It’s not only that our children and we spend too much time staring at our phone screens – even the gorillas are, according to the Toronto Zoo. And whose fault is it? Well, certainly not the apes’. The zoo has started urging visitors to stop showing videos and photos on their smartphones to its gorillas, as it makes them upset and messes with their everyday life.
This is an interesting video from tech YouTuber and smartphone aficionado Marques Brownlee that talks about the iPhone’s camera system and why it appears to be getting worse than the competition with each new generation. Having dumped iPhones myself back in 2017, it wasn’t something I’d really paid much attention to, but on watching his video, I realised that he was right. Their quality seems to be getting worse.
Marques has a theory as to why this is happening, and I think he might be right. In fact, he believes that one of them is something which Google has already fallen foul of with their Pixel series of smartphones. Fortunately, for Google’s sake, it looks like they course-corrected pretty quickly, but will Apple? Maybe.
Zacuto, the company famous for its high-end (and expensive) cinema rig accessories has turned to smartphones with their latest release, the Smart Z-Finder. As with many of Zacuto’s more popular products over the years, this one’s a viewfinder. Except it’s not for cinema cameras or even mirrorless cameras. This one takes aim at mobile creators. It’s designed for smartphones.
A first of its kind, the Zacuto Smart Z-Finder allows you to film with a smartphone in a way that feels a little more like a “real camera”, allowing you to fill your view with the screen while blocking out external distractions. It’s compatible with most smartphones on the market and allows for both horizontal or vertical filming. It’s currently running on Kickstarter.
Smartphone filter kits seem to be coming through thick and fast lately, with the most recent being NiSi’s iPhone filter kit announced a few weeks ago. Now, there’s another hitting the market. It’s the Snap Filter, a magnetic filter system for the iPhone from Pan’s Scheme, a company founded by YouTuber, Mediastorm. It’s an interesting system which offers some familiar filters including ND, Mist and star filters as well as anamorphic look-a-likes, blue and gold streak (in horizontal and vertical flavours).
A base attaches to your smartphone and there are two bases, one for the iPhone 12/13 and 12/13 Pro and one for the iPhone 12/13 Pro Max, that magnetically attach to your phone. Onto these, you attach your filters, and various kits are available depending on your needs. It’s a design that, as usual, is specifically for the iPhone, though. So, Android users can move along. Nothing to see here.
If we take away all the egotistical hyperbole, one of the big things that stops a lot of people from shooting more (and more serious) photos with their smartphones is the lack of available filters. Sure, there are some polarisers and NDs out there, but when have you ever seen a square filter system comparable to that which you’d use on a DSLR or mirrorless camera?
Well, NiSi’s solving that today, at least for iPhone users, with the release of their new Smartphone Filter Kit for iPhone. Technically, there are three kits. There’s the Landscape Kit, the Filmmaker Kit and the Cinema Kit, each tailored to a different type of user. And the filters themselves appear to be exactly the same (only smaller) as those which NiSi makes for regular cameras, too.
I recently returned from tiny Mendocino, California, a coastal town up the road from San Francisco, producing an episode of my PhotowalksTV travel series, and my inbox has been overflooded with questions about the process.
Do I really produce a travel photography series with just mobile cameras? (Mostly.) And how do I go about it? Thanks for asking. Let me tell you about it.
Zhiyun has announced the new Zhiyun Smooth Q4 gimbal for smartphones. It comes with some ergonomic improvements over its predecessor with a redesigned arm that lets you deploy and start shooting with it very quickly when you’re out and about. And like many of Zhiyun’s smartphone gimbals, it features a built-in extendable selfie stick for when you want to get a bit more vlogging range with a wider background.
It’s available in two packages. The Standard Package contains the basic gimbal, mini tripod and power cord. The Combo Package also includes a small magnetic LED fill light with gel covers, a wrist strap and a case in which to keep everything safe. The gimbal itself offers a multi-function control wheel as well as intelligent shooting modes and one-click switching between landscape and portrait orientation.
The OnePlus 10 Pro, launched in China back in January today sees its official global release. It boasts the second-generation Hasselblad Camera for Mobile, with the first having previously come in the OnePlus 9 Pro – part of Hasselblad’s 3-year deal with OnePlus that was announced in March of last year. It also features a 120Hz display with Dual Color Calibration (a first in smartphones) and “super-fast” charging.
The camera module retains essentially the same specifications (sensor size, resolution, etc) as its OnePlus 9 Pro predecessor, although it is a redesigned module able to shoot in full 10-bit colour, 125% sRGB coverage capture, and you can shoot 12-bit raw on all three rear cameras. The OnePlus 10 Pro also debuts a new “Movie Mode” allowing for full manual control over your videos along with LOG format.
Well, this is pretty exciting. At least, it’s exciting if you have an Android phone – sorry iPhone users!. The newest version of the open-source camera app, MotionCam, now lets you shoot 10-Bit CinemaDNG RAW video files straight from your Android device. It should be noted that the feature is still experimental and definitely needs a few features tweaking and refining, but it works… with caveats.
The MotionCam software, as mentioned, is open source. It’s available in the Google Play store, but you can also always download and install the latest version from GitHub – and at the moment, you will need to go to GitHub to get the newest version with raw video capability. Here’s a sample recording using the new CinemaDNG raw video feature of the app.
The reaction I’ve gotten from people watching my latest #shotonaniPhone Photowalks video episode has been across the board.
“What camera did you use to shoot this? It looks amazing.” That was the first comment. My sentiment too.
This is related to the one key new feature of the latest iPhone, which is “Cinematic Mode.” It allows the photographer to blur the background as we do in Portrait Mode for iPhone stills, or by shooting with a small F stop on our cameras.