The Google Pixel 4 Will Feature Two Cameras Plus Enhanced Night Sight

The post The Google Pixel 4 Will Feature Two Cameras Plus Enhanced Night Sight appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.


The Google Pixel 4 Will Feature Two Cameras Plus Enhanced Night Sight

Earlier this week Google announced the long-awaited Pixel 4, which promises to take smartphone photography to a whole new level.

This comes in the wake of Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro announcement last month, which saw the debut of a triple-camera setup and features such as Night Mode.

In other words, the Pixel 4 is a competitor in an intense fight to create the best cameras, the best lenses, and the best camera software.

So what does the Google Pixel 4 offer?

Let’s take a closer look:

First, the Google Pixel 4 features a dual-camera setup, offering the usual wide-angle lens alongside a new 2X telephoto option. This isn’t unique (Apple has regularly included “telephoto” lenses going all the way back to the iPhone 7 Plus), but it is a nice addition for those who need a bit more reach. You can use the 2X lens for tighter portraits, and it’s also useful for street photography, where you often need to photograph subjects from a distance.

Interestingly, Google has decided to keep the wide-angle camera at 12 megapixels, but has packed in a 16-megapixel sensor for the telephoto camera. While plenty of photographers will be excited by this jump in resolution, it remains to be seen whether such tiny pixels will result in significant noise.

The dual-camera setup should also improve Google’s Portrait Mode, and Google has promised more natural background blur and very precise edges (e.g., when dealing with hair). Truthfully, I’m skeptical. I’ve yet to see a Portrait mode photo that looks perfect on any smartphone camera. But I’ll wait until I see the results from the Pixel 4 before judging.

One cool new feature that will debut in the Pixel 4 is Live HDR. When you go to capture an HDR photo, you’ll be able to see a live HDR preview on your smartphone screen; this should give you a sense of what you can expect from the HDR+ effect.

Finally, if you enjoy doing astrophotography, you’re in luck: The Pixel 4 offers an improved Night Sight mode, in which you can take stunning photos of the night sky. It works by taking a series of long exposures, before blending them together to create a beautiful final photo. Note that you’ll need a tripod or other method of stabilization to get sharp astrophotography shots.

Overall, the Google Pixel 4 offers some impressive new features, even if none of them feel totally groundbreaking. Up until now, the Pixel lineup has dominated regarding low-light shooting, and the enhanced Night Sight suggests that Google plans to keep running with this success.

The Google Pixel 4 is currently available for preorder starting at $799 USD and will hit the shelves on October 24.

You can check out this first look video from cnet to get more of an idea of the Google Pixel 4.

Are you interested in the Google Pixel 4? Let us know in the comments!

The post The Google Pixel 4 Will Feature Two Cameras Plus Enhanced Night Sight appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

New Smartphone Includes a 108-Megapixel Camera and Wraparound Display

The post New Smartphone Includes a 108-Megapixel Camera and Wraparound Display appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

xiaomi mi mix alpha

These days, smartphone manufacturers seem to be in a race of their own: to include the most cameras with the most megapixels.

Apple has just released the iPhone 11 Pro, with its 3-camera setup. The Huawei P30 Pro packs a 40-megapixel sensor.

And now we have a new smartphone to evaluate:

The Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha 5G, which includes some features that can only be described as “intriguing.”

First, the camera: The Mi Mix Alpha 5G boasts a single 108-megapixel camera.

Yes, you read that right:

108 megapixels, which is not only more megapixels than the leading Google, Apple, Samsung, and Huawei cameras combined, but is also more megapixels than you can find in any Canon or Nikon DSLR.

Now, so many megapixels can cause problems:

More megapixels in a small sensor results in lots of noise, especially when shooting at higher ISOs.

But Xiaomi has attempted to account for this problem, including a “tetracell” design that can combine four pixels into a single pixel element, in order to produce 27-megapixel photos when shooting in low light.

Will this truly keep noise levels down? I’ll admit that I’m skeptical. On the Mi Mix Alpha 5G’s 1/1.33 inch sensor, even 27 megapixels is a lot, and 12-megapixel smartphones (i.e., Apple’s latest iPhones) still struggle with noise.

