Category: iPhone

Reflections of New York

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

It has been a long time since I went back to New York. A very long time indeed. It was a work trip with some pockets of free time, so I took my camera with me — hoping to see New York differently. While those photos still sit on the camera’s memory card, waiting to be edited, I had enough time on my flight back to edit my photos made with my iPhone 14 Pro Max on my M2-powered iPad using the latest beta version of Adobe Lightroom.

The “RAW” files are rich enough in detail and allow me to apply my custom B&W presets to give the effect I want to these photos. Lightroom’s new enhanced “masking” capabilities make breathing life into the images easier by using slight contrast variations. Most of these images were composed and captured using iPhone’s telephoto lens, allowing me to isolate subjects and create a feeling of minimalism.

I have arranged photos in four categories — planes flying overhead, reflections of buildings in other buildings, skyline, and a handful of photos of tall buildings seen when taking a walk in Central Park. Image number 6 is my favorite. Which one is yours?

May 29, 2023. San Francisco

#6: Diamond’s Edge!

The House that Curry Built

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

San Francisco is changing. What was once a derelict, forgotten part of town has become a shining new neighborhood. Mission Bay has become a beautiful collection of office buildings, apartment blocks, a modern hospital complex, and new hotels.

However, the building that has a special place in my heart is the Chase Center — the home of the Golden State Warriors! The Chase Center as a complex is a photographer’s delight — especially for a photographer who loves to find minimal compositions. I call it the house that Stephen Curry built. I don’t care about basketball, but I love Stephen Curry for who he is and what he represents.

These three photos were captured on an iPhone 13 pro and have been color graded using my custom preset based on the colors of the Kodak Portra 400 film. The preset allows me to turn the morning oranges and yellows into slightly different tones – a blissful harmony of cream, lavender, and cinnamon. Welcome to spring 2023.

April 11, 2023. San Francisco

Photography’s future is software & computation

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

In an interview with DPReview, Sigma CEO Kazoo Tamaki made some observations about the impact of computational photography and the rise of camera phones. 

The technology that has impressed me the most is computational photography. The image quality from smartphones has improved drastically over the past several years, mainly due to computational photography. I’m amazed. This might change imaging technology. Camera and lens manufacturers need to learn something from it. Of course, we shouldn’t just copy the technology because we have much better hardware: bigger and better sensors, and better optics. But that kind of software is very powerful.

I believe they [the camera manufacturers] recognize the importance of computational photography. Still, as a camera and lens manufacturer, I feel we need to satisfy the very serious photographers and the history of photography culture. We don’t need to satisfy customers who just want to play with images or want a cartoon look. We have to follow the tradition of photography. People have been pursuing better picture quality in photography for over 150 years, right? So we have to respect the photo culture. But if there’s technology we can use to enhance picture quality that can also contribute to photography culture, why not? We should use it.

My takeaway from his comments was pretty simple: the camera industry is caught in the classic innovator’s dilemma. If they were smart, and if they could move faster, as an industry, they could try and embrace the change. They have bigger devices, historical knowledge, and the (Read more...)

Amazon shuts down DPReview

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

After nearly 25 years of operation, DPReview will be closing in the near future. This difficult decision is part of the annual operating plan review that our parent company shared earlier this year. The site will remain active until April 10.

DPRreview, a camera review and photography enthusiast community website owned and operated by Amazon, is shutting down, no thanks in part to a large-scale corporate readjustment — the company is laying off another 9000 employees. What an ironic twist of fate — getting shuttered in their twenty-fifth year. 

The news shocked the entire photography ecosystem, but I had heard rumblings of its demise over the past few months. It still doesn’t prepare you for loss, especially if a community and a website have been part of your cultural and professional evolution. The sadness expressed on social media only bellies the special place DPReview has enjoyed in the photographic community.

All of us have spent countless hours on its forums. Once its crown jewel, DPReview’s forums lost their luster, and many of the new converts to photography found more modern social spaces. With Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Reddit, and other social platforms becoming the primary place for photography-related discourse, photography communities have become a smaller, niche corner of the internet. Even as a long-time visitor, lately, I have preferred to go to Reddit for my photography discourse. Facebook Groups, in particular, have been a big hit with the photography community. I suppose nostalgia can keep you around for so long.

San Francisco is brooding

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

On a cloudy morning, the San Francisco skyline contrasts sharply with the brooding skies. I caught this moment a few weeks ago when returning from East Bay on a rainy morning. I love light on such mornings.

March 4, 2023. San Francisco

An Alaskan Sojourn

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

You might have noticed that it has been very quiet around here! Well, I went for a short trip to Alaska to take in the brutally cold winter weather, and take some photos. I had originally planned on visiting Alaska at the end of 2022, but the universe conspired against my plans. 

Alaska is one of my favorite places in America, and had I discovered it in my younger days, I probably would have made it home. Its vast emptiness, extreme nature, and, most importantly, its landscapes speak to me deeply and emotionally. It allows my inner introvert to exist without interference from the outside world. I have returned, replenished, my mind and soul in sync. I suppose I like it because, like all grand places, it reduces us humans to our true context when juxtaposed against the vastness and timeliness of the planet that’s home. 

