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Off-topic: a personal story about a great shot. Bliss – “the wallpaper we’ll never forget”

This post is completely off-topic since it’s not about PureView technology and it’s not even about mobile photography. It may be a very simple story (often the best), and I’ve seen it on several online media already – though never as personal as this.

This story comes from the photographer capturing the shot that would be known to the world as “Bliss”. It’s the most famous wallpaper ever since it was used in Windows XP that officially “expired” today. Millions, no billions of world citizens lived with that shot for years without knowing the one who took it.

The video below is a Dutch production, made for Microsoft in the Netherlands if I understood correctly, so I guess that’s why only a few hundred people have seen it so far. Time to change that – since I started the PureViewClub I started to love remarkable stories about photography as well, and I don’t think there is one shot that has become so famous because of our digital and online existence.

Think about it: this is the first shot to be seen on just about everyone’s computer everywhere…. We can only hope that one day, one of our PureView shots will make it this far :-) Oh well: here it is, the story as told by photographer Charles O’Rear.


On YouTube

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Wait… what? DxO Mark: “Sony Xperia Z2 surpasses the Nokia 808 PureView”

You read it right: according to a report published just now by DxO Mark, the new Sony Xperia Z2 even surpasses the Nokia 808 PureView. Wow. That’s quite a conclusion: “Supplanting the Nokia 808 Pureview at 77 points and achieving the new number 1 position, the Sony Xperia Z2 achieved the highest DxOMark Mobile score to date of 79 points. Although the new Xperia Z2 takes the coveted top spot by just two points it’s a significant achievement nonetheless.

I’ll share their new chart here:

DxO Mark chartNow I’m nowhere as specialized as these guys, but I’d like to express a few doubts already. I find it very hard to believe the Sony Xperia Z1 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 are actually “better” than even the Nokia Lumia 1020… But hey – what do I know. Can’t judge the iPhone 5S since I don’t own one and never had the chance to test it.

I’ve held the Xperia Z2 in Barcelona shortly and already noticed the camera interface has improved quite a bit in comparison with the Xperia Z1. But the sensor is still the same, so Sony must have been working miracles with the software as well – which isn’t impossible as we know form earlier Nokia updates.

Here are the “pros” they noticed in the new Sony’s Xperia:

  • Impressive detail preservation outdoors. In low light, a high level of details remains visible even if a loss is noticeable compared to outdoors.
  • Reasonable noise levels in all conditions. No chroma noise and fine grain size.
  • Fast and responsive autofocus with limited errors.
  • Good overall exposure.
  • Pleasing colors in all conditions.
  • Good overall flash performance: exposure, color, white balance, noise and detail.

And here the “cons”

  • Occasional white balance inaccuracies indoors. Outdoors, a slight blue tint is noticeable in certain images.
  • Slight color shading noticeable with tungsten lighting.
  • Noticeable fringing, ringing and maze artifacts.

As far as video is concerned, first the pros:

  • Good stabilization, especially during walking motion.
  • Good texture reproduction.
  • Low noise levels.

And the cons:

  • Autofocus moves step-by-step rather than continuously, and is unpredictable.
  • White balance inaccuracies with foliage under daylight illuminant.
  • Visible color shading.
  • Some aliasing evident.

You’ll find some images here, but it’s hardly enough to impress. Nevertheless, it’s quite an achievement and makes me look forward to testing the Xperia Z2 even more of course. If you already had the chance to do so before me, please let me know what you think!

Via MobileCowboys.nl

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Nokia Lumia 1020 Contest – and the winner is…

On the occasion of post 1020 here at the PureViewClub last February, I asked my friends at Nokia in the Netherlands if they would be willing to sponsor a contest to win a Nokia Lumia 1020. This is post 1057 and today I’m proud to announce who the winner is. I wasn’t alone in deciding this, also Stella Jansen from the Nokia’s PR Office in the Netherlands was in the jury.

The challenge - find the most original and creative way to promote the PureViewClub - proved to be quite difficult, but the great thing was it attracted people from all over the world – countries like Ireland, Latvia, Hungary and even Brazil and the Philippines (also although they knew the contest was EU only).

Before I show you what the winner thought of, I will share – in no particular order – a few of the most original and creative entries in this post.

First, a blogpost from my loyal follower Endijs Gütmanis on his site SmartPixel.Blog.com, describing how he made this low light collage, a post (and a collage) he shared on Flickr500pxTwitter and Facebook.

Endijs Gutmanis LatviaFrom the Philippines, Aron Tuazon shared some shots on Twitter and Instagram – like this one:

Aron Tuazon Philippines 3

And from Ireland, the 19 year old Ronan Coughlan tried some PureView artwork to promote the PureViewClub, sharing his work on his Twitter account, like here and here.

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Microsoft’s BUILD 2014: Major improvements in Windows Phone, great Nokia announcements

I’ve been tweeting about a lot of things I found remarkable during Microsoft’s BUILD 2014 yesterday evening – didn’t have time to write a post at the same time. Only hours before it all started, @evleaks managed to get his hands on the Nokia Lumia 930 we all have been hoping for (see my previous post).

So that was one surprise less for Stephen Elop – but there still was enough left, also coming from Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore who was extremely proud to show some of the innovations in Windows Phone 8.1 before mr. Elop took the stage.

Windows Phone 8.1
Like using your own shot as a “background” image – the tiles that are normally colored on your phone will become transparent and you’ll see your own background image behind them: that simply looks great. I already like the way Windows Phone uses your own images in the Image Gallery, and now you can use your favorite picture to customize the main screen of your phone.

