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  • Kuo: Both iPhone 16 Pro models will use tetraprism camera in 2024

    charlesn said:
    Even after a lifetime of of photography as a prosumer hobby to the point of having a home color darkroom, I'm finding it hard to understand what's going on with lenses in Apple's latest Pro cameras. I assumed, for example, that the new Pro Max tetraprism lens was handling the optical zoom range not available in the regular Pro: 3.1x to 5x. Nope! A professional camera review of the lens that I read this weekend noted that the new lens only does 5x. Everything from 3.1x to 4.9x is handled on the main camera sensor. Which means what, exactly? A crop? Apple isn't helping things by claiming that its three lens set-up is actually seven lenses. A true zoom lens covers all of the focal lengths within its range optically and uses the full sensor size within the camera regardless of the focal length you're using. In theory, the 3 lenses in the new Pro Max set up can cover all focal lengths from 13mm to 120mm. But how much of that range is achieved through the use of true zoom optics and how much is achieved through cropping of the full image on the sensor? To go back to my earlier example: how is the main camera handling 3.1x to 4.9x if not by cropping, since the main camera does not have that optical range?
    It helps to be more specific with the word "cropping." There's cropping and enlarging the cropped image back to the original size, and then there's lossless sensor cropping. The former results in garbage while the latter can produce stellar results depending on the situation. You specifically referred to is as "cropping of the full image on the sensor."

    When shooting FHD (1920x1080, 2 MP) video on a 48 MP sensor, the lossless digital zoom actually yields more information up to twice the focal length. Sensor zoom is used from 3.1x - 5x and again from 5.1x - 10x or 12x, and digital zoom beyond that.

    Of course, the range for sensor zoom is less for UHD video and none for 12 MP photos shot on the 120 mm camera's 12 MP sensor. But shooting 24 MP photos on the wide camera's 48 MP sensor yields lossless sensor zooming up to 4x. I think the bad spot is shooting photos between 4.1x - 5x as it's just cropping and enhancing the 4x photo until 4.9x. Even in that range, with sufficient light, the upscaling is slight enough that pixelation will be minimal in the final result.

    Feel free to correct anything I said. 
  • X gets big exception from Apple with one-letter App Store listing

    Are we sure that Apple actually made an exception and that the name "X[non-breaking space]" wasn't used instead? 
  • Are the iPhone 13 differences that noticeable?

    The cameras largely remain the same 12MP wide and 12MP ultra-wide cameras as the iPhone 12.

    A minor, but beneficial change, is that Apple has upgraded image stabilization. It's gone from optical image stabilization to sensor-shift image stabilization. This moves the sensor itself rather than the lens and results in sharper images. But most people won't notice this -- it's an incremental step up.
    This is misleading. Apple brought down the iPhone 12 Pro Max's massive wide camera sensor to all iPhone 13 phones. The 47% larger sensor delivers much higher signal to noise ratio, and with an even larger f/1.5 aperture to boot, yields incredible low light performance with much less noise suppression. Throw in the sensor shift stabilization and it's just sick.

    So even the cute little iPhone 13 mini has the best smart phone camera on the planet, by a wide margin.
  • Compared: New Apple Silicon Mac mini versus Intel Mac Mini

    cloudguy said:
    "Now the RAM is what Apple calls unified memory ..."

    Unified memory was invented and named by Nvidia - back in 2013 - and is a widely known and used technology. So their options for calling it something else were a bit constrained. 
    Not sure why Nvidia would claim to have invented or named a technology that's been around since the last century, but I first saw Unified Memory Architecture when SGI introduced it in the O2 workstation back in 1996.
  • Steve Jobs predicted the Mac's move from Intel to ARM processors

    I hope Apple doesn't transition Macs to ARM chips. The benefit of having a POSIX *n*x running on the same hardware as the rest of the world is hard to overstate. The thinking with the transition is that since ARM chips are so powerful sipping such little energy on iOS devices, imagine the workhorses they'd be on desktops? Sure? Maybe? But this would only be a short-lived advantage until the same physical obstacles affecting Intel come up. The reason to transition is that progression on the Intel architecture has decelerated. But this is universal and will affect the ARM architecture as well. The laws of physics won't give Apple's ARM engineers any advantages over Intel engineers. ARM may have a head start, but it WILL hit the same limits at 4nm process with yield problems, etc.