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iPhone SE 2020 landscapes Native Camera app Sirui 18mm

Batson River, Emmon’s Preserve

Nothing technical about this photo. Just a nice landscape with water from the Batson River at Emmon’s Preserve. iPhone SE2020 with the Sirui 18mm on the Moment thin case. Native Camera App. Auto.

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iPhone SE 2020 landscapes live photo Sirui 18mm video

Flowing water…Live Photo again

The other thing you can do with Live Photo, is, of course, create an animated gif or a short video. On an Apple Device, the gif or video will loop…so for things like flowing water it can be quite interesting. Depending on where you view this, it may or may not loop, but you can get the idea. Essentially a Live Photo is a short video of frames before and after your shutter press. iPhone SE2020 with Sirui 18mm lens on the Moment thin case. Native Camera App. Live Photo. Converted to video in Lively.

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HDR iPhone SE 2020 landscapes live photo Native Camera app ProCamera Sirui 18mm

Flowing water. Sirui 18mm

The Apple Camera App does this “live photo” thing. I have not yet figured out exactly what it is actually for…why anyone would use it most of the time. Or maybe it is more why I would use it, any time. I have experimented with it for photos of active birds using the Sirui 400mm and it has potential there…but not as much as actually shooting in 4K video and taking clips. One of the other things it does is to simulate a long exposure…for things like flowing water. I had to experiment with that, and I had a chance yesterday when I biked out to Emmon’s Preserve on the Baston River in Kennebunkport. Above you see three renderings of the same little fall of water. The first is the standard shot lifted from a live photo and processed in Apple Photos. The second is a “Vivid HRD” from ProCamera, also processed in Photos. The third is the same live photo from the Camera App, with the “long exposure” effect engaged. I have never been a big fan of the “silky water” effect, but it can be interesting. I will leave it to you to decide whether the iPhone Camera App does a good job with it.

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iPhone SE 2020 landscapes Sirui 18mm

Mousam River overlook

My trike is still in the shop getting its electric assist installed, so I am doing more walking these days. This view of the lower Mousam River is from a wood road off Brown Street. Right across there is an actual manicured overlook along the Bridal Path where it passes through Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge land, but this is a more natural setting for the river, on an interesting weather day. Sirui 18mm lens on the Moment thin case on the iPhone SE2020. Native Camera App, Auto.

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iPhone SE 2020 landscapes Native Camera app Sirui 18mm

Foreground: Sirui 18mm

One advantage of the Sirui 18mm lens on the iPhone SE2020 is the amount of foreground you can include in your landscape images. By limiting the sky to the top third of the image, you can create landscapes with a lot of foreground detail and an interesting perspective. Of course the same advantage applies whether you are using the Sirui, or the ultra-wide lens built into your phone, or even an ultra-wide on a mirrorless or DSLR style camera. Sirui 18mm lens on the iPhone SE2020 with the Moment thin case. Native Camera App on Auto.

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iPhone SE 2020 landscapes Sirui 18mm

Ultra-wide in my pocket: Sirui 18mm

I am enjoying having a ultra-wide angle lens in my pocket. I have always like the 18mm perspective, and I invested in a Sony mirrorless body and the Sony 20mm and ultra-wide converter as my “landscape” camera to take on my over-seas journeys…but I find that I do not carry it around home. One extra camera. The Sony Rx10iv reaches 24mm and it is too easy to just grab it and go. Even when climbing mountains in Costa Rica or Uganda, looking for birds or gorillas, the extra camera was cumbersome. With the 18mm lens on the Moment thin case in my iPhone SE2020, having the ultra-wide perspective with me all the time is not an issue. The phone is there anyway, and the lens is just a tiny lump in one of my pockets. 🙂 I am sure I would feed the same way about a phone with the ultra-wide built in. iPhone SE2020 with Moment thin case and Sirui 18mm. Native Camera App. Auto. This is the grounds of an extensive estate which has recently been acquired by the local National Wildlife Refuge, Rachel Carson, to use as their headquarters (and to protect a prime section of the banks of the Mousam River).

