Ok, i had hoped to bring you a reasonable post by now about mobile editing apps, but the sheer volume of apps left me rather bewildered as to what apps to chose to try out..

As you can see here, this screenshot is the top 27 FREE apps on the google play store, and thats only the top section, with about 4x that down below.. and its the same for paid apps too, the sheer amount is absolutely mind boggling.

TopFree

What i will probably do now is just pick 2 or 3 random ones and have a little play and see what happens, as to paid apps, i probably will just stick to free ones…


Today is the second of my little series about the changing world of photography, and my changing perspective of ‘mobile photography’

The first part for me is definitely the device itself,  aka the smartphone or tablet. Yes ive seen people using their iPad or Galaxy Tab devices as cameras.

But lets start with a little history..

The first cell phones with cameras started to appear on the market in the early 2000’s in Japan,  by 2003 over half of all phones sold had a camera in them, and by 2006 Nokia was the biggest camera seller in the world with more Nokia phones with a camera sold than digital cameras.

Then in 2007 the whole scene changed again when Apple released the iPhone, and the Samsung Galaxy Android phones started to appear enmasse. The smartphone market made mobile photography even easier, with the ability to instantly upload images to the then  social media.

Since then we have seen the imaging side of smartphones evolve rapidly, with cameras gaining features like auto focus with face detection, LED flashes, and increasing resolution.

In my experience, sure the cameras may be gaining in resolution, but the sensor size has not increased so all those new pixels gotta go somewhere, how do they do it, they make them smaller, and pack them closer together, which means loss of sensitivity, and more noise because the signals are closer together.

Anyways… Enough tech stuff, the real point is how i find shooting pics using my phone.  I have 3 different camera apps on my phone, but generally use the stock standard app.. Sure there are no doubt better ones, that have more options and better controls but if im using my phone for pics i want it done fast and without too much thought, and if i want to i can upload to social media to share.  Will i print images from my phone, nope, never they just are not good enough for me to take the trouble to print.  If i am going somewhere and im likely to want to take pics to print,  i will take one of my proper cameras.

Sure there are millions of younger photographers who have only used phones for their photography because they only ever upload to social media like Facebook, Instagram, and others,  but as a retailer, i am also seeing those photographers go past what can be done with a smartphone, and want better images and move toward stand alone cameras.

Mobile Photography has most definitely changed the way many people take and share photos,  and with the rise of Instagram and Twitter, many people have become ‘celebrities’ because they have  figured out how to best promote themselves and now products for companies in the social media channels.


This is going to be a small series of posts,  because there is way to much to cover in just one post…

Im going to preface this post with a disclaimer, I have NEVER been a massive fan of using my mobile device as a replacement for a pocket camera. I would rather actually carry a small camera with me with a proper optical zoom and bigger than mobile sensor to take pics when out with friends, and don’t want to take my Micro 4/3 system camera..  Why, because the images are no doubt better than what comes off a mobile, even my 1yr old high end smart phone.

But for those of us like me who prefers a separate camera to a phone camera, the rise of the smart phone and camera phones has decimated the pocket camera market and few companies make the range of small pocket camera for everyday that there was 10 years ago before Apple launched the iPhone

Why have i decided to blog about an area i’m not 100% enthused about? Well simply because in the last couple of months ive left my pocket camera at home and used my phone, I can hear you all asking why??? Well the first thing is i can easily upload pics on the go to whatever social media i want to use, and my pocket camera is now OVER a decade old.. yes that is totally correct, my pocket camera is a 2004 model Olympus mju-mini/Stylus Verve with a whopping 4 megapixels combined with a 2x optical zoom lens. it uses the now obsolete😄 picture card to store images,  Wifi was a pipe dream on a digital camera in 2004.

