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21 Sep

— Link:  Apple’s iOS 10.1 Beta Includes Promised Portrait Mode for iPhone 7 Plus Users

In New Technology,News,Trends by gcampbell / September 21, 2016 / 0 Comments
Wednesday September 21, 2016 10:33 am PDT by Juli Clover
Today’s new iOS 10.1 beta, available now to developers, includes a new “Portrait” camera mode for iPhone 7 Plus users, which was shown off at the iPhone’s debut event but wasn’t quite ready for release.

Portrait mode is designed to mimic the kind of shallow depth of field images that can be taken with a high-end DSLR, with a front subject that stands out over a blurred background.

iphone7pluscamera

To achieve this look, Apple’s built-in image signal processor scans a scene, using machine learning techniques to recognize the people in the image. From there, it creates a depth map of the image from both of the two cameras included in the device, keeping the people in focus while applying an artful blur or “bokeh” to the background.

According to TechCrunch, Apple’s Portrait option was built on technology acquired from camera company LinX. Portrait mode is using the 56mm lens to capture the image while the wide-angle lens gathers perspective data to build the depth map and divide the image into layers.

appleportraitexample

Once it has this 9-layer slice, it can then pick and choose which layers are sharp and which get a gaussian (randomish) blur effect applied to them.

Once the telephoto lens detects the subject, using autofocus and other stuff we’ll talk about in a second, the image processor inside the iPhone 7 will then apply blur in greater and greater amounts to the layers that are further away from that subject.

It’s in beta, so there are some quirks Apple will need to work out. Apple has said that Portrait won’t be used all the time, and it does appear to require good lightning and the right focusing distance between objects to function properly. It will take some experimentation to get good shots with Portrait.

Portrait mode is a new feature in the camera app that can be found alongside other video and photo taking options like “Video” and “Panorama.” It even includes a Live Preview effect that lets you see what the image will look like before you take it, something that’s unique to the iPhone.

15 Sep

— Link:  Leica unveils the Sofort instant film camera

In New Technology,News,Trends by gcampbell / September 15, 2016 / 0 Comments

And black & white and color film to go with it.

With Kodak and others trying to make film cool again, Leica has jumped into the fray with an instant camera, the Sofort. It uses Fuji’s Instax format, and Leica has even decided to release its own brand of film, available in black and white or color. The German company designed the body itself, though it’s very … un-Leica like. If anything, Fuji’s own retro-styled Instax camera has a more Leica-esque look.

The camera is equipped with an optical viewfinder, like classic Leica’s of old. It does have some modern touches, with different scene modes including “party,” “selfie” and “macro.” The black & white film will likely run €14 (about $17) while the color pack should cost €12 ($14) for 10 photos. You can also use Fuji’s Instax film.

Knowing this is Leica, you may be bracing yourself for the “red dot” tax on the Sofort. The camera runs $300, which is less than I was expecting. However, the very similar Instax from Fuji runs $175, and the Impossible Project’s Polaroid-like I-1 camera, which uses the classic, larger-format Polaroid 600 format film, also costs $300. I think the latter camera, frankly, captures the nostalgic fun of instant photography better than Leica’s oddly-styled model.

Steve should have known that engineering was not for him when he spent most of his time at university monkeying with his 8086 clone PC. Although he graduated, a lifelong obsession of wanting the “solitaire” win animation to go faster had begun. Always seeking a gadget fix, he dabbles in photography, video, 3D-animation, and is a licensed private pilot. He followed l’amour de sa vie from Vancouver, BC to France, and now lives near Paris.
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24 Aug

— Link:  Moto Z’s Hasselblad camera add-on surfaces in fresh photos

In New Technology,News,Trends by gcampbell / August 24, 2016 / 0 Comments

Do you want a 10X zoom point-and-shoot on the back of your phone?

When Motorola and Lenovo unveiled the Moto Z, they unveiled a host of MotoMods… except for one. Where was that camera add-on we’d seen in leaks? Apparently, it’s still coming — and it might be more than you were expecting. Moto G3 has come across community photos showing that the camera module is not only Hasselblad-branded as anticipated, but packs a 10X optical zoom lens. There aren’t any clues as to the sensor, alas, but we suspect that this is more likely to be a point-and-shoot quality (maybe mirrorless) sensor given the size, rather than Hasselblad’s signature medium format. You’ll be taking better photos than you would with the stock camera, then, but we wouldn’t count on magazine-quality Instagram shots.

If leaks are accurate, you won’t have to wait long for more details. The Hasselblad MotoMod may be announced at Germany’s IFA show, which officially starts on September 2nd. There aren’t any clues as to the price, but we can’t imagine that Hasselblad camera hardware will come cheap. We’d expect something in the ballpark of a previous photography add-on like Sony’s QX10, which cost about $230 when new.

Hasselblad MotoMod for Moto Z