Entries tagged as Focus Pixels

Summary of iPhone 6 Plus reviews

For nearly a month, I've been using my iPhone 6 Plus every day. As one of the first users of such device in Korea, I decided to take an in-depth look at its improvements and functions whenever I can, to show what the Korean users are going to get soon. Now all the hard work is done, and I present to you the summary of all the reviews I wrote about it.

iPhone 6 series will finally launch in Korea officially on October 31, 2014, according to Apple's official announcement, and carriers are preparing to accept pre-orders about a week before that. I hope these reviews will help you decide if iPhone 6 Plus is right for you.

Preview Summary
0. One of the first iPhone 6 Plus in Korea (2014-09-19)
Wesley gets his iPhone 6 Plus on the first launch day in Japan and brings it to Korea.
1. iPhone 6 Plus - Unboxing & First Look (2014-09-22)
The box containing the iPhone 6 Plus is opened up, and the phone is taken an all-around look. The bump caused by the camera lens is also examined.
2. Protecting my iPhone 6 Plus (2014-09-23)
Front and back side protection films are applied to the iPhone 6 Plus. Then, it is put inside a belt case intended for Galaxy Note series. Apple's own leather case is also tried out.
3. Sizing up the shape & size of iPhone 6 Plus (2014-09-23)
The size, thickness, and shape of the iPhone 6 Plus gets compared to other devices. It is first compared to other iPhones and iPads, then to a comparatively-sized Android smartphone.
4. iPhone 6 Plus - LTE Compatibility & Speed (2014-09-24)
Unlocked iPhone 6 Plus bought overseas is found to have LTE working on Korea's SKT & KT networks automatically. Also, real life LTE speed comparison is made between the 6 Plus and the 5S.
5. iPhone 6 Plus - VoLTE Compatibility (2014-09-25)
Initially, all calls were made in 3G mode despite changing the settings to allow VoLTE. To have the VoLTE actually working, a visit to an SKT branch office and a device registration process was needed.
6. Testing iPhone 6 Plus battery w/o bending (2014-09-29)
Real-life battery discharging and charging tests are performed simultaneously on iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 5S to see the difference. Belt cases made sure the phones didn't bend.
7. iPhone 6 Plus - General Performance (2014-10-01)
Performance comparison across multiple apps are made between iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 5S. This included 3DMark, Geekbench, and various JavaScript tests.
8. iPhone 6 Plus - Camera's Quality (2014-10-01)
Compared to iPhone 5S, the camera on the iPhone 6 Plus has improved dynamic range and enhanced night time photography performance. Image stabilization works well, too.
9. iPhone 6 Plus - Camera's Speed (2014-10-04)
The focusing performance of the iPhone 6 Plus is noticeably more advanced than iPhone 5S. Burst mode shooting and slow-motion video recording also saw improvements.
10. iPhone 6 Plus - M8 Motion Co-processor (2014-10-08)
The M8 motion co-processor and its new barometer are tested out by walking up the stairs and seeing how many floors are registered. Other uses are also taken a look at.
11. How far does iPhone 6+ & SKT's VoLTE go? (2014-10-13)
How the SK Telecom's network treats the attempts to make a VoLTE call from iPhone 6 Plus varies by how the person at the other end is connecting. All the possibilities are tested.
12. Thoughts on a month of iPhone 6 Plus use (2014-10-14)
Using the iPhone 6 Plus one-handed is not as convenient as Apple would hope. However, the big screen that caused this also offers many benefits that maybe considered as worthy trade-offs.

iPhone 6 Plus - Camera's Speed

iPhone 6 Plus (right) already in focus while iPhone 5S struggles (left)

Earlier, I've looked at how iPhone 6 Plus improved upon the image quality of the iPhone 5S. But it's not just the end result that's gotten better, but the process to get there, as well. Apple takes the whole photographing experience very seriously. One of the major improvements come in the form of the so-called "Focus Pixels", a marketing term for phase detection autofocus.

Traditionally, casual cameras employed contrast detection, which tries to pick out where the highest contrast difference between the pixels happens. Meanwhile, film cameras & DSLRs used the phase detection, which has the light from the subject split into two and tries to find where they become in-phase. The latter works well with continuous autofocusing, as well as in darker environments where contrast is less distinct.

In practice, the Focus Pixels provides the much-needed speed and accuracy improvements to the iPhone's autofocus. As you can see in the picture and the video above, iPhone 6 Plus locks onto the foreground subject's focus very fast and continuously. In contrast (no pun intended), iPhone 5S often does not respond to the movements of the foreground object.

When the iPhone 5S does detect the changes, the camera needs to move the focus back and forth, taking more time to find the right focus. In my experience with all the iPhones up to 5S, this occasionally results in focusing onto a wrong subject, even when I specifically selected the subject on the touch screen. This annoyance is no more on the iPhone 6 Plus.

What this means is that I'm now far less likely to have an out-of-focus snapshot even in a hurry. And I don't have to tell the iPhone to focus on something as often. A true "point and shoot", if you will.
Continue reading "iPhone 6 Plus - Camera's Speed"

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