Photo Of The Day: “Olive Oil”

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“Olive Oil” 2016. Apple iPhone 6s Plus.

Ah olive oil. The not so secret ingredient to the much touted Mediterranean Diet. So good for you. So good for your body!

Now wait a minute you might say. Isn’t this site about cameras? Well yes indeed it is. And today, I just want to say a little about the 12mp camera on the iPhone 6/6s/6s Plus. In fact, this might apply to nearly all of today’s high quality cell phone cameras.

First, about the shot. It may seem like a fancy restaurant, but I took this shot at a local Singa’s Pizza. Good, maybe even great pizza, but the joint itself is far from elegant.

Anyway, I spotted this on the wall and the light was hitting it in that wonderful way that only light can.

After nearly six years of iPhone shooting, starting with the original 3G, then 3Gs, then the 4, then the 5, now the 6, I must say that the cameras on the iPhone have evolved to a point where I really don’t need any of my fancy point and shoots for nearly ninety percent of what I shoot, especially if it’s going to be in daylight or in good light.

The above photo, I think, is a good example. The color, the detail of the olives inside the bottles, and a wonderful balance on the shadows, highlights, and mid-tones.

But this is not a surprise to anyone who has been shooting iPhones. Most of us already know the wonderful qualities which makes shooting them such a pleasure. Deep rich color and tones, excellent sharpness, and super speedy shooting. The last part makes it perfect for street shots. Negatives? Can be mushy when viewed at 100 percent, especially on low light images. But that also happens on a lot of “real cameras.”

But one more very big positive. Of course, the ability to edit in camera and share your photos right away to your friends/fans on Facebook, Instagram or what have you, that seals the deal for most people. Yes, I know camera companies have incorporated wifi and sharing to their DSLR’s and mirrorless cameras, but the few I tried were very clunky in operation and not yet close to the smooth operation found in modern phones.

As great as I’m making it sound, there is still one BIG negative about shooting with an iPhone. The negative is just that; the fact that it’s a phone first and not thought of as a “camera” even if there is a very advanced camera in there.

You won’t get a lot of cred for still shots, no matter how nice, taken with an iPhone or any other phone. People may say, “Ooh ahh” about the great pic you shot with your phone, but they are also silently saying…”Phone camera? Ah ok” then they move on. You simply won’t get a lot of photo-nerd love by using a cell phone camera 🙂

It may be bad, but in a good way, people still respect you more if the shots were taken on an actual camera, even if the cell phone cameras have blurred the lines on what a “real camera” is. To most people, even the ones who will like your pics, the cell phone camera is just too easy. They know it. So it’s also easy to dismiss.

That’s why film shooters still get a lot of cred. It’s film. It’s an old medium and yes, it does require a little (and sometimes, a lot) more work than it does with a modern DSLR, mirrorless or a high end cell phone camera.

But if you put all this aside, take it out of your mind, there will come a time when you’ll have to say, you know what? This phone takes pictures as good as any other digital camera I’ve used in the past ten years.

Again, not for every shot or every situation, but for ninety percent of what most people shoot, it’s perfect. No wonder more images are uploaded from the iPhone than any other “real camera” out there.

No my friends, I’m not trying to convince you that the iPhone is better than say, a Leica Q. And no, I have not lost my love for vintage cameras. I am and will continue to use them as long as film is around.

What I am saying is for me, I got to face reality. Shooting the iPhone may not be as cool as say, shooting a Ricoh GR, but it often will get the shots that under normal viewing distances, and certainly when posting small pics, will be indistinguishable from each other. That says a lot about how far cell phone cameras have come.

Have a good day my friends and don’t worry, there will certainly be more Camera Legend reviews! 🙂

***IN STOCK ALERT***

I have been notified by my good friends at Adorama that the Nikon D5 and D500 are now in stock!! If you’ve been waiting patiently for these awesome cameras, here’s your chance to grab one before they sell out the first batch. You may find them in the links below. Thanks for supporting Camera Legend and enjoy your new camera, I’d sure love to hear about it!

Nikon D5 (CF Version)

Nikon D5 (XQD Version)

Nikon D500

Nikon D500 with 16-80 f/2.8-4E VR lens

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Pocket Power Phone: The Nokia Lumia 1020 41mp Cell Phone Camera

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The Nokia Lumia 1020 cell phone from 2013. “Is that a banana in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” Mae West might have said of the yellow Nokia 1020 with all of its 41 megapixel glory 🙂

It may seem out of place on this site where classic film and digital cameras are profiled but as the first cell phone camera with a headline grabbing 41 megapixels, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is actually a perfect fit here.

The Lumia 1020 was introduced in 2013 as a modern day smartphone that runs on Windows 8. It has a touch screen and is capable of doing almost anything else a phone from 2013 could do. Its main distinction from the competition was that the phone held a 41 megapixel sensor inside. Yes, 41 megapixels in a cell phone! In 2013, that was more megapixels than almost any consumer camera on the market, point and shoot or DSLR.

