AppleComments Off on Honest MacBook Pro Review Says the New Laptop is Apple’s 5D Mark IV
In a single sentence, photographer and reviewer Jaron Schneider summed up the problem with Apple’s new MacBook Pro: it’s basically Apple’s 5D Mark IV. Too much time and build-up meant insanely high expectations, and Apple didn’t come close to matching them even if they did release a good product.
Schneider’s MacBook Pro review is one of the best we’ve seen. It does a great job of staying neutral, starting out on a positive note, explaining what it is Apple “fanboys” are chasing and why they’re willing to put up with so much, and then giving Apple a well-deserved lashing for the ways in which the new MBP falls short.
The question he’s really trying to answer is: is the MacBook Pro really “Pro,” and the answer seems to be “sort of.” The ultimate problem is that Apple tried to please everyone, and in the process didn’t really satisfy anyone. In Scheider’s words, “[The MacBook Pro] is a wonderful, beautiful product… that is in constant disagreement with itself.”
GearComments Off on Why I’m Leaving Apple for Microsoft: Switching as a Photographer
iPhones, MacBooks, Mac Pros, heck, even the Apple Watch, it was a good run indeed. However, times have changed, and that beauty that was once your innovation has now been covered up with the makeup that is nice marketing.
Don’t get me wrong, I am writing this on iMac number three, but like all other Apple products, it will soon be slower and barely usable due to some OS update that, while not mandatory, will show me an “update” banner ruthlessly until I succumb. But as I look back on the good times, I start to see what our relationship really was.
I was young and easily influenced. I didn’t just like Apple products, I looked up to them, for they were what professional photographers used. But now that my career as an advertising photographer is no longer new, I find the “need” that once existed is no longer there. When I get asked by strangers how I can get by as a photographer without having an iPhone, the reality of the relationship is drawn into complete focus.
It all started with a MacBook Air…
I was just out of college, and starting this career that is photography. I didn’t have a lot of money, but knew I wanted an Apple computer since they were made for creatives. Watching the keynote where Steve Jobs pulled the MacBook Air out of an envelope, I was smitten.
Unfortunately for me, I had to wait until I could buy a used one on Craigslist because the price new was too much. Creepy/shady transaction aside, there I stood with my first Apple product. It was perfect in every way, from the battery life, to the size of it, to how it felt to type on it. Over the years, many a blog post would be written on that little laptop and some incredible photo shoots would see their files transferred on its hard drive as I flew home.
However, as time went on, it got slower and slower. Through the latest and greatest OS updates that claimed to make it “faster,” my little MacBook Air would barely run Safari. But not to worry, I had been fortunate to have some success in this career, so I could buy a new MacBook that ran like the old one used to. On top of that, I could get a powerful laptop on which I could do all my editing while on set.
Enter the MacBook Pro…
Immediately upon taking it out of the box I remember thinking, it’s a bit big, but it’s like having a desktop that I can take with me everywhere. This argument fought in my brain, only to be quelled by the words of Jonathan Ive telling us that the fans were not symmetrical in it so it would be quieter. I carried around the MacBook Pro to every shoot for years, even to set with me as recently as last week. However, I have yet to ever edit a file on it, sans a quick resize.
While it may be possible to adjust files from smaller DSLRs, the idea of manipulating a 100 megapixel file on it is humorous at best. In short, my laptop has been what I have always wanted it to be, a file transportation system that I can write blog posts on.
So with that in mind, I began to crave the return of the MacBook Air. It was small, light and easy to chuck files on before getting on a plane. However, what we got was a new laptop that costs more to have less buttons (but at least we can select emojis on the keyboard). Herein lies my concern about Apple and the reason for my change.
AppleComments Off on Apple Announces the 2016 MacBook Pro with new Touch Bar
The release of the new 2016 MacBook Pro marks the 25th anniversary of Apple’s first laptop computer. As always, the refresh brings a reduction in weight and size, a boost in performance, but this time also introduces the new Touch Bar. But what does it mean for video editors?
The October Apple event came right on the heels of their recent launch of the iPhone 7, but many already had a clear idea of what was to be announced. With the current series of MacBook Pros overdue for a refresh, it was fairly obvious that it was their turn to take centre stage.
