Legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz recommends the iPhone as the “the snapshot camera of today” and lauds it for ease and accessibility in last night’s Brian Williams show MSNBC.
The Fuji X10 camera has been anticipated with fanatic zeal since the X10 was introduced earlier this year. Now the camera is finally shipping and the early reviews are trickling in. Some points that come up are excellent low light images even though the sensor is smaller than an APS C dslr. The build quality is similar to the X100 and is not much smaller than it’s older sibling. The price of $599 is $100 to $150 less than the closest cameras in it’s target range, the Lumix LX5, Olympus XZ-1 and Canon S100 so it seems like a fair price for a camera like this.
Fuji X10 Lens Fully Extended
Fuji X10 Camera Back
FUJI X10 REVIEWS
I have been a fan of the Olloclip ever since we started carrying it in our store. So when I stumbled onto the iPro Lens during research for a secret product Tinyshooters is creating I was anxious to test it out.
A quick primer for those of you unfamiliar with the Olloclip. It is a small lens accessory that clips over the iPhone 4 or 4S giving you the option of a wide angle, fish eye or macro lens for your iPhone. I see this as an essential iPhone photography add on. The wider angle lens and macro give you better photo options while the fisheye while used less frequently provides some very interesting shots.
The iPro Lens eschews the macro but gives you a wide angle and fisheye lens that twists on via a dslr like bayonet mount on a provided custom iPhone case. The two lenses fit inside a metal handle that can be screwed to the case to stabilize it. The handle can also be used as a regular tripod mount.
The iPro Lens has the feel of a quality product. The fit and finish is top notch. All the components from the custom iPhone case, the lens’ bayonet mount to the metal threaded sections of the handle fit precisely with no loose elements.
The bayonet mount of the lenses fit snugly and twist on firmly with about a 45 degree rotation. Unlike other solutions with fully threaded screw mounts that take several twists to lock the bayonet mount acts like a dslr lens and locks on quickly with a small turn.
Upon use the iPro Lens results look similar to the Olloclip in sharpness but adds a more natural looking color tint making the iPhone 4S’ normally too warm photos seem more realistic. Closely looking at the corners they are both very soft and blurry. The iPro Lens’ fisheye lens has a large “ring” on the outer circle edge but gives a wider fisheye effect. Both of the iPro Lenses’ give a wider field of view than the Olloclip.
The photos here are some preliminary samples for your perusal. We plan to add more as we test further. Full size downloads at the end of the article.
Original Straight From Camera
iPro Lens Wide Angle
Olloclip Wide Angle
iPro Lens Fisheye
In day to day photo taking we found the Olloclip to be easier and quicker to use along with being more portable. While the handle is great for protecting the lenses and one handed video recording, unscrewing sections of the handle to unlock the lenses and having to deal with all these components while mounting a lens makes it more awkward to use than the Olloclip. Unless you snap on the lens ahead of time with the iPro Lens I find it easier and faster to slip the single piece Olloclip onto the iPhone when needed.
However, using the Olloclip means having to do without a case and using two hands for stabilization.
iPro Lens Pros
-adds more natural color to iPhone 4S photos
-includes an iPhone case and a sturdy metal handle that acts as a protective lens holder and tripod mount
-excellent built quality
iPro Lens Cons
-no major difference in lens quality between iPro lenses and the Olloclip
-Olloclip has an extra macro lens
-more difficult to use if attaching lenses in the field
-pricy, $199 vs $75 for the Olloclip
We will not carry the iPro Lens in our store but continue to stock the Olloclip.
Adobe Carousel Review
I was intrigued by Adobe’s release of Carousel last week. Carousel is like iCloud for photos with simple yet powerful editing features borrowed from Lightroom and digital filters similar to other Apps.
That sounds great but like iCloud Adobe wants an annual fee for Carousel, $99 per year or $9.99/mth with a currently running introductory price of $59.99 or $5.99/mth. After perusing the fine print I could not find a storage limit restriction and the literature mentions you can store 100,000 photos in Carousel and their product page claims unlimited storage so I assume there is no limit.
Carousel vs Flickr
This is where I see Flickr losing out on a huge market opportunity. Consider Flickr only charges $25 per year for unlimited uploads and has Picnik photo editing integration they really should have stepped it up and created a better photo editing interface and integrated mobile device filters and editing like Carousel into an app. If they did so there would be no reason for anyone to be using something like Carousel.
Carousel vs Apple’s Photo Stream
The closest competitor to Carousel is Apple’s iCloud service which is their paid cloud media storage service. The difference is Carousel is geared strictly for photos and has unlimited storage. On Apple’s iCloud Photostream only the most recent 1,000 photos are kept and they are kept for only 30 days. Photostream is more of a short-term workflow tool, while Carousel is a long-term tool. Carousel allows ALL of your pictures to be available, not just the most recent ones. You are allowed to share your photo Carousel with up to 4 other people. There is also the issue of price, Apple’s fees are 5GB of online storage is free; 10GB is $20 a year; 20GB is $40 a year; 50GB is $100 a year vs Carousel’s all you can eat plan of $99/yr on special now for $59/yr.
Adobe’s Carousel includes 17 filters a la Instagram or Camera+ but they just don’t seem to have the finesse of the apps that have been around the last few years. Where Carousel excels is in the “Adjustments” settings which is a subset of the best parts of Lightroom but controlled by a single slider. Contrast, Shadow, Vibrance and one that seems stolen from Camera+ “Clarity” are very effective for improving iPhone photos, especially Shadow and Clarity.
Like other photo apps, you can share the photo to multiple social networks. Carousel supports the main ones Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and email but Adobe is behind Instagram in the number of networks it supports.
Carousel is a good solution for people who want to just edit and sync photos but not any other media from their computers, iPhones and iPads and manage all of them in one place.
Consider the closest competitors are either:
a) iCloud which is geared towards all types of media and does not offer unlimited storage and has no photo editing
b) Flickr which costs less but does not include photo editing.
There are of course other mobile photo editing apps, but they do not sync up edits with your desktop photo library. Adobe Carousel solves this problem by seamlessly syncing all your photos from multiple devices so you can peruse all your photos in one place whether at your office desk or strolling during vacation.
It appears Adobe’s Carousel has potential market for their service, it syncs desktop pictures to a cloud service that is also shared with your phone and tablet. It offers built in editing so you no longer need to jump into another app for editing before upload, saving you another step and the price while not the best is reasonable for unlimited storage.
Currently Carousel is only for Apple OS systems but Windows and Android versions are coming soon.