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Redesigned Selfie Camera, Smaller FaceID Chip on iPhone 13: Report

A new report alleges that Apple is not only planning to shrink the size of its FaceID sensor chip but also scale down the size of the large front-facing “notch” at the top of the display thanks mostly to a redesigned front-facing camera.

Spotted by MacRumors, DigiTimes has reported that Apple plans to scale down the die size of the Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser (VCSEL) chips that are used in the FaceID scanner. The move is reportedly being made to help the tech giant reduce production costs as more chips can be produced on a single wafer, which in turn reduces the total number of wafers that have to be made.

DigiTimes also notes that redesigning the VCSEL chip may allow Apple to slide in additional features, but stopped short of speculating on what those features might be.

The new chip will most likely be used in the new iPhone and iPad devices releasing starting in late 2021, which most likely means the forthcoming iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro smartphones. It is also likely that the next generation of iPad and iPad Pro will feature the new chip.

In a previous report, DigiTimes stated that Apple will reduce the size of the iPhone’s now-iconic notch thanks to a redesigned front-facing camera module, and while it is possible that the size of the notch is shrinking also due in part to the new VCSEL chip, it is unclear if that is actually the case.

Well-known industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reports that the notch will shrink due mostly to a new front-facing camera module. Per MacRumors:

For the coming iPhone 13 cycle in 2H21, we foresee a more tightly integrated version of the existing structured light system, which will enable the long awaited reduction in the notch. On the rear, we do not anticipate Apple to broaden the adoption of the Lidar 3D sensor beyond the Pro models.

For the 2H22 product cycle, we anticipate an architectural shift from structured light to time-of-flight, allowing for an even smaller footprint. Based on our industry conversations, we do not think structured light beneath the screen is likely to be ready for mass deployment in 2H22. We also view the adoption of fingerprint-under-glass, that likely is added in the 2H21 iPhones, as a structural headwind for additional 3D sensing content at Apple and could be the security feature of the future.

With this news, it appears that while no major image capture changes to the smartphone line are expected until 2022, the iPhone 13 will still see plenty to differentiate it from the current iPhone 12. Earlier this week, a report alleged that the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro would see notably larger rear camera modules, but while larger they would also not protrude as far out from the rear of the device. This report bolsters a previous rumor stating that changes to the rear camera arrays were likely on Apple’s next-generation device.

In a story from January, DigiTimes also reported that the entire iPhone 13 lineup would feature sensor-shift stabilization technology, a feature currently only available in the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

This NatGeo Photo Series Cherishes the Colors of Endangered Animals

Smartphone manufacturer Oppo and National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore have partnered to produce a set of photos and videos of various at-risk animals whose unique colors are in danger of disappearing forever.

Joel Sartore is an award-winning photographer, speaker, author, conservationist, and the 2018 National Geographic Explorer of the Year. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic Magazine and an Eagle Scout. Joel is the founder of the NatGeo Photo Ark, a 25-year project to show the world the beauty of biodiversity and inspire action to save species.

Through the series Endangered Color, Sartore, National Geographic, and Oppo worked together to highlight the power of colour in the natural world, and how its fragility should not be taken for granted. Climate change is a recognized global emergency and in a series of videos, Joel explains what is the first thing he would do, if he had the power to solve some of the challenges the planet faces.

Crowned Crane
Crowned Crane
Crowned Crane
Red Panda
Red Panda
Red Panda

“The Endangered Color campaign showcases animals at risk of extinction. From the striking red throat pouch of the grey crowned crane and the vivid green feathers of the thick-billed parrot, to the bright blue skin of the poison dart frog, each animal represents the world’s at-risk species,” Sartore told PetaPixel.

Pygmy Slow Loris
Pygmy Slow Loris
Pygmy Slow Loris

“OPPO recognized its responsibility to be a sustainable brand that contributes to a better world and plans to support the work of the National Geographic Photo Ark, which uses the power of photography to inspire people to help protect species before it’s too late,” he says.

Because the partnership was with Oppo, Sartore was tasked with capturing photos of these animals using the company’s latest smartphone, the Find X3 Pro. As would be expected, this was not the same experience that Sartore was used to, but it did have its advantages.

Bocourt’s Arboreal Alligator
Bocourt’s Arboreal Alligator
Bocourt’s Arboreal Alligator
Thick-Billed Parrot
Thick-Billed Parrot
Thick-Billed Parrot

“They say the best camera is the one you have with you. Since smartphones are so lightweight and portable, and they now shoot RAW files and 4K video, there no reason to not use one on more and more occasions,” Sartore says. “I know they’re here to stay for consumers, and for professional work they’ll become more commonplace as well.”

