645 PRO Mk III

Uncompressed Photos From Your iPhone

 

Everyone knows that the camera on the iPhone is one of the best cameras offered on a mobile phone; but up until now there hasn’t been a way to get uncompressed files from that great camera to work with in external image editors like Photoshop. That’s all changed. There are literally thousands of alternative camera Apps for the iPhone in the App store. We’ve reviewed so many on here that it really takes something special to catch our attention let alone make up here as a “Best App”. 645Pro not only caught my attention, but it really blew me away with the quality that it allows me to get out of my iPhone. Terry has said in the past that his iPhone was taking the place of his point and shoot but with this App I think I can confidently say that I don’t need, or want a point and shoot anymore. Camera Pro645 lets you save UNCOMPRESSED TIFFS and high resolution JPEGs right from your iPhone. To my knowledge this is the only App available so far that allows this level of image to be saved. Finally we are able to take advantage of the high quality camera built into the iPhone. Beyond the high quality files, 645Pro provides all of the goodies that you would expect from a quality camera App. All of the controls are laid out in a way that really make a lot of sense and are easy to use.

 

Features, Features, and More Features…

The first and most important thing that you need to do when you download this App is read the (really nicely done) instructions. When you launch the App it will tell you how to get to the instructions, but just in case all you have to do is hold down the play button in the bottom left corner for a few seconds. These instructions are really well done and laid out in an easy to read, easy to understand way.

Like I said, the biggest thing that drew me to this App are the uncompressed image files. The App developer calls them dRaw (which consequently had the internet in a frenzy for a few days until they clarified what dRaw meant) but in reality they are uncompressed Tiff files. Even thought they aren’t actual Raw files, they are uncompressed and a lot better than the Jpegs offered by every other photo App. To give you an example I took the same photo above twice. Once with the 645Pro App and once with the built in camera App then brought both files to the computer. The file that came from the 645Pro was 10.8MB the file from the built in camera App, just 2.7MB.

Beyond the image quality there are a ton of other features and controls in this App. Some people have complained that there are just too many on the main screen (every control for this App is on the main screen). Personally I love having all of that control at my fingertips. I don’t like to drill down three menus deep in an App to turn on exposure lock. At that point, I’ve missed the shot.

Along the left side of the screen you have flash control, grid mode (standard rule of thirds grid), file quality setting, metering options (spot or dynamic), white balance, night mode, timer, view/share, and the instructions. Along the right side you have shutter release, focus lock, exposure lock, back selector, and film mode selector( I’ll get to those last two in a minute). Along the bottom you have an active display similar to what you would find on a DSLR that shows exposure, live histogram,timer, meter mode, file quality and more.

I mentioned above the two controls along the left side; back selector and film mode. Those two modes are there because this App is actually supposed to be replicating a medium format film camera. The different backs change the image ratio from what most consumers would think of as “standard” the 4:3, to square, Panoramic and more. The film mode selects the “type of film” that you want to use or in this case replicate. There is monochromatic (black and white), deep saturated colors, and more. Since I plan on editing the photos later (either in another iPhone App or in Photoshop on the computer) I don’t bother with changing the film settings at all. I leave it on C42 which is “normal” color. As for the backs, I don’t change those either. I like a standard 4:3 format so I leave it on the “645” setting. While these are great features that many people will undoubtedly will like, personally I love the App for other reasons.

One caveat that I found with this App. When you take a photograph in DRaw mode you save a Tiff to the 645Pro App and an uncompressed JPEG to the camera roll. To access the JPEGS you can connect the iPhone to your computer and import photos like you normally would, but to import the Tiffs you need to go into iTunes under Applications and 645Pro.

Things That I’d Like To See

Nothing is perfect, and while I really like 645Pro there are a few things that I would like to see worked on. First, the focus is a little slow for my taste. Even in bright sunlight the focus isn’t quick (even by iPhone standards). I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that so much more of the processor is being used than with other Apps or if it’s just something within the App, but whatever it is I’d like to see it improved. The second thing that kind of bothered me was crashes. The App is rock solid and never crashed… as long as I didn’t take more than two photos at a time quickly. When I say quickly, I mean I could take two photos quickly but then I would have to wait a second or two before I took another one because it would crash the App. This only happened when I had it set to DRaw (Tiff) mode. In all fairness this is probably really taxing on the phone. When in DRaw mode it is not only saving a Tiff file to the phone, but it is also saving an uncompressed JPEG to the camera roll as well. That’s a lot of file to be crunching all at once.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a fan of editing your images outside of the iPhone on your computer, if you’re a fan of printing your iPhone photos, or if you’re a fan of getting rid of your point and shoot to replace it with the iPhone, you need this App. I have been using it as my go to App if for no other reason than the image quality and control accessibility. If you try it I think that you’ll find that you like it as well.

