Best Landscape Shooter's App Ever

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount News and Rumors' started by WoodWorks, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    I don't know how many of you regularly check the Luminous Landscape site, but there's an article there by Kevin Raber that alerted me to this iOS app for landscape photographers called PhotoPills, and I've had the chance to play with it and am VERY impressed with it.

    If you've used apps like The Photographer's Ephemeris or LightTrac, you may be familiar with their ability to predict the position of the sun and moon in different locations, and determine how the natural lighting will be on a certain date and time. There are other apps that will help you calculate depth of field, field of view, etc. Well, PhotoPills does all of these things, and much more, and does them better than any other app I've ever tried. I had seven photography reference apps on my phone, and this one app has replaced them all.

    It has too many features for me to list here, but the two that rise to the top for me are the ability to easily plan a photography trip to a distant location based on when the lighting will be optimal, and a nifty tool that uses the phone's camera to display an overlay on the screen of where and when the sun and moon will transit the sky.

    Right now it's an iPhone-only app, though an iPad app is coming and will be free. I could find no word from the developers about an Android or WP version.

    My only two criticisms of it are 1) it's pretty complex. I wasn't be able to master it without watching the online tutorials, several of them twice, and 2) those comprehensive tutorials are narrated by one of the Spanish developers, whose thick accent can be difficult to understand at times, even for someone like me, who married into a family of native Spanish speakers.

    Oh, and at US$9.99 it's not cheap for a photo reference app. But this is the sort of app that makes that sum seem like an incredible bargain. If you're a landscape shooter like me (I don't think portrait, macro, or street shooters would find much value in it), it's an amazing tool to have in your pocket.
     
  2. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Better than The Photographers Ephermis? Wow, sounds like I definitely have to check it out!
     
  3. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Looks interesting, though I've never used TPE to its full capabilities.
     
  4. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    It does everything TPE can do, and a lot more. I think it's well worth watching at least a few of the tutorials to get some idea of this app's capabilities.
     
  5. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Well, I bought it and so far it has some really neat features. The ability to go to a place and plot the sun/moon position in the sky @ a time is awesome. That's going to be really handy. Now, if I can figure out how to get it to measure distances like I can in TPE life will be golden. ;)

    I wonder if the pending iPad version will share data with the iPhone version. That's been one of my gripes with TPE- 3 versions and they don't talk to each other.
     
  6. nightcapphoto

    nightcapphoto TalkEmount Rookie

    11
    Jun 28, 2013
    Columbia, SC USA
    Stewart Grinton
    Wow this is Stellarium meets TPE. Pretty amazing.
     
  7. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    I know! I've already researched and plotted some trips for later this year and the next. Being able to easily pick the best date and time to see the sun set over this place, or the full moon rise over that thing, it's just amazing.

    If I understand your question, you should be able to do that by swiping over to the "Pin to pin geodetic info" screen. There you can get distance between pins, as well as altitude and angle differential.

    Dunno about that. But based on what the developers have done so far, I'm betting that will be included. Heck, I might just email them that feature suggestion. :)
     
  8. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    No kidding! And I can't wait to try out that Time Lapse calculator
     
  9. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    Cool! Thanks for sharing! :)
     
  10. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    This weekend I did a little reconnaissance trip for the next full moon, and used the "Augmented Reality" feature of the app to show me where the moon will rise on the date and time I had selected. I thought it worked well.

    PhotoPills.

    It's a little difficult to see in this shot, but you may be able to discern the moon's image and its projected path just above the horizon on the phone's LCD. This "Night AR" screen will also show you where the Milky Way will appear in the sky.

    I can see this being very useful in situations when you arrive at a site before sunset or moonrise, and want to find the perfect spot from which to photograph those events.
     
  11. ponyslaystation

    ponyslaystation TalkEmount Regular

    46
    Oct 20, 2012
    How useless, its not for android. :rolleyes:
     
  12. -et-

    -et- TalkEmount Veteran

    205
    Jan 26, 2013
    Southern California
    Tom
    Try the Android app, "Sun Surveyor".

    I have not attempted to do a feature by feature comparison, but from a casual scan they look fairly comparable.

    The "Full" version that costs $6.95 is at:

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ratana.sunsurveyor&hl=en

    There is also a "Lite" version that is free.

    - Tom -