Monday, August 7, 2017

iPhone and Android Cameras

Vic Gundotra:

It’s because when Samsung innovates with the underlying hardware (like a better camera) they have to convince Google to allow that innovation to be surfaced to other applications via the appropriate API. That can take YEARS.


Apple doesn’t have all these constraints. They innovate in the underlying hardware, and just simply update the software with their latest innovations (like portrait mode) and ship it.

Bottom line: If you truly care about great photography, you own an iPhone. If you don’t mind being a few years behind, buy an Android.

Via Kirk McElhearn (and John Gruber):

But this brings up a broader question: is the iPhone camera good enough for most people? Yes, certainly. Will it replace the DSLR? Certainly not. The use cases are very different. I think Gundotra has peers who used DSLRs for family photos, which is something they’re not very good at (well, they are, but they’re overkill). What is more correct is that the iPhone camera has killed the point and shoot camera, the compact, fixed lens camera.


But for those interested in photography, the DSLR with larger sensors, more megapixels, better high-ISO shooting, and interchangeable lenses, will remain popular. They just won’t be any more popular than SLRs were back in the days of film. Those of us who remember those days remember that most people had Instamatics or Polaroid cameras; it was very rare to see someone take family or vacation photos with an SLR.

Most of Gundotra’s remarks are in comment #51 to his Facebook post, but Facebook doesn’t seem to respect it own permalink or even expand the comments when following the link.

Gundotra is impressed with Portrait Mode, and I’ve seen good results from it, but I’ve also seen it really mess up images in ways that are not detectible from the thumbnail. So I definitely recommend using the Keep Normal Photo option. Otherwise you can end up with only the messed up Portrait version of a photo. (It’s too bad that HDR doesn’t work like Portrait in this respect. It’s no longer possible to automatically take both regular and HDR versions.)

4 Comments RSS · Twitter

Adrian O'Connor

> It’s no longer possible to automatically take both regular and HDR versions

I hadn't realised this had changed, I thought it just no longer worked for me. I assumed I'd not hit the right setting when I got my iPhone SE.

Well, that explains that. I really appreciated having both, sad that it's changed. 'Specially because HDR still sometimes looks terrible.

@Adrian Yeah, the issue with both HDR and Portrait is that some photos look much better with them and some look much better without them. If you can’t accurately predict that and consistently remember to change modes, you’re bound to “lose” opportunities for good photos regularly.

Wes Campaigne

I'm a bit confused, because the option to "keep normal photo" when taking HDR still exists and the setting is right there in Settings next to the corresponding toggle for Portrait Mode. The problem is just that the enabling of HDR always reverts to Auto? (The wording of that in this post is misleading, if that's the case.)

@Wes Yes, unlike Portrait Mode there’s no way to lock HDR to On. After a certain amount of time, iOS changes it back to Auto. And experience has shown that Auto misses a huge portion of the times when it would have helped. So in practice you have to enable it every time you pull out your phone to take a photo, an extra step right when you’re in a hurry to capture something fleeting.

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