You might or might not have noticed the recent RitchieCam 1.6.1 update. The App Store description states, “Temporarily removed HEIC format on certain operating systems until a future RitchieCam update.” So what’s going on?
There’s a weird bug on iOS 17 that affects RitchieCam. While iOS 17 isn’t officially out yet, the Beta test version is available today. Sometime between two and three weeks from now, Apple will make iOS 17 available to all compatible iPhones (which will be most), and your phone might even automatically update itself to the new operating system overnight as you sleep. It’s uncertain if Apple will fix the bug prior to publicly launching iOS 17 in mid-September.
The weird bug only affects HEIC format, and not JPEG. Photos captured using the HEIC format on RitchieCam display strangely like a double-exposure, as if the picture is offset and enlarged over itself with a 50% opacity. If you share the images (text, airdrop, email) to a non-iOS 17 device (for example, an iPhone with iOS 16, or a computer) it displays normally, but on iOS 17 phones, it displays super weirdly. HEIC images captured with the standard Apple camera app don’t seem to have this issue.
I don’t know what exactly is causing the problem, so I don’t yet know how to fix it. It’s been reported to Apple, so I’m hoping that when iOS 17 is released next month, they’ll have fixed whatever it is that they did to cause this issue, but I have no way to know if they will or not. If not, I hope to get to the bottom of it and have HEIC working properly again soon.
The temporary fix that RitchieCam version 1.6.1 provides is simple: disable HEIC on iPhones that have iOS 17. If your iPhone has iOS 16.6 or older, there’s no change for you. Whatever you have selected, whether HEIC or JPEG, will work as normal. But if you have the iOS 17 Beta, or the public version when it is released soon, RitchieCam will default to JPEG, and HEIC will be unavailable for you to choose. I’m really sorry if this causes any trouble. Hopefully it will be short-lived, and HEIC will be available in the near future for iOS 17.
I also want to say “thank you” to everyone who reported this issue to me. Your feedback allowed this temporary fix to be made available before the new operating system rolled out to the masses. I really appreciate your help!
Photography is moving in a clear direction, and it is unedited. Let me explain.
There’s a new photography trend on the iPhone. Instead of using the front-facing camera to take selfies, people are taking screen shots of the preview from the selfie camera. Why? What’s the difference? The pipeline for the image preview and the actual photographs are different on the iPhone. Most notably, Apple applies an HDR processing to the exposure (but not the preview), which creates a less-contrasty picture. If you are going to apply a filter to the photo and edit it, having a flatter starting point makes sense; however, if you are not editing, one might prefer the more-contrasty image preview. Aside from that, it can be frustrating that the preview doesn’t match the photograph.
My RitchieCam iPhone camera app uses the same pipeline for both the image processing and the preview, so it doesn’t have this issue. The preview you see will be the picture you get. No need to screenshot, which produces a much-lower resolution image. Those using my camera app (instead of the native iPhone app) won’t need to go through the hassle of the screen shot (plus cropping out the non-image part); instead, they’ll have better quality pictures with an analog-inspired aesthetic to post to social media.
Of course, we’re not talking about photographers here, but snap-shooters, as I doubt that anyone who would self-identify as a photographer is taking screenshots instead of using the camera. It shouldn’t be surprising that they’re uninterested in picture manipulation, and just want good results without fuss. Maybe they don’t know how to edit pictures, and the idea of doing so is very intimidating, so they have no interest in learning. It could be that they don’t want to spend their time with picture editing, and just want to share (either through text or social media) their snaps quickly—the easier the better, but the pictures still need to look decent. Others don’t edit because doing so seems less authentic; Photoshop is a bad word, and picture-manipulation equals people-manipulation. Let’s not forget that the vast majority of photos captured across the world are by amateurs, so their opinions, preferences, and trends do matter.
For the advanced-hobbyist or professional, surely photo manipulation is a requirement, right? There’s a growing movement towards reduced (or even eliminated) photo editing. First, the less time spent sitting at a computer equals more production and/or more time with friends and family. For a lot of people, for every hour out with a camera photographing means two hours in Lightroom or Capture One fiddling with the RAW files; if those two hours can be reduced by 50% or more (especially more), that’s a huge win! Second, shooting camera-made JPEGs affords the advantage of knowing exactly what you’re going to get before even pressing the shutter. Don’t like what you see? Simply make a few quick adjustments until you do, then take the picture. Not having to pre-visualize in your mind the finished photo, but seeing it right there in the viewfinder in real time, is a game-changer for many. Third, getting great (often analog-like) results straight-out-of-camera can be a much more fun photographic process, especially if you don’t enjoy sitting for hours at a computer post-processing pictures.
