computational photography

Should I Buy a Mirrorless Camera or Upgrade My iPhone?

Sony a6000

Episode 1809

Mark from San Diego, CA

Mark is an avid photographer, but his current camera is an iPhone 6S. Leo says that the iPhone takes great pictures. He was thinking about buying a new mirrorless camera, but he's seeing just how good the iPhone is. Should he buy a new camera or upgrade to the best iPhone out there? Leo says that the iPhone 12 Pro Max would be a definite upgrade with a third super-wide lens and the ability to do computational photography. But Leo says that a mirrorless camera gives you more manual control.

What's a Good Smartphone With a Great Camera?

iPhone 12 Pro Max

Episode 1763

Glenda from Orange County, CA

Glenda needs a new smartphone with an excellent camera. Leo says that all of the "flagship phones" from Apple, Samsung, and Google all have excellent cameras. The iPhone 12 Pro, S21, and Pixel 5 are the latest top models and have amazing cameras. They all use computational photography to create bokeh, have great dynamic range and bold colors.

But even last year's mobile phones would be cheaper and have the same great cameras. The Google Pixel 4a has the same camera as the Pixel 5, and it's $349. A good option. A very natural image. 

How can I take a 360 degree image of something?

Sony A7

Episode 1706

JP from Orange County, CA

JP is looking for a good photographer's 360 turntable. Essentially, it's a lazy susan for photographers. Leo says that there's software now that largely lets you do this with just your iPhone. The app is called Bellus 3D and it does a very credible 3D render of your object. 

What's a good mirrorless camera for JP to move away from his Canon DSLR? Leo says he loves the Sony A7, but since JP has all that Canon glass (lenses) that he's invested in, the Canon R series is probably the best way to go. 

What is a Good Cheap Camera for Taking Portraits?

Camera

Episode 1705

Maverick's Mom from Chino, California

Maverick's mom wants a good camera that can take better pictures than the iPhone. She wants images that will blur into the background. Leo says that's called "bokeh" and she will need that look with a fast, wide lens. Those are more expensive. The iPhone does it, but it does it computationally. For a few hundred dollars, Leo recommends Canon's Powershot models. Get one that can shoot at F1.8. He recommends going to DPReview for a list of the best point and shoots. The chatroom recommends the Panasonic FZ80.

Google Announces Pixel 4 Mobile Phone

Google Pixel 4

Episode 1636

Google announced the Pixel 4 this week. Leo says that of all the features, the camera is the one that everyone is looking at. Leo also said that Apple was waiting for what Google announced before releasing the upcoming iOS 13.2 update to improve image quality. Leo also says that computational photography has reached a point where your mobile phone's camera is as good as a real camera, so there's no real need to own a separate one now. The phone will also use machine learning to teach the camera what different parts of the image look like, so it'll adjust the image accordingly.

Do I Have to Still Run as a Standard User on Windows?

Administrator

Episode 1632

Joey from San Diego, CA

Joey wants to know if he still needs to run Windows as a standard user, rather than an Administrator. Leo says he used to recommend that tactic, and he can still do that. It won't hurt anything. However, Windows and Mac have fixed this with UAC (user access configuration) features. This way, users have to type in the Admin password to do anything that could get into trouble. 

Chris Marquardt ... Not buying on the iPhone 11

Chris Marquardt

Episode 1627

Chris joins us and says he's not buying the iPhone 11 because he believes that the phone is in the "tock" cycle, and there's going to be a much better phone next year. So he's going to wait. Having said that, he thinks that the three lens camera on the iPhone is a two stage upgrade. The three cameras are matched, so they have the same colors and calibrated to make it a seemless shot. And the night shot mode is interesting as an answer to Google's Night Sight. It takes up to nine photos at various aperture and shutters speeds and then uses computational photography to fuse them together.

Hands-on with the Pixel 3 XL

Google Pixel 3 XL

Episode 1533

Leo got the Google Pixel 3 XL smartphone this week and spent the day in San Francisco trying out the camera. Leo says he's impressed with the Pixel 3 camera and its photo features, including an impressive zoom. Google is using computational photography to do a lot of the things that a telephoto lens would do, and the results are remarkable. Users, though, are complaining about the deep "notch" on the top and the 'chin' at the bottom.