Winter in Alaska is particularly alluring — the vast landscape is buried under snow and ice, giving it a surreal monotone feel. The trees, laden with pillows of snow, appear as lines etched on many shades of white. It didn’t matter if it was snowing. It didn’t matter if it was blowing a gale. It goes without saying, winter in Alaska is an amazing experience. 

I am not much of a wildlife photographer, but I enjoy spotting moose against the white snow. Moose in Alaska are bigger than any I have seen in Wyoming. It was also surreal to see a wolf protecting its (Read more...)

Big Emps, Low Temps!

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

In 2021, I had a chance to visit the frozen continent of Antarctica. It was a chance to experience “totality,” a kind of solar eclipse where the Moon fully obscures the disk of the Sun. Originally the plan was to see this eclipse over a large Emperor Penguin colony, but the weather changed my plans. Instead, I experienced totality on the vast nothingness of the Union Glacier.

But before that, I got to spend a lot of time with the Emperor penguins and get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures. I captured some of these moments on my iPhone, which was my primary tool for making short videos on this trip, which took me to different locations in Antarctica. My videographer friend Felix helped cobble them together and created a short 2+ minute film for your enjoyment.

Let me know what you think!

January 31, 2023, San Francisco

Animated Chart: The Smartphone Effect on the Camera Market

This post is by Carmen Ang from Visual Capitalist

Charting the Smartphone Effect on the Camera Market

The smartphone camera has come a long way since the early 2000s, and its impact on the overall camera market cannot be understated.

In fact, modern smartphones have become so sophisticated that the CEO of Sony’s semiconductor manufacturing company predicts that smartphone cameras will soon produce better quality images than DSLR cameras.

Whether smartphones will be able to completely replace standalone cameras is still a contentious debate topic, but one thing is clear—while smartphone sales have skyrocketed over the last decade, digital camera sales have plummeted.

This animation by James Eagle compares annual sales data for film cameras, digital cameras, and smartphones over the years to show just how much smartphones have impacted the camera market.

A (Brief) History of Standalone Cameras

Below, we’ve broken down the history of cameras into three overarching periods: early cameras, film cameras, and digital cameras.

Early Cameras

Cameras have been around for thousands of years, with descriptions of camera-like devices found in historical writings dating back as far as the 4th century:

  • 330 AD: Ancient Chinese texts describe a device known as a camera obscura. Similar to pinhole cameras, these didn’t produce actual photographs, but rather reflected light onto screens which could then be traced to produce a lasting image.
  • Early 1800s: It’s generally accepted that Joseph Nicéphore Niépce invented the first photographic camera in 1816. Using silver chloride, Niépce managed to develop an image that’s still around today.
  • 1840s: Early cameras produced negative (Read more...)

Aerial magic with iPhone 14 Pro

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

I am fortunate enough to have traveled to many exotic locations. Still, the biggest thrill is when the plane slowly makes its way around the bay area and settles into a slow approach over the San Francisco Bay towards the San Francisco Airport. The bigger the bird, the slower it is in its approach.

As we float over the bay, approaching from the Southern end of the Bay Area, occasionally, I find myself sitting on the window seat on the plane’s right side. My vantage point gives me a view of the San Mateo bridge and the salt ponds that have been part of the bay since the California Gold Rush. The 16,500-acre ponds once were part of the wetlands.

Almost every single time, I marvel at these ponds’ colors and the minimal beauty of their geometric shapes. Recently, I snapped a few photos with the new iPhone 14 Pro Max, and the long reach of its telephoto lens allowed me to focus on a few elements in each photo. And since I was using Halide’s app, the RAW files gave me enough data to manipulate in Photoshop. I was quite amazed by the details captured by the new iPhone camera. The reflections of the clouds were very clear and added a nice texture to the photos. Using Topaz’s software, I was able to clean up the files. After that, it was just a matter of applying my custom presets and playing around with saturation and contrast.

As the holiday (Read more...)

The eSIM Problem

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

All about the camera! Photo courtesy of Apple.

I was traveling when Apple launched the new iPhone 14 series. For once, I had no desire to upgrade from my 13 Pro — only a year old. It is a great little device and does pretty much everything I need it to do. However, being the camera nerd I am, I couldn’t resist. The new 48-megapixel camera was a tempting prospect. “48 megapixels is nuts,” tweeted Sebastiaan de With, co-creator of my favorite camera app, Halide. “It’s transformative for iPhone photography.” The pixel binning technology the new iPhone 14 uses reminds me of the pixel binning used by Leica’s new M11 cameras. So  I ordered one: the Max in the new purple color.

The phone arrived this past Friday. It was the first iPhone that exclusively used eSIMs — something we started writing about at the old blog about a decade ago. (I know the eSIM-only devices made Stacey Higginbotham very happy.)  And from what I had read and seen on YouTube, it seemed that switching the number to the new phone was going to be a breeze. I was about to learn, the hard way, that never believe everything you read in the reviews.  

While the setting up on the phone is a breeze — I restore everything from the latest backup on the iCloud. You just type in your Apple ID and password and then let the phone set itself up in sync with the old phone. It (Read more...)