Author Topic: iPhoneX depth of field  (Read 402 times)

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Cajonpassfan

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iPhoneX depth of field
« on: November 18, 2018, 11:28:33 PM »
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[ Guests cannot view attachments ] I've heard a bit about the wonderful dual lenses and 12Meg capability of the new iPhoneX, but wasn't about to spend the money to find out in person. But, life's surprises to the rescue, my wife's older iPhone recently met an untimely and embarrassing death by drowning :facepalm:
So today, she acquired the new, huge iPhoneX, XXL. Thank you honey!

So of course tonite I "borrowed" it to take some quickie test shots. Not impressed, see below. The iPhone documentation raves about how one can make the backgrounds blurry for portraiture, whoopee, but what I need is the exact opposite: how to make the depth of field as deep as possible. I know there are some apps out there, but before I clutter my lovely wife's phone with foreign third party software, I'd like to learn a bit more about the new phone capabilities for MR use. Thoughts and experiences, anyone?
Thanks, Otto K. [ Guests cannot view attachments ]
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 11:30:56 PM by Cajonpassfan »

Maletrain

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Re: iPhoneX depth of field
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2018, 09:23:02 AM »
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Otto,

I don't have any iPhones, so all I can do is compare it to an Android not-top-of-the-line Samsung.  Mine does not have any "modes" to select from.  If yours does, try the "scenery" mode.  The part of your post about "The iPhone documentation raves about how one can make the backgrounds blurry for portraiture," suggests to me that your phone has some sort of aperture control - unless it is designed to always make blurry backgrounds.

If there is an aperture control, then making the lighting brighter could also increase depth of field if the camera closes down the aperture to get the proper exposure.  However, with the ability to electronically change exposure time ("shutter speed") and sensor sensitivity ("film speed"), most simple cameras just don't bother to include an adjustable aperture in their designs.

tom mann

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Re: iPhoneX depth of field
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2018, 09:41:04 PM »
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That is a lot of depth that you need in focus!  The best bet is focus stacking, because even if you set the aperture to > f16 (through a 3d party app) you would have insane diffraction! The first shot might work at f16 - give it a shot.

Remember that the blurry background that people want are the result of an aperture < f2 on a full frame (35mm) sensor size. The "phone cameras" have some trickery to make this effect happen. But you're really shooting with an ~f7-f8 lens (for depth of field, not exposure). With the exception of Helicon and some other focus stacking apps for specialized work, there really isn't a "market" for infinite DoF.

Chris333

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Re: iPhoneX depth of field
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2018, 10:26:21 PM »
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On my 4 year old Galaxy S5 it has "selective focus" that is made to blur the background, but I just use it the other way.




I combine the far and near together to get this:


Still blurry areas and a lot of times the phone can't detect far and near so it doesn't always work.

Why do people want blurred backgrounds anyways>>?

C855B

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Re: iPhoneX depth of field
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2018, 10:41:26 PM »
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...Why do people want blurred backgrounds anyways>>?

Simple - because the vast majority of smartphone photography is personal portraiture. Phones are the in-your-pocket electronic incarnation of the Brownie and its snapshot-camera progeny. The market is not serious technical imaging. We may take advantage of features for the selfie (etc.) crowd, but that's mostly coincidence, or luck.

I liken the lack of this niche support to the iPod/iTunes model of music organization, assuming various little nuggets called "songs" was all you ever needed, and you could scramble them at will. It took well over a decade for Apple to minimally acknowledge that classical music didn't fit that model. :|
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Cajonpassfan

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Re: iPhoneX depth of field
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2018, 12:33:21 PM »
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That is a lot of depth that you need in focus!  The best bet is focus stacking, because even if you set the aperture to > f16 (through a 3d party app) you would have insane diffraction! The first shot might work at f16 - give it a try.

Thanks Tom, agreed. I didn't actually expect to get all that in focus, simply a first try to understand the focal range capabilities of the new iPhone X that maybe acceptable. The extreme angle freight train shot was done on purpose for this very reason, and perhaps I was hopeful for it to be a bit more in an acceptable range because I get very similar results with my old iphone6.

