Sunday, February 1, 2015

askew review :: iPhone 6 plus :: soho :: nyc

Not often do you see gear reviews on this blog. Before eating my own words I'll explain...


Deep down, yes, I am a gearhead. Love technology. Actually, it was the passion and love for art and technology that brought me to be a photographer. Kind of meshed together in a perfect package. I could obsess over technology while being a creative. Ahhh. The possibilities.

Although I still have a love for gear, these days I tend to be more focused on the final product; the photography. I suppose the reason for that is, well, in the gear department, I'm pretty well endowed. So while I still keep B&H catalogs in every bathroom, I focus more on creating rather than buying. As you should too.

Not to contradict those words as of course, I still buy gear and often. Realistically, shit gets old. Shit breaks. Shit must be replaced.

Reviews? Hmmm. Here's the thing. I'm quite the optimist. Show me a train wreck and I'll show you something good to come from the apparent disaster. It's just how I've come to be wired these days. Wasn't always wired this way. Hell no. It took a lot of reprogramming.

As an optimist, it's difficult to sit here and share a non biased opinion about a piece of equipment that I have invested in. Why? Because I'll find the good in just about any product, even if it is a ginormous piece of crap. And if I really hate it? Hell, maybe the next guy or gal will just think that product is titty city. Why should I piss on their Cheerios?

Having said that, yes, there've been some reviews here. Some positive and some negative. The latter having given me heartburn and guilt.

Which brings us here today. An effing gear review!

The iPhone 6 Plus

Kind of late in the game for the 6 Plus review?



How can you give an opinion of a product after owning it for an hour? I decided to break this sucker in.

She arrived mid November. As beautiful as can be, I couldn't wait to proudly and some say boldly call her my second camera. Yes, Betsy, my first love, the Nikon D4, is my go to workhorse. I have a bag with a couple of older Canon EOS bodies but if Betsy is taking a rest I'll go to the iPhone 6 Plus as the next best choice, every time. Nothing against the Canon DSLR bodies. Actually some of my best work has come out of those. But if I'm just running and gunning, the mobile device is a pretty solid camera.

So here we are, damn near three months after the 6 Plus had arrived. Since then She's been bumped, dumped, dropped, dipped, dunked and dinged. Luckily, she's wearing a nice set of armor so her actual body remains flawless. Whew.

Apples To Apples?

Prior to the 6 Plus I was carrying around an antiquated iPhone 4. Needless to say, the image quality has improved exponentially with the 6 Plus.

The 4 was sporting a 5 megapixel sensor while the new 6 Plus is hauling a larger 8 MP sensor. To the consumer that sounds great. To a photographer, it's not a big difference. I haven't come across any real stats but what IS vitally important in determining how awesome a camera's sensor is, is its DYNAMIC RANGE. It's basically the range from absolute black to absolute white and all the shades in between.

In bright ambient environments, I think both cameras perform pretty well.

But when we are talking . . .

Low Light Performance

I can easily see that the 6 Plus has taken technological leaps and bounds. Noisy? Yes. But nowhere nearly as bad as was the iPhone 4 in low light situations.

[Note :: 99.923% of the time I am working only in available light. Rarely do I pop the on board flash.]

Hold your horses. While comparing the low light from the outdated model to the new model, sure she outperforms. Now, if we were to compare in the real world, against Betsy? Sorry. Betsy can work at ISO 204,800! What that means to you is that she could be in the pure black darkness of a desert and still capture a scorpion pissing on a rock, from 25 feet away, with a 50 1.4. Just saying.

But that game wouldn't be fair would it? No. We aren't here to play the comparison game. Just how does the iPhone 6 perform?

Time For Some Action

Take a look at the photograph herein.

I shot this just two days before New Year's Day, 2015. I was facing south, looking down Mercer Street in Soho, NYC.

The cobblestone and architecture were brilliantly backlit by the sun, cast by deep dark wintery clouds.

I pulled out the iPhone 6 Plus, focused on our main subject, the bicycle rider, as he worked his way up the street and towards my position.


Nailed it! One shot! Oh the glory in nailing that first shot. It's a wonderful thing.

I wanted to get this file up on the Macbook Pro to further investigate. Eh hem. I mean pixel peep.

Upon further peeping, I took notice of the endless DOF. Pretty awesome. Now, on the other hand, if you get that sucker in super tight for a macro shot, she will give you some surprisingly nice buttery bokeh.

To finish off this piece, I simply cranked the Saturation down to -100 and cranked the Vignette pretty heavily but with super feathered edges so that the effect isn't obvious. What black and white tools or filters did I use? None!

I never ever never ever use filters and such for my black and white conversions; professionally or personally. My workflow for black and white? Crank the Saturation to -100. Done. Mind boggling isn't it?

Getting off track.

So how does she hold up in the real world? I think the iPhone 6 Plus is pretty rad.

The ginormous screen? Shhheeeeiiitttt. Love it.

The auto focus system? Legit. Nice facial recognition capabilities.

Video? Word. I dig it. And the Slo-Mo? Pretty bad ass at 240 fps but you better be nuking the hell out of your scene or you WILL NOT be as stoked with the final results. Flicker and I'm not talking about the photo sharing app. Without getting into the exposure triangle, lemme just share that while you are firing off many more frames per second, the time that the light hits the sensor each frame is significantly less than at its native speed. Hence, you will need atom bombs to light the scene or else your itty bitty kitchen light bulbs will result in an overly annoying flicker.

Image stabilization? I couldn't tell you. I'd have to build a rig to mount side by side systems, walk around, hand hold and report back the results.

You see. This is another reason why I don't do reviews. I'd rather be out making art rather than drawing up pie charts and diagraming field results of new equipment. There are homeboys and homegirls out there that dig doing that type of work. They enjoy it. We will let them have the glory.

Sure. Every now and then I'll write a little something about something I buy but don't expect it to be scientific by any means.


I love the 6 Plus. Big. Sexy. What's not to like. You can motor drive your photos. There's a self timer. Awesome stills. Awesome motion. And I can listen to Jack White and count my footsteps while making awesome photographs!

Reviews are so biased people. Buy one or don't. Like it or not. Stop wasting times reading review after review. You will drive yourself crazy. Trust me. I was once one of those people. I ended up never getting anything because I was often too confused by conflicting reviews. Stop that people!

Here's the ultimate closer . . .

You know when my photography radically improved? When I stopped reading so much about gear and created more photographs. Period.


Until next time...