To keep the record straight, the Nokia 808 Pureview was the first Nokia with a 41 megapixel sensor. However, it ran on the Symbian operating system which a lot of people don’t know about, and this probably kept a lot of people away. The 1020 aimed to go after the market that the 808 missed.

When I first heard about this phone, I was interested in it, as any gadget freak would be. However, as a photographer and lover of traditional cameras, I was more than a little skeptical.

AS A CAMERA

The Nokia 1020 has a 41 megapixel sensor, a 4.5″ display, and a 26mm f/2.2 Carl Zeiss lens and optical stabilization. Just on those specs alone, it sounds killer!

The camera does have a front facing camera as well, but that one only does 1.2 megapixels of resolution.

While the camera does have a 41mp sensor inside for the main camera, the actual highest resolution that the camera churns out is about 38mp. Due to slight cropping from the aspect ratios available, some pixels are lost. There may be more to this technically, but that’s how I understand it. However, 38mp is close enough to 41mp that you’d not likely notice the missing 3 megapixels 🙂

Hey listen, I won’t claim to understand all the thingamajigger behind this technology. Wiki has an excellent page on it and there are other reviews out there that can explain it much better than I can.

For easy file sharing, the 1020 uses an over-sampling technology where the 41 megapixel images are reduced to a 5 megapixel files without loss of quality. You can get the full resolution of the camera when using Nokia’s photo transfer app.

As a camera, it is very slow. The shot to shot time, the AF, the shutter lag. All slow. You will not be taking any action shots with this camera, even at low resolution.

If you hit the “shutter” icon, it will sometimes miss its target while focusing. The best way I have found to get consistently sharp shots with the 1020 is to first tap the screen at your target to achieve focus, then hit the shutter. This will give you many more sharp shots than just hitting the shutter “button” and because the camera is slow anyway, you’re not really going to lose any more time doing it this way.

There is a definite lag between shots, reminds me a lot of the lag time in old digital point and shoot cameras.

AS A PHONE

Don’t ask. I don’t use it as a phone. I use my iPhone which is definitely more intuitive to me. I was going to say the Nokia “sucks” as a phone, but that might be unfair! Just so you know that I’m not an Apple fanboy and I don’t hate Nokia, fifteen years ago, in the early days of mass consumer cell phones, Nokia was my choice 🙂

The phone has a dual-core 1.5ghz processor, 32gb of mass memory and 4G LTE according to the official specs.

Battery life is not great and it seems to get worse over time. I’ve had the phone for over a year now and I find myself charging it more frequently. I can’t really give you numbers because everyone uses their phone differently. This is not my main phone, I don’t make phone calls or play games with it, I just use it as a camera. With sporadic usage, a charge will last about a day or so just to give you an idea.

IMAGE QUALITY

At its best, the Nokia 1020 gives an impressive output. At full resolution, images are very crisp and has amazing detail. But that’s “at its best” which means just like the Sony A7R or any high resolution camera, you don’t see the advantage all the time, especially if you’re just taking quick snapshots.

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“Baby’s Nest” 2015. Nokia Lumia 1020. This image shows some of the strengths and weaknesses of the Nokia 1020. On one hand it’s colorful and sharp. On the other hand, you can see the clipped and unrecoverable highlights on the sweater showing the camera’s limited dynamic range. I believe the casual viewer would not see anything objectionable with this image. As for the subject, I was walking around when I found a baby chickadee on the foot of a giant tree! 🙂

And unlike the A7R or its siblings, the images do not hold up as well at 100 percent, and I did not expect it to. Apples and oranges. You have to be realistic; I mean this is a cell phone camera with a small high resolution sensor. Not to degrade the 1020, it’s an amazing cell phone camera, but it is still a cell phone camera. The A7R is a true digital camera with a high resolution full-frame sensor. The Nokia costs roughly $180 give or take, the Sony costs $1800 give or take! Be realistic with your expectations and you will love the Nokia 🙂

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“Autumn Legs” 2015. Nokia Lumia 1020. The Nokia Lumia is capable of very colorful images. This one was tweaked and may be a little too funky! I am no longer using Photoshop and am still trying to hone my post processing skills on a new program, please forgive me 🙂

Ok, so it doesn’t hold up well against a high end full frame camera. How does it do against a high quality point and shoot like the Ricoh GR (16mp) or Sony RX100? I find that at 100 percent, the images from the two cameras mentioned look better than the Nokia. Tones look smoother, image definition holds up better on the high end point and shoots.

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This is a 100 percent crop of the previous image straight out of the 1020. No processing was done to the image. Please click on the image for a better view. Note the softness and almost “painterly” look at 100 percent.

Taken on its own merit, the Nokia makes a fine secondary camera or even as your main point and shoot camera. While the images can be very sharp, dynamic range seems limited which means you need to be careful with exposure and the files are not highly pliable which means they won’t take a lot of messing around with in your post processing. It doesn’t take a lot to turn the files bad fast.

