Category Archives: Photography

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – Camera Showcase

After 6 weeks of using the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, below is my camera showcase, highlighting my favourite shots from the Note 8. What was surprising is the amount of times I ended up using the 2 x optical zoom.

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London Eye and Waterloo Bridge – Shot on an iPhone 7 Plus – Testing the Zoom on iOS 11

The scene was set. On Thursday, I was standing on the roof terrace of the Institute of Engineering and Technology. The sun was out and I was looking a spectacular view of London. I recently installed the full version of iOS 11, that is, non beta, so lets see how the latest firmware compared.

The above photo is using 2 x optical zoom of Waterloo Bridge. Looks superb.

Above is the same shot of Waterloo Bridge but just using the standard lens. The difference is huge. The sun had temporarily hidden behind some clouds, hence the difference is brightness/colour.

So testing the zoom lens at 2 x optical zoom, we can focus nicely on the London Eye.

The next shot above is of the London Eye, using the normal wide lens.

So despite the iPhone 7 Plus being one year old, it still can perform really well. I cant wait to see how the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X perform against the 7.

Joby GripTight ONE Magnetic Tripod Review

Welcome to my review of the superb Joby GripTight ONE Magnetic Tripod.

Key Features

– Compact Design. Patented, compact, foldable design
– Universal Fit. Fits most smartphones with or without a case
– Quick Release. Stainless steel spring loaded design for quick grip and release of smartphone
– Flexible Base. Flexible gorilla pod legs with rotating ball head and magnetic feet provide endless platforms and creative angles

Main Review

Conclusion

The Joby GripTight One Magnetic Tripod is simply amazing. I have used it in so many different scenarios and with a number of portable devices from my iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Gear 360 (2017) and Sony RX100 camera. Highly recommended.

Available from Amazon UK.

Aukey Flexible Mini Tripod Review – With Phone Mount & GoPro Stand


The Aukey Mini Flexible Tripod is just £12.99 and yet is a full featured tripod. 

Key Features 

– Extremely flexible and versatile tripod for amazing images with an extensive range of phones and cameras.

– Total freedom to capture super-steady shots and videos anytime, anywhere. Fix your phone or camera to tree branches, railings, furniture, and more. Stable standing on sloping and uneven surfaces

– Get the perfect position. Highly adjustable tripod with tilting & rotating ball mount, pivoting legs, and twenty-seven full flex leg parts

– Fits phones up to 5.7″ screen size and a diverse range of cameras from DSLR to compact to GoPro. Also suitable for other devices with 1/4″ screw mounting point. If your phone is larger you just need to use a different phone mount. 

– Maximum Load: 800g 

– Phone Mount Width: 55-70mm 

– Leg Length: 210mm 

– Folded Length: 270mm 

– Weight: 207g 

– Package Contents: AUKEY CP-T03 Flexible Tripod, Phone Mount, GoPro Camera Mount, Two 1/4″ Mounts, 24-Month Warranty Card

Available from Amazon UK.

Video Review 

Shot on the LG V20 – Cotehele House

Yesterday, I showed you a few photos of Cotehele House with some macros of the flowers and insects found in the gardens.

But sometimes you need a super wide angle lens when visiting places to capture the whole room or view. The LG V20 has 2 lenses on the rear, a standard 16mp and a super wide 8mp lens. In terms of raw image quality the iPhone 7 Plus is better but the LG V20 has many tricks up its sleeve.

For example, it has a removable battery, infra red blaster for controlling your TV’s and aircon units, a HiFi Quad DAC, able to power headphones up to 600ohms, a headphone jack too, pro manual video and photo modes on the camera and a secondary display on the front. There’s more too, a real geeks phone!

Anyway, going back to the camera, below are those special wide angle photos from the LG V20 that most phones cannot capture.

If you scroll back a post to the iPhone 7 Plus shot of the rear of the house, this was the same spot I was standing when I took this one with the LG V20. The difference is massive as to how much more you can capture of the scene.

Another side shot. Again, there is a comparison from my post yesterday using the iPhone 7 Plus, standing in the same position.

Here you can capture the whole pond and surrounding area.

The super wide lens makes it a breeze to capture the entire room, all 3 walls and ceiling.

Even when you cant step back any further, you can still get the whole scene in the photo.

Obviously, being super wide does create some curving at the edges.

Overall, for sight seeing, the LG V20 was invaluable.

