iOS and other SMART Phone Cameras
I originally wrote this page when the iPad first came out. It is now also includes some additional details about Apple computer, as well as iPhone
My first experience with Apple was possibly the Apple IIe in 1979-80 school year at Marshal Middle School as a 7th grader. Many years later, about 1990, I bought a used Mac+ from my then neighbor and employee of Computer Dimensions (Apple Computer). Shortly later, I bought Apple's first economy color Mac computer, called the LC...for Low Cost. A few years later, I bought one of Apples first color, ultralightweight laptops call the MacDuo 280c. Then a bit later, the Apple Newton Messagepad, then the Newton 2000. I also purchased one of Apple's and the entire industry's consumer digital cameras. Since then, after a few years of migrating away form Apple, I returned to purchasing iPods, iPhones, and Macbook Air, etc.
Despite a long history with Apple products, I wasn't really a fan of several aspects, including Steve Job's control of the OS and of the products.
iPhone as a Camera - as an Alternative to a Point and Shoot Digital camera...or even a DSLR
Initial Impressions - OUTDATED...as this was when the Apple iPad was first released...but I have left here for historical reference, etc.
iPhone as a Camera...Is the Point&Shoot DEAD?
One of the reasons I have invested so much time into the iPhone is that LITERALLY use it more than I use better cameras because of the convenience. There are certainly PERFECT times for the iPhone. And the quality is AWESOME. Check this shot out I took of a photo on display at The UPS Store on Dowlen:
In 2011, the iPhone 4s came out. I won $200 with this image taken, with the 4s, while I had two DLSRs around my neck:
Here is what I posted: This may be one of the most amazing developments for photography since the digital camera. Truly, a new shift in photography. I was already impressed with the iPhone 4...truly amazing work rivaling what I was able to get with DSLRs. This is a brand new game. Bottom line, why get a dumb P&S when you can get a CELL PHONE, GPS, MP3, COMPUTER AND CAMERA. With the built in apps, immediate posting and sharing capabilities, the iPhone 4s is truly the NON-DSLR on the market. If the iPhone 4s is not possible for you on your network, I recommend finding a used iPhone 4. You do not even have to activate the cellular service.
Here is one of the reasons I have been successful with the iPhone as a camera. I first started with cutting a hole in my Otterbox frame to create a window and adding a tripod socket. I have since cut the outside of the frame off completely, amd moved the tripod socket to the center of the bottom of the belt clip.
Want to see another reason why I love the iPhone (other than the DYNAMIC HDR)? Panos!
http://www.dermandar.com/p/axDLrT/continental-divide Click the picture...zoom in (arrow in upper right), pan around. You can see more DERMANDER Panos here: http://www.dermandar.com/user/drewloker/
These Dermander iPhone App stitches are pretty low resolution. iPhone is also able to do INCAMERA stitches creating VERY high resolution images, up to 18mp with a program like "AutoStitch".
Now, to be perfectly realistic. The iPhone does an amazing job. But after you look at those images, take a look at a what a robotic pano maker can do:
http://www.gopconvention2012.com/blog/gigapan-day-1-at-the-republican-national-convention/ - Take a close look...keep zooming in.
http://www.gigapan.com/ - see more
iPhone 4s vs. Galaxy Note 3: (coming soon)
In Oct 2013, I decided to try out a GN3 instead of upgrading to the iPhone 5s. So far, I like everything about the GN3...but I have not done a side by side test...yet. There are many nice features of the GN3 camera system...but the optics...and sensor may not be anywhere close to the iPhone. The question is if it is good enough.
In addition to the Photo Apps, there is a incredible number of Applications. When the commercial says, "There's an app for that", they are NOT kidding. There may be other device coming that rival the iPad in HARDWARE feature, but it is unlikely that any competitor will catch up with the iPad SOFTWARE options anytime soon.
Top Camera Apps
Pano - See the link for more info and App Recommendations. An exciting topic that deserves it's own page.
HDR - See the link for more info and specific App Recommendations. Although HDR is now builtin to iOS, most 3rd party apps out BLOW away iOS HDR. There are LOTS of programs out there that do HDR...but most are fake, or try to MIMIC by pushing the shadows and trying to recover highlights. The only way to really capture the dynamic range is to take multiple pictures and blend them together. The reason HDR is necessary is because the iPhone itself does not have a great deal of dynamic range. Which means, it will tend to blow high lights and shadows will go dark, or get very noisy. So, while the iPhone is amazing in good, EVENLY sunlit scenes, it creates a need for HDR.
TimeLapse - See the link for more info and specific App Recommendations. Although the built-in works great, it has significant limitations. Few things can express how impressed I am with the capturing of time passing. I am still trying to master this as there are so many variables, such as capture interval and playback interval. Unfortunately, one of the BEST apps, iTimelapse, fell out of development. It is still in the App store I think, but do NOT download it as it completely crashes. So, I am currently looking for a better alternative. The problem is that every other app has some limitation.
