The results are pretty amazing – the iPhone takes worse photos but it certainly stacks up against a $4,000 professional camera. And, although the photos from the iPhone are significantly noisier, it has fantastic automatic metering.
This isn’t worth jailbreaking for. There are plenty of affordable and good panoramic applications in the App Store and obviously Apple wasn’t happy enough with this feature to include it. So it probably isn’t nearly as good as the apps you can get for just a few bucks.
With the iPhone 4S that decision just got even harder. The iPhone 4S now has an 8MP f/2.4 camera that is also capable of shooting 1080p HD video (the iPhone 4 records in 720p). For any photographer that still pulled out their DSLR over the iPhone 4 they may find it a little easier to use the iPhone 4S. That is why I think the curve to popularity will be a very steep, up-and-to-the-right graph. More serious photographers will use the iPhone 4S then did the iPhone 4.
Time will tell if I’m right. I’d guess, 12 months.
A panoramic view of the 5th Ave. Apple Store in New York City.
The iPhone’s camera has been one of its least regarded features. The built-in camera is only 2.1 megapixels, performs poorly in low-light, and has a very limited field of view.
All of that being said, you can pour through Flickr’s global tag of iPhone and, sort by Most Interesting, and find some photos that you will be amazed that they were taken with an iPhone. I know I have quite a number of photos that I’ve taken with my iPhone that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by.
The three problems I mentioned are not easily fixed. The fact that the iPhone is only 2.1 megapixels is, as far as I know, impossible to change until Apple releases an updated iPhone. The iPhone’s low-light performance can sort of be rectified by, well, changing the level of the light with either a flash, a light, or perhaps positioning your subjects nearer to a light source like the light shining through a window.
The field of view, however, is something that many are trying to rectify. Â Heck, my iPhone macro lensÂ (video) is an example of trying to change the field of view on the iPhone. There are also lenses that are being released by real third-party accessory manufacturers. Â But, you can also tackle this problem with software.
Pano, from Debacle Software, is an iPhone application that allows you to shoot fourÂ consecutiveÂ photos which it will then merge together as one large panoramic photo. The best feature of Pano is not just that you can do this but how you do this. As you are shooting Pano shows you the right-most section of the previous photo so that you are able to line up each shot with the last.
As it turns out, some one lost a camera, some one found the camera, and then someone went to great lengths to return the camera. Â After turning the camera into police, and they not finding the owner, they gave it to the person that found it. Â So the woman that found it posted a few of the photos online and asked for help in figuring out who owned it. Â After some expertÂ sleuthing, the owners were found and the camera returned.
The iPhone’s geo-enabled camera, whether you’ve upgraded to an iPhone 3G with built-in GPS or not, now records the location ((A rough latitude and longitude.)) that the photo was taken.
I have a few problems with the way this has been implemented on the iPhone and also how it works on my Macintosh. Â But before I begin bashing Apple – I do want to say that I’m fairly optimistic that other applications will use this feature much better than Apple has.
A few quick notes and then you can watch the video below. Â First, the iPhone asks (though I didn’t manage to capture this on “film”) if you’d like to record the location the photo was taken. Â It doesn’t say why, how, or where to view this information. Â It just asks, you hit ok, and you’re never told about anything ever again. Â Second, the iPhone stores the latitude and longitude inside of the file’s meta-data. There is no way to visualize this information on your iPhone. Â In fact, photos that are geo-encoded look exactly the same on your iPhone as the photos that are not. Â Third, when you import them onto your computer – there is no real way to tell the difference on there either. Â I use Image Capture to import, but I also tested iPhoto, and neither application lets me know that the location was recorded (without a little digging).
Here is a quick video demonstration, and I threw in my opinions for those that don’t like to read, of how the iPhone handles things with the camera now.
So there you have it. Â Yes the iPhone records this information properly. Â But I think the iPhone needs to take advantage of this information in some way to make it valuable to the lay-person, and I also think that iPhoto needs to be updated to support geo-location so that these photos are fun to play with on your computer too.
Anyone know of any iPhone / Macintosh applications that would be fun to play with these photos now?
Finally taking the time to go through each page in the manual. Eliza and I have had this camera since last fall and although I’ve been using it, I’m just now getting a chance to really kick the setting’s tires.
From the ever-growing departments of “I wish I thought of this” and “I may even still do this myself” comes this: Someone left a disposable camera on a benched, tied by a simple string, with a note that read:
“Good afternoon, I attached this camera to the bench so you could take pictures. Seriously. So have fun. I’ll be back later this evening to pick it up. Love, Jay / The Plug”