A little comparison...
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:
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:
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:
Not bad, not bad at all.
I love the Masoala Rainforest at the Zurich Zoo.
All photos with the Sony A7 III and the Sony 90mm Macro. All JPGS with small edits and a littlel crop. All done on the iPad with Apple Photos.
Yes, you can.
I just can't get enough.
That‘s how the new function of watchOS 5 works. Be warned, the video is in Swiss German.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Finally! That solves so many problems...
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.
Usually, I‘m quite good at predicting human reactions. Especially regarding software and all kinds of gadgets.
After the WWDC keynote, I didn‘t have the time to immediately check social media for reactions. I was rather busy with a few deadlines and stories I had to file.
With all that done I started chatting with colleagues and checking social media. To my surprise, quite a few people whose opinion I value were disappointed with watchOS 5 and its new features.
I really didn‘t see that coming.
Let me explain why I‘m convinced that watchOS 5 is going to be a bigger update than some might think:
Rearrange the buttons in the control center: That‘s a big one. At least for me. Since I wear Apple Watch at night I always have to activate Do Not Disturb and Theatre Mode. Too bad the button for Find My iPhone is right next to the one for Do Not Disturb. If I’m not super careful and touch the wrong one I might wake the wife or our newborn. Trust me, you don‘t want to do that. Now I can finally arrange the buttons a bit more ergonomically and reduce the risk of involuntarily waking up half the family. (Update: After using it for a few days it really is my favorite new feature.)
Automatic sports tracking: That‘s going to be super convenient. If Apple gets the recognition algorithms right. But since Samsung is doing this for years now Apple shouldn’t have many problems with it. By the way it doesn’t auto-recognize cycling for now. Apparently that's a bit too tricky for the watch to tell apart from other wrist movements.
Background audio: One word: Spotify. With the ability to play sound even when an app isn‘t shown on screen the door for a Spotify app is very open. Audible might be another great addition for the watch. Overall that’s another big step towards a more independent Apple Watch.
Podcast app: Finally! By the way, the simplified UI promises to be easier to use than the one on the iPhone which I find a bit too complex. Too bad the app doesn’t work yet on my watch. (Update: Now it works, even over LTE. It‘s perfect with Airpods or other Bluetooth headphones.)
No more „Hey Siri“: Whenever I go cycling I have to use this command: „Hey Siri, starte Fahrrad-Training Outdoor!“. You don‘t have to understand German to see how time-consuming and clumsy that is. Now that you can just raise your wrist and no longer need to say „Hey Siri“, talking to the watch will be far more natural. By the way, if you have privacy concerns about Siri always listening when you move your wrist, there‘s a toggle to go back to „Hey Siri“. But I‘ve been promised the microphones only activate when you hold the watch in front of your face an quite close to your mouth. Just like you did when you wanted to use Siri with watchOS 4.
Shortcuts: In my big analysis of this years WWDC I wrote that Siri Shortcuts is the big question mark. It might turn out to fix a lot of Siris‘ shortcomings. But it might also turn out to be a nerdy and too complicated feature hardly anyone uses. For now I‘m still excited to teach Siri a few tricks myself. (Update: In the meantime I did a first test and it looks very promising.)
Walkie-Talkie: Voice-messaging was one of the features Apple showed at the presentation of the very first Apple Watch in September 2014. Too bad it never made it into the watch. Now it‘s finally ready. The first demo I saw (It‘s not in the beta yet) was surprisingly fast. There was hardly any delay or lag. Too bad you are limited to contacts with Apple Watches. But since it goes over the internet you can at least use it with everyone who has an Apple Watch. No matter where they live.
Hiking: In Switzerland we love hiking. Can‘t wait to put the new hiking workout option to the test.
Adios Series 0: Celebrating that the first model gets cut off from updates might sound harsh. But it‘s very good news for the big majority of Apple Watch owners. The first generation chips were holding back developers. Now they can focus on the faster chips of the more recent models. And owners of the first generation Apple Watch will still have a very good smartwatch. They just won‘t get all the before mentioned features. And let‘s be honest, that was bound to happen when you buy a first generation product.
Of course, some things are still missing:
More/custom watch faces: Apple talked quite a bit about the Siri watch face and how developers can add their app to it. But the only really new watch face was the (and rather nice) pride watch face. I still stand by my argument that Apple won‘t and shouldn’t open watch faces completely. But with the Series 4 in September I expect a bit more effort in that department. On a side-note: Some kind of a watchmaker app with tools like different hands and complications in more sizes to build your own watch face might end up being a good compromise.
Always on watch faces: If the Series 4 is indeed getting a bigger screen with the same body size, I doubt an always-on screen is coming this year. But who knows.
Automatic night mode: As I mentioned above, before going to sleep I always have to push a few buttons to set my watch into some kind of a night mode. I really wish it would do all that automatically. But maybe Shortcuts will fix that as well?
Sleep-tracking: My guess is that Apple wants to show that with a new watch and maybe some new sensors. It might even be exclusive to newer models. Even-tough third-party apps can do it on old Apple Watches as well.
I already have the beta of watchOS 5 installed and I will test it over the summer. If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me on Twitter.
Many times the best camera is the one you happen to have in your hands.
Who needs a tripod or a gimbal if you have Youtube?
Just for fun I turned on auto-stabilize for my latest Youtube videos. On the left / on top is the 4K-version. On the right / at the bottom is the version Youtube stabilized for me.
I'm totally amazed by how good and smooth the final result looks.
As amazing as it is you can still see artifacts and jitters. But most of all you see all my focus mistakes. Since Youtube zoomed in to stabilize the video. Of course it's no longer in 4K. But the resolution is still more than good enough.
Oh, and I'm now more than ever considering getting a Ronin S.
I have been photographing for about 30 years. 20 of them digital. I never found video very appealing. Here and there a little film to show how something moves. Nothing more.
But since I bought the Sony A7 III (which is awesome by the way) I can't stop filming. I watch tutorials, read instructions and experiment whenever the opportunity presents itself. I'm hooked.
Here's a little movie I made in the garden over the weekend. I used the 90mm macro and the LumaFusion app for the iPad.
Recently in our garden: The cat (?) or another culprit has dug up a bumblebee nest. The ideal opportunity to test the 90mm macro and the Sony A7 III.