Twitter vs. Instagram – The Unanimous Decision

I tested  the newly updated Twitter app in iOS and Android since yesterday and right away I knew that Twitter is far behind the competition.

The short answer to which is better, Twitter vs. Instagram — is obviously Instagram by unanimous decision. In every review you\’ll read most pundits reason that Twitter is only following the footsteps of Instagram which made a new category of social network full of filtered photos.

Since I have already established that Instagram is still better, what\’s cool in Twitter\’s own photo filter features anyway?

Twitter vs. Instagram Filters

Twitter is using Aviary to process their photo manipulations… and they only have 8 filters at the moment. In contrast, Instagram has a whooping 18 free filters. Comparing Twitter filters vs. Instagram filters, Twitter is only using bare minimum at the moment and not even using full power of Aviary SDK. Aviary has a total of 30 filters and 12 of them are free while the other 18 are available via in-app purchase. Not to mention Aviary has more options to adjust brightness, warmth, contrast, saturation and sharpness. Maybe Twitter is only paying for the bare minimum features just to see how their users will use photo filters. Depending on the result, it\’s possible that Twitter might roll out new filters in the near future too.

Below, I have used an image that is vivid enough and has a fair distribution of highlight (white) and shadows (black), as well as mid-tones (gray). You can see how the picture is enhanced using all the Twitter photo filters.

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The interface  is clean and very intuitive.

The first button is for  \”auto-enhance\”, the right is crop option where you can crop and just pictures similar to the square ratio similar to Instagram, and the center button is the filter options.

I like that you can have a bird\’s-eye view of the filters and choose which filters look best immediately. You can\’t do this in Instagram because it forces you to select a filter one at a time only.

Instagram and Twitter War

Since Instagram remove the Twitter card support, you can only see link inside your Twitter feed. No more pictures in the stream like it used to be. Some 3rd party apps still support the embedded photos including Twitter\’s very own Tweetdeck but we don\’t know how long it will support it.

What\’s great about Twitter picture service is that is shown in embedded tweets.

Instagram on the other hand will only look like just any another links.

Embed Work-around?

Well, if you like Instagram pictures so much you can still use Instagram as your primary photo filter app, and then attach it to your Twitter post manually. There is an extra step and it will result to uploading the photo twice. One in  Instagram, then another one in Twitter as a duplicate.

I don\’t like the minimal choices of photo filters in Twitter now but the good news is, you can use any photo filter apps that you want and share it in Twitter. For instance, if you are one of the Instagram haters, there\’s plenty of choices around – including Aviary which has more advance features available in both Android and iOS.

If you are looking for ways to embed Instagram photos in your blog, you\’re lucky because WordPress 3.5 supports Instagram oEmbed. I haven\’t tested it yet but it\’s included in WordPress change logs as a new feature.

I have included the official Twitter photo filters video below. Let me know what you think of Twitter vs. Instagram and its short-term/long-term effect in your online community.

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10 Android Apps for Better Photo Composition

Android Photo Composition

Last week I decided to take my landscape photography seriously. I planned the shot but even if I have the right mindset, it was still a challenge because I found out that I don\’t have the right tools and the correct preparation.

That experience lead me to take composition more seriously. I know this is a cliché — the only rule in photography is that there are no rules but there are composition techniques that we can use to make more artistic photo.  The popular techniques include rule of thirds, golden mean, deep depth of field, shallow depth of field, color, shapes, framing, leading lines and different kind of lines.

You might already know that Nikon released the first Android based camera recently. The apps listed below should could beef-up that camera with DSLR-like features.

If you have a phone camera, point and shoot camera or an entry-level DSLR, you will find these Android apps will be helpful in your composition as well. These apps are not necessary camera apps. Majority of these apps are utility tools to help you understand the technical side of photography. I haven\’t found the iOS equivalent of these apps but I will cover them next time. For now enjoy these Android apps that can help you make better photo composition.

1. Camera FV-5

This is not just a simple camera that puts fancy effects in your photos. It puts DSLR-like manual controls in your fingertips and it\’s probably one of the most advanced camera app in Android.  You can set exposure compensation, ISO, light metering mode, focus mode, white balance and, [shutter] speed mode and program mode. It even have bracketing options and live RGB histograms.

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2. Sensor Camera

The rule of thirds is probably the most widely use guideline in creating stunning pictures but there are more composition guidelines built around the divine proportions such as golden mean or the golden ratio. Sensor Camera gives you the basic rule of thirds grid as well as golden sections, golden triangle, golden spiral, golden spiral stretched and face geometry.

One of the improvement area on this app is the zoom feature. You can\’t zoom on the current version of Sensor Camera so you have to move closer or farther to you subject if you want to compose your picture using this app.

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And one more thing, this app is proudly made in the Philippines.

3. ProCapture Free

You get real-time histogram too but unlike Camera FV-5, you only get 1 histogram with 3 segments to easily figure the midtones, highlights and shadows.  You can overlay 3 x 3 grid or Fibonacci spiral that you can rotate depending on the orientation.

4. Depth of Field Calculator

Depth of field is the most important aspect in selective focusing. If your camera has depth of field (DOF) preview that\’s great, but if you  don\’t have DOF preview it is hard to guess how deep or shallow the depth of field will be until you take your photo.

As part of the  creative process, knowing the depth of field in advance can help you plan the exposure parameters ahead of time so you will not spend your time playing around with different aperture value. Your time is better spent taking great pictures.

Depth of Field Calculator calculates depth of field (DOF) using the specified camera model, the focus length, f-stop and subject distance to give you the near limit, far limit and hyperfocal distance for your camera.

There are several other DOF calculator in this list but this is the easiest to understand. The diagram feature is  the best way to understand how DOF works.

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5. DoF Calc

DoF Calc also considers teleconverter in calculating depth of field.

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6. DOF Droid

If the diagram of Depth of Field Calculator is not enough, DoF Droid gives you several diagram to compare depth of field against aperture size and focus distance.

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7. Exposure Calculator

This app lets you put in the exposure without filter (shutter speed, aperture and ISO) and then the Exposure Value (EV) adjustment which is equal to adding  neutral density (ND) filter.

If you use ND filters, this is the best app you can get in calculating exposure after adding ND filters. Professional landscape photographers would know this by heart but if you are just starting, this app can be a life saver.

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8. Photo Tools

Photo Tools is a collection of photography tools including focal tools, exposure tools, time tools, weather and location tools, color tools and other miscellaneous tools.

If you are learning how to be a good photographer, you can use these collection of tools to understand how your camera works on different conditions.

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9. Golden Hour Calculator

This is very helpful if you want to achieve that special sky color when taking your pictures. Golden and Blue hours are calculated by this app using precise algorithms to get the time at any place on Earth at any date.

I wish I have this app when I was shooting seascapes.

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10. PHOforPHO

This is a free app for serious photographers – without ads! It includes several tools such as exposure calculator, DoF calculator, timer, distance meter and more.

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During design and planning stage of your composition, you can use these apps to setup how you are going to use your camera and photography equipment so that the next time you go on out to take photos you will get better photo composition and a winning shot. 

 

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