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Old 09-14-2021, 01:16 PM   #1
OtinG
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Apple Event 14 September 2021

FYI: I’m not going to give a list of new stuff this time. I’m too tired and not that interested this time around.

However, even though the so-called expert guessers were predicting a later event in the year for iPads, right off the bat Apple is talking about iPad updates. The new iPad mini now looks like a mini version of the iPad Air 2020 with a 8.3” screen. I’ll let you look up the specs. Quite frankly, I’m surprised Apple has already updated the mini, given their history of nearly abandoning it not long ago.

ETA: Ouch, the new mini starts at a whopping $500!

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Old 09-14-2021, 01:34 PM   #2
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Other than the iPad mini redesign to look like the iPad Air 2020, the other iPad updates are rather incremental and lackluster.

The Apple Watch updates are incremental and lackluster too.

No surprises there. How else will they pay for that 3/4 billion dollars stock package for Tim!
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Old 09-14-2021, 01:44 PM   #3
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A lot of these product categories have had nothing but incremental and lackluster updates for years now. It's almost like they're mature and the OMG GEE WHIZ features have all been done.
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Old 09-14-2021, 02:00 PM   #4
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That is why I didn’t get excited this time around. The past few years have been mostly incremental and lackluster changes in hardware and OSes. They try to make up for the boring updates by using flashy, Hollywood techniques. Meh…

I had to laugh when I saw all of the California nature sites with employees giving their presentations, likely filmed in a studio with the background superimposed. If they wanted it to look realistic they should have shown all the smoke from their wildfires!
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Old 09-14-2021, 02:25 PM   #5
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That was pretty much as I suspected, mostly minor updates, with the exception of the new iPad mini which now starts at 25% higher price than previously.

It is hard to get excited by camera updates when the cameras are all basically tiny little toys. Tiny lenses, tiny sensors, and tiny performance which only looks decent because Apple highly processes the images within the device. If you want good photography and video, get a real camera. These cameras are good for internet influencers and for taking photos to post online, but not much more. The physics of photography works against these tiny little camera wannabes.

iOS 15, iPadOS 15, tvOS 15, and watchOS 8 will be released on September 20.

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Old 09-14-2021, 04:16 PM   #6
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I was happy to see the new mini announced today so I’ve ordered one. The phone should have been called 12s, there’s nothing particularly new or exciting about it.
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Old 09-14-2021, 04:17 PM   #7
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Agree the Watch update is not very exciting.

I wasn’t expecting the new iPad mini this soon, but I do want one, even though I’m only one generation back. I’m planning to get an iPad Pro next year but have many questions about what I may need to have ready in terms of USB-C interfaces for audio in/out, MIDI (am reluctant to invest in Lightning accessories). I would be able to start exploring sooner.

I’m also ready to upgrade my iPhone, as I’m a few generations back.

And even if the camera images aren’t truly pro quality, I am never going to be a professional photographer or invest in or carry around the associated equipment, and the cameras will capture good quality images in a greater range of circumstances than the iPhone I have (6x optical zoom vs 2x, macro, much better HDR and low light results).

Real cameras also ‘highly process’ the images they capture.

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Old 09-14-2021, 06:30 PM   #8
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Real cameras also ‘highly process’ the images they capture.
Not really. That is an inaccurate statement. Cameras do in-camera processing to JPEGs. However, they don’t do in-camera processing to RAW files. If one sets the camera to save in RAW format then they have an image that contains all the raw data recorded by the camera WITHOUT modification. If one sets the camera to save in JPEG format, then they will get an image that was processed in-camera. If one sets the camera to save in both JPEG and RAW, then they get a processed JPEG and an unprocessed RAW image. Camera manufacturers are afraid that if they don’t process the JPEGs in-camera, the average user will get frustrated with the terrible photos they take and quit buying their cameras. When most people who don’t understand that RAW images are actually unprocessed “raw” data compare the RAW images to the JPEGs, they think the JPEGs are better. But they are not. The RAW images contain 14-bits of color data or more whereas the JPEGs contain only 8-bits, plus white balance in JPEGs cannot be properly edited in post processing but can be in RAW images.