Sartore says that the main challenges with shooting animals is trying to keep things in focus as they move. While larger cameras may have their advantages, he says that the fact the sensor is smaller and therefore has a wider depth of field was advantageous to keep everything in focus.

Hyacinth Macaw
Hyacinth Macaw
Hyacinth Macaw
Dyeing Poison Dart Frog
Dyeing Poison Dart Frog
Dyeing Poison Dart Frog

“Having everything in focus when shooting video was amazing. No noise either, not a peep. For someone like me that shoots wildlife, this was a huge advantage,” he adds.

“I love the fact that it’s small, silent, and produces such high end still image files and video,” Sartore continues. “It is very easy to work with, so easy in fact that it’s hard to mess up good opportunities for photos. So, the process for me was the same, but using much, much less gear, which was very freeing.”

Humboldt Penguins
Humboldt Penguins
Humboldt Penguins
Three Banded Armadillo
Three Banded Armadillo
Three Banded Armadillo

Regardless of how the photos were captured, the mission of Sartore, National Geographic, and Oppo is to highlight the beauty of some of the most striking, rare colors found naturally in the animal kingdom in the hopes that those who see the photos and videos will understand that these amazing animals are close to being lost forever unless something is done to save them and their precious environments.


Sartore’s Photo Ark project has already taken portraits of 11,000 species and counting. In his quest to document the world’s diversity, he is over halfway through his goal of photographing the approximately 15,000 species living in the world’s zoos and sanctuaries. The entire Ark can be explored here, and Sartore hopes that the photos will inspire others to support on-the-ground conservation efforts to protect the thousands of creatures around the world and help them navigate the threats they face in the wild.

Image credits: Photos by National Geographic Photographer Joel Sartore, captured on the Oppo Find X3 Pro and used with permission.

Google to Dramatically Change its Camera Design with Pixel 6: Report

A new design leak alleges that for the first time in a while, Google is going to dramatically change how its next smartphone will look. The Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will allegedly sport an all-new design with a very unusual camera array.

Jon Prosser, who is known mainly for his leaks and rumors surrounding Apple products, today released renders of Google’s upcoming Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones that he says are based on actual photos of the device that he was shown.

“I was sent actual images of this device. I had more images for this than for most of my other leaks,” he says. “Like, really high quality, detailed images from the source.”

Prosser is therefore particularly confident in this leak, which shows the two new smartphones from Google sporting a camera array that looks akin to Star Trek’s famous thin-visor-wearing Geordi La Forge.

In order to protect his source, Prosser had designer Renders By Ian (Ian Zelbo) — who was also responsible for Prosser’s MacBook Air leak earlier this week — mock up several images that used the primary source photos as their basis.

The mockups show two different devices with two different camera arrays. The Pixel 6 has a similar design but only two cameras in it’s bar-like module while the Pixel 6 Pro is much larger and has three cameras in its array.

“I guess they’re getting rid of their XL naming that they’ve been using forever,” Prosser says.

The front of the device has what is colloquially referred to as a “hole-punch” selfie camera design. This look helps maximize the amount of screen on the front of the smartphone and avoids the “notch” that is seen on Apple iPhones. Additionally, the bezels around the front display look especially thin, and Prosser’s renders seem to indicate that the phone will use an under-display fingerprint reader like other Android devices on the market.

The design is so unusual that Prosser says that if he did not see actual hands-on photos of the device, he would have been unlikely to believe the report himself.

Unfortunately, Prosser only had images of the device and not a specifications sheet, so he was unable to provide any guesses as to what kind of sensors, cameras, or focal lengths are to be expected in either the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro.

The orange color that was found on the Pixel 4 looks to be making a return here in the Pixel 6, which Prosser says looks like it is blended with design elements from the Pixel 1 and 2.

Prosser indicates that a major reason why Google seems to be “going for it” so aggressively in this design is that it is anticipated that the company will be releasing them with its own silicon, the GS1010 Whitechapel Chip. Since the inside of the device is set to be so different, Prosser reasons that the company would also want to make sure the outside of the smartphone reflects that difference.

The devices are not expected to release until the fall.

Image credits: Photos courtesy of Jon ProsserFront Page Tech — and designed by Renders by Ian.

The iPhone 13 Will Be Thicker and Camera Bump Larger: Report

via MacRumors

A new report alleges that the iPhone 13 will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 and feature a camera bump that will grow in size but protrude outwards less than current models.

According to a report on MacRumors, Apple may be trying to make its camera bump less noticeable by making the iPhone itself slightly thicker. Referencing schematics shared with the publication, MacRumors says that the new models will be 7.57mm thick, an increase of 0.17mm over the current 7.4mm thick iPhone 12. This jump is visible, but is likely not going to be majorly noticeable to most people.

