Just Because: Shooting The Moon With A Smartphone

After I posted some pictures of the moon I took with my Sony A7. Someone on Twitter dared me to do it with some of my smartphones. Et voila:  

Surprise! 4 photos but only 2 phones. Here they are:

iPhone X with 2x zoom, standard camera app

ƒ/2.4 1/15 6 mm ISO 160

To get the shot I reduced the brightness as much as possible. 

iPhone X with 2x zoom, Halide app, edited in

ƒ/2.4 1/1350 6 mm ISO 16

To get the shot I reduced brightness/exposure quite a bit but not as much as possible. 

Huawei P20 Pro, RAW-Mode, edited in Lightroom CC (In RAW-Mode zoom is deactivated)

ƒ/1.8 1/4000 3.95 mm ISO 50


Huawei P20 Pro, 10x zoom, Pro-Mode, standard camera app

ƒ/1.8 1/4000 3.95 mm ISO 50

Just Because: Shooting Mars Without A Proper Lens

Because Mars is very well visible right now I couldn‘t resist and took the Sony A7 on to our balcony. Since I don‘t have a modern zoom lens I had to improvise.  

First I used an old 80-200mm Minolta/Tokina lens from the 80s. But that didn‘t work out. So I brought the Sony 90mm Macro.

It sure looks a tiny bit like Mars.  Not too bad for a macro lens.

PS: Here are two quick shots of the moon with the 80-200mm Minolta/Tokina. 

Astrophotography For A Beginner

On a recent trip to the south of Switzerland, I was so impressed by the view that I just had to take a picture of the night sky. 

Since I had never done astrophotography before and I didn't feel like reading or watching any tutorials I just experimented with different settings on my Sony A7 III. 

Afterwards, I adjusted the brightness and other parameters in the official photo app on the iPad a bit. Et voila:

F1.8 2s 55mm ISO1250

F2 2s 55mm ISO2500

Not bad.

The next evening I noticed that Jupiter was especially bright that night. So I took a few shots with my 85mm lens just for fun. To my surprise I later discovered that you could even see two Jupiter moons when you zoomed in a bit:

F1.4 2s 85mm ISO640 Crop

F1.4 1/2 85mm ISO640 Crop

Not bad either.

Back at home I found this tutorial and imported one of the RAW files into Lightroom. That's what I came up with:

The original RAW file: F2 55mm 2s ISO3200

The tutorial version

My final edit

Not bad, not bad at all.

How About A New Activity Watch Face For Apple Watch?

I'm a big fan of chronographs. Also on the Apple Watch. No other watch face had as much screen time on my wrist last year as the activity chronograph.


That's surprising. I actually don't really like chronographs with the sub dials on 6, 9 and 12, I prefer the sub dials on 3, 6 and 9 as you might know them from classics like the Omega Speedmaster, the Rolex Daytona or the Heuer Autavia.

Wouldn't that be something for Apple Watch? During my lunch break I quickly made a variant of it with Affinity on the iPad. It's not perfect yet and there's too much empty space at the top. But I'd say it looks promising. 

What do you think? Let me know on Twitter. 

Game Changer? The In-Display Fingerprint Sensor Of The Huawei Porsche Mate RS

Yes, FaceID is great. But from time to time I wish Apple had installed an in-display fingerprint sensor as well. 

Thanks to the Huawei Porsche Mate RS I could now try an in-display sensor. First impression: It works fabulously!

To which technology does the future belong? FaceID or in-display fingerprint sensors? What do you think? Let me know on Twitter.

Dear Apple, Please Bring The Old Astronomy Watch Face Back

I love the new features of watchOS 5, but there is one change I don't like at all. The astronomy watch face loses one of its most beautiful functions. 


In the old version you could easily fly to the moon and planets with the push of a button. Now you have to laboriously go to the settings and use the corwn instead.


Whenever I meet Smartwatch-sceptical watch fans I show them the many small details of the astronomy watch face and compare it to the early automatons in the watch museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

Even the greatest sceptics usually are at least a little bit impressed and have to admit that this is not only a gadget but also a watch. And that the watchmakers in Cupertino are well aware of the watchmaking tradition.

But also children, especially my son, love this watch face. "Daddy, I want to fly to the moon again!" he demands each time.  He'll be so disappointed when he finds out that that's no longer possible. 

Therefore I very much hope that the last word has not yet been spoken, and that the old astronomy watch face will at least be kept as an option. 



How Siri Shortcuts Fix A Big iPhone Shortcoming

After the WWDC keynote I wasn‘t quite sure what to make of Siri Shortcuts. Are they going to fix my biggest problems with Siri or are they a complicated mess?

To find out, I did a little experiment. In the past I had some problems with the song recognition feature of Siri (Shazam). So I switched to Soundhound.


Using Siri Shortcuts I taught Siri to search for songs with Soundhound instead of using it's own search function.

As you can see it worked. Over the summer I will do more experiments with Siri Shortcuts. As of now, I think it might turn out to be super useful for super-users. For my mom? Not so much. 

Bonus question: How did Soundhound manage to implement a new feature that was only announced a few days ago? Is it maybe linked to some old API?

How To Import 4K or 120p Videos From The Sony A7 On To An iPhone Or iPad

The iPad and the iPhone don‘t like the 4K and 120p files my Sony A7 records. They have no problem with standard HD. But you can‘t import 4K or 120p movies via Wifi or the SD-card adapter. Probably a problem with the XAVC S standard and iOS.

As a workaround, I uploaded the 4K or 120p files from my Microsoft Surface to Onedrive and from there re-downloaded them into LumaFusion (my favorite editing app on the iPad). Depending on your internet connection a very tedious process. 

WD to the rescue 

Now I found an easier workaround. I bought a WD My Passport Wireless Pro. A hard disk with a SD-card slot, Wifi and a battery.

I just insert the SD-card and it backups all my files. Finally I connect my iPad to its Wifi and import all the 4K files. Since the Wifi of the hard disk is faster then the one of the A7 you might even save some time.

LumaFusion also allows you to browse the hard disk. But since there are no image previews it‘s not as comfortable as using the official My Cloud app from WD.

That‘s what the process looks like:


When all the editing is done I use LumaFusion to upload the movie in full 4K resolution to Youtube. Done.

I still wish the whole process was more elegant and I could just connect the A7 with a Lightning to USB-C cable to the iPad. But with my new hard disk, I at least have an extra backup and a battery pack as a bonus. 

Here are some quick videos I did today with the A7, the iPad and of course the zeiVault.