OMG Life Autographer Quick Review
On the whole, we know what cameras are supposed to look like. There are all sorts of variations in design and implementation, of course, but in essence we expect a body shape that's designed to be used hand-held, with a lens at the front, a large screen for viewing on the back, and a shutter button on top. It's really not often that anyone tries to do something substantially different with the basic concept. But this is exactly what a UK company called OMG Life has done with its device called the Autographer - billed as the 'world's first intelligent wearable camera'. How could we not be intrigued?
The Autographer is basically a small black box, about half the size of a shirt-pocket compact camera, that's designed to be worn on a neckstrap or clipped to your clothing. It has a custom-designed semi-fisheye lens with a 136° ultra-wideangle view, a 5MP sensor, and has built-in GPS and Bluetooth. But what is really interesting (and unique) is that it uses five sensors to decide automatically when to take a picture - an accelerometer to determine whether it's moving, a colour sensor, a magnetometer (i.e. compass), a thermometer, and a PIR proximity sensor. No pressing of a shutter button is required. After capture the images can be used as single frames, or compiled into stop-motion movies.
This may all sound like hocus-pocus, but OMG Life is a spin-off from image capture specialists Oxford Metrics Group, so has some pedigree. The initial concept was in fact medical, as a therapeutic aid for patients suffering from amnesia or Alzheimer's disease (the device was known as the Vicon Revue). This doesn't prove anything about how well the camera works in practice, of course, but does suggest that there should be something behind the idea.
Autographer key specs
- 5MP sensor
- 3mm 1:3.2 ultra-wideangle fixed-focus lens; 136° angle of view; glass hybrid construction
- Automatic shooting based on input from five sensors
- 8GB built-in memory (stores up to 28,000 images)
- Built-in GPS
- Bluetooth for communication with smartphone
- Built-in battery, charges over USB
- 90mm x 37.4mm x 22.9mm
The Autographer isn't the only automatic, wearable camera around: there's also the Memoto, which is superficially quite similar. But there are several key differences; the Memoto doesn't attempt to be 'intelligent', but merely takes a picture every 30 seconds for 'lifelogging'. It uses a narrower angle lens, and is sealed for use in wet weather (the Autographer isn't). Memoto is also designed so that all captured images are automatically uploaded to the company's servers for processing and organisation when the camera is plugged into a computer, and there's no other way to access them - a model some potential users may well be uncomfortable with using.
Image access - smartphone and desktop apps
Autographer uses 8GB of built-in memory that can store up to 28,000 images, which means that the software used to access, sort and process them is pretty important. Two options are available - a free smartphone app (currently iOS only, but with an Android version in development) and a desktop app for Windows and Mac. The latter can be installed directly from the device when you plug it into your computer. Both offer similar options; you can view individual images as stills, play through them as a sequence, and turn them into stop-motion movies. We'll look at them in more detail later.
With this type of device, there are inevitable concerns over etiquette and privacy. It's not obviously a camera, takes pictures without any user intervention, and is also distinctly unobtrusive. So you have to be considerate about how you use it.
In a charmingly British fashion, the camera comes with a little card reminding you of all this, and offering guidelines for usage. It suggests that you familiarise yourself with local customs when visiting a new country, and offer to delete images from your device if unwitting subjects voice any objection. Hopefully this will sound like common sense to most people.
Availability and pricing
The Autographer is sold purely through the company's website, www.autographer.com, for £299.99. OMG Life will ship it to most European countries (UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden), but not, for the moment, the USA. We're told that US sales should start in a couple of months.
Jul 27, 2016
Jul 22, 2016
Jul 20, 2016
Jul 5, 2016
Lens manufacturer Voigtlander has introduced a 65mm F2 macro lens for Sony E-mount that it says "rates as one of the finest in the history of Voigtländer."
The UK released a preview of their upcoming drone safety regulations, and it looks like drone pilots will have to both register their device and pass safety awareness tests.
National Geographic photographer Bob Holmes talks about light, and why you need to learn how to 'see' and not just 'look' at your subject.
Photographer Alessandro Barteletti shares the story behind his National Geographic Italia cover, shot with a 10-year-old DSLR and an iPhone flashlight.
Fashion catalog photographers in China have some next-level models to work with. In this video, you see one model hitting 30 poses in 15 seconds as the photographer snaps away.
Photographer Paul Adshead breaks down 11 photography-related smartphone apps he couldn't live without—from a pocket light meter to a lighting diagram app.
Fast-growing Chinese flash brand Godox is teasing a brand new flash trigger... for smartphones. The Godox A1 is a 'phone flash system' that can act as both flash and 2.4GHz trigger.
On July 12, Canon opened its newest Technology and Support Center, designed to serve the motion picture industry, in Burbank, CA. DPReview got a sneak peak and takes you behind the scenes.
The Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is truly one-of-a-kind. It offers the fastest aperture of any lens that shares its focal length, produces beautiful sunstars and is incredibly sharp to boot. If you're in the market for a fast ultrawide prime, this looks to be the one to get.
In this article, expert macro photographer Thomas Shahan shares advice for successful closeup photography of bugs, insects and small animals.
DJI's new firmware makes it difficult to fly in restricted airspace, even when you have proper clearance. Is DJI placing themselves between professionals and the FAA?
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk and see what it takes to capture a dangerous, harrowing, stunning Nat Geo photo essay.
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has the worst effect on youth mental health.
It's been a crazy day for innovative patent news. Apparently Sony is thinking of developing a medium format curved sensor camera.
An update to the Silkypix Raw converter fixes some bugs and adds support for several popular new cameras.
This crazy custom-built underwater camera shoots 8x10 large format film. It's supposedly "the first successful underwater 8x10 ever made," and it can be yours for $5,800... plus shipping.
Blackmagic just reveled a new accessory for their Cintel Film Scanner. The Cintel Audio and KeyKode Reader can capture KeyKode data and high-quality audio from film in real-time as it is being scanned.
A new Nikon patent shows a lens designed for a curved full-frame sensor. Could this be the high-end Nikon mirrorless camera people are hoping for?
The ability to shoot images at 1,000 fps first appeared in a Sony smartphone sensor. Now the Japanese manufacturer is using the same feature for industrial applications.
Astronomy expert and photographer Dr. Tyler Nordgren thinks you should "see your first eclipse, photograph your second." But if you do plan on taking photos this August, here are a few tips from someone who's been there.
How confident are you that you can spot a manipulated photo? A recent study at the University of Warwick shows that many people are pretty bad at it.
If you purchased a Leica TL2, do NOT attach Leica's Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Leica is working on a fix, but for now, it's possible the viewfinder will break your camera.
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.
A huge copyright lawsuit between photography firm VHT and Zillow Group is heating up again, as both sides appeal a court ruling that granted VHT $4 million in damages.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent 6 months on board the International Space Station where he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images that are now available in Street View.