As far as smartphones having good dark scene capability, they really don’t. The camera artificially adjusts the brightness at the cost of image quality. RAW images can be adjusted way more than JPEGs.

Also consider how much light gets into a FF (full frame) camera compared to a smartphone camera. A FF lens with an 120° field of view would mean it was about 12mm in focal length based on its sensor size which is approximately 43mm along the diagonal. The sensors used in many smartphones have a much smaller diagonal measurement of around 7mm. So when a smartphone manufacturer says it has a 12mm focal length lens, they mean it is proportional to a 12mm lens on a FF camera. With the smaller sensor, the smartphones lens is more like 1.9mm in actual focal length. We use a formula to determine the f number of the lens. We take the focal length and divide it by the true diameter of the aperture opening to find the f number. We can thus rework the formula to give us the aperture true diameter by changing the formula to focal length divided by the f number. If we then calculate the area of the physical apertures, we have a good idea of how much light can actually make it through the lens to the sensor. Comparison of a FF camera 12mm f/1.8 lens to a smartphone 12mm f/1.8 equivalent lens (actually only 1.9mm) shows us that the physical aperture area on the FF camera lens is 34.9mm whereas the one on the smartphone lens is about 0.9mm. So the FF camera’s 12mm f/1.8 lens has about 39x more light capability as the tiny smartphone camera’s 1.9mm f/1.8 lens. That smartphone camera is going to be nearly blind in darker environments.

The physics of photography shows how lackluster these tiny cameras are. They are okay for some photos, but they are not going to be very useful in low light despite the marketing BS.

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Old 09-14-2021, 07:24 PM   #9
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I think you are reading more specificity into my very brief, casual statement than I intended. I don’t disagree with any of your observations.

“A camera RAW image file contains minimally processed data from the image sensor” (Wikipedia)

iPhones CAN capture RAW format since iOS 12. You need to use a 3rd party app (such as Lightroom) to get at it. Here’s a list of apps:

https://apps.apple.com/us/story/id1348100616

The iPhone Pro can also produce ProRAW, which does involve processing before you get a DNG.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211965

Of course, given the smaller sensors and lenses, iPhone cannot match even prosumer cameras for the photo resolution and light-gathering properties. Sometimes you actually need 50MP images.

Apple surely isn’t going to fool any serious photography people that they can throw away all their gear and just carry an iPhone Pro around. But as a point and shoot camera, iPhone is more than capable. You don’t need to carry around one of those (I used to carry around a Sony RX100 everywhere until a grain of sand got in the works and totaled it. I was very happy with what it could do, but my iPhone is good enough that I don’t feel a need to get another camera to carry around for the situations it doesn’t handle well).

Even pros will want a Pro. As they say the best camera to use is the one you have, and if you carry an iPhone around everywhere, you won’t be without a pretty decent one.

I cannot say I’m entirely satisfied with what my current iPhone is capable of, and I’m sure when i get a new one, I’ll be frustrated with it as well sometimes. Just less often.

What is holding up my iPhone purchase at the moment is picking the storage option. My 256GB iPhone is less than half full. The main storage culprit now is audiobooks, because of my habit of downloading at purchase time (and consuming them at a much slower rate), and I really don’t need to do that (& I just cancelled my Audible subscription). 256GB seems about right.

But if I get inspired to start shooting lots of photos and 4K video, that could disappear quickly. Yet the price jump to 512GB gives me pause — but I can see using this thing for 3-4 years.

Right now there is not much prospect of it: COVID precludes most travel and social activity, and smoke from the wildfires out here preclude most outdoor activity, where I like to take pictures. But these are only temporary circumstances, right?

