Thursday, 26 September 2013

The iPhone 5s - thinking about it as my walk-around camera.

Three obvious things stand out.

  1. 64-bit A7 chip
  2. Touch ID
  3. The Camera and accompanying Software
What interests me most is the camera. More specifically, how the camera and software can help me take better photos with a camera that fits in my pocket.

I have two main cameras that I use, one that takes good quality pictures but is a little on the large side, and a very compact camera that fits in my pocket. The latter is the Ricoh GRD2 which is 5 years old, but still takes great pictures for its class, and it is speedy in operations such as start up and shutter lag. Both are not very good with motion pictures. I am of the firm belief that although resolution is important, having the subject in focus without hand motion blur is more important. More subjectively, not losing that special "moment" in a photo is also important to me. If the iPhone 5s can free me from extra weight and take relatively good pictures, all while being very mobile-web friendly, I may be sold.

I can see ways that the photo taking experience can be greatly enhanced with the 64-bit architecture and Touch ID. The 64-bit architecture will no doubt make everything on the phone faster, including burst mode and its subsequent photo filtering, even deleting photos from burst mode. If Touch ID is fast to unlock the phone there is a better chance that I do not lose some special moments. This comes back to the 64-bit A7 chip. However, a lot of the photo taking of fleeting moments require that I keep an eye on the subject and not my camera. Although getting in to camera mode on previous iPhone models is just one step from the lock screen, it still requires a glance at the screen. If Touch ID and other software setups can unlock my phone and get into photo mode as I pull it out of my pocket without looking at it, that increases the chance of a special photo. For me, if the iPhone 5s can become my walking around camera, that would be a great incentive.

I largely have two sets of photos. Photos that I want to share with family and friends, and photos to save memories. Obviously, some will overlap, and there are subtle difference in that some photos of my children that I'd share with more close family members.

John Gruber:
The main thing that occurs to me with the iPhone 5S camera is how clearly its new features are designed for the mobile-first world. We, as a collective whole, no longer shoot, sync to a computer, edit, and then upload. We shoot, edit, and upload right from our phones (and, let’s face it, tablets). The standalone consumer camera is dying a quick death — an always-on network connection and apps for editing/filtering, and most importantly, instantly sharing are now essential components for consumer photography. The iPhone 5S embodies this better than any other device in the world.
The above is so true in that more and more, I find myself syncing to my computer less often.  Not because I don't take photos, but because I find it more of a chore to do so.  I upload in larger bulks now, and that can't be good.  I still shoot film, and it is so much easier (albeit slower) to get film shots in a presentable form. I guess I am finding the digital photography experience to be a bit tedious.

Below are some articles written about the iPhone 5s that I liked most.
John Gruber - The iPhone 5S and 5C
Jim Dalrymple - Review: iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s
 The iPhone 5s Review - Anand Lal Shimpi