eXtensions - Tuesday 3 December 2019
Cassandra - Tuesday Diversion: Unwelcome Changes - (1) iPhone 11 Pro Camera
By Graham K. Rogers
My original intention in writing the two parts of this examination was brought to to a dead stop when my day job intervened and I was handed a large envelope with a dozen or more academic articles that were in need of urgent editing for publication. Some were better than others. Some were downright awful as many treat writing as an afterthought, relying on translation, while not applying even basic grammar rules to the output. The job is done and I am back on track, albeit a week later than intended.
Leaving that aside as a (slow) work in progress, major changes to the way the iPhone 11 Pro takes photographs have not been totally perfect in my view, while editing in the Photos app has changed significantly: adding long-needed tools, but with questionable design changes that are not matched (for the first time) on macOS. As we have seen before, Apple sometimes makes changes that may make sense in theory, but in practice, affect the user's experience negatively.
iPhone 11 Pro CameraThe most obvious external change to the latest iPhone models was the addition of a third lens. The three lenses and the flash are significantly larger than the 2 lens housing on the iPhone X although this is somewhat disguised on my iPhone by the case. Apple only provided Aubergine and Black for the Folio case which made me decide on the Space Gray version rather than the more interesting Midnight Green.
The three lenses were part of the change to the camera interface which had previously allowed photos to be taken as Time-Lapse, Slo-Mo, Video, Photo, Portrait, Square and Pano. With the iPhone 11 Pro there are now Time-Lapse, Slo-Mo, Video, Photo, Portrait, and Pano options, although the Photo setting allows .5, x1 and x2, along with digital magnification up to x10 (as before). As I use a Hasselblad and other film cameras with 6x6 output, I had made good use of the Square setting for a while.
The same changes have been reflected in 3rd party apps that I use for the RAW output, although RAW is not always available. For example, Pro Camera displays a warning that the format is being changed to JPEG. When I switch back to x1 or x2 a similar panel shows that RAW is being used. An image from this app is around 11.5MB and is a DNG file (Digital Negative - originally developed by Adobe).
Originally, the app allowed users to save images as TIFF files instead of the standard compressed JPEGs. Now that RAW files are also available, I have this set up to take a photograph as a TIFF image (31MB) and to save a RAW image as well. I have the B&W image but can also access color if needed.
iPhone 11 Pro output: 0.5 (wide), x1 and x2
Which brings me on to editing. . . (See Part 2 - iOS and iPadOS Photos Editing):
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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