There’s also a question of whether a 108-megapixel camera even makes sense. Do any smartphone photographers actually need this many megapixels? Sure, more megapixels are good for printing large or doing big crops, but 108-megapixels seems like overkill for such consumer-oriented tech.

Note that the same sensor will be included in Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S11, though the Mi Mix Alpha 5G will be the first of the two to debut the camera.

The Mi Mix Alpha 5G also features a wacky “surround display,” which wraps completely around the smartphone.

While the concept is cool, it seems like the reality might be problematic. For one, a wraparound screen can’t use a case, which means the smartphone is much more likely to be broken when dropped or banged up.

And having a display on the back of the phone seems like it could cause privacy issues; if you’re using one side of the phone, will people be able to read your messages on the other?

That said, the Mi Mix Alpha 5G is definitely a unique smartphone with a powerful camera. So if you’re the type that likes more experimental technology, go for it! The Xiaomi Mi Mix will be available for around $2800 USD this December.

Now I’d like to ask you:

What do you think about the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha 5G? Would you be interested in a 108MP smartphone camera? And what do you think about the wraparound display? Would you worry about dropping it? How about privacy?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

The post New Smartphone Includes a 108-Megapixel Camera and Wraparound Display appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

The iPhone 11 Pro Features a New Triple Lens and Night Mode

The post The iPhone 11 Pro Features a New Triple Lens and Night Mode appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

The iPhone 11 Pro Features a New Triple Lens and Night Mode

Apple has just announced three new iPhones: the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

And, as usual, these iPhones come with new cameras and new camera technology.

But will these new smartphones be enticing for photographers? And if you’re looking to purchase a new smartphone, should you grab an iPhone 11 Pro?

Read on to find out.

The iPhone 11 Pro Camera

First things first:

While Apple has announced three new iPhones, the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Max are basically identical, save for the screen size. Hence, both the 11 Pro and the 11 Pro Max have the same camera specs:

Three cameras.

An improved front-facing camera.

Deep Fusion technology.

Let’s take a closer look:

iPhone 11 Pro: a three-camera setup

The three-camera design is Apple’s first foray beyond their (now standard) 2-camera setup. The iPhone 11 Pro boasts a telephoto lens (52mm equivalent), a wide-angle lens (26mm equivalent), and an ultra-wide-angle lens (13mm equivalent). The new camera (the ultra-wide-angle) should make it possible to capture sweeping landscape shots, or simply to gain a wider field of view when doing group portraits and event photography.

The iPhone 11 Pro Features a New Triple Lens and Night Mode

While the wide and telephoto lenses incorporate optical image stabilization, the ultra-wide-angle lens does not. This shouldn’t be a huge problem, because camera shake is less apparent in wider lenses. But it’s nice to have a bit of image stabilization, especially for night shots.

And speaking of night photography:

Apple has finally added a Night Mode to the smartphone camera lineup. This will supposedly increase detail in night photos, making it possible to produce less noisy images in near darkness. Given the poor performance of iPhones at night, this is a feature that Apple phones have sorely needed.

The iPhone 11 Pro Features a New Triple Lens and Night Mode

Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait and see whether the iPhone 11 Pro’s regular shooting mode will have improved low light capabilities. I’m not holding my breath, however. The iPhone XS’s low light performance is dismal in low light compared to competitors such as the Google Pixel 3, and there are no indications of a significantly improved sensor on the iPhone 11 Pro.

While the iPhone 11 Pro rear cameras all sit at 12 megapixels, the front-facing camera will see an upgrade from 8 megapixels (in the XS) to 12 megapixels. The lens has also been widened. I don’t recommend using the front-facing camera for serious photography, but it’ll be nice to take some higher resolution selfies and wider selfie-group shots.

The iPhone 11

The iPhone 11 is the successor to Apple’s cheaper iPhone XR.

Fortunately, it offers a notable camera upgrade: from a single wide-angle lens, the iPhone 11 now features both a wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lens setup.

It also includes Night Mode, which will make shooting in low light (hopefully) easier.

