Gadgets and Gizmos for the Geeky Camera Guy or Gal

Last October, my old Toshiba laptop gave up the ghost. Before replacing it I thought long and hard about what I was using it for. Mostly, I was using it on the sofa for web browsing while watching TV. I had been taking it on photo trips to store, view and edit the day’s images. But I soon realized that it was nearly impossible to match color profiles on my main “photo lab” PC monitor and the one on the laptop. So, I stopped editing in the field and consequently didn’t need a new laptop for that.

So a tablet seemed worth checking out. I haven’t been an Apple user since the IIC (remember?). And I’m too heavily invested in PCs and MS to switch now.

I’ve also been a big fan of Google since it was just Google Search and Gmail. Now I use practically every application they make. So an Android tablet seemed the logical choice and I ended up with the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 32GB for Christmas.

Now I can do all of the sofa surfing I want without overheating my lap. And I can control my TiVo, DVD and entertainment system right from the tablet.


OK. Why is this of any interest to a photographer? Well, I found a bunch of Android-based photography apps to download. Most are free and some cost a few dollars. So here’s a list of what I’m using (or have at least downloaded) with a sample screen shot.

The Photographers Ephemeris – “The Photographer’s Ephemeris helps you plan your outdoor shoot, with full details of how the sun and moon move across the land.” Integrated with Google Earth/Maps. Very cool for figuring out exactly what tree the sun will rise behind tomorrow and at what time – all from your exact location!.

Photo Tools – “A collection of Photography tools for professionals and ambitious amateurs.” About 2 dozen photography tools, calculators, guides, charts, etc bundled in one free application. Can’t think of much that’s missing and it replaces a pocket full of notes.

Nikon Lenses – “The NikonLenses app is a guide to Nikon’s current lineup of F-Mount lenses used by both Nikon’s digital and film SLR cameras. You can view all the lenses at once or you can view lenses in a selected category. You have the ability to sort by aperture, minimum focal length and ESP (Estimated Retail Price). Each lens has a detail page which provides links to the Nikon web page detailing the lens, reviews of the lens from third parties (if available – brand new lenses might not have reviews yet) and where to rent …” (lenses when away from home base like a Nikkor 600mm f4!!!!!. OK, so it’s only of interest to Nikoniacs.

SLR – “Studio Light Rigger (SLR) allows you to plan in 3D your favorite lighting set-ups, those set-ups can be Loaded/Saved to a library on the device”. Seems complicated. I’ll have to spend more time with it some day.

NEF Thumbnailer
– “An explorer-like application to preview Nikon (c) DSLR RAW-Files. View, share and save the embedded jpeg-images. Fullscreen view to switch thru the images and show EXIF-informations. Usable with nef-files only!”  This is the one that I love! Before moving on to the next shooting location I can pop the SD card from my camera into the SD adapter on the Galaxy and review all my NEF files (with EXIF). With an 8” diagonal image on an excellent display, I can see if I need to reshoot anything before moving on. Much easier on my 70 year old eyes than the 3” LCD on my camera.

This would be much better if it could be tethered to the camera’s USB port. I’m hoping that’s on the way soon. My D70 has a Mass Storage option on the USB port so I can read files directly from the camera via a USB cable. The D7000 has only a PTP function, no Mass Storage option!!!

Anyway, I’ll expand on how I use this in a future post.

PhotoShop Touch — Transform images with core Photoshop features in an app designed for tablets. Combine images, apply professional effects, share results with friends and family through sites like Facebook, and more – all from the convenience of your tablet.  Use Photoshop features designed for the tablet such as layers, selection tools, adjustments, and filters”. It’s kind of fun but very impractical for me. Might be more useful for images from the tablet or phone cameras.

Depth of Field Calculator – “Depth of Field Calculator for Photographers. Calculates Hyperfocal Distance, Near Focus Limit, Far Focus limit, and Depth of Field(DOF)” Camera and lens specific. For nailing focus or bokeh.

Some of these are available as smart phone apps and on the Apple platform.

Ain’t technology grand? So many toys.

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