Entries tagged as iPhone 5S

Tracking the ISS with Nikon P1000

Int'l Space Station captured by Nikon P1000 on October 27, 2018

Next target I've been eyeing to take some photos of using the powerful zoom provided by the Nikon CoolPix P1000 camera was the International Space Station. Although it's a fast-moving target, I have experience with other equipment and the P1000's zoom should be sufficient enough to let me distinguish major features under ideal conditions, similar to the photos I took using a telescope. One such pass happened on October 26, coming in as close as 410km, but the thick clouds prevented me from taking the shots. Luckily, a slightly worse backup opportunity (closest approach of 572km) happened just a day after and I made the best of it - what you see above is the result.

iPhone 5S was used to help track the ISS as the P1000 took photos

As it was the case with SX50 HS, tracking the station is nearly impossible with just the integrated screens on the camera. So I enlisted the help of an iPhone mounted on the camera's hot shoe. It was very effective and I was able to take an unbroken sequence of the space station for more than a minute, until it went out of my view. If you want to see the whole thing, watch the video below. I think it was good for a first try with a new camera. More opportunities are to follow in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.



Device: Nikon P1000
Settings: 3000mm - ISO 100 - 1/320s - f/8
Filters: None
Time: 2018-10-27 05:29-05:31 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
78 photos processed with PIPP 2.5.9 and RegiStax 6.1.0.8
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On the road with Bolt EV, part 2

The trunk was packed again to make the return trip to Naju from Ulsan

After arriving in Ulsan and charging the Bolt EV's battery as seen in the last post, my four-member family went about our own business for a couple of days. When it was time to return home, we dropped by a nearby Costco to pack up some items in the trunk. While the space was smaller compared to the one in the cars I used to drive, we were able to fit everything in.

We spent 18% of the battery charge during our stay, leaving 76%. It seemed a bit risky to attempt a full return without a mid-trip recharge since the previous trip used 73% of the battery. Still, I thought it presented an interesting opportunity to see the car's limits and pressed on casually, with the air conditioning on. The following time-lapse video shows what happened in its entirety.


As you can see, the Bolt EV was able to return to the charging station in the parking lot at home just barely. Like the previous trip, this sort of drain-to-the-bottom run should be attempted only if you're sure of the range and the charger is ready at the end. So what was the scariest moment?
Continue reading "On the road with Bolt EV, part 2"

On the road with Bolt EV, part 1

iPhone 5S set up for time lapse recording on the Bolt EV driver seat's headrest

It’s been more than a month since I started driving Bolt EV. The lack of any engine noise, as well as the responsive acceleration and regenerative breaking continue to impress even now. I felt that the car definitely belonged to the 21st century and was glad that this was the first car I bought. Driving experience aside, many still wonder and ask if the car is truly good enough for a long drive and whether the charging speed was any good. This is where showing the experience would be better than explaining.

Here is the video of my recent cross-country round trip with Bolt EV in time lapse mode using the setup you see in the photo above. It should be noted that the Korean Peninsula is only about 300km wide and the South Korean part is about 400km long. Therefore the “cross-country” isn’t on a such grand scale here. Still, the range of Bolt EV (383km) implies that it could go almost anywhere in the country with a single full charge and this is important for many potential buyers in Korea.


On the video, Bolt EV took on the task of taking my family on a routine trip to my parents’ home at the opposite coast. This trip from Naju to Ulsan covered a distance of 302.8km, of which more than three quarters were on the expressway. The day was warm and humid (more than 25C on average, with a bit of rain) and so the air conditioning was running, yet the car nevertheless passed with flying colours with plenty of margins to spare. We started out with 91% charge, and still had 18% left after reaching the destination. Let's see this in more detail.
Continue reading "On the road with Bolt EV, part 1"

How loud is the camera if an iPhone's from Korea or Japan?

Measuring the camera shutter sound of the iPhone 4S with the iPad Pro 9.7"

In Korea or Japan, loud camera shutter sounds from smartphones are a fact of life due to the voluntary standards for the camera-equipped cellphones meant to ease privacy concerns. Issues had already been raised as far back as 2001 in Japan and Korean government started taking action in 2003. These standards call for a mandatory shutter sound of certain loudness even in silent mode. In Korea, sound level is set to be between 60 and 68dBA.

Note that this is not mandated by law in either countries, so there is no legal repercussion for not honouring the standards. Still, it poses an annoyance in many legitimate circumstances, something that users in other countries would never encounter. Imagine that the phone will make a loud sound whenever you take a photo or a screenshot(!) even in silent mode. There are 3rd party camera apps that try to avoid the sound, but for the screenshots you would ultimately need a system-level hack. This means jailbreaking or finding an obscure bug/feature.

I noticed that this problem has been exacerbated on the iPhone 7 series because it is using two speakers instead of one. You'll now get to hear the noisy shutter sound even louder, in stereo. To get an objective picture of the situation, I brought out my iPhone collection for a round of sound level measurement for the camera shutter sound. Here's how they stacked up.

Camera Shutter Sound
The test was done by measuring the sound using the "Decibel 10th" app on the iPad Pro 9.7". Tested iPhone was 40cm(16") away from the iPad's microphone. To human ears, an increase of 10dB is felt as the sound being twice as loud. This means that the integrated speaker got roughly two times louder since iPhone 5 onwards. Incidentally, this would've been necessary to meet the aforementioned Korean standards. The 60dB level must be attained at a distance of 1m(3.28'), and there is a decrease of 8dB for moving from 40cm to 1m. Taken together, it becomes obvious that the iPhone 4S and earlier models wouldn't be loud enough.

And as expected, iPhone 7 I bought in Japan was the loudest, even though the second speaker was facing away from the iPad's microphone. One consolation is that the sound heard by the subject isn't much louder than before; you only hear it as being much louder because the second speaker is facing you.

Meanwhile, the iPhones bought in the United States turned out to be relatively quieter even when the volume was set to the loudest. In fact, my iPhone 7 Plus had a very quiet shutter sound even though music playing on it was quite loud in contrast. This shows that Apple is intentionally boosting the speaker output beyond normal levels when the shutter sound is made on the Korean and Japanese models. It would be difficult for those who haven't used these models to realize how loud they are.

If you want to hear the difference for yourself, here's the video of the test that the results are from. If anyone had been wondering why I still try to get iPhones from the United States, this should be the answer.

Comparing iPhone 7 camera with older gen (Indoors)

Continuing from the last post, let's look at the indoor performance of the front camera. I took photos of a table in the living room where the kids have built what's essentially a toy village with Lego blocks. It should serve to show differences in colour reproduction, if any.

Front camera - iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5S, 6 Plus, 6S Plus, and 7

Original Photo ISO Shutter Speed
iPhone 7 80 1/30
iPhone 6S+ 32 1/17
iPhone 6+ 64 1/30
iPhone 5S 80 1/30
iPhone 5 64 1/30
iPhone 4S 160 1/60
iPhone 4 125 1/60
With the exception of iPhone 4, the colours look more or less correct, which is good. Also, the iPhone 7 did manage to take clear photos when the objects are closer, so it's doing a good job as its intended role of a selfie camera. 6S Plus result is fuzzier, but this time it can be attributed to a slight camera shake and would likely be nearly as good as 7 but with less pixels otherwise.

Next up, I took shots of the same scene with the rear camera, once with good indoor lighting and once with faint indirect lighting so I could observe how much noise can be seen for each cases. For the darker shots, I tried to have the camera maintain at or close to ISO 800 to make a close comparison.
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