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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:11 am    Post subject: Smartphone photography Reply with quote

As I barely take my camera, particularly when driving my motorbike, my smartphone is more and more replacing my cameras.

This picture was taken in Heidenreichstein/Austria with my Xiaomi Mi9 (Sony camera) and resized and optimized with "Perfectly Clear" (clickable for best quality viewing):



I don't believe that any picture from my A7R II with a good lens would look any better.

Cheers,


PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like 1
Looks very good indeed!


PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everything looks sharp, and yet nothing looks sharp. The beauty of computational photography. It's a facsimile of an optics based image, and where I suspect even Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji etc are taking their cameras. Certainly a proportion of the quality of an image from the top makers is now relying on algorithm, rather than good glass. And why not. Imagine being able to advertise pro levels of image taking, even if you've never set eyes on a camera before, and all done with lenses not much better than looking through a beer glass.

To me it's a bit like having a poster and not the original.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Smartphone photography Reply with quote

tb_a wrote:
As I barely take my camera, particularly when driving my motorbike, my smartphone is more and more replacing my cameras.

This picture was taken in Heidenreichstein/Austria with my Xiaomi Mi9 (Sony camera) and resized and optimized with "Perfectly Clear" (clickable for best quality viewing):



I don't believe that any picture from my A7R II with a good lens would look any better.

Cheers,

Surprisingly good indeed.

For 2Mp display size it works well, albeit sharpening was a bit overzealous.
But only a fellow fotog would notice.

Beyond a silly "web size" A7 will simply demolish any current phone hardware even in the most favorable circumstances.

It's pretty clear that phones wont catch up, ever.
And they don't need to. Have to just get to the "good enough for a purpose" level.

I'd be very happy to have a phone (as much as I dislike current smartphones) which will reach this level for me.


PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your comments, gentlemen.

Well, at least on my 4K-Monitor when viewed in original size for display here (i.e. after clicking on the picture for display in 100% view in a new window) it looks rather stunning and not really over-sharpened. The contrast indeed increased considerably with "Perfectly Clear".
The original size as shot is 4000 x 3000 px; i.e. 12 MP.
However, it's like always also a matter of taste. Wink

Yesterday I've shot some infinity landscapes with my smartphone but the wide angle was simply too wide to get a good result; i.e. the mountain view was much too far away. Maybe I'll do that again with my camera and a short tele today.
That means that there are still many limitations when using the smartphone for photography, but if the scenery is right a better smartphone is a good and capable alternative already.
The Xiaomi Mi9 belongs certainly to the best camera-smartphones presently available, at least accorting to several tests and reviews. In terms of price/quality relationship it's most probably by far the best and there is no need at all to pay the double price or even more for any better known brand.

Cheers,


PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This Adapter Lets You Mount Any Giant Lens On Your Tiny Smartphone
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RVmilrBvdAc


PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

visualopsins wrote:
This Adapter Lets You Mount Any Giant Lens On Your Tiny Smartphone


Certainly a matter of taste, but the main advantage of smartphone photography is lost. I prefer to use one of my existing cameras/lenses instead. Wink


PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tb_a wrote:
visualopsins wrote:
This Adapter Lets You Mount Any Giant Lens On Your Tiny Smartphone


Certainly a matter of taste, but the main advantage of smartphone photography is lost. I prefer to use one of my existing cameras/lenses instead. Wink


Silly device didn't come to market yet. lol

Remove smartphone camera lens, install c-mount in front of that nice sensor...

Add closeup! Filter diopters don't require any smartphone modifications. Smile


PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sciolist wrote:
Everything looks sharp, and yet nothing looks sharp. The beauty of computational photography. It's a facsimile of an optics based image, and where I suspect even Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji etc are taking their cameras. Certainly a proportion of the quality of an image from the top makers is now relying on algorithm, rather than good glass. And why not. Imagine being able to advertise pro levels of image taking, even if you've never set eyes on a camera before, and all done with lenses not much better than looking through a beer glass.

To me it's a bit like having a poster and not the original.


A Monet! lol


PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

visualopsins wrote:
Add closeup! Filter diopters don't require any smartphone modifications.


