Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Wearable camera review: Autographer

This year I saw a competition hosted by Talenthouse called the 'Autographer Creative Invite' for a chance to photograph for Autographer and BBH.

I'd heard of the Autographer wearable camera before and being a photographer myself, I was immediately interested. The entry requirements were:

"'Autography not Photography'. Have you ever felt that you've missed the moment because you were behind the lens rather than truly being in the experience? Do you have that perfect photo that you took by accident but is the perfect blend of atmosphere, unposed subject and timing? These are the images that Autographer was made for, and they are looking for imaginative creatives with a gift for candid capture to express this authenticity.'

So I submitted this image of my little brother and I doing a Via Ferrata climbing route in France that fit the brief:


A few weeks later I got an email saying I'd made it into the final! This time they would send me an Autographer trial device and I had to capture a series of images that told a story whilst also continuing the 'Autography not Photography' theme.

Here's the trial device I received and what it looks like clipped on:

 

Here are some pics taken by the device:






After a few weeks of trying it out here are my impressions:

Pros

- easy to use with simple menu system
- camera intelligently reads the scene with sensors and takes photos automatically
- good to be able to choose a high, medium and low volume of images
- useful 9-shot burst mode for capturing action
- can be clipped on to collar, pockets, sleeves, belts
- can also be worn hanging around neck with strap
- can choose to hide or show LED lights and mute audio
- bluetooth to phone app worked really well and allowed for fast image sharing 
- Autographer software allows you to create slideshow videos of the images captured

Cons

- as you can see from the photo, it's not the smallest device in the world
- when clipped onto collar, device tends to hang down and point at the ground
- photo quality isn't brilliant, moving pictures often blurred
- the lens could be a wider angle to capture more
- slow to turn device on and off

Conclusion

I really enjoyed trying the device out, it was something totally different to what I'm used to - doing photography as both a profession and a hobby, it's my instinct to think about what photo I'm taking, ensure that my camera is set up correctly and do my best to get the perfect shot. With the Autographer, you simply clip it on and let it do it's thing. After a few minutes you actually forget you're wearing it and when you review your images afterwards, it's so interesting to see what pics it took. It really does manage to capture a huge amount of candid, unexpected moments and it's surprising how much you miss with your own eyes. 
I think if the device is smaller, quicker to start up and is given an improved camera, then this will be something a lot of people will go for, including professional photographers.

Check out the Autographer product video here:

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