The files, which can be beautiful, appear to have a distinctly ‘digital’ look, perhaps due to the limitations of putting such a high res sensor on a small 2/3″ sensor.

Some of you know that I had a hard drive crash recently that knocked out a lot of my files. I was able to recover most of them and will be adding photos I took with the Lumia 1020 in 2014, so this page will get another update soon.

A lot of the readers of this site also know that I’m a fan of that elusive “film-like” digital file and this is a subjective thing, but I don’t see that with this phone. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with it. It looks digital because it is digital and yes, digital files can be fine too 🙂

Low light shots are surprisingly good. Not 5D Mark III good, but very good for a phone camera. It may sound vague, but any experienced photographer will have an idea of what I’m saying.

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“In The Midnight Flower” 2015. Nokia Lumia 1020. An available light sample from the 1020. I tried to extract the exif info for you so we could see what ISO the camera selected, but no exif would show on the programs I used. Please click on the photo for a larger view.

BOTTOM LINE

I got this phone over a year ago primarily to use it as a camera. Once I got over the frustration of using it as a camera, I’m able live with its weaknesses because I’m attracted to its strengths, which is a sharp lens and high resolution files.

In many ways, this is the same reason why people are attracted to Sigma cameras. They are slow as a turtle, but the image quality makes up for it. Some can live with that, some can’t.

If the 1020 was my only camera phone, I probably couldn’t live with it, which is why I use the camera on my iPhone 5 more often. However, as a specialty tool for static subjects, the Nokia is fine.

Cell phone photography has come a long, long way. It is the number one method of choice for most of the world’s population today. I don’t remember the numbers, but more people take and share photos with their phone cameras than any other type of camera by a wide margin. You don’t even need a poll to know this. You can see it every day!

To me however, cell phone camera quality still lags behind the best point and shoot cameras, but it is getting there.

It may be too soon to call the Nokia Lumia 1020 a Camera Legend, but if any cell phone camera deserves a spot on the list of legends, the Lumia 1020 should definitely be considered.

WHERE TO BUY

The Lumia 1020 is now easily found and the prices very affordable. If looking for one of these, prices are trending at $100-200 on eBay, with $200 on the high end. You may even find them under $100, but these usually have cracked screens and other flaws.

Your best bet for a safe purchase on the 1020 is probably through AMAZON. Especially since today is CYBER MONDAY I would definitely check for deals if I were in the market for this phone!


The Best Point & Shoot Camera In The World





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The Sony RX100 (as well as the RX100II and RX100III) has the great distinction of being called “The Best Point & Shoot Camera In The World.” And it has been since the introduction of the first model in 2012.

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“Save Me” 2014. Sony RX100, ISO 1000 in available light.

This is not a title to be taken lightly. The last camera that was universally known as “The Best Point & Shoot Camera In The World” was the legendary Contax T3 of 2001. The last great point and shoot from the film era.

The Sony RX100 feature a larger than average 1″ 20.1 mp sensor, a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 Zeiss lens, and excellent image quality in stills and HD video.

The latest “III” version features a wider and faster 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens, electronic viewfinder and tilting screen.

Personally, for a point and shoot of this size I could live without the wider, but shorter ranged lens and the EVF. I chose the Mark I version because I got it cheap 🙂

Anyway, they are great little cameras that can take near DSLR shots in a wide range of lighting conditions.

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“New New Yorker” 2014. Beautiful Pau loves her first New York experience. Sony RX100, ISO 2000 in available light.

I found the AF to be very good and accurate even in less than ideal lighting conditions. The color palate is very “Sony” and consistent with other Sony cameras, which means skin tones should be nice. And of course, the camera is very pocketable.

I personally just leave the camera on aperture priority and auto iso. It’s a point and shoot after all and it does a fine job most of the time.

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“The Peace Keepers” 2014. Sony RX100, ISO 125.

If you want the best of the best, get the RX100III. But if it’s going to be your secondary or “fun” camera, I’d save the money and seek out the original which should run you about $300 either used or if you’re lucky, “new old stock.”




It’s hard to imagine that a camera could dethrone the mighty Contax T3, but the RX100 series, while an entirely different animal (Film vs digital, fixed lens vs zoom) was able to become the CM Punk of the camera industry. That is…”Best In The World.”

Note: Yes, I know this digital era, the era of millions of “disposable” cameras. And for these digital cameras, they’re only as good as their last megapixel and they know it 🙂

Some of my Instagram followers stated to me that the 16mp APS-C sensor Ricoh GR is actually “best in the world” and they may well be right! Then others will say it’s the Nikon Coolpix A. Of course, there’s the Sony RX1/RX1R, but that’s in another league! Oh yes, we can’t forget the Fuji X100/X100S/X100T, you catch my drift. In reality, the digital cameras we have today are so damned good, there is really no “best.” You just have to find the one that’s right for you.

Right now Amazon has the best selection of the Sony RX100. Everyone and their mothers buy from Amazon and you can never go wrong with them.

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