A DIY Approach To Tabletop Smartphone Photography

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While some think that smartphone will take over cameras almost completely, I disagree. I think ‘real’ cameras are here to stay. What I do think is that smartphones are making photography much more accessible to the masses. The saying ‘if you have a smartphone you are now a photographer’ is probably truer than ever. And while owning a camera-equipped phone (or a camera for that matter) does not make you a good or a bad photographer, there are a few tricks that you can use to up your results using a smartphone.

I was kinda surprised when Alex Koloskov released a new product photography course (because usually he is all about high end mega $$$ strobes), but with a healthy DIY approach Alex manages to make it work. And work quite nice at that….

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Turn Your Smartphone Into an Awesome Macro Camera With This Simple Hack

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Smartphones are great, whether you’re grabbing quick snapshots of the kids smearing icing on themselves, making a low-budget film (they’re surprisingly good, actually), or immortalizing your visage in a selfie.  But, without interchangeable lenses, one area where they lack is in focal control.  Having this power over your technology is important for things like macro photography.  While there are a variety of hacks for using your smartphone to capture tiny details, some can get rather complicated.

Instructables user Znaffi (we’ll call him Mr. X) shows us how to use a simple water droplet to turn your mobile device into a macro powerhouse.  We touched on this a while back, but Mr. X gives us a full breakdown of this simple and basically-free technique.

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Install A Blacklight Filter On Your Smartphone Camera For 3 Cents

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Black Light can be used for spectacular photography or just for having some photographic fun, but if you just want to try out a quick trick for testing your home for bacteria there is a way to do it for a couple of cents.

Turns out that a certain mix of sharpie ink will block all light but back light. The folks at Hefty.co made a quick tutorial on how it’s made.

You would need a blue Sharpie and a purple Sharpie and some tape. Applying two blue tape layers and one purple tape layer will act as a filter for the smartphone flash. In total darkness shining that flash onto anything will reflect any black light (or fluorescent emittance) from found objects.

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Re: why smartphone photography stinks for you. A Response

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Vivitar UWS loaded with cross processed film. This camera has no exposure control. Just a shutter release and rewind

I’ve read the latest article by JP Danko about why smartphone photography stinks. I disagree, and here is my response.

I do hate the term “tog”. I cringe every time I see or hear it.

Your definition of real camera does sound little bit pretentious to my ears as it leaves out pretty much all point and shoots and (however heretic it might sound) lofi/lomo cameras. Disregard the phone aspect for now. All the autofocus, auto exposure cameras with little to no control about anything are left out. This includes cameras like Olympus Mju, many Polaroid Land cameras, Instamatics and Brownies… why I mention them? Cause it seems like your generalization is presuming only digital media. These analog cameras I mentioned are directly comparable with some of the current phone camera offerings. Take Kodak instamatics and Brownies. Cheap, low quality shooters that were spewed by the millions yet they provided the public with much appreciated democratization of photography. Because of their limitations in exposure their photos looked very much the same, yet they defined the visual style and taste in such strong way, that most popular (and praised by you) app like Instagram and Hipstamatic base their success on this established visual style. Just look at the names. Our family memories are defined by low quality cameras yet we continue with this tradition even now, when the access to quality digital apparatus is easier than ever before. But people did not seem to mind the lens quality of the Instamatic or automatic land cameras. As those pictures were viewed as rather small prints today photography is viewed on small screens.

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Why Smartphone Photography Stinks

why smartphone photography stinks

First – to be clear – I’m talking about the process of using a smartphone camera for photography – not the pics, pix, snaps, shots or whatever it is smartphone togs, shooters or iphoneograperhers call photographs captured with a mobile phone camera.

(Does anyone else really really hate the term “tog” or is it just me?)

Anyway, also for disclosure – yes, I am almost middle aged and I clearly don’t understand modern photography and will be left behind by the new wave of mobile phone photographers because I refuse to adapt.

Right, now that that’s out of the way – here’s why smartphone photography stinks…

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Olympus Goes Head to Head vs. Sony with Olympus Air – Smartphone Camera With SLR Quality and Features

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Finally, after being envious of the Japanese market for several months, what is perhaps one of the best innovations in mobile phone photography has arrived in the US.

The Olympus Air is a powerful, interchangeable-lens camera that is controlled by your smartphone.  It is a standalone camera that should not be confused with simple adapters for your smartphone’s existing camera.  The Air itself, which just looks like an extension of the lens, boasts “SLR quality” images from its 16MP sensor and is compatible with all micro 4/3 lenses.

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iOS 9 Code reveals Apple is Working On Bringing Flash, 1080p and 240fps Slo-Mo to Future iPhones

Source: Twitter/Hamza Sood

Source: Twitter/Hamza Sood

Rumors have been stating that the iPhone 7’s camera might offer DSLR-like performance, and they gained momentum a couple of months ago when Apple purchased LinX, an Israeli camera-tech company focusing on computational imaging.

While we have yet to have seen any solid evidence that DSLR owners will soon be able to stop lugging their cameras around, code found in the developer’s Beta version of iOS 9 reveals that quite a lot of work has been focused on improving the device’s front-facing camera.

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This Is Where SmartPhones Stand: Phonography Light Painting

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One of the main concerns of the photographic industry is the fact that smarthones are slowly biting into the more advanced camera markets. People who use to carry a camera everywhere are now using a smartphone as their go-to camera, simply because it is always in their pocket. The other market is the more advanced photographers, those who need the extra control that a “real” camera provides – long exposure is one such example, but the latest Huawei P8 is beating down on DSLRs in that regard as well.

Malaysian Photographer Keow Wee Loong took the smartphone for a Light Painting ride and was amazed at the results. Usually when you do light painting, you set a camera on a tripod and give it a good, long exposure. Those settings accumulate the bright light (i.e. the painting) while keeping the background dark. But Keow Wee Loong used the light painting feature of the Huawei P8 and was able to take stunning light painting photographs, how?

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Fire Wings Light Painting Captured on Smartphone

Smartphones are not naturally meant for light painting. Mostly because they (mostly) have small sensors that do not handle long exposures well, and accumulate noise like a TV set on a dead channel.

The engineering team at Huawei came up with a clever concept to overcome that limitation and they handle light painting in a very similar way to how astro-photographers capture the night skies, by stacking many images together. But where sky photographers stack many 30 seconds shots to create several hours’ worth of exposure, the Huawei P8 does it on a seconds scale.

To demonstrate the concept, Huawei commissioned photographer Benjamin Von Wong (previously) to shoot a light painted angle with fire wings.

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