Photography Stories October 4, 2018

259 people died while trying to take extreme selfies, says US report

The desire for ever more extreme selfies has so far resulted in 259 deaths, says a new report by the US National Library of Medicine …

Photography Stories March 16, 2018

After reading our review of Moment’s lenses and how it made the Pixel 2’s camera even better, I knew I had to get my hands on the different pieces of glass. Unfortunately, the $90 to $100 per lens stopped me in my tracks and made me reconsider the purchase. Thankfully, RhinoShield, the makers of one of the best bumper cases on the market, now has its own line of smartphone lenses available for just a fraction of the cost (25 to $60).

Here’s a detailed look at both company’s lenses, the photographs they allow you to take, and my thoughts on if they’re worth the money.

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Photography Stories July 25, 2016

Popular cloud-powered Prisma photo editing app now available on Android

Following its launch on iOS a few weeks ago, Prisma has just arrived on Android after a successful beta test earlier this week. If you’re unfamiliar with the app, Prisma uses cloud-computing to provide artistic effects to your photos. Unlike filters in apps like Instagram and VSCO, Prisma can identify objects within a photo and intelligently change how the filter behaves accordingly.

Photography Stories February 11, 2016


While mobile photography keeps on improving thanks to the advancement of tiny camera sensors and image processors, it’s still nowhere near as fully-fledged as DSLR or Micro 4/3rd photography. You can’t swap out interchangeable lenses for different types of imagery, and have to rely on third party manufacturers producing clip-on accessories. That’s where the Aukey 18mm HD wide angle clip-on lens comes in.

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Photography Stories November 7, 2015

LenX app

<a href="">LenX app</a> using older camera API

While taking pictures with third-party camera apps on the Nexus 5X, some users may notice that both the preview displayed by the phone and the image captured are upside down. While this error could easily be attributed with initial Marshmallow incompatibility on the part of the app developer, both software and hardware are to blame…

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Photography Stories August 6, 2015

Google and MIT have created an algorithm that brings amazing obstruction-free photography [Video]

When you’re taking a picture, it’s not rare for obstructions like fences and reflections to make the resulting image less than ideal. Given a few frames, though, shouldn’t it be possible to do some post-processing and eliminate these problems? That’s what Google and MIT have demonstrated in a paper entitled “A Computational Approach for Obstruction-Free Photography”. It’s fascinating stuff.

If you’re taking a picture in a window, it’s pretty common that a reflection of inside the room or car could obstruct what would otherwise be a really nice looking photo. And that’s what this algorithm seems to focus on most. The team demoes several examples of taking several frames, and actually separating the obstructing reflection, leaving a clear image of the background.

It seems to work well with photos taken through fences and other situations too, the end result providing an image of the background as well as a fairly accurate representation of what the obstruction looks like by itself. This could have plenty of applications for everyday smartphone photography, but perhaps for forensic research as well. You’ll just have to watch it for yourself. Hopefully, this tech isn’t far from being added to the Camera app.

Photography Stories January 5, 2015

Zenfone Zoom

In addition to announcing the Zenfone 2 at CES today, Asus used the Consumer Electronics Show to unveil its new Zenfone Zoom Android smartphone. Similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Zoom line, Asus claims its Zenfone Zoom is the world’s thinnest smartphone with a 3X optical zoom camera. expand full story

Polaroid’s Socialmatic camera packs 14MP & mobile printing in a WiFi-connected Android shooter

Even in the age of Instagram and amazing cameras on our smartphones, the classic concept of shoot-and-print isn’t dead thanks to Polaroid’s Socialmatic camera on display this week at CES. Polaroid’s vintage-style cam is actually modernized with WiFi connectivity and an Android-based system for shooting and sharing with a retro design.

Photography Stories November 21, 2014

Motorola updates its Camera and Gallery apps with a Material Design makeover

Motorola Mobility recently updated its Camera and Gallery with a splash of Material Design, giving its in-house software a refreshed feel. Owners of the Droid Turbo, Moto X and Droid Ultra can now use a wrist twist hand gesture to alternate between their respective handset’s front and back cameras, and they’ll also notice a refined flat interface that should fit in nicely with Motorola’s latest smartphone.

Photography Stories November 10, 2014

Instagram is out with a feature update today with some welcome features. Users will likely appreciate the ability to edit photo captions and locations attached to photos in post now. That means if you make a typo on your caption, you no longer have to choose between correcting yourself in the comments, deleting and re-posting the photo with the correction caption, or just ignoring it altogether. expand full story


We already described the camera performance of the Galaxy Note 4 as “pretty incredible” in our detailed review, but if you’re willing to root your device, a new XDA modification lets you push the camera app even further.