What will be immediately apparent is what MacRumors is calling a “more noticeable” camera array. Not only does it appear that the array itself will take up more room on the back of the camera, but the entire bump will also protrude out more in what appears to be an attempt at curtailing how much the individual camera lenses stick out from the back of the iPhone body.

The ‌iPhone 12‌ and 12 Pro currently have camera bumps that measure 1.5mm to 1.7mm, while the report alleges that the ‌iPhone 13‌ will have a thicker 2.51mm camera bump while the 13‌ Pro will feature a 3.65mm thick camera bump.

In the image below, the actual real estate that the bump takes up on the back of the camera is particularly noticeable.

via MacRumors

The ‌iPhone 12‌ and 12 Pro currently have camera bumps that are about 28mm by 30mm, while the report alleges that the ‌iPhone 13‌ will have a more squared-off bump that is closer to 29mm by 29mm. Additionally, the bump will allegedly be located about a millimeter closer to the top of the iPhone.

The iPhone 13 Pro’s bump is even larger and will reportedly have a bump that is closer in size to the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The report alleges that Apple will lean closer to bringing both the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max to camera feature parity in this iteration rather than having them be so notably different as they are with the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max.

These reports mirror the CAD leaks originally reported by EverythingApplePro in mid-April but expand to show differences not only with the Pro Max camera array, but the whole iPhone 13 line.

As Cnet notes, there is no official word on when the iPhone 13 is expected to come to market, though an April report on chip manufacturing could suggest that it is possible the iPhone 13 could revert to pre-pandemic launch windows, as last year was the first time in eight years that September did not feature a new iPhone announcement.

The most notable changes to actual iPhone camera quality are not expected until 2022 when Apple is expected to release the iPhone 14. According to another report, that device will feature a 48-megapixel camera to take iPhone photography “to a new level.”

Kolga Tbilisi 2021 Photo Competition Winners Highlight Georgian Talent

The Kokga Tbilisi Awards, now in its 20th year, is the largest and most prestigious photo competition in the country of Georgia. Not to be confused with the state of Georgia, the awards intend to link international photography to Georgia.

The organizers of the Kolga Tbilisi photo competition have been hosting the presentation of the winners in Cologne, Germany as part of its intent to foster the international position of Georgia. This year’s competition was judged by an international jury: Vanessa Winship and George Georgiou, both photographers from the U.K. were joined by Tina Schelhorn, the curator of the Galerie Lichtblick, Kolga Tbilisi Photo in Germany, Stefen Chow, a photographer from China, and Jens Friis, a publisher from Denmark.

This year’s competition broke out into five categories: Documentary Series, Reportage, Conceptual Photo Project, Best One Shot, and Mobile Photo – One Shot.

Entry fees were used to fund for the winners’ prize fund, a total of $6,500. The winners in the first three categories received $1,500 each, the Best One Shot winner received $1,000, and the Mobile Photo – one shot category winner received $500.

Below are the winning images from each category.

Documentary Series

Photographer Emily Ducke was crowned the winner of the Documentary Series category for the series titled “The River Between.”

“The Ket River was once a major Siberian thoroughfare. Though serpentine and relatively small, it connected two of Russia’s biggest river basins, the Ob and Yenisey. In a region where extremes of weather turn overland roads from inaccessible ice to muddy rubble and back, and where driving distances are measured in days and weeks, the corridor the Ket River created was a key resource.

“But when the Trans-Siberian railway was built, at the start of the previous century, west-to-east traffic on the Ket River – the farmers and traders and Tsarist troops – began to dwindle.

“Fewer and fewer travelers needed the Ket, and today its banks are home to just a few scattered and solitary settlements.”

