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Friday, 27 January 2012


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Now I want an iphone.

Thanks for the tip, TOP! Getting mine as we speak. If I don't have my Hexar AF with me, I've got it on the iPhone.

"Image sweeteners".


Made me decide to get the Konica Hexar... not an iPhone!

This is why cameras should have APIs. [Application programming interfaces —Ed.]

Awesome. Now make an Android version please.

Here's another idea: How about a camera with WiFi that can download and use image editing apps like those used in phones to do editing in camera?

Wow. Just Wow.

Thanks, Mike! And Frank is so right. At CES, "Polaroid" introduced a compact camera that runs Android, but I would love to see a large sensor mirrorless camera with apps. I would start with the menu. We've all navigated enough terrible camera menu systems for two lifetimes.

That's really very good. Well done! As with Frank Petronio, I just may have to get an iPhone

Ooooh, very sweet.

I have one question / request : Will there be an android version? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!

I love my android phone, and wouldn't swap it for an iPhone, but damn the iPhone has some cool camera apps that I'm totally jealous of.

I just bought it to check it out. I like the simple interface. I just upgraded to the iPhone 4 from the 3gs and taking photos has become addicting. I cannot wait to explore this app some more. I am hardly grabbing my k-7 lately for food photos and whatever else I am snapping around the house. Since I have been using Istagram so much lately I have also been using the 6x6 app to get my mind into square format mode.

I also like how easy it is to edit photos with various apps. I have also been using BeFunkyFx, Hipstamatic, Photogene2 and KingCamera. They are all good.

Holy crap! Frank Petronio is right! Can you imagine a camera with a customizable interface like this. They will dominate the pro camera market!

A great app. Finally an iPhone app that's really useful. Great job, Ben.

I've had this since he announced it on rangefinderforum - but I never picked up on the framelines and center target matching those of my Hexar AF. Very nice.

Now let's just hope some Japanese camera designers watch this video.

Hear, hear to Frank's comment. It is often said that cameras today are computers with lenses on the front. What makes computers powerful is their software - specifically the ability of users to install and configure the software that meets their needs.

The ability of a camera to be re-configured easily and flexibly from a PC and to download apps would give a huge advantage to a camera manufacturer.

Oh, and while you're at it, adopt a non-proprietary RAW file format like DNG, as Ricoh, Leica, and Pentax have done.

Nice control UI. Unfortunately the same deficiencies that plague all iPhone camera apps are present -

- No control over ISO
- No control over shutter speed

Control over aperture isn't possible as the iPhone has a fixed shutter speed. As for the other two, from what I understand they're not in Apple's SDK, although I've seen at least one example of someone designing an app that can get to the shutter speed.

The major thing this app is missing is the ability to separate focus and exposure metering - something apps like ProCamera provide.

I think there is at least a kernel of truth in Frank Petronio's featured comment. However, I don't know that CHDK is that big a part of the reason why Canon's P&S line is crushing that piece of the market.

Wow. When I replace my digicam it will be with an iPhone. If only it came without the phone! I still live blessedly cell phone free.

As mentioned before, Android PLEASE! I love my Android phone and will never buy an iPhone but would love this app.

About CHDK, it's a big improvement in features, but not such one in terms of interface - it's great for what it does, but they did what they could with the few buttons at hand.

That's a great reason to have a camera :
- running Android
- and with a (IPS, big and bright) touch screen.

Marketers, this is an opportunity. You were warned.

Wonderful app - kudos to Ben and thanks to Mike for pointing this out. My office productivity just went out the window for the rest of the day.

David Dyer-Bennet kind of beat me to it, but Canon's SW has been hacked so thoroughly that it can almost be considered open source. I was going to use Magic Lantern as a more practical example.

Looks like a very nice user interface design. (Having only an iPod Touch it's not really worth me buying.)

I agree that I'd like to see manufacturers adopt some of this type of intuitive touch interface. Sony's NEX-5N, for example, has an iPhone-like touch screen that can be used for several functions such as touch-spot focus tracking. Phase One's new IQ series backs also have an excellent touch-screen interface, newly engineered for the product line. (It's wonderful.)

But, meanwhile, we have the "no viewfinder no sale" crowd out there. Delivering 21st century designs that concurrently serve 20th century fetishes is a daunting challenge.

