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A few random complaints: iPhone 4S, Facebook, Google+, Canon, and Nikon

A few random complaints: iPhone 4S, Facebook, Google+, Canon, and Nikon

iPhone4S – What happened to the iPhone 5? We’re just getting an “S” upgrade. The announcement wasn’t much. The most amazing iPhone yet? OK, that’s the Apple spiel. It does feature a new 8 megapixel camera with five lenses. Since I’m not on any Apple list to get a test drive of the phone and camera, I will have to rely on the its website for camera details. Since I only have an iPhone 3GS with a battery that will hold a charge for only about two hours of reasonable use, I will be in line to get a new phone this month.

Apple says, “The A5 chip is designed with an image signal processor that’s just as good as the ones found in DSLR cameras.” This is one I would really like to perform a comparison test on. My DSLR against my iPhone, I will have to wait for this test. I am going to order one Oct 7, but please don’t compare the quality to my Canon 7D. You’re not going to win that battle.

I don’t really see this 8-megapixel camera on the iphone putting much of a dent in the DSLR market. Apple is really going after the point-and-shoot compact camera market. Many people I know have made the switch to the smart-phone camera only. I’m not quite there. While the camera phones have really improved, I still need a real camera with a zoom lens and small flash. Again, it’s about convenience over quality.

There are so many times a nice wide angle or telephoto lens makes such a difference, and how about fill-in flash to illuminate the subject or taking pics at an indoor party? You’re there to record the event and not get old-school, wacky color balanced photos with your Hipstamatic or Lomo app. Is anyone else tired of seeing new photo made to look old?  Enough is enough. Let’s go back to high-quality photos without a lot of crazy borders and weird color shifts.

Also, the new iPhone 4S camera features backside illumination sensor? I have no idea what this means, but it sure sounds good. How can you take a bad photo? What I do know is that I’m really ready for more megapixels. It’s all about the megapixels when you’re selling cameras. It’s the one thing the consumer can lock into and talk about with some authority. My camera is better than yours. It also means a need for bigger backup storage.

Facebook – What happened to Facebook? I don’t why something so simple is getting more confusing. Why mess with success. Who needs extra little blue triangles, top stories, recent stores and features I will never use? Am I supposed to make recent stories into top stories? Where are the instructions? Where is the help menu?  Now I have this ticker running down the right-hand column with comments, plus now it’s tricky to find out who is online. Next we’re going to get a timeline. Just add a button and let me go back to the original version.

I must be getting old; I don’t like change. I just want to see what a few family members and friends are doing, check out a few snapshots and get out.

I guess even when you’re No. 1, there’s alway a need, for some reason, to make things better. So how about making it better? This is certainly an easy request. How about changing the background color for the photos back to the darker black, which really makes the photos stand out so much better. I’m not a fan of the bright white, which puts a haze over your browser window. Facebook, I think I’m over it.

Google+ – I finally got my invite from a friend. It’s Facebook with a cleaner look and better photo display. I was going to make this a rant about how I am going to quit Facebook and try Google+, but who’s using it? It’s kind of quiet in there. Everyone says maybe I should try Google +, but I don’t see it happening any time soon.

I started out making a variety of circles: friends, family, Photoshop experts, Mac experts and miscellaneous. No one can see which circles I put them in. All they know is that they’ve been put in a circle. That part is kind of fun. Sorry if you end up in my miscellaneous circle. Send me a note if you have a better way of doing this.

I do find this a problem when I join one of the big-time players pages and find out I don’t make it into one of their circles. It really make me feel unpopular. Maybe it’s just me, but I always want to be in the inner circle.

Actually, things are pretty quiet for me on Google+. It does display my photos better, but I am still working on the learning curve with it.  I’ll be glad when I don’t need to learn how to use stuff. I thought technology was supposed to make things easier to learn, not harder. But it continually makes the learning curve steeper. It should be the opposite. It’s not like riding a bike. I keep forgetting stuff and then have to relearn it.

I guess Google+ is going to make Facebook work harder. If anyone can knock Facebook off the pedestal, Google certainly has the resources to make it happen. Of course they need a product that is better to make people change. But, you never know, just ask the folks over at MySpace.

Canon s100 – In one of my previous posts I talked about picking out a camera for my wife’s birthday. After checking out the features of the high-end point-and-shoot compact cameras, I picked the Canon S95. The camera works great, and I’m pleased with the results. But technology has already passed me by. One minute you have the latest and greatest. The next you’re looking at last year’s model. It’s certainly a recurring problem with buying tech; it’s tough to stay current as companies churn out products with shiny new bells and whistles. The Canon s95 camera I bought is old-school, yesterday’s news. The company recently announced release of the Canon s100. Its main new feature is the upgrade to full HD video.