KET RIVER, Russia – July 06, 2016. Ksenia stands in smoke to escape swarms of mosquitoes after a swim. Her family left the regional capital of Tomsk just a few weeks before. They moved to live on an isolated weather station on the banks of the Ket River, exchanging urban comforts for the liberty of a life in the wild, away from the world.
UST-OZERNOYE, Russia – July 06, 2016. Ksenia’s parents, Yevgeny Sadokhin and Olga Voroshilova, pose for a portrait. The family left busy, urban Tomsk for the banks of the Ket River, to man an isolated meteorological station with no phone signal and no internet line. For them, the Ket River’s remoteness offered the promise of personal freedom.
AIDARA, Russia – July 24, 2016. A boy on a motorcycle moves cows from one pasture to another near the village of Aidara.
AIDARA, Russia – July 18, 2016. Stepan Borisov, right, and Antonina Borisova sit with their granddaughter in their home in Aidara. The community of about 150 people is made up mainly of Old Believers, a religious group that has historically settled in Russia’s most remote corners to avoid persecution. They live by the strict rules of their faith.
KATAYGA, Russia – January 18, 2018. Smoke rises from chimneys in the logging settlement of Katayga on the Ket River banks, as the temperature on a January night dropped to minus 40 degrees Celsius.
KATAYGA, Russia – January 17, 2018. Workers in the Katayga settlement prepare logs for transportation. There is no bridge across the Ket River near Katayga. Loggers must wait for winter temperatures to turn the river into a solid, icy road in order to finally stack the lumber on trucks and send it across the river for distribution.
UST-OZERNOYE, Russia – July 05, 2016. Father and son pose for a portrait at their riverside home. They live a reclusive, hermetic life on the Ket River, fishing and growing their own food.
KATAYGA, Russia – July 10, 2016. Worshippers gather after a Sunday service at the Russian Orthodox church in the logging settlement of Katayga. In the absence of a priest, who did not make the six hour journey by river and road to Katayga that day, mass was led by Marina Prosukina. The religious duties she performed are normally reserved exclusively for men. But such strict rules could not withstand the remoteness of Ket — and so, along the river, a different kind of freedom was formed.
UST-OZERNOYE, Russia – July 07, 2016. Ksenia throws feathers into the air as she explores houses abandoned along the banks of the Ket River, her family’s new home as of a few weeks before.
NARYM, Russia – January 10, 2018. A man heads home after ice-fishing on the Ob River, near the mouth of the Ket River. After the construction of a canal in the late 19th century, the small and serpentine Ket River linked two of Russia’s biggest river basins, the Ob and Yenisey. As a result, it was a crucial transport corridor, and a busy route — until the Trans-Siberian Railway was built.
BELIY YAR, Russia – November 21, 2020. Boats stand on the shore of the Ket River. Residents cross the river by foot in winter, and by boat in summer. But for several weeks in autumn, when the river ice is forming, and again in spring, when it is thawing, the Ket River becomes impossible to cross. Some villages get totally cut off.
KATAYGA, Russia – January 19, 2018. A resident of the logging settlement of Katayga marks the religious festival of Epiphany, on a day when temperatures dropped to minus 45 degrees Celsius, with a traditional, icy dip.


Photographer Alessio Paduano took top honors in this category for his series documenting the Coronavirus pandemic in Italy.

“February 21, 2020 is a central date for the Italian story related to the new coronavirus. On this date, several cases of coronavirus emerged in the Lodi area of Lombardy: these are people who do not come from China, a new outbreak whose extent is still unknown. The infection has spread to Italy, especially in the North, but also begins in other regions. On March 9, 2020 the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, during a speech to the nation declares the entire Italian territory a “protected area”. On March 11, 2020 “World Health Organization” general director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced in the Geneva briefing on the coronavirus epidemic that Covid-19 “can be characterized as a pandemic situation”.

“Italy remains one of the deadliest hot spots of the coronavirus pandemic. As of March 5, 2021 more than 99,000 people have died in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University.”

Nurses take care of a patient who lie in bed inside the coronavirus intensive care unit of the “Papa Giovanni XXIII” hospital in Bergamo, Northern Italy on April 17, 2020.
A nurse takes care of a patient who lie in bed inside the coronavirus intensive care unit of the “Papa Giovanni XXIII” hospital in Bergamo, Northern Italy on April 17, 2020.
Isaia, 80 years old and suspected covid-19 positive is visited by nurses of the Italian Red Cross after an emergency call in Ranica, province of Bergamo, Northern Italy on April 11, 2020. Before the emergency call, Isaia had had a high fever for several days.
Workers carry a coffin before recovering a person’s body during the coronavirus emergency in Naples, Italy on April 1, 2020. Although the person did not die from coronavirus, the work of funeral agency officials is among those most at risk during this emergency, as often can find in contact with corpses of people who died by coronavirus and the risk of contagion is very high.
Maria, 87 years old and suspected covid-19 positive is transferred to the hospital after an emergency call to the Italian Red Cross for experiencing respiratory problems in Villa di Serio, province of Bergamo, Northern Italy on April 12, 2020.
Maria, 87 years old and suspected covid-19 positive has a respiratory crisis before being transferred to the hospital after an emergency call to the Italian Red Cross for experiencing respiratory problems in Villa di Serio, province of Bergamo, Northern Italy on April 12, 2020.
Barbara, 37 years old and suspected covid-19 positive is visited by a doctor of the USCA special care unit of ATS Bergamo after an emergency call for experiencing respiratory problems in Brignano Gera d’Adda, province of Bergamo, Northern Italy on April 17, 2020. The doctors of the USCA special care unit performs home visits to patients infected or with symptoms of Covid-19.
A patient lies in bed inside the coronavirus intensive care unit of the “Papa Giovanni XXIII” hospital in Bergamo, Northern Italy on April 17, 2020.
Father Marcello (left) and Father Mario Carminati (right) bless the coffins of coronavirus victims inside San Giuseppe church in Seriate, province of Bergamo, Northern Italy on April 15, 2020.
Giorgio and Elisabetta witness the cremation of their relative through a monitor inside a video room of the crematory in Naples, Italy on March 27, 2020. Due to the coronavirus emergency it is no longer possible to celebrate funerals inside churches and funeral processions are prohibited. In the case of cremation, relatives can greet the deceased for the last time through a monitor that shows when the coffin is introduced into the crematorium.
Alessandra, 51 years old and covid-19 positive is visited by a nurse of the Italian Red Cross after an emergency call for experiencing respiratory problems in Scanzorosciate, province of Bergamo, Northern Italy on April 19, 2020.
A funeral agency employee is seen inside the mortuary of the “Pesenti Fenaroli” hospital in Alzano Lombardo, Northern Italy, on April 13, 2020.