As Apple are now I think the biggest company in the world by capitalisation, they've certainly got enough money to launch a proper Apple camera and include a control interface based on iOS. I'm thinking of the Ricoh modular system with a sensor on one side (as is the current case), and a smoothly integrated iPod Touch on the back.


Sadly, manual control over ISO and shutter is not possible with Apple's APIs. If you see it in the store, someone's using private APIs and not playing fair.

Separate control over focus and exposure is possible. The key is to half-press to lock exposure + focus, recompose, and then let up on the shutter for a split second to allow the exposure to readjust. The focus won't reset in that split second. It's a bit hard to describe, but you'd get it immediately if you saw it (I'm working on a video).

In that way, you can get separate exposure + focus control, all without taking your finger from the shutter release. It's a lot faster than having to drag AF and AE targets around, and you can do it one-handed!

@Frank Petronio

I totally agree with u when you say an open API dslr would crush the market, provided it s a good camera technically of course. By that I mean good at pure imaging functions.

Just think one second about the level of control an open camera could give to a working professional. You could reconfigure it top to bottom for today's job, everyday ! And that would be the death of that awful mode dial, which is just a poor remedy to chronically bad shutter/aperture controls anyway.

You say the apps market stares at the manufacturers but I disagree. Living in Japan I can understand why they don't see it. Here the average cellphone is already very featured in terms of internet services and the smartphone revolution is lagging behind compared to Western countries (user wise). On top of that the main users of iphones right now are young people, women, and so especially young women. If you ride the Tokyo metro it is quite obvious who uses what as 90% of Japanese people on the metro either sleep or use their cellphones. So quite the opposite population from older senior camera designers at traditional and conservative companies like canikon if you ask me.

I have some hope that Sony or Panasonic might come up with such a camera though. The configurable tri-navi interface of the nex-7 is a strong reason to hope. Also, when P&S cameras will be really way down and when Japanese camera makers will sit around a table with an iphone and try to figure out why people thinks it is so awesome to take pictures instead of a P&S, design idioms might change.

Have ben using the app today. In your piece about the iPhone, you were talking about how your chief criticism is that it does too much. The best tools do one thing well.

Mr. Syverson has taken a step in the direction of simplicity. By limiting the shooting/editing experience, he has made it better.

Very timely for me - I just picked up my first iPhone yesterday, a new 4S.

I got Mattebox a while ago and it's not something I find myself using, though the approach is different and it shows potential.

The main innovation is placing the centre mark over what you want in focus, tapping on the shutter button, recomposing and sliding the shutter button to take the shot. Very quick and intuitive. However the shutter button doesn't relocate when in portrait mode.

It's not possible to set separate focus and exposure, something other apps (Camera+, 6x7) allow. An approach I would like to see is a slider for relative exposure, rather than sampling from somewhere in the image.

I'm afraid I couldn't really care what ISO, focus distance and shutter speed the camera used. It's just an iPhone.

The editing functions need more thought as well. If, say, you're adjusting framing after the shot and pause to think about what it looks like you can find yourself in white balance mode and with no way to reset it to what it was.

The selected framing is also imposed on imported images which may not be desirable.

The touted highlight recovery doesn't really work, it just adds density to white areas which can be seen when you import an image with a white frame.

If it sounds like I'm being super critical, well I am. There are plenty of apps that exploit the camera on the iPhone, which makes finding something that you like highly probable. Unfortunately, Mattebox in its current state didn't push my buttons. I'd also humbly suggest that it's overpriced.

This is one of those times I wish the "apps" could be imported to a standard Apple based laptop.

The physically small devices manufactured by Apple are way too small for my enormous hands I tried an iPod, with a sensor tip device and it was useless, too small as are many similar devices.

Strange thought. Wonder if Apple could produce
a tablet/Pad with the features of say a 15"MacBook Pro, without a lid so to speak.

A piece of hardware not tied to just Apple produced software, with a touch screen about the size of a 15 inch MacBook Pro???

Am waiting to see if Apple produces a laptop with touch screen technology one of these days?

Who would have thought only ten years ago we would be able play Angry Birds on a camera?

More seriously, anybody knows something comparable running Android?

John Rodriguez wrote: " . . . although I've seen at least one example of someone designing an app that can get to the shutter speed."