The new range of MacBook Pros is quite a bit thinner and lighter than the previous generation, challenging even the dimensions of the MacBook Air. In terms of connectivity, the 2016 MacBook Pro features Thunderbolt 3 ports only, offering incredibly fast speeds of up to 40Gbps. Even when using any one the ports for charging the machine, the rest make up for it due to the to the daisy chaining functionality of Thunderbolt. What is a bit of a downer for video shooters, though, is that Apple has completely left out the SD card reader on the new 2016 MacBook Pro. Oh, and it still features a 3.5mm headphone jack, just in case you were wondering…
In terms of performance, the 2016 Macbook Pro features an Intel Core I7 processor, AMD Radeon Pro graphics card with Polaris Architecture (for the 15 inch model) and faster SSD drives. Apple claims all of these improvements boost performance far beyond the previous generation in important areas for video production. The Retina display is also capable of quite a lot more contrast ratio and colour, responding to the ever increasing demand for higher dynamic range and wider colour gamut of today’s professional video industry. The graphics card included in the 2016 MacBook Pro was also mentioned to be capable of driving two 5K external monitors in addition to the MacBook Pro Retina display. Nice!
The feature that stole the show, however, was the new Touch Bar. This Retina-quality, multi-touch strip – located where the escape and function keys used to be – is a content-aware interface that allows you to control system and application settings with familiar gestures such as tapping and swiping.
Apple, GearComments Off on We Compared the iPhone 7 Plus Camera to a Nikon DSLR
Another iPhone has hit the market and once again Apple has claimed that its camera creates “DSLR quality pictures.” I never believe when any cell phone manufacturer makes this claim, so I decided to put it to the test.
The iPhone 7 Plus has two cameras on its back: one 12 MP sensor has a wide-angle lens with optical stabilization and excellent ISO performance, and the other has a standard/telephoto lens with poor ISO performance. Our iPhone cost us around $1,000 but we certainly can’t claim the camera itself is worth that much. It’s one of many included features of this smartphone and therefore we couldn’t compare it to a $1,000 DSLR. We decided to compare this phone to a Nikon D300s and a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. Both cameras shoot 12 MP files and both of them have a wide to standard “zoom” range. On eBay this kit sells for around $500. Honestly this is still too expensive to be a “fair” comparison because the camera in the iPhone certainly isn’t half of its value, but it’s what we had available.
Image Quality In Ideal Light
Winner: Nikon D300s
I expected the Nikon to absolutely destroy the iPhone in this test and I was shocked to see how well the iPhone’s wide-angle camera performed. If you printed both of these files out, I’m not totally sure you would be able to pick out which is which, but if we zoom in to 100% on a computer we could tell the iPhone had more grain and noise than the Nikon.
The Nikon D300s shoots at 7fps but the iPhone seemed to shoot around 15fps. That being said, the iPhone didn’t give us manual control and chose a slow shutter that produced blurry images. In short, the iPhone is faster but the Nikon got the better shot.
Shallow Depth Of Field
Winner: Nikon D300s
Once again the iPhone lost but was still quite impressive. The new “portrait mode” on the iPhone allows you to create a fake shallow depth of field that looks quite convincing, especially for web use. One major downside is that the longer lens on the iPhone used in this portrait mode does not perform well in low light.
Winner: iPhone 7 Plus
This test wasn’t even fair. The D300s was one of the first DSLRs to ever shoot video and it can shoot a very poor 720p. The iPhone shoots an incredibly crisp 4K. It’s amazing to see just how far technology has come in seven years.
Winner: iPhone 7 Plus
This was the biggest shock to me by far. I never would have believed that a cell phone could beat a DSLR, even if that DSLR was seven years old. Well, the iPhone was extremely impressive in low light and easily beat the ISO performance of the D300s.
This is a tough one to judge. A DSLR will obviously give you access to unlimited accessories like lenses and flashes, but the iPhone has access to the App Store. Currently, many apps are allowing you to shoot raw on your iPhone 7. If you want to shoot a long exposure, a DSLR is your best bet, but if you want to do almost anything else, an iPhone probably has an app available.
AppleComments Off on PSA: Apple to Update Retina MacBook Pros This Month, Hold Off Buying One
Apple’s powerful, photographer-friendly line of Retina display MacBook Pros are overdue for an update. But if you’re thinking of getting one anyway, don’t! Reliable reports claim Apple will announce an update to these laptops at the end of the month.
According to MacRumors and Bloomberg, both the 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro models are scheduled for an official update at the end of October, possibly at a press event on October 24th.
“Apple plans to introduce completely revamped 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros in the fourth quarter of 2016,” writes MacRumors. “The machines could debut as soon as October, and based on upcoming software release plans for macOS 10.12.1, Apple is aiming to finalize the software with features for the new MacBook Pros on October 7, suggesting a late October launch for the new machines.”
