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Saturday, 08 August 2009 00:00

Photobuddy

Let's face it, the camera on the iPhone is pretty poor but just because you wouldn't really want to use it to take photos doesn't mean that the iPhone is useless for photography. Thanks to the PhotoBuddy App, the iPhone is actually an incredibly useful photographic tool. Why? Because PhotoBuddy lets you work out Depth of Field Calculations, Flash Calculations, Exposure Calculations, Calculate Sunrise & Sunset Times and Phases of the Moon and a whole lot more.

I am a huge fan of the iPhone, everything about it is just a joy to use and rapidly I have come to depend on it and use it for things I would and could never have used a mobile phone for before, but I have to say that I was dissapointed by the camera on it, not because I ever really use a camera on a mobile to take 'real' photos but it is often a useful thing to have and to use more for taking visual reminders than anything else. I had therefore assumed that the iPhone would never be much use to me in regards to photography. That was until I discovered PhotoBuddy.

PhotoBuddy is a truly superb App which is available from the iTunes App store for just $1.99 and is a very useful tool for the photographer as it will perform a number of calculations for you which could help you take better photographs.

photobuddy_dofThe Depth of Field tool is of particular interest to Landscape Photographers and Macro Photographers as it tells you how much depth of field, i.e. the area of focus front to back, that you will have at any given focal length, aperture and distance to subject. It even compensates for non full frame digital cameras via another screen where you can select the make and model of your camera which then enteres the relevant focal length multiplication factor (typically for a DSLR this will be either 1.5x or 1.6x). If your camera is not listed you can even enter this value manually.

The Depth of Field tool is incredibly simple to use, simply select the element you wish to calculate, change the values and the App does the rest. PhotoBuddy then presents the results in two ways, as a graph, as pictured opposite and as a table. The table is far more detailed and tells you precise measurements as to how much of your photo will be in focus, closest focus point etc whilst the graph is a nice quick visual check guide.

photobuddy_flashIf you own a Speedlite or your camera gives you control over the onboard flash then the Flash tool in PhotoBuddy could be very useful to you. Whilst modern cameras and speedlites are very good at working out exposures sometimes you do want to use a Manual Mode to give you more control. However working out Manual Flash Exposure settings are notoriously complex but thanks to PhotoBuddy it's now dead simple. Simply enter the guide number of your flash, your ISO and distance to the subject and it will tell you what aperture to use. Like the Depth of Field tool it will calculate any parameter you want simply by entering the data for the other fields so you can also get it to tell you what ISO to use or how far away from your subject you should be.

Even if you don't use Manual Flash this tool is useful as a second check and could help reduce the classic Flash effect of perfectly exposed subject against a jet black background.

photobuddy_sun_moonAnother useful tool to the Landscape photographer is the Sun & Moon tool where PhotoBuddy will retrieve your GPS location and current date and then tell you when the sun will rise, when it will set and when the next full moon is. But this is not the end to PhotoBuddy's talents. It also features a Grey Wedge to help set your white balance, an exposure tool which lets you calculate either ISO, Shutter Speed or Aperture, a series of Exposure Presets, calculates Exposure Bracketing (useful for HDR and landscape photography), a CoC (Circle of Confusion) calculator, a Bulb exposure timer and even has a Bellows exposure compensation calculator.

All of that for just $1.99!

If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch I can't recommend this App enough, it's an absolute bargin and incredibly useful.


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