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fairweather friend
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 9:48 am 
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How do you like your Olympus?

I've had the TG-4 since fall of 2014 and it's been down the Grand Canyon twice, not to mention hundreds of days on local rivers and sea kayak trips.  Scratched up a bit, but still sealed and taking okay photos.  I checked out the new TG-6 this morning and it's really not much of an improvement over the TG-4.  In fact, I'm recommending my sister buy a TG-5, since it's cheaper, and most of the TG-6's improvements had to do with underwater photography.

I was really excited about the Lumix TS-7 when it first came out (because I love my Lumix LX-7), but man, was that camera a dud!  The reviews on Amazon are just brutal.

The cheaper waterproof cameras really don't rate that well.  Fine for a day at the beach with the kids, but if you spend a lot of time on the water, it's worth the money to get a nicer waterproof point & shoot camera.
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joker
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 10:09 am 
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Tom wrote:
I'm sure I could have messed around with RAW, exposure bracketing, or HDR on the RX10 to come out with superior IQ but the point is a cell phone camera holds up quite well with ZERO fiddling or post-processing

I think this is a key observation. I, OTOH, actually tend to enjoy the post-processing aspect of my photo work for many images.  Like you, though, I do tend to have my phone in my pocket and there are many images I capture  with it (even though it's not quite as good a phone camera as your Pixel, though it's in the  next tier down), and yes it does a remarkable job of image processing, including switching to HDR at the right moment a fair amount of the time. And I often carry my Sony RX100 instead of my Nikon D850, which gets some really great images with only slightly more "carrying burden" than my phone, and  yet unlike the phone it gives me much more resolution  to work with, much better focal range, better shooting controls, and it gives me RAW output which gives me the choice of whether to use an auto-conversion to JPG or my own RAW processing (btw Lightroom's "auto" conversion is often a great starting point, though not always, just as with any phone). But there are some images I get with my Sony where I'm left wishing I'd taken the hit of carrying the DSLR on that  hike. I'm NEVER disappointed with what I get from my Nikon, but then as I noted above I'm into the post-processing aspect of photography (I worked in a pretty high end commercial color darkroom/lab for years and LOVE how much more control I get these days!!). And I am active in a few online forums for photographers and see that I'm hardly alone - I think we, along with  working  pros, are one of the key remaining markets for the  camera companies. High end cameras like the D850 and the  Sony A7r[n], with list prices and profit margins to match.

But if all you're doing with your images is maybe quick edits like crops and a little  nudging of tones and colors, and you only share them for screen viewing or relatively small prints, then phones are largely  sufficient - the  80:20 rule applies.

And yes, that rugged waterproof Olympus fits yet another category that I suspect won't go a way soon.
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fairweather friend
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 11:38 am 
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I'm not sure what you guys mean by clunky?

Tom, I never addressed this question.  To me, there is nothing more ergonomically incorrect than a smart phone used as a camera.  The device is meant to be held in the palm of your hand, screen side up.  To take a picture, you have to hold it by its edges, making sure that your fingers aren't in the picture.  It's a tenuous grip because there is nothing to grip.  Sure, you've learned how to do it, but the process is neither intuitive or easy.  Just watch an elderly person with arthritic fingers try to take a photo!

OTOH, even a compact camera has an actual grip and can operated even with just one hand.  Your thumb and lower three fingers hold the camera securely while your index finger is free to click the shutter.  I can do this even when I'm running a rapid.  And if I need to drop the camera to grab my paddle with both hands, it's no problem, because the camera is tethered to my pfd and it's truly waterproof.

I realize your example was about using your phone's camera while hiking, but I offered the above example to show just how much easier and secure it is to shoot with a camera as opposed to shooting with a phone.  Add to this the fact that touch screens are notoriously fickle when wet, (which can happen even while hiking  smile.gif ) and a dedicated camera is just easier to use.  In fact, I would rather use a camera-shaped device with a phone's capabilities than a phone-shaped device with a camera's abilities!

