الرئيسية / English / iPhone X Diary: Putting the camera to the test, and being even more impressed

iPhone X Diary: Putting the camera to the test, and being even more impressed

I took a week off last week to get unpacked and settled into our new home. This was a time-consuming process, so I didn’t get much time to get out and about, but with a fabulous view from our new apartment, that didn’t stop me putting the iPhone X camera through its paces. You’ll just have to excuse the fact that the photos are rather lacking in variety!

For each of the photos, I’m showing the original, straight-from-camera version as well as the edited version. And to make it true to the real-life behavior of most people, I’ve used only the stock Camera and Photos apps for both photography and edits.

To be honest, any recent iPhone is a fantastic camera in bright sunlight, so I’m concentrating here on the real test of a camera: low-light performance …

Let’s begin with the above photo, which combines two challenges for a camera: low light, and shooting through glass.

Normally, low light means noise – visible grain in the photos – while shooting through glass degrades the quality, especially through double-glazing like this. I did switch off most lighting to minimize reflections, and held the phone flat to the glass, though you do see a little reflection from the kitchen lighting in the background in the secondary glazing.

All I’ve done above in terms of editing is a crop and a bit of saturation boost. Here’s the original shot, just resized for the web.

That to me is truly stunning quality. There’s no visible grain at all. It’s well exposed (I didn’t adjust this at all). It’s sharp. The colors look great.

Here’s the next evening, when we briefly had a stunning red sky. Here’s the edited version, which is a simple saturation boost and crop:

And here’s the original (only resized for the web):

What really impressed me here is I didn’t have to do anything with the shadow areas – the difference you see in light is purely from the saturation boost. The exposure was spot-on.

And here’s an even tougher version, when it’s completely dark. Again, this is straight from camera aside from resizing. I again held it flat against the glass to steady it as well as eliminate reflections, but no tripod was used.

Now, if we look at a 100% crop of this photo, then we can clearly see that the quality doesn’t compare to a high-quality standalone camera:

Viewed that close, things get rather fuzzy as the sensor can’t cope with the contrast between the bright lights and pitch black areas. However, what we’re doing here is what photographers call ‘pixel peeping’ – examining an image unrealistically closely.

I said earlier that a real-world test should use only the stock Camera app. But the flip side of what constitutes real-life use is to consider what most people do with their iPhone photos. Namely, they view them on an iPhone or iPad screen, and post them to social media, where they are typically seen around 1000 pixels wide.

That’s what you see in the original version: a 1,000 pixels wide photo. So sure, viewed much more closely, the camera doesn’t perform perfectly in this toughest of scenarios, but it does perform really well for typical real-life purposes.

The one thing all of the shots I’ve shown you so far have in common is that, prior to the latest generations of iPhone, I would never have even dreamed of using a phone to take such shots. With this little light, using a cameraphone, we should be seeing grain the size of a mid-sized state.

But the hardware noise reduction does a stunning job. I’m completely blown away by the lack of noise.

I’d played briefly with Portrait Mode in earlier cameras, and wasn’t impressed. The edges looked very artificial. But Apple had had time to develop the feature, so I started out with a really tough test.

And sure enough, it didn’t cope well:

But that is, if you’ll excuse the pun, a real edge case. So I used it more conventionally.

At first glance, my initial test looked impressive, giving a pretty good simulation of shallow depth of field, blurring out the rather messy background.

However, a closer look does show some sharpening artefacts that look a little unnatural, and it failed altogether in a couple of areas. If you look at the sleeve area, the algorithm really isn’t sure where the sleeve ends and the background begins, and it has missed the inside of the earring altogether.

I also found a few times that it really needed to simulate a wider aperture, as things closer to the camera sometimes weren’t sufficiently blurred. Here you can see the lights in the far background have a pleasant bokeh, the Apple Store lights are less blurred and the nearby people and cars are still in focus.

However, the camera again gets top marks for low-light performance, the only lighting here from the adjacent shop window.

The above photo also converted nicely to a mono stage portrait. The grain is more visible, but that’s likely an artistic choice by Apple.

Portrait mode is also useful simply as a telephoto lens. Here it is just wide enough to capture the main buildings I’m after, so there’s no need to crop.

Again, straight from camera aside from a resize.

For me, the real test of an iPhone camera is how annoyed I am if I spot a nice photo opportunity when I don’t have a standalone camera with me. The answer with the iPhone X is ‘hardly at all.’ For example, we went for a stroll one evening, and Tower Bridge was looking rather lovely in the blue hour. Out came the iPhone X and this is the shot it delivered.

