Wednesday, January 15, 2014

iPhone 5S: An Awesome Panorama Camera

iPhone 5S. 1/120th sec F/2.2 @ ISO 160. Original file 8.2mb 7742 x 2448 image




I've recently upgraded my dying iphone 4 (not the S!!) from 3 years ago to the latest and greatest iPhone 5S. Before the iPhone I was a Palm Pilot guy (Palm T3 was my last one), and even before digital PDA's I always used a paper daily planner with phone numbers, notes, to do list, calender, etc. When the iPhone came out I was excited, as it merged a phone with a digital organizer... little did I realize that this little gadget would change how I viewed photography!

The new camera on the latest iPhone and the software that runs it is very simple and intuitive to use, but it also takes great images. Yes the dynamic range isn't what I would get on a "proper" camera, but the convenience of a camera on our phones can't be denied. Take a picture, edit it in-camera, and immediately share it with the world. I know the new iSight camera has many cool features, but specifically I wanted to talk about the panorama camera feature. I'm currently reviewing the Fuji X-E2 and I've always loved Fuji's "Motion Panorama" feature; the best of all the major manufacturers I thought... until now.

Why do I feel the iPhone is better? The iPhone is simpler and quicker to operate, you can stop the sweep at anytime (Fuji has predetermined degrees of view to choose from), it has higher vertical resolution (2448 versus 2160), exposure adjusts while you sweep (the Fuji locks focus and exposure at the beginning of the exposure), and the 30fps merged images makes for a very clear and sharp image (I think the XE2 tops out at 7fps). Finally, the finished jpeg image of the iPhone ends up being a bigger jpeg file than the Fuji (although the resolution and bit depth is the same), giving more flexibility with cropping and editing. I even compared sharpness, and the iPhone (due mostly to the smaller sensor and wider depth of field) was definitely sharper than the XE2 panorama images.

I've reduced the above 8.2mb file down to a 2.2mb with 1080 lines of vertical resolution, but you can still see how good the image is. I'm impressed. I'll run more tests in the weeks to come, but so far, I think I'm going to use my iPhone for my panorama images. That's it for now. Thanks for visiting, and if you have any questions, please write below or email me directly.

Happy shooting!

Munetake

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