How Apple's new Retina Flash -- 5 years in the making -- brightens up selfies on the iPhone 6s

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  • Reply 21 of 42
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BeyondtheTech View Post



    Considering that the screen draws the biggest power consumption of any component in a smartphone, I wonder how much power it takes when it cranks up the brightness and illuminates all the pixels.



    I always wanted Apple to incorporate a tiny LED indicator for missed notifications, but they opted to use the flash or turn on the screen, both of which are much more power-hungry, especially now with a seemingly smaller capacity battery in the new generation iPhones. I mean, why light up 2,073,600 pixels when one diode would've done the same?



    For photos, especially selfies with their inevitable faces as a major part of the subject, if you've ever seen a pro photo shoot you've seen a part of the answer: the larger light source is less harsh for portraits. hence the giant reflectors and flash diffusers pros use on both their remote lights and on camera lights. As to power, the flash is triggered for a fraction of a second, that's going to consume the equivalent of a minute or two of normal screen brightness power consumption, perhaps less depending on your choice of normal brightness...

  • Reply 22 of 42
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,799member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appleric View Post

     

    This is what they do for PhotoBooth, so why is it so "new" and innovative?




    For all the reasons you didn't bother to read and that everybody in this thread has been discussing.

  • Reply 23 of 42
    Is it even a full second? I bet if measured it's probably a fraction of a second. And it doesn't need to be at the 3x brightness for the entire time, only when taking the photo. Which means it's probably at full brightness for a very short time (perhaps 1/20th of a second).

    It's not going to have any effect on battery. Looking at the picture you just took, showing your friends, editing & cropping it and posting to Facebook are going to consume far more power from the screen than the brief flash to take the picture.
    Better wording would be the picture itself takes more battery to take, but in any case battery will be shortened but not by much.
  • Reply 24 of 42
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    I can understand how the camera can take some more photos after the shot, but how does it know to take some photos before you release the shutter? If the flash is required, wouldn't the portion of the photos before the actual shot have a different exposure? Very confusing. I hope they are not just recording for one second after the shutter release and then choosing the middle image in the sequence as your static shot. The shot I usually want is the one when I release the shutter not a photo delayed by a half second. Can someone clear this up for me?




    You've signaled your intention to take a photo by turning on the camera app: so perhaps it starts a running buffer cache whose permanent storage is only triggered by the shutter release, the "after" portion is obviously simply the trailing capture. I agree we do tend to trigger the shutter at the peak moment of what we want so a lag, like can happen with some HDR processes, would be annoying on occasion, especially since the only point to that animation is if the subject is moving.

     

    Not sure how flash might be handled.

  • Reply 25 of 42
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    That was my initial thought as well, but it does seem incredibly inefficient constantly storing and deleting what could be a long duration of high MB images while you are waiting for the right shot, and it still doesn't answer the question of the flash. If it is recording continuously without the flash and then you trip the shutter and the flash goes on, it seems like the exposure might be completely different in some cases.


     

    So I took a few minutes to look up Live Photo...we are overlooking the obvious. It appears that Live Photo is only relevant to the iSight camera on the back of the phone. Not the FaceTime camera on the front. Every Live Photo reference I read on Apple's site says 12 MP photos (ie, the iSight camera). So the whole discussion as it applies to using the screen as a flash is not relevant to Live Photo. And even on my 5S, the rear camera flash is already on for about a second whenever I take a photo. It's not a quick, fraction-of-a-second flash.And the flash is also used as a flashlight. So having the flash on continusously for Live Photo perhaps isn't really an issue.

     

    And of course, there's also the possibility that the flash is disabled and not used when taking Live Photos. I generally find that my iPhone 5S is frustratingly stubborn about not using the flash even for regular photos that would clearly benefit from having more light. So Apple my simply rely on the low-light capabilities of the sensor and not use the flash at all for Live Photos.

  • Reply 26 of 42
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,906member
    solipsismy wrote: »
    I’m curious how quickly this will drain the battery, which is 100mAh smaller this year due to the haptic engine, if used constantly by groups of people, like teenage girls.


    It doesn't matter, people that engage in that many selfies a day has serious mental issues.
  • Reply 27 of 42
    I mean, why light up 2,073,600 pixels when one diode would've done the same?

    Since you're not familiar with iPhones, I'll let you in on a secret: the iPhone uses a LCD screen. Those pixels would be on anyway. The pixels are backlit (technically side-lit, but same principle), not lit individually as they are in your Samsung Galaxy S5. Apple is using the backlighting as a flash.