The Xiaomi Mi9 is already equipped with quite remarkable macro functionalities. BTW, it's a 3-lens camera.
It's just lacking of good tele capabilities as the digital zoom doesn't really deliver acceptable quality, particularly at higher magnifications, at least not for me.
I also doubt that any of these cheap Chinese attachment lenses would do any better.
However, if tele shooting is required I'll take my existing camera equipment instead. Wink


PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2019 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thomas, a while after our exchange which brought to the smartphone topic I started looking through some reviews presenting smartphone photography. I said to myself, this might be the moment to create a new forum section, on smartphone photography, to discuss that? And I found your topic pioneering the subject.

I was indeed a bit sceptic looking through some "best" examples of this computational photography, taken for example with a new Iphone 11 pro, as even at daylight some "square" extrapolation artifacts might be very clearly visible, like the water in this shot from a DXO Mark review, on the opposite to yours:



But I clearly realize that in some occasion smartphone discretion and portability are great excuse factors. Years ago I chose Sony Nex for the reason of a better portability (and exceptional sensor, of course).

Would you guys share your experience with smartphones you use and give some advice on the mark and model choice? I've seen that some models get very good reviews. For example, Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. Even if pixel peeping gives a clear idea of a still bad algorythm that makes Samsung rendering harshly fine details, as compared to some Apple, Huawei and Xiaomi counterparts. If it's a question of the algorythm, further updates may fix the issues easily. But maybe the productors are not that much interested in updating algorythms, rather make people buying new models. Did you get significant updates of your firmware that embettered photo quality? Or maybe a Huawei or Xiaomi might be a better option? I'd be really interersted in your opinions and advices.


PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try processing raw from smartphone through same processing methods used for digital cameras. (sharing note to self Smile ). If not better results, try processing a digital camera raw on the phone. lol


PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll try to make a direct comparison between my smartphone and a sophisticated digital camera and present it here. It goes without saying that in the very end the digital camera will win. However, for typical presentation size on Facebook or alike I doubt that anybody would spot any differences. I've already tested the audience on Dpreview forums some time ago with my last (not as good) smartphone and wanted to know if somebody would be able to tell me which of the presented pictures was shot with my smartphone and which with my DSLR. Actually nobody was really able to do that.
My conclusion is that it all depends on the final presentation size, besides the fact that your possibilities are rather limited with smartphone photography.


PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Worth trying for that special phone image, to compare phone raws processed with computer processed. However since there's a Lightroom app there may not be much difference.


PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

alex ph wrote:
Thomas, a while after our exchange which brought to the smartphone topic I started looking through some reviews presenting smartphone photography. I said to myself, this might be the moment to create a new forum section, on smartphone photography, to discuss that? And I found your topic pioneering the subject.

I was indeed a bit sceptic looking through some "best" examples of this computational photography, taken for example with a new Iphone 11 pro, as even at daylight some "square" extrapolation artifacts might be very clearly visible, like the water in this shot from a DXO Mark review, on the opposite to yours:

But I clearly realize that in some occasion smartphone discretion and portability are great excuse factors. Years ago I chose Sony Nex for the reason of a better portability (and exceptional sensor, of course).

Would you guys share your experience with smartphones you use and give some advice on the mark and model choice? I've seen that some models get very good reviews. For example, Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. Even if pixel peeping gives a clear idea of a still bad algorythm that makes Samsung rendering harshly fine details, as compared to some Apple, Huawei and Xiaomi counterparts. If it's a question of the algorythm, further updates may fix the issues easily. But maybe the productors are not that much interested in updating algorythms, rather make people buying new models. Did you get significant updates of your firmware that embettered photo quality? Or maybe a Huawei or Xiaomi might be a better option? I'd be really interersted in your opinions and advices.


Alex, IMHO it's more a matter of taste, budget and believe which smartphone will suit your needs.
For me it was very important to have a very good camera, very fast processing speed, sufficient memory, Android operating system and reasonable pricing. I prefer to change my smartphone from time to time to get the newest and best functionality hence I don't want to spend a fortune for a Samsung or Huawei one. Apple is out of the game because it's far too expensive as well and I don't want to change the operating system as I'm using Android since ages and don't like to change that.
That narrows down the selection already dramatically. Actually there isn't much left besides the Xiaomi Mi 9. The included Sony camera works really great.

After more than 6 month usage I can say that I would buy it again. Support is great, i.e. Xiaomi is updating the operating system and the basic standard apps on a regular basis. Furthermore there are plenty different camera apps available from the Google play store, if you don't like the original one, most of them free of charge. Depending on which you finally will use, they are updated on regular basis as well.
Additionally I'm using my smartphone for road navigation by car and motorbike. I don't like the standard app which is included in my car and prefer to plan my route already at home and transfer it to my smartphone automatically. Particularly with the bike it's really great as the screen is very nicely readable in bright sunlight as well and the audio BT-communication with my helmet works troublefree, for phone calls as well.

