Thursday, 31 August 2017

Flogging a Dead Phone (for pixels)

well my Oppo F1 is not exactly dead, but it is in the view that they are no longer sold new by Oppo (perhaps you can get one somewhere).

The reason for this post (which will be of little interest to even less people than usual) is to provide an answer to a question which was asked of me recently:

Which is better: DNG (*and then process the DNG, with say Snapseed) or the Ultra HD mode
So I set about to answer this question...

Firstly lets look at some images, the overview I took, which has plenty of "natural detail" and is at a distance where the blur caused by atmosphere isn't going to effect things (like a mountain range):

I took (essentially) 3 shots the Ultra HD, then a DNG (which then automatically takes a) JPG.

Basically the Ultra HD mode uses some upscaling and combines (as near as I understand it) a number of images and attempts to work out the sharpest portions of each image to:

  1. jam together the best bits to make an over all
  2. upscale it and save it to a JPG

Lets take a look

So lets dive into the pixel peeping now shall we? First lets look at a segment of the OOC (Out Of Camera) JPG and the Ultra HD at the same level of detail (which means that the UHD will be shown at 50% so they are effectively comparable.

To me there are no surprises ... the two images look close, with the usual "over sharpened look" to the OOC JPG. Nothing screams out at us however.

I've never understood the mental masturbation over MegaPixel Madness, and I'm willing to bet that 99% of the images from these phones will end up on Facebook or some other social media and therefore scaled down ... very very few will end up being printed taking advantage of the 4000 pixel width ... but most of the "selfieObsessed" users attracted to the King Wang name will not even understand any of the above anyway ...

The next step is to look at the UHD more closely and compare that to the OOC JPG. To make this easier I did a bicubic upscale in Photoshop of the JPG so we can see clearly:

This makes it pretty clear (to me at least) that the final written JPG just doesn't have the "right stuff" to make an upscale work ... meaning that this is a win to the UHD image. Probably because the image is upscaled prior to the mushy crummy JPG algorithm that Oppo uses is applied to the OOC JPG (meaning its likely it does it in an uncompressed image space, perhaps even RAW).

Ok, so now lets take the DNG (which I've already established to be heaps better than the OOC JPG in so many previous posts it does not bear repeating), Starting with the DNG (processed in Snapseed with not much more than a straight conversion, which is of course then saved as a JPG by Snapseed) and then upscaled in Photoshop to compare to the UHD at 100%

Which is very close, but to me actually gives better tonals in the ridge of the rear wheel arch (the rust and cracked paint more clearly defined). So even upscaled the DNG is competitive to the UHD

As well (as a side benefit) we have the opportunity to do more post processing (without getting posterisation of the sky)  from the DNG than we would from the UHD (because we're dealing with more bits at starter).

For the hell of it I thought I'd downscale the UHD to compare it at 100% with the Snapseed to see if there was something in that:

Which to my eye looks pretty good (although I prefer the colour balance of the DNG over the UHD).

So what's the point and what's the benefit to a photographer? Are there drawbacks?

Advantages , Similarities and Drawbacks

As it happens the DNG is about the same physical size as the UHD shot (even though its a JPG), but the nod goes to the DNG because its actually a little smaller (should you be pushed for space on your phone) at 25Mb vs 26Mb (for the UHD) : advantage DNG

A drawback of each is that you have to remember to engage that mode (either RAW or Ultra HD), however the UHD has the additional drawback that (because it takes multiple images) you have to hold the camera steady longer ... or get a crummy shot. advantage DNG

Because the UHD is a JPG, you can (assuming you want to) just get a big print made directly from it and know that (printing to 140cm monster prints) you'll get a much crisper print than from a regular OOC JPG and won't need to bother with processing software or mussing up your hair : advantage UHD

Myself I'll keep using DNG because I happen to be OK with the use of Snapseed (or other future advances in DNG processing), however I hope this has helped you to work out what you'd like to do and why.