I used to shoot RAW and edit, but thanks to Fujifilm cameras and Film Simulation Recipes, I now use unedited (or sometimes lightly-edited) camera-made JPEGs. I will crop or straighten when needed, which is the majority of my post-processing; occasionally I will adjust the brightness a notch, but very rarely do I manipulate any further than that. Most of my pictures are unedited, even to a strict definition. This has changed my life, no hyperbole! My post workflow takes minutes instead of hours, which has made me a much more productive photographer while simultaneously improving home-life, because I can now spend more time with my wife and kids. That’s amazing!
For example, on a recent trip to the California coast, during the downtimes—such as while at lunch, as a passenger in a car, or at night before bed—I transferred the JPEGs from my cameras to my phone, cropped if needed, and uploaded to cloud storage. A few minutes here and there meant that, by the time I got home, my workflow was essentially already complete. For most photographers, once back home the work would just be getting started, with many hours sitting at a computer.
But, but, but… surely the unedited camera-made JPEGs are not good enough for serious photography, right? You couldn’t do true professional work like this, could you? You can’t print very large and still look stunning, can you? Actually, yes—you can! I know because several successful professional photographers have told me that this is how they now do their paid work. You’d be surprised by just how many are doing some or even all of their pro photo work completely unedited or just lightly edited.
It’s not just photographers who benefit from a simplified workflow, but clients. Because of social media, people often desire to have a quick turnaround on their professional photographs. The newlywed couple doesn’t want to wait two weeks for the wedding pictures to be done, and in fact their parents wished for them that very day! If you can deliver the images quickly, you have a clear advantage over your competition.
In fact, Fujifilm X-Photographer Nathalie Boucry told me about two recent corporate events where the client wanted the photos as the event was happening! Periodically, every so many minutes throughout the day, she would download the straight-out-of-camera images from her camera to her phone, then upload them to a cloud location that the client had access to. As the event was happening, they were able to share the pictures to their social media accounts. Delivering real-time results to the client is going to be the future of event photography. Nathalie was able to do this thanks to the Film Simulation Recipes that she had programmed into her Fujifilm cameras.
Whether it is professional, hobby, or snap-shooting, photography is slowly and stubbornly moving towards less editing. It is easier and quicker and more fun, the disadvantages of it are disappearing, and the stigmatization is dissipating. More and more, people want great results without fuss. Editing is no longer a requirement, especially if you have gear that will deliver solid out-of-camera pictures, such as Fujifilm cameras or the RitchieCam app.
The next battle will be AI. Technology allows one to simulate a photograph with a string of words, or add to an image what wasn’t there—all with a similar ease to shooting camera-made JPEGs. It will come down to authenticity. I believe that as tech pushes us towards an augmented or even fully artificial reality, society will push back with an equal and opposite force towards the genuine. People will generally prefer authenticity over artificial, but it will be a divide. Camera makers should carefully consider how to move forward through all of this, and how they can improve their straight-out-of-camera experience. Fujifilm has a clear advantage, which materialized in the recent explosion in demand for the X100V. A simplified workflow with less editing or even no editing is the future of photography, and the future is now.
I just got back from a quick road trip to see the world’s largest travertine natural bridge. Located right in the center of Arizona in the Mazatzal Mountains, Tonto Natural Bridge is an under-appreciated natural wonder. While winding through the evergreen forest along Highway 87 between Payson and Pine, you’d never guess that the place was even there. An unassuming side road steeply descends into a canyon, which is where the park is located; however, even after parking it’s not obvious what you’ll find. Only after a very short hike is the natural bridge revealed. A longer hike will take you right up to it, and even through it if you want.
The actual reason for the trip was more than just a chance to experience this Arizona State Park. Even though it is now autumn, it is still hot like summer in the Phoenix desert, but the higher elevations offer a reprieve from the heat. The temperature at our cabin was 30 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than in the valley where we live. Also, we hoped to photograph some fall colors, which isn’t something commonly found in the desert.
So we (myself and my family) found ourselves among the pines in Pine, experiencing cooler temperatures, looking for autumn leaves, and visiting the largest travertine natural bridge in the world. It was great! I wish it could have lasted longer than just one weekend, but, alas, we could only stay but for a short time.