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iPhone SE 2020 Native Camera app Sirui 18mm

How wide is wide? Sirui 18mm

So what does the 18mm Sirui lens do for the iPhone SE2020. The native lens on the iPhone camera is already, arguably, a wide angle lens, roughly equivalent to a 28mm lens on a full frame DSLR. Adding the Sirui takes it into the ultra-wide range at 18mm equivalent. The two shots above show the difference pretty clearly. As important as the extra width is, the 18mm frame also contains more at the top and bottom, and, for landscapes, can be quite effective in producing a natural view of the world…closer, in my opinion, to the impression the scene makes on our naked eye. iPhone SE2020 with the Moment thin case, native lens and Sirui 18mm. Native Camera App.

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iPhone SE 2020 landscapes Native Camera app Sirui 18mm

Distortion. Sirui 18mm

Distortion, or the lack there-of. One of the surprising things about the Sirui 18mm lens on the iPhone SE2020 and the Moment thin case is how little distortion there is both across the field and at the edges of the field. If you have used other wide angle add-on lenses for your phone, or even the native wide angle lens if you phone is equipped with one, you know that this level of quality is the exception, not the rule. This shot did require some “vertical perspective” correction in Polarr as the 18mm perspective tips verticals back toward the horizon if you have the camera pointing up at all, as in this case, to catch more of the sky drama…but that is just something all lenses do whenever the sensor is not perpendicular to the horizon. It is so common in photographs that we generally do not even see it. Architectural photographers, who care about such things, use special lenses which eliminate the vertical tilt. It can also be corrected in many photo editing apps. iPhone SE2020 with the Moment thin case and the Sirui 18mm lens. Native camera app on Auto.

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16x9 iPhone SE 2020 landscapes Native Camera app Sirui 18mm

All about proportions… Sirui 18mm

The Sirui 18mm lens on the iPhone SE2020 produces an interesting field of view, in that, unlike many ultra-wide lenses I have worked with in the past, at least in the standard 4×3 format of the iPhone Camera App, it is wide in both dimensions…capturing an image which is both broader and taller than normal. Makes sense. If you want a more panoramic effect, you can switch to the 16×9 format. Technically, you should not get any wider a view since the 16×9 format is just a crop of the 4×3, but in practice you do gain a few pixels along the edges. The longer, more narrow view, with less foreground and sky does have its appeal, as it produces a very “expansive” feeling in landscapes.

Of course you could just crop the 4×3 image in post processing, but there are, I think, advantages to composing in the 16×9 format in the field. It makes you look at the world differently, and, in fact, opens you to new imaging possibilities. This shot with the subject (object?) in one corner of the long thin frame, for instance.

Using the native Camera App on the iPhone, it is just a matter of opening the control panel and choosing the 16×9 format. Worth a try when working with landscapes and other stationary objects 🙂 Sirui 18mm lens on the Moment thin case on my iPhone SE2020. Native Camera App on auto.

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iPhone SE 2020 Native Camera app Sirui 18mm

All about perspective… Sirui 18mm

One of the things I love about the 18mm view is the interesting perspective of the ultra-wide angle lens. In normal landscapes it is not so obvious…nothing like a “fish-eye” lens for instance, but once you get in close or down low, the perspective opens out in a why that your normal lens just can’t match…with extreme depth of field. Not all 18mm lenses work. Many ultra-wide lenses, especially add on lenses for phones, have a lot of distortion in the field and a lot of softness at the edges that destroys the perspective effect. Not so the Sirui…which is, in many ways, as good as my Sony 18mm combo lens, or the ZEISS Touit that I used for a while. A very fun lens to use. iPhone SE 2020 with the Moment thin case and the Sirui 18mm lens. Native Apple Camera App. ISO 20 @ 1/1350th.