First Impressions of iPhone X and Why I’ll Be Returning It.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on an iPhone X on Saturday although I had not reserved one.  So I picked up the Space Gray 256gb iPhone X popped in my SIM card, restored from iCloud and I was ready to roll. (Apparently there was new fun way to move your old information but I didn’t see that option)

Now let me just say, these are my opinions. It’s a very capable device but I’m going to explain why in MY case the features didn’t justify the cost.

Lets stick with that idea for a moment cost.  I choose the 256gb model which is $1149 which is yes more expensive than a MacBook Air.  So after tax here in Philadelphia it comes to $1240.  Now most people get cases for their phones.  I’m not one of those people but I need to think about the longevity of the device and how I’m going to protect it.  With the back of this phone being completely glass it very well could break under the right circumstances.  Without AppleCare +, Apple’s protection plan, if that back where to crack or shatter the replacement cost int $599.  Let that sink in.

So it’s either spend an extra $199 or risk $599 to replace the device.  Ok Apple you got me.  Bringing our grand total after tax to $1,455.84 for the 256gb iPhone X.

Ok I’m sure you’ve all got a calculator (on your iPhone) so lets moved beyond the math.

Features I really liked about iPhone X:

Notifications on the lock screen accessible via Face ID – Face ID allows you to preview all of your notifications without going into the device.  This was a great when Face ID worked.  By holding the phone up to my face it went from a simple notification to a great preview.  Well done.

Animoji – I’m embarrassed how much how enjoyed playing with this feature but after about 6 hours after using the phone the novelty of this feature quickly wore off.

Display – I hesitate to even put this in my liked category but I did like the new OLED display.  But most people won’t see the difference from an iPhone 7 or newer display.  The notch on top did not bother me in the slightest that fades into the background almost immediately.

Features that fell short of expectations:

Face ID – This will be great one day but in my opinion it fell short and here is why.  There are times I like to unlock my phone without having to pick it up and point it at my face.  Face ID won’t allow you to do that.  So when you’re in that staff meeting and try to check your phone without anyone noticing… good luck.  The phone has to be pretty much pointed right at your face for it to unlock.

Dual Lens Rear Camera – As a photographer I could argue this camera is as important as my professional camera as I will ALWAYS have this camera on me.  As it’s better than my iPhone 7 camera I don’t understand the appeal of this “telephoto lens”. 2x optical zoom is almost useless.  The focal length feels like it’s going from 24 to 50mm.  To me this is missed opportunity to put an extra camera with longer focal length but I’m sure it has much to do with the AR endeavors coming to iOS 11.  I know this is not necessarily new to the iPhone X but I never owned the 7 Plus or 8 Plus so I thought it was important to include.

Portrait Lighting – This is the type of gimmick that should be left for Samsung.  These cheesy effects are sure to please the narcissistic selfie capturists but I think most people will never use this.  Creative professionals will most like cringe when they see it in action.

Battery Percentage – Why the actual fuck can’t I see the battery percentage instead of the useless battery icon.  Truth is the only way to see the percentage is to pull down control center from the top right of the phone.  Which I could not reach with one hand.  I think this will be addressed in iOS 11.x.

Lack of Included Accessories – Fast charging is an option on this device yet it still comes with at 5w charger?  This is a tragedy.  Or perhaps they’re just preparing us for the slow wireless charge speed which also uses only 5w.  No SIM card tool.  This would have costed Apple virtually nothing to include yet they choose not to.  I had to run around the city to a Verizon store (I use T-Mobile) to find a SIM card tool to properly eject the included SIM card and insert mine.

I know this seems like a total bashing from me but it’s not.  I applaud Apple for change up the design for the first time since what feels like very first iPhone.  At the end of the day it just wasn’t worth the close to $1500 price point.  There are far too many other things I’d rather spend that money on and thankfully Apple’s 14 day return policy helped me realize that quickly.

There will be tons of people that this is a great buy for.  Creative professionals with iPhone 6s or older especially.  But don’t take my word for it.  Get your hands on one and try it for yourself but if you do buy it.  AppleCare is a must.

What To Expect With iOS 11

I really think we take the operating systems of these magical devices for granted.  People get caught up in the new hardware even when it’s not all that new, so they can show it off at the bar that night.

Truth is the OS updates provide much more for the user experience than the hardware ever will.  But it’s much harder to show that off.

So since I’ve been using iOS 11 for a few weeks now I thought I’d share some of my favorite and not so favorite features that you can expect as the OS releases publicly today.

Updated Control Center

This was a very welcomed update as now you can customize the items that fall within control center.  This is really the first time Apple truly takes advance of 3D Touch in my opinion.

