At Adobe MAX 2015 in Los Angeles today, Adobe outlined its vision for Creative Cloud — a “connected creative canvas” where people create and share their work from anywhere.
Hi folks, this is a follow-up on my first quick impressions, published last Friday, on the launch of new “super camera phones” in the Canadian market today. My take on how good the camera is on the just released Samsung S6 Edge +, Note 5, Moto X Play, joined be the recent LG G4 and Sony Xperia 3, has not changed. But here is a deeper dive on what makes these camera phones so good.
Happy Friday folks. Say “cheese” to the newest wave of top quality camera phones, with two new models available in Canada, starting today.
These phones are the best money can buy, although one is surprisingly affordable. They are basically great for any cutting edge challenges mobile users will run into today. But today’s blog is about camera quality and what features make them shoot better pictures.
They are all Android-based but will likely be joined by Apple’s scheduled iPhone 6 “s” update, weeks away, with a still rumoured 16 megapixel camera, long overdue.
What makes these phone cameras so good, leaving the fancy marketing mumbo jumbo aside?
It’s not just the megapixel number. The size of the photo sensor and the quality of the lens determines the picture quality. Additionally, camera processing software, often third party, can make or break a photo, especially in poor lighting conditions.
The speed of the lens, is more about bragging rights rather than final picture quality. Unlike traditional digital camera lenses that feature adjustable apertures and shutter speeds for proper exposure, phone cameras have a fixed large open aperture. The LG G4 currently features the fastest f 1.8 aperture, while most phones range from f2- f2.8.
Here’s my take from a photographer’s perspective on this new breed of phone cameras.
Last week I attended the much anticipated New York launch of the ASUS ZenFone 2, a new flagship phone that is heating up the competition between Chinese-made contract-free smartphones with all the bells and whistles and leading edge performance.
The Zenfone 2 features a 13 MP camera with ASUS-exclusive PixelMaster camera technology, a much improved ZenUI user interface, Dual-SIM (well yes but only one will take 4G SIMS) ) Dual-Active (DSDA) capability, and a new performance level against ANY phone.
Why? Under the hood of the Hull HD 5.5 IPS + screen is a 64-bit four-core Intel Atom Z3580 (‘Moorefield’) processor with up to 4GB RAM and an Intel LTE-Advanced XMM 7260 modem. ASUS convincingly showed how the world’s first 4 GB RAM smartphone could juggle between four memory intensive games, pausing between all four and not missing a beat when switching between them.
Despite today’s sophisticated smart phone cameras, I still like to take more serious camera hardware along when I travel.
Why? Because a 16 megapixel cellphone picture is not the same as a 16 megapixel quality mirrorless or DSLR with interchangeable lenses.
Why? Picture sensors on phones, with the exception of the Sony Xperia Z3, are half the size of your pinky fingernail. Compare that to the postage size sensors of interchangeable lens cameras like the Sony NEX, Samsung NX, Fujifilm X, Olympus Pen and bulkier DSLR cameras.
Physically larger sensors record richer colours, more detail in shadows and less noise at higher ISO settings.
Phone cameras have no real zoom lens. They basically shoot wide angle photos with the ability to zoom in closer, but at the expense of megapixel size and quality. This means phone cameras can’t shoot from far away like zoom lenses on real cameras. Nor can they shoot extra wide angle photos.
The lens on a smart phone has one aperture, typically f2, leaving the shutter speed to control the picture’s exposure. Due to the physically small size of the picture sensor, the depth of field on smartphone pictures is quite large (making near and far subjects look just as sharp) and cannot be changed. Again, zeroing in on closer objects, or portraits with an out of focus background is impossible to do with phone cameras.
Phone cameras are best at quickly recording personal moments near you. They are small and handy, but there are images further out that are worth capturing beyond your personal sphere.
Here are examples of “tourist” photos I recently took in Barcelona after the Mobile World Congress I reported on my Global TV Sunday Morning News today.
They were shot with a 16 MP Samsung Galaxy Note Edge and the Fujifilm weather resistant 16 MP X-T1 with top tier fast aspherical extra wide angle XF 10-24 mm f4 zoom which captures 3 times as wide a view as normal lenses, the new 16-55 mm f2.8 aspherical weatherproof and the 18-135 mm f3.5-5.6 aspherical zoom, also weatherproof, for my ultra-zoom close-ups.
See the first group of still impressive quality Note Edge pictures, unbeatable selfies, great panoramas and medium wide angle views. Compare the variety of wider and tight telephoto views shot with the X-T1.
Click on photos to enlarge