Literally all I’ve done to it is a crop and modest saturation boost in the stock Photos app. Here’s the original:

And here’s a 100% crop to show just how little noise there is in the shot:

Again, I stress that 100% crops will always show flaws, but this is an absolutely remarkable performance. I’d have had trouble believing that it really was an iPhone shot had I not taken it myself. I could have gotten a marginally better one with my Sony a6300 (side-by-side comparisons to follow in a future piece), but really this is absolutely good enough.

All in all, I’d say the iPhone X is easily $500-600’s worth of camera. So consider you’re buying that plus an iPhone costing the same amount.

Other things

I also tested Apple Pay. It works perfectly, Face ID authorizing the payment by the time I’ve held it by the payment pad. It obviously doesn’t compare with the convenience of an Apple Watch, but it is a definite improvement over Touch ID.

One question-mark was whether or not I’d use a case. I generally don’t (though I do enjoy trying them), but with repairs so expensive, I did think it worth considering this time around.

I tried two: the Nodus Access Case, and the Mujjo Full Leather Wallet Case.

The Nodus is a neat idea. It gets you the same folio design as the Apple one, offering all-round protection and the ability to store cards inside the flap. But instead of a shell case for the phone, there’s a micro-suction pad which sticks firmly to the phone but peels off easily without leaving any residue.

In theory, this makes it faster and easier to take the phone in and out of the case. However, the fly in the ointment is camera alignment. You actually have to position the phone very carefully to ensure the dual cameras align with the rear slot, so in practice the speed benefit is lost when inserting the phone – though is there when removing it.

The Nodus case feels nice. It’s decent-quality soft leather. But the drawback of any folio case is the whole thing becomes significantly thicker, and is less convenient to use as you have to open the flap first. It feels particularly thick if you fold the flap behind the phone for a call. The soft felt interior is also a real dust magnet.

This is the design you want for full protection, but I fairly quickly decided I’d rather have less protection in a slimmer design.

The Nodus Access Case is available in four colors for $48.75.

The Mujjo is like the Apple Leather Case, but with the addition of a card slot. This is a similar design to the iPhone 6/6S case that I really liked, though with the buttons covered. It adds very little bulk to the phone, the rear casing sitting flush with the camera module, and retains the iPhone X feeling in the hand that I really love. By slipping a card or three into the slot (three cards in the above photo), that allows me to go out without a wallet – even in London, there are some transactions you can’t make with Apple Pay.

Although this case doesn’t fully protect the screen, there is enough of a lip all round that I think you’d have to be unlucky for the screen to hit anything in a drop. I’ve been using the Mujjo case for the last few days, and so far suspect that I may leave it on permanently.

The Mujjo Full Leather Wallet case is available in eight colours for $49.95.

Two weeks in, then, I’m even more impressed with the iPhone X than I was last time. This is an astonishingly good phone and an equally good camera, and it really is worth the eye-watering price.

Again, if you have an iPhone X yourself, please share your own experiences in the comments. If you don’t, have have any questions, please ask and I’ll aim to answer them here or in a future piece.

Some iPhone X users love the notch while others just hate it. Many initially complained that the iPhone X notch ruined the user experience, but they have gotten used to it. The top cutout is an iPhone X exclusive feature, without which the phone’s front panel would be all-glass. It houses the TrueDepth camera, the ear speaker, and other sensors. The curious Android owners can now also try the notch without switching to iOS or spending $999.

iPhone X Notch On Android

Image Source: XOutOf10 / Google Play Store (screenshot)

XOutOf10 brings the iPhone X notch to Android

Android users admit that the iPhone X looks beautiful even with the weird top notch. For Android fans who want to try the iPhone X notch on their phones, a developer has built an app that creates the iPhone X-like top cutout on your phone. And yes, it also gives an opportunity to troll your iPhone fanatic friends.

The app is called “XOutOf10,” and is available for download on GitHub (via Mashable). You can also download it directly from the Google Play Store. The developer claims the app is compatible with Android Marshmallow and later. It doesn’t actually do anything. The app merely adds a black space around the top of the display to give the notch-like appearance. The developer says the “average Android user” had a laugh on iPhone X buyers about the notch. But Android users won’t have to shell out $999 “just to test it.”

