Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Night Time Shots

George Benson: Give me the Night

Subtitle: Testing the 640XL Camera at Night

My testing of the Microsoft 640 XL Smartphone continues.

Aside 1
It took some self control

not to throw the 640 XL phone out of the window at several points Tuesday.  Something about Windows 10 Mobile (over 8.1 even) means that it's going like a dog.  It took over 51 seconds to start the BBC iPlayer radio app, and select Radio 4, because if I was going to walk around in the freezing night time cold to take some photographs, I needed some company.

For reference,  the same application BBC iPlayer Radio, loaded Radio 4 and started playing in about 5 seconds on my Android Cyanogen build 5.1.1 phone.


I am indebted to XDA developers link here  that helped me overcome the 0x803F8006 errors that I had whilst trying to upgrade the existing OS apps

            //emulate a Lumia 630


It happily made me learn up about installing the Fiddler  program to setup a Web Proxy that took the malformed commands issued by Windows Phone updates and translated them, then sent back the code from Microsoft back to the phone to make the updates happen.   Tremendous stuff!

Aside 2: DxO ONE

It's been brought to my attention that if you are an Apple user, seeking to bypass the limitations of Apple putting a quite average Optics and Camera system into even their latest phones you can try the DxO ONE.

It costs about 650 CHF or USD !!  But Apple users, they have the cash, right?

DxO ONE review

Of course this is not a new concept.  See our review of the Sony QX10 from January 2015

Back to the Plot

So I spent almost 2 hours this evening walking around our home town of Lausanne in the -1 degrees C temperatures to test out the night time capabilities of the Smartphone and its default Microsoft (was Lumia) Camera application

 Postboxes are yellow in Switzerland

 The cigar shop and Laduree shop were in a previous post of daylight and lower light photography.

 At least 1 zombie at Place Francois.

The lonesome mini.

Full highres originals and more uploaded here.

Summary so far

The camera and Windows app combination of the 640 XL is continuing to impress us.   "For a smartphone" especially a low end one, it's doing a great job.   

Spoiler Alert: If only that could be said about the rest of the Microsoft Windows 10 Mobile Operating System and App framework   (full review coming before Christmas).

Ellie Goulding: Rhythm of the Night

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Running and Cycling Levanto

Marcus and Agata spent an all too brief day or too in Levanto Italy this summer.   What did we get up to?

We got a meal for 2 at La Picea for 17 Euros for two people including Wine.  Bloody incredible.  For reference, a single Pizza in Switzerland always costs 20 CHF or more.

Marcus is as usual obsesses with searching out cool bicycles in the neighbourhood!

Recycling everywhere.  We like

A rather well converted VW camper into a wine store!

Yes, they cycle here.  Rather a lot.

So many specialist coffee machines and so little time

The oldest car I could find all day!

Time for our big cycle!

Spectacular views, what can I say

Some of the old train tunnels have been converted into cycle and pedestrian routes.  How fantastic is that!

As the sun sets we have to drive home.  It is a long long way back to Lausanne, but after such a wonderful time we think it will be easy.

Monday, November 23, 2015

More Smartphone Camera Testing

Lumia 950 XL Camera detail

Reality Bites
For reasons of sense and sensibility, i.e. not having an insanely large amount of money to blow on the purchase of a Microsoft Lumia 950 phone: in Switzerland at least 550 CHF   (i.e. 550 USD) I had to settle for a 

Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

Running Windows 10, beta release 10586.11

The objective so far, apart from the Windows 10 mobile catchup is really to test the camera, first basic functionality using the now defacto Microsoft Camera app (was Lumia App).  Then to follow on with more sophisticated features  (not going well ... read on)

Each of the following section links to a Picassa album where you can see the camera settings for each photograph.


20151120 First Photos

20151121 Muggy Weather Photos

20151122 First Snow

If you examine the camera settings you per photograph you will see that I was able to manually set the ISO to 64 wherever possible for maximum quality.

20151122 Running Chalet a Gobet

20151123 Random Photos

 When both ISO and Speed are set then the camera is unable to change Apeture which seems fixed at F2.0 so in this case overexposing the photograph.

Unresolved - Living Images

I still have not figured out how Microsoft has implemented its living images format, nor how to view it except on the Smartphone.  (essentially useless, as I don't store any data there longterm).

A living Image, essentially a picture which is also a short say 5 second movie clip was implemented by Nokia some 2 years ago and has found fame with the Apple 6S or 6S plus live photos.

To be continued

Unresolved - Camera Lenses

The Microsoft Camera app  (i.e. the renamed Lumia app) allows you to extend this application using plugins called Lenses.


So far all I could find (on the appalling) Microsoft App store was alternative Camera Applications, not plugins.

To be continued#2

So far the humble Microsoft Lumia 640 XL camera is proving to be very capable.  Special features seem to be held back by a healthy dose of incompetent applications/ app store, or perhaps my understanding of the same.