My smartphone, which is an Android device that is not made by the S company or generally one of the brands you find here in NZ easily, but outside of NZ it is a well known company.  The primary camera on it has 4mp but instead of a 1/2.5″ Sensor that my mju has it is a 1/3″ 4mp sensor, it has AF and an LED flash, sure the actual camera specs are so close to my camera that the big difference is my camera has a zoom lens, where the phone has everything else but…

Its so much easier to take pics and share them with my phone because its all on the phone, social media done! email, easy as.

With the changing of my mindset regarding using a small camera v my phone, there is a couple of big caveats with it. If i could find a nice small pocketable camera with wifi built in and in the right price range for me ( i don’t want to carry a $1000 sony RX100 Mk4 with me on a night out on the town) and a decent wifi app i would still rather carry a pocket camera.

I’ve started looking around at some of the camera apps for Android as its what my phone is, i am sure there are some nice iOS camera apps out there, but as i don’t use an iPhone i will be sticking to Android apps.

The sheer range of camera/photo apps available is overwhelming. In the FREE app section of the Google Play Store, i gave up looking after several hundred apps, and these range from simple camera apps that allow better selfies to  full on editing programs like Adobe Lightroom Mobile and video editing apps for the budding Hitchcock or Spielberg

The Paid app sections are just as bad and they can cost a pretty penny too!

Then there are the external accessories too, from selfie sticks and small clip on lenses, to lights and stabilizers there is an increasing amount coming out to make you phones camera more a camera with a phone attached than the other way around.

What does that mean for the mobile photographer/videographer, and almost limitless choice of apps and accessories to create and share images, videos and generally enjoy this ever evolving form of photography.

Over the series, i hopefully will delve into the still photography as well as making movies with a phone and editing.

 


09Jun16

It is officially Winter here in NZ now, and for most its a time to hunker down inside and do inside things on the cold long nights we have in the South.

I like to use this time to make sure all my printing is done.
I print Albums, especially if they are projects or special events, that way i keep a record of what i have done, and i know they will be around for a long time, because they are printed in a lab on Silver Halide base papers.

Yeah Printing digital pics, i go on about it alot. Why? Because it is simply the best long term way to store those precious memories.

There is going to be a generation of images lost in  the digital age when Hard Drives fail, storage systems degrade, and file types become obsolete and images have not been transferred to new storage mediums, yet if printed and put into albums, those precious memories will survive.

In store here at Musselburgh Pharmacy/Southern Cameras we have a great special at the moment with 4×6″ prints at 9c each and Enlargements up to 12×18″

This runs until June 29th, so come in, see Hayden and print those precious memories


I had the opportunity to spend the weekend shooting the Olympus m.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 PRO  lens with 1.4x Tele Converter.maxresdefault

The lens was kindly loaned to me by a good customer after i was approached to take some photo’s at a field hockey event here in Dunedin on a Friday night, my m.Zuiko 75-300 would have struggled greatly with the demands shooting in low light approaching midnight, and capturing action pics.

With the lens and TC delivered, off i went.

I have been looking at this lens and the Panasonic 35-100mm f2.8 for myself for a while, so to shoot an extended period with it was good for me as it meant i could see how it would stack up over an extended time and for my customers benefit, see how it performed on the OM-D E-M1 with firmware v4.x.

First thing i noticed was instead of trying to shoot at ISO 6400, and the aperture ‘wide open at f6.3’ with my 75-300mm, i was comfortably shooting with the 40-150mm open at f2.8 and ISO 1600 with shutter speeds over 1/125th and the AF was  rapid, and accurate, and despite being a large lens made of metal with hoods and tripod collars attached, it was still very easy to manouver and put on target rapidly.

The images after looking at Friday night’s and again i shot with it late on Sunday afternoon, they were sharp, and i was able to keep the lens easily.

The downside to the lens, its heavy.. well heavy in the micro 4/3 ecosystem though someone coming from a full frame DSLR with 70-200mm f2.8 lenses will find it positively lightweight.

