dimanche 16 décembre 2018

Pixel 3 vs Fuijifilm X-E3 on a sunny day

I recently bought a Google Pixel 3 which, as I mentioned in a previous post, is one of the best cameraphone of 2018. So obviously I wanted to compare its photos with the ones taken with my Fujifilm X-E3. Also I wanted to compare it on a typical use, on the go. That's why on my last vacation in Australia, I tried to take a picture with both devices so I could compare pictures taken like a casual photographer would do in that situation. No tripods or special accessories have been involved.

The X-E3 was paired with Fujifilm's XC15-45 lens. It's not their best lens but it's a fine wide angle lens that has optical image stabilization. Also, at only 135g, it is perfect for traveling. With a camera and lens under 500g, you are not too encumbered by having it around your neck or in your bag all day.

So here is the first pictures I took with both devices:

Fujifilm X-E3, 15.0 mm, ƒ/3.5, 1/4000, 200 ISO

Pixel 3, 4.4 mm, ƒ/1.8, 1/5882, 74 ISO

What is immediately noticeable is the color difference of the sky. I'm not able to recall which color is more like the one my eyes witnessed that day but overall I tend to prefer the Pixel's color on this photo. We can also notice that there is more of the environment in the X-E3's picture. That's because of the wide angle lens I used on the X-E3. The buildings on the X-E3's background are a bit blurry as I made the focus on the signs and used a large aperture: it's the bokeh effect. The Pixel 3 probably would have to simulate it with the Portrait Mode to get the same effect.

Now let's zoom on those pictures:

Fujifilm X-E3

Pixel 3

As we can see, the Pixel 3 is doing an amazing job despite a much smaller sensor than the X-E3. It even looks somewhat sharper than the X-E3! The only issue I see compared to the X-E3 is noise on the sign. But it is definitely hardly noticeable.

I cropped a bit more to be able to display the pixels at original size:

Fujifilm X-E3

Pixel 3

What was surprising to me here is the small difference between a 24 megapixel camera (the X-E3) and a 12 megapixel one (the Pixel 3). Of course that has a lot to do with the optical zoom level used on the lens. On this photo, the extra pixels were mostly used to capture more of the environment instead of having more details on the sign.

My conclusion on this particular photo is that the Pixel 3 beat the X-E3 on color and sharpness but thanks to its wider and bigger lens, the X-E3 better captured the environment and brought the attention on the main subject, the sign post.

I will write a few blog posts with other images but I already put on Flickr all the paired images if you want to check them out.

Also you can check my favorite photos of my trip in Australia, it's an album that features 2/3 photos from the X-E3 and 1/3 from the Pixel 3.

mardi 6 novembre 2018

9 years of smartphone photography

I just received my brand new Google Pixel 3 and I'm quite excited about it, especially for its camera. It's supposed to be one of the best cameraphone of 2018, at least according to my favourite reviewers:  The VergeLes Numeriques and the tech guru MKBHD.
As I wrote in a previous post, I'm going to review this new Pixel 3 in comparison to the Fujifilm X-E3. But before all that, I wanted to look back on my previous phone's photos to appreciate how good those camera had become.

2009 - HTC Magic

2010 - HTC Legend

2011 - HTC Desire S

2014 - Motorola Moto X

2012 - Samsung Galaxy Nexus

2015 - Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

2016 - Samsung Galaxy S5

2016 - Samsung Galaxy S7

2017 - Samsung Galaxy S8

2018 - Google Pixel 3

Smartphone cameras definitely improved a lot in the past 9 years! Nowadays, I'm almost always happy with the colors and sharpness of a photo taken with my phone (granted there is enough light). It's not yet perfect though: I took the last picture with the Pixel 3 at dawn and there are some noticeable compression artefacts in the sky gradient. This should be easily avoided by shooting in raw but I hope I won't have to do it too often... 🤞🏽

samedi 20 octobre 2018

Low light photography

Like a lot of people, I've always loved taking photos. First, with my parents' cameras, mainstream Kodak or Pentax analog cameras, then in 2000, with my brother's one megapixel digital camera. I bought my first camera only in 2003: a cheap 3 megapixel HP camera. For the first time I could finally take pictures of anything without having to worry about anything.


One of my first shots with the HP PhotoSmart 735, in low light, trying not to use the flash...


It was awesome! I probably took one thousand photos with that camera in two years. One third of what my parents took in 30 years. Of course most of those photos are as uninteresting as the one above, but still, when I look at those photos it reminds me of what I was doing back then, a memory that would otherwise be completely lost in my brain. For me, photography has always been first and foremost a way to keep (good) memories. The beauty of a photo only has always come second to me. So I've always tried to take photos as close as possible to what my eyes witnessed. That's why I've always avoided flash or why I've never liked photo filters.