Deep Fusion technology

The most intriguing aspect of the new iPhone cameras is the promise of a Deep Fusion technology. This should work on all the new iPhones, including the iPhone 11.

While this feature won’t be rolled out until after the iPhones are released (in a software update), Apple claims that this new technology will allow your iPhone to capture nine images at once, process them, and create a final image that’s optimized for detail, noise, and dynamic range.

If the feature is as impressive as Apple claims, then we have a lot to look forward to.

The iPhone 11 Pro: Should you purchase it?

If you’re a serious smartphone photographer, you’re going to want the iPhone 11 Pro over the iPhone 11. No question. It offers the additional telephoto camera, which you’ll appreciate if you ever want to shoot portraits or street photos.

The iPhone 11 Pro Features a New Triple Lens and Night Mode

But how does the iPhone 11 Pro stack up against its competition?

Personally, I would wait to grab the iPhone 11 Pro until you see what Google comes out with this fall. The iPhone 11 Pro, with its triple cameras and promise of Deep Fusion technology, is appealing. But Apple is currently behind Google in terms of low-light capabilities. And you don’t want to buy a new smartphone, only to wish you had waited just a bit longer for the Pixel 4.

The iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max are available for preorder starting this Friday, September 13th.

What do you think of Apple’s new smartphone cameras? Will you be purchasing an iPhone 11 or an iPhone 11 Pro, or will you wait to see the Google Pixel 4? Share your thoughts in the comments!

The post The iPhone 11 Pro Features a New Triple Lens and Night Mode appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

How to Take Great Photos with Your iPhone

The post How to Take Great Photos with Your iPhone appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Sandra Roussy.

Camera phones have certainly come a long way. A few years ago it was impossible to try to achieve good photos with the camera that came with your smartphone. The quality and resolution were so low that we didn’t even think about post-processing and posting our photos.

The iPhone has had steady updates with new features added over the years including constant improvements to the camera quality. When the iPhone 8Plus came onto the market, photographers were finally ready to take photos that they could be proud of editing and posting. Many professional photographers are now using their smartphone cameras to snap photos during their travels or even on assignments.

Of course, the iPhone is limited and can’t provide all the creative features that a DSLR with interchangeable lenses can. But some days, carrying bulky camera gear is impossible, so the iPhone provides a great alternative.

Learn how to use your iPhone to its full potential, and you too will be taking great photos with your camera phone! We’ll take a look at the iPhone 8plus and newer models in this article because they have some great new photo features like Portrait Mode.

Super helpful tip: Use the slide-left feature from your lock screen to get quick access to your camera.

Learn the settings

Set to highest quality

Your iPhone camera can offer some high-quality photos and videos. If you intend to store hundreds of photos on your phone without downloading or transferring them into a cloud-based platform, then you may want to shoot in low resolution, so your phone doesn’t get full.

When you do want to shoot something important and want to edit the photos afterward, it’s best to shoot in the highest quality possible.

Set your focus point

The iPhone has a feature that you can use to set your exact focus point, and it’s quite important to use it to achieve tack sharp images.

  • Compose your shot
  • Tap your screen where you want the focus to be.
  • Slide the exposure up or down (The little yellow sun icon).
  • Press and hold to lock the focus point and recompose your photo if you wish (AE/AF LOCK).
  • Take your photo.

About HDR

HDR means High Dynamic Range and what it does is help provide evenly exposed images. The camera takes 3 shots when you take a photo and stacks them to provide a perfectly exposed image with all components having details in both the highlights and shadows.

Go to your camera setting and toggle off Auto HDR and Keep Normal Photo toggled on. While shooting you will see the HDR icon at the top. If there is a line through it, simply tap it to activate.

Helpful Tip: Your iPhone gives you the option to preserve your last shoot settings. This is especially useful when you plan to do the same type of photography. If these are not toggled on, the iPhone goes back to its default setting every time.

Use the grid lines

Nothing says amateur like a crooked horizon line. One of our pet peeves as photographers is to see a beautiful landscape where the ocean seems to be sliding down the side of the photograph.

Tilt your head to look at the photo? No.

Better, apply grid lines on your iPhone so that you can align the horizon line to get a perfectly straight horizon.