Upon returning, I realized that all six of us—myself, my wife, and my four kids—had all done some photography on this adventure. I mostly used my Fujifilm X100V, X-E4, and X70, while my wife used her X-T4. The two of us also at times used the RitchieCam camera app on our iPhones, as did each of our four kids.
As it turns out (and just as it was intended to be), RitchieCam is great for the whole family! It’s super easy—even my five-year-old had no problems figuring it out—yet robust enough that we felt comfortable using it to capture more serious photographic moments (as well as the silly ones sometimes). RitchieCam is an app for everyone, including kids, and is especially well suited for family adventures.
I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the photographs that each of us captured with RitchieCam on our trip. I used it specifically for the 65:24 XPan aspect ratio. I found it interesting to see what the rest of my family had captured with the App on this short trip to the mountains.
This year I’ve had the opportunity to visit five different National Parks! I love going to National Parks to experience the wonder of nature. They’re great for photography, and they’re great for the soul. Anytime the opportunity arrises to visit a National Park, I jump at it. In winter, I traveled to Arches National Park in southern Utah, Canyonlands National Park in southern Utah, and Grand Teton National Park in western Wyoming. In spring, I visited Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah and Hot Springs National Park in central Arkansas. These are wonderful locations that are worth the effort to experience!
While my main cameras are Fujifilm—such as the X100V and X-E4—I also use my iPhone for photography. Chase Jarvis famously coined, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” He was specifically stating that if your cellphone is your only option, then it’s the best option; however, I would go a step further and say that your cellphone can be used in conjunction with your main cameras. Why? Your phone might have a different focal length than the lens on your camera (versatility). It’s quicker and easier to share the pictures from your phone (convenience). You don’t have to think about the settings (simplicity). Your phone is more easily portable—you can have it with you when your camera isn’t as practical to bring along (compactness). It doesn’t have to be either your camera or your phone—it can be both, and I used both on my visits to these five National Parks.
Of course, when I photograph with my iPhone, I use my very own RitchieCam App, which is a streamlined camera app with no-edit filters. RitchieCam is intended to help you capture everyday moments—including those that happen while visiting National Parks—more beautifully while maintaining simplicity (anyone can use it, not just photographers). The app is free to download and use—becoming a RitchieCam Patron unlocks the app’s full capabilities. If you have an iPhone, be sure to download RitchieCam today (click here)!
I utilized RitchieCam on my iPhone to photograph these National Parks, and so did others in my family: my wife (Amanda), my daughter (Joy), and my son (Jonathan)—they used RitchieCam, too! While most of the pictures in this article were captured by me, there are a few that they took. After our visits, it’s a lot of fun sharing our photos with each other. We all love going to National Parks, and being able to share the photographic experiences—thanks to RitchieCam—makes it even better.
Arches National Park — Utah
If you love unusual rock formations, Arches National Park in southeastern Utah is the place for you! Protruding from the high-desert sand are massive red rocks, which form bluffs, pinnacles, balancing acts, and (of course) arches. There are over 2,000 arches within the National Park, which is the highest concentration of stone arches in the world! Several movies have had scenes filmed in this National Park, including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Thelma and Louise, and Hulk, among others.
Arches National Park is a great place to visit anytime of the year; however, it can be extremely crowded in the summer (not to mention hot), so the winter is my favorite season. It snowed while we were there—a somewhat rare occurrence, although it does happen at least a few days each winter. I loved photographing the park blanketed in white snow, but it melted quickly, and was mostly gone by the end of the day. While we only spent one day in Arches National Park, we made a lifetime of memories there.
Canyonlands National Park — Utah
The day after our Arches visit, we went to the nearby Canyonlands National Park. While Arches can get packed with people, I’ve never seen a crowd at Canyonlands—I’m sure it happens, but I’ve always found plenty of solitude. The Colorado River goes through both Canyonlands and the Grand Canyon, and they’re both on the Colorado Plateau—both are indeed natural wonders, and there are certainly some similarities between them, yet each offers a unique experience for visitors. Picking a favorite National Park is a difficult and unfair endeavor, but Canyonlands is without a doubt one of my top picks—maybe not number one, but definitely top five.
The reason why Canyonlands was on Day 2 and not Day 1 of our National Parks adventure is because it was closed the day prior due to the snowfall. A dusting of snow in Arches was a blizzard in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands, which sits about 6,000′ above sea level, and about 1,000′ higher than the terrain below. Thankfully, by the time we arrived, most of the snow had melted, and we had a fun day hiking, taking in the incredible canyon views that this park offers.