The tripod collar while a good thing, i found a pain in the backside because it got in my way when trying to zoom, even when i turned it around it was getting in my way.

ZP401501Getting home and downloading the images, i found them to be nice and sharp, and required a minimum of clean up work in post, sure there were a couple that needed some recovery, but that comes with taking pictures late into the night with no flash.

The image on the left i was able to push the RAW file a little over 2 stops and retain details etc to make a printable image from it.

Was i happy with the results, you betcha, I definitely recommend the Olympus m.Zuiko 40-150mm PRO lens and 1.4x Teleconverter.ZP401502ZP401503


A serious question, and one that doesn’t really

Here at http://www.southerncameras.co.nz we have a huge, and i mean HUGE catalogue of items, everything from batteries to cameras with enough megapixels to create problems for all but the gruntiest computers.

PTP117But so far this year i have been surprised, our film sales, film processing and film related items have been going really well, not just last couple of years well, but 10 years ago well. And the most surprising thing about it, is that i have done a number or quotes for teaching institutions, both high school and tertiary to reactivate their darkrooms.

Yup thats right, we can even supply darkroom gear, from tongs to enlargers, and everything in between to set up, or rejuvinate a black and white darkroom.

I must admit that i am loving the film love thats out there at the moment, heck even the major motion picture studio’s are in on the film love. The latest Star Wars film, and the next couple in the sequence have been and will be shot on Kodak film stock, as a conglomerate of studios and directors including JJ Abrams, Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino are all behind the push.

Film stock is still the best way to preserve images, or motion pictures. Why is that? Because every few years you have to transfer digital files to a new storage medium and every time you do this you risk losing data or corrupting the files, yet negatives and film prints still remain even 100 years later.pop_pen_pen-ft

Why is film making a comeback, its hard to pin it down, but for many the process of shooting film is a big thing, i know it is for me. For example, i can take my OM-D to a one day motorsport event and shoot 2500 frames without thinking, why because it is so easy to push the shutter release and hold it down capturing 10fps for 10 seconds and boom there is 100 frames taken, and i generally carry nearly 100gb of storage on SD cards with me so i have 10,000 frames or so to shoot through a day.

Minolta_Dynax_9_Yet if i take my film cameras out to shoot, i might have 3 or 4 rolls of film, and sometimes if its a grab n go type thing i have 1 roll, so it can be anywhere from 12 – 96 frames so i make sure i have every thing right before i push the shutter release.

I read a really cool blog by a photographer who covered this years Daytona 500 NASCAR race using 2 film cameras and expired film,  he was credentialed fully by NASCAR, but no news outlet assignment so he shot 25 rolls of film over the course of the event and he found himself trying to check the images on the non-existent LCD, but overall the shooting experience has helped renew a passion (check the blog out here http://blog.chiplitherland.com/2016/02/29/expired-at-the-daytona-500/ )

I KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAthink that for many shooting film is a nostalgia trip, the memory of shooting like we did before digital, and finding the passion for photography we used to have before the instabook and snapbo revolution took over, and the hipsters who started using old film cameras because it was retro and hip and ironic have found the medium to be immensely satisfying,  the whole process of being more selective with what you capture, and the wait of getting it processed and returned, and for some, developing their own in a darkroom, make the effort worth it.

Will the current revival see a wholesale return to film, i doubt it, but it will keep film manufacturers happy, and keep popular film stocks in demand.Topconpress

Speaking of film, we have a wide range of film by classic brands such as Fujifilm and Ilford, and not so well known brands like Lomography in formats from regular 35mm and 120 roll film to 4×5 sheet and 110 cartridge films. Heck we can even supply new film cameras by Lomography from the baby 110 range to the Belair and LC-A 120’s, plus Pinhole cameras by Ilford for 4×5 sheet film.


Even though its Spring heading for Summer here in NZ and down in the south where we are, it doesnt get dark until well after 9pm, Telescopes are an often looked at Christmas gift.

