I’m a firm believer in the “little voice” that tells me things. Sometimes that little voice can go unheard with me because it is so little. I have been awakened out of a deep sleep because of that voice which has warned or informed me of many things, of note, a stock I should have invested in and, as I am wont to do, I returned to sleep and forgot about it. I paid later and dearly — as with that stock — and danced to the tune of I Wish I Had. Quite unfortunate.
Some weeks ago that little voice spoke quite clearly as I was reviewing emails and saw one single ad from Samy’s Camera advertising this little gadget. I thought nothing of it at the time sans that little voice that seemingly thought the thing was worth a second look. I ignored it, of course, and went on about my business.
The second thing the little voice does, and it’s a nuisance, is constantly remind me of that thing needing a second look. This is most annoying for me and I hate it, particularly while sitting and eating a burger or in the middle of a project. I really don’t want to see the image of that thing as I’m doing other things. It’s annoying.
What got me to take a second look was remembering a former co-worker’s husband and his photographs taken with an iPhone. It has been three years now and I still haven’t gotten over his images. His name is Michael Britt, a Sony Artisan, and the man behind the show “In Flux” a photo exhibition showcasing “the architectural wonders of L.A.’s historic downtown architecture.” I loved his images, I loved the fact they were shot with his iPhone, and I loved the amount of creativity that went into them. When I learned he used iPro lenses to create the images — I will also note he’s a master of Lightroom, he even wrote the book on it — I was flabbergasted. I had no idea you could put lenses on an iPhone.
I’ve had many smartphones in my life but the iPhone sold me. Yes, Apple is it’s daddy and perhaps that was the selling point. Apple, in my world, is or was a company geared toward creativity. From their computers, music devices, home devices, and now the smartphone, I’m sold hook, line and sinker. I am definitely in the Apple ecosystem to a point — I don’t like the watch.
Once I saw a smartphone could be used as a creative device, my world was rocked but I did not like the lenses I saw. One, I don’t like attaching anything with a brace over the lens of the phone. Every device I saw appeared to put pressure on the phone (the clips) or would not fit over my protective cases. Some of the lenses I saw required a naked iPhone and I like my iPhone fully dressed, thank you.
So, I gave up. The iPro Lenses were nice but they required a brace and I wasn’t up to that task. I waited and watched for new devices. As a street-walker — my name for street photography — the last thing I need is remove this, connect that, check to see it fits, take a test photo, do I have it on right, oh wait, what just happened, wash and repeat. No, I’m too old for that. My wish list was something I could connect to the phone and/or take off the phone and shoot without it. The DxO One is that device.
When I first saw the Samy’s ad I really didn’t read it. I clicked to view the ad, closed and deleted the email. It was just that fast. The little voice, however, must have told my brain “wait, hold on, you need to see this.” As the old folks say, I paid that no never mind. Weeks later, after being tormented by that little voice, I went back into the deleted items folder and pulled that email before deleting everything. I do that, it’s a long story. I opened the email again and that’s when I realized the camera was attached to the iPhone via the Lightening Connector. Perfect. Nothing goes over the lens of the phone and I’m not restricted to the resolution of the iPhone. The little gadget has a 20.2 megapixel, 1″ sensor with a F/1.8 maximum aperture. Not only that, it shoots RAW, JPG and Super RAW images. The best thing, it stands 2.7 inches tall. I really like that.
Oh wait, I lied, the best thing is you can shoot with it physically connected to the iPhone, connect wirelessly to the iPhone via WiFi, or without the iPhone, period. I like it a lot!
I won’t bore you with the details but if DxO sounds familiar, think DxOMark, the folks that score cameras. If you want your mind blown with stats and such, this is the place to go for all you ever wanted to know and more about DSLRs. Okay, enough about that.
They now have a little camera that can shoot independent of the iPhone. It has software as well, you pay for that, and there are a number of accessories you can buy for the camera. I chose a set of Polaroid lenses, brackets, hard cases, and a tripod bracket. I will admit the Polaroid lenses aren’t great, too much vignetting, and the colors are sometimes off but with Photoshop I can crop and change a few things in post. I’m not bothered by those things. What I want is a good street camera, one I can walk around with and, quite frankly, not many have noticed the camera when I’m walking around with it — well, when I have those big Polaroid lenses attached it’s noticeable.
I often shoot with it in Auto mode but I can change that, with phone attached, to aperture priority, shutter priority, or manual. I can also change the ISO. I love the fact I can go from shooting stills to full HD video with a swipe of a finger and yeah, not connected to the iPhone.
In auto mode, it chooses everything for me and at times that can be very nice. Since it shoots both JPG and RAW images, I can always go into Photoshop and fix the exposure in the RAW image. That too is a big plus.
Most of the shots I’ve taken with the DxO One has been without the iPhone connected. When I want to go out for lunch or take a walk to clear my head — get the bats out — I’ll just carry the DxO One and go. When I return to my iPhone, I’ll connect it, look at the photos, keep the ones I want and delete the rest. It uses a tiny MicroSD card and it comes with a connector for both charging and connecting to a computer if you want to edit the RAW files. You will need their software if you want to edit the SuperRAW files, however.
There is a tiny little screen in the back where you’ll find all of the workings for the camera. You cannot see much in that screen — actually it looks like marching ants running around — but, if you can connect the dots, literally, you can frame the image. Some may find the dots annoying and may need to keep the device attached to their iPhone. I, on the other hand, love that I can see something and can frame the dots. It is a touch screen as well which means you can switch from photo to video by swiping down and then over for either mode. I love this thing.
I’ve only had it a few weeks and so far I like what I can do with it. It’s a beautiful thing for what I like doing and that’s walking the streets with a camera. It’s small, compact, shoots stills and video (haven’t played with that much but I will), is a high-resolution camera and I can shoot either tethered to the iPhone or not. The jury is still out on the Polaroid lenses, we’ll see, but overall, it’s the camera I can carry while walking the dog or just doing what I do best, people watching while walking the streets.
Now, there is a drawback or a con, if you will, the camera is not meant to be held with your phone connected. Don’t do it. It is built to break away from the phone (it bends). It’s not something I do when the camera is connected to the phone because both items are not cheap and I don’t want to drop anything. I keep a good grip on my iPhone. I can tilt the camera up or down while keeping a death grip on my iPhone. Once connected to the phone I don’t have to touch the DxO One sans tilting it up or down. Everything I do is done on the phone using the app. I choose the shutter from the phone, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, all from the phone with the camera connected. If you want to shoot with the shutter button on the camera, you will have to use both hands — one holds the phone, the other the DxO One. Be warned.
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