Cruz N Car Show September 2019

Time for another car show, downtown Winter Garden … new this time I’m using my brand new iPhone 11 Pro Max; it gave me some great photos, though the new “ultra-wide” (0.5x”) lens is going to take a bit of getting used to – it’s great sometimes to take a really wide view from close to the action, but sometimes the result looks strange even though the phone is doing impressive work to eliminate distortion. Take a look at the station wagon, for where the wide view doesn’t quite work:

Zoomed Owls

I’ve been taking quite a few pictures of the Great Horned Owl nest behind our home, but I can only do that because of the camera I own. As a comparison today, I took photos with my iPhone 7 Plus, my older high zoom Sony DSC-HX400V, and my current high zoom Nikon Coolpix P900. With each camera I took an unzoomed photo and a fully zoomed one – and I also cropped as close as possible to the nest for a closest view …


The iPhone was a 2x zoom lens, and “digital zoom” that claims as much as 10x – the horrible results are a strong indication to NEVER use that feature:


The Sony has a 60x zoom lens and takes very good photos; it’s also a lot lighter than the Nikon:


The Nikon has the highest zoom at 83x and is the camera I bought for and took to Africa for our safari last year – but at the highest zoom levels it’s hard to use without a tripod. Nevertheless if you need maximum zoom, it’s a great performer for the price! The fully cropped image still has resolution more than the normal 1500x that I use for web photos (as you see if you view the full size image):


From this comparison, it’s clear that iPhone is still useless for high zoom images, but that the Sony is generally just as good as the Nikon; if you can find the Sony, it’s a great buy!

Chloe with depth

Checking out the newly rebuilt website I noticed that I’ve not posted any pictures of Chloe for more than two years (I blame Facebook, I just post quick pics there instead of here!); so let’s fix that with this photo I took this afternoon, using the “depth” / portrait feature of iPhone 7 Plus (it blurs the background to make the main subject stand out more):


Morning walk with iPhone 6

I’ve been planning to upgrade my iPhone 4S for a while, and yesterday I got lucky and was able to reserve a new iPhone 6 for in-store pickup. The main reason for upgrade is for a better camera – more and more, my phone is the only camera I carry, and the 4S struggles especially in low light. I’ve also noticed a significant drop in battery life on my 2-1/2 year old 4S; and iOS 8 slowed it down horribly!
I wondered for a while whether to get the iPhone 6, or 6 Plus, but the Plus seemed too big to use sensibly when out walking, and anyway it’s even less available so I couldn’t get one with in-store pickup.

So this morning’s walk was my first with the iPhone 6; as often I set off around 6:30am when it’s still quite dark so a good test for the new phone’s low light abilities. So the first picture is around 7am with the first hints of light in the distant clouds; quite happy with that, lower noise than the 4S … a few minutes later I took a picture in “armadillo trail” which is a walkway through some tree filled wetland so quite dark. There’s a spot along that walkway that I tried to photograph yesterday with the 4S, it simply gave a black image – but today the iPhone 6 does quite a reasonable job considering how dark it still is:

As the sun continues to rise, taking pictures gets much easier for the phone (it wasn’t anything like this bright, but all these pictures are unedited straight from the iPhone 6 camera):


As I approach home again, I can see the sun beginning to appear behind the trees, and finally by 7:20am, the sun is up (the finalpicture is at full iPhone 6 resolution if you click it, showing quite good detail in the leaves, but noise in the darker walkway and grass):


Overall, these pictures are a big improvement from the 4S; the new phone is also lighter even though it’s bigger, and many times faster! Touch ID is great too and of course battery life is improved (this one hour walk with GPS logging the route, used only 5% of the battery). And talking of logging my walk, I used a new App called runtime, which worked well and recorded a distance that matches Google Maps to within 5%:

T-Mobile test drive good / bad

In Massachusetts we always suffered from poor phone service, and as bad as service was at our home there, it was worse at work. Now that we’ve moved, I’ve wondered if there’s a better choice than AT&T which we’ve had for a long time now.
AT&T actually works quite well at our new home, and their pricing has improved dramatically in the last year, but they are still a bit of a devil company … I was interested in T-Mobile since their pricing is even more competitive and they offer great international service. And then recently T-Mobile launched Test Drive which seemed like a perfect way to find out just how good their service is.

Today, the package arrived – an iPhone 5 already configured and ready to try; the T-Mobile website claims “good” coverage, so I was hopeful:

So, open the box (which curiously implies that I’m agreeing to T-Mobile cancellation terms), turn on the phone, and skip all the sign up / configuration stuff. At least I tried to: the phone refused to work unless I either gave it a WiFi connection, or linked it to my computer! I wanted to do neither, since this was a short term test, but I was forced to connect it to my guest WiFi.
As soon as the phone was working and showing T-Mobile service, I disabled the WiFi connection; then a text arrived from T-Mobile with a “how to set up” link, so I clicked it … and this happened:

As you see, it’s showing EDGE data, and it’s been like this for maybe five minutes now with no progress. It did at one point show 4G, but didn’t get data to the display, till I walked to a front window of the house – closer to the antenna towers presumably. But seeing as my office is in the back, that’s no good.

I then tried phoning the office; Letizia answered and was pausing a lot when I explained I was just testing the phone service – she explained that she could hardly hear me, I was breaking up a lot.

So that was the end of T-Mobile Test Drive. Did the factory reset on the phone, put it back in the box, and will return it.

I very much like the idea of the Test Drive and I wish that all the companies did something similar – but sadly, T-Mobile remains useless outside of densely populated areas.