How-to: Go to settings and toggle the Grid option on.

Composition tips and tricks

Rule of thirds

Rule of Thirds is the main composition rule of photography that allows the viewer’s eye to flow easily over a photo. This is a good guideline to follow but it is not always the best composition for every situation.

Tip: Having the Grid Lines toggled on will help you achieve the rule of thirds better.

Keep it simple

Sometimes less is more. When you cram too much info into a photograph, the viewer doesn’t know where to look and may not capture your intent. Keep white space and focus on a single subject. This will bring attention to the subject and give your photo more creative meaning.

Get down and raise it up

Shooting from the same perspective and position will most probably create some pretty boring and repetitious photos. Try getting down on the ground and see how the perspective changes. This can sometimes add some drama to your subjects. Also, look up! Look at the contrasts with the sky, buildings, trees, and clouds.

Move in close

Sometimes a small detail can take a photograph from good to WOW!

Observe light, colors, and shadows

Learning to observe how light affects objects and changes throughout the day is key to improving your photos. Observe how shadows get created and how the light hits particular objects and capture those unique events.

Look for contrasts of color or a single color pop in a monotone environment.

Photo modes and special features

The iPhone comes with photo modes for you to choose from. The best feature to have come out in the last few years is Portrait Mode.

Portrait Mode

As of the introduction of the iPhone 8 plus, Portrait Mode has been accessible and has provided some broader creative possibilities. The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xr have the option to adjust the depth of field while shooting in Portrait Mode. Portrait Mode makes great portraits, of course, but can also be used for so much more. Try setting to portrait mode when you want a bokeh effect or a blurry background in your photos.



This mode is useful if you want to post on Instagram while keeping your composition intact.



Shoot some panoramic photos to show a greater angle of a landscape.

Special features

Burst Mode: Burst mode is great when you want to capture some action shots. Press and hold the shutter button, and the camera takes a series of photos.

Live Photo: Live photo is a fun feature that records 3-second videos before and after you have pressed the shutter. When viewing your photo, press and hold the photo to see the effect in action. You can activate or deactivate this feature in your camera mode.

Loop, Bounce, Long Exposure: Swipe up on your Live Photo to gain access to a few more features that let you loop the live photo effect, bounce it, or create a long exposure.

Zoom or no zoom – Attachable lens options

  • The newer versions of the iPhone have two lenses that allow you to zoom into your subject without moving in closer. This is practical when photographing wildlife or even when doing portraits.
  • Click on the 1X at the bottom of the camera screen. The zoom will go to 2X. Click your photo. You can pinch your screen and zoom even further, but this can cause shake in your photo and probably create blur.

Attachable lenses have hit the market and can offer some fun alternatives when shooting. They come in a variety of prices and quality. Macro lenses and fish-eye lenses seem to be the most popular.

Try photo apps and filters

Photo editing apps and software are very popular with amateurs and professional photographers alike. Some apps let you add filters to create moods, while others give you access to features that let you edit and fine-tune your iPhone photos.

Some of these apps even let you get out of the automatic iPhone mode and into manual shooting mode. They let you adjust your shutter speed, ISO, and aperture as you wish.

Here is a list of some of our favorite apps available for your iPhone.

Pro Camera

You can shoot in Manual, Semi-automatic, or Automatic modes with Pro Camera. It contains RAW capture, live histogram, and an anti-shake feature. Pro Camera is the app that allows you to achieve super sharp images with your iPhone.


Snapseed is a popular go-to app for every level photographer. It’s one of the most complete free apps offering a variety of functions to edit your photos.


VSCO is one of those apps, that when downloaded, allows you to shoot from your camera phone with the option of controlling the ISO, white balance, shutter speed, and other customizable camera functions.

Like a DSLR, you adjust your exposure components before you shoot to get your desired outcome. You can create long exposure photographs and fine-tune your focus points.

There’s a useful active tilt meter to level your phone to achieve a perfectly straight horizon line.

Have some fun with your iPhone

Even if you own an expensive DSLR and shoot in Manual mode, you can still get some great shots with your iPhone. The latest generation iPhones have stepped up the game regarding the cameras, lenses, and shooting options.

