Showing posts from April, 2023

So phones now have a camera with a 1" sensor. What could go wrong? tldr: It's PHYSICS!

I did want to plug my friend Juan Carlos Bagnell's YouTube video here, as I'm essentially repurposing his bullet points, but in written prose rather than on camera! You see, the move to larger camera sensors in smartphones has been something I've been tracking for one and a half decades . And in each case, sensors getting larger has been a very.good.thing . Except that good 'ol physics, the same physics I've been touting as a benefit as sensors have gotten larger and more and more light is being gathered, and photos have thus got better even in dim lighting conditions - that same physics has meant that the trend has passed a tipping point and we're now starting to see real world issues in real world phones. Too shallow depth of field Starting off with something that's perhaps subjective, since it depends on exactly what you want your phone to photograph. But a larger (1") sensor means a larger aperture feeding it light, and the larger the aperture, the

Review: Viiger belt loop case, finally a PDAir replacement?

The story so far... I can't live without a belt case for my PDA/smartphone/whatever. Really. I've tried, and I kept leaving it behind. And don't talk to me about pockets - these are fine when I have a jacket or coat, but I find today's giant phones uncomfortable in a trouser front pocket. I'm clearly in a worldwide minority here - maybe I'm just too slender!  So belt case it is. And my go to for the last decade has been PDAir - I won't link to their web site because it's effectively dead now. Either coronavirus or just market forces or mis-management caused their demise. Which was a great shame, since their slender vertical belt pouches were/are perfect for me. Here's an early sample, from 2013 for the Lumia 1020: Since then I've managed to get half a dozen (gradually larger) PDAir belt pouches and these have done my various Android and then iPhones right up to date. In each case, I like to have the phone in a slimline TPU case (for grip) and the

GCam/Pixel Camera can rescue even potatoes... (Surface Duo photo examples!)

Now, don't get me wrong, the camera on the Surface Duo is pretty bad. By modern standards (take it back to 2008 and it would be doing well). Though in fairness, Microsoft never pitched the Duo as a consumer phone and only ever talked about its one camera, above the right screen, as suitable for video/Skype?Team calls. However, I've talked about 'GCam' before - essentially Google's Pixel Camera software extracted from updates and adapted for other phones. This combines images taken fast, one after the other, to reduce noise and improve detail (plus other enhancement tricks). It was created originally for the Google Glass project. This original wearable had such a tiny (and thus relatively 'bad') camera that Google called on the software expertise of its imaging department to work miracles, pulling usable images from digital soup. So, unsurprisingly, it can work wonders too on the unspectacular camera hardware of today - in this case, the aforementioned Surfac