Here’s a quick roundup of “What to expect” that MacRumors posted a couple of months ago:
TechniqueComments Off on 500px ‘RAW’ Lets You Shoot, Edit, and License RAW Photos, All on Your Phone
500px’s latest app “RAW” is more than the name implies. Not only does it let you shoot and edit RAW photos on your iPhone, it also helps you license those photos to clients who submit specific briefs to the 8 million photographer 500px community.
Since the release of iOS 10, several camera apps have alreadyjumped on the RAW bandwagon by letting you shoot, edit, and share RAW files straight from your iPhone or iPad. But 500px RAW goes a step further by pairing that capability with on-demand photography assignments from companies looking to license photos.
On the photo editing side, 500px RAW offers some robust RAW editing tools. Beyond the basic edits like contrast and exposure, the app actually lets you edit hue, saturation, and luminance by color.
Once you’ve dialed in a look you like, you can save a custom filter. And if all that seems like too much work, 500px teamed up with some of their most popular users to create some ready-to-use presets for you.
AppleComments Off on iPhone can now shoot RAW photos, here’s why it’s a big deal
Apple and Google have finally agreed on something: RAW photography with DNG files. With the launch of iOS 10, Apple addsRAW support to select iOS devices with DNG (iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, 7 Plus, and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro), the same file format many Android users have had access to since the launch of Lollipop 5.0 over a year ago. But what exactly is RAW photography and DNG anyway – and what’s the big deal?
Smartphones traditionally snap the very familiar JPEG file that’s easily (and instantly) shareable. JPEGs are automatically edited and adjusted by the software built into the camera or smartphone so they’re ready to go. The downside is that JPEGs are heavily compressed. RAW file types, such as DNG, on the other hand, are untouched by that automatic software, leaving more of the photo’s data intact. The untouched RAW file, whether opened on a desktop program or a mobile photo editor, offers more flexibility in retouching than a JPEG that’s already been processed. As you might suspect, the tradeoff is that RAW files tend to be very large.
AppleComments Off on With the iPhone 7, Apple Changed the Camera Industry Forever
Camera companies, like traditional phone manufacturers, dismissed the iPhone as a toy when it launched, in 2007. Nokia thoughtthat the iPhone used inferior technology; the camera makers thought that it took lousy pictures. Neither thought that they had anything to worry about. Of course, neither anticipated the value of having a computer in your pocket, and what the camera folks, especially, didn’t anticipate was that, as the photographer Chase Jarvis puts it, the best camera is the one that’s with you.
The iPhone didn’t really start to cannibalize the camera business until the iPhone 4 came out, in 2010. That year, Instagram was born and a hundred and twenty-two million digital cameras were sold—a record, according to the Camera and Imaging Products Association, a Japanese camera makers’ trade organization. By 2015, however, that number had shrunk to about thirty-five million. Since that time, the iPhone has bulked up its photographic capabilities and formed a symbiotic relationship with social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and, especially, Instagram. The better the phone camera became, the more photos we started to snap and share. There are now nearly a billion smartphones worldwide capturing selfies, birthday smiles, breakfast sandwiches, Tuscan villages, and cats. In the past, such photos were taken by a point-and-shoot camera. Even today, the interchangeable-lens cameras and high-end cameras have their fans, so demand for these monsters still exists. But for how long?
We don’t know the digital-camera industry’s own answer to that question, but as of Wednesday the time frame certainly shortened. That was the day Apple announced its new iPhone. While in most ways the device launch was predictable, the iPhone 7 Plus, with its souped-up camera, made a big impression on serious photographers. The iPhone 7 Plus, which retails for seven hundred and sixty-nine dollars (or higher) has two lenses—a 28-mm.-equivalent, 12-megapixel lens and a 56-mm.-equivalent, 12-megapixel telephoto lens. Apple has managed to pack a lot of premium features—longer exposures, better aperture, and the ability to shoot digital negatives, which professionals call DNGs. A DNG is, essentially, a photo file that captures all the visual information possible for further manipulation, such as enhancing shadows or removing highlights. The new iPhone uses circuitry, software, and algorithms to create images that look and feel as if they came out of high-end cameras. Tellingly, Apple’s presentation of the camera’s abilities was the one aspect of the biennial iPhone rollout that wasn’t mercilessly mocked on social media.
AppleComments Off on iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Announced: Dual Cameras for Zoom and Bokeh
Apple just announced the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, a smartphone it calls “the world’s most advanced smartphone.”
The phones feature a new aluminum body that comes in shiny black, matte black, gold, silver, and rose gold.