Bryce Canyon National Park — Utah
In southwestern Utah is Bryce Canyon National Park, which is known for its vibrant red hoodoos. While I’ve visited the nearby Zion National Park a couple of times, I had never made it to Bryce Canyon until this last spring. Wow! I was really missing out—Bryce Canyon is absolutely incredible! It’s a National Park that everyone should experience at least once, if they can. While Zion is quite nice, too, if you only have time for one or the other, I would go to Bryce Canyon.
The elevation of the park varies between 6,600′ and 9,100′ depending on where you’re at. Despite “canyon” in its name, Bryce Canyon is technically not a canyon, but a series of natural amphitheaters. To really experience the park you’ll want to put on your hiking shoes; however, don’t expect an easy trail, as the paths are often steep and full of switchbacks. It’s completely worthwhile, though, and, if you are physically able to do it, I highly recommend going down a trail or two while you’re there.
Grand Teton National Park — Wyoming
The Grand Teton National Park in western Wyoming is an amazing sight to behold! I had been once before—in late-spring several years ago—and this was my first winter visit. Unfortunately, the park was much less accessible this time, due to snow. Jackson Hole is a ski destination, so there were lots of tourists, but most of my favorite photography spots (that I was hoping to return to) were closed. I would say that it was disappointing, but when you view the towering range, despite the conditions, it’s impossible to be disappointed—it just made me eager to come again in a different season.
Within Grand Teton National Park are eight peaks that are over 12,000′ above sea level. The location of Ansel Adams’ famous Snake River Overlook picture is well marked and (normally) easily accessible—I had to hike through some knee-deep snow to get to it on this trip. Definitely worth seeing, but perhaps winter isn’t the best time.
Hot Springs National Park — Arkansas
Perhaps the strangest National Park I’ve ever experienced is Hot Springs National Park. Located in downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas, this park is free to visit (although the observation tower has a fee to access), but there’s not much to see. You can self-tour one of the bathhouses (which is now the visitors center). There are a couple of rather-ordinary springs that you can view—unfortunately, most of the springs are oddly capped with metal encasements. There are some trails that twist up a hill (along with a road), and at the top is a tower, which offers breathtaking views of the southern Ozarks. None of it comes close to the grandness that I have come to expect from National Parks, or even many state parks.
I was surprised by the beauty of this region. I liked Hot Springs. The National Park was a good place to spend a few hours. But I left wondering why in the world this was a National Park, because it doesn’t seem like it should be. It’s worth visiting if you’re in the area (and the area is worth visiting), but I wouldn’t make a special trip just to see Hot Springs National Park. Still, we had a good time, and made some family memories, and that’s what really matters.
There are 63 National Parks in America, and someday I hope to visit them all. It will take years—probably a lifetime! Five in one year is a good lot, and maybe the opportunity will arise to visit even more before January rolls around. I hope so. And if I do, not only will I bring my Fujifilm cameras, but my iPhone, too.
For those who don’t know, RitchieCam is an easy-to-use streamlined camera app intended to bring one-step photography to the iPhone. There are 18 analog-inspired filters so that you don’t have to edit your mobile pictures if you don’t want to. It is intended to be simple enough to be useful for anyone and everyone with an iPhone, and robust enough that even seasoned photographers should find it satisfying. Visit RitchieCam.com to learn more. Also, be sure to follow RitchieCam on Instagram!
What’s new in this update? There are three new features: drag to switch filters, 65:24 aspect ratio, and straight-down level indicator. Each one of these is discussed in detail below. There are also several small improvements and refinements, which will mostly go unnoticed—the most obvious is the enlarged EV +/- switch, hopefully improving its ease of use. Many other features and improvements are in the works, but it takes time to bring them to fruition, so be patient if this update doesn’t include what you were hoping it would—for certain, many great things are coming down the road.
Let’s take a look at the three new features!
Drag to Switch Filters
There’s a new way to select your desired RitchieCam filter even faster—simply drag your finger across the viewfinder! If you are a RitchieCam Patron, far-left is Standard Color, far-right is Dramatic B&W, and the 16 other filters are in-between; otherwise, left is Standard Color, middle is Analog Color, and right is B&W Negative. This is a quick and fun way to get to whichever filter you want to use, or to see which filter might be the best fit for the scene.
The video above is a screen-recording I made using this new feature. Just picture a finger dragging across the screen, left-to-right. I was trying to be slow and smooth, but this is a snappy function, so it is as quick as you are—you are in control of how fast or slowly you swipe through the filter options.