Conceptual Photo Project

The Conceptual photo category hosted two winners: Jennifer Crane for her series “Outlaw (and other failed portraits)” and Andrea Pietro Signori for “Suspended: The rural life of Syrian refugees in Marjayoun in the middle of the Lebanese crisis.”

First, Crane’s series:

“I consider the portrait as a trace of the body or performance for the lens. Since its inception, the photographic portrait has been used to honor or vilify the human subject. Initially my interest was in exploring family portraits this led to further explorations into portrait photographs in the public context such as museums, institutional archives and in the news media. In these images I pose my own body before the lens using a long exposure of several minutes rather than the conventional fraction of a second. They are made using wet collodion one of the first photographic processes that requires the light sensitive emulsion to stay wet while exposure is made resulting at times in presence of liquid residue markings that interrupt the surface of the image and draw attention to the materiality of photograph which in most portraits remains invisible. Through the creation of this fictional archive I seek to engage with issues of surveillance, memory, authenticity and archival practices.”

And next, Signori’s series:

“The crisis that has hit Lebanon put on knees Syrian communities. This is the case of Marjayoun where about 5000 Syrian refugees live since the war broke out in Syria in March 2011.

“Along the border between Lebanon, Israel and Syria, 860 families live in 74 informal camps.

“The families are often numerous, with many children whose majority was born in Lebanon.
They live on agriculture, serving as laborers in the service of Lebanese landowners. The salary ranges from 4000 to 5000LL which is gradually losing purchasing power. As reported by Avsi, one of the NGOs in the area, people are suffering the consequences of the heavy inflation. Since the revolution broke out the official exchange rate of 1$=8000 LL (variable every day) has been joined by a parallel market.

“The concept involves the use of nylon used to cover furniture during the move. I wanted accentuate the refugees status, the political and work suspension and the expectations, by Syrian refugees, to come back home.”

They are among the few to have a house that belongs to the owner of the countryside, granted in exchange for work. Ahmad and Lamia are cousins. They have lived in Marjayoun for 9 years. Their home in Syria was destroyed.
Marjayoun, Marjayoun district, Lebanon.
January 15, 2020
I gave directions to the subjects to pose for a portrait

Syrian refugees in Lebanon for several years
Marjayoun, Marjayoun district, Lebanon.
January 16, 2020
I gave directions to the subjects to pose for a portrait

Hamid has not received UNHCR support for 4 months at the time of the photo shoot. He has been residing in Lebanon since 2017. He Lived in Raqqa when a bomb destroyed their home. He has had a heart attack and therefore cannot work or buy the medicines he needs
Marjayoun, Marjayoun district, Lebanon.
January 16, 2020
I gave directions to the subject to pose for a portrait

Children, like their parents, work in the fields. There is a bus service for transportation to school locations (lessons are often organized in tents) but many families can not pay for the service.
Marjayoun, Marjayoun district, Lebanon.
January 14, 2020
I gave directions to the subjects to pose for a portrait

They arrived in Lebanon in 2011, at the start of the war in Syria. In 2013, Siham’s husband was in their tent, sick. He was making tea and our son accidentally started a fire. For 20 days they moved from one place to another, because the army did not allow them to camp permanently
Marjayoun, Marjayoun district, Lebanon.
January 15, 2020
I gave directions to the subjects to pose for a portrait

As a result of his father’s difficulties, Abbas cannot pay for school transport by spending much of his time looking after his father
Marjayoun, Marjayoun district, Lebanon.
January 16, 2020
I gave directions to the subject to pose for a portrait

Best One Shot

Photographer Caspar Claasen took top honors in this category for his photo below titled “Grandmother’s Hug.” No additional context for the photo was provided.

Mobile Photo – One Shot.

Photographer Zuka Kotrikadze won this category with her photo below titled “The Tsereteli Station.” No additional context for the photo was provided.

