What is Photobuddy?
This is one those mythical apps that are referred to as a Swiss army knife. Photobuddy is not so much one app as it is several apps in a uniform wrapper. The app has a depth of field calculator, shutter sped calculator, sun and moon calculator, a digital slate for video or even stills, a bulb timer and a few more.
As the main thrust of Smartphone Geeks site is, wait for it, Smartphones, you may be asking why all of this camera stuff is important. I feel that Smartphones are the modern Swiss army knife. Among other jobs, I have been a professional photographer and while that career is not how I earn my keep anymore, I’m still very active in photography. This iPhone app fits a need that any photographer has in the studio and in the field. The beauty of this app is just that, it’s an app on the object that I ALWAYS have with me. My iPhone which I consider to be my extended brain. And a good smartphone is not always something that is just for the smartphone, the best app turns the smartphone into a useful extension of a given tool like my DSLR.
The Depth of Field or DOF app is my favorite out of the suite of apps within Photobuddy. It is very useful when shooting with something like a 50mm F1.4 lens or even my 200mm F2.8. While many smartphone photographers wont need this app since the lens in the phones are fixed aperture, it is critical those of us with DSLRs and other styles of cameras and want to know precisely where the DOF starts and stops.
The app works by you selecting the camera sensor you use or the brand and model of camera. Then you select the type of lens and the F stop. Now you can start working the magic.
This is my favorite screen on the DOF calculator, This screen gives me the near distance and the far distance and what will be in focus. In this case, my 200mm lens at F 6.3 with a subject 16 yards away has a working DOF of about 2.2 yards and it starts about 15 yards away from me and ends about 17 yards away. This is good stuff when you plan to be shooting at shallow DOF and you may have the lens racked out or you may be racked in a fair amount. Long lenses do weird things to your DOF depending on which end of the zoom you are at.
Where is the Sun?
Another cool app of the suite is the Suns and Moon calculator which is useful for a good many people from smartphone photographers to landscape artists to filmmakers. All of us have a need to know at one time or another when the sun will set, when it will rise and where it will be at a given time.
Speedy Shutters, or Not
This next app for calculating the shutter speed is valuable for the photographer who is trying to shoot fast action or low light. Even the smartphone photographer can use this app with some of slow shutter apps where you can manually dial up or down the shutter speed. With a given F stop, you can see how fast or slow you will be shooting and decide if you need a tripod, bean bag or something else to help get a sharp shot. When this comes into it’s own is when you know your smartphone pictures suck at high ISOs and you need to work out quickly how slow do you need to set the shutter to when forcing the phone to use a reasonable ISO to keep the noise and smearing down to a reasonable level.
Slap, Clap, Make some Noise
A electronic slate replaces the traditional clapper board in cinema but I often have used the digital version in back to back shoots where I might want to know when and where I was for that sequence of shots and when it ended. And yes, you can still use for shooting video.
Photobuddy has many cameras predefined and offers updates often. If you dont see your camera listed, you can always select a profile based on the film size or sensor size. And it is not just DSLRs you have to choose from. There are some very high end cinema cameras like the black Magic 4K listed.
Overall, Photobuddy is a pretty cool suite of iPhone apps for the photographer or cinematographer. It is cheap and works well with a pretty clean interface.