Keep in mind a few helpful tips to achieve beautiful compositions and don’t forget to add some useful photo-editing apps on your iPhone.

Your iPhone photos will look more professional, and you’ll be proud to post and show them off.

Feel free to share some with us in the comments section below.


The post How to Take Great Photos with Your iPhone appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Sandra Roussy.

8 of the Best Smartphone Camera Accessories

It’s amazing how quickly things change. There was a time in the not-too-distant past when nobody really took camera phones all that seriously. I can even remember a heated debate about eight years ago in which a friend of mine– a seventh-generation photographer whose great grandfather photographed the emergence of New York City at the turn of the 19th century– said to me, “Listen– My camera doesn’t make phone calls, and my phone doesn’t need to take pictures.”

Now armed with the latest iPhone, an arsenal of photo apps, and an Instagram account, his tune has obviously changed. I think a lot of people have seen their attitudes towards “iPhoneography” change in recent years, so it’s only fitting that the accessory market for these amazing devices has evolved and grown right alongside those changing attitudes. As a result, we now have the ability to take what is already a pretty good camera and raise the creative bar.

Here’s a sampling of the best smartphone camera accessories currently available.

Pocket Spotlight


If you think that the pop-up flash on a DSLR is the most unflattering light source known to man, you’re close, but the flash on your smartphone is even worse. The Pocket Spotlight is designed to fix that, providing continuous lighting that you can either hand-hold or plug into your phone’s headphone jack. A full charge via USB will last about an hour. The light works well for both stills and video.


You use your phone for everything else these days, so why not use it to trigger your DSLR? One end of the cord plugs into your camera, and the other plugs into your phone. Download the free app and you’re good to go. Modes include: standard trigger, motion trigger, sound trigger, time-lapse, distance-lapse, face-detection trigger, customizable HDR, star trails, and more. Features vary somewhat between Android and iOS versions, so make sure to double-check if you’re looking for something specific. Individual components are available on Amazon, but check the website to make sure you get what’s right for your camera.


iPhone Viewfinder

My biggest complaint about smartphone cameras is the inevitable glare on sunny days that keeps me from getting an accurate look at what’s in the frame. This handy viewfinder cuts the glare, as well as the trial and error.


Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens

The Olloclip 3-in-1 is now a 4-in-1.  In addition to the fisheye, wide-angle, and 10x macro lenses, the newer version now includes a 15x macro as well. The 10x and 15x  lenses have focal distances of approximately 18mm and 12mm respectively. The fisheye captures approximately a 180-degree field of view, and the wide-angle lens approximately doubles the field of view.


Manfrotto Klyp

If there was a Swiss Army knife full of smart phone gadgets, this would definitely be part of it. The Klyp by Manfrotto (for iPhone 4/4s) is a continuous, soft, daylight-balanced LED panel which combines with a case that has a 1/4-inch thread adapter that will mount on most tripods. Rated at 20 lumens when placed three feet from a subject, the package also includes a free iOS app that lets you take photos by clapping your hands.


Optrix XD5 Case

This tough iPhone 5/5s case from Optrix can handle a 30-foot drop or watery depths of up to 15 feet. With buttons and touch screens still fully functional under water, the three-element, all glass, super wide-angle lens adds a new level of creativity and availability for your iPhone camera.


iPro Lens Series 2 Trio

The latest iPhone lens kit from iPro has three lenses that twist on and off a hard, protective phone case. The macro, super wide-angle, and 2x telephoto all have a multi-layer coating that reduces lens flare.


Sony QX10 and QX100 “Lens Cameras”

Camera and lens in one? Pretty much. Your iPhone or Android device acts as a live viewfinder. Either attached to the phone or “off camera,” a wi-fi signal is established between the QX and the phone. Sony’s proprietary app gives the user control over white balance, exposure settings, zoom, and more. In addition to a manual zoom control, the QX100 has a 1-inch, 20.2 megapixel sensor, Zeiss lens, and a 1.8 aperture for low light and shallow depth of field. The compact QX10 offers a 10x optical zoom.


Do you have a favorite smart phone accessory that you can’t live without? Share it with us in the comments.

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