Friday, July 12, 2013

645 pro

On the recent trip to Vietnam I took over 500 photos. This still astounds me. I can remember when you thought carefully about each shot because you only had so many films with you (with 12, 24 or 36 frames each) & on top of that you had to pay to get them printed. There was also a wait - often you would only take half the shots & then the rest later. And finally they might not come our - the film wasn't in properly, you had let some light in, it was blurry, the lens wasn't off .....

The first digital camera I had was a Kodak with enough space for about 20 shots. Extra memory was expensive & it was before you realised how easy photography was going to be. On a trip to Graz I had to cull some photos to take some on my last day there. 

Now you can shoot everything and cull on the spot or later, see if the shot is OK, take things just for fun. Hence so many from our trip.

For simplicities sake I use my iPhone - only one thing to carry round, unlimited space, and I could back up to the cloud if I wanted. I'm not a high end photographer but I can recognise the limitations of the inbuilt camera (and the strengths of simplicity) so a while ago I bought the app 645 Pro - and really used it for the first time on the trip. And while I was away it was upgraded meaning I used it even more in terms of the features.

Basically what it does, I think, is access digital imaging editing before the photo is taken rather than after (cropping, colour balance etc) giving you the opportunity to improve the photo before you take it - like a real camera!

This is what you see on the screen - the viewfinder is reduced (but an expanded view is available) because of the additional controls. The new version has made these a lot less fiddly which is why I used them more. The screen also gives you information on shutter speed and the state of some of your features. 

The ones I found really useful

Camera backs - 645 is the standard size of images. But by changing the 'back' you effectively precrop a photo. When I went to halong bay I knew that there would the pictures with lots of sky and water & the island inbetween. I therefore used a long thin back to make the horizon more prominent. Some shots would look better square so I would then change to that. It is easy to move between frame - press the button and a carousel of options appears, flick through and pick the one you want (the old version had a dial which was difficult to 'turn' easily. (The islands are at the top, and on the right is a 6x17 image.

Film stock - by modifying various aspects such as saturation, lightness etc the camera comes with a variety of black&white and colour films. You can swap between them as with the backs, but I tended to find one where I liked the contrast and output and stuck mainly to that. You can create your own too. 

Filters - this is an area where the new setup makes these a lot easier. There is a range of filters (colour for b&w, warm/cool for colour and 2 graded ones). In the previous version they were chosen by swipes on the viewfinder and changed by a different swipe. I didn't use them. Now you select by pressing a button & getting the carousel, and then to change the intensity you rotate the big button at the bottom. I found the graded filter fantastic for landscape shots to get a darker upper half to emphasise the lower features & get more sky details. And changing the intensity allowed me to modify this.

Light meter - you can swap between focused or widescreen metering, and playing with this made me realise in many situations it did make a significant difference.

There are other features I didn't use, or much,

  • Grid - I started using it to set up shots
  • Night mode - does allow you to take pictures in low light
  • Shutter timer - for those group pictures
  • Locking focus, white balance or exposure - if you want
  • 3 shot options
  • RAW images can be saved, and of the original image rather than that processed through 645.
  • And a lot more in various preferences. 

I think that my pictures benefitted from using 645, partly because of the options I chose but also as I thought more before taking many of the pictures - about the shape, whether to filter, how to meter, where things sat in the grid. And point and shoot or panorama was still available with the standard camera.

But I would highly recommend the app for people who want to do more without having a separate camera with them. (Michael Hardaker makes a few simpler 'cameras' - PureShot is for example a cut down 645 pro which shares the same look but many fewer features.)

The app web site is here

UPDATE: latest version has more graded filters

1 comment:

Geoff Collins said...

Hi, thanks for the review. I've just downloaded 645 Pro, so your words have directly influenced the revenue streams of both the develoer and Apple Inc.

I came across your blog via Andrew Collins 143' so the music stuff is interesting too. Drones and Prog, exactly the stuff that my partner (she's from VIC too) loves to hate. Keep it up!