Chris, I love that scene! Can you please elaborate on how you combine the shots? Third party app, or in-phone capability? No question that focus stacking is the best bet, but you seem to have achieved darn good results with just two simple exposures. And I do like simple...

@Maletrain, the only "mode" I can find is the "portrait" setting, the exact opposite of what I need. Thanks for your comments, appreciated. I'll play with it some more when I have time. Still looking for feedback about specific iphoneX capabilities or tricks...
Otto
« Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 12:45:30 PM by Cajonpassfan »

Chris333

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Re: iPhoneX depth of field
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2018, 03:45:26 PM »
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It is part of the phones camera. You take the photo then open the photo and those buttons along the bottom show up. Pick the one with everything in focus and save it that way.

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I have no idea how it would work on an iPhone. If it is built in, if you need another app, or if the phone can even do it. I know other have done it though and actually seem to be better on Apple phones.

robert3985

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Re: iPhoneX depth of field
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2018, 08:54:48 PM »
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Otto, Congrats on the acquisition of your big new iPhone X...even if it needed your wife's old phone to be dropped in the toilet!  :D

For several years, I've relied on my old Samsung Galaxy S5's in-camera focus stacking capabilities, but since it only combines two (2)...that's right, TWO shots...much of the time, the middle of my long DOF shots would be out of focus after combining the two shots in-camera.  Additionally, the closer the subject, the more unreliable the Samsung's S5's fs feature became.

However, a little focus stacking is better than none, and for overall shots such as @Chris333 took of his layout, it's a good solution...since the nearest in-focus object is still at a distance.

But, I dropped my old Samsung S5 on my concrete porch and demolished one corner of the screen...so even though the phone and camera still worked, it was time to get a new smartphone.

I decided to take Pelle Soeborg's advice about why he chose an older iPhone for his photography smartphone...particularly the location of the phone's lens on the back of the phone since most modern smartphones have excellent image quality no matter what the brand.  A phone that had an excellent camera, plus lens placement near one phone edge that approximated the eye-height of a 6' tall N-scale person was essential. 

Although both the new Samsung and iPhone's cameras were excellent cameras for general photography, their direction for photography is "creative"...which usually means de-focusing backgrounds for "professional" portraiture using automatic software image manipulation rather than allowing access to the camera's hardware (f-stops) because we are too stupid to do that.

So...in Googling any references to increasing iPhone X's DOF, every article I've read so far is touting making backgrounds blurry...or "creative' by creating "motion blurring" rather than getting the maximum DOF for both macro and landscape photography...which means that apparently only you and a handful of other model railroaders in the whole world, are interested in increasing DOF, right???  :)

Upon cursory examination, it appears that the iPhone's camera DOES have f-stops, which are, of course, inaccessible by the user who is deemed too stupid to know what f-stops are, or how to use them.  I am assuming the camera has "actual" f-stops, rather than "virtual" f-stops...which would do NOTHING to increase or decrease actual DOF.  Just turning down the camera's light sensitivity by regulating the sensor isn't going to anything for increasing or decreasing the camera's actual DOF, which may be one of the reasons "portrait mode" uses AI and facial recognition to determine what is the background and what is the subject...then blurs the pixels it thinks are "background"...instead of just regulating the size of a little hole the light comes through before it reaches the sensor.

In any case, until a smartphone manufacturer has phones designed by photographers rather than denizens of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc., or Nikon, Canon or Sony design a phone that is primarily a photography tool, I think we will be stuck with having to use focus stacking apps on our desktops to stack photos we take with our smartphones.

Of course, we can always hope that Helicon Focus develops an app for both Android and iOS that uses photos taken from the smartphone rather than just using the smartphone as a controller for your Nikon or Canon DSLR.

In the meantime, I think you Otto, and the rest of us too, are stuck with capturing photos with our smartphones and combining them with focus stacking software in our computers for photos that require extra-deep, close-up DOF...which two-shot stacking in the Samsung smartphones won't accomplish either.

