Smart Phone Image Capture

Smartphones are… well… smart – even smarter than the first spaceships that took men to the moon in the early space race. A single Apple iPhone 5 has 2.7 times the processing power of the 1985 Cray-2 supercomputer. That’s crazy powerful in such a short space of time, and I currently have two PS4s in the house which when combined realistically class as a supercomputer-level of processing power. But I am getting sidetracked.

I use my phone for image capture a lot, either with the built-in camera or via other cameras with app and WiFi/Bluetooth controls.  Below are some screen captures from my phone with a few of the apps that I use.

Two of the apps are built in to the phone, both the image viewer ‘Photos’ and FaceTime.  I also have Instagram, which is a pretty standard app to have, and Panorama which is a old app that takes 360 photos (something you can now do natively in the Apple camera app). I still have the panoramic app for a few reasons: one is that I paid for it many years ago and I want my money’s worth, and it doesn’t take up much space on the phone itself. But most importantly it stores all of your images online to view later, as well as images from other users.  It also is one of the first apps that used the movement and gyroscope in the phone to move around the image – something that is now becoming more and more common in photos online and is even native in Facebook applications.

Flickr is pretty self explanatory.  I have a pro membership and have a lot of images on there (about 3 thousand). Capture and the Panasonic Image App are both camera control apps, for the GoPro and a Panasonic Blue camera respectively; for me these cameras have very different uses: while the GoPro is more known, it does have its limitations including its shockingly poor battery life, whereas the Panasonic can be used whilst connected to a power source which in the past enabled me to film/take regular images for up to 8hours at a time.

Lapse It is a fantastic time lapse app that uses the phone camera to take images and I paid about £2.99 for it a few years ago and it’s been really useful. It had the ability to change exposure, ISO and contrast before starting to film as well as taking 12 images a second (12fps is used in animation traditionally) which can then be exported directly to YouTube or via an MP4 file which you can then send wherever you want.

Finally and probably the most interesting of the apps are 20Twenty and Magic Hour. Twenty20 is a new stock photography service that launched to the public after months of beta testing, which I was part of. It claims to have the world’s largest crowdsourced commercial image catalog — one that contains 45 million photos from 250,000 photographers based in 154 countries.  It runs competitions and other incentives for you to get involved with – and most importantly it earns me money. Magic Hour is a great little app that’s full of information to help you get the winning shot depending on location and weather, it has information on sunrise and sunset and how long it’s going to last as well as a host of other nifty little nuggets that increase the chances of getting that money-making shot.


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