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.
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.
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.
All digital sensors are light hungry. The more light they have to work with, right up to the limits of what the sensor can handle, the happier they are, and the better the results. It is not a matter simply of ISO…adjusting the sensitivity of the sensor to accommodate lower light levels will adversely effect image quality…but even at the base ISO there is simple more detail and more subtle color tones in an image taken in good light. And phone cameras, because of their truly tiny sensors, are particularly responsive to changes in light level. This crocus shot was taken with the Siuri 60mm on the Moment thin case on my iPhone SE2020. Native Camera App on Auto. Processed in Apple Photos.
The difficulty I have with macros is remembering to take them. The Sirui 10x macro lens is easy enough to twist on to the Moment thin case, which is always on my iPhone SE2020, but I do have to remember to do it. It produces excellent results. You just have to move in on your subject until it comes into focus, and touch the shutter button. The native Apple Camera App works well in good light. This crocus, the first to open this spring in our yard, was in the shade of the trunk on an overcast day, but still had plenty of light.
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.
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).
My Sony Rx10iv has something called “clear image zoom”…a special 1.5 and 2x digital zoom with extra processing to preserve detail and image quality. It works pretty well, and gives me a bit of extra reach when I am desperate for it, without sacrificing pixels in an after-the-fact crop. Digital zoom on the iPhone SE2020 (and I assume most iPhones) seems to use the computational power of the phone’s processor to do an even better job of eliminating digital artifacts when you zoom in. At least under 2x, I can really see no decrease in image quality. It is pretty amazing, and turns the excellent Sirui 60mm into an effective 120mm lens…long enough for some telephoto macro effects. iPhone SE2020 with the Moment thin case and the Sirui 60mm lens, native camera app with 2x digital zoom. Next I am going to try a bit of digital zoom with the 10x macro lens. 🙂
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.
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.