If you were considering switching from Android to iPhone X, the app would give you an idea of whether you are comfortable with the notch. While it may appear a bit weird design choice, Apple says it was necessary. The iPhone X notch houses many sensors including the dot projector that throws 30,000 infrared dots on your face for authentication.

Want to get rid of that notch?

If you have purchased the iPhone X and didn’t like the notch, you can hide it using an app. Apple’s app store guidelines clearly state that developers should not put black bars at the top or bottom of the screen. But the company seems to have realized that a lot of people do not like the notch. It affects the user experience especially while watching videos or playing games.

That’s why Apple made an exception to its own rule, and approved an app called Notch Remover for the App Store. Priced at $0.99, the app does not remove the notch. Instead, it places a black bar at the top of the screen that seamlessly blends with the notch. One drawback of the Notch Remover app is that it reduces the screen size. If you don’t mind the slightly reduced screen space, it’s an incredibly good option to hide the iPhone X notch.

iPhone X is one of the best inventions of this year

Last week, Time magazine included iPhone X in the list of 25 best inventions of 2017. The magazine praisedthe anniversary iPhone for its beautiful design, Face ID facial recognition system, and augmented reality features. In an interview with Time, Apple’s design chief Jony Ive said the company had to make many tough choices while developing the iPhone X.

Ive told Time that removal of the home button meant Apple had to rethink every aspect of the phone’s interface. The home button had been around since the original iPhone. They had to rethink how users would perform all the basic tasks easily. Killing the home button was a tough choice, but it was necessary to move on to build the “smartphone of the future.” The iPhone X relies on swipe gestures to navigate the user interface.

He added that it was never about ditching an existing feature or technology. Instead, it’s about accepting that what seems familiar isn’t always the best. Holding on to a familiar feature or technology for too long would lead you “to failure.” It helps explain why Apple killed the 3.5mm headphone jack with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. A year later, Google also dropped the audio jack from its flagship smartphones.

Many Apple fans have complained that the iPhone X is way too expensive. The phone’s higher price tag can be attributed to the Face ID technology and the new OLED display. Talking to the Time magazine, Jony Ive said there is a “financial consequence” to adding so much processing power and so many features into such a small device.

Despite its $999 starting price, the iPhone X has been flying off the shelves since launch. Apple has ramped up production, and improved the delivery estimates to just 2-3 weeks from the previous 4-6 weeks. Telecom carriers expect the demand to remain strong through the first quarter of 2018. T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter told investors that a large chunk of the iPhone X demand would “roll over” into the early 2018.

Some iPhone X users love the notch while others just hate it. Many initially complained that the iPhone X notch ruined the user experience, but they have gotten used to it. The top cutout is an iPhone X exclusive feature, without which the phone’s front panel would be all-glass. It houses the TrueDepth camera, the ear speaker, and other sensors. The curious Android owners can now also try the notch without switching to iOS or spending $999.

iPhone X Notch On Android

Image Source: XOutOf10 / Google Play Store (screenshot)

XOutOf10 brings the iPhone X notch to Android

Android users admit that the iPhone X looks beautiful even with the weird top notch. For Android fans who want to try the iPhone X notch on their phones, a developer has built an app that creates the iPhone X-like top cutout on your phone. And yes, it also gives an opportunity to troll your iPhone fanatic friends.

The app is called “XOutOf10,” and is available for download on GitHub (via Mashable). You can also download it directly from the Google Play Store. The developer claims the app is compatible with Android Marshmallow and later. It doesn’t actually do anything. The app merely adds a black space around the top of the display to give the notch-like appearance. The developer says the “average Android user” had a laugh on iPhone X buyers about the notch. But Android users won’t have to shell out $999 “just to test it.”

If you were considering switching from Android to iPhone X, the app would give you an idea of whether you are comfortable with the notch. While it may appear a bit weird design choice, Apple says it was necessary. The iPhone X notch houses many sensors including the dot projector that throws 30,000 infrared dots on your face for authentication.

Want to get rid of that notch?

If you have purchased the iPhone X and didn’t like the notch, you can hide it using an app. Apple’s app store guidelines clearly state that developers should not put black bars at the top or bottom of the screen. But the company seems to have realized that a lot of people do not like the notch. It affects the user experience especially while watching videos or playing games.

