I managed to hold off from an iPhone 3Gs, not because I didn’t want one but I just couldn’t justify
£40 a month. Once the 4 came out, I became weakened and accepted that £25 a month was worth
I do love it but like all these things, it really depends what you want. If phone calls must not be
dropped and voice activation is vital to you, as well as battery life, then it is probably the worst
If like me, you use iTunes, love the apps and can’t believe that it can make calls too, then it probably
is the most exciting thing since they crammed a 12 megapixel full frame sensor into an SLR.
The App store is not well thought-out. It’s hard to find precisely what you want and when confronted
with page 1 of 282, it takes a more patient sentient being than me to wade through all the junk.
When it comes to photography, there are hundreds, thousands actually, of apps to choose from but
they all fall into a few distinct categories, unfortunately, iTunes shoves them all into one.
Ok, enough setting of the scene…..What makes a good App?
Usefulness, Ease of Use, Design, Prettiness of interface, reliability – I guess that all of these have these
qualities. Perhaps more importantly still, I use them. When Apps can be as little as 59 pence, it can
sometimes be the case of….download….use once….forget about.
Here is my top ten so far, I have no doubt missed out some crackers but these are all useful.
10 – Expositor – Price £1.19 – For SLR’s/Compacts with manual controls.
Expositor is a tool designed to help you gain the correct exposure. There are a series of spinning dials
for Exposure Value, Shutter Speed, ISO and Aperture. This product is clever both for giving you a good
idea of how you might want to set up your camera for a given situation and how to compensate for
filters. Although I have not used this each time I shoot, it has come in handy when I’m not sure how
to get the best out of my camera in some tricky situations. Well worth the low price, easy to use but
you do need to read the instructions to get the best out of it.
9 – PhotoBuddy – Price £1.19 – Designed for iPhone and SLR’s
It’s probably easier to list the actions that this great app cannot perform, as it is packed with information.
Helps you to calculate: Exposure / Position of sun and moon / (for iPhone) distance to objects and lighting
presets, hyperfocal distance etc rather that list the lot, below is a screen grab from the App store:
In some ways, it’s like having a textbook with you when out on location. My gripe is a stupid one, there is just too much information
inside this app. So I guess it’s pretty great. Easy to use, intuitive interface, looks great and has some really handy information.
To be honest, there is far more here that I could ever wish to use , e.g. my use of bellows is limited but it’s there if I need it.
So, this is a highly digestible and well put-together little app which is easy to use and cleverly is both for iPhone users and SLR users.
8. Flickr Price £ Free
If you use Flickr, then this little app is really useful, both to keep on top of your images and to
research what is being taken in the world of photography.
The iPhone is a great way to browse images an this clever little app does about as much as you could reasonably expect.
Well worth the cash i.e. NONE
7. Strobox Price £ Free
This is a very simple App, designed to let you record the layout of your lighting and produce lighting diagrams.
If you do studio work or simply want an aide memoir for different setups you have tried, it’s really handy.
I find it good fun to use and you can eMail the finished version. You can make notes of how far from the subject the strobes are include various lighting accessories.
Great fun and worth a pop.
6. PS Express £ Free
I have had a long relationship with Photoshop and as soon as I saw that they had an app, I snapped it up.
Great for doing basic manipulation to your iPhone photos, basic colour, cropping and a few picture styles. Also good for uploading to Facebook or Twitter. You really wouldn’t want
to be working with this tiny interface for long but it does a decent job. Just like the real thing,
if you spend a great deal of time with this App, it means that your photo was not very good in the first place.
5. Pro HDR Price £ 1.19 For use with iPhone
I bought this on a whim. After all, how good is an High Dynamic Range Image likely to be on an iPhone?
Answer: I’m really surprised, it’s the simplest way to add punch and depth to images of anything which does not move.
What is HDR? Idea is that through taking a series of photos (in this case two) of the same thing, one over-exposed (lighter)
and one under-exposed (you guessed it – darker), you mix then together and this gives you a photo with more detail
in the lighter areas and more in the darker.
For me this is a surprise winner. It lines the photos up really well and then offers you some additional options towards the end of the process.
Mounting the iPhone on a tripod type device would render even better results.
For those times when you don’t want to carry a larger camera, this really is very simple and impressive.
4. Weather Pro £ 2.39
No, I know, it’s not a photography App at all but it gives you some really detailed information on the weather in your particular location.
It is loads more accurate than the bundled weather app and unless you are a Pro who has to be stuck outside during a downpour,
this little app could well ensure that you are inside a cafe during the worst of it and with your finger on the shutter,
when the sun peeps out of the clouds. I use this a lot and am amazed by its accuracy. We talk a lot about the weather in the UK for a good reason!
3. Simple DoF Calculator Price £ 1.19
Although this type of app is bundled within one of the early apps – Photobuddy.
I prefer this one for its simplicity and ease of use.
For landscape photographers, understanding hyperfocal distance is really important
and for the rest, the visual cues on depth of field for a given camera, lens and focal length combination is invaluable.
I use this and would not be without it.
2. ViewRanger Price £ 14.99
No it’s not for photography but this little GPS app is fantastic.
The best nature photographer on earth is only going to get good shots if facing the right subject.
This really is a super way of not getting lost outside.
You download tiles of Ordinance Survey Maps depending on where you are
(you get some free) and you can pinpoint your direction of travel and do all the main things you
might expect a more expensive GPS unit to achieve. Don’t leave the GPS switched on mind, it loves your battery.
Got to have this.
1. Helios Price £ 17.99
It’s expensive, in fact by App Store standards, it’s in the Mercedes category
but it is fantastic.
You need to plan, as a photographer.
Where will the sun be at a given time and what angle will it be at?
This and many more question related to the movement of the the great ball of light are answered with this app.
There are cheaper versions out there and you may not need such detailed information but it is exceptionally well designed and the screens are beautiful.
In fact, it looks a bit like the deck of the enterprise, great design.
I had been looking for a solution to plotting the course of the sun and Helios is the daddy.
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