Regarding in-camera processing, I couldn't agree more, which is why I am such a fan of Panasonic's Lumix series.  I haven't made any recent comparisons but their in-camera HDR was miles ahead of other cameras when I compared them in 2014/2015.
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DigitalJanitor
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 12:30 pm 
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FYI re phones:
- I always have very heavy rubberized cases with kick stands on my phones as I drop them. So far so good. But this also makes a broader rubberized surface to hang on to, so MUCH easier to hold sideways. There's all kinds of knockoffs and they've all looked more or less like this one.
- My Sony XZ2 Compact is an oddball phone in the US for sure, but I love it for the size AND that it has a dedicated camera shutter button that I can hold down while the phone is in stand-by and it will just open the camera ap.

I'm never gonna get a pic of a harrier in flight with it but it's always with me since I use Gaia anyway, and it's good enough.

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~Mom jeans on wheels
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joker
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 1:51 pm 
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Regarding ergonomics, unless I have a camera on a tripod, I almost always strongly prefer using a viewfinder. For starters we can all hold a camera steadier when our arms and hands are close in to our bodies and the camera is touching our faces. This matters to me. A viewfinder works better for me in bright outdoor light. And it's how I learned to take pictures so it's very natural for me. I realize mileage varies on this front but for me this will always be a big downside for the form factor of current phones.
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Joey
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PostSun Sep 15, 2019 6:09 am 
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All very interesting.  This thread led me to do a bit of googling which led to the term “computational photography”.  One example of this is cameras that very quickly take multiple exposures and automatically combine them into the pic you see.

Below are some of the more informative links I found.

https://blog.halide.cam/iphone-xs-why-its-a-whole-new-camera-ddf9780d714c
Says the iPhone XS is the first iPhone where Apple goes all in on computational photography.

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/7921074499/five-ways-google-pixel-3-pushes-the-boundaries-of-computational-photography
Says Google’s Pixel 3 phone can produce raw images that actually are a composite of 15 exposures.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2019/04/12/heres-how-to-make-your-iphone-camera-even-better/#2ccfd32e5640
Says the two best apps that let you save raw images from the newest iPhones are Halide Camera and ProCamera.

Admittedly the wife and I have done very little hiking for a number of years.  But this year starting in late spring we were out every week.  We even went to Snow Lake for the first time in ~40 years.  Being 68 the 10 essentials are quite enough weight to carry so my trusty Cannon S60 stays home.  The wife also leaves her smaller digital camera at home but carries an iPhone 5 she uses to take photos.

The notion of a cell phone camera that uses computational photography to - as Tom put it - “nail” pics is quite intriguing.  I used to shoot raw with the S60 and did post processing.  But these days I have other priorities so unlike Joker I have no time/desire to fiddle with raw images.
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joker
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PostSun Sep 15, 2019 8:51 am 
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I would guess that the processing power (hardware especially processor(s)) being put into cameras isn't nearly on par with what's going into higher end phones today.

ProCamera is a nice app though usually when I want to deal with RAW  processing shoot with one of my camera cameras...
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Joey
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PostSun Sep 15, 2019 8:59 am 
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joker wrote:
I would guess that the processing power (hardware especially processor(s)) being put into cameras isn't nearly on par with what's going into higher end phones today.