To see the entire set of finalists and peruse the competition as a whole, make sure to visit the Kolga Tbilisi Photo Awards website here.

Image credits: All photos individually credited and provided courtesy of the Kolga Tbilsi Photo Awards.

Asus Bringing Flip-Up Camera Back to its Flagship Smartphone: Report

Asus appears set to release the ZenFone 8 Pro with a camera design that has been abandoned by other manufacturers in the space: a flip-up module. While the choice does guarantee that both front and rear-facing photos will look their best, it does bring with it durability concerns.

In a report from 91mobiles, Asus appears set to bring the Asus ZenFone 8 Flip to market on May 12 and will retain the flip-up camera module that the company used in the ZenFone 7 and ZenFone 6Z before it. If this holds true, Asus will be the last major smartphone manufacturer to release a flagship device that features this design.

The ZenFone 7 Pro used what Asus calls a “powerful stepper motor” to drive the precision of the flip camera mechanism as well as an angle sensor to give the phone more precise control over the flip angle.

“The sensor also ensures that Flip Camera is always in a safe position, and it can memorize your three favorite flip positions for quick angle switching,” the company writes on its website.

Asus says that because the front camera is exactly the same as the rear camera, the ZenFone 7 Pro offered the “ultimate front-camera experience” and gave users “everything from high-res and ultrawide selfies to rock-steady selfie videos.”

Calling it a “unique design with endless possibilities,” the flip camera was supposedly designed to give creatives more freedom to take photos at any angle they want. That said, creative angles are of course possible by manually adjusting how the phone is held, but at least the idea of the front and rear-facing cameras using the same system makes sense.

Asus doesn’t appear to be going all-in on the flip design, however. According to the report, only the ZenFone 8 Flip will use the mechanically adjusting hinge while the ZenFone 8 will sport a more traditional camera design. 91mobiles also writes that the motorized camera module will house a 64-megapixel main sensor, an 8-megapixel telephoto lens, and a 12-megapixel macro lens.


When it comes to adding a small moving part to a smartphone there will always be durability concerns, but the perceived benefits may outweigh them. Not only will a system like this make for better front-facing images, but it also means that the front of the phone can go with a very clean, notch-less design. According to the renders acquired by 91mobiles, Asus was able to keep a beautiful edge-to-edge display on the ZenFone 8 Flip while the ZenFone 8 will have to use the “hole-punch” strategy for its front-facing camera.


This past year has seen a lot of innovation when it comes to smartphone image capture, but no flagship has really tried anything new or unique when it comes to the camera bump. Other than perhaps Xiaomi with the Mi 11 Ultra and its giant array, Asus will at least stand out for being different even though what it is doing isn’t new.

Rejoice! Twitter Finally Rolls Out Full-Size Images in Mobile Feeds

Twitter is finally rolling out bigger images in your feed after almost two months since it began testing the feature. Photographers who want to share their photos on the social network now don’t have to worry about Twitter’s cropping algorithm, and photos will be shown in all their glory by default.

While it might not show for all users quite yet, Twitter has announced that its “bigger and better images” on both iOS and Android are now available to everyone.

Prior to this change, Twitter cropped all non-16:9 images to maintain uniformity on timelines. This change now makes it so that images that are not specifically 16:9 aspect ratio would not have to be tapped in order to reveal them in their entirety. This may result in a more streamlined browsing experience and will no doubt add greater value to images shared on the platform.

The larger image update should also pair well with 4K image support that Twitter announced in late April. Images are currently compressed by default to at most 2048 x 2048. The increase to 4K would nearly double that, allowing photos to display at up to 3840 pixels on the long end. As smartphone displays are becoming higher resolution, this change will make looking at images a superior experience on mobile. This does have a downside, however, as loading larger photos takes more data, which is why the feature needs to be enabled manually in settings.

For some, Twitter may now be a viable alternative to Instagram, a company that relies heavily on its ability to track you across apps in order to better target its advertising and that recently subtly threatened to charge for its services due to Apple’s most recent iOS update.

As noted by The Verge, the one downside of this rollout will be the “open for a surprise” style posts that have become popular on the platform over the years. While fun, it is a small price to pay for larger, prettier images.

The Best Smartphones for Photography in 2021

Almost everyone wields a camera these days because they already have one by default on their smartphones. But not just any phone will capture the best results, and that’s why some stand out for particular reasons.

Mobile photography is now one of the major battlegrounds for vendors trying to one-up each other. Thankfully, it’s not entirely about numbers, despite megapixel counts hitting new highs, it’s a lot about how effective software can be to do more with the available pixels. That can also depend on how you look at what the software gives you, especially relative to the varying modes phones now regularly offer.