One suggestion could be to let the phone randomly choose from a set of favorite pictures for you to choose, so it will be a surprise which shot you’ll see in the background. Or the possibility to enable you to select more shots, so you’ll have a different background image at work or home, or during the day or at night. But this is already great and much more fun than just changing the colors of the tiles in your screen.

Cortana sounds fantastic (looks good too, but you won’t actually ever see “her” in your phone). Like with Apple’s Siri, you’ll only be able to use Cortana’s services in the US to begin with, and later it will come to other countries as well – China will be next if I understood well. Other major languages will come later, but I wonder if it will ever come to much smaller languages like Dutch or Danish for instance. Good thing most of us know two or even more languages in Europe.

Another improvement is the calendar – you can now finally swype through the days of the week (never understood what took Microsoft to figure that one out). WiFi Sense is an interesting innovation, make it possible for you to allow friends (like from Facebook) access to your WiFi network without the hassle of exchanging passwords. I was impressed as well with a “Skype” button on the phone, that will make it possible to transfer your phone call to a video call without losing contact.

And finally we’ll have “Word Flow” on the keyboard – something many of us will know as “swyping” your text on the keyboard of your Android phone and something I’ve been really missing on Windows Phone so far.

The first Windows Phone 8.1 devices will come to the market within a few weeks even, with the Nokia Lumia 630 and 635. And that’s where Stephen Elop comes in.

Nokia
Mr. Elop picked up where Joe Belfiore left, telling that ALL Lumia devices running on Windows Phone 8 will receive the update to Windows Phone 8.1. And that’s quite an achievement, not only if you realize how many devices are out there already, but also if you realize that even entry level Lumia’s like the 520 will be able to run WP 8.1 with its full functionality as well. So in the US, you’ll have Cortana on your enty level device as well (eat that, Apple).

Elop Lumia 930

Stephen Elop didn’t start with the first devices bringing Windows Phone 8.1 however, but with the new Nokia flagship. In fact is the international version of the Nokia Lumia Icon I’ve been looking forward to so much, now called the Nokia Lumia 930 and launched in a great set of striking colors.

Some innovations on the new Lumia were announced as well, like bringing “living images” (animated shots) in the StoryTeller application, and enabling you to share those “stories” with others. Interesting as well is “SensorCore”, that will keep track of your movement when carrying the phone, so you can keep track of your fitness using apps like Bing Health and Fitness. The SensorCore SDK will enable others to think of new applications as well

But most importantly to us PureView addicts, is to find the exact same 20MP camera sensor we know from the Lumia 1520 in the new Lumia 930. In fact, a lot of the technical specs are the same as on the Lumia 1520 – Snapdragon quadcore processor 2.2GHz, 32GB internal memory – but no micro-SD slot ccording to the specs on Nokia’s site! The pixel density is also impressive with no less than 441 ppi (1920 x 1080 pixels on the 5 inch screen in 16:9 aspect ratio).

So what’s all the excitement about for us? Well, not only will the Lumia 930 be a lot more pocketable than the 1520, it will be easier to hold as a camera as well. I’ve been writing about that I do not only prefer the Lumia 1020 because of its much bigger sensor, but also because it’s so much easier to hold. Moreover, the hardware camera button on the Lumia 1520 is relatively thin and pretty hard to get a good grip on: I expect a much better user experience from the Lumia 930 – and hence better shots.

I know some of us have hoped for a new 41MP Lumia PureView device and it’s been a while since the Lumia 1020 was launched. Looks like we’ll have to cherish that amazing quality for a while, just like many of us here at the PureViewClub have been worshipping the Nokia 808 PureView for almost two years now – lightyears in this industry.

Will 2014 bring a new PureView flagship with a whopping sensor like that? We’ll have to wait and see. First, let’s enjoy Windows Phone 8.1 on the Lumia 1020 as well – the sooner the better as far as I’m concerned, with or without Cortana :-)

Below you”ll find some videos Nokia has been sharing since last evening – off-topic: completely unexpected I was quite busy with an surprising launch of a new Dutch initiative during BUILD 2014 in the Netherlands, something you’ll probably like to find on your PC as well: 22Tracks, offering a selection of new music, 22 tracks in 22 different genres.


On YouTube


On YouTube

Don’t hesitate to share what you think of all this below! :-)

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So here it is: the Nokia Lumia 930!

Posting this very fast, just to share the image with which @evleaks just ruined this afternoon’s surprise: the guy is absolutely incredible… I’d love to have his sources :-)

Waiting for Build to start in half an hour or so, but it looks like the big news I was waiting for is already there…

Lumia 930

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BUILD Conference tomorrow: hoping, but not holding my breath for the next PureView device

As you will probably know, tomorrow is the Microsoft BUILD Developer Conference 2014. I’ll be attending as well, but not in San Francisco I’m afraid :-) In Microsoft’s office in Amsterdam I’ll be watching the live stream, and Nokia has already promised quite a line-up of “treats”.

TreatsNow “treats” is plural, so rumour has it Nokia will announce the Nokia Lumia 630 (here on GSMArena) and the next Lumia 930, which is supposed to be the international version of the Nokia Lumia Icon.

GSMArena has (guessed?) the specs of a 930 already, but now they are not so sure anymore. What do I think? Well, nothing has leaked so far… Guess I’m getting used to the assumption things do not exist yet if @evleaks hasn’t shared anything about them before the announcement – like the Nokia Lumia 630…

Nokia-Lumia-630-r

On the other hand, it’s not completely unthinkable Nokia may be doing a “one more (!) thing” stunt tomorrow. Would be nice to see the Icon coming to the world outside of Verizon, wouldn’t it? :-)

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