One of the articles I read made that very point.
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Tom
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PostSun Sep 15, 2019 9:56 am 
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That's what I find so frustrating and alluded to it earlier.  Traditional manufacturers have failed to innovate on the in camera processing side.  On the last hike I fiddled with the auto-HDR setting on my RX10.  It was pretty much a joke.  I'm sure I could get better results by telling it to bracket wider but I don't think it will ever produce results as good as what I'm seeing from my Pixel 3 strictly comparing exposure.
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joker
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PostSun Sep 15, 2019 10:40 am 
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I suspect there  are two issues  there:
1) hardware cost - the cost of the A8 processor in the iPhone 8 for instance was about  $20. It may not sound like much but it was about  10% of the overall  cost of the phone. Add in associated RAM and storage and other specialized  bits   of processing and the cost goes up. Hardware makers are super cost sensitive, as they typically need to at least triple those costs to get to average retail selling  price. I've been in conversations where hardware  makers of relatively high end items were super  sensitive  about  adding a single buck in parts  cost
2) Apple, Google, and Samsung have been doing their own  chip design  work for a while now. This  has a HUGE impact  on the  processing  power for specific tasks, as they can include specialized logic that's  dedicated to those tasks (there are some good examples of potential for this in various aspects of image processing  from  stitching panos to HDR to using big machine learning models to choose "RAW  processing  profiles" based on scene categorization etc.). I saw some graphs showing the performance of the iOS  chips versus what  Nokia was using (i.e. more vanilla chips they simply bought and integrated) after Apple bought the semiconductor design firm that  gave them this  capability. The graph showed a neck-and-neck race until that  design ability started being used; after that iOS pulled dramatically away. To be clear, gaining this level of chip design ability  is a HUGE investment that only a relatively few large high tech companies are likely to pull off
3) Apple, Google, and  Samsung have also made big investments in  software development capability. Including hiring researchers who  are pushing "computational processing" science forward, among other things. Meanwhile, I  don't think any of the  dedicated camera makers see themselves as software and computer  companies in the way the top phone makers do. Of all of them, Sony seems to be most likely  to be able to  make that  leap  but I  haven't seen evidence that they're doing  so. Perhaps they  could  strike up  interesting partnerships with some of the phone makers  that  would yield mutually  convenient benefits, but that seems like a stretch for various reasons.
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joker
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PostSun Sep 15, 2019 10:45 am 
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BTW, while I still tend to hand tweak my RAW conversion parameters, I've  found that  the  "auto"  button  in  Lightroom does  a damn good job - I think it's  more  similar to  the RAW conversion that  phones  automatically do. Which makes sense, as my PC  has a LOT  more  processing  power than my camera (or phone). I suspect the same is true with Lumaria and a handful of other programs that can  automatically decide how to process RAW files you  point it at. This isn't as convenient as having  the  camera device  do it but  it's a middle  ground between  what I do and just  taking JPG images out of your non-phone camera.
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Tom
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PostSun Sep 15, 2019 12:43 pm 
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Even with the large sensor advantage to bring out shadow detail, is there enough information in a RAW file to match the resulting dynamic range from in-camera blending of a dozen (or however many) images?  I've seen a few Adobe RAW adjustments in DPReview samples and quite honestly I've never been that impressed.  I mean it's a little better, but not enough that I would pay a small fortune for it.
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Sore Feet
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PostSun Sep 15, 2019 3:04 pm 
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In-camera blending is only viable for perfectly stationary subjects.  If anything is moving (foliage, water, people, animals, vehicles, etc) then you start to get all sorts of really ugly ghosting artifacts that software simply hasn't been able to circumvent so far.  And even then it's still not perfect, but it certainly is getting to the point where it's definitely good enough for the majority of more casual uses.

I've got a Pixel 3a and I've been quite impressed with its camera (a big step up from my now dead Nexus 5x, which itself was pretty good), but I'd never consider it a replacement for any of my boat anchor cameras for any number of reasons - the dynamic range and low light / high iso capabilities being the two big ones.

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PostSun Sep 15, 2019 3:59 pm 
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Tom wrote:
Even with the large sensor advantage to bring out shadow detail, is there enough information in a RAW file to match the resulting dynamic range from in-camera blending of a dozen (or however many) images?  I've seen a few Adobe RAW adjustments in DPReview samples and quite honestly I've never been that impressed.  I mean it's a little better, but not enough that I would pay a small fortune for it.

I captured this 156 second exposure during a night time storm using my Nikon Z6. I was able to pull together a decent image out of near complete blackness.

Before editing:

After Editing:

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Read my hiking related stories and more at http://illuminationsfromtheattic.blogspot.com/
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joker
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PostSun Sep 15, 2019 4:17 pm 
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Tom wrote:
Even with the large sensor advantage to bring out shadow detail, is there enough information in a RAW file to match the resulting dynamic range from in-camera blending of a dozen (or however many) images?  I've seen a few Adobe RAW adjustments in DPReview samples and quite honestly I've never been that impressed.  I mean it's a little better, but not enough that I would pay a small fortune for it.

I'm blown away by how rarely I need more than a single exposure with my D850 and even with my   RX100. When I do, I manually blend in PhotoShop because that avoids the local contrast issues that tend to come up in HDR merge algorithms. I've read that there are better hdr  plugins versus the native Adobe hdr fwiw. But I haven't paid much attention as they as well as phones still have issues.

But the shadow and highlight recovery in lightroom usually does the trick with my well exposed files (IE no histogram clipping or minimal shadow clipping)

Here's one of a handful of images where I've manually merged a few exposures die to high dynamic range in on the last year
alien landscape (1 of 1)
alien landscape (1 of 1)
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