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Screen Recording

If you’re like me and are constantly showing people how to use their devices, you can now record the actions you perform on your phone alone with in the moment voice over.  This will be huge for people that want to show off their apps functionality.  Long overdue update.

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Screen Shots

You no longer need to save every single screen shot to your camera roll.  You can edit them right after taking them send them off to a friend a number of different ways and just remove it as soon as you’re done.  Android has had this function for years.  About time Apple stole it.

Drag and Drop from App

This really only works with iPad using split screen but you can now drag a photo or text from safari and drop it right into iMessage.

The Dock (iPad)

Finally you can add more than 6 apps to the bottom of your iPad screen.  Cleaning up your desktop.  Because you know you have crap all over it.

Peer to Peer Apple Pay

This hasn’t released just yet and we expect it in a future release of iOS 11 but Apple is going up against apps like Venmo to dominate the Peer to Peer currency exchange.  With Venmo being cross platform it’s going to be difficult to see how well this will work but one advantage is if you use Apple’s wallet and ApplePay technically you can use the money right away. Venmo is typically one business day to your checking account.

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Dark Mode?

Not really… Apple’s attempt at a dark mode, buried in the accessibility features seems great for everything Apple related but any 3rd party apps like Facebook and Instagram just aren’t “Smart” enough.  Yet.

File Management System

By far the most disruptive part of the Apple Ecosystem in years is their hybrid local/cloud based file management system.  I have toyed around with this but not gone full boat yet.  This means you’ll be able to sync many different types of files between macOS and iOS using iCloud.  This is going to be a MAJOR change and rely heavily on how much iCloud storage you pay for each money.  I’m just using 100Gb of my 200Gb per month plan but I know that would need a hefty upgrade once I start using this.

That sums it up.  It’s been running pretty much bug free since the gold master version released so if you’ve got a newer device you should have a pretty seamless experience.  Let me know what you love and hate about it.

Why I Will Not Be Upgrading to iPhone X

Other then the fact that fully loaded it costs almost $1500 here in Philadelphia there are a few reasons I’m just not hoping on the fully loaded iPhone this year.

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Apple left us with just a 64GB option and a 256GB option.  I’ve been very comfortable in the last year with my 128GB iPhone 7 and even as I load tons of full res images from my DSLR to the phone I still have a healthy amount of space left.  It is easy to think “Oh well the price of the 256GB is what the 128GB option was” the reality is you’re paying for it in some way.

No Jet Black

Like many people I flocked to the Jet Black color.  It was new and yes we knew it was going to scratch but I didn’t care.  I had a case on it for most of the first year.  Thinking that I may upgrade after the announcement I ditched the case and let the “micro-abrasions” take over.  I fell in love with the look and feel of the phone all over again.  Unfortunately in either of the iPhone 8 or X this color is long gone.

I’m Not Ready to Ditch Touch ID For FaceID

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Most people are stoked about the FaceID feature of iPhone X.  As if the narcissists of our generation needed another reason to stare at themselves on their phones now they’re going to make stupid faces in public for animojis.  I simply cannot wait to capture photos of these people in the wild.  Also there are many time I prefer to unlock my phone while it is sitting flat on my desk.  A simple tap of my finger and I’m in. (That’s what she said) I find it more of a hassle to have to physically pick it up but maybe I’m splitting hairs.

Are The Cameras As Good As They Say?

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If you’ve read any of my blogs you know that I almost always have a DSLR or my Mavic on me my for my photos and videos.  Statistically the iPhone X has an extremely impressive camera but I don’t take selfies or portraits with it so these new lighting features (that could be done in Adobe’s free Lightroom Mobile app) don’t appeal to me at all.  Artificial depth of field just annoys me.  True bokeh cannot be digitally produced I’m sorry Apple.

Heavy Investments Into My iPhone 7

I went all in with my iPhone 7.  I purchased the Apple Smart Charging Case $99, Apple Leather Case $49, and Apple Lightning Dock $49 (Can still be used with new models).  I’m not ready for most of that to go to waste.  Plus one of the big selling features of iPhone 8 and iPhone X is wireless charging.  Of course that’s not included and that’s going to run about $50 plus a new case, and I haven’t even seen a charging case for the new iPhones.  I use mine 3-4 days per week.

So Now What?

The iPhone X is undoubtably the future of phones and an amazing piece of software and hardware.  I’m usually an early adopter of iPhones but I think I’m going to let this one pass.  I’m too invested and comfortable with my current device and the costs are just too high at the moment.  That won’t stop millions of people jumping online to preorder the iPhone X for sure but for me I’m just fine.  Let me know in the comments below if you’ll be jumping online to get iPhone X and why.