All that is available for something like EUR 300.- nowadays. I don't believe that spending double or three times more will increase the picture quality substantially or will add other functionalites which aren't possible with the MI 9.

Finally, it's not a replacement of any camera but a nice addition to your existing one. Remember: The best camera is the camera that you have with you when you need it and not the camera which is at home.

I'll post some examples and a comparison sometimes later here....

Cheers,


PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Nokia 8.1, with a 12MP F1.8 OIS camera, can take decent photos at night with the right camera app. Here are a full-res sample shot handheld. The buildings on the photo were much brighter than what I saw.

Click to enlarge.



PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's really difficult to provide two similar looking pictures from the same view for comparison.

However, this is a test to show and compare pictures taken from the MI 9 and Sony A7R II (42MP FF)/ Minolta AF 24-105/3.5-4.5 shot at 30mm/F8.
Both shot RAW and imported/converted/optimized automatically/downsized with LR 6.14.
Please click on pictures for optimum picture quality in new window.

MI 9:



A7R II:



I didn't manage to synchronize the colors. Therefore they are looking totally different. However, in terms of overall quality and sharpness in typical maximum allowed Facebook size there isn't much difference betw. the smartphone and the camera.


PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And this is a 100% crop of the MI 9 picture posted before (again clickable):



Not bad at all, at least for my taste.


PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Thomas and Calvin, for the examples you proposed. I am amazed indeed, as the image quality comes close to the level of Canon S90. So, todays's smartphones reach the level of 2009 digital compacts. And the algorythms seem to be significantly improved during the 2019. Your shots do not have at all square extrapolation artifacts, even in deep shadows and the dark. The technological change in computational photography seems to be much faster than in digital cameras segment. That's a quick improvement that literally passes before our eyes and makes think that in a couple of years you might have a pretty similar picture from your Xiaomi and your Sony or Ricoh.

Thomas, thank you for sharing your experience with Xiaomi! You make good points including the price tag. I also cutt off Apple and the highest Samsung models from my possible acquisition list, for the price reasons. I've seen pretty great images taken with Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which is in the range of 400-500 euros. But it might be unnecessary to spend 200 more bucks given your Xiaomi renders so well. That makes a good travel and every day companion.

Calvin, your Nokia seems to be in the same class of IQ.


PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

calvin83 wrote:
Nokia 8.1

Yep, looks pretty good to me.

Would've been even better if NR was stepped down a notch.
Looks like smartphone manufacturers are hell-bent on reducing the noise no matter what.

Someone, quick, pass them a note: noise is OK. Even some color noise is OK.


PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd rather see the raw phone image processed on the phone compared with the same raw phone image processed using computer, to determine if computer version can do better. Also, white balance is much easier to set using raw...


PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

visualopsins wrote:
I'd rather see the raw phone image processed on the phone compared with the same raw phone image processed using computer, to determine if computer version can do better. Also, white balance is much easier to set using raw...


I've already given up to do it the hard way; i.e. to shoot RAW and to convert later on in LR on my computer. I haven't seen any advantage in doing so as the JPG's straight from the smartphone are (at least for me) more than good enough. At least I was not able to spot any differences.
It makes also the handling much easier as all my smartphone pictures are stored right away automatically on Google photos in original size.
FYI there is also a 48MP mode; i.e. the JPG's are in the size of 6.000 x 8.000 PX. The presented pictures have been shot in regular mode which is 3.000 x 4.000 PX or 12MP.
The 48MP mode is useful if cropping is required; i.e. to simulate a tele lens. There is also a ultra-wide and macro mode.
The lens is 4.75mm/F1.75 and equals to 27 mm FOV on FF.

This example was shot in tele-mode JPG from the camera:



PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It may be worth to take a look at this page for a comparison on RAW/JPEG on an iphone: https://danfinnen.com/2018/10/11/ios-camera-vs-lightroom-raw-dng-on-iphone-xs/ . The result in the page is consistent with my observation.

Here are one more full-rez photo from my phone. Merry Christmas to all of you ! Wink




PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you! for link calvin83! And to Thomas for all the good work!


PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also merry X-mas from my side.

This full size 12MP example straight from the MI 9 was shot handheld thru a shopping window at night. There was no additional manipulation on this picture: