PicLab HD: Spice Up Your iPhone Photos

hd-iconLike many photographers, I’ve spent countless hours experimenting with a seemingly endless stream of photo apps for iPhone. While Photoshop is great for hardcore RAW editing on a desktop, sometimes you need a quick and simple solution for editing photos on the go. The latest addition to my mobile photo arsenal is a beautiful little tool called PicLab HD.

PicLab HD is a powerful design studio that enhances your photos with a plethora of effects and overlays. Just import a photo from your photo library and browse through the extensive catalog of filters, moods, stickers, and overlays. You can also perform basic adjustments such as contrast, brightness, saturation, and blur.

The cool thing that sets PicLab HD apart from other photo editors is its wide variety of text and artwork overlays, all created by professional designers. You can customize the size and color of the overlays to create the perfect addition to any picture. The $1.99 app includes several collections of these stickers, and you can purchase additional packages for $0.99 each, or purchase the entire catalog of artwork for $2.99.THIS TO THISThe free version of PicLab doesn’t include as many features as PicLab HD, but it’s a good place to start experimenting with what the PicLab ecosystem has to offer. You can upgrade from within the free app to access the features of the HD version, or download PicLab HD directly for $1.99 in the App Store. If you’re a serious photographer/designer/artist/enthusiast, I recommend making the plunge and buying PicLab HD– it’s most definitely worth it!

BASE Sends Photos to Pictures

British Inventors ProjectGNC’s Gadget Show Live coverage kicks off with two concept product ideas entered into the British Inventors’ Project. First up is Kristina Parkes’s BASE which “enables new forms of connection between distanced people, creating a tangible channel of communication through a system utilising flexible displays and remote app-based transmission.”

BASE Shelf

In plain English, you send photos from your smartphone using an app to Polaroid-style flexible displays in a friend’s or relative’s home. It’s a neat idea that builds on the impact of Instagram to keep family and friends together, and the display shelf concept shows BASE as attractive and functional. The video below demonstrates the concept well.

 

Element Case Turns Your iPhone Into A Pro Camera At CES

Element case poster

There’s no doubt that smartphone cameras have improved immensely in the past few years, but they still haven’t reached the quality of a DSLR. Element Case is partnering with optics company Schneider to transform your iPhone 6 into a photography star.

Jamie spoke to Jeff Sasaki, CEO of Element Case, about Element’s new iPro 6 lens case. The sturdy case protects your phone, and the attachable lenses securely fasten to the case to drastically improve the quality of your iPhone’s camera. The range of interchangeable lenses includes wide-angle, super-wide-angle, macro, fisheye, and telephoto so you can create the perfect image every time. And with the ability to attach a handle and/or tripod, iPhone photography has never been better.

The iPro 6 case and lenses will be released Q2 of 2015 with prices between $100-$300 depending on your chosen lens configuration. For more details, check out the Element Case website.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly.

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Gripix Is An Innovative Wi-Fi Trigger System For GoPro At CES

Gripix logo

GoPro cameras have become almost ubiquitous in the outdoor tech scene, and the folks at Gripix are making it easy to capture amazing GoPro footage, both on land and in the water.

Todd got to talk with Tyler Reid, co-founder of Gripix, about the newly-announced Gripix Wi-Fi Trigger System for GoPro. Gripix uses your standard GoPro remote to create a durable, easy-to-use stainless steel mount and trigger system. Their add-ons and accessories allow you to push the limits of your GoPro even further.

The basic Gripix handle ($99) and two add-ons; the top pole ($49) and the low-pro system ($59) will begin shipping in March and are available for pre-order now.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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GIROPTIC’s 360Cam Named CES 2015 Innovation Awards Honoree

GYROPTIC Innovation Award honoreeGIROPTIC is a company that is based in Lille, France. They have a versatile line of robust 360-degrees cameras and accessories that enables people to self-capture full HD, 360-immersive footage of themselves enjoying their favorite activities. GIROPTIC has been named a CES 2015 Innovation Awards Honoree for its 360Cam.

The 360Cam is the world’s first 360 palm-sized camera that allows users to record videos, take still photos, and stream video in real-time over Wi-Fi from “Up, Down and All Around”. It is lightweight, weighing in at 6.3 ounces, it is also rugged and the most versatile cam on the market.

GYROPTIC 360CamThe 360Cam features three, 185 degree fish-eye lenses with optical assembly and is synchronized to simultaneously capture and stitch images in real-time inside the camera. It can capture photos with a resolution of 4K (4096 x 2048) and videos with a resolution of 2K (2048 x 1024). The 360Cam also can store a micro SD card up to 128GB.