First, the mod removes the slight file-compression Samsung applies to still photos, increasing the JPEG quality from 96% to 100%. Video recordings get a much more substantial boost in quality, from 20-28mbit (depending on mode) to 40-65mbit. It also significantly increases video recording times …  expand full story

Photography Stories April 24, 2014

Sony releases ‘Background defocus’ camera app to Play Store

Joining the Android camera app fun, Sony has released its “Background defocus” app for Xperia  phones on the Google Play Store. The app helps blur the background of an image and simulates greater focus on the subject to create a more professional looking photo. The update requires Android 4.2 or later for compatibility.

Sony on how its Background defocus camera works:

It captures two photos with different focus settings, which you can bring together to create a photo with one object in sharp focus, against a beautifully blurred background. How to use Background defocus: 1. Start the Camera and select Background defocus as camera mode 2. Tap the object you want to focus on in the viewfinder 3. Tap the camera key to take a photo 4. Change the blur level and blur effect with the controls on the screen 5. Tap the save buttonTips for best photos:

To get the best results, please focus on an object 15-45cm (0.5-1.5 feet) away and make sure the background object is 5 meter away from focus target and hold camera steady.

Earlier this month, Google added its own camera app with lens blur functionality to the Play Store. HTC’s new One (M8) also boasts similar features with its camera software and hardware.

Photography Stories April 18, 2014


HTC’s future imaging plans revolve around the selfie market and optical zoom coming to smartphones, according to the company’s camera expert Symon Whitehorn. In an interview with Vodaphone (via Android Central), Whitehorn made various points, including his thoughts on 4K in smartphones, future applications of optical zoom, and the importance of the front-facing camera in the company’s attempt to clench the “selfie market.” expand full story

Photography Stories March 11, 2014

Instagram for Android now twice as fast and half the size with refreshed design

Instagram announced today it that it has not only refreshed the design of its Android app, but that it has cut the overall size of the app in half while making the profile screen load twice as fast. According to Instagram, the new design makes more considerations for how it presents photos with devices with smaller screens in mind as well as button placement with larger displays in mind.

Instagram 5.1 is available today on the Google Play Store.

Photography Stories January 2, 2014


Samsung’s efforts to dominate every technology vertical continues this morning as the company announces the successor to the original Galaxy Camera, the Galaxy Camera 2. The new model of the Android-based shooter includes an upgraded 1.6GHz quad-core processor, 21x Optical Zoom, 2GB of RAM, Dropbox support for more memory and a 16M BSI CMOS sensor for “vivid images which are both rich in color and sharp in detail.”

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Photography Stories November 25, 2013


Earlier this month, developers poking around the Android source code discovered that Google was preparing to add support for RAW photo capabilities to its mobile OS.  Today, Google has revealed that Android’s photography software was in fact updated with the ability to capture and store RAW images as well as support for burst mode photography. These changes to the Android base are not yet available to third-party developers, but the company has announced that the necessary APIs to take advantage of these new features will soon be available, allowing any developer to improve their app’s photography capabilities.

The recently-released Nexus 5 already takes advantage of the technology behind burst mode when creating HDR images. However, the quality of the camera has been a sore point for some Android users, including 9to5Google‘s own David Beren. Google has promised “insanely great” cameras in upcoming Nexus devices, though, so it’s not a big stretch to assume that these software enhancements are laying the groundwork for even better mobile cameras in the future.

As for third-party developers, a few have already started improving on the Nexus 5’s camera software on their own without official support from Google. It seems that Google is now preparing to give all Android developers even more to work with in the area of photography.

Photography Stories September 25, 2013

Google+ adds support for RAW uploads from more than 70 cameras

Over the past several months, Google has been doing a lot to improve the photo-editing and sharing features of Google+, and tonight the company has announced even more enhancements for photographers. For awhile now, Google+ has supported the upload and storage of RAW files from many cameras, but now, the service is being expanded to more than 70 camera models.

Once the file is uploaded, it can be edited in JPEG form as often and as much as needed, while the original file, and edited JPEGS, will remain saved and available for download at anytime.

The full list of supported cameras is below:

– Canon EOS: 100D, 1000D, 1100D, 1D Mark III, 1D Mark IV, 1Ds Mark III, 1Dx, 20D, 30D, 350D, 400D, 40D, 450D, 500D, 50D, 550D, 5D, 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 600D, 60D, 650D, 6D, 700D, 7D, M – Canon Powershot: G12, G1X, S100 – Nikon: 1 J1, 1 J2, 1 J3, 1 S1, 1 V1, 1 V2, Coolpix A, D300, D300s, D3000, D3100, D3200, D4, D40, D40X, D5000, D5100, D5200, D600, D700, D7000, D7100, D800, D800E, D90 – Olympus: OM-D E-M5, PEN EP1, PEN EP2, PEN EP3, PEN EPL3, PEN EPL5 – Panasonic: LUMIX DMC GF1 – Sony: Alpha 700, NEX-5, NEX-5N, NEX-6, NEX-7, NEX-C3, NEX-F3, RX1, RX100, SLT Alpha 55, SLT Alpha 77, SLT Alpha 99

Photography Stories July 11, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 5.37.35 PM

Photographer Colby Brown is offering a free book on the Google Play Store about how to take better photos with Android phones and tablets. The book covers different grips you can use to get the best shot out of your device, as well as third-party apps that can help edit and share your photos.

This invaluable guide on how to better use the camera on your Android phone will make all the difference in the world as you capture and share the world around you with others.

The book is free for a limited time on the Play Store, though you must have a credit card associated with your account in order to send it to your device.  expand full story

Photography Stories May 7, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Phone

Samsung must have received a good response with its Galaxy Camera that we first got a look at last year during IFA in Berlin, as new reports suggest the company is getting ready to introduce a new camera/smartphone hybrid dubbed the “Galaxy S4 Zoom”. The report comes from the often reliable SamMobile, and suggests that Samsung is preparing to introduce the device as its first “camera phone” with a 16 megapixel camera similar to that included in the Galaxy Camera:

SamMobile says the Galaxy S4 Zoom will include a slightly smaller 4.3” qHD SAMOLED display, 8GB of onboard storage, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, A-GPS, and the latest version of Jelly Bean alongside Samsung’s Touch Wiz UI. The report also claims the device will run dual or quad-core processor but CPU and RAM specs aren’t yet finalized.

According to the report Samsung is hoping to launch its new Galaxy S4 Zoom camera smartphone sometime in June and July in both while and black variants.

Photography Stories August 21, 2012

Update: Nikon added more press shots (above) to its website with the S800c’s white paper.

Nikon just unveiled its Android-powered, point-and-shoot Coolpix S800c camera that we detailed earlier this week.

Just as rumors suggested, it boasts built-in GPS for geo-tagging, a 10X optical zoom lens, 16-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, 3.5-inch touchscreen display, 1080p video capture, 4GB of internal storage, and Android 2.3 Gingerbread with Google Play access.

“The S800c establishes a new line in the COOLPIX S series powered by Android with built-in Wi-Fi compatibility for operation similar to that of a smartphone and wireless Internet connection,” announced Nikon on its website. “The S800c fulfills Nikon’s latest proposal for new ways to use digital cameras–Capture, View, Connect, Enjoy–all in a single, compact body.”

The S800c will be available in September in both white and black versions for a suggested retail price of $349.95.

The full press release is below.

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Photography Stories June 23, 2011

Google’s photo software is about to get upgraded…

Stanford professor and iPhone Camera app developer Marc Levoy is going to Google for two years according to his Stanford bio page:

I will be on part-time leave of absence from June 2011 through June 2013, to pursue a project at Google. 

This stint at Google won’t be his first.  He co-designed the Google book scanner and launched Google’s Street View project.

Levoy’s current interests include light fields, optical microscopy, and computational photography – meaning computational imaging techniques that extend the capabilities of digital photography. Levoy’s recent research focuses on camera applications.

My research has recently focused on making cameras programmable. One concrete outcome of this project is our Frankencamera architecture, published in this SIGGRAPH 2010 paper. To help me understand the challenges of building photographic applications for a mobile platform, I tried writing a cell phone app myself. The result is SynthCam. By capturing, tracking, aligning, and blending a sequence of video frames, the app makes the near-pinhole aperture on an iPhone camera act like the large aperture of a single-lens-reflex (SLR) camera. This includes the SLR’s shallow depth of field and resistance to noise in low light. The app is available for $0.99 in the iTunes app store. I don’t expect to get rich from this app, but I learned a lot by writing it, and yes – seeing it appear in the app store was a thrill. Here are a few of my favorite reviews of the app: MIT Technology ReviewWiReD.

What’s Levoy going to be working on at Google?

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