Ditch your Phone and Tablet Cables!

Wireless Tether

One of the most common questions I get is how to take photos (and videos) off your phone.  Whether you are working with an iPad, an iPhone, Android or any portable device, tethering these devices to your computer really has become so tedious. There are some handy features to post content directly online like the WordPress app, and even YouTube posting functionality built into many of these devices.  But when you want to tweak your photos or videos on a computer, it’s kind of tedious to use those darn cables every time. Well fret no more, because you can ditch those cables for data transfer!  (Just don’t throw them out – you still need to charge up periodically!)

So, how do you do it? The simple answer is Dropbox! This handy little app has made my life so much easier. No more pesky file limitations on email, data messaging or any of that rigamarole.  Check out the YouTube Video I put together to help explain this:

Video Wars Episode 2: White Balance

Screen shot 2012-07-09 at 1.13.50 AM

After deciding to move forward with a G12 a short time ago (since Canon hasn’t announced their mirrorless edition yet), I started running some video comparisons between that on the G12 and that on my iPhone.  Video is the one portion that I hadn’t really looked at when it comes to a small portable camera, and my own experiments to see what would make the best fit would also serve as good content worth sharing on the blog as well.

So, today, I am sharing the second in a series of video comparison tests both to share my own thoughts on the video quality, and to enlist the thoughts of others on video quality comparisons as well.  The purpose here is to see if there is much difference in quality when I make a manual change to white balance.  We can make comparisons in studio lighting conditions all we want, but the truth is, in the real world there are cloudy days, sunny days, conditions with tungsten versus flourescent lighting,and I know what happens in photographs.  Does the same happen in videos when you can versus when you can’t control these options?  Let’s find out:


Results:  So, the video from the iPhone had some nice cloud definition, but otherwise looked rather flat.  I had the bonus of getting a car to drive through the wet street near dusk, so some nice reflections from the lights bounced off the street.  It gave a good idea of what will happen when two different sets of lighting conditions are in the same space (tungsten from the headlights, and cloudy conditions overhead).  It’s a boring video and will surely not make it to Cannes, but does reveal more of the limitations on the iPhone.

One minor flaw in my capture efforts should be noted though – I recorded the video in portrait mode instead of landscape mode – if you look at the first post from the “Video Wars” series – I did record in landscape mode and it showed as auto-rotating, so put aside the wonkiness in the aspect ratio for now – that was operator error! 🙂


Result:  I noticed immediately when switching to the G12 that the foreground area got a lot more visible.  This, of course, is due to the fact that I was able to set the the white balance to cloudy.  This way, the foreground is more color accurate.  The trade-off is that the clouds in the background lose their definition.  When I first started looking at the YouTube video for comparison, it looked flatter than I remembered it on the LCD, but even then, it’s still got more detail than the iPhone equivalent.

Verdict:  Here, I think the nod has to go to Canon.  For a highly portable device, it still allows me to get high quality video and more control over exposure, to include ISO and white balance.  We’ll see how the rest of the testing goes, but right now it’s a dead heat – Round 1 went to the iPhone and Round 2 goes to the Canon G12.  Who will be the winner in Rounds 3 and 4?  We shall see? Does the iPhone still have the lead, or has Canon leveled the field?  Would love to hear the thoughts of everyone reading, so feel free to chime in either in the poll, or via the comments:

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Video War: Canon versus Apple

Video Warws: Apple and Canon

So, as I start kicking the tires more with the Canon G12, and looking at things like image quality, resolution, post production, and all sorts of tests, one that came to mind was to run some video tests! Since we’ve been talking about the convergence of photography and videography for a while now, that seems to make at least a little sense, right? Okay – so here’s the crazy test #1 that I just decided on a whim to run:

I positioned both my iPhone camera and the G12 at the same position on the kitchen counter. Then, I slid a Sprite can slowly toward the lens of each. This way you can see the video quality as objects move closer to the lens, and the quality of the light that each is capable of as well. Before I get into that though – let’s consider some other factors:

1. How easy was it to export the content?

iPhone: It wasn’t too bad – I have a Dropbox account, so all I had to do was upload it to my Dropbox account, then download from there to my computer before doing a final upload to the blog here for you all to view (no editing, I promise…it’s super boring!)

Canon G12: Also not too bad – I removed the card, and with my FTp client open, simply copied the file up to the blog. Here, I think Canon gets the nod, just because it was a tad easier, but it’s a barely perceptible nod, to say the least!

2. What about the file types and sizes?

iPhone 4s – It saved as an MOV file – no big surprise there, after all, that’s the Apple way of handling video files for as long as I can recall with Quicktime, right? The file size is for about 21 seconds and comes in at 50 MB. Not gargantuan, but for the super impatient, this could be a deal breaker for that short a set of footage. Youtube loads stuff pretty quick, so not a huge fan of this. But, let’s see what the G12 can do…

Canon G12 – It also saved as an MOV file – which for some reason, surprised me…I don’t know why I thought it would be an mp4, but anyway, that’s what it did. The file size for about 30 seconds and also comes in right at about 50 MB. So, it seems to handle video processing just a little bit better than the iPhone. I guess not a huge surprise since Canon has been in the video biz for as long as I can remember – longer than Apple for sure! It may not seem huge, but it can take a few seconds and for the impatient types out there, that could be a deal breaker, esp for a 30 second boring video of a Sprite Can, so here again, I would have to give a slight nod to the G12…

Now, let’s take a look at the actual video qualities (ready to sip some coffee?):

Canon G12

iPhone 4s

Canon G12: So, what did we learn from this? Well, for me I saw that the G12 handled the horribly low and bad lighting better than the iPhone. Youtube wanted to clean it up for me, but in the interests of keeping things as close to original quality as possible, I said “no”. As for focusing and such – the Sprite can lost focus rather quickly which surprised me. I would have thought that the G12 would have stayed sharper longer.

Apple iPhone 4s: Hmmm…another boring video of a Sprite can sliding across a counter. Again, horrible lighting, but what’s this: the focus stayed on longer for the iPhone than the G12?!?! It also seemed to handle the low lighting well enough – even though it’s still pretty garish, but dare I say that in terms of rough video quality from this very non-scientific comparison, the iPhone gets a bit of a nod instead of Canon! Interesting!

What say ye all? Which one wins the first round? More tests should be forthcoming, but it looks like the G12 gets a nod in 2 out of 3, but the critical 3rd – quality – the upstart iPhone 4s takes the cake. All things considered, my knee-jerk is to give the entire round to Apple! Is this deserving? What’s the collective think?

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