Additional features include three microphones. It has integrated Wi-Fi to post photos or stream videos in real-time with automatic geotagging, letting the users’ followers know where the action is taking place. It is also waterproof! The 350Cam can be paired with other GIROPTIC accessories to enhance its usability.

The 360Cam will be on display during CES 2015 at the Sands Booth #72070.

Kodak Returns to CES 2015 with Consumer Showcase

Kodak LogoAfter an absence of three years, Kodak is returning to CES in January 2015 with a range of innovative consumer products including action cams and baby monitors.

Building on a history of digital and video cameras, Kodak will be introducing a line of PixPro cameras, including the PixPro SP360 action cam which provides a 360-degree view. In addition, Kodak will be showing off a smartphone as well as line of headphones and earbuds.

Returning to its photographic roots, Kodak will be demonstrating the Kodak Picture Kiosk and My Kodak Moments app for making prints and other photo products from mobile devices.

Finally, Kodak will be bringing out the Kodak Baby Monitoring System CFH-BVA10, which has already earned a prestigious CES Innovation Award in advance of the show.

Kodak has one of the world’s most powerful brands and we intend to renew it and apply to it to expand our consumer business and grow the company,” said Steven Overman, President, Consumer & Film Division, and Chief Marketing Officer. “The world’s love affair with Kodak Moments has spanned more than a century. Building on that legacy, Kodak today presents a broad range of consumer products – reliable, accessible and easy-to-use.

Other Kodak products on show at CES include:

  • Flash drives and storage media.
  • Photo mailing labels, stickers and other paper imaging specialty items.
  • A full line of batteries and new line of chargers for smart phones and tablets.
  • Photo-related accessories and equipment, including binoculars, camera cases and memory card readers.

The Kodak booth is #21818 in South Hall 1.

Twitpic and Twitter Agreement Keeps Links Alive

Twitpic LogoRecently, Twitpic announced that it would be shutting down on October 25, 2014. That’s not exactly what happened, though. Instead, it appears that Twitpic and Twitter have managed to form an agreement that will keep the links to Twitpic photos active. That being said, Twitpic isn’t accepting any new users.

Twitpic posted a blog on October 25, 2014, called “Twitpic’s Future”. It says that although they weren’t able to find a way to keep Twitpic independent they did reach an agreement with Twitter. The agreement keeps the Twitpic photo and links alive “for the time being”.

Twitpic’s blog also says: Twitter shares our goal of protecting our users and this data. Also, since Twitpic’s user base consists of Twitter users, it makes sense to keep this data with Twitter.

What does this change mean for people who use Twitpic? It means that Twitpic will no longer be taking on new photos or data. In other words, you can’t add anything else to it, and the stuff that is already there will be in read-only format. Twitpic has removed their iOS and Android apps from the app stores. If you are using it, be aware that it is no longer being supported.

People who are already using Twitpic can still login to their profiles and delete content or delete their Twitpic account. The same group will still be able to export and download their Twitpic data / photo archive on Twitpic.com.

This appears to be the end of the “Is Twitpic shutting down?” saga. But, I could be wrong about that. The Twitpic blog said that Twitter will keep photos and links alive “for the time being”. There has been no further clarification of how long “the time being” will actually be.

Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens for Samsung Galaxy Review

Olloclip LogoFor the “point’n’shoot” photographer, smartphones and their built-in cameras have almost completely replaced the compact camera which has seen a huge drop in sales over the past few years. Despite the handiness of the smartphone camera and the myriad of post-processing effects beloved by Instagram, there are times where the problem is getting the right image in the first place. Smartphones with macro or wide-angle lenses aren’t common.

This is where Olloclip saw a gap in the market and via a Kickstarter campaign back in 2011, developed a selection of clip-on lenses for the iPhone and iPad, including macro, fisheye and wide-angle lenses. These have become fairly well-known and I’ve even seen a few people using Olloclips on their iPhone in real life. Not content with Apple owners having all the fun, Olloclip have launched a version of the 4-in-1 lens for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5. Let’s take a look.

The 4-in-1 lens system for the Galaxy S4 consists of a mounting bracket that holds two macro lenses and two additional feature lenses that screw in on top of the macro lenses. One of the lenses is a fisheye and the other wide-angle. The bracket is well-made, with metal inserts to hold the screw-in lenses and the lenses are glass; by using different threads on the bracket, it’s not possible screw in the wrong lens. The bracket can be attached from the left or the right to get the correct lens in front of the phones camera. Take a look at the pictures of the Olloclip below to see how it all works.

Olloclip with Lenses

Olloclip with Lenses Removed

Samsung with Olloclip

In use, the Olloclip is straightforward – clip on the bracket with the lens you want to use in front of the camera and then start taking pictures using your favourite camera app. Simples!

To test out the Olloclip 4-in-1, I used a Samsung Galaxy S4 borrowed from a colleague and got snapping. Here are a few macro pictures that I took of a coin and the detail is impressive.

Olloclip Macro

Olloclip Macro

Olloclip Macro

And here are a few photos of a local landmark using the normal S4 camera, the wide-angle lens and the fisheye lens. I’m no Ansel Adams, that’s for sure.

Native S4 Camera

Olloclip Wide-Angle

Olloclip Fisheye

I was impressed with the Olloclip and with more interesting subject matter, I could have a lot of fun. I particularly liked the macro capabilities and the fisheye was fun too; I was quite surprised at the width of the field of view. Overall, the 4-in-1 was easy to use, clipping on and off in seconds, and significantly increased the photographic possibilities of the Galaxy S4. . On the downside, you do have to remember to bring the Olloclip with you, and the on/off and volume buttons are obstructed by the bracket when in use. The other problem can be with Samsung cases, which often replace the smartphone’s back. If you have one of these cases, you’ll find that the Olloclip won’t clip on and you’ll need to revert to the original case.

The Olloclip 4-in-1 for the Samsung Galaxy S4 or S5 is available direct from the website or through other on-line retailers. Priced at a penny under US$70 or GB£60, it’s more than an impulse purchase but if you are photographer or want to get more from your camera, it’s worth forking out for. Hopefully enough Galaxy owners will purchase to persuade Olloclip to look at other popular Android smartphones as well.

Thanks to Olloclip for the review 4-in-1 lens and to Jacinta for the loan of the Galaxy S4.

Twitpic is Shutting Down

Twitpic LogoIt turns out that Twitpic really is shutting down. You may have heard this before, but that time it was a “false alarm”. This time, it seems certain that Twitpic will soon be gone.

Not long ago, Twitpic posted on its own blog that it would be shutting down by September 25, 2014. Obviously, that didn’t end up happening. When that blog was posted, Twitpic pointed a finger at Twitter as the reason why. That blog stated:

A few weeks ago, Twitter contacted our legal demanding that we abandon our trademark application or risk losing access to their API. This came as a shock to us since Twitpic has been around since early 2008, and our trademark application has been in the USPTO since 2009.

This was later followed by: Unfortunately we do not have the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter to maintain our mark which we believe whole heartedly is rightfully ours. Therefore, we have decided to shut down Twitpic.

However, Twitpic did not shut down at that time. Today, the original blog has been updated. It states that Twitpic will be shutting down on October 25, 2014. From the Twitpic blog update:

It is with heavy heart that I announce that Twitpic will be shutting down on October 25th. We worked through a handful of potential acquirers and exhausted all potential options. We were almost certain we had found a new home for Twitpic (hence our previous tweet), but agreeable terms could not be met.

Those of you who want to can export your data, photos, and videos from Twitpic before it shuts down. Visit the Twitpic blog for a link that will get you started. Yes, this time, it certainly appears that Twitpic really is shutting down.

Turn Photos of Your Lunch Into Real Meals

Virgin Mobile logoHave you ever taken a photo of your lunch, or dinner, and posted it to your favorite form of social media? Some of your friends might like your photo, but that’s about all that can happen with it. Virgin Mobile is giving people in Australia a way to turn their food pics into real meals. This may influence people to post food photos more frequently than usual – but that isn’t a bad thing!

You can turn a photo of food into a real meal for someone else. It is very easy to do. First, take a photo of delicious food. Next, share it on Twitter with the hashtag #mealforameal. OzHarvest will feed someone who is in need every time a person shares a food photo with that hashtag attached to it. The entire thing is being run by Virgin Mobile. You must be in Australia in order to participate in this interesting and helpful campaign.

OzHarvest is the only food rescue organization in Australia. They collect surplus food from fruit and vegetable markets, supermarkets, hotels, wholesalers, farmers, stadiums, corporate events, restaurants, delis, cafes, film and TV shoots, and more. They deliver that food directly to 500 charities in Australia (free of charge). The charities can use it to feed people who are in need.

There is some “fine print” to be aware of. First, as I mentioned, you cannot participate if you aren’t in Australia. You cannot submit more than 3 food photos, with the hashtag, per day. (Well, you could, but they won’t accept more than 3 per day). Participating gives Virgin Mobile permission to re-share any content in your submission “including a perpetual, royalty-free and worldwide license to use any works under the Copyright Act”.

The campaign began on July 9, 2014, and will continue through November 3, 2014 (unless they decide to end it sooner). Their goal is to share 400,000 meals. I am looking forward to seeing the food photos that my Australian friends post to Twitter with #mealforameal. I like that this campaign is free to participate in and that it makes it easy for people to help others.