Technical Camera : What’s Coming?

Technical Camera is available for a few days now, and I’m exceptionally glad to see how much people like it. Feature requests and questions also began pouring in, so I think it’s time to talk about what’s coming (and what’s not).

But first let’s talk about the concept. Technical Camera is designed to be a sleek, efficient (dare I say minimalistic?) app, and we absolutely want to keep it that way. That’s why people immediately fell in love with it. We carefully design, evaluate, prototype each feature that goes into our apps. And most of the time do it several times to find the best approach. This is how we always did it. With the Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder, Kuuvik Capture, and now with Technical Camera. But this means that we have to draw a line for each release, otherwise we’ll eternally develop something that never sees the light of day.

The very first release of Technical Camera contains what we and our beta testers found essential for professional use. Of course the planned and working-on-it feature list is much longer, but had to draw that line. And now we’re listening to you, and asking you to let us know what’s missing that is important to your work.

So while in general we do not comment or make promises on future features, I’m going to mention what are the most requested features (in order of number of requests) that we plan to add into future (free) updates of Technical Camera.

1) Flash is number one by a huge margin. And while we still feel that the best way to improve mobile photography is to avoid using flash, there are numerous technical uses where we also feel the need. So it’ll come!

2) White balance control.

3) Self timer. This is actually a part of a broader feature group we’re working on, but let me keep it as a surprise.

4) Exposure sequences. We are working on a new exposure sequence controller that is destined to go into all our future photography apps. Technical Camera is one of those waiting for that module to get completed.

It is equally important (if not more important) to talk about what’s not coming. There are two sub-categories here: “never gonna happen” and “undecided”.

While one should never say never, this category is where we feel that a feature clashes with the concept and core principles of the app. Or with our opinions on the world. Selfies, video, live photos, fancy filters, editing, AI-servants-doing-what-one-should-learn are in this group. So don’t ask for these. There are other apps out there doing these very well. Especially professional video capture.

We are undecided on HDR and pano mode.

There’s one more thing I should mention. Some people even asked to replicate functionality X from app Y. That’s never ever gonna happen. Under no circumstances. First, because we respect the intellectual property of other developers, and second, because we strongly believe that we can do it better for our users.

So let us know what you miss, and what problems you face in your photography workflow to be able to make Technical Camera an even better fit for your needs!

Technical Camera : Highlight & Shadow Alert

Highlight and shadow alert is a very straightforward feature of Technical Camera. As the name implies, it warns you when highlights are going to be blown and shadows are about to go detail-less black.

Highlight alert in action

For example, the red highlight alert indicates that the Sun in blown on the image above. I also used Black & White mode as the alert is more visible this way, but of course the feature works with color images. The shadow alert’s color is blue. Both alerts operate on the luminance information of the image.

You can turn these alerts on and off either via screen options (tap the rectangle in the corner, then use the exclamation mark icon – shown in this post), or by assigning the Toggle Highlight & Shadow Alert (HS) function to a Smart Function Key and using the function key.

Of course the warnings are displayed on the live viewfinder image only, they are not saved into final images.

I find these alerts indispensable for shooting on an iPhone, because it tends to overexpose images and blow highlights.

Technical Camera is available now on the App Store, at a 30% discounted price until June 14, 9:00AM CEST.

Technical Camera Available Now

Technical Camera is available now on the App Store!

Quite a few users reported that pre-orders did not work on iOS 10.3, and they unable/unwilling to update to iOS 11 because of several reasons. So we provide a 2 day introductory price period, until June 14, 9:00AM CEST.

To get started with the app, I recommend to read my how-to posts. More of them is on the way.


Technical Camera : Wide Converter Support

There are occasions when the iPhone camera is not wide enough. A handful of companies (Moment, olloclip, Schneider, Zeiss – just to name  a few) realized that this is an issue, and started making converter lenses that let you shoot wider. These lenses fall into two categories: 1) well corrected for distortion – like the Moment or Zeiss, and 2) uncorrected.

With the latter group you have severe barrel distortion. We started experimenting with these lenses for use with the Mark II Artist’s Viewfinder back in 2013. The barrel distortion basically made them unusable for simulation purposes, so we came up with a solution that’s unmatched even five years later. Maybe because it needs a lot of effort and is quite costly to implement.

The technology behind the solution is real-time distortion correction, and the associated thing in both Artist’s Viewfinder and Technical Camera is Wide Mode.

Let me show it in action before going deeper (veteran Artist’s Viewfinder users can skip this, as it’s exactly the same thing you’re used to in that app).

The top/left half of the image is what you get when attaching an uncorrected converter lens. The lower/right half is what you’ll end up after turning on Wide Mode.

This kind of correction is really important if you want to take architecture or real estate pictures – it may separate an amateurish looking image from a professional looking one.

Since distortion correction is done in software, edges of the resulting image may become soft. This is more pronounced with wider (0.5x-class) converter lenses. One possible mitigation (depending on planned image use) is using JPG Half or JPG Quarter image size for your album.

To use a converter lens with Technical Camera, you need to tell the app which lens you are using with the Wide Converter item in the menu. This will select the appropriate correction profile and conversion factor. We make dedicated profiles for each supported converter/phone combination (this is why it’s a costly endeavor). The list of profiles is continuously expanding, so if you miss something, please let us know.

We also measure the exact conversion factor for the profiles (which is usually more conservative that manufacturers tend to advertise). In Technical Camera this number is used for displaying Framing Previsor corners correctly.

But since we can’t cover every single lens on the market, there’s another neat thing: you can create a “custom converter” yourself. Since the process is exactly same for both apps, I’m not going to replicate here what I wrote about this feature when it was introduced in Artist’s Viewfinder – but I recommend you to read that post.

Ok, you have a converter selected. The lens is already attached to the phone. What’s next?

You have to activate Wide Mode. This is done with either the WIDE icon among camera options (accessed by tapping the circle icon in the corner – shown below).

Wide Mode icon on Camera Options

Or by assigning the Toggle Wide Mode (W) function to a Smart Function Key and operating that key.

That’s it. Until you turn Wide Mode off, the viewfinder, saved JPG images, and even preview images saved in RAW files will be distortion corrected.

All functions (exposure, focus, etc) operate the same way in Wide Mode, with the exception of digital zooming, which is disabled.

Technical Camera is available for pre-oreder now on the App Store, at a 30% discounted price. It will be released tomorrow.