You can get 645Pro for your iPhone for $2.99 here: iTunes

360 Panorama

360 Panorama

I love 360° Panoramas. I used to create QuickTime VRs back in the day. I still like to use them in my digital publishing documents for tablets. What I never expected to have was an easy way to create them directly on my iPhone or iPad. That’s where 360 Panorama comes in. This App is an interactive 360° panorama creation tool right on your device.

Simply bring up the App and you get a grid of the world around you to align on. Tap to snap the 1st shot and then simply turn left or right a little and the next shot gets taken automatically. Just keep turning until you captured the entire scene or until you stop the capture. The App will automatically stich the scene together and render it.

You can either output a rendered 360° to the cloud and share it with friends via email, Twitter or Facebook or your can export a flattened pano to the camera roll or email. If something gets in the way, sadly there is no way to edit it out. You’ll either have to take the shot over again or start over. Of course on a flattened version you can edit it in your favorite editing App such as Photoshop and clone out the thing that got in the way.

Here’s a sample one I did in Copenhagen on the way to my event. As you can see my buddy Jason walked through one of the shots.

This is amazing technology for the very low cost of entry. You can create good looking panos in the matter of a couple of minutes. I’d like to see a “re-take” button on the interace, but otherwise it’s hard to find things to complain about.

iTunes

 

Portfolio Pro for iPad - Brandable Photo and Video App

Portfolio Pro for iPad

I have reviewed quite a few different portfolio Apps here and even though there are a couple that I use regularly now, I wouldn’t call either one “perfect” so therefore I’m always on the lookout for a new one. Portfolio Pro is the New kid on the block and it made a splashy appearance on the App Store this past Friday. I downloaded it and gave it a spin over the weekend. At this point it’s pretty easy for me to know right off the bat if a portfolio App is going to be a winner or not.

What I like…

Portfolio Pro is customizable and brandable. This means you can easily add your own logo and customize the typeface. There’s a pretty slick screen saver feature that you can designate which photos float by (Ken Burns Effect) when you’re not in a particular gallery. Like most other apps in this category, you can create multiple galleries. You can import from the device’s camera roll/albums, Dropbox (a must for me) or Flickr. You can easily move the images around in the order you want. You can also choose to show or hide the image titles/filenames. I like the fact that you can BATCH import. It seems the fastest of all the ones I’ve tried in importing my images from Dropbox. It’s also nice to have some themes to choose from, yet still be able to customize them to what you want with colors and fonts. The App supports images and movies. You can either flip through the images manually or have it play a slideshow of any of your galleries. Lastly it’s probably one of the easiest to use! Some of these Apps leave me scratching my head on how various features work. However, I had no problem getting up and running in Portfolio Pro within a matter of minutes.

What could be better?…

Although it meets my first criteria in that it can import from Dropbox, it currently lacks the ability to “sync” with dropbox. My workflow is to publish my galleries “Collections” from Lightroom to folders on Dropbox. When I update a Collection in Lightroom and press the Publish button it updates the folder on dropbox adding/removing images as necessary. I would like to see Portfolio Pro “sync” with these folders so that I don’t have to manually import the new images each time and then have to remember which ones should be deleted. Minimal Folio seems to be the only App that I’ve seen so far that does this. The current transition between images is a “Flipshow” and while this is nice, I’d like a simple cross dissolve as an option. I’d also like to see the ability to add music to the slideshows/galleries the way Portfolio for iPad does. Ideally the ability to pick a different song/playlist for each gallery. Lastly, although I show my portfolio most of the time on my iPad, there are times I do whip out my iPhone to show someone a quick image. Once again I’m spoiled by Minimal Folio not only having an iPad version but also an iPhone version. Best of all they sync via Dropbox.

The Bottom Line

Portfolio Pro for iPad has potential and it’s certainly as good as many of the others that are out there. However, it still lacks a few things that keep it from being my top pick. Looking forward to the next feature update to see what gets added. The App that is the easiest to keep up to date with my latest photography will most likely be the one I use the most.
iTunes

TripCase

TripCase for the Frugal Traveler

If you haven’t spent money on a travel app, then go grab TripCase at the great price of FREE. I know, free usually equates to annoying ads & compromised functionality, but in this case you–my frugal traveler–come out ahead.

Sounds like TripIt

TripCase organizes flight, hotel & car information into a single trip and is available for the iPhone, Android & Blackberry. A trip can be created by using a Record Locator (6-alpha character code) or a Trip ID (12-digit numeric code) either of which may be listed on the travel itinerary. It is also possible to simply forward the confirmation email to trips@tripcase.com and the service will parse the message automatically entering the data.