A Trip to Cotehele House – Shot on the iPhone 7 Plus

At the weekend I visited Cotehele House which is a National Trust property. Cotehele House is a lovely place with beautiful gardens.

Below are a selection of photos taken with my iPhone 7 Plus, showing the house, the flowers and some of the smaller insects found there.

The best views of the house are from the rear.

Here you get a glimpse of the garden.

From inside the house, looking out.

Some close up of the little things found feeding on the flowers.

The gardens at Cotehele have such an amazing range of flowers and plants. Well worth a visit if you are visiting Cornwall, UK.

Pizza Time – A Drive across Dartmoor National Park – Filmed & Edited on an iPhone 7 Plus


Yesterday, I filmed my drive across Dartmoor National Park. The view is stunning. At half distance, I continued the journey across Roborough Common and then finally reaching my destination. 

The return journey back across Dartmoor National Park was thru rain and fog. Up on the Moors the weather can change very fast. 

The entire footage was filmed on the iPhone 7 Plus which was secured on a tripod mount to my car’s dashboard. It was then edited using a brilliant app called Luma Fusion. The tripod used was a Glif 2 which is totally awesome. 

Luma Fusion app works on an iPad or iPhone. It provided all the music and titles and effects. Notice how the music is in sync with the car wipers in the last section. 

Anyway, enjoy the view and journey 🙂

How to shoot YouTube videos with your iPhone 7 Plus

I have been asked several times, what gear do I use to shoot my YouTube videos. Well to answer your question it’s the following. 

Video Review 

List of Equipment 

The below are all links to Amazon so you can see the latest pricing and learn more about the piece of equipment. The Studio Neat Tripod mount is a new phone mount and is incredible. It has 3 tripod screws positions and if you watch the video you will see how it all works. 

Shoulderpod Tripod Rigs
Rode VideoMicro Compact
Manfrotto LED Light
Zecti Lightweight Tripod
Studio Neat Glyph 2 Tripod Mount

Conclusion 

If you want me to review any of the gear mentioned please let me know. The Zecti Tripod has already been reviewed. 

Aukey Clip on Wide Angle & Macro Lens for iPhone, Samsung & More – My Review

Aukey Clip on Wide Angle & Macro Lens review. This is a slick Clip On lens attachment from Aukey that cost £18.99. It’s provides a 140° Wide Angle and 10 x Macro lens. 

Key Features 

– Macro lens gets you 10 x closer to your subject for extreme close-ups. Wide Angle Lens opens up your field of view for breathtaking landscape photos or selfies. 
– Pair with 58mm CPL filters for beautiful effects.
– Made with aluminum alloy and multi-element coated glass to minimize ghosting, reflections, lens flare, and other artifacts
– Detachable soft rubber clip is easy to adjust and that won’t leave any scratches or marks on your mobile device
– In the box – AUKEY PL-WD07 Ora 2-in-1 140° Wide Angle + 10x Macro Lens Kit, Lens Clip, Carrying Pouch, Cleaning Cloth, 24 Month Warranty

Video Review

Main Review

I have owned many Clip On lenses, some cheap and nasty that I threw in the bin, some lenses from well known companies that are a bespoke fit for your current smartphone. Change your phone, and that bespoke clip on lens is now redundant. This is why I really like the Aukey solution. I tried it with my iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung A5 and it worked just fine. 


The above shot was taken using the iPhone 7 Plus without the attachment. This was a good as a macro shot I could achieve, and this is a crop too to try and make it look as good as possible. Now the same flower, but using the Aukey macro lens. 


The detail and bokeh is so much better. A winning result here. 


Now for the wide angle lens. So here is a normal shot taken on the iPhone 7 Plus. Unfortunately, the Aukey wide angle shot I took at the same time had my lovely fingerprint over it, so an hour later, slightly darker I took the same view using the Aukey wide angle lens. The shot that had my fingerprints on did look identical in brightness to the shot taken without the lens added. 


As you can see there is some softening on the edges and a bit of artifcating, but overall it’s a reasonable result and if you need to capture that extra amount this is one way to do it. 

I like the fact the lens can be protected when not in use and that you get a little pouch and micro fibre cloth. You will need the cloth. Fingerprints are easily added to the lens. 

Update – Here’s another macro I took. 


Conclusion 

A cheap but polished clip on lens that should not become redundant when you change your phone. Recommended. 

Useful Links

Aukey Clip on Lens latest pricing on Amazon

4K Pro Video Editing on the iPad Pro 10.5 vs iPad Air vs MacBook Pro Core i7

The new iPad Pro 10.5 is a powerful beast. But can it act as a pro video editing machine? How much more powerful is it than the iPad Air at 4K video rendering. Can the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar with top graphics and a Core i7 beat the iPad Pro 10.5 rendering a 4K video. What are the differences in 4K video rendering? 

In addition, my iPad Pro 10.5 is going to be used to create a pro movie with many cool features, including video in video, flashy titles and more. Instead of using iMovie, a powerful video app called Luma Fusion was used. Luma Fusion works beautifully on the iPhone 7 Plus too. Finally, iMovie is compared with Luma Fusion. 

The 4K video footage was filmed using my iPhone 7 Plus. I could also have used the iPad Pro 10.5 as the cameras are the same as the iPhone 7!

The 4K Pro Video Test – Created on the iPad Pro 10.5


Useful Links

Luma Fusion for iPad & iPhone App Store link

Amazon’s iPhone Store & Shop on Amazon UK

OnePlus 5 – Camera Review – Flagship or Sunken Ship?

OnePlus 5 camera review. Clearer Photos. Working with DxOmark. These were the buzz words OnePlus 5 used at the launch. So if you say your phone has an epic camera it better deliver. So does the OnePlus 5 deliver?

Well after some extensive testing using the latest firmware 4.5.2 it does and at times it doesn’t. It is consistent and does pull off some masterstrokes. So lets delve deeper.

Auto Mode

Press the shutter button and you will get a good shot. Focus is good. Overall exposure is good.

2 x Lossless Zoom

In my testing this works very well as shown in the video review below.

Low Light

Struggles a bit producing grain and noise but from firmware 4.5.1 to 4.5.2 , low light has improved. Also using the Google Camera app improved all photo results, so I would imagine more firmwares will improve low light. However, as there is a high pixel count, you can crop more on all modes. I love this ability to be able to crop and still have pixels to spare.

RAW

If you have the time, the 31mb RAW files hold a lot more data and you can really improve a shot. Helpful in low light scenarios.

Front Camera

Photos are surprising ok. The front screen selfie flash works well. Front video is fairly good too and has auto focus tracking so long as there is a face to track.

Panoramic

Use a different camera app. The default app is awful.Really awful!

Rear Video

4K and 1080p at 60fps is wobbly as hell if holding handheld. 1080p at 30fps uses EIS and looks good.

Burst

Phone takes 20 shots in about 1-2 seconds. It is very fast and has great results. The phone had no issues taking in focus shots of my 3 dogs running. I took over 200 burst shots of my 3 dogs. All were in focus. See video review samples.

Motion

In reasonable light, the camera in auto takes and locks focus fast.

Portrait

Excellent results with this mode.

Camera Review

Conclusion

Overall, the OnePlus 5 can take some great photos and video. I was impressed by the results with the modes that worked well. Those that didn’t aren’t worth using until the software is updated or you use a different camera app to achieve the result.

Useful Links

Buying on Amazon UK, shop & help support Gavin’s Gadgets

Insta360 Nano vs Insta360 Air – Review & Comparison – 360 degree cameras for iOS & Android

Insta360 Nano Review and Insta360 Air Review. The Nano works with your iPhone and the Air on an android phone. Both are 360 degree cameras that take photo, video and live stream to many places e.g. Youtube and Facebook.

The Insta360 cameras come with the best mobile apps that are ahead of that provided by Samsung for their Gear 360 (2017). Why? Find out in my video review.

The video review provides a practical in depth review of both cameras. The main review include some sample footage that I could embed however there were many modes that were not included and consequently are shown below. My review also includes a DIY way to attach the Insta360 Nano to an iPhone whilst it is still in a case.

Finally, I have also provided a comparison between the two Insa360 cameras along with my views using these with the Samsung Gear 360 (2017). At the end of this post, I have all the useful links.

Video Review

360 Degree Photos – Normal and then HDR

360 Degree Video – Normal and then Low Light

360 Photos made into Animations (several options and all very cool)

The Northcott Theatre was packed earlier for "The Play that went Wrong" – great comedy 👍

A post shared by Gavin Fabiani-Laymond (@gavinsgadgets) on

Thumbs up 👍- it's the start of the weekend #insta360air #360photography #360camera

A post shared by Gavin Fabiani-Laymond (@gavinsgadgets) on

360 Live Stream Footage using Facebook (if you can’t see this, turn off your ad blocker)

 

Conclusion

Both cameras are excellent, versatile and solve the key issue, how to share the footage in a fun and easy way to nearly every social media platform.