Friday, 25 August 2017

Stupid stuff I buy

It was fun

So now I can reveal more of that minor purchase


Tuesday, 22 August 2017

religious nonsence (or the media selling the electric car barrow)

Sadly sustainable development has gone all out to attract the "Public" for some years, and while I did my Masters in Environmental Science I must sadly admit there is quite a few in the "cohort" who are neither scientific nor rigorous. The Electric Car Advocacy is prime among them.

Recently I see that the ABC has become a mouthpiece for the push in this direction as if they've already decided. Sadly rather than present unbiased information they unashamedly promote stuff that doesn't even add up ... for instance:

This unashamed piece can't even present the facts reasonably and chooses to cherry pick its data. It starts by asking the obvious question of: Are electric cars cheaper to run

and comes up with the quick answer of yes and yes, but as they indicate its not really that simple because it quickly emerges that its No and NO.

For instance they present this "analysis"

I would take issue that the "average" fuel economy is 11.1L/100Km ... shit my 1989 3L V6 Pajero 4WD station wagon gets that. My friends Subaru gets more like 8 and a Hyundai i30 more like 6 ... so you can half that figure for the cost to travel 100km for a petrol vehicle straight away.

However its even more disingenuous because they themselves are talking about longer distances, and in their own article say: "However, the RAC-installed recharging stations on WA's Electric Highway cost the user 45 cents for each kilowatt-hour of electricity, plus a $1 transaction charge."

So if we substitute the more correct 45cents for a highway journey it becomes more like $8.10 plus the $1 transaction charge making $9.10

So for the Electric car its $9.10 and for a modern car using 8L/100Km its $10.40 ... suddenly less attractive isn't it. It only gets worse when you factor in modern diesel engines in the 2L category are regularly delivering 4.5L/100km.

This does not mention how long it takes to "fuel up" while we know that to fill up and get going on the highway is usually a matter of minutes, for the electric its going to be longer.

Watt does it all mean?

People will fuzz out on this, but a kilowatt is a thousand watts, so assuming you have the need to put 18,000 Watts for an hour (that's what watt hours means) into your car and you can use the three phase 410 volt supply you will be needing to suck 45amps  (Watts = Volts x Amps and so 410 * 45 = 18450 )... for an hour ... Inconvenient this truth stuff isn't it.

Of course you can drop that to half an hour if you punch in 90 amps.

That would pretty much max out the capacity of the service station to supply (and keep its own lights on).

Imagine if there was 2 or even (shock) 4 cars attempting to fill up ... of course you've never seen so many cars in the servo have you ...

The truth - inconvenient isn't it ...

The article tries to suggest that you can make it even cheaper if:
The cheapest option for electric car owners is recharging at home using the electricity from solar panels and stored by a home battery.

So, you'll need to have a good 4Kw system on your roof running all day to charge your car to drive 100Km ... meaning you will negate that solar electric advantage of the house ... ohh, and you'll need at least 18Kw of battery too ...

Truth in Costs

Most car organisations will say that the true cost of ownership of a vehicle must I clude repayments and depreciation, meaning what you paid for it minus what you sold it for. The cost of fuel is often insignificant.

So if you buy an electric car you'll also suffer greater depreciation because they cost more in the first place too .. expect 30% drop in the first year. The Nissan Leaf (a mid range car equivalent in spec to an i30) will set you back $51,000 while the Hyundai will set you back $20,950

So 30% loss on $51,000 is $15,000 ... most of the entire price of the Hyundai.


The article goes on to mention in one sentence:

Unless you are recharging using a renewable energy source, the power electric car owners are using still comes from burning traditional fossil fuels which, in WA at least, is primarily coal.
Yes, that's right ... it still means CO2

So like the article says near the end:
Electric future of the automotive industry 
Owners of electric cars say their cars are not the future, they are the past, because electric cars have been around since the mid-19th century.
Nothing has changed since then either, for in the past Electric cars have been the realm of the wealthy.

