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neek
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PostMon Sep 16, 2019 5:14 pm 
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MtnGoat wrote:
Yeah, the only thing better than his shots would be being there. Always wanted to hit Joe. Sounds like over the  top is the way, I've heard horror stories about the low route in.

No one believes me; it's really not bad, just steep.  BTW Tom I just saw an ad for the Pixel 4...
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puzzlr
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PostMon Sep 16, 2019 7:50 pm 
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This is a really interesting topic. Thanks to everyone that's contributing. I carry a Pixel 3a and a Panasonic GX9 mirrorless with a prime lens. They both obviously take great photos but they're very different in form and function the combo suits me really well. The phone doubles as my GPS device now -- I've stopped using my Garmin after a year of comparisons by running both showed that the track from Gaia on the phone was nearly always more accurate than the Garmin track (based on trails visible in satellite photos).

On a previous Google Nexus phone the Lightroom Mobile app took far better photos than the built-in Google App. But on the Pixel 3a that's flipped. Here's a comparison of a small part of photos taken on the same phone with different apps. I suspect this is the flaunted "night mode" of the Pixel phone that combines many exposures, and the Lightroom "raw" photo is only one. I was shocked at the difference, and shocked also at how good the photo was under really poor lighting conditions. I guess I never need to use the Lightroom app to take photos again, although it's still handy for syncing photos from my desktop app that I want on my phone.

Crop of Pixel3a App Comparison
Crop of Pixel3a App Comparison

Tom asked about shooting in raw, which is what I do with my GX9. After doing the adjustments, Pano stitching, or HDR stuff in Lightroom I convert them to JPGs and delete the originals. This "bakes in" the adjustments into the JPG and saves A LOT of space. After Apple stopped supporting Aperture it was a big effort to capture all the adjustments, and I don't trust Adobe to keep supporting a Lightroom Desktop app indefinitely, so I like having the finished JPGs on disk.

But I bring up Raw photos because I had an inadvertent experiment happen on a hike where my camera got switched over to JPG mode instead of Raw. I didn't notice the file type change at first but while doing all my processing I kept wondering why the photo adjustments weren't turning out nearly as good as normal. Then I noticed I was adjusting JPG files, so I was happy this "blind" test was a noticeable difference and I'll keep shooting in Raw. I don't have hard A/B comparisons to show, but I think the adjustments are more effective on the raw sensor data than on the smeared out optimized JPG pixels -- even though the photos look similar at normal sizes. HDR merges in particular work much better on Raw files, and that seems obvious to me since the JPG exposures are all going to be optimized differently so don't combine as well.

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MtnGoat
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PostMon Sep 16, 2019 7:53 pm 
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Oh heck, we don't mind steep. But miles of brush isn't worth it unless it's Downey Creek or S Fk Cascade river

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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Tom
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PostMon Sep 16, 2019 8:17 pm 
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neek wrote:
No one believes me; it's really not bad, just steep.

I could convince myself either way looking down from above.  Kind of interesting how the trees just end and the brush takes over  I think my RX10 would have blown out Rainier in this shot, whereas the smartphone exposed the scene fairly well.  Detail isn't that great in the original though although you can see Adams playing peek-a-boo in the direction of Rampart Ridge.

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Tom
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PostMon Sep 16, 2019 9:00 pm 
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puzzlr wrote:
I suspect this is the flaunted "night mode" of the Pixel phone that combines many exposures

HDR+ and night sight both combine many exposures.  Night sight allows for longer exposures and makes more color adjustments.  When I first started shooting with my Pixel 3 I didn't realize HDR+ was always on by default and thought I needed to turn on night sight to get HDR.  It worked fine in daylight but I did notice a color shift.  Here is a good summary from Google:

https://ai.googleblog.com/2018/11/night-sight-seeing-in-dark-on-pixel.html

BTW, there are apparently tools you can use to perform similar computational photography with output from traditional digital cameras:

https://www.kandaovr.com/2018/07/14/introducing-kandao-raw-a-tool-to-boost-low-light-image-quality/
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Joey
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PostTue Sep 17, 2019 3:56 am 
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Tom wrote:
Night sight allows for longer exposures and makes more color adjustments.  When I first started shooting with my Pixel 3 I didn't realize HDR+ was always on by default and thought I needed to turn on night sight to get HDR.  It worked fine in daylight but I did notice a color shift.  Here is a good summary from Google:

https://ai.googleblog.com/2018/11/night-sight-seeing-in-dark-on-pixel.html

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MtnGoat
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PostTue Sep 17, 2019 8:15 am 
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Tom wrote:
I could convince myself either way looking down from above.  Kind of interesting how the trees just end and the brush takes over  I think my RX10 would have blown out Rainier in this shot, whereas the smartphone exposed the scene fairly well.  Detail isn't that great in the original though although you can see Adams playing peek-a-boo in the direction of Rampart Ridge.


