Tag Archive | "photos"

Poll: Do you edit your smartphone photos?

Sony Xperia 1 II taking a photo outside

Many smartphones take great photos with no editing necessary, whether it’s a camera-focused flagship like the Sony Xperia 1 II or an affordable-yet-mighty device like Google’s Pixel 4a. It’s nonetheless tempting to make a few edits, and not just for the sake of accuracy. Punchy colors and elaborate filters can help your phone photos stand out on social media, and sometimes add fun to an otherwise plain image.

There are a number of ways to edit your smartphone photos, though. You might only lightly retouch your pictures to fix flaws and deliver truer-to-life colors, or you might use an in-depth editor to turn your photos into fanciful art. And that’s assuming you edit your photos in the first place — you might be a purist who prefers to share photos in their original form, quirks and all.

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If you find yourself frequently taking snapshots, then, there’s a simple question: how do you usually edit photos on or from your phone? Do you do little besides crop your shots, or do you spend ages finessing your images before anyone else sees them?

Read more: The best camera apps for Android

It doesn’t matter what app you use to edit photos, just the amount of effort involved and the results you produce. You can use the default editing tools that shipped with your phone, a simple-but-free app or a sophisticated creative tool that requires a subscription. You don’t have to edit on your phone, either — you’re just as welcome if you prefer to labor over your photos using a dedicated editing suite on your PC.

As usual, please let us know what you think by voting in the poll and sharing your approach in the comments below. We’re eager to know how many of you aspire to be a smartphone-toting Ansel Adams or Annie Leibovitz.

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New phone camera sensor promises dramatically improved low light photos

Vivo X50 Pro camera module

  • Vivo is working on an RGBW camera sensor that could lead to huge improvements in low-light photography.
  • It’s reportedly twice as efficient as a conventional sensor.
  • Phones using the sensor are already in the works, and expected to arrive in 2021.

It’s still challenging to take a good low light photo with your phone, but Vivo might just fix that in the near future. The Chinese brand has unveiled plans for an RGBW (red, green, blue, white) camera sensor that excels in dim lighting conditions.

The design is billed as the first sensor with both an RGBW matrix and a color filter array, and reportedly boasts a 160% higher photosensitive efficiency than a conventional RGGB (red, green, green, blue) unit — you’ll take “precise and clear” photos in low light, Vivo claimed. It’s even 60% more efficient than the RYYB (red, yellow, yellow, blue) sensors in phones like the Huawei P40 Pro, according to Vivo, and isn’t prone to their color casting issues.

Devices using the new sensor are in the works, and are expected to reach stores in 2021. Vivo said it had been “discreetly” working on the sensor for about a year.

Read more: Tips to take your photography to the next level

This isn’t the first time phone makers have used RGBW sensors. Huawei used one in the P8 from 2015 to reduce low light noise and improve brightness in high contrast situations. We generally liked its output, although it had problems with brightly-lit backgrounds as well as color saturation in dark scenes. That was five years ago, however, and we’d expect Vivo to benefit from technical progress since then.

There are no guarantees this will lead to the stellar output the company has promised. However, Vivo has developed a knack for low light photography in devices like the X50 Pro, even without relying on a night mode. The main concern is simply that the competition isn’t standing still. Samsung is rumored to be creating a new version of its 108MP sensor, and we’d expect sensor experts like Sony to deliver updates in 2021 as well. Still, this suggests Vivo won’t be left behind.

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Your regular reminder: More phone cameras does not equal better quality photos

The Redmi Note 8T offers more cameras, including a macro camera.

Credit: Nick Fernandez / Android Authority

Opinion post by
Hadlee Simons

It seems like just the other day that LG launched the V40 with its main-telephoto-ultrawide triple rear camera setup that would eventually form the backbone of many a premium phone’s photography suite.

The smartphone world has gone even further since then though, with brands pushing the number to four or in some ill-advised cases as many as five cameras.

Everyone from Huawei and Samsung to Xiaomi and OnePlus seem to be hopping on this trend of adding more and more cameras, but it’s worth stressing once again that increasing the number of cameras does not guarantee better picture quality — and manufacturers certainly know this.

These brands nevertheless choose this approach because it’s a cheap marketing trick to use in their promotional materials. Whether it’s the recent Xiaomi Redmi Note entries, Realme‘s budget phones, Samsung’s Galaxy A family, or Huawei’s mid-range phones, there are loads of examples of devices with unnecessary extra cameras that seem to be there simply to pad the numbers.

Related: The best Android camera phones you can buy

Quantity =/= quality

Samsung Galaxy A51 rear camera macro

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Macro cameras and depth sensors are two of the most popular extra cameras and, excuse me if this sounds obvious but… they don’t magically add up to deliver a better overall photo. The addition of these cameras have almost nothing to do with the actual picture quality when shooting a standard photo via the main camera. In fact, the biggest contributing factor to better image quality is the main camera hardware and a brand’s image processing software.

Whether it’s the introduction of a better main image sensor, optical image stabilization to reduce blur, or better camera software, all of these additions actually have an impact on overall picture quality. So why add these particular cameras in the first place then?

Read: What is macro photography?

A depth camera might be handy for portrait mode and depth of field effects, but it’s only contributing depth data to the main camera. Many brands these days are able to gather depth data via software algorithms or other, more useful cameras.

Meanwhile, macro cameras are used for taking close-up shots, but today’s brands are largely using token 2MP sensors (e.g. OnePlus 8 and many budget phones) that don’t offer much detail at all.