AVG Camera Pro - $2. Allows for VERY low noise images. Also, a very creative effect of blurred motion with clouds. If people move through your picture, they will be removed. This is a unique app that takes multiples of pictures (8, 16, 32, 64 or 128) and somehow blends them together to reduce the noise. The Achilles Heel of the iPhone is definitely low light. So, if you can put the phone on a completely steady surface (or use a tripod better yet), this WILL do a good job...as LONG as there is SOME light. If it is completely dark, UNLIKE a DSLR that will capture even the light of a starry night, this app will disappoint. But lets say you are shooting 6th street in Austin, that is well lit, this app will do a great job. I waited for this to go on sale.
Night Cap Pro - $2. Or Night Cap for $1. Best $1-2 you will spend IF you can stabilize your camera. Like, with a clamp. Or, like I did with a modification to my OtterBox so I can attach my phone to a tripod.
Camera + - At only $0.99, the self timer alone is worth the money. Beyond that, it has several key improvements. It also has a suite of filters, including my favorite Ansel filter. This has made several photos I have taken EVEN better. UPDATE: I STILL like the Ansel filter and this $1 app is worth that filter alone. BUT, you do NOT need to buy this because of Camera Awesome.
Camera Awesome - FREE for iOS! Developed by Smugmug, it DESTROYS many paid apps. Use to be one of the only ways to have a selftimer while Apple neglected to provide one. There are some In-Store Purchases they try to get you to buy, but the app is solid and full of free greatness, including simultaneous cross posting to multiple social sites.
Other Photography Apps
Snapseed - Once a $5 app, it is now FREE as it was purchased by Google. My wife sure likes it and in a matter of a few clicks and wipes, she can PP a picture about as good as I can in Nikon Capture. One key to fame is that it has control points. So, if you have a blue sky, you can make just the sky more intense.
Sun Surveyor - LITE for free or Full for $5.99. I only just today (1/6/13) downloaded this app. I already paid $5 for Light Trac (below), so I am going to wait and see if SS goes on sale (although AppShopper shows NO history of going on sale). But even the light version is amazing. The idea is, as a photographer of light, you need to know what it is doing and where it is going.
LightTrac - This WAS my favorite Sun and Moon tracker...until I found Sun Surveyor. OLDER Info: This is an amazing app that shows the track of the sun and moon. Granted, this is for the pretty serious photography who wants to know exactly when the sun will be in a specific spot. It is a little expensive (I think $4.99), but I have found it indispensable when I am planning on where to shoot. In fact, I have used it for planning shots in the future for when the sun will be at an optimum location.
Filterstorm - this app gets very good reviews and has an incredible amount of controls. But I have not had much chance to work with this. I think I got this when it was free...so, put it in your Watch List, and snag this when you can.
SmugShot to get stuff from my iPad camera connected kit to my SmugMug albums.
LiveCollage - a great app for making collages with great text control.
Top General Apps, NON-camera
Other General Apps, Non-camera
Actually, this list is based on one I found useful on a MacRumors Forum Posting... You can find a complete discussion on this thread: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=998702
Here is a recent link sent to me: http://www.iphoneographycentral.com/static/page/link/Apps-Uncovered-Dec-2012/
There is a lot more that I would like to add, but at least this is a start.
If you want a list of accessories, check out this spread sheet: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=998702 (although one of the sheets got deleted)
[Outdated...Many of the comments below were written in the Spring of 2010 when the iPad1 had just come out. I have since converted my cell phone to iPhone and now have a total of 8 iOS devices. I am continuing to update the app list below...or you can skip to it right here. Enjoy!]
Before you think "Apple Fan Boy", I am not really a fan of Apple, but I have to say, I am VERY, VERY impressed with the Apple iPad. Of course, I should qualify that I bought one of the first Apple Message Pads in the early 1990s and upgraded through several of the Newtons. It was truly innovative and head of it's time. And, I have owned numerous PDAs over the years, so I have a little experience when it comes to handheld and portable devices, including laptops back to the mid '90s as well.
But the Apple iPad is a game changer. It is not perfect, but it is the best device on the market at the time of this writing, IMHO. If things change in the next 6 months, I have no problem selling the iPad and buying something else. But, for the mean time, there is nothing available as impressive as the iPad.
The problem with portable devices is either 1) they are too big to be portable or 2) too small to be useful. Take a netbook for example. I actually have own just about every size of laptop, from 10-17", and currently have 4 laptops in the house right now that are used for various purposes...although only one very often since getting the iPad, and that is my wife's. The rest I would sell if I could, but, typical of a laptop, they lose value quick and generally can't be upgraded.
When the iPad was first rumored, I had very high hopes. I thought Apple had hit a HR of epoch proportions, but I wasn't really interested in the iPad...only because, like I said, not a fan of Apple products nor iTunes, and, I didn't want ANOTHER technology device. But, to be forthright, I didn't realize what I was talking about. But I knew with in SECONDS of actually hold it, that it was a laptop killer, at least for me.
I would like to detail a few of the apps that I really like and benefit from. First and foremost (I am a photographer and photography teacher) is the HUGE number of Photography Apps. 604 in the Apple Store to be as of a count on 9/2010.
FaceTime...pretty neat, but I generally don't like video chat...too difficult to multitask with a person on speaker phone.