ON THE OTHER HAND, there are several phone apps for the iPhone X which supposedly allow manual control...including f-stop control.  Go here for a comparison: https://www.imore.com/best-manual-camera-apps-iphone

Upon reading the quick reviews of these apps, it is evident that manual f-stops, and increasing DOF are still not a high priority even when providing full manual control of your iPhone X's camera.  Could be that f-stops in it are virtual rather than analog...which would be a shame, but make using HF or PS post-camera absolutely necessary for deep DOF close-up model railroad photography.

Just for information's sake, the phone I decided on to replace my old Samsung Galaxy S5 was the Google Pixel 2 XL, both for its superior camera, and the lens placement near the edge on the back of the phone.  Also, Google's camera is more dependent on software updates than improvements via hardware changes, which makes app developing easier and obsolescence less immediate than cameras based more highly on their actual physical attributes.

Anyway, have fun Otto!

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore


Cajonpassfan

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Re: iPhoneX depth of field
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2018, 12:37:38 AM »
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Thanks Chris, two focal points are twice as good as one. It would appear the iphoneX only has one. It does have something called "live photo" which has multiple frames taken within 1.5 seconds and allows the user to select a single frame thought the best (at the cost of some pixel density?) but the frames cannot be combined I don't think without a third party app. I have a Panasonic GX 85K with built in focus stacking, but it's a bit of a pain to use and it has its own limitations.
Bob, thanks for the feedback, but please note i didn't say anything about a toilet :D
It just seemed that now that we have a ipX in the family, I'd be able to take some shortcuts. It doesn't appear to be the case, see the blurry example below. Oh well...
Otto [ Guests cannot view attachments ]

robert3985

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Re: iPhoneX depth of field
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2018, 11:53:17 AM »
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Otto,  That scene deserves a good photograph!  A perfect example of Armstrong's "Photogenic Curve" concept.  I think Helicon Focus can be had as a subscription now, negating its expensive initial price.  You might want to go to their site and take a look around.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: iPhoneX depth of field
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2018, 10:37:03 PM »
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There is no good iPhone app for focus stacking. This has been one of my annoyances with the platform. Nokia had a wonderful program in Windows Phone called Refocus, which automatically took a stack of photos, aligned them, zeroed out exposure differences and let you focus on any segment of the photo (or all of it) and save.

It was the closest thing to a Litro you could get on a phone. And in some ways better than Helicon.

And then they dropped the app.

And that was the beginning of the end of my love of Windows Phone.


BTW... Apple and others are focusing on low F stop lenses for their phones... Better in low light. Better at portraits. Really, really bad for large depth of field variation. I think the newer phones have the equivalent of an F1.8-2.2. And remember, these don't have an aperture you can control. Your stuck with that 1.8.
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robert3985

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Re: iPhoneX depth of field
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2018, 12:44:54 PM »
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@Cajonpassfan , Otto, Having nothing to do this Sunday, I decided to see what iOS and Android apps might be available that will take multiple shots of a scene specifically for focus stacking.  This one for iOS looks promising for you: http://catapultconsulting.net/stayfocused/index.html#  If you pay for this app, you can upload your shots to their site and they'll combine them for you...which you may or may not like.  Didn't look and see what the costs are.  However, the use of their site isn't mandatory and you can combine from 2 to 100 shots in any program that's for focus stacking like HF or PS.

There seem to be quite a few more that are available for iOS and, also for Android.

I Googled "focus stacking app for iOS" and got a lot of results, so if you want to do further research you can start by using my parameters.

Supposedly Helicon Focus Remote, which is free, will also allow control of a smartphone's camera for focus stacking picture taking, but even though I have it, I always used it as a controller for my DSLR.  I'll have to check to see if this rumor is true.

Seems to me that with a purely digital camera that uses either iOS or Android, with no DSLR mirror flapping around, the camera should be able to take focus-stacking photos very quickly with its electronic shutter, invalidating the need for a tripod. 

I'll have to do some further research...which I'll post here if I find anything more interesting.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

« Last Edit: November 25, 2018, 01:01:46 PM by robert3985 »