Portrait mode explained

Portrait mode explained

tech, geeks, technology, reviews


this is a picture that was taken with a

very high-end camera and so it will help

us illustrate the feature were trying to

achieve so I bring up a picture you see

in this beautiful portrait the gentleman

the front is pin sharp and focus and

that background has a beautiful blur

this is called shallow depth-of-field

it’s something that is illustrative of a

great camera that has often a very big

sensor like a full-frame sensor or a

really big fast lens and the quality of

that background blur that’s what’s

called bokeh and the higher the quality

of the bokeh usually the more advanced

and higher quality the lens and camera

system so our goal is to try to do

something like this

using the two cameras in the iPhone 7

plus this is a credible breakthrough so

now I’m going to show you the first

picture we’ve ever shown the world of a

depth of field photo taken from an

iPhone 7 plus with this new feature the

picture I showed you before this was

taken in an iPhone 7 plus portrait mode

that’s probably a phrase you’ve heard a

lot more about lately you know portrait

mode this live focus that depth effect

over here shallow depth the field over

there the first time we really saw this

portrait mode start to actually make an

impact on smartphones was an iPhone of

course it was the iPhone 7 plus is

thinking about with dual cameras one

normal and one telephoto and this this

beta portrait mode in iOS 10 and it was

garbage like it really was trash when it

first came out but Apple stuck with it

worked on it and a couple software

updates later it’s gotten better and

better so now here we are in 2017 and

you can see pretty much every other

phone coming out has these dual cameras

feels more like a rule than an exception

we actually kind of wonder if a new

phone comes out and it doesn’t have dual

cameras like what the deal is so here’s

a question how well has portrait mode

actually gotten through these software

updates over the years and how well does

it actually compared to a legit

professional camera like this here this

is the Hasselblad x1d this is the type

of sensor it’s a big sensor camera that

like apple’s said that they’re emulating

it’s a medium format sensor and it’s

amazing now medium format refers to this

sir sighs so you may have heard of

full-frame cameras with their huge 36 by

24 millimeter sensors well medium format

sensors are even larger than full-frame

43.8 by thirty two point nine

millimeters this sensor is incredible it

also recently happened yet the highest

ever score on DxO mark of 102 if you’re

into that but bottom line I’ve had this

for a couple months now and I love it

I’ve taken the best photos I’ve ever

taken in my life with it you can check

the flicker I’ll link it below so it’s

that’s what we’re comparing it to so

here I have iPhone 10 Galaxy Note 8 and

Google pixel – all of which have really

really high-end cameras and of course

they all have a portrait mode to try to

emulate what this guy does so let’s see

how they stack up all right so here’s

what I would consider your standard

portrait mode example same photo same

angle from iPhone 10 Galaxy Note 8 pixel

– and the Hasselblad and you can see

some differences right off the bat and

then when I put them all side-by-side

especially of course how the Hasselblad

does it so well and here’s just another

one so you get a better idea i phone 10

Galaxy Note 8 pixel – and the Hasselblad

now what you’re gonna start to notice is

that portrait mode on these smartphone

cameras it does a pretty good job of

replicating the general effect of a

shallow depth of field but of course

none of them are perfect and there are a

couple main differences in how they

handle it so number one is what I’ll

call edge detection this camera doesn’t

need edge detection software because it

just kind of has a plane of focus if

your object is out of the plane of focus

too close or too far away

it’ll be blurred out and everything in

that plane will be sharp simple as that

but a smart phone sensor is so small and

the lens is so wide angle that for most

normal photos almost everything is just

gonna be in focus so to create this nice

blur on the background you either need

to get really close to the subject or it

needs some kind of edge detection or

depth sensing to determine what’s in the

foreground keep it sharp and then what’s

in the background and blur it out now

different phones do this different ways

so Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 10 both have

dual cameras and they use the difference

in depth difference between those

cameras to sense distance so the same

way we use our eyes to see in 3d and the

Google pixel 2 is actually one that does

us all with split pixel technology so a

difference in distance between adjacent

pixels which is really impressive which


I called this thing so smart so well

none of these do a perfect replication

as you’ve seen they all handle it to

varying degrees of success like the more

you shoot portrait mode on the iPhone 10

for example the more you realize Apple

basically just takes the face make sure

that’s in focus and then blurs pretty

much everything else not just the

background everything even if it’s

supposed to be in the same plane of

focus your ears hair shirt the rest of

your body everything else will be

blurred it just seems kind of sloppy

sometimes the Galaxy Note 8 does a

pretty good job actually with edge

detection but again it’s obviously not

perfect and then you’ll see the pixel 2

is is maybe the most artificial looking

but also possibly the most pleasing

looking result it cuts the edges the

most sharply and then goes really far to

separate them by sharpening the subject