Most of the time I've managed to get the picture I wanted, unless it was in a low light environment, like inside a room. Without flash, those pictures has always been hard to take: I often ended up with blurry pictures and red tones like the one above. It didn't look like what I saw with my eyes.

Since 2003, I bought multiple cameras, each time hoping I would no longer have trouble taking photos in low light. It indeed improved each time. Nowadays, I mostly take photos with a FujiFilm X-E3 and I'm often happy with the result!


Taken in Rotterdam with the FujiFilm X-E3


The photo above was taken on the go, without a tripod. Thanks to the somewhat large sensor and the optical stabilisation of the lense, I can now take those kind of pictures in one shot. I just love it. Though it's not perfect yet. That picture was taken in 1/4 seconds. Which means that the people moving on the bottom right of the picture are blurry.

Fortunately, a lot of companies are working continuously on improving digital photography. And one company recently started working on it: Google. With their Pixel phones, they showed what can be done by adding a lot of computing power to a camera. And the results have been quite impressive. So I can't wait to finally get the Pixel 3 that I pre-ordered and check how good it is, particularly in low light.

I'll try to make a series of blog posts comparing real life uses of a camera with a great APS-C sensor like the X-E3 and a smartphone that heavily uses computational photography like the Pixel.

mardi 5 mars 2013

Stream your music to remote speakers

If you want to listen to music playing on your Macbook on remote speakers, this post is for you.

My setup :
- a Macbook playing music with Spotify
- a Google TV hooked up with great speakers

Simple $25 solution:
- install Airfoil on the mac
- install any airplay app on the Google TV, such as Airtight
- the setup is straightforward

Other solution (free or  $40 if you cannot live with relaunching the app every hour):
- install Nicecast on the mac
- install tinyPlayer on the Google TV
- in Nicecast, open the Source tab, select your source app (for example Spotify)
- in Nicecast, click on Start Broadcast
- in Nicecast, open the Share tab and note the streaming address. (for example http://192.168.1.2:8000/listen.m3u)
- in tinyPlayer, click on the menu button ( ⋮ ) and select More
- in tinyPlayer displayed menu, in the Stream category, click on URL and enter the previous address without the listen.m3u, for example http://192.168.1.2:8000

I prefer the Nicecast solution over the Airfoil one because with Nicecast you can stream the music to any device/app that can open an audio stream. Also, from my experience, Nicecast is less prone to network congestion.

But my current favorite solution uses some cool open source apps:
- icecast: a streaming server, it streams any sound data sent to it to the network
- soundflower: a sound app router, it redirects sound from one app to another
- butt: a streaming tool,  it sends sound from a sound device to icecast (or shoutcast)

The setup will look like :
spotify → soundflower → butt → icecast → any device that can stream http audio

By the way, soundflower is necessary because it can mute the macbook's speakers while redirecting spotify's output to butt.

Installation
Soundflower and butt both have .dmg package. To install icecast I suggest using another really useful tool for MacOS: brew. It's an apt-like tool. Once installed, just run brew install icecast.
Note that soundflower need a restart of MacOS.

Configuration
During the configuration I suggest you leave Spotify playing some music so you know where the sound is going.
icecast need a configuration file. You can use this simple one : icecast.conf.
In the soundflower menu, select None for both output:


Then click on the Audio Setup item. In the following dialog, right click on the Soundflower (2CH) item and select "Use this device for sound output".


At this step, you should have no sound at all.

You can now run icecast: icecast -c ~/path/to/icecast.conf

You can finally configure butt. Select Soundflower (2CH) in the Audio Device menu. Click on ADD on the Server category and fill it with the info from icecast.conf.


At this step, there should be no sound yet but you should see that butt is receiving sound.
To start streaming, click on the butt's Play button.


You should now be able open the music stream by accessing http://192.168.1.2:8000 from another device with a browser, VLC, or any other audio player.





dimanche 3 juin 2012

S'installer à Chicago

Yey! Après 2 semaines à Chicago, j'ai emmenagé dans mon nouvel appartement! Craiglist + PadMapper m'ont permis de trouver un studio de 40m2 meublé, à 30min en transport du centre. Et pour 700$, c'est tout à fait dans le budget de Pictarine :)

Et sinon, pour donner une idée du coût de la vie à Chicago :

trajet metro/bus : 2.25$
carte illimité transport metro/bus : 86$
internet cable 3 Mega : 47$
forfait mobile illimité (2GB fair data) sans engagement : 60$
menu burger Arby's, frites, coca : 5$
pack 12 bieres budweiser 12oz (35cl) : 8$
café small starbucks : 1.80$



Pour le moment j'ai l'impression que la vie est moins cher qu'à Paris, mais je regarderai ça d'un peu plus près dans un mois.