I get asked every so often to condense my years of (ahem) photographic wisdom into digestable form - and set against the background of phone camera hardware and software which is constantly improving. It has been six years since I did something along these lines on AAS or AAWP, so let's put that right now. Your typical 2020 smartphone camera system will take pretty good photos in full 'auto' on its own, but what can you do to take the next step?
Recent Features - Comment
Three months on from the previous update, here's the refreshed/latest news and comment on applications and services on Windows 10 Mobile - the OS itself has now had its very last security update, but it still works on the whole. This feature will summarise what's broken and what's not, along with workarounds where possible. Details and links have all been updated throughout. Note that I've kept the URL the same, so the last quarter of comments are all still here.
I've already matched the brand new Xperia 1 mk II up against the Lumia 950 XL, but I did promise an imaging head to head - and it's going to be very close, the Xperia's image processing is under control and I promise to give it bonus points when it can do other revelant and useful things... Is the new Sony the ultimate 'camera phone'?
In the latest of my series of looks at alternatives to a favourite Lumia flagship, I bring you a head to head with the brand new Sony Xperia 1 II (said 'one mark two'), claiming pro-level imaging (including an optional DSLR-like interface and pro-grade video shooting tools). There's an awful lot packed into this £1000 Android handset, so let's get started... (And yes, an imaging shoot-out is next!)
The arrival of the Realme X3 SuperZoom, another smartphone with much hyped zoom camera system had me scurrying for some zoom favourites of yesteryear for AAS and AAWP readers, plus I also threw in the current champions, the iPhone 11 Pro and Huawei P40 Pro, for good measure. Six contenders then and I'll throw various zoom and low light use cases at them. Note that it's not all about extreme zoom, as I contended in an editorial last week, sometimes it's about zoom versatility.
A few days ago I pitched the new POCO F2 Pro against the Lumia 950 XL, spec for spec, with a view to it perhaps being a viable across-the-board upgrade. Its imaging system seemed a bit limited in terms of raw specs (no OIS, no telephoto lens), which is why I present my usual multi-scene pixel analysis below - can the POCO F2 Pro get close to the Lumia in terms of image quality?
The choices of which Android smartphone to jump to are legion, of course. But I do try and provide some useful hands-on comparisons, with this week's instalment looking at the brand new (Xiaomi-made) POCO F2 Pro, providing top internal specs for a relative pittance. Here's how the specs match up, and don't worry, imaging is core for most of us, so there will be a camera head to head in a couple of days. Coming right up!
Two months on from the previous update, and now moving to a 'quarterly' update schedule, here is the 'Summer 2020 directory', the AAWP directory of curated UWP applications, those with native Windows 10 UI and which support different orientations, Continuum and even use on laptop or tablet. Do please get involved in the comments to this new URL (the number on the previous story was getting too cumbersome) to let us know of anything which has stopped working.
A blast from the past, but I had the pleasure of interviewing Juha Alakarhu on my most recent Phones Show Chat podcast, published yesterday and embedded below. Juha is, of course, the man who co-crafted the cameras in the Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020 (and various Nseries and the Lumia 950 before and after) - and is respected as something of an imaging guru in the industry. Do have a listen, he reveals some of the background to the two champion 41MP camera phones, including just how hard the 1020 was, in particular, having to combine the 808's power with the expected OIS after the Lumia 920's release.
After my head to head imaging comparison between the Lumia 950 XL and Find X2 Pro, in which we learned that OPPO's image processing from its main 48MP pixel-binned camera leaves a lot to be desired, it seemed appropriate to show how well oversampling from a 40+MP sensor should be done, by pitching the Find X2 Pro against the classic Lumia 1020. But another current benchmark device needs to be in the mix too, to push both of these somewhat unbalanced contenders, so I'm putting in my iPhone 11 Pro. In other words a tough three-way fight and as I write this intro I have absolutely no idea which of the three might emerge the winner.