#Photography – This week I was visiting my mum in Würzburg, in the south of Germany. It was the first time I could really put the camera of my new iPhone X to use and test it’s features like the portrait mode. Of course, it is still far from perfect and for some situations, I still prefer my Canon DSLR. However, smartphones are closing the gap rapidly. Some of the iPhone’s algorithms for picture optimization and manipulation on the fly really surprised me. Especially thinking about where all this could easily go within the next few months and years. I see a lot of technological and creative potential here!
The new portrait mode of the iPhone X is really useful when it comes to, yes of course, portraits. The trick behind this mode is that the object of focus – in this case the person – is detected by the iPhone’s multiple cameras. The iPhone then blurs the background automatically. It creates the typical effect you get when using DSLRs and their lenses‘ focal distance and aperture – the effect, everybody loves.
Another use case for portrait mode is macro photography. The kind of photos you use to zoom in on an object and really put focus on the details of it – also by blurring the background of course.
Of course, border detection does not always work perfectly fine, especially under extreme conditions. If you want to take a picture of some flowers, for example, moving in the wind, the background between them will not be blurred perfectly correct. However, these little bugs don’t really catch your attention if you don’t try to find them.
The easy, quick results of this mode are astonishing. And if you don’t like them, turn the feature off in the aftermath. The iPhone saves the original images and even some variations with different lights. People were dazzled by the „stage light“ for example with which the iPhone is able to cut a person out of an image and place him or her in front of a black background – but let’s be honest: this is still very crappy. There was not one photo in which some essential parts of the person were not cut out – if it weren’t parts of the torso, some hair had to go. This still requires some much smarter algorithms than currently put to work here but it is fine for me.
Landscape mode is as beautiful as always and just takes advantage of the iPhone X’s better cameras and processing power in the way that you can move even quicker with your phone to really capture the whole scene.
I leave you with some more impressions of this awesome summer’s day with my mum at Marienfestung Würzburg.