Both phones are now officially water and dust resistant, boasting an IP67 protection standard that means your iPhone will be safe from splashes.
The iPhone 7 has a new camera system that features optical image stabilization system that lets you shoot longer exposures while reducing shake, larger f/1.8 aperture that lets in 50% more light, a 6-element lens that delivers sharp images, a new 12-megapixel sensor that’s 60% faster and 30% more energy efficient.
The flash is a Quad-LED system that True Tone flash, 50% more light, and Flicker sensor that compensates for the flickering in artificial light. Here are a couple of sample photos shot using the new flash:
The image signal processor at the core of the phone has 2x the throughput compared to previous iPhones. It uses machine learning to detect objects and people. The system then sets exposure, focus, color, white balance, tone mapping, noise reduction, and multiple image compositing. Everything is done in 25 milliseconds.
Here are sample photographs shot using the iPhone 7:
AppleComments Off on Apple’s Bokeh-filled iPhone 7 Event Invite Hints at Camera Upgrades
Apple sent out invites to journalist this week for an event in San Francisco on September 7th — presumably to announce the iPhone 7. The invite itself is covered with colorful bokeh, perhaps hinting at major camera upgrades coming to the phone.
Smartphone cameras generally aren’t known for offering an extremely shallow depth of field and smooth bokeh (the quality of the out-of-focus points of light). One upgrade that might help the iPhone 7 achieve these things is the addition of a second camera module with another lens and sensor.
A dual camera has long been rumored to be a major feature of the iPhone 7 Plus, and if it is announced, Apple would be following in the footsteps of Chinese phonemaker Huawei and its new P9 phone with dual Leica cameras.
In addition tomultiple leaked photos showing the purported dual camera system, some people are pointing to the invite image itself as proof that the twin cameras are coming.
Apple, CinematographyComments Off on In the Frame: Eleanor Mannion on shooting a 4K doc for RTÉ on an iPhone
The Collectors tells the stories of six regular people who all share an enthusiasm: an all-consuming passion for very specific stuff, whether that’s Lego, Barbies or Coca-Cola memorabilia. The project was directed and shot by Eleanor Mannion for Irish state broadcaster RTÉ and airs tonight. It was mastered in 4K for HD delivery, and unusually for the station everything was shot on an iPhone 6S+.
Mannion pitched the idea for the doc as part of a secondment to the station’s documentary unit, and made a sizzle reel to demonstrate her idea had legs. “I filmed it on my iPhone and presented it to the commissioning editors… they were really impressed and they couldn’t believe it was done on an iPhone.”
After the initial footage was recorded in HD, for the doc itself the team decided to shoot in 4K, reasoning that “If that’s the best quality you can film in using Filmic Pro on the iPhone then why not do it?”
A 128GB iPhone 6S+ dedicated to filming gave Mannion two to three hours of recording time, which actually suited how she dealt with her subjects. “You can’t really film for much longer than two hours with someone before they start to tire… and that was part of my decision as a director was that you have to know when that person needs a break.”
Apple, TechniqueComments Off on Polaroid Swing: An App for Snapping and Sharing Moving Photos
The Polaroid brand has launched a new free mobile app called Polaroid Swing. It’s “an innovative moving photo app” that opens the door to a “new visual medium for the mobile era.”
The app was created by a partnership between the Polaroid brand and a tech startup chaired by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.
Using the app, you can capture moving photos, or one-second moments that come to life when you touch the static photo or swing your phone around. The concept is similar to the Live Photos feature built into Apple’s latest iPhones.
Warning: treacherous waters are ahead. A dark, cold place where only the brave dare to explore. Recent video projects by photographer and cinematographer Sven Dreesbach create a feeling of icy-cold tension, contrasted by a sense of meditative pleasure. It’s a vibe that is best soaked in rather than pontificated upon by some internet writer. Oh, and he did it all on iPhones.
The ocean can seem like both a calming muse and the murky black lair of an unseen leviathan, depending on which video you watch first. What is certain is that you should definitely watch them both.
“I shot two ‘surf videos’ at the same time,” Dreesbach told Fstoppers. “The main project (‘Dark Waves’) was a music video I shot for Robot Koch from the infamous indie label Monkeytown Records in Berlin. The other project (‘This Moment’) is a ‘visual poem’ and has more of a branded content look.”
Zeiss has teamed up with Fellowes Brands to announce an intriguing new product line at CES. The duo utilizes Fellowes Brands pedigree of smartphone photography technology and Zeiss’ wealth of lens manufacturing history to bring an iPhone lens trio.