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Old 09-15-2021, 12:17 PM   #10
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First, let me say my comments about smartphone cameras (from any smartphone company) are not directed at any individuals. I'm merely venting my frustration at companies like Apple and Samsung and others who are masters of deceptive marketing.

Nothing new in that, heck Canon, Sony, Nikon, and other "major" camera companies have been doing that for decades too. Most people don't understand the physics of cameras, and don't have a need to, so camera companies can make up confusing marketing terms to imply things which are simply not true. For example, a 12mm eq. lens means that if you scaled up that camera and lens to the size of a full frame camera the lens would indeed have a 12mm focal length, which means it would have a FoV (field of view) of about 120°. On a tiny smartphone camera that means the actual lens focal length is more like 1.9mm in order to obtain that same 120° FoV. Most people likely interpret this to mean the physics will be the same for both cameras and lenses. Unfortunately we can't scale photons, so no way those cameras and lenses will operate identically. For one thing, the full frame camera and lens will let in 39x more light, and focus will be greatly affected in the scaled down camera. At any rate, this is just one example of marketing BS used in the camera industry to imply their smaller cameras are just as good as the larger ones (talking about sensor size here). Most people seem to buy into the deception, at least until they actually use the camera in question.

There is no doubt that smartphone cameras in general, at least on the better phones by Apple, Google, Samsung, etc., are quite adequate for most people who buy such phones. But to be honest, you could dig out a 15-20 year old Canon Elf camera, a small, inexpensive ($200) point and shoot camera style that was pushed off the market by the convenience of smartphones having cameras, and the Elf would do much better with its antiquated technology. It is all about light gathering, and tiny equals way less light gathering. We can scale the cameras down small enough to fit in a smartphone, but we can’t scale down photons, so smaller aperture means less light. Again, for most users that is not an issue since they rarely take night sky photos nor print out large prints to hang on their walls. They mostly just view the photos on small screen devices and/or post them on social media. Smartphone cameras work quite well for that purpose. But Apple goes out of its way with total marketing BS to show these cameras as much better than the really are. That is what ticks me off. Go to the Apple website and look at the page for the iPhone 13 Pro and Max. They show several dark scene photos to suggest how good their Night Mode is. Look carefully and you can see that each subject is front lit by artificial light, that every shot appears to have been created in a studio environment, and I guarantee every photo was heavily post processed by professionals. Most users will never come close to matching that quality, even if they cheat like Apple did with their quiet dishonesty.

My point is not that the smartphone cameras are bad. They are good for what they are, and I think it is incredible that they are as good as they are in such a miniaturized package. Kudos to Sony and Apple and all the others who build smartphone cameras that are as good as those in iPhones. But my point is that it is hardly worth buying a new iPhone 13 Pro Max at $1100+ USD primarily to get the incremental camera update. Especially when most of the update is actually BS smoke and mirrors marketing. If anyone wants to buy the newest and best iPhone each year then great, I wish I had the funds to do that. But I read a lot about folks buying into the marketing BS thinking these cameras can compete against prosumer level cameras from Sony, Canon, Nikon, etc. That just isn't true.

BTW, I’m reading a lot of angry comments on the forums from people who had believed Apple would introduce an iPhone camera capable of night sky photography. Sadly that isn't possible due to physics, but they believed Apple's BS marketing and convinced themselves it would happen, even though I doubt Apple ever specifically said it would. Apple is the master at not making false claims directly, but they are great at implying them. Apple has a way of encouraging people to imagine things that can’t be done, that is how good their marketing is. Dishonest IMO, but damn good!