I’m running around sporting 720p; how sad is that? Also, there may be a bump up in megapixels from 10 to 12.1.

It does get a little disheartening when you buy a camera and a couple months later there’s a new model. So what else is new?

Nikon 1 – The hype continues: “Nikon Revolutionizes Imaging with Nikon 1, A Breakthrough in Technology and Design. Point-and-shoot with interchangeable lens. Maybe they haven’t checked the Olympus, Sony or Panasonic websites. Been there, done that! I’m not a fan of this format — just yet. Why not go with a DSLR if you are stepping it up? You get better quality, more flexibility and so many more choices of lenses to pick from with just a little more size.

It’s going to be available soon. If you’re interested in purchasing a camera, check out their countdown clock to launch time for the newest little Nikon. Plus they have a 360-degree view so you can check it out from every angle.

Remember, these camera don’t have an optical viewfinder like your DSLR. They call it mirror-less, like that’s a good thing. It all about marketing.

Enough complaining for now.


  1. October 8, 2011, 12:43 am

    Haha, about your Facebook rant–why all the new little bells and whistles? Because women like to talk and if there's more ways for them to talk, they will! They also like to tinker and "browse" their options. Hmm… browsing sounds similar to shopping! I'm probably totally wrong, but I am a female, although I don't have a Facebook anymore, anyways.

  2. October 8, 2011, 1:37 pm

    An iPhone isn't a Leica. Or a Canon. Or a Nikon, or Pentax, or Sony (Konica-Minolta).

    I'm more photographically serious than many people – my walk-around camera is a Leica M8 along with four lenses, all stashed in a small Lowe waist pack. So I'm used to lens swapping.

    I do like my 24-70mm f/2.8 L and 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L zoom lenses on an EOS 5D mark II, but zooms (contrary to popular belief) are not a necessity for good photography.

    I just placed my order for an iPhone 4S to replace my 4-year-old dumb phone. I don't expect the iPhone to replace my Leica, and I certainly don't expect it to replace my Canon dSLRs. But it may start to look good against the digital point and shoot cameras I've so far dismissed for their digital noise and lack of flexibility.

    You can take publishable photographs with a 2.7 megapixel camera, as many of us did with Nikon's D1H in the last decade. I've also had success with Canon's 8 megapixel EOS 1D mark II.

    Where the difference lies is with the sensor's pixel size. Pixels, those miilions of tiny light receivers on a camera's sensor, translate the light that hits them into electrons your camera integrates into a picture. Trouble is, pixels also add their own spontaneous electrons that have nothing to do with the incoming light. To overcome these spontaneous, noisy electrons, you need more light.

    You can get more light on a pixel in at least two ways: make each pixel bigger so it gathers more light, or decrease the layers above it so more light gets there. dSLRs, Leica M-series cameras, and some others have sensors with much bigger pixel sizes than any of the point-and-shoots. That's one reason why you can use tham at high ISOs without pictures full of color speckles, the multi-colored, noisy snowstorm you used to get from low-light shots.

    Leica's original M8 camera was released with a thinner-than-usual IR filter in front of its sensor. This helped make the sensor more light-sensitive, but it also increased visible color problems with infrared light. The iPhone 4S uses a backside illumination sensor, a design which moves some of the sensor's wire interconnect behind the pixels. The result is as much as twice the amount of sensitivity to light. That means twice the number of electrons from the light.

    So the iPhone may offer pictures a bit less noisy than its predecessors, important for those evening concert shots you take when the ushers aren't looking. It sports a sensor just 23% smaller than most point-and-shoots, so there's not much difference there.

    I always tell people who ask that the best camera is always the one you have with you. For many, that's their iPhone.

  3. October 10, 2011, 7:16 am

    Soo – you didn't actually SAY anything about either camera. I'm an S-90 owner living in another country surfing the LATimes, and I wanted to maybe learn something about the new model. Instead I get to learn about your trite whine re: techno creep. Same with the Nikon – a coming format and all you manage to do is congratulate yourself for having an opinion, however irrelevant to the newspaper's task of actually imparting a little information. (e.g. are the lenses compatible with the other brands? Does the auto-focus response compare with the DSLRs? You know – a review?) Last time I click there, dude.

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