Manufacturers at this year's CES know consumers turn to smartphones as their primary cameras, and they want in on the action. Whether it's a traditional Android player releasing a handset with optical zoom (the Zenfone Zoom), a point-and-shoot that's catered towards the generation that grew up with social networks and touchscreen devices (the Socialmatic), or devices that improve your selfies (ridiculous-looking accessory included), various companies all want to be the one you turn to for capturing life's moments. And it's no surprise—they've been at it for years.
Not to let competitor Polaroid steal too much of the limelight (see Socialmatic above), Kodak has come to CES with a device of its own.
Shift. Photo filters. Pick one, customize it. Need I explain more? *Eye roll* Alright alright, I will. So you know how most photography apps offer a list of preset filters that are supposed to make your images pretty? Or artful maybe? If you ever wanted more freedom over these filters, Shift could be your solution.
The app, which started out on iOS, has just been released on Android — a Christmas gift of sorts from the team. You select a photo from your gallery or take a new one, then you shuffle through a random list of effects. These include a combination of textures, color modifications, light leaks, contrast edits, and more.
Two years later, devices are getting updated to Lollipop, a 5.5-inch screen is dangerously close to being considered average, the Pebble is looking a little dated next to the new kid on the block, and Instagram has finally introduced five more filters.
You may not be able to tell from the product icon (update: B&H has issued another update with a new icon, seen above) but B&H, purveyor of everything photo, video, and audio, has updated its app with tons of material-inspired elements.
Apparently inspired by Google's new design direction, the company's app is now jam-packed with illustrations, material-inspired transitions, vivid colors, and cards.
The app's approach to organizing information swings in both directions - the home page serves up a huge, colorful illustration, along with bright promotional cards and shortcuts (along with a search FAB). The interface progressively gets more organized and sparse as you dive into the app until, in places like the "used" section, you've got just text-based lists.
I know, I know. You are tired of filter and effect apps, and so am I. But this Afterlight app looks good, really good. After starting out on iOS and gaining popularity due to its simplicity and quality, the app has just been released on the Play Store for Android devices running 4.0.3 and up.
Yesterday, Google's Camera app was updated to add a pretty handy remote shutter feature that can be used on a paired Android Wear wristwatch. But what if you're packing some serious camera equipment –let's say, something in the Canon EOS family– and you'd like to appear in some of your own shots from time to time? Chainfire has you covered with the latest update to his incredibly powerful DSLR Controller. Not only does the new version offer a remote shutter button on Android Wear, but it's also sporting some big improvements to the Timelapse feature, new white icons and faster wi-fi transfer speeds on KitKat, and fixes for the way SD cards are handled on KitKat and above.
The Amazon Appstore may not be the first place many of us head when it's time to grab a new app, but it's quite the spot for free stuff. Today only, Amazon is offering up nine photography apps for free or at discounted prices. To make things better, you get 100 Amazon coins for each download. By hitting up each app, you can get up to $9 in Amazon coins that you can spend on apps or in-app purchases.
You don't need to actually download the apps to receive the coins, as the benefit kicks in once you click "buy." It may take a while for the balance to update, but you can see it just buy visiting any paid app.
Retrica's popularity can be summed up in one word: selfies. If somebody - let's call her Sue - needs a picture of herself right this moment, she needs an app with a minimalist interface that doesn't get in the way. And since Sue Somebody is working with less than optimal circumstances and a mobile phone with a crappy front-facing camera, she wants a wide range of filters that could mask how bad of a photo she's about to take. Retrica fits that bill. She's seen her friend using the app on iOS for a while now, but now it's available in the Play Store for her to download as well.
Back at IFA, I got my hands on Sony's QX10 lens camera, one of two such devices the electronics manufacturer announced in Berlin. I wasn't sure what I thought about it then, having only played with it for about a day, but I've spent some quality time with the device since, and I'm ready to lay down my full impression.
For those not quite up to speed, the QX10 (and its higher-end counterpart, the QX100) is a camera in a lens. The generally lens-shaped body houses a sensor, microphones, and telescopic zooming lens assembly.
This odd device can clip onto your smartphone with a special adapter included in the box, accommodating most form factors adeptly with its spring action.
The Muku Shuttr is a simple piece of hardware that reached its Kickstarter funding goal in under a week, ending its campaign with almost ten times its original goal. It appeared an audience was ready and waiting for a mobile camera remote shutter.
I'm generally fascinated by the variety of mobile photography accessories pouring out of Kickstarter lately (I eagerly backed the Lumu light meter and am awaiting my unit now), and naturally wanted to give Shuttr a try. I've had a little time to experience the device now, and have found that, essentially, it's exactly what it looks like – a simple, keychain-sized remote shutter release powered by Bluetooth.