a bit and blurring the background the

most so then the number 2 thing and you

might not think about this as much is

the blur variation the differences in

amount of blur so it’s not just as

simple as taking the entire background

and blurring it all out that would be

simple but it’s a bit more complex with

photos from a high-end camera the amount

of blur is actually dependent on not

just a focal length but how far into the

background that subject is so the things

that are further from the plane of focus

are more blurred and the things that are

closer are less blur so smartphone

cameras believe it or not are actually

getting better at also doing this pretty

well you can see in this shot it’s an

actual gradient of the amount of blur

you’re supposed to have and thanks to

the depth sensing abilities it kind of

does it you can see it probably is best

handled by the pixel – here they all

still do it but it’s probably the most

dramatic with the pixel – it’s not quite

what the Hasselblad is doing but it’s

decently close then there’s other small

things like distance and brightness and

exposure pickiness portrait mode doesn’t

always work on a smartphone now

obviously you put the 90 millimeter lens

on the Hasselblad and the background

will be blurred every single time but

with portrait mode on the smartphone

it’s not exactly Universal earlier I

said the best way to guarantee blurring

the background from a smartphone camera

is to get the subject really close to it

portrait mode basically just extends

that range of background blur to photos

a couple feet away six eight feet away

but again once you get too far away

portrait mode will stop working as well

and the iPhone will tell you about it

it’s very vocal about placing your

subject within 8 feet and telling you

when it isn’t going to work so if you’re

too far away it’s just gonna take a

normal photo with no portrait mode

and same with note 8 but it mostly just

says due to shooting conditions so it’s

not as specific but you kind of just

have to know how to fix it and pixel two

has no warning at all it actually

doesn’t give you a preview of the

background blur so you don’t know if it

worked or not until after you take the

shot and then let it process and then

look at it and see if it worked

sometimes it fails and you don’t know

till later so a shot like this when

you’re too far away they tend to not be

able to tell the difference as easily

between the foreground and the

background so a large sensor camera

still makes a solid amount of bokeh but

usually your smartphone will just go

back to taking a normal photo and then

your other weird quirk with these is

just non-human subjects or things that

aren’t your typical portrait or stuff

with weird outline this artificial

intelligence has been training itself on

like this normal human portrait for so

long that it does best with that it’s

done pretty well with pets also

interestingly enough I’ve noticed but

then it breaks down like when you see

stuff like this headphone picture this

is what I’m talking about it becomes

pretty obvious they get a lot of the

outside of the blur down but then

there’s like holes in the middle and

awkward lines and things where again

edge detection can be weird but here’s

the thing the biggest difference between

these smartphone cameras and the

Hasselblad and things like this is

smartphone cameras are improving way

faster the whole background blur thing

smartphones are closing the gap on

slowly but they’re also adding unique

features that big cameras can’t touch

like artificially changing lighting

effects as soon as you take the photo or

tweaking the amount of background blur

after the photo was taken we aren’t

getting noticeably new big features like

this nearly as quickly in DSLRs or

mirrorless cameras but you can just push

a software update to a phone and get new

stuff like this all the time so a mobile

photography is an awesome place to be

right now because you can do amazing

things with your smartphone camera that

you couldn’t do a year to ago now a zone

that takes a lot of photos with a lot of

different types of cameras from the

smartphones to the mirrorless cameras to

the Hasselblad and everything in between

I’ve always been able to tell the

difference between a smartphone photo

and a dedicated camera always but this

year with these new cameras is the

closest it’s ever been it’s the most

blurred that line has ever been I think

you and I will always be able to tell

the difference if you pix will keep

enough between a smartphone camera and a

big sensor just because of the physical

constraints of trying to make such a

small sensor do such big things

and so for that reason the big cameras

will always have their place

professionals will always buy that but

these cameras are getting so good and

they still have their advantages of

being so small and portable and always

with you that getting like a really

high-quality selfie or really high

quality photo wherever you are without

having to worry about your big camera is

the biggest advantage of a smartphone so

DSLRs and dedicated cameras for that

professionalism and quality but

smartphone cameras for Portability and

ease of use I think bottom line that’s

what they’re good at and the best camera

really is still just the one you have

with you I don’t think that’ll change

for a while but this is what gets me

excited about the next year or two of

smart phones and smart phone cameras and

what they get really good at so that’s

what we have to look forward to so

thanks to these companies dedication to

this stuff it’ll only get better from

here either way that’s been it thank you

for watching talk to you guys the next

one peace


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *