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Three Sigma Global Vision Art Lenses Receive Prestigious TIPA Award

April 19, 2016 Comments off

Sigma LogoRONKONKOMA, NY – April 19, 2016 Sigma Corporation of America, a leading DSLR lens, camera, flash and accessory manufacturer, today announced it has received three awards from theTechnical Image Press Association (TIPA). Sigma was awarded with the honors of Best DSLR Telephoto Zoom Lens for the Sigma 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Lens, Best DSLR Wide Angle Zoom Lens for the Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art Lens, and Best Professional DSLR Lens for the Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens.

The annual TIPA Awards honor the best photo and imaging products introduced during 2015 through 2016. Renowned in professional photo markets across the world, TIPA awards are among the highest accolades photo and imaging products can receive. The TIPA organization has a worldwide membership of 27 photo and imaging magazines from 16 countries across five continents.

“We are once again honored to have the Sigma 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Lens, the 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art Lens and the 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens selected by TIPA for their outstanding quality and impact on the industry. The thorough judging criteria take into account not only the innovation, but also the use of leading-edge technology, design and ergonomics, ease of use as well as the price/performance ratio. We are incredibly proud to have Sigma lenses meet these high standards,” comments Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America. “We pride ourselves on designing and manufacturing the very best lenses using today’s most cutting-edge optical technology. I want to thank the Sigma design and manufacturing team for their commitment to engineering excellence and look forward to seeing the inspiring images Sigma fans will create using our lenses.”

To see a full list of this year’s TIPA Award winners, please visit the official TIPA website.

About the Sigma 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Lens
The newest addition to the Global Vision Art lens line, the Sigma 50-100 F1.8 (75-150mm on 35mm format) mid-range zoom lens delivers outstanding prime lens-like results. Factoring in the APS-C image circle of 1.5x, the 50-100mm F1.8 covers three popular short tele prime focal lengths: 85mm, 105mm and 135mm. It maintains a constant F1.8 aperture, yielding exceptional brightness and resolution throughout the zoom while simultaneously maintaining focus as the lens is zoomed, ideal for videographers.

About the Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art Lens
The 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art is the world’s first full-frame F2 zoom lens, designed with the versatility of a zoom lens married with incredible performance. With premium FLD glass and seven SLD glass elements, it allows for sharp, beautiful image quality. Its large diameter aspherical lens also provides a stunning level of brightness, even ideal at the widest of apertures. Its quick, accurate autofocusing makes it perfect for capturing movement without blurring.

About the Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
The state-of-the-art 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art is a wide-angle prime lens designed for use with full-frame cameras with additional APS-C sensor support. It is Sigma’s widest large aperture art lens yet and was designed with careful attention on edge-to-edge performance. It includes both FLD glass and five SLD glasses in a 15-element, 11-group design to minimize spherical aberration, axial chromatic aberration and field curvature for incredible image quality. Tested using the proprietary “A1” measuring system, it is ensured with the highest standard of operation for professionals. This lens is perfect for videography, astrophotography, landscape, low-light/indoor and event photography.

About Sigma Corporation
Since 1961, Sigma has worked toward a single, simple goal: To imagine and develop photographic technologies that push the envelope, empower photographers and produce unparalleled imagery. We’ve honored this commitment by maintaining control of our design, research and development, and manufacturing processes in our own Aizu Factory. Our products are built with premium materials and are known worldwide for quality and performance. Our family-owned organization is the largest, independent SLR lens manufacturer in the world, producing more than 45 lenses that are compatible with most manufacturers, including Sigma, Canon, Sony, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Pentax. Sigma Corporation also produces digital SLR cameras and high-definition digital compact cameras. The company is headquartered in Japan, with offices strategically located throughout Europe, Asia and North America. Photography is all we do, and it’s all we’ve ever done.

For information about Sigma, please visit www.sigmaphoto.com or follow the company onTwitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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The HISY Wireless Smartphone Camera Remote (Review)

March 3, 2014 Comments off

The HISY Wireless Bluetooth Camera Remote ShutterHISY Wireless Smartphone Camera Remote
HISY ( pronounced hīgh-see )
$24.99 Amazon (Prime)

The HISY Wireless Smartphone Camera Remote (HISY) is a remote shutter device for your iPhone and iPad (See Features section below for compatibility). The HISY is a very small (approximately 1″x1″) Bluetooth device that fires your camera shutter or starts a video capture. The HISY is compatible with any iPhone camera app that uses the basic camera app as a base.
In other words, if you use a camera app that adds some effect to your pictures as you take them, the HISY will work with it, if the app is based on the iPhone’s basic camera app.

I suggest that you test it with your favorite camera apps before you do any serious photography with it. You don’t want to set everything up only to find that the HISY isn’t compatible with your camera app.

There’s no associated app that you need to buy or download for the HISY to work. All you have to do to is link the device with your iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth, open your camera app and starting taking pictures or starting videos.

HISY Features:

  • Apple iOS 7.0 or later of iPhone 4S, 5, 5S, 5C, iPad 3rd & 4th Generation, iPad Mini & iPad Air iPod, & iPod Touch 5th Generation or later
  • Frequency Range: ISM Band 2.4 GHz
  • Bluetooth Version: BT 4.0 Low Energy
  • Active Range: 30-90ft / 10 to 30m
  • 2+ Year Battery Life: (CR2032 x 1 Cell)
  • Includes headphone jack attachment to carry with you at all times

One of the coolest applications for a device like this, other than selfies, is as a remote camera that’s inconspicuous to its subjects. Often people don’t enjoy having their pictures taken, but if they’re unaware that you have a camera pointed at them, they’re far more relaxed and unguarded for photographs, interviews, or other forms of subtle photography, such as getting those precious moments snaps of your kids playing or of your husband cheerfully taking out the garbage.

The HISYThe HISY sells for $24.99 on Amazon and is Prime qualified (free two-day shipping). The HISY also includes a short strap connected to a plastic insert that fits snugly into your earphone port that allows handy access to impromptu photos that you might otherwise miss.

Why it’s frugal: The HISY is frugal because you can take up to 200 photographs with it daily for two years on a single CR2032 ($3.00) battery. It also has a very long range (30 to 90 feet), which puts it in competition with devices costing twice as much or more.

The HISY is small enough to fit comfortably in your hand and has a simple “one touch” operation. It’s simple enough for young children to operate. A single button press fires the camera shutter for a perfect, non-blurry picture.

Rating: 8.5/10

Recommendation: Buy it and test it with your favorite apps before you do real shooting with it.

Photographer’s Holiday Gift Guide 2013

December 8, 2013 Comments off

camera_medIf you have a photographer in your life, then this gift guide is the key to his or her happiness this holiday season. No photographer, amateur or professional, has everything he or she wants. There’s always some light, lens, or gadget that’s missing and she’s just never taken the time to buy it or it slips her mind until there’s a special need. You can fill that void with these ideas but first there’s something you have to do.

You have to listen to and observe your photographer. What subjects does she shoot? Does she only photograph people? Does she only work outdoors? Does she like to create short films? Does she ever work with film or is she a digital only type? Does your photographer ever take pictures with her phone? It’s a real thing called Phoneography and there are a lot of apps and accessories available for it. Ask a few questions. It won’t kill you to find out a few details before embarking on a shopping spree.

And you have the choice of enhancing your photographer’s equipment list or expanding it in a different direction. For example, if your photographer only shoots outdoors, you could buy her some studio lights and backdrops to give her a chance to try some portraiture or product photography.

If she’s a digital only shooter, you should buy her an old school film camera and let her creativity flow. Yes, lots of people still use film. In fact, more people now use film than ever before and there are some really cool ones available that extend your sight beyond the normal.

Here are the “goto” websites that you need to know for photography gear, cameras, lenses, and accessories.

Adorama: http://www.adorama.com

I’ll go out on a limb here and say that most serious photographers know about Adorama. It is the primary goto site for all things professional or prosumer, a term that means a high-end consumer who might be a part-time freelance photographer or someone who uses professional equipment. Although bent toward the professional, your up and coming amateur can benefit from better lighting, a higher quality tripod, or a new telephoto lens.

There are shopping tabs on the site that direct you to products that fit your budget or those oriented toward him or her. For example, there are tabs labeled Under $50, Under $100, Under $200 up to Over $500. You can also purchase Adorama gift cards from the front page. Trust me when I say that you’ll see a happy face when your photographer opens an Adorama gift card. A gift card is a great idea, especially if you have no clue as to what your photographer wants or needs.

There are also tabs that are product specific, such as Studio & Lighting, Cameras, Tripods, Lenses, etc.

Great sound is essential for movies, great lighting is essential for photography. Adorama has lighting. It has studio lighting, outdoor lighting, reflectors for natural lighting, flash lighting, continuous lighting, and just about everything any photographer or movie maker needs.

There are two lighting products in particular that I want to bring to your attention: Flashpoint 14″ Fluorescent Dimmable Ring Light and the Glow HexaPop 20″ for portable off camera flash – R Series.

My Flashpoint 14″ Dimmable Ring Light Review gives you a lot of good reasons to choose it for a portrait light. If your photographer needs a source of continuous light for portrait photos, product photos, short films, or stop motion films, this is what you should buy her. Currently, the Ring Light costs $140.00 with free shipping. Buy a replacement bulb for $15.95 and a stand for $25.00 to round out this full lighting solution.

HP_046F

The Glow Hexapop Diffuser shown on stand and with flash unit.

The other interesting lighting gift idea is the 20″ Glow Hexapop Diffuser. Though I haven’t posted my Hexapop review yet, I can tell you that I’ve worked with it and I like it. It is extremely portable, lightweight and it does a great job of providing soft, even lighting from a flash unit.

Ordinarily a flash unit sits atop your camera in what’s known as the “hot shoe.” This is an electronic interface that’s timed with the shutter button so that the flash fires as the shutter opens so that your subject receives enough light to be photographed. Unfortunately most flash units are overpowered and flood the subject with bright, harsh light that is neither flattering nor even.

The Hexapop diffuser does. To use the Hexapop, your photographer needs to have her own flash unit (most do) and a flash sync cord (again, most do). If your photographer happens not to own a flash sync cord, get one at least ten feet long and one that’s compatible with your photographer’s equipment.

The Hexapop is sort of a hybrid softbox and umbrella combination that photographer’s use for studio lighting. Unlike studio lighting, the Hexapop can travel with the photographer without the need for external power. It comes with its own tasteful black carrying case that makes it extremely portable for the photographer on the move.

HP_028

The Glow Hexapop Diffuser ready to open or to drop in the bag for easy transport.

It sets up quickly and easily by pulling the arms into place and it folds up even faster with a “Pop!” by pressing its release triggers.

Adorama has everything for the photographer and photography enthusiast. For the truly budget conscious, there’s a Deals link that you should check out for Specials, overstocks, refurbished products, and used equipment. Adorama offers free shipping within the USA on many products.

Lomography: http://www.lomography.com

Lomography is an online presence, it’s a store, it’s a movement, it’s a place for you to show off your lo-fi photography, it’s an online magazine, and it’s something kind of unexplainable. Lomography is film and cheap cameras. I should put cheap in quotation marks because some of them aren’t so cheap at all. I guess cheap is relative. You have to love film, its unexpected qualities, its artistic value, and the feeling that you’re going against the grain of the “digital revolution.”

Holga

The Holga 120N Camera.

There’s no wrong answer or wrong way to do anything in the world of Lomography but you have to have a lo-fi lens or lo-fi camera to do it. If you want to know more about it all, you can read up on the history and the movement on the website. Just know this: Lomography is addictive and once you start, you want to experience every type of camera.

For example, the medium format (120 film) cameras are kind of my favorites. The negatives are large (generally 2″ x 2″) and you only get 12 or 16 photos per roll. Using one of these plastic gems is not an exact science but it’s really fun. Great examples of medium format lo-fi cameras are: Holga, Diana, and Debonair (the look of a Diana but the operation of a Holga).

debonair

The Debonair Camera

My own collection “lomo” cameras include the Smena (Russian), the Holga, the Diana, half-frame cameras, Canon AE-1s, and others. But my most favorite of all is the Debonair. It’s a super cheap little camera that uses 120 film. See photo.

You can find them on ebay.com for under $20. They are cheap, plastic cameras that have a very simple focusing mechanism, a manual film advance, and your creativity to power them. Awesome.

For someone who isn’t into Lomography or just wants to try it, the Debonair is a great starter camera. If you can’t find one, buy a Holga. You can find Holgas everywhere and they come in a variety of colors and styles but only two film sizes: 120 and 35mm. The Holga 135 is the 35mm one. Holgas generally cost under $30 for the standard black 120 film version. You can find film for it online or in camera shops. Use color print film C-41 process because Black and White film is getting harder to find a developer locally. Good luck if you like B&W, like I do. Use color, have the developer scan them onto CD for me and then I use a photo manipulation program to change them to grayscale. It’s almost the same. Plus you can alter the contrast that way too.

Diana

The Classic Diana updated with interchangeable lenses and more durable construction.

Once your photographer has caught the bug, you can buy her a Diana, or a 35mm Smena, or one of the more exotic cameras such as a Sprocket Rocket, an LC-A, or a Lubitel. They all have their quirks and interesting features. In fact, no two Holgas are alike, so explore the possibilities with more than one.

Photojojo: http://www.photojojo.com

Photojojo is the Phoneographer’s paradise. It has everything cool for the Phoneographer: lights, lenses, carrying cases, ideas for DIY projects, and all sorts of off the wall products.

I personally bought the three lens set for my iPhone from Photojojo. I love them and they work perfectly. Photojojo also sells some Lomography accessories too. You can also buy film, tripods, microphones, a film scanner, props, a dolly, and just about every kind of oddball thing you can imagine and a lot that you can’t.

If nothing else, Photojojo is worth a look just to see what’s out there for the phoneography nut in your life or perhaps for yourself. Photojojo offers free shipping on orders over $50.00. Often this is not easy to do because most of their items are under $50.00. I guess that’s so you’ll buy more stuff. That’s OK because I’ve never been bummed out about anything that I’ve purchased there.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com

Amazon has a lot of the photographic equipment, cameras, and accessories that you want and at the prices you want to pay. It has an excellent search engine and if you’re a Prime member, then you get free priority shipping on anything that is Prime qualified. Look for the Prime symbol prime when you find a product that you like.

Sometimes I use Amazon just as a sanity check against other online retailers. I also use it to see if I can get the products I want with free shipping, because I’m a Prime member. I don’t want to take anything away from the other retailers in this list or any other but if I can find the exact product on Amazon with Prime at a comparable price, I’m going for free shipping.

If you can’t figure out what you want to buy or you need a little extra advice, I’d be glad to help out. Drop me a line at ken-at-kenhess-dot-com (replace the at with @ and dot with . and don’t use the dashes. I have to do this to confuse email bots–sorry) and I’ll see what I can do for you.

Don’t get caught in the rain without your Bheestie Bag (Review)

September 24, 2013 Comments off
56g Bheestie Bag

56g Bheestie Bag

Bheestie Bag (56g)
Bheestie & Co., LLC.
$29.95 (56g)/ $17.95 (28g)

What’s worse than getting your new Canon T3 DSLR wet because you got caught in the rain? Telling your wife that you think your new Canon T3 DSLR might be ruined because you got caught in the rain, that’s what. Water and electronic devices don’t mix. It’s kind of an oil and water thing, only much worse. Plus, even at the price of oil these days, electronics are still more expensive. They’re far too valuable to use a few times and then have to scrap them or sell them on an auction site for pennies on the dollar just because they got a little damp.

We were on a short, impromptu family vacation this summer in Wyoming (aka Kenapalooza), when we got caught in a downpour at a place called Veedauwoo (between Laramie and Cheyenne) in southern Wyoming. Nice place. Cool rock formations and a biblical proportion deluge that was unexpected.

Southern Wyoming. Summer. Downpour. Which of these things doesn’t belong?

I did everything I could to protect my camera during the quick mile-long walk back to the car in ever-increasing rain. We were all soaked by the time we got back to the parking lot. I held my camera and leaned over it while I walked at first. The trees protected me from the rain when it was only sprinkling. But when the rain came down so hard that I couldn’t see ten feet in front of me, I was worried. I was worried about our safety and my camera’s status as a floatation device.

Soon, I placed the camera under my shirt and walked briskly back toward the car. The rain came harder. The camera, under my shirt, was still getting wet. I bent over it to shield it more, while also trying to trot along while herding kids, my wife, and her sister uphill toward dry refuge.

As soon as I got back to the car, I dried myself and the camera with a beach towel that we had in the back. My wife looked as if I’d sacrificed our first born to an angry volcano.

We were both upset at the prospect of my camera becoming a paperweight, when I’d only had it a few months.

I meticulously dried it after getting back to her sister’s house a few hours later.

The only thing I noticed that had gone wrong was that the Flash wouldn’t pop up when it was supposed to. It just made this loud clicking noise and an error appeared on the LCD screen.

Ruined, I thought. Ruined.

I’ll never be able to replace it. That’s OK, I can always go back to film. Yeah, like that’s an option these days with all of my online venues, Dropbox, and relatives that don’t want to wait two days for developing and scanning.

Rice wouldn’t work with a DSLR. I’m not putting my camera into a bowl of rice to dry it out. That’s just silly.

A few days went by and I had researched ways to get my Flash to pop up again but no luck. A few more days went by and I got an email from a representative of Bheestie who read one of my stories about the trip and wanted me to test out the bag on my camera. I said that I would.

After receiving the bag and reading the instructions (I know, who does that? But, hey, I’m desperate), I reluctantly placed my camera in the bag and sealed it shut. I left the camera in for 24 hours per the instructions.

The next evening, I removed my camera, checked it out and then thought I’d try the ultimate test.

Click, click, pop! Up came the flash.

Whoa!

It worked. I was so happy that I tried it over and over and it worked every time. Sometimes after only one click but it worked.

I put it back into the bag for another 24 hours to be sure that everything that could be done was done.

I brought the camera out and have had no trouble with my flash. Sometimes it only clicks once and sometimes it pops up the first time. It’s not 100 percent back but it’s much better than 100 percent broken.

If I’d had the Bheestie Bag on the day that the camera got wet, I think it would have been much better. Instead, I had to rely on other methods that weren’t effective such as drying with rubbing alcohol, blow drying, and using Q-tips.

The Bheestie Bag saved my camera from the auction block and saved me from the wrath of “you know who.” I wish I’d had it sooner but I didn’t know about it. The large bag (56g) was more than adequately big enough for my camera, attached lens, and strap.

I’m convinced that the Bheestie Bag is the right choice for anyone who uses electronics such as DSLRs, phones, tablet computers, or anything that might get wet in the process. Personally, I’ll never be without one. If you’re thinking that a bowl of rice is just as good, you’re wrong. That might work for a momentary plunk into some water but for something that’s soaked, you’d better have something other than rice available to you.

I’m sure that there are commercial services that would dry your gadget for you at almost the price of a new one but that isn’t frugal. So, how is the Bheestie Bag frugal, you ask? $500 camera. $30 fix. You do the math.

It would be ridiculous of me not to highly recommend the fix for my camera, now wouldn’t it? It worked for me and there are hundreds of other testimonials on the Internet that agree.

Review: 10/10

Recommendation: Buy one and keep it handy for emergencies. You don’t use a fire extinguisher everyday but you keep one handy, don’t you?

The Diamond Multimedia PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit (Review)

August 12, 2013 1 comment

Pic1PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit
Live video security camera hardware
Diamond Multimedia
$119.99 Retail/$94.66 Amazon (Prime)
Product Spotlight Video

Like all Diamond Multimedia products, the PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit (PlugnView) is a high quality, low cost product. Diamond succeeds in putting a lot of ‘bang for the buck’ into every one of its devices. And you know that you have a Diamond Multimedia product because it has all the familiar design features: small footprint, abundant ventilation slots, highly visible labels, status lights, attention to details such as furniture-protecting rubber feet, and high impact plastic construction.

Diamond Multimedia (DMM) puts a lot of thought into its products. The PlugnView is standard high quality fare for a DMM product, which is worth noting here.

Pic2Included in the kit is everything you need except the apps, which are available through Apple’s App Store or through Google Play. You get the PlugnView camera, a HP500AV Home Plug Adapter, a Quick Start guide, and a three-foot Ethernet cable.

DMM also has a reputation for making products that are very easy to setup and use. The PlugnView follows that time-honored tradition too.

To setup the PlugnView, attach the Ethernet cable to the HP500AV, plug in the Ethernet cable’s free end directly into an open slot in your router or into an open slot in your network switch, and plug in the HP500AV to electric power. The HP500AV has to access your network via the Ethernet cable and then it attaches to your PlugnView camera via wireless. All three lights should be green, when properly connected.

Plug in the PlugnView camera to electric power and aim it at whatever you want to view. The camera swivels left and right on its base plus you can adjust the vertical (up and down) pitch as well. These adjustments are manual. You can’t move (pan) the camera electronically to scan an area.

Next, download the PlugnView app from the Apple App Store or, if you have an Android device, from the Google Play Store.

Open the app, tap the Plus (+) button to add a camera. On the next screen, select the way you want to add your camera to the app: via QR code on the bottom of the camera, local network search, or manually. I suggest that you attempt to add your camera first by searching. If that doesn’t work, then scan the QR code on the bottom of the PlugnView. Finally, if those two fail, add it manually. But one should work and adding manually is a pain because of the length of the ID and the password. You can change the password later in the app.

Figure 1: A live video view using the iPhone PlugnView app.

Figure 1: A live video view using the iPhone PlugnView app.

A local network search should find your camera within a few seconds. Once it does, you’ll see the cryptic identification code for your camera. Tap the found camera to edit its properties. Name your camera. I named mine “camera”. Leave the Camera ID as is. Enter the camera password from the bottom of the camera. Be careful to type it in exactly as you see it. Tap Save when done. Tap the Done button when your camera light in the app turns green.

Tap the camera that you just setup. You’ll see a “connecting to camera” message and then in a few seconds, you’ll see what the camera sees. You can also take pictures by tapping the camera icon on the screen. See Figure 1.

If you tap the Edit button (upper left corner), you can change the configuration of your camera, such as enhanced night vision, frame rate, resolution, and a few other details.

I suggest changing the frequency from 60Hz to 50Hz for better viewing inside your home. 60Hz probably works better outside. I also like the highest resolution and best quality picture available. You’ll have to experiment a bit for your surroundings and lighting conditions. Once you change something, tap the Apply button for it to take effect and then evaluate the results.

The PlugnView has pretty good resolution for the cost. Remember that this camera is not high definition video capable. It is what it is, which is an inexpensive, easy to setup, easy to use security camera. If you need something with higher resolution, sound, faster frame capture, and a panning camera, then you’ll have to spend a lot more money. For around $100, I doubt you’ll find anything better.

The PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit will keep you aware of what’s going on inside or outside your home. The PC software that you can download from DMM’s site is quite good. You can monitor multiple cameras at once with it but the app is a quick view used for occasional monitoring from your mobile device.

My overall impression and evaluation of the PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit is favorable. I like the ease of setup, the product quality, and the mobile app combination.

Why it’s frugal: The PlugnView is inexpensive but it’s more than price. If you need a decent quality home security camera, it fits that bill. You have night vision that is quite good, live video, snapshots, and good resolution. It is a good value and a good product.

Review: 8/10

Recommendation: Buy it with an understanding of its limitations and its features.

A Lomographers Dream Come True: Tiffen Photo fx App (review)

March 8, 2013 Comments off

Tiffen Photo fx

Tiffen Software
Tiffen Photo fx
$2.99 Apple App Store

I don’t review many apps and there’s a good reason for it: not that many are really worth a good review. I don’t like to pan products unless I feel ripped off by them, so generally, if I review a product or piece of software, the review is going to be more positive than negative. The Tiffen Photo fx app is really good. Hopefully, that assessment is enough to pique your interest enough to read why I think it’s so good.

Tiffen’s Photo fx app is a Lomographer’s dream. I don’t know if that’s what Tiffen had in mind when they created this little gem but it certainly was the outcome, for me, at least.

I am a Lomographer. I own multiple cameras and much to my wife’s chagrin, I often lug two or more at a time with us on walks, trips and events. Yes, I also own a nice Canon EOS T3 digital SLR and an iPhone 4 with camera apps but I like the look and feel of film too.

However, <deep breath> I sometimes forego packing up like a beast of photographic burden and just carry my iPhone. Luckily for me I have Tiffen’s Photo fx app to make up for the unbearable lightness of being sans plastic cameras.

But enough about me and my hangups, you want to know about my review of the Photo fx app. Well, I like it. I like it a lot. In fact, I can just about reproduce every “Lomo” effect with it that I can get with one of my many Lo-Fi cameras. It pains me to say that because I really love my cheap, crappy cameras that most people would toss away like yesterday’s newspaper. Sorry about the newspaper reference there–I guess I’m not only dating myself but am going retro again.

The Photo fx app’s main screen allows you to either take a new photo or dig one out of your Camera’s photo gallery. The “effect” is the same so don’t sweat it if you didn’t take the picture with Photo fx. Once you either take a new photo or select one from your gallery of masterpieces, the fun begins.

There are dozens, if not hundreds (I don’t have the patience to count) of effects that await your creative eye. And these aren’t “canned” effects–each one is adjustable on one to three different parameters. The parameters could be brightness, blurriness, sharpness, skew, color intensity and many more. Each effect has its own range of things (parameters) that you can change for that effect.

tpx_photographic
One of the many effects is Photographic, which mimics different film types, filter types, exposures and so on. If you’re a photographer with any chops, you know what I mean. There are five pages of these photographic effects that vary from these yellows to blues, greens, reds and some other “one off” colors such as amber.

This single effect almost makes fun of photographic anachronists like myself because of the range of predictable creativity you get with it. You don’t get this kind of predictability with film or even digital cameras. You have to import the photos into another expensive program that will remain nameless here and then you have to manipulate it with masks, layers and so on until you get the right visual effect. Sure, your results might be a little better but I’ll have mine on Twitter or in an article way before you will.

The next two screen shots give you a look at two other effect matrices available to you: Special FX and Tint.

tpx_special

I took this picture of the iconic landmark Las Vegas sign on my recent trip. I’d never seen the sign before and had to do it this time. My wife and I walked from Mandalay Bay to the sign and back. We stayed at Caesar’s Palace and walked to Mandalay Bay first, then on to the sign. Not a short trek.

I used the sign because it has a good range of colors and it’s something that’s familiar to everyone.

The Tiffen Photo fx app is a very good buy at $2.99. It sounds a little pricey for an app but you’ll find no other app or three apps that can do all that it does. And in photographic equipment dollars, this app definitely saves some big bucks with its many effects–some of which would only be available through some darkroom trickery or expensive software manipulation.

tpx_tintI give the Tiffen Photo fx app a solid 9 out of 10. Though it’s totally worth it, the price still leaves me a little flat. I think they’d get more traction at $1.99 but it’s not my call. It’s still a bargain at $2.99, especially if you’re an avid iPhoneographer like me. I say, “Get it.”

Review: 9/10

Recommendation: Get it.

False Pretense Films

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