Drag-to-switch is a new way to find and select filters, but the previous methods still work as they always have. I think a lot of you will prefer this new method, but it is completely optional, so nothing changes for you if you like your current process; however, if you ever wished that there was a quicker way to switch filters, now there is!
65:24 XPan Aspect Ratio
The 65:24 aspect ratio was made popular by XPan cameras, a joint venture between Fujifilm and Hasselblad. I received a lot of requests for this aspect ratio, so I am happy to announce that it is now an option on RitchieCam! You can capture panoramic pictures straight from RitchieCam, no cropping required.
Currently there are six aspect ratios to choose from: 4:3/3:4, 5:4/4:5, 1:1, 3:2/2:3, 16:9/9:16, & 65:24/24:65. The panoramic 65:24 ratio can be challenging to use, but also highly rewarding, producing cinematic feelings that are only possible by going wide—give the XPan ratio a try today!
Level Indicator for Straight-Down Photography
If you ever do product photography that requires you to shoot straight down, it can be difficult to get the camera level. I’m always off by a little, tilted slightly one way or another. But RitchieCam is here to help!
Now, when the phone is flat (parallel to the ground), the gyroscope activates a white and yellow plus that, when aligned (indicated by the yellow plus as the only one visible), lets you know that the phone is level, not tilted in any direction. This feature is always on, so anytime the phone is flat when using RitchieCam, the pluses will appear. Some of you might not ever use this, but for some of you this is a really big deal.
I commonly get asked advice on camera gear. Most often it is which Fujifilm camera to buy, usually by someone who is trying to get into the system—either as a first “serious” camera or switching brands, typically because they want to try Film Simulation Recipes; however, I occasionally I get asked by someone (that knows that I’m “into photography”) who is looking for an entry-level camera for themselves or their teenage kid. If it’s for themselves, it’s because Johnny’s 5th birthday is coming and they want better pictures, or they’re about to take that epic vacation they’ve been saving up for and want to capture the memories. If it’s for their child, it’s because their kid has shown some interest in photography and they want to foster that. Either way, the basic entry-level model is what’s needed.
Whenever I ask about budgets, I usually hear something like, “Under $300.” Sometimes $500 is the upper limit. I’ve been told $150 before. Almost never is it $1,000. In the past the advice I gave was to buy a used entry-level DSLR, like the Nikon D3200, for example, which could often be found somewhere close to the budget—super easy for the novice, yet advanced enough that a budding photographer could learn on it. Later, I would suggest something like the Fujifilm X-T100 or X-A5, which were affordable mirrorless options (and, of course, Fujifilm). Nowadays it’s harder to make a recommendation because the entry-level camera is basically gone.
Those who are “serious” tend to know that they have to spend more to get a quality camera. Much of the time you get what you pay for; however, sometimes these entry-level models were surprisingly good—I was impressed by the image quality of the Fujifilm X-T200, for example. Those who are after quality will typically skip the entry-level and go for a mid-tier option or higher. Those who want a cheap introduction will be satisfied with a low-budget camera. A lot of people—mostly those who would never consider themselves a “real photographer”—used to buy these cheap cameras in droves, but now they don’t.
The reason they don’t is largely because of the cellphone. The camera technology on your phone is beyond good enough for most people and purposes, and it keeps getting more and more impressive. You don’t need a bulky, inconvenient, complicated, and expensive DSLR to capture Johnny’s 5th birthday. You don’t need an interchangeable-lens camera to photograph that epic vacation. Your phone is more than capable of delivering stunning pictures that can be instantly shared. Yes, you could spend a grand on a camera and lens, you could lug it around, you could take classes or watch videos on how to use it since it’s all so confusing, and you could download a bulky photo editing program onto your computer—or just pull out your phone and let its smart technology handle it all for you with just one tap.
It wasn’t long ago that the cellphone killed the pocket point-and-shoot. Now it’s also killed entry-level interchangeable-lens cameras. While I think cellphone camera technology can be (and could continue to become) appealing to “serious” photographers, I don’t think it will have a big impact on higher-end cameras. The market is shrinking from the bottom up—not the top down. If anything, there is an increased demand for mid and high end models. But the lucrative point-and-shoot and entry-level markets are pretty much all dried up.