    If you're a studio photographer, you might be familiar with the concept of a light box (or soft box). These are diffusers that take a point light source, such as a photo flash or a continuous light source and spreads it evenly across a large area, eliminating hard shadows in portrait photos. Using the iPhone screen as a flash should give similar results.
  • Reply 28 of 42
    idreyidrey Posts: 643member
    The funny thing is that I have seen people try to use
    The iPhone screen as a light source for their selfies.
    They turn the brightness all the way up and shoot the pic.
    It doesn't work well at all. Now Apple fixed these people's
    Problem. :D
  • Reply 29 of 42
    appleric wrote: »
    This is what they do for PhotoBooth, so why is it so "new" and innovative?

    read the article next time, buddy.
  • Reply 30 of 42
    ireland wrote: »
    Don't be a jerk.

    there's nothing jerky about his post, whatsoever.
  • Reply 31 of 42
    It's amazing how long it took Apple to take a great Idea. The Apple Photo Booth Flash, to the Phone. Almost exactly 10 Years. 10 Years ago Apple introduced Photo Booth with OS X where your Screen turns white as a flash when you decide to take a funny Face Picture.

    especially amazing since iPhone didn't exist as a product 10 years ago, let alone one with a forward facing selfie camera.

    :rolleyes:
  • Reply 32 of 42
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by spheric View Post

     



    For all the reasons you didn't bother to read and that everybody in this thread has been discussing.


     

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post





    read the article next time, buddy.

     

    Thanks. I did read the article. My point is that it's not so "innovative" as it is a new technology. For example, it's innovative to use the screen to light up the face. Photo Booth did this when it first came out and I thought that was brilliant! But for the iPhone6S, the HOW it's done is different. I see this as an upgrade to the first innovative use of a lite-up screen, not innovative on it's one. Can't I ask an honest question without getting flamed? I was hoping others would remember Photo Booth and say "yeah, that's right!"

  • Reply 33 of 42
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    ralphmouth wrote: »
    Yea, how does Retina Flash work with Live Photos?

    If Live Photos take pictures a second before and a second after the actual picture, do they need three Retina flashes total for one picture.
    The live photos lens and the screen the retina flash
    comes off of are facing in opposite directions.
  • Reply 34 of 42
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by appleric View Post

     

    This is what they do for PhotoBooth, so why is it so "new" and innovative?


     

    Take a little time to read the article before you comment on it. It stops you from saying something stupid and gives us one less idiotic post to comment on/ ignore.

     

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RalphMouth View Post

     

    Yea, how does Retina Flash work with Live Photos?

     

    If Live Photos take pictures a second before and a second after the actual picture, do they need three Retina flashes total for one picture.


     

    I'm just guessing, but I think Live Photos only works with the rear camera. Just my guess though.

  • Reply 35 of 42
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

     

    But my guess would be that the iPhone is constantly recording the last couple of seconds of data off the sensor and temporarily storing it in cache. Then when you hit the shutter it can go back in time to get the frame from half a second in the past (or whatever the timing is). 


     

    Could be something along those lines. But rather than constantly recording, it probably only starts when the Camera App is opened and stops when the app is closed.

     

    Or, it could be a combination of TouchID and the Camera App - that some algorithm tells it that the person is in the Camera App and is about to use the button. That doesn't account for the volume button trigger though.

  • Reply 36 of 42
    I'd like to know why this is only available on the 6s models. Adding in a new driver to crank up the brightness should be a non-issue on the 6 and even 5 model iPhones. If the older screens can't, for some reason, crank up the brightness, surely writing the code for the older models to simply use 100% brightness instead would not be difficult. Unless, of course, this is just another cash grabbing forced upgrade like those persistent 16gb models.
  • Reply 37 of 42

    Another benefit of using the screen as the illumination source is that its more diffuse lighting should improve portrait picture quality and minimize redeye effects compared to a conventional LED flash.

  • Reply 38 of 42
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dtrace View Post



    I'd like to know why this is only available on the 6s models. Adding in a new driver to crank up the brightness should be a non-issue on the 6 and even 5 model iPhones. If the older screens can't, for some reason, crank up the brightness, surely writing the code for the older models to simply use 100% brightness instead would not be difficult. Unless, of course, this is just another cash grabbing forced upgrade like those persistent 16gb models.



    All the rapid color control might be out of the reach of the current hardware, OTOH have you seen where it's explicitly stated by Apple to being restricted to the "s" models? The "s" are running iOS 9 implicitly, so there's a possibility it's a software feature....

  • Reply 39 of 42



    Thank you. Take the time to look up what I meant before you attack. No need to flame here. We're all in a conversation to learn. I read the article. Perhaps you want to ask why I think it's not so new and innovative?

  • Reply 40 of 42
    jfc1138 wrote: »
    dtrace wrote: »
    I'd like to know why this is only available on the 6s models. Adding in a new driver to crank up the brightness should be a non-issue on the 6 and even 5 model iPhones. If the older screens can't, for some reason, crank up the brightness, surely writing the code for the older models to simply use 100% brightness instead would not be difficult. Unless, of course, this is just another cash grabbing forced upgrade like those persistent 16gb models.

    All the rapid color control might be out of the reach of the current hardware, OTOH have you seen where it's explicitly stated by Apple to being restricted to the "s" models? The "s" are running iOS 9 implicitly, so there's a possibility it's a software feature....

    I believe they did say it requires new HW to control the brightness that way.
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