You may not have heard since it’s been on the down low, but little company called Apple released some new phones yesterday. I was excited because I had finally allowed myself to skip an upgrade last year, and I was eager to see the new improvements since the iPhone 5, especially with the camera, so when I got the iPhone 6 Plus I wanted to put it to the test.
Now, there are all caveats here: 1) I did not “do a shoot” with the new iPhone. Over the course of 90 minutes, I used the phone for about 15 seconds to produce this photo, after we had already nailed the scene with the Nikon D810. I don’t put anything, especially tech geekery, before clients’ needs. And of course there are other hardships in a 15-second-long photoshoot. But it gave me some insights into the camera and its use.
- This isn’t just a cell phone shot in tricky mixed lighting, and it came out great! This isn’t out-of-camera, of course — it’s processed to the same level as everything else I do, otherwise it would be at a distinctive advantage. But you can’t — or at least I can’t — take an image that is noisy, muddy garbage and make it great later, so it’s nice that this is turning out some good pixels.
- I am loving the exposure control in iOS 8. It allows me to quickly focus where I want to without worrying whether that spot is too dark or light for the overall exposure.
- Speaking of focus, the new phase-detect focus is speedy enough that I never had to think about it, which is all I want in this kind of camera.
The exposure control in iOS 8 is basically a + or – EV control, which just means “render this scene brighter or darker than you normally would. That is very different from having actual exposure control. Because we were adding enough light to the scene, the phone chose to shoot this at 1/30th of a second, where I would have preferred around 1/10th to make the train pulling into the station show a lot more blurred motion — especially because the iPhone 6 plus has optical image stabilization. We could have lowered the lights and tried again, but that’s a lot more annoying than a button click (and remember, we only took 15 seconds for this). I’m eager to see how third party apps take advantage of the new software development options to give us more and more control in weeks to come.
To make this camera so good and the phone so thin, the camera has to protrude a bit, making it wobbly when you set it down. I don’t mind much, but it’s one reason that I can’t wait to put a case on this thing.
One more thing:
The LED flash on this thing is really strong. I expect I’ll be using it a lot in ring shots, or when I have to sneak a quick night shot in and don’t have time to get my video light. That is probably the only way this will have a direct effect on my professional images. It’s good, but it’s nothing like a D810.