Useful Links

More info and the latest pricing on the Insta360 Nano and Insta360 Air at Amazon UK
More info and the latest pricing on the Samsung Gear 360 and 360 (2017) at Amazon UK
iPhone 7 Plus Extension Dock on Amazon UK
Samsung Gear 360 (2017) – My review with every mode tested

Honor 8 Pro – Awesome Camera Shots from the Honor 8 Pro

I have been testing the Honor 8 Pro for a short while and am putting it through its paces. This phone really is a fine piece of technology but so is its dual rear camera lenses.

I will be doing my usual review, but for the meantime, check out these photos –

Mystic Dartmoor Rock #honor8pro

Above shot taken in wide aperture mode. Really cool photo.

Courtyard Scenes - Shot on the Honor 8 Pro #honor8pro

Lovely close up of the blue bells.

Courtyard Scenes - Shot on the Honor 8 Pro #honor8pro

Another wide aperture mode shot for a superb final product.

Water droplets #magical #honor8pro

The detail on the water droplets is excellent.

Dreamy Eyes #honor8pro

Not so sure Tiggy wanted her face in the frame, but she is still super cute.

Deep Pink #macro #honor8pro

Truly stunning.

I will be testing the video quality in my full review which will be coming soon.

If you have any questions that you would like covered off in my review, please let me know.

Samsung Gear 360 (2017) – Review – Every Mode Tested on iOS, Samsung S8 & Mac

Samsung Gear 360 2017 Review. This is my review of the Samsung Gear 360. I used it on my Samsung Galaxy S8, iPhone 7 Plus and MacBook Pro. The review covers all modes, the pros and cons, the differences using it on a Samsung S8, iPhone 7 Plus or Mac.

Plus there are sample footage of all modes below, with links. This page will get updated as more 360 footage is captured and or any updates arrive that impact the experience good or bad.

The Blockbuster Review of the Samsung Gear 360 2017

Samsung Gear 360 2017 Live Broadcast Sample Footage

Below is a sample of the footage from a live broadcast using the Samsung S8. This was at max quality. Unfortunately the duration is shorter than expected as I lost cell signal.

Samsung Gear 360 2017 4K Video Sample

Samsung Gear 360 2017 Video Looping Mode Sample

Samsung Gear 360 2017 Time Lapse Mode Sample

Samsung Gear 360 2017 Photos

I have embedded the photos below with full 360 and VR headset support. Just click play. If you are wearing a VR headset press the icon top right. I have also uploaded these to my Flickr and Google Photos accounts. Links are at the end of the review.

Landscape HDR photo mode

Normal Photo Mode

Normal Photo Mode HDR on

Low Light Photo

Conclusion

The new Samsung Gear 360 2017 is a win. Much easier to use than last years, easier to hold and good quality output.

Useful Links

Samsung Gear 360 latest pricing and more info on Amazon UK
Samsung Gear 360 2017 First Impressions
The original Samsung Gear 360 review and help guides
My Flickr Gear 360 2017 Album
My Samsung 360 Album on Google Photos

Samsung Gear 360 2017 – First Impressions on iOS & mac

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Samsung Gear 360 (2017). First Impressions.

First up it’s new design over last years ball style is vastly improved in terms of holding it instantly.

The Samsung Gear 360 (2017) is currently only compatible with a number of Samsung flagship and Samsung A series along with the iPhone. Other android phones don’t work with this. I will cover off more of the what does and doesn’t in my full review.

There are 2 apps for the MacBook to install. One is a gallery photo and video app that stitches the media on your MacBook. Samsung recommend a core i7 processor. Then there is the Samsung Gear 360 iOS app.

At this stage everything worked well, from the mac software to the iOS app. No bugs. There are limitations on a few features that are available with the Samsung Galaxy S8 but not via the iPhone 7 Plus.

These currently include –

– Live broadcast (only available using mac not iPhone )
– No live video feed
– Resolution is reduced when stitching slightly on iPhone. Full resolution can be maintained using mac software.

Then menu system is a breeze to use and there are a few tweaks to be had to improve the results.

If you have any questions on this please let me know for the full review.

NB. Photo shot in portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus.

Useful Links

Latest pricing on Samsung Gear 360 2017 on Amazon