Damn that is a gorgeous shot Tom. You sure made the best use of the last weather window!

Here's my coyote shot...he was moving and I was scrambling to frame him up, didn't have time to over ride auto and nail the focus, though. Still not bad for 200 yds out and a rushed shot.

He turned immediately afterwards, trotted over to the tall grass and laid down...couldn't see him at that point, so back in the rig and on up the ambiguously hand painted 'no trespassing' road... yeah, the road with county road signs and hazard warnings. Sure, buddy. Not one of Durkee, OR's brightest citizens. All nine of them.

Later on in the Burnt River Gorge between Durkee and Bridgeport..

Mama's been radio tagged.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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joker
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PostTue Sep 17, 2019 8:20 am 
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One other thing not mentioned above (as far as I have seen) is that  cell phone cameras can  do a great quick and dirty job of close-up shots, e.g. of the  nice  little beads of water we are seeing  on foliage on days  like yesterday or  today. The tiny lens/sensor combo has disadvantages, but one advantage is it's easy to get it to focus from very close to subjects, and there is much higher depth of field than with a typical large camera lens/sensor combo. For these sorts of subjects with a big camera, you either have to choose very narrow depth of field, or you have to do somewhat cumbersome focus stacking (which is typically not as simple to capture in the case of macro shooting as it is for more "normal" scenes). The resulting phone image may not make for a great huge print but it can look pretty awesome at screen  resolution.

Tom wrote:
I think my RX10 would have blown out Rainier in this shot

You might be surprised what you'd have been able to get from a RAW file from your Sony - if you could shoot it w/o clipping  showing up  on the  histogram, you'd almost certainly have been able to yield a decent  image via shadow and highlight adjustments etc. in Lightroom (and yes, I understand that  you probably don't WANT to bother with this approach, just saying it's probably quite w/in the capability of that  camera's sensor). The in-camera JPG conversion may well not yield nearly as good  a result though - hard to know w/o trying though.
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MtnGoat
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PostTue Sep 17, 2019 8:23 am 
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It is damn amazing how fantastic the saturation and dynamic range is with the cell cams. When this game started and I was still running Kodachrome 64 I saw the first digicam results (battery eating serial download monsters) and thought yeah, right, sure, OK, cold day in hell.

Well, needless to say, my beloved K64 is long gone and so are the two week waits and 15 bucks to find out if any of your shots were decent.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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Joey
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PostTue Sep 17, 2019 8:30 am 
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Guess what I just put on Craig's List.

https://seattle.craigslist.org/est/pho/6980605492.html
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Tom
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PostTue Sep 17, 2019 2:27 pm 
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The last camera I truly loved was my Olympus E620.  It was relatively light for a DSLR and took great pictures even with the kit lenses.  I eventually invested in heavier lenses and the boat anchor effect quickly took its toll.  It was no longer fun to bring on hikes.  Even on vacation I found myself leaving it in the hotel safe more often than not.  Then things went mirrorless and while lighter it just felt like something was missing.  Not sure if it was the kit lenses not being as good, the lack of a decent viewfinder, the 4/3 sensors not being up to par at high ISO at the time, or something else.  Shooting with a capable cell phone brings back some of those intangibles that just makes photography fun again.  I'm surprised my RX10 hasn't spurred similar passion.  Maybe I'll get there once I relent to shooting RAW, but I've never really looked forward to investing time post processing.
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fairweather friend
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PostTue Sep 17, 2019 3:00 pm 
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Tom, this discussion has certainly opened my eyes to how camera phone photography is changing the playing field.  And since I am often shooting in very high contrast situations (river canyons, for example), a phone like the Pixel 3 might make a better "camera" for me than another mid-level point & shoot.  I will always need a Garmin handheld marine GPS for my kayak trips and I will always need a dedicated waterproof point & shoot to fit in my PFD pocket, but having a phone for shots in camp or while hiking (which is at least equal to how much I shoot from the water) might be a smarter way to go.  Then, I can use the phone as my back-up GPS, as well as all the other obvious goodies.

I had no idea where this thread would go when I posted that article about falling camera sales.  Here's another link to an interesting read about the Pixel 4, and why now is a good time to think about buying the Pixel 3.

Google Pixel 4 Info
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Tom
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PostTue Sep 17, 2019 3:46 pm 
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The Pixel 3 is on sale for $400 at the Google Fi store.  It requires activating the service but you can just cancel it right away without penalty and the phone is unlocked for use on any carrier.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend jumping in and buying one right now since the newer models are coming out and prices will fall.  Apple just released the latest iPhone and it may be better than the Pixel 4 depending on what you want. Who knows how well the telephoto lenses are going to perform. The Pixel 4 will have a 5X telephoto with computational processing to get to 8X. The latest iPhone has a super wide angle and 2X telephoto.  One thing I like about the Pixel 3 is the size. I avoided the 3 XL because I'm someone that prefers to hold a phone one-handed and it's a much lighter phone.
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