Rodney Campbell's Blog

Killer iPhone Apps for Photographers…

by on Dec.30, 2010, under Photography, Technology

Photographers tend to love toys and gadgets and I’m certainly no exception. Owning an iPhone (3GS) I’ve noticed the vast array of photography related applications on the App Store. Whilst most of the apps are centered around taking, manipulating and sharing the photos using the iPhone itself, my focus for this article is around applications which assist you when taking photos with another (D-SLR) camera. Unlike most gadgets for your D-SLR the prices for apps are generally under $10 and so can tend to be a bargain if they can turn your iPhone into a specialist photographic assistant.

I’ve been installing and trying various iPhone applications for photographers for some time and I’ll split this article into covering two specific categories of applications – ones which cover aspects like Exposure, Depth of Field and Hyperfocal Distance and others which assist with things like Sun & Moon Locations.

Exposure, Depth of Field and Hyperfocal Distance

PhotoBuddy (AUD $2.49)

This is the jack of all trades of photographic tools with an array of features including Depth of Field (and hyperfocal distance) calculator, Sunrise/Sunset and the moon phase, Diffraction Limits, Bulb timer, Calculate exposure changes (f-number / shutter / iso) based on the reciprocity law, Flash calculator, Angle of View based on focal length, Bracketing calculator, Colour temperature and more. The app also includes a database of digital SLRs for simple setup so that the results are appropriate for your camera.

Xposure (Free)

Xposure is a free alternative, it doesn’t have anywhere near the features of PhotoBuddy but it does include a Depth of Field (and hyperfocal distance) calculator, Sun & Moon rise and set and an Exposure Guide.

Sun & Moon Location

These applications allow you to research and prepare to photograph a landscape with specific lighting or placement of the sun or moon in the scene and you can generally adjust the output for any future date and time.

Focalware (AUD $5.99)

Focalware calculates the position of the sun and moon from rise to set anywhere in the world, at anytime of the year by utilizing your location and date information. It also includes compass support and an integrated map for custom locations. The application is extremely simple to use and has a beautifully designed interface.

MagicHour (AUD $4.99)

MagicHour (formerly VelaClock) is a world clock that can quickly display the time of sunrise, sunset, three kinds of twilight (civil, nautical, astronomical) for dawn and dusk, moonrise, moonset, duration of daylight, current phase of moon, date and times for the next four moon phases, countdown to the next sunrise or sunset and next moonrise or moonset, and more.

LightTrac (AUD $5.99)

LightTrac calculates the elevation and angle of Sun or Moon for any date & time, for any place on earth and plots it on top of Google maps.

Sun Seeker (AUD $3.99)

Sun Seeker provides sunrise and sunset times, and flat compass view showing the solar path. However, it’s cool feature is an augmented reality 3D view, where it overlays the location of the sun over the video image from the iPhone’s built-in camera.

At the moment my personal pick from the above would be a combination of Focalware (or MagicHour) and LightTrac (ideally someone will one day combine the functions of both).

The Photographer’s Ephemeris (AUD $11.99)

I havn’t actually tried TPE yet (the author also has a free desktop version of The Photographer’s Ephemeris utilising Adobe Air), however the screenshots appear to indicate that it is very similar in functionality to LightTrac.


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