Once a trip has been created, TripCase uses information contained in your itinerary for real time notifications. As you drive to the airport, TripCase provides traffic advisory info, alerts to any flight changes, allows options for finding alternate flights, and when you arrive early at your destination reminds you to check into your hotel with proper contact info. Need a route to the hotel? No problem, TripCase uses iPhone GPS and maps a route for you. “Intelligent Messaging” is the key feature that separates TripCase from other travel apps, and it will continue to have more insights for consumers as the next release is due this summer 2012.

If tracking your itinerary within the app isn’t enough, you can add TripCase to your calendar. For live updates choose the subscription option, or simply download all trips in a single offline file. You can share your adventures via Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn or create email connections for family & friends.

There is a lot offered in the free app, and as expected more features available in the Pro version. The Pro version offers Seat Maps, Flight Schedules, Directions, SMS Alerts, Conversion Tool, and tracks your travel Bonus Programs. The Pro version is being offered for FREE until December 31, 2012.

OK, so what’s the catch?

If it sounds to good to be true, there must be a reason you wouldn’t want the app right? Well, the most glaring omission from TripCase is the lack of an iPad optimized version. TripCase will run on the iPad scaling the iPhone layout, but this pales in comparison to Flight Tracker Pro or other iPad travel apps.

If you’re an avid TripIt user, TripCase will not import TripIt data so your left switching platforms a thought that stops many users in their tracks.

While the Pro version of TripCase is free until the end of 2012, there has not been any information about what the Pro version will actually cost.

Bottom Line

If you look at the available travel apps many offer the features of TripCase, but none of them offer all the same features for FREE. Flight Tracker Pro is $9.99 and must be used with TripIt which requires a $49 upgrade to the Pro version before you can get Flight Alerts. Flight+ is $2.99 and also requires TripIt.

For an all-in-one travel app at a great price, I would look no further than TripCase.
TripCase - Sabre Inc.

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn Goes iPad Native

I’ll admit that up until now I haven’t been a  huge user of LinkedIn. Maybe it was because I didn’t really spend a lot of time setting it up, or maybe I just didn’t see a huge use for me personally. I recently took on a new job in the IT field where I have a lot of other people in the company looking to me for leadership and help so I thought that maybe it was the perfect time to devote some effort to making my LinkedIn account better. It just so happens that recently LinkedIn introduced a native App for the iPad, which is where I prefer to do most of my social networking. It was perfect timing for me, and apparently perfect timing for the new iPad as well with the new retina display support.

What’s New

First and foremost LinkedIn is now available on the iPad. I’m not sure why it has taken them this long to get on board with an iPad native App, but I’m glad that they finally did. It is now possible to take advantage of the iPads screen real estate to browse connections, read and reply to messages, view articles and much, much more. Like I said before, I use my iPad for 99% of my social media interaction and being able to access LinkedIn on there makes me that much more likely to use the service.

The biggest feature of the iPad App has to be the All Updates section. LinkedIn has taken advantage of the larger screen real estate of the iPad in the All Updates section to create a Zite like feel for browsing your groups, your connections, and networks. The other great thing that you’ll find in your All Updates section are articles with content targeted at you the user. I still prefer Zite for this kind of content, but it’s a nice added touch to LinkedIn.

Another of the new features added with this LinkedIn update not only for the iPad but for the iPhone as well, is Calendar integration. If you enable the calendar integration within the LinkedIn App, your mobile calendar (whatever calendar is on that local device) will get imported. At first I wasn’t sure why I would want this, after all I can just tap on my calendar and see what my appointments are for the day but then I realized that the LinkedIn calendar shared so much more. If the person that you have a meeting with is on LinkedIn (and most business people are), when you pull up the meeting in the Linked in App the profiles and information of the other people attending the meeting will be there. This can be a huge time saver. Remember earlier I said that I didn’t use LinkedIn very much before? When I did use it in the past I was specifically using it to look up information about new people that I was meeting with. I always find that if I can find a common interest with a person that I’m meeting for the first time, or even meeting again after an extended period of time not interacting with them, It will make the meeting go a lot smoother and more comfortable. The new calendar feature isn’t limited to the iPad version of the App, it is also included in the iPhone update as well so they didn’t cut out the professionals who don’t own an iPad.

 

If you’re on LinkedIn don’t forget to Add me here.

 

The Bottom Line

If you’re a LinkedIn user this update for the iPhone and new App for the iPad is sure to make you happy. If you use LinkedIn and aren’t using it on your idevices you’re missing out, especially when it comes to the iPad.

You can get LinkedIn for the iPad for free from the iTunes store here:iTunes

You can get LinkedIn for the iPhone for free from the iTunes store here: iTunes

 

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