iPhone Photography

So I recently took a 1 month long trip to Taiwan and, for the first time, I traveled without my DSLR (a Nikon D7000). It was a difficult decision to make, but in the end, the convenience of not having to lug a DSLR around won (not to mention the fact that I was running out of luggage space to pack any accessories). And I must admit that I did not regret it at all – in fact I found it enlightening to not travel around with a heavy camera slinged around my neck and taking extra care not to knock it against anything.

As smartphone companies cram better and better camera sensors (read: not megapixels), the balance has tilted in favor of photography using smartphones and mobile devices (including, god forbid, tablets). While I am not going out so far as to claim that this spells the end of professional photography, there are certain benefits of using a mobile device as a photography instrument. I myself am an avid Apple fan, so the points I make below are most relevant to fellow iPhone users, though they generally apply to all smartphone users.
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iPhone 5

It’s really easy to make a new product that is bigger, everyone does that. That’s not the challenge. The challenge is to make it better and smaller. – Phil Schiller

Once again, as with every over-hyped Apple event, there is a wave of disappointment rippling through the interwebs over the announcement of the iPhone 5. “Why isn’t the screen wider (or larger)?” seems to be the most common complaint, given that many competitors already offer phones with screen sizes varying from 4.5″ up to 7″.

But do you really want a wider screen? The answer should be no. For most people, the current iPhones are just wide (or narrow, depending on how you perceive things) enough to hold comfortably in one hand. While holding it in one hand, my thumb is just able to reach the “Q” character on the soft keyboard (without over stretching) when texting from my iPhone. And that is the way I like it – most other phones with wider screens that I’ve tried are too wide to type with one hand and too narrow to type with two. With that in mind, it is impossible to make a screen much larger than 4″ without making it ridiculously tall – and there are already some complaints where the top of the screen is slightly too tall to reach comfortably with one hand.

As a current owner of an iPhone 4 and being fully eligible for a re-contract, upgrading to the iPhone 5 (when it is available in Singapore) is a no brainer. It offers me the full features of iOS 6, many of which I would not be able to enjoy on my iPhone 4 (such as Facetime over cellular network and turn-by-turn navigation, just to name a few). It also offers a substantial increase in performance, theoretically up to 4x the CPU performance and over 10x the graphics performance over the iPhone 4, as well as faster cellular network speeds (support for 4G LTE), a dramatically improved camera and longer battery life.

Update: And so I got one.

Opera on iPhone – Is it really faster?

Opera today announced that its mobile browser, Opera Mini, is available for the iPhone platform after spending quite a long while in App Store approval limbo. It is supposedly very fast, since it connects via a proxy server that compresses web pages first before downloading them on the browser. While I am not that a big fan of the desktop Opera browser, I am pretty enthusiastic about the iPhone version of the browser as it offers a non-Webkit based browser for iPhone.
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