Instagram vs Snapseed

I used both Instagram and Snapseed. There are other Apps on the smartphones to do simliar stuff like Hipstamatic, but I ignored those. 

Snapseed

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Snapseed is a full featured image manipulation tool for your phone. You can straighten, crop to any size, adjust contrast, brightness, add grain, etc.

You can share the pictures to Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media places. It integrates with them well. It doesn’t have its own social media aspect. It’s a pure image manipulation tool.

Instagram

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Instagram has multiple, preset filters to choose from. It is part of its own social media group where you can follow other Instgramers. It integrates with Facebook and other social media okay. It only offers one size for cropping: a square crop. It’s a simple tool to share photos.

Which Do I Choose?

I like Instagram better. Snapseed has a lot more features and tools, but why would I need that for my crappy camera phone? 

In the end, I like the social aspect of Instagram. I also like its presets instead of trying to recreate it by scratch with Snapseed. Just press a button instead of fiddling with it for 5 minutes. I do think Instagram needs the straightening tool though.

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My Ghetto Softbox for Product Photography

I made a ghetto softbox for product stuff. I used some foam core boards and just stacked them together. I used my Gary Fong Lightsphere because I paid $50 for it. Might as well use it for everything. 

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See, it’s so ghetto, I didn’t even tape them together. It’s just barely keeping itself together.

Anyway here are the results. These aren’t the best shots ever, but hey it seems to work. I think I need more flashes though. 

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Of course, I found out that Cowboy Studios has their own softbox tent for cheaper than the materials I used to make my ghetto one.  Oh well. 

A Short Review of the Gary Fong Lightsphere

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I am not going to write a technical review. I’m too lazy to do that. This is just my opinion about this thing.

Why Did I Buy This Thing?

I bought the Lightsphere because they have a good marketing team. Also, at every photo shoots and events I went, all the photographers seemed to use them. 

I shot at events before as an amateur. They were usually indoors in dimly-lit places. I used my bounce flash, on camera flash, or even no flash at all since my Fuji X100 has great low-light capabilities.

I was going to a photo shoot at the Havana Club. I decided to look like a real photographer and got the Lightsphere. Besides, I was curious to see what it can do.

How It Works

It’s like a bounce card. Except it works like a lamp and emits soft light everywhere. 

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See the picture up there? It does look like a little lamp. I can read a book next to it. Well, not really. I couldn’t see a thing since the flash only lit me for 0.001 second.

Basically, it bounces the light to the ceiling (or wherever) and emits a soft light towards your subject. 

PROS

I got the Lightsphere Collapsable. It collapses into a tiny shape. I carry a small camera bag because my Fuji X100 is small. I was worried that it wouldn’t fit in the bag. I was relieved it fit into my bag no problem. The collapsable shape makes it easy to carry.

They advertise it can fit onto many different flash units. That is true. It fit on my Fuji EF-20. The flash slid right in.

When I tried to fit it into my Yongnuo YN 560, it was very tight. I had a hard time squeezing the flash into the Lighsphere. But it eventually fit. I think most people will use this size flash with the Lightsphere. Well, prepare for a tight squeeze. Too bad you can’t use lube.

At the Havana Club, Mandi had a Sony HVL-F20AM, I think. It didn’t fit onto that. The Lightsphere was too big for it. So, if you have that dinky Sony flash, don’t get this.

Cons

It does give soft light, but you have to be standing about 3-4 feet away from the subject. Otherwise, you can’t really tell the difference between this and regular bounced flash. I mean, it is a small light source. It’s not a giant soft box. 

If you have a weak flash like mine, the Lightsphere is going to give it a workout. You lose about 1-3 stops of light. So the flash has to work extra hard to give off the same brightness. If the place has tall ceilings, black ceilings, or both; the flash is gonna have a bad time. Maybe you can carry extra Eneloop batteries. It caused me to slow down because I had to wait for my flash to charge back up. 

It’s too expensive for what it is. It costs around $50. Honestly, a simple bounce card would be the best choice. 

Final Thoughts

Like I said. Just use a simple bounce card. Otherwise, it’s overpriced. Maybe if it was $25, it would be a better value. It does work, if you stand close enough. 

Overall, I give it a “meh” rating. If this was Amazon, it would be 3 stars. 

Well, here’s a random picture I took with the Lightsphere at that club.

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What Is My Gear?

I use a Fuji X100. It has a fixed 23mm (35 mm equivalent) lens. It is fixed. I cannot change the lens on it. It has no zoom. I am stuck with this 23mm focal length.

I shoot everything with it. Yes, that includs portraits, studio stuff, and so on.  I do feel inadequate when I go to a studio shoot, and people have their Canon Mark III’s with multiple L-lenses. Speaking of which, if I was rich, that would be my dream setup. I wished I had the 85mm/1.2 lens to shoot portraits with. Oh well. I guess I’m stuck with this little thing.

I also shoot JPEG only. Yeah, I know. I should be shooting RAW. But Fuji’s JPEGs look so good I want to lick it. Besides, it saves space in my memory card and computer. So I shoot JPEG only.

I should conclude this post with a picture of my Fuji X100. Well, since I don’t have a cool looking product shot of my camera, I’m just gonna post a picture of my bird.

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