Pictured is the existing Exolens accessory mount by Fellowes Brands. It provides a solid platform to mount an additional iPhone lens, as well as a 1.4″ thread on the bottom for further mounting.
Zeiss have provided the optics to make up 3 new lenses for the iPhone 6; a wide, tele, and macro zoom lens.
“The first three lenses – wide-angle, telephoto and macro – are scheduled to be launched in late Q2 2016. The wide-angle and telephoto lenses offer excellent image performance with outstanding edge-to-edge contrast. The macro lens features a zoom function – unique for accessory lenses of this type – for flexible image composition. The new lenses can be used on the Apple®iPhone®with customized mounting brackets.”
I spent the best part of this morning lining up outside a London Apple store waiting to collect my shiny new iPhone 6S. I had wanted the larger 6S Plus for its optical image stabilisation, but there were none to be found anywhere within about 200 miles.
I’d seen a number of tests over the past few days where people had tried to compare the new iPhone against other 4K cameras. I’m not really concerned about whether the iPhone is ‘better or worse’ than my Sonya7R II; what matters is how usable the footage looks and whether I could cut it in with other cameras if necessary. The trouble is that most testers hadn’t tried to optimise the iPhone image or grade it in any way. So having finally got my hands on the phone – and given it a quick charge – I set out to see what it was really capable of.
Let’s get this clear: there are dozens of cameras–from Canon’s and Nikon’s DSLRs to Sony’s RX line–that offer better performance to professional photographers than Apple’s latest iPhones. But, when compared to most other smartphones as well as point-and-shoot cameras (those that have survived in the last few years anyway), the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus offer the best all-around results.
Here’s what’s new: The iPhone 6s now has a new iSight camera with a 12-megapixel sensor, compared to last year’s iPhone 6 which had eight megapixels. Apple says the devices have been reengineered to prevent “crosstalk between the subpixels.” (More on that in a moment.) The lens composition remains the same, offering an f/2.2 aperture. The larger iPhone 6s Plus model also has optical image stabilization, which is now available while shooting videos at up to 4K resolution. The Cupertino-based company has also updated its front-facing camera; it now packs five-megapixel sensor versus just 1.2 megapixels previously.
Jargon aside, this all amounts to a lot of noticeable improvement. (See the chart below.) The bump in the number of pixels is particularly welcome because it is coupled with “deep trench isolation” technology that compensates for the loss in quality smaller pixels usually bring with them. The result in low-light situation is astounding when compared to the iPhone’s predecessors and almost all of its smartphone competitors. That doesn’t mean your photos will be perfect. Washington, D.C.-based photographer Brooks Kraft tells us, for example, that inside the Capitol, as he followed Pope Francis’ visit, he had difficulties capturing movement, resulting in images where the main subject was blurry. (The iPhone has a tendency to keep ISO low, even in low-light situations, as it favors fast shutter speeds to prevent motion blur.)
Anyone who takes pictures with their phones (which would be at least half the people on this planet), does so to preserve special moments. That’s what photography is all about, right? The dilemma, when it comes to capturing a special moment with your phone, however, is whether to take a still photo, or to take a video. A still photo captures an instant moment, albeit not always quite well enough to tell the whole story. A video? Often more moments than the people you’d like to share it with would care to see. What Apple has done with Live Photos is to solve this dilemma. Without doing anything different than you’d ordinarily do, Live Photos extends the moment of the capture by combining the best of still photography and video. It allows you to pick up those critical few seconds just before and after the picture is taken, adding delightfully natural elements of wonder and magic to the moment. Bringing it to life in a whole new way.
A few months ago I decided to do something a little different and create an iOS app to present my photography. I had been thinking about it for a while and had a vague idea of what I wanted the app to achieve and how I wanted it to work.
Portfolio websites are great for photographers to showcase their work to potential clients but unless the website has additional content, there is no reason for people to keep coming back. This is why many people add a blog to their website with behind-the-scenes or tips-and-tricks content.
As an avid Instagram user and an app developer I started thinking about the possibilities of a mobile portfolio. In the world of photography, engagement is key, so I chose to take my portfolio and put it on a platform that begs for interaction: mobile. Imagine having your photography portfolio on someone’s phone and the ability to push updates to them. It’s an interesting idea and one that I wanted to experiment with, so I began designing the app.
The popular browser-based photo editor Polarr has now arrived on mobile devices. After launching in the iTunesApp Store late last week, the app was featured by Apple and was downloaded a whopping 250,000 times in the first 48 hours.