Body & Design
The Autographer is certainly an unusual-looking device. It's a vertically-styled box, with a lens at the lower right that can be hidden behind a rotating cover. Towards the top of the camera is a proximity sensor, beside which is a small OLED display for changing settings; most of the time this is turned off and completely invisible.
On the back there's big chunky clip for fixing the camera to your clothing, along with a loop to attach a neckstrap. There are just two buttons, labelled 'Menu' and 'Action', which are placed at the top on the left side of the camera, with a micro USB socket on the other side.
The body shell itself is made of shiny black plastic, and if there's any other material known to mankind that's more prone to picking up and showing off fingerprints, we haven't yet encountered it. The camera is extremely lightweight - you could easily wear it all day without really noticing - but still feels reasonably well put together.
The Autographer comes nicely packaged, but with a minimal set of accessories. You get a rather nice leather lanyard that's easily adjustable in length, and a microfibre carry pouch. Also in the box is a Micro USB cable for data transfer and charging, but no actual charger (we suspect most potential users probably have boxes full of USB chargers these days).
The Autographer is, from the user's point of view, a very simple device. Press and hold the 'Action' button for five seconds to turn it on, rotate the lens cover to open, and the camera will start recording images automatically. If you want to force it take a set of images at a specific time, press the 'Action' button. Press and hold the 'Action' button again to turn the camera off. That's pretty much all there is to it.
Displays and Menu Options
The front-mounted OLED shows status messages, and pressing the Menu button gives access to some basic settings, which are changed using 'Action'. In a refreshing change from most cameras, there are very few options indeed (the only setting related to taking images is the capture rate):
|(Status display)||- Battery level
- No of recorded images
- Memory usage
|- Displayed in percent
- Displayed in percent
|~200 images / hour
~100 images / hour
~50 images / hour
|For connection to smartphone|
|Turns on and off operational sounds (for sequence shooting and power off)|
|Indicator status||• On
|Blue circle blinks on display whenever a picture is taken|
You have to switch on Bluetooth every time you want to connect to your smartphone, which isn't too much of a hardship. What is slightly annoying, though, is that when Bluetooth is turned on, pressing either button on the camera instantly switches it off and disconnects from your phone, and this is all-too-easily done accidentally. We'd prefer it to require either a 'long press' or a confirmation step before dropping the connection.
If you want some control over when Autographer takes a picture, then you can press the 'Action' button to initiate a sequence of shots manually. The camera doesn't start shooting immediately, but instead waits 10 seconds before making the first exposure. After that, it shoots another eight frames, apparently at intervals of its choice but usually within 30 seconds or so; this can be cancelled at any time by another press of the Action button.
One point we've noticed is that Autographer's GPS takes about 10 minutes to work out your location, even in an open environment with a clear view of the sky. Once locked, though, it keeps track of where you are perfectly accurately. Strangely though, the desktop app displays only a rough approximation of your path - the iPhone app gives a much more detailed view.