As is typical of propaganda, simply tell enough stuff that looks to be true (even though it won't pass scrutiny) and avoid all those inconvenient facts that get in the way of pushing your agenda.

Ask youself this: who actually benefits from electric cars? Would it be the electric car makers, or are they really "just doing it for society".

Here's some evidence:

So despite selling a fraction of the cars, Tesla is worth as much as GM in terms of Market Capitalisation while running a loss not a profit.


Lastly I'll add that the real reason to promote electric vehicles has nothing to do with anything mentioned in the usual public sell-job, its more about moving pollution from one place (cities) to another place (perhaps to someone elses back yard).

I encourage you to think critically and act with conservation in mind. My method is to walk more, use public transport in cities, ride my motorcycle and use my car last.

Think about it with the facts clear in mind

Monday, 21 August 2017

Eating Grass Seeds

Probably few people think about it, but wheat, rice and oats are all from the same family of plant: Grass.

Being a bit different I often try cooking things "outside the dots" and substitute one grain for another. In this case I use oats as many cultures use rice. So while may think of Paella as being a Spanish dish, it relies on rice which originates from Asia.

In Europe Oats has a much longer history. Its hard to imagine that my earlier European ancestors did not cook more interesting things with Oats than the modern western (god help me, American) idea that oats = porridge.

So, without further adieu I'd like to present my Savory Oats "Asian style" with

  • Oats,
  • Fish, 
  • Ginger, 
  • Garlic,
  • Spring Onions,
  • Capsicum (or as it can also be called Paprika, but not the spice..)
  • Sesame oil
  • Rice bran oil (or other vegetable oil, like sunflower, rapseed, peanut ...)
  • perhaps a touch of paprika (dried spice like Hungarian) for colour,
  • and a touch of Tabasco sauce
So we start with frying up the chopped garlic, ginger, fish, spring onions and capsicum. Gentle heat, not "immolation" material ...

next, we have the amount of oats we want (for a single serve I go with half a cup), ready to tip into the mix.

So we tip this in and then add an amount of water to make sure its all wet but perhaps not totally covered ...

Adding the water cools the pan but the residual heat will bring it back to the boil soon, so we cover it and keep an eye on it to reduce the heat as soon as it starts to gently boil ...

usually 5 or 6 min is about right, but its important to keep an eye on it till you get the hang of this so as to make sure its always a bit moist in there ..

At about the 6 min mark, lift the lid and give it a quick stir around, breaking up the fish.

Myself I usually want the oats to still be whole and visible, not turned to porridge, but to each their own.

So then serve it (or add a little more water and let it cook longer if you want  the porridge thing) and add a dash of Tabasco sauce (for those who like a more spicy touch) and some soy sauce.

and remember ... Oats is better for glycemic index than is rice, and is also accociated with lower cholesterol in the diet.

Have a glass of white wine with it too ;-)

processing the bird

I was out in the back yard today and there was this crested pigeon sitting on a branch, so I happened to be holing my GH1 and the FD300mm f4 (because the bird I was actually wanting to photograph flew away as soon as I tuned my camera on), and thought well ... lets photograph you.

So I came inside, pulled the SD card and moved the RAW file onto my phone and processed it with Snapseed. Here is a scaled version of that

This made me think ... hmmm ... I wonder what I'd have got with a PC based editor ... so I had a quick whirl in a photoshop alike product called RawTherapee

so its not ball tearing difference is it. In fact I kinda like what I could do with Snapseed and (drum roll) it took less time!

Lets zoom in



Not that this is the first  time to really see this or present it, but it is at least entirely different subject matter and shows that Snapseed stacks up across a variety of uses.

Like this guy...

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The night sky

Living up in the hills over a hundred km from the lights of a city the skies look lovely..

But one only has to look in that direction to see things on the horizon...

I read that soon half of humanity won't even know the Milky Way exists soon

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Minor purchase...

I suppose its funny in and of itself, but it does remind me of the (to me) annoying penchant for the Millennials to not just lather things with superlatives but really over do it

: maximum King Wang