John - which app is that? That's my major complaint with the iphone 4s camera, my inability to decide which iso and shutter speed. The iphone very much prefers lower isos and will default to a 1/20 sec shutter speed, I think, which often results in soft pictures. I'd rather have more noise and sharper edges, by selecting a shorter shutter speed/higher iso. Anyone know of an app that can do this? I understand that Apple's SDK doesn't allow it, but if there's a work-around that someone has developed, I'd love to try it. Thanks,

Woooow... I'm amazed! Well, here's another vote for an Android version.. I'm gladly paying for this app if it happens!

Too bad iPhone only, cause no way I am giving up my android.

Perhaps time for an update of one of the first consumer digital cameras, the Apple Quicktake 100?


(And for people who complain about the size of today's point and shoots, check out the picture of this thing next to an iPhone - it's huge! Like holding a pair of good size binoculars)

Does Ben know that Android market share is over 50% as of November (more than doubled in a year), while iOS has shrunk to 15%? Which begs the question, why are app developers still making iOS-only versions of their apps?

Almost makes you angry that camera makers continue to force users to suffer through the nightmare they call a menu interface.


Nice ui, and good choice of cameras to copy , but at the end of the day, one is still stuck with an iphone and the meh-quality images it produces. One can have a mamiya 7 and konica hexar for the price of an iphone and a 2yr contract.

If Apple made a real camera, with App support, the world as we know it would be over.

Imagine a Apple/Red camera - they are both in the valley, so it's a very nice fantasy today.

American creativity, long live America!


Mike, STOP!! (No, I don't really mean that.) I just got my first iPhone, a 4S, 2 weeks ago. I am using the comments from your holiday time post that solicited suggestions for photo apps. It's a very long list of excellent app possibilities, much better than all the outdated "Ten Best" lists on the web. Thanks very much to all the TOP readers for their ideas and comments.

My only general complaint is the lack of trial copies other than some that have limited-feature free versions. I'm kinda used to 15 or 30 day trials (granted they are for much more expensive softwares).

So far I'm using Camera+, PS Express, Hipstamatic, BeFunky & 8 mm (for video). Next up Panoramas, HDR, and Snapseed. Mattebox looks very interesting and I appreciate the try-it features of the website.

Thanks again!

Forget about Android... keep using your talents to make the iPhone a better platform for photographers. Focus on where your market is.

The iPhone dominates Flickr which likely mirrors the fraction of smart phone owners who care enough about photography to actually buy an app like Mattebox.




I'm off to download right now.


The market for iOS apps is still much larger than Android. There are many more sales of Android devices, but far fewer credit card numbers associated with accounts. In short, iOS is still the main attraction.

But I'm keeping my eye on it...

The reason for fewer Android apps is there are a half dozen versions of the OS from different companies phones which are not compatible, according to my son who develops apps. We are sending him to a course next week to see if we can make sense out of them.

cool. I wish I was smart like that.

Ah, the Hexar! What a wonderful compromise-free camera that was. The lens was said to be Leica quality. I wish I could have afforded it in the day. I even started (apart from a couple of compacts) my amateur career with a Konica, the TC ("Terrifically Compact" I guess).


I ran into a guy posting on a developer forum who'd written an application that allowed control of shutter speed. I've been through the SDK and it's NOT in there, this guy accessed it using an alternate method. I'll dig around and see if I can find the post again. The SDK limits you to selecting an X,Y coordinate to evaluate exposure.

I've been an iPhone Photographer since the device had 2MP, so it's been a while. As friend likes to say "Less control, more vision."

I notice several comments in this thread about the Android which include wishes for Apps. As a big big fan of competition I hope you get your wishes. As a photographer my advice is to get an iPhone. It's not like these devices last forever.

Regarding desktop Apps, they are indeed available, and they're incredible. You need a Mac of course, and it needs to be running a later version of the OS but many App developers have made desktop versions and more are added every day.

Nice UI-But
Not state of the art for a camera app

RE:Why more iOS camera apps despite greater android sales?
Momentum/Interia-iOS was out there doing it sooner for photography.
More iPhones are bought by photogs
More Androids are bought by caller/sms'ers (especially as a backlash to the iPhone/Apple onslaught)

I'd like to see this app with iso and shutter spped control, so +1 for Android version Mr. Syverson!

Sorry, I can't accept £2.49 for an App like this is overpriced.

To all those who are apologizing for saying the app is overpriced: no need to apologize!

Mattebox does several things that no other app does, but I knew from the beginning that it would be an idiosyncratic app with a smaller audience. Some will appreciate it, and others will choose from the zillion of other camera apps. There's enough room for everybody—apparently even Hexar fanatics like me. :)

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