One of my Twitter followers asked me had I tried this App? While my first thought was "this thing will never be accurate enough", I decided to give it a shot in a real world scenario. Last week I had the pleasure of teaching a lighting class down in Texas. The lighting I was using in my class was the NEW Westcott Spiderlite TD6's. Since Spiderlites are a continuous light source it was the perfect opportunity to try out this App. Before I even remembered that I had the App on my iPhone someone in my class asked me if I ever used a light meter? Of course the answer was yes. I have a very nice Sekonic light meter, but I rarely use it in my studio. One reason is that I shoot tethered and I can see where to make adjustments after the first shot. Secondly I usually know where to start with my settings in my own environment. However, this time I was in a new setting. I had already taken some shots and got the results I wanted, but I decided to fire up the Pocket Light Meter app and see if it woud give me the same readings/settings.
It was really close
The shot above taken before metering was at 1/80, f/5, ISO 400. Had I not locked in the shutter speed in the App it would have been right on the money.
I was impressed with how well this worked. It was more accurate than I thought it would be. It takes a few moments for it to lock in, but in a pinch it should get you in the ballpark. If the App is consistently off in your environment there is an exposure compensation slider that lets you better calibrate the App for your setting. Just tap the i to ge to the controls.
The Bottom Line
This App doesn't replace a dedicated light meter! What it does do is give me a light meter that I will always have with me since I always have my iPhone with me. It has no way of working with or triggering a flash. If you're doing flash photography this won't be of much help. For the price (Free with Ads), you have no reason not to try it. I wish it would lock on a little faster, but part of that is limited by the camera on the device as well. While there is a Hold button on screen so that you can raise your device up to grab the reading and then hold it so that you can lock it in and see it as you bring your hand back down I'd like to see that button be larger or better let it be the whole screen. In other words hold down anywhere on the screen to capture the reading. I'd also like to hear a beep once the reading has been captured so that I know I can bring my hand down.
You can get a larger display and remove the ads with a $0.99 In App Purchase.
You can get Pocket Light Meter for Free here from the
Finding a good system for notes has been very hard for me in that most systems have been too obtrusive, requiring me to go through a process of organizing and sorting, each time I just wanted to jot down a simple reminder note.
This one requirement has ruled out solutions like Evernote, who have a superb note system in place but just take too long for me to work with. Enter Simplenote, a much quicker option.
Simplenote is a text based solution, with no RTF in it by default, it is just plain text. For many, this might be a downside, but I find it to be just what you need most of the time. If you, however, require the features to be able to style your text using a simple editor as well as insert images, Simplenote is not going to be for you.
What Simplenote does best however, is give you the clean way for creating notes. The app is available for free both on the iPhone, iPodTouch and iPad and works in a very simple way. Just launch it and tap the plus sign to begin editing a note. Even though the app and service has support for basic tagging, I find it much easier to implement this as part of the file name. For example, instead of adding a tag, I just prefix my note with say: “bas:review”. When I start searching, I can filter down as far as I want, first to bas, which will show me all notes containing that keyword, then if I want the sub-group. Finally, I get the title of the note. Simple!
Bento is my favorite personal information manager for iOS. This new update works with the newly released Bento 4 for Mac OS. In addition to working with the new desktop version you now get:
- The ability to record and store Voice Memos in the media fields
- Location field support (tag records with your current location automatically)
- iOS 4 multi-tasking support and printing PDFs stored in media fields
- Address Book and iCal Tasks library synchronization can now be turned off in device settings
- Additional language localizations.
Of these new features the one that I'm most looking forward to is the Voice Memo feature. I plan to use Beno for iPad to do my Trip Reports and with voice memos I'll now be able to not only enter the details about the trip/conference but also record sound bytes from customers to provide feedback to the product teams at corporate.
You can get Bento for iPad for $4.99 here from the
You can get Bento for iPhone/iPod touch for $4.99 here from the
One of my favorite iOS image editing Apps, Photoshop Express has just been updated to version 2.0
Photoshop Express 2.0 remains a free App that now has more support for iPhone 4's retina display as well as multitasking.
New Adobe Camera Pack
If you want to go further Photoshop Express 2.0 now offers an in-app purchase of the Adobe Camera Pack. This in-app purchase gives you additional features like an instant Review feature that is similar to what you find on traditional point and shoot and DSLR cameras. For example, when I take a photo on any of my other cameras, I see the photo for a few seconds on the LCD to make sure I got the shot. However, after you take a photo with the built-in iDevice cameras the photo goes directly to the camera roll without showing you what it looks like first. Granted you can tap to see the photo that you've just taken, but then you're missing out on taking more photos while the action is still going on. With Photoshop Express you can now set a 2 second or 5 second review that will show you the photo AND allow you to delete it, right after you take the shot to make sure it's what you want. You can just keep right on shooting without any additional navigation. You also get a timer for taking shots that you want to get into or have the iDevice be totally steady on a tripod. You can also take advantage of Adobe legendary Noise Reduction features:
You can download Photoshop Express 2.0 for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch for free here from the
Just fire up Mobile Safari and do a Google search right? Yes you could do that, but then you'd be missing out on quite a few cool features of this newly updated Google Search App. The Google Search App does allow you to do text based searches, but it also allows you to search in more ways. Like the original version you can search via your voice. Just fire up the app and tap the mic icon. Then you can just speak your search phrase. Now you can also use your iOS device's camera (yes, even on the 5 day old iPad 2) to take a picture of an object that you want to search for. The App warns you that it image searches work best on Books & DVDs, Landmarks, logos, barcodes, etc. The new UI (user interface) also let's you swipe right to see your results in a more Google like manner. You can now easily narrow your results down to Places, Images, News, Shopping, Videos, Updates, Blogs and Discussions.
If you use an iOS device and you do searches this App rocks! You can get Google Search for Free here from the