So clearly most brands seem to be using depth sensors and macro cameras to make up the numbers rather than as part of a concerted effort to actually deliver better image quality. But there are extra cameras worth having on a phone though, either offering a wildly different perspective or improving overall image quality.

When more cameras are welcome

Xiaomi Mi Note 10 back of the phone

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

One of the more common additions these days is the ultra-wide camera, taking snaps that are wider than a typical main camera. This is ideal for buildings, landscapes, group photos, and other situations where you want to cram as much as possible into the frame. Many ultra-wide cameras are also capable of taking macro shots too, and at a higher resolution than those sketchy 2MP macro sensors. Ultra-wide cameras are available on everything from the low-end Samsung Galaxy A11 to high-end phones like the Galaxy S20 series and iPhone 11 family.

Zoom cameras such as periscope or telephoto lenses are another truly handy addition too. These cameras offer much better zoom quality than phones relying on digital zoom alone. These cameras allow you to get Instagram-worthy images from afar rather than a blurry mess. Examples of phones with zoom-enabled cameras include recent Huawei flagships, the OnePlus 7T, and Samsung’s recent flagships.

We’ve even seen the likes of Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi offer two zoom cameras on a phone, with one being for short-range zoom (2x to 3x) and the other handling long-range zoom (5x or 10x). This way, image degradation is kept to a minimum across a variety of zoom factors. Phones with two zoom cameras include the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 and Huawei P40 Pro Plus.

When it comes to cameras, quality is more important than quantity.

Some older phones like the Huawei P20 series and Nokia 8 offer monochrome cameras as secondary sensors too. This type of camera can have a direct impact on overall image quality (especially at night), as it can gather more light than a traditional camera sensor. It can also be used for true monochrome shots and to gather depth information as well.

So why don’t more brands adopt these useful cameras then? Well, at least one manufacturer told us that macro cameras were considerably cheaper to implement than something like a telephoto lens. Furthermore, most brands already offer ultrawide cameras as the secondary shooter. As for monochrome cameras, they have fallen out of favor in recent times as brands use computational photography smarts or RYYB camera sensors to improve low-light picture quality instead.

Better extra cameras or none at all

Redmi Note 9 Pro in hand with camera

Credit: Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

It’s time for manufacturers to either bring truly useful extra cameras to the table or to ditch them completely. Sure, the average consumer might be swayed by fancy “quad-camera” marketing at first, but what happens when the user realizes the extra cameras are pointless? What if the offending brand decides to launch a quad-camera phone with useful extra cameras down the line? It has the potential to turn into a “boy who cried wolf” situation.

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Instead, the money that would’ve been spent on a depth sensor or macro camera can go towards improving the main camera. Whether it’s by implementing a better sensor, optical image stabilization, or improved software, this would all have a more meaningful impact on photo quality. We’d even be happy to see brands taking the cash that would’ve been spent on a depth sensor or macro camera and spending it on improving ultra-wide cameras and selfie snappers too.

So the next time you see a smartphone manufacturer boasting about having a quad-camera phone, just remember that it’s likely a case of quantity over quality.

More posts about photography

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Snap photos like a pro with iPhotography training

iPhotography Training

Anyone can point and shoot with a camera, but it takes technique and practice to take great pictures and capture moments perfectly. These are tricks you can learn, and the award-winning iPhotography Training is a great way to do it.

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This beginner-friendly learning kit teaches you everything there is to know about photography. Overall, there are 18 modules in the iPhotography Training kit that cover 80 hours of photography content. You can focus on the parts that most interest you.

Utilize an extensive download library and bonus photography resources.

You’ll learn about shutter speed and exposure to make your shots pop. You’ll learn about SLRs and mirrorless cameras, and which ones are right for you. Although you’ll mostly work on sharpening your skills, iPhotography also features an online gallery for feedback.

Many of the modules feature tutoring from award-winning pros to let you in on tips and tricks to build your skills.

iPhotography Training highlights:

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BlackBerry Priv receives its first update, includes camera tweaks and 16:9 photos

blackberry priv review aa (15 of 32)

The BlackBerry Priv had just started receiving its first software update, which makes some adjustments to the phone’s camera app along with productivity and security improvements. BlackBerry had committed itself to monthly security updates for the Priv and is sticking to its word.

The update weighs in at a hefty 475MB, but there are a number of notable changes included. The camera app has seen a few tweaks and should now operate much faster. BlackBerry has even adjusted the camera’s processing to improve image quality in low light situations and 16:9 photo support has been patched in as well.

Overall system performance and stability have also received a tune-up. BlackBerry has crushed a number of bugs that would lead the phone to crash or freeze and also claims to have improved the handset’s performance. Finally, the release includes December’s security patches to protect users against the latest Android vulnerabilities. A must have for a device promising top notch security.

BlackBerry Priv Reviews:

BlackBerry is also lining up updates for some of its Android apps. The Keyboard app will soon have improved language support and new emojis, there’s WhatsApp support coming the Hub & Contacts, and the DTEK app will have a notification options to alert users when apps checks into user info. These updates will be available from December 14th through the Play Store.

The Priv’s update is already rolling out over-the-air this week for customers who bought the phone through ShopBlackBerry (unlocked models), while carrier branded smartphones should begin to see a notification appear sometime after December 7th. You can always force a manual check by heading over to Settings -> About -> System Updates.

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