As for as iPhone/iPad RAW goes, I am extremely disappointed in it. The cameras, even when using RAW, simply don't have enough resolution nor do they produce a high enough image quality, to make large prints. Plus Apple has no clue how to create a decent Photo app, so you have to jump through confusing hoops just to get the RAW into a decent RAW editor like Photoshop. A good camera doesn't process the RAW image in camera, BTW. It has to write the image and translate it into a specific RAW format that is readable by photo editing apps. But it shouldn't mess with general post processing settings like white balance, colors, brightness, noise levels, etc. They do mess with those setting in the JPEGs so that the photo taker doesn't freak out if it was a less than good photo. At any rate, I can work magic on almost any RAW photo that is decent, but the smartphone RAW photos are not that great due to lower image quality (mostly because of physics and tiny sensors needed for smartphones) and lower resolution. Trying to upscale them is a lessen in futility. 12MP sounds great if each pixel is huge, like on a Sony a7s full frame camera ($3,500, body only), but is lackluster when each pixel is really tiny. There is only so much you can do with them. They are good for small screens, might even look somewhat okay when viewed on a 4K TV from across the room, but for larger prints and other applications not so much. The larger the screen they are viewed on, the more obvious their defects become.

Again, my point is NOT that smartphone cameras are bad, it is that the marketing of them is dishonest in how that they imply things that simply are not true or possible. Plus they use highly skilled professionals to create the sample photos they show off on their websites, and sometimes they go too far in cheating to get those photos.
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Old 09-15-2021, 12:54 PM   #11
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Sure, I don’t disagree with any of this, though I like to think that most people (especially myself) see through the hype, as one should with any product promotion. I’m not cynical about it.
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Old 09-16-2021, 12:08 PM   #12
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Sure, I don’t disagree with any of this, though I like to think that most people (especially myself) see through the hype, as one should with any product promotion. I’m not cynical about it.
I think a lot of people do see through the marketing hype. But let us be honest, this specific website and this forum are filled with people who seem to be more than just a cut above the average as far as intelligence goes. Most of the people in these MR forums are very intelligent. We can pat ourselves on the back. But when you go to forums on MacRumors and other sites, well to put it politely, not so much. I'm rather shocked at the responses I see on those forums. Clearly a large number of those people cannot see through the marketing hype. We can see this in the world of politics and even in the world of the pandemic where we have a lot of opinions based on rather unintelligent understandings of things. I'm avoiding specifics because that is inappropriate for this forum, but clearly there are a lot of people who cannot see through rhetorical hype. We see through it, but I think you might be surprised how many others don't. I guess you might call me cynical, but I think I’m spot on with this. Never assume others can, or want to, see through the marketing BS.
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Old 09-17-2021, 02:14 PM   #13
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This is not really the forum for my question, but we have some knowledgeable photo folks on here, so I thought I'd ask. I am not (obviously) camera informed and haven't been able to figure out the answer. I have a project for 3x5 pictures that I want to print @ 300dpi - would the smartphone camera's work for that, or would it require a dedicated camera?

Or point me to a site that will let me figure it out. Thanks.
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Old 09-17-2021, 07:53 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by OtinG View Post
There is no doubt that smartphone cameras in general, at least on the better phones by Apple, Google, Samsung, etc., are quite adequate for most people who buy such phones. But to be honest, you could dig out a 15-20 year old Canon Elf camera, a small, inexpensive ($200) point and shoot camera style that was pushed off the market by the convenience of smartphones having cameras, and the Elf would do much better with its antiquated technology.
Nope. My iPhone SE2 takes better pictures than either our Sony DSC-S600 (2006) and Sony DSC-S2100 (2010).

Maybe the Canon Elf series and newer point-and-shoots are better. However, I found the iPhone 6s and newer cameras to be a better and more convenient alternative to our old Sonys.
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Old 09-17-2021, 09:35 PM   #15
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This is not really the forum for my question, but we have some knowledgeable photo folks on here, so I thought I'd ask. I am not (obviously) camera informed and haven't been able to figure out the answer. I have a project for 3x5 pictures that I want to print @ 300dpi - would the smartphone camera's work for that, or would it require a dedicated camera?

Or point me to a site that will let me figure it out. Thanks.
I mean, 3x5 at 300 dpi is 900x1500. My Pixel 4a's 12mp camera shoots at like 3000x4000, which is more than capable.

(That said, it's not the megapixels, it's how you use them.)
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