Asbury Park Surf Music Festival

This weekend was the amazing Asbury Park Surf Music Festival presented by Hi Tide.

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Artist have permission to use attached photos. For any other outlet including media and press please contact me for licensing.

How To Not Let Facebook (Completely) Ruin Your Photos

Why must Facebook hate us all?  (especially small business)

Anyway if you’re like me you’re beyond frustrated with how much Facebook compresses and degrades the quality of the images we take.  This may be a good point to mention that if you’re just posting selfies using those horrible front facing cameras this post will not appeal to you.

But for the rest of us who take the time to compose and edit even our images shot with smartphones this is become infuriating.  I get it… over 500 million images are uploaded to Facebook every single day.  Perhaps they use some of that half of a trillion-dollar market cap to pay our buddy Jeff Bezos for some more server space.

Finally fed up I decided to do some quick testing here during my lunch.

I decided that I would compare the two main ways to post a photo to Facebook.

  1. Upload it directly to Facebook and watch the amazing image quality of my full frame dslr go to shit.
  2. Upload the same full resolution file to my website and link the image to my Facebook feed.

Here is what I learned:

When it comes to the preview image Facebook uses a MUCH higher resolution than the preview created when I like to my website.  Here is a screen shot test.

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The top image was the image directly loaded to Facebook and the bottom is linked from my website.  The easiest place to notice the difference in quality are the power lines in the top left hand corner of the photo.

Now here is the dilemma.  If you click to enlarge the image that was uploaded directly to Facebook it looks like it was taken with a Motorola Razr.  If you don’t know what that is google it.

When you click on the image linked from my webpage you get a beautiful super high-resolution jpg image which is how myself and tons of photographers would like to have them viewed. (plus it gives us a hit on our website)

So I thought to myself why can’t I have both.  So I uploaded the image to a post directly to Facebook but I also included the direct link to the image and it turned out like this.

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Does this work?  Sure. But only if your viewer is really paying attention.  (News Flash:  None of them are). And what I mean by that is this.  If you click on that ugly URL at the top you’ll get the full resolution image you hoped that everyone would see.  BUT if you click the image itself you’re linked to the uploaded over-compressed image on Facebook that again.  Is absolute trash.

So forgive me if the title of this post was misleading but I need to start a dialogue on this in hopes that there is a better way to accomplish hosting high-resolution images on Facebook.

Let me google that for you.

And for all of your who made it this far…  Here is the high resolution image.  Enjoy.

Sunset Over Boat House Row

2017 XPONENTIAL MUSIC FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY SUBARU

This last weekend I was invited to come shoot the Marina and River stages of the XPONENTIAL Music Festival hosted by WXPN FM out of Philadelphia, PA.

Unfortunately due to some scheduling conflicts I couldn’t make the full festival but I’m still very excited about the acts I did get a chance to shoot.


Foxygen
Sure I had heard of this band from the Google Home commercial so my interest was peaked.  To put it short the absolutely blew me away.


Dave Hause & The Mermaid
Philadelphia locals absolutely killed it.  I was new to these guys but I am so stoked to follow them as they make their way back to the Theater of Living Arts on December 2, 2017.  Please go check them out.



Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Jazz isn’t my specialty but good lord do I appreciate it.  These may be some of the most talented musicians I’ve seen live in a long time.  They played two sets the same day and brought a ton of energy to both.


Rhiannon Giddens
What a captivating voice singing some of the most emotional and thought out lyrics.

 

I’m always looking to shoot more live music.  Please contact me if you’d like me to come shoot your show.

Brackish Record Release at Ortlieb’s in Philadelphia, PA

Brackish released their new record “Coming Down” at Ortlieb’s in the Northern Liberties Neighborhood of Philadelphia.

I was stoked to asked to come get some shots of the show.  Lighting was a bit difficult but we made it work and the show was fantastic.

Make sure to check out some songs from the new record here.

Canon Releases the EOS 6D Mark II

The long awaited Canon 6D Mark 2 is now available for preorder.

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Here are the updated features that most will want to know:

Canon 6D

Canon 6D Mark 2

Sensor

20.2 MP Full Frame

26.2 MP Full Frame

Processor

DIGIC 5+

DIGIC 7

AF Points

11 Points

45 Points (All Cross)

IOS Range

100-26500

100-40000

Frames Per Second

4.5

6.5

Video Recording

1080p 30fps

1080p 60fps

Screen

Fixed Clear View Screen

Vari-Angle Clear View 2 Touch Screen

Card Slot(s)

Single SD

Single SD

Wireless/GPS

Wifi/GPS

Wifi/Bluetooth/NFC/GPS

Viewfinder Coverage

97%

98%

Shutter Speeds

1/4000 – 30 Sec

1/4000 – 30 Sec

I would say the big things people will miss the most are 4K, 100% viewfinder coverage, and dual card slots.  Easily put… these will almost always be saved for the 5D series.

