Lytro started in the consumer space a few year’s back by enabling light field camera sensor technology in a portable package. Back then it allowed the user to select the focus point in the image to control depth of filed after the shot had been taken. This is emulated by Panasonic on the GX8 and GH4 with Post Focus but that is a feature that does some tricks with multiple images and lens focus points to select final depth of field.
Lytro does this by capturing all the rays of light entering the sensor at different angles and times to create a light field or three dimensional map of a real subject or scene. The consumer cameras sold in less than stellar numbers due in part to low resolution and while they tried with the Lytro Ilum to bring a more SLR like camera with 40 mega-rays or down-converted to 4 traditional megapixels. It also bombed as the post focus feature was not enough pull to get consumers to adopt the platform; along with claims of low dynamic range and artifacts in bright spots. The Ilum camera is still available for purchase at under $370 USD from the 1299 introductory price; quite a drop!
Apple today unveiled the iPhone SE; little kept secret due to huge leaks in the rumor sites. What was not confirmed was the camera specs which as it turns out are exactly the same as the bigger and more expensive iPhone 6s flagship brother.
The camera should yield the exact same performance as the iPhone 6s which means great news when it comes to slow motion aficionados. 120fps at full 1080p and 240fps at 720p made their way in the specs which gives some indication that Apple cut very little from the phone; with the biggest omission being 3D touch.
So you have an iPhone and want to get the best video possible out of it. Should you stay with Apple’s camera implementation or should you branch out and look for better capture apps? Those that do the best job at compressing your footage and extracting the utmost quality from it.
For years the App to flock to if you own an iPhone is the FiLMiC Pro for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch by Cinegenix. It was used in the Zacuto revenge of the Camera shootout in 2012 to capture the segments with the iPhone which rivaled, according to the audience of judges, cameras much stronger in specs and capture quality. It tied with the Canon C300 and beat the Sony FS100. That test was highly subjective with a lot of light to fill in the soft spots of the camera, however that did not detract from the fact that FiLMiC Pro did an amazing job at delivering a more grade-able and professional looking footage than Apple’s stock implementation on the then iPhone 4s. You can see the test here!
Now that a couple of weeks have passed it is clear that the camera in the new iPhone 6s is better than the previous model in every single way. It has 12MP instead of 8MP, it has UHD 4k recording in video and has 120fps 1080p slowmo which is up from 720p. The dynamic range is on par with the previous model but with the added feature of less noise and artifacts due to new in sensor technology and software processing. While most users will not notice much in the way of improvements; they are there and especially if you look at the video mode the new iPhone is a fantastic upgrade from the regular 6 model.
The 120fps 1080p mode is very good and the detail is retained as long as there is not a lot of minute detail and extreme numbers of objects/changes in the scene. It is not as good as regular 1080p but it is close as there is not a lot of detail loss especially when using Macro mode. If you want it to shoot a single water drop it should do great but if you are recording assorted splashes the codec will break apart and macro-blocks will start to invade your scene. It works very well for people and large scene objects and a lot of detail is preserved. The 240fps mode is also improved in the artifacts and noise which means the processing is improved as you can see much less aliasing and moire. It is still not true 720p but it is very close. As of now we think the iPhone 6s has better slow motion quality than the GoPro Hero 4 Black and the Sony Action Cam Sony FDR-X1000V . It is the best slowmo phone available in quantity as of today. The New Nexus 6P has 720p 240fps to compete with the iPhone but no realistic samples besides the Hummingbird Video which is still unconfirmed exist. This will change in the near future when users get their hands on it.
It has now been a few days since people first got their hands on the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. One of the new features is it’s ability to shoot higher res slow motion at 1080p 120fps and a somewhat improved version of the 240fps at 720p with less artifacts. We have found a few samples that may show you the quality of the slow motion modes in action. It is clear from an initial perspective that 720p 240fps is higher resolution with less noise and aliasing artifacts and also that the 1080p 120fps mode while higher resolution it is not exactly the same quality as the 1080p video of the phone. There seems to be an apparent softness or slight resolution loss with heavier compression in this mode. This however doesn’t detract much from the fact that both the 120fps and 240fps modes have been improved and that is a good thing.
iPhone 6s Sample Slowmo Videos Below:
iPhone 6s Plus Slo-Mo ([email protected]) by Royce Adkins:
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