In today's post, my main objective is to test the Arsenal app "SMART" module after the latest app update to ver 0.8.42 and compare it to its previous performance.
NOTE: I am limiting this post only to test various focus modes within the "SMART" module of the app. I won't be testing the various merging options like exposure bracketing or focus bracketing etc since the app/device is not yet writing those back into the camera SD card and without that happening the quality of the image that the app is creating is very poor and I don't want to mislead anyone with improper result. But as of today's posting, only the exposure bracketing is creating a merged image within the app and is showing it as a temporary .png file that can be viewed within the session of the shooting, it won't be visible even if it is disconnected and reconnected. So the only thing I have to say regarding various bracketing and merging mode is that it is working, but still not YET working!!
The Scene and Setup
This is the scene and set up I used and will be used to further test the app/device. Why did I choose it instead of shooting a scene, a tree or anything else? Well if you are interested in understanding the technical aspects like depth of field, point of focus, scene sharpness etc, having a small defined scene is very useful and so I use this simple yet complex setting to understand various aspect of this novel app/device. I use a Nikon D750 camera with a Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4 lens. All the metadata will be present, just click on the image and click on the i button, it should provide you with complete metadata.
This image is taken at the camera auto settings. If you are someone like me and are interested in more tech details, right next to the image is the histogram.
Smart Mode-Single Point Focus
arsenal complete auto aka smart mode-single point focus
Histogram-arsenal complete auto aka smart mode-single point focus
Above image was taken with single point focus to the center of the scene the settings info and histogram are next to the image. To see full res image click on the image. You can see it at 100%. The camera auto mode and Arsenal "SMART" mode are comparable, also it looks like the AI algorithm is giving importance to the quality of image i.e. low ISO, but low shutter speed as well. The focusing is not bad, but as expected with single point focus, it has a shallow depth of field.
Smart Mode-Four Point Focus
arsenal complete auto aka smart mode-four point focus
Histogram-arsenal complete auto aka smart mode-four point focus
The four-point focus is definitely better (no more than 4 points - that's maximum). The issue of slow focusing is still there (it is taking ~2 mi; see phone screenshots below), but it is definitely doing a better job than before.
Smart Mode-Whole Scene Focus
arsenal complete auto aka smart mode-whole scene focus
Histogram-arsenal complete auto aka smart mode-whole scene focus
In this mode, I had a couple of times app crashing and I needed to restart it. But the whole scene mode was not satisfactory at all. The 4 point focusing was far better, the whole scene was not sharp in the "whole scene sharp" mode. It is definitely faster than it was previously.
To summarize, the latest update has fixed many of the issues that make the 1st time experience using the app/device better, but there is a lot of room available for improvement like the writing of merge files into the SD card without which it is of no use. Another aspect that the developers can think of in the immediate future is allowing high res images to be exported to various image processing apps like lightroom or snapseed within your mobile environment, that would make this better many folds. While many of the shortcomings I am seeing here (like focusing) could be a function of my lens (it is slightly an old lens), but things have improved from the time I got it and of course there is a lot of room for improvement and I believe developers/creators are working in that regard.