That’s why Apple made an exception to its own rule, and approved an app called Notch Remover for the App Store. Priced at $0.99, the app does not remove the notch. Instead, it places a black bar at the top of the screen that seamlessly blends with the notch. One drawback of the Notch Remover app is that it reduces the screen size. If you don’t mind the slightly reduced screen space, it’s an incredibly good option to hide the iPhone X notch.

iPhone X is one of the best inventions of this year

Last week, Time magazine included iPhone X in the list of 25 best inventions of 2017. The magazine praisedthe anniversary iPhone for its beautiful design, Face ID facial recognition system, and augmented reality features. In an interview with Time, Apple’s design chief Jony Ive said the company had to make many tough choices while developing the iPhone X.

Ive told Time that removal of the home button meant Apple had to rethink every aspect of the phone’s interface. The home button had been around since the original iPhone. They had to rethink how users would perform all the basic tasks easily. Killing the home button was a tough choice, but it was necessary to move on to build the “smartphone of the future.” The iPhone X relies on swipe gestures to navigate the user interface.

He added that it was never about ditching an existing feature or technology. Instead, it’s about accepting that what seems familiar isn’t always the best. Holding on to a familiar feature or technology for too long would lead you “to failure.” It helps explain why Apple killed the 3.5mm headphone jack with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. A year later, Google also dropped the audio jack from its flagship smartphones.

Many Apple fans have complained that the iPhone X is way too expensive. The phone’s higher price tag can be attributed to the Face ID technology and the new OLED display. Talking to the Time magazine, Jony Ive said there is a “financial consequence” to adding so much processing power and so many features into such a small device.

Despite its $999 starting price, the iPhone X has been flying off the shelves since launch. Apple has ramped up production, and improved the delivery estimates to just 2-3 weeks from the previous 4-6 weeks. Telecom carriers expect the demand to remain strong through the first quarter of 2018. T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter told investors that a large chunk of the iPhone X demand would “roll over” into the early 2018.

For iPhones, Apple has clashed with the FBI in the past to protect the privacy of its customers.

In the case of the San Bernardino, California, mass shooting in 2015, which killed 14 people, the FBI tried to force Apple to create software that would unlock an iPhone owned by one of the attackers. The court dispute was finally resolved when the FBI announced it found a way to access the phone.

An Apple spokesman said the company does not comment on law enforcement matters. The court records don’t show whether authorities have obtained the files from Kelley’s phones.

Christopher Combs, the FBI special agent in charge in San Antonio whose office is helping Texas Rangers, complained last week that the FBI was unable to access the files on Kelley’s phone. Combs declined to say at the time what kind of mobile phone Kelley was carrying.

“I’m not going to describe what phone it is, because I don’t want to tell every bad guy out there what phone to buy,” Combs said.

Court records show Kelley was found with an iPhone SE, and he also had a second phone that has gone unmentioned by authorities — a low-tech LG 328BG.

A photo included in the application for the search warrant shows Kelley’s silver and white iPhone was spattered with blood. Investigators want access to Kelley’s phone and iCloud account to dig into his messages, calls, social media applications passwords, address books, photos, videos and data since Jan. 1, 2016.

Four email addresses belonging to Kelley have been discovered: thelifeofdevin@gmail.com, devinkelley1991@gmail.com, sevenup555@yahoo.com and kelleydevin1991@gmail.com.

Dressed in black tactical gear and body armor, Kelley was armed with a Ruger AR-556 military-style rifle when he opened fire on the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. During the Nov. 5 rampage, he killed 26 people and injured 20 others — many of them children.

A neighbor and former gun instructor for the National Rifle Association, Stephen Willeford, heard the gunfire, grabbed his AR-15 rifle and raced to the church. Kelley, armed with a handgun when he saw Willeford, exchanged gunfire and was shot twice — once in the torso and once in the leg.

Kelley drove away in a Ford Expedition. Willeford flagged down motorist Johnnie Langendorff and the pair chased the gunman.

Authorities believe Kelley killed himself during the high-speed pursuit.

According to the court records obtained Thursday, authorities found Kelley’s body lying outside the driver door of his Ford Expedition, with his head in the dirt.

 A bullet had entered Kelley’s head above his right ear and exited through the back left side of his head. At least one pistol magazine was found in a holder on Kelley’s belt and his black body armor looked partly stripped off. A medication prescribed to Kelley was found in the Exhibition’s console.

Investigators discovered a pistol under his feet, and his silver and white iPhone SE was sitting on the vehicle’s front floorboard. Two days after the shooting, a second phone, the black LG model, was found in a pocket in the driver’s side door, and officials want access to the device to forensically search for evidence of capital murder.

 

 

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عن Mahmoud Rashad

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