We’re talking about an ever-evolving situation, where new phones may supplant old ones, while others trade places based on how new updates affected performance and output. Whether it’s pro mode features, software that does amazing things, or getting more for every dollar you spend, this roundup is a good place to start. We at PetaPixel will be updating it regularly to reflect a changing and shifting market to give you the insight you need to shoot what you want.

What We’re Looking For

There are plenty of smartphones with what you could consider to be “good” cameras, but the “great” ones are fewer in number, and it often shows. When we look at what would put a smartphone camera on this list, we always look for the best results, particularly when talking about a specific type of photo. That may not necessarily mean the phone is the best in every other facet, but if it’s noted here, there are reasons for it.

That’s why we also broke things down into categories that differentiate between the strengths of certain devices. One phone may be better at shooting portraits, whereas the other has a Pro mode cutting above the rest. Computational software is so integral, and yet, not everyone does it well.

We break it all down into six distinct categories:

Best Overall Smartphone for Photography: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Main sensor: 108MP or 12MP (with pixel binning) 26mm equivalent

Other rear cameras: 10MP 3x zoom telephoto lens (70mm equivalent), 10MP 10x zoom telephoto (240mm equivalent), 12MP ultra wide-angle (13mm equivalent)

Front-facing camera: 40MP 

Video recording resolution: Up to 8K

Price: Starting at $1,200

A year ago, Samsung would’ve struggled just to make this list with the disjointed effort that was the Galaxy S20 Ultra. That’s not the case with its successor, which rectified some key missteps and put together one of the most well-rounded cameras available. It’s not perfect, mind you, and does need work in some areas, but it’s easy to like the variance and output you get.

Its product cycle wasn’t quite fast enough to align with Samsung’s newest ISOCELL GN2 image sensor, so the S21 Ultra relies on the previous GN1. What might seem like a hardware trade-off is supplemented, to some degree, by the smarter use of newer lenses and smarter software. We’re certainly not referring to gimmicky nonsense like the 100x Space Zoom, but more the restrained color output and improved HDR that gives photos so much better composition.

Read PetaPixel’s Samsung S21 Ultra Review here.

The two zoom lenses complement each other well, especially the 10x zoom that emulates a 240mm telephoto. They may be the best images a zoom lens currently takes on a phone, and while the 30x hybrid has its up and downs, it can turn out a stellar shot at the right time. Samsung would be better suited to making its Pro mode more accessible to the myriad of rear lenses, but alas, it’s only for the main lens, and only at 12MP. Great for low-light, not so much for taking a photo you want to make bigger, unless you try features like Adobe’s Super Resolution.

All that said, if not for the U.S. ban on Huawei, that brand’s Mate 40 Pro would likely have been in this position. One of the most versatile and superb cameras of any smartphone to date, its retail and software limitations, as far as the full gamut of Android goes, preclude us from placing it here. But if you are so inclined, its output won’t disappoint. The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra might also be gunning for the top crown this year, though its availability in North America is unknown at this time. However, with the possibility the Galaxy S21 Ultra will be the only real Samsung flagship this year, it will continue to stand out throughout 2021.

Best Pro Mode for Smartphone Photography: Vivo X60 Pro+

Main sensor: 50MP or 100MP or 12MP (with pixel binning) 23mm equivalent

Other rear cameras: 32MP 2x zoom telephoto (50mm equivalent), 8MP 5x zoom telephoto lens (125mm equivalent), 48MP ultra wide-angle (14mm equivalent)

Front-facing camera: 32MP

Video recording resolution: Up to 4K

Price: Starting at $1,200

What makes the X60 Pro+ so compelling is that its Pro mode tries to qualify the user. Onscreen explainers note what a feature or setting does, and opens the door to a learning experience — something lacking in getting more mobile shooters to try a mode like this.

The other advantage is that the four rear lenses are available to use in this mode, something that continues to be omitted in rival handsets. While Vivo would’ve been better served to move the lens icons in the interface further away from the composition settings, once you avoid false positives, you can really start to benefit from shooting in RAW at multiple focal lengths. Even its built-in Macro mode kicks in when going close up.

Read PetaPixel’s Vivo X60Pro+ Review here.

Since Vivo’s Night mode has a tendency to overprocess shots, Pro ends up being an ideal alternative. The Slow shutter mode can handle unique long exposure captures, but Pro can often fill in for low-light shots, especially when using a tripod or flat surface to prop up the phone for a slower shutter. This may have been another one Huawei could win, or at least vie for, but since Vivo has no quarrel, it’s a solid alternative.

