoh GR III made its official debut today, and DPR contributor Damien Demolder got his hands on the camera for a quick photo walk through London. Take a look at the results.
Ross Lowell was a man of many talents who had more than 25 patents to his name, created a lighting company and created gaffer tape, a staple in the camera bags of photographers and cinematographers the world over.
Light has announced it's teaming up with Sony to combined experience and technology in their respective fields to create the next-generation of multi-camera smartphones.
The Ricoh GR III will be going on sale this March for $899. It has a 24MP APS-C sensor, newly designed 28mm equiv. F2.8 lens, in-body image stabilization and on-sensor phase detection.
Ricoh's new WG-6 is the company's latest waterproof camera, with a 20MP sensor, 28-140mm equiv. lens and the ability to go 20m/65ft underwater. If you need something that's both crushproof and chemical-resistant, there's the G900, which is designed for industrial use.
Version 6.0.0 of the open source image editing application digiKam is a major update and has been two years in the making.
Lomography has launched the Lomogon 32mm F2.5, a compact lens with full frame sensor coverage and a unique wheel of aperture stops that protrudes from the barrel.
At its Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung has officially unveiled the Galaxy S10 and S10+ with a triple rear-camera array, as well as a more basic S10e model with a dual main camera unit. As expected, the S10 series' display is the center of attention with a hole-punch style front-facing camera embedded in the screen.
Picktorial for macOS gets a major 4.0 update with new DAM, improved search functionality and overall stability improvements.
Samsung wasted no time unveiling the Galaxy Fold at its Unpacked event today – a foldable device with a 4.6" display when folded, and 7.3" display when unfolded. The device contains a total of six cameras – three on the back, two inside and one front-facing camera.
The Mi 9 combines a 1/2" sensor in its primary camera with ultra-wide and tele options to cover a wide range of focal lengths.
Photographers Ben Horne is asking for help to find the owners of a battered Fujifilm camera that fell from the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park.
Taiwanese lens manufacturer William Optics is proposing to make a flatfield Petzval lens aimed at star gazers and photographers that it claims is the world’s sharpest 250mm.
After a rare Seattle snowstorm finally subsided, DPReview editor Jeff Keller was able to escape the snow and spend some time with the impressive Fujifilm X-T30, a camera that offers a lot of bang for the buck.
Given that it uses the same sensor and processor as the X-T3, it's no surprise that the Fujifilm X-T30 is capable of producing some excellent photos. We took a pre-production X-T30 all over the Seattle area and have plenty of photos for your viewing pleasure.
Tamron has announced three new full-frame lenses slated to launch in the middle of 2019: an SP 35mm F1.4 Di USD and 35-150mm F2.8-4 Di VC OSD for DSLRs, as well as an ultra-wide 17-28mm F2.8 Di III RXD for Sony E-mount cameras.
Roger and his team at Lensrentals have switched things up and decided to build a lens rather than tearing it apart.
George Mendonsa, the gentleman kissing a woman believed to be Greta Zimmer Friedman in Alfred Eisenstaedt's iconic image titled 'V-J Day in Times Square,' has passed away at the age of 95.
Want to know more about the Canon EOS RP? We conducted a live Q&A that you can watch here. We'll be trying to address those comments we didn't get to in the comments.
Version 3.0.2 of Skylum's Luminar software has been improved for both Windows and macOS systems.
Until now, the word 'bokeh' has been a noun. But that may very well change with the help of Apple's recent video advertisement.
The EF-M 32mm F1.4 is a welcome addition to Canon's APS-C mirrorless lens lineup. It's a good performer all-around and enjoyable to use on the EOS M50, and we hope to see more like it introduced to the EF-M range.
The data breach we reported on last week did not only affect 500px but a total of 16 websites, including mobile image sharing platform EyeEm, Animoto, Artsy and Fotolog.
Camera Rescue, a Finnish organization determined to rescue more than 100K analog, has already saved 46,000 cameras and plans to more than double that number by 2020.
Independent lens manufacturer Sigma has announced that its new 28mm T1.5 cine lens for full frame sensor cameras will be available from the middle of March.