Author Topic: Discuss State Of Smart Phone Photography  (Read 163 times)

ilconsiglliere

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Discuss State Of Smart Phone Photography
« on: April 17, 2018, 06:30:22 pm »
I have been an amateur photographer for many years. Had my DSLR, lenses as well as the point and shoot for when I didn't want to carry the DSLR. This I can say the ability of the smart phones has now reached a very impressive level. There is almost no point in buying a separate camera.

I only discovered this recently as I could not be bothered with the smartphones and felt that they were inferior to a real camera. That is still true to some degree today but nowhere near like it was. Take a look at these articles and look at the level of photography taken with a smart phone. Its not a DSLR but its pretty dam close. For most people this is way beyond what they will ever do.

Amazing pictures from a phone:

https://www.cnet.com/features/apple-iphone-8-plus-camera-perfect-photos-san-francisco/

http://www.nandakusumadi.com/blog/2017/12/3/iphone-x-camera-review-a-week-in-italy

https://www.flickr.com/groups/iphone_users/pool/

Basically the smart phone has decimated the point and shoot part of the camera industry. Sure there are some things a real camera does better but nowhere near like it used to be. The sensors and software on the phones is advancing so fast that with a smart phone you literally have a photo studio in your pocket.

https://mashable.com/2017/10/12/how-iphone-8-plus-replaced-my-real-camera/#ld1q2inJBmq9

Lets discuss this.

The Gorn

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Re: Discuss State Of Smart Phone Photography
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2018, 06:42:21 pm »
Great subject for IT people because digital photography intersects computer science and tradtional optics sciences. Plus art.

I believe that smartphones *mostly* replace low end point and shoot cameras. The one factor to keep in mind is the size of the camera sensor. The larger the camera sensor, other things being equal (such as resolution), the less thermal noise introduced into images in low light conditions. Also, again because of better/less noise with larger sensors, they can be "driven" to extremely high ISO ratings and still perform decently.

Digital photography low-light noise looks like colored speckles, which aren't visible or present in normal sunlight or under flash.

Because of the tiny focal length dictated by the thickness of smartphone cases and bodies, their image sensors are commensurately really tiny. So their ISO range is usually pretty limited.

I have a Moto G5 (a 2017 model) phone. The imager is 12 megapixel (3000x4000 roughly.) It amazes me how nice the images are. It does fairly well in available light. But, no tripod socket.

I also own a Canon G16  prosumerish point and shoot  actual camera. I can set it to 12000 ISO. The images are very rough but they are somewhat usable.

At 1600 or 3200 ISO I can take really good nighttime sky exposures with this camera. I could not do that with the phone.

Lastly there is the shooting stance. The Canon "real" camera is easy to hold for steady, sharp images. Smart phones make you adopt goofy, less stable shooting stances. And you're always having to avoid touching the glass so you don't trigger software.

Nighttime July northern sky behind our house a couple of years ago... with the G16. Click to zoom/expand.

A digital SLR would have no visible grain and would be even sharper.  The dark blob at the lower right is not a dark matter nebula. :D It's a neighbor's tree.

The exposure was 15 seconds at 800 ISO.

« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 07:09:14 pm by The Gorn »
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Candid photography
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2018, 07:12:36 pm »
There was a whole crop of famous classic candid street photographers in the 20th century such as Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Smartphones are now so common that they make candid photography almost trivial. You can generally disguise your phone or hold it such a way that the subject has absolutely no clue.

Not quite so easy with a 35mm Leica.
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unix

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Re: Discuss State Of Smart Phone Photography
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2018, 07:14:43 pm »
I had an old -- 2006 vintage Canon with the Imagine stabilization feature. Now that was nice. It ran on 4xAA batteries. I gave it away because its pictures were not any better than the ones made by modern phones.
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The Gorn

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Re: Discuss State Of Smart Phone Photography
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2018, 07:25:19 pm »
I had an old -- 2006 vintage Canon with the Imagine stabilization feature. Now that was nice. It ran on 4xAA batteries. I gave it away because its pictures were not any better than the ones made by modern phones.

I have one 2005 vintage Nikon p&s I use as a secondary/roughing it camera. That is ANCIENT. Image sensors much slower, cameras much much slower in cycle time, etc. That's 12 years ago. Look how laptops have improved in that time. Same thing.

A modern p&s is a monster in terms of quality, speed and features in comparison. However, as the OP observes, 99% of the time the quality differential isn't a big deal for kid, cat meme or holiday pictures.

I gave up on buying a decent p&s that uses AA batteries a LONG time ago. Yeah, the flexibility is great, but  I went through AAs like cheap cologne. The battery pack in the Canon G16 is proprietary, but its charge lifetime is fine, much better than AA rechargables I had to use with older cameras.
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ilconsiglliere

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Re: Discuss State Of Smart Phone Photography
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2018, 07:34:57 am »
Great subject for IT people because digital photography intersects computer science and tradtional optics sciences. Plus art.

I believe that smartphones *mostly* replace low end point and shoot cameras. The one factor to keep in mind is the size of the camera sensor. The larger the camera sensor, other things being equal (such as resolution), the less thermal noise introduced into images in low light conditions. Also, again because of better/less noise with larger sensors, they can be "driven" to extremely high ISO ratings and still perform decently.

Digital photography low-light noise looks like colored speckles, which aren't visible or present in normal sunlight or under flash.

Because of the tiny focal length dictated by the thickness of smartphone cases and bodies, their image sensors are commensurately really tiny. So their ISO range is usually pretty limited.

I have a Moto G5 (a 2017 model) phone. The imager is 12 megapixel (3000x4000 roughly.) It amazes me how nice the images are. It does fairly well in available light. But, no tripod socket.

I also own a Canon G16  prosumerish point and shoot  actual camera. I can set it to 12000 ISO. The images are very rough but they are somewhat usable.

At 1600 or 3200 ISO I can take really good nighttime sky exposures with this camera. I could not do that with the phone.

Lastly there is the shooting stance. The Canon "real" camera is easy to hold for steady, sharp images. Smart phones make you adopt goofy, less stable shooting stances. And you're always having to avoid touching the glass so you don't trigger software.

Nighttime July northern sky behind our house a couple of years ago... with the G16. Click to zoom/expand.

A digital SLR would have no visible grain and would be even sharper.  The dark blob at the lower right is not a dark matter nebula. :D It's a neighbor's tree.

The exposure was 15 seconds at 800 ISO.



Everything you say is true. Generally speaking the bigger the sensor the better the low light performance. That low light performance comes at the expense of weight in the case of a DSLR.

Years ago I had a Canon G7 which took great pictures in bright light but not so great in low light. Same a smart phones today. The G7 was the ancestor of your G16. The G7/G16 are very portable with the compact lens. Compared to a DSLR which would fire away.

I have a older Canon Rebel DSLR circa 2011. It still takes great pictures even though its dated. I also bought some Canon EOS M's which have the DSLR sensor in a small body. Though the sensor is big and they focus better than the point and shoots its still not a DSLR.

For years I have wanted a take anywhere camera that would not annoy me to carry. In the case of the DSLR with the lens its not always so much fun to carry. Sure the DSLR has power and flexibility but at the expense of bulk. Even though the smart phone does not do as well as a DSLR the portability and ability to share the pictures are far beyond what most cameras are capable of. 

I have an iPhone 7 and what blown me away is the quality of the pictures. Considering the tiny lens and sensor it does really well.

unix

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Re: Discuss State Of Smart Phone Photography
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2018, 08:04:11 am »
Neat
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