This is the first Full Frame Camera that Canon is offering with a rotatable touch screen.

Missing 4K is going to be a solid pass for most video professionals but again I’m not surprised at all as they save this for the highest end professional cameras.

After using a 80D a few times I would say the touch screen is a great feature to have if only to check your focus but zooming in quickly.

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They do allow exports of 4K time lapses which seems reasonable since the image quality of each photo is far higher than 4K to begin with.

They’ve also got an HDR video mode that I’d be interested to try but again without 4K, I do not think video professionals are going to take this very seriously.

Other than that I don’t think there is too much to talk about here.  The body is starting off at the very reasonable price of $1999 and is available for preorder at B&H.  They will start shipping in the end of July.

I will not be pre ordering it as I think it’s worth it to invest in a pre-owned 5D Mark 3 over this body.  Perhaps I’ll do a full comparison soon.

For more check out the videos Canon released today along with some sample images provided by Canon.


Brackish at Kung Fu Necktie

Had the opportunity to check out Brackish this week at Philadelphia’s Kung Fu Necktie

It was a bit challenging as the lighting was very dim so I had to bring some flash into it which I hate to do for live music.  Also the Canon 6D was really struggling to focus in such low light so everything was shot manually.  Here are all the shots from the show.

Check out the latest WXPN article on Brackish.

 

Canon 24-70 2.8 MkII

This is the most incredible lens I’ve ever used.

I’ve shot with dozens of lenses over the years but I was lucky enough to get my hands on one for a recent engagement shoot I did over the weekend and it blew me away.

It is the sharpest zoom lens I’ve ever seen.  It even keeps up with the sharpness of a lot of prime lenses.  I was using it primarily on a Canon 5D MKIII and here are some of the results.

 

Now I understand this is the most expensive lens of it it’s kind (mid-range zoom at 2.8) but it’s absolutely worth it.  You can pick it up now at B&H for just $1699.  This lens will be living on my body 99.9% of the time from here on out.

For this shoot I also brought my Canon 85 1.2L II, Canon 70-200 2.8L, and Sigma 35 1.4 and almost didn’t use them because I had such great light and the image quality of the 24-70 2.8L II, was just too amazing.

I’m shooting a band tonight in a very dimly lit venue so I’m excited to see how it performs.  Check back for more.

Six Things You Didn’t Hear at WWDC But Need to Know.

Apple unveiled tons of new tech goodies today in San Jose.  I’m not going to talk about any of them in this post.  However I am going to talk about all the changes they made that they didn’t talk about.


 

 13″ MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 2 and Traditional USB-A ports are Gone from the Online store.

Well if you were hoping to scoop up one of Apple’s last 13″ MacBook Pro’s with a traditional USB port you missed that boat.  Your last chance to purchase one through Apple is going to be through their refurbished store.


iPad Pro still uses Apple Lightning Connector.

I could’ve sworn they said the new iPad Pro was USB-C connector but according to the website they’re all still lightning.  Turns out they just support USB-C power adapters for fast charging.  So if you were like me and mis-heard there is your clarity.

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AirPods will have more support in iOS 11.

To me this is exactly what was keeping that AirPods at 9 out of 10 but as long as they work like they should these will get a perfect 10!

I talk about this in my AirPods Review, you can only pause/play or activate Siri (useless) when tapping on the AirPods.  With iOS 11, you can now assigned different commands for each ear.  That is great except I still think they should add a 2-Tap and 3-Tap options  doubling our capabilities.

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Apple brings back the wireless keyboard with numeric pad!

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Good lord.  For $129 you can purchase Apple’s new Magic Keyboard with a numeric pad.  I LOVE having a numeric pad but I’m not sure I can justify spending that much on a wireless keyboard.


iMac Pro will not have user upgradable ram or purchase space gray keyboard and mouse separately.

Apple has confirmed that the RAM will not be user upgradable or replaceable.  This has been a big issue for Apple users for years.  Apple also tends to up-charge hundreds of dollars more for RAM than the rest of the market.  You can tell the typical door where the RAM lived in the existing 27″ iMac is gone.

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And as for those “Bad Ass” Space Gray keyboard and mouse?  You will NOT be able to purchase them outside of the iMac Pro. Try eBay for 4x what you’d pay for white ones.

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AppleCare + for the Mac.

Finally we can feel better about being more mobile with our Macs.  Starting today you can purchase AppleCare+ for the Mac which covers two incidences of accidental damage*.  (Subject to service fee). Those fees are broken down here.

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