Dunedin is lucky that we are a smallish city, and you do not have to go too far away from the city to get some amazing night skies.

Most people looking for a night sky telescope want to see the cool things, Saturn and its rings, the great red spot and cloud bands on Jupiter, Jupiters moons and a whole lot more.

Personally, if you are just getting into astronomy and want to find these things, a Dobsonian telescope delivers the best bang for the buck.

Ok i hear ya, the first question you are asking is what is a Dobsonian????

Well, a Dobsonian Telescope aka a ‘Dob’ is a reflecting telescope that sits on a box mount with a turntable to move it around, like this one. As you can see, it is a big barrel like telescope with the box supporting it. the scope is a reflecting teleDobscope, that means that light goes in the front, hits a mirror at the base of the scope, and then is directed out the eyepiece on the side near the front by a much smaller second mirror.

Because the mount is basic, a dob is a  very easy to operate, Place the scope outside, take the aperture cover off, insert eyepiece and move the scope by hand and your ready to observe.

The other advantage of the Dobsonians is that they are generally reasonably large aperture instruments.  Aperture is the size of the light gathering area, so the bigger the number, the more light it lets in, this in turn means you will see objects that are not so bright and harder to see.

I mentioned bang for the buck, a Dob is normally a pretty good telescope for not a lot of money. For example, here at Southern Cameras, we have 6″ Dob for $499 NZ, where as the 6″ Reflector which has the same type of optic setup as the as the dob but is on an EQ3 mount, is more than double the price @ $1099.

This price disparity is the same when you go bigger too,  an 8″ Dob retails for around $800 NZ, where as 8″ reflectors on EQ mounts are at least double.

Talking of styles, there are now a couple of different types of dob that are commercially available. There is the classic solid tube dob like the pic above, and Truss dob’s and Collapsible Truss Dobs.

Truss Dobs generally are in sizes larger than 10″ with some being being as large as 30″ apertures. Truss Dobs are popular in these larger sizes as the design makes them easier to transport and store, but also makes them comparitvely lightweight.

colldobSkywatcher is among the companies that produce collapsable type truss dobs, these collapsible truss dobs have the secondary mirror, focusser etc in one cell, and the primary mirror in a second cell with and they are held apart by tubes that for storage and transport, the secondary cell slides down to rest on top of the Primary cell structure. Then you simply tighten the locks down and lift the tube off the base and your ready to transport.

SkytrussdobThe full Truss dobs, (like the one of the left) are a big units, this one pictured has an 18″ primary mirror and stands  nearly 2m (6ft 5″) tall and weighs in at nearly 70kg when assembled.  These are for serious astronomers, who are hunting for super distant objects. These Truss dobs are generally 16″ and larger, there are many custom builders out in the market who will build to order, with some truly amazing specs. but some of these with primary mirrors over 24″ in diameter also come with a cost to match.

Recent advances in technology have also made some of these DCOLGOTOdobobs even easier to use with the inclusion of GOTO motor drive technology. GOTO is cool, on the side of the telescope mount is a hand controller, this allows you to enter an sky object lets say Venus, and it will automatically find Venus, and guide the scope there, then track Venus until you get bored or want to look for something else, so back into the controller and repeat. Sure this takes the fun out of randomly pointing the scope at the sky and having a look, but you can still do that with a GOTO scope. The pic above shows a Skywatcher Collapsible GOTO dob in both the  active and travel positions.

If you want a pretty neat DIY project, you can actually purchase primary and secondary mirrors, and most of the components to build your own telescope, there are a number of pretty good resources around giving instruction on how to construct a telescope, but probably one of the better ones is Jean Texereau’s how to make a telescope.

We have a couple of Dobs in stock right now, so come if you are in Dunedin NZ, come and visit us, Southern Cameras @ Musselburgh Pharmacy, 59 Musselburgh Rise, Dunedin and ask for Hayden

 




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