Best Smartphone for Computational Photography: Google Pixel 5

Main sensor: 12.2MP (27mm equivalent)

Other rear cameras: 12MP ultra wide-angle (16.5mm equivalent)

Front-facing camera: 8MP 

Video recording resolution: Up to 4K

Price: Starting at $699

If not for its software, Google’s Pixel 5 would look barebones on a spec sheet. But as the old adage always says, “never judge a book by its cover.” It’s the sort of understated design that has served Google well in wowing people with its cameras can do. Or, more specifically, what its software can do.

Truth be told, the main sensor is long in the tooth, considering it’s essentially the same one Google used in the Pixel 3. It is time for an upgrade there, but in the Pixel 5, you get a phone camera with the best computational software. The HDR interpolation is outstanding in a variety of conditions, and we’ve yet to see another phone match the shadow and brightness sliders in the interface.

It’s a big reason why Night Sight continues to compete as well as it does for low-light shots, despite an aging sensor. Adding the feature to portraits, while also making just about every feature or setting — including RAW capture — available to both lenses makes this phone easier to get a good shot.

Best Bang-for-the-Buck Smarphone for Photography: Google Pixel 4a

Main sensor: 12.2MP (27mm equivalent)

Other rear cameras: None
Front-facing camera: 8MP

Video recording resolution: Up to 4K

Starting at $499

It would be hard to find a phone that shoots as well as the Pixel 4a does for the price. Whether you go with the 5G variant or not, the device borrows so much from its flagship sibling that it can capture the same photos under most of the same conditions. You don’t get any other lenses in the rear, but the image sensor and computational software otherwise still apply to the main shooter.

That means Night Sight and Portrait mode are going to still look really good, and with RAW capture always available, there’s room to do more in post. For those on a budget, it’s going to be one of the best phone cameras less money can buy.

Best Smartphone for Video: iPhone 12 Pro Max

Main sensor: 12MP (26mm equivalent)

Other rear cameras: 12MP 2.5x zoom telephoto (65mm equivalent), 12MP ultra wide-angle (13mm equivalent)

Front-facing camera: 12MP 

Video recording resolution: Up to 4K

Price: Starting at $1,099

The iPhone is still among kings when it comes to video recording, and it has a lot to do with how well it captures color, tone, and texture. Apple’s had a knack for this for many years now, and while you’d glean similar results from the iPhone 12 Pro, there are a couple of advantages in going to the Max, if you’re so inclined.

The Pro Max has a 47% larger sensor in its ultra-wide camera. By itself, that may not seem like a big deal, but in the field, a reliable ultra-wide lens is great to shoot footage with. Not to mention what it can do for still photos. The phone can’t compete against others when it comes to telephoto options, but the main sensor is also larger, and that pays dividends for footage in low-light conditions.

If we were talking a truly “pro” level here, the Sony Xperia Pro or Xperia 1 Mark II (or the forthcoming Mark III) might take this spot, but those aren’t necessarily made for every type of user. The iPhone 12 Pro is almost as capable as the Pro Max in its own right, making it a viable option, too.

DJI, Nital distributore per il mercato italiano

Nasce una partnership strategica fra l’azienda torinese Nital, che ha appena festeggiato i primi 30 anni di attività, e la cinese DJI, ben nota per i droni e gli accessori di ripresa aerea

Sistemi di stabilizzazione per foto e video camere, impugnature stabilizzate per smartphone ed altri accessori, ma soprattutto droni, consumer e professionali. Sono questi i prodotti firmati da DJI, che in pochi anni (è stata fondata nel 2006 a Shenzhen, nell’area considerata la Silicon Valley cinese) è diventata un’azienda globale  con varie sedi fra Stati Uniti, Europa, Asia, caratterizzata da un successo ormai planetario.

Un successo che inevitabilmente sta ridefinendo vari settori merceologici – in particolare le industrie legate ai mondi della fotografia, musica, videoTV e cinema – e che rappresenta un business ancora in forte crescita.

In altre parole, DJI ha l’esigenza di avere un distributore di riferimento per i vari paesi, e per l’Italia la risposta è nel gruppo Fowa-Nital.

In particolare,  Nital S.p.A., che proprio quest’anno festeggia i 30 anni di attività,  assume la responsabilità della distribuzione per il mercato italiano, mentre grazie alla notevole expertise maturata, Fowa S.p.A – all’insegna di una continuità – manterrà la responsabilità del canale specializzato imaging.

“La decisione di DJI di affidare a Nital S.p.A. il ruolo di distributore per l’Italia, confermando di fatto la fiducia al gruppo Fowa-Nital, ci onora profondamente – dichiara Aldo Winkler, CEO di Nital S.p.A. e di Fowa S.p.A. – e ci motiva ad affrontare questa avventura con grande entusiasmo, fantasia e coraggio. Gli straordinari prodotti DJI ci ispireranno a vivere questa ennesima sfida con il giusto spirito e la passione che ci ha sempre contraddistinto”.

Nital distributore DJI

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