Some Photos Taken With an iPhone 7

I only received my iPhone 7 yesterday so I’ve not been able to put the camera through its paces, though the few shots I’ve managed to take so far have been magnificent. The quality certainly isn’t close to my DxO One, but the iPhone 7 is far superior to my previous 6s Plus—especially in low-light conditions.

The first two photos, hosted at 500px, were edited using a combination of Photoshop Express, Pixelmator, and Snapseed1. While these have been edited, no attempts at noise reduction were made with the night shot of Manhattan. I’m very impressed with how well the iPhone 7 performs in low-light conditions.

The last photo, posted on Instagram, is unedited and unfiltered.

Manhattan Nights by Jordan Merrick on 500px.com

It's a dog's life! by Jordan Merrick on 500px.com

  1. I’ve been editing photos entirely within iOS, using apps like these, ever since iCloud Photo Library was first made available. I can’t even remember the last time I opened Photos on my Mac, let alone edited a photo with it. 

Upgrading an AirPort Extreme’s USB Hard Drive Used for Time Machine

There are two Macs in our home using Time Machine to back up to a 1TB USB hard drive connected an AirPort Extreme 802.11ac. After the painful process of changing the country of my iTunes Store account when I moved to the US, I was forced to keep a local copy of all the movies and TV shows I had purchased. This is backed up as well, so the 1TB drive began to run out of space.

The drive would soon need to be replaced with something bigger, so I purchased a 2TB Seagate Expansion portable hard drive. However, I didn’t want to just swap the drive connected to the AirPort Extreme and start backing up the Macs from scratch–I wanted to retain the existing backup history1. The AirPort Extreme’s Time Machine support has had a spotty history so I was a little wary about whether it was even possible to even do.

After a search online didn’t yield any meaningful results, I decided to wing it and see if I could just plug both drives into my Mac. Turns out, this works perfectly. Here’s what I did:

  1. Make sure both the USB disk attached to the AirPort Extreme was not mounted on either Mac
  2. Disconnect the USB drive from the AirPort Extreme
  3. Connected the new USB drive to the Mac and created a single HFS+ volume named Time Machine (this is the same name as the existing USB drive)
  4. Connected the old USB drive to the Mac, then copied the disk images to the new drive

Both drives, along with my MacBook Pro, are equipped with USB 3.0, so I left the Mac for a few hours to copy 800GB between the drives while I ran some errands. Once this was finished, I then connected the new USB drive to the AirPort Extreme and restarted the base station2.

After the AirPort Extreme powered back up, I started a Time Machine backup on my Mac. The backup worked flawlessly, creating an incremental backup and not, as Time Machine does when it thinks something is amiss, start an entirely new one. I could also view, and restore from, any part of the Time Machine backup history.

  1. I also had plans to use the outgoing 1TB drive for something else. 

  2. I don’t think restarting the base station was necessary but it was worth doing, just to be on the safe side. 

The DxO One

I’ve owned a variery of cameras over the last ten years, from bulky DSLRs like the Nikon D50 to the much more pocketable Sony NEX-3N, but I’ve never enjoyed carrying a separate camera around. It was always another device to carry, something else to remember to bring. For the last couple of years, the only camera I’ve been using is an iPhone.

After moving to the U.S. earlier this year, I’ve been tempted by the thought of a dedicated camera to take better shots than the iPhone is capable of, especially in low light. However, I still didn’t want something else to carry. With that in mind, I decided to purchase the $479 DxO One after reading some favorable reviews.

DxO One

DxO One

The DxO One isn’t like any other digital camera–it has a built-in Lightning connector and is designed as a a companion for the iPhone or iPad. Since most of the typical camera functions are offloaded to the iOS device and companion app, the unit itself is extremely small and feels more like a tiny battery pack than a fully-fledged camera.

When the camera is connected to an iPhone using the Lightning connector, the appearance of the two is reminiscent of one of the first digital cameras from Casio. It can also pivot around 60 degrees in either direction. The DxO One has a 1-Inch 20.2MP sensor, the same one found in the popular Sony RX100 III, and a 32mm equivalent fixed lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8. There’s full support for PASM modes, and the camera even shoots RAW. There’s even microSD card slot to save these to, though JPEGs are automatically synced to the iPhone1.

After using the DxO One for a week, I’ve been completely blown away with the quality of the shots it produces, especially in low light. It even works with a Bluetooth remote camera button I bought for less than $20 to use with my iPhone, so long exposures are super-easy to perform. Here are a few examples from my 500px gallery, edited using Adobe Photoshop Express (click through to view more detailed information about the camera settings for each photo):

Lower Manhattan by Jordan Merrick on 500px.com

Lazy dog! by Jordan Merrick on 500px.com

Jersey City streets at night by Jordan Merrick on 500px.com

Happy dog! by Jordan Merrick on 500px.com

The DxO One certainly isn’t cheap and there are many point and shoot cameras that offer more functionality for less money. There’s no optical zoom and it’s video recording capabilities are overshadowed by the 4K support the iPhone offers. But there’s no other camera that works as seamlessly with the iPhone as this. The DxO One’s portability, ease of use, and regular feature updates makes it one of the best cameras I’ve ever had2, and it’s perfect for my needs. It’s so small and light that there’s never a question about whether I want take it somewhere–it just comes with me.

DxO have recently announced a range of new accessories for the DxO One, such as a waterproof casing and optical adapter, further expanding its functionality. If you use an iPhone and want to take higher quality photos but, like me, don’t want to carry a whole other camera around, I urge you to check out the DxO One.

  1. Now that iOS 10 supports RAW photo editing, I’m hoping that a future update to the DxO app will allow for syncing of RAW photos as well. 

  2. The DxO One will gain full Wi-Fi connectivity in a few weeks so it can be used with its companion app without needing to be physically connected.