What does this mean? There are several things. First, those hoping to find a cheap camera will have to get an older model, because less and less are new ones being made. I definitely don’t mind using “old” gear, but others don’t always feel the same—five-year-old tech is practically obsolete and 10-year old definitely is (in some people’s opinions, not mine). Fujifilm’s last entry-level cameras—the X-A7 and X-T200—were discontinued shortly after their release, due to sluggish sales. Right now the mid-tier X-E4 is their lowest-level model, and it is certainly not a “low-end” camera. Other brands have been discontinuing their entry-level options, too. If you want a “real” camera, you’ll need to get a “serious” camera; otherwise, stick with your cellphone.
I think the affect on those with a budding interest in photography will be profound. Either you will learn on a cellphone (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), or you’ll pony-up for a mirrorless—those who cannot afford the mirrorless model either won’t have their interest fostered and it will fade, or will learn photography differently—good, bad, or indifferent, this will shape the future of photography in some way. Change always has some impact on the future, but we won’t know exactly what it is until we get there.
Another impact that the disappearing entry-level will have on the camera industry is that money must be made somewhere. Camera companies have to make up for the lost revenue. While the trend in tech is that things become cheaper over time, I think we’re already seeing that the top-end is not getting cheaper. It won’t just affect the top, but that is what’s most affected currently it seems; I suspect that it will have an impact across all brands and all tiers to varying degrees. Fujifilm is lucky because their Instax line is still extremely popular and profitable.
The flip side of the coin is that the cellphone camera market is (and has been) booming. Whether it is Apple or Android, the camera capabilities of your device likely had a significant impact on your decision to buy. How many lenses does it have? How much resolution? What kind of computational tricks can it do? The more people spend on cellphones, the more the technology marches forward, and the better the cameras become. It’s really quite amazing what the little telephone/computer/camera in your pocket can do!
Obviously those advancements mean opportunities. I took the opportunity to create the RitchieCam App to bring simplified and intuitive one-step photography to your iPhone. My wife took the opportunity to do some underwater photography—something that she wouldn’t have done with an interchangeable-lens camera, but her iPhone 13 handled it swimmingly well. What that opportunity is for you depends on you—there is an opportunity for certain, you just have to find it and make it happen.
Yes, the entry-level camera is disappearing, and will soon be gone. Much like CDs, Blockbuster, and one-hour photo labs, cheap interchangeable-lens cameras are a thing of the past. It will have an impact on photography, but whether that’s positive or negative depends on your perspective. And I do think there are both positives and negatives. Certainly camera manufacturers have been concerned for some time—if there’s a lesson to be learned, perhaps it’s to do more to bring the mobile photography tech advancements to “real” cameras, too. Those wanting a bottom-end camera are seeing their options disappear. Those hoping cameras will become cheaper as they become better will likely be disappointed, at least for a time. That might look bleak, but I also believe that photography has become more accessible.
How has photography become more accessible if it isn’t becoming more affordable? The phone-in-your-pocket is only getting better, and is being taken more seriously. There’s a reason why the pocket point-and-shoot and entry-level interchangeable-lens cameras have succumbed to it. Many more people have access to a decent camera, and the pictures are easily shared across the world—more pictures are being captured now than ever before, and that’s a huge understatement!
Fujifilm cameras have made post-processing unnecessary. I don’t know how many of you truly understand the impact of this—I have a front-row seat, and I’m just beginning to grasp the magnitude of it. Learning Lightroom and Photoshop have been a prerequisite barrier to becoming a “serious photographer” for years; however, not everyone in the world has access to photo-editing programs, not everyone has a desire (or the time) to learn them, and not everyone enjoys sitting at a computer for hours (or has the time). A lot of people have been on the outside looking in, but now they don’t have to be because the barrier has been removed (thanks to Fujifilm cameras and Film Simulation Recipes). For others, it’s just a fun way to do photography, and has made the process of creating pictures more enjoyable.
Some who are just learning photography, who’ve maybe only used their cellphones previously, are buying Fujifilm cameras and using recipes and getting good results out-of-the-gate; if they had to edit their pictures, they would still be stuck on the software—they’d be making less progress and having less fun. Some who are experienced pros and have been in the business awhile have found that using recipes on Fujifilm cameras has simplified their workflow and made them more productive, while not sacrificing quality delivered to the client (true story I’ve heard several times).
Camera makers don’t like seeing a previously profitable market segment disappear, and that makes them worry about the future. Those wanting to buy a low-budget camera are finding it harder and harder to find. Things are shifting and changing within the photography and camera world. Yet, whether you just want some decent snaps of Johnny’s birthday or are just starting out in photography or are a seasoned pro—or anywhere in-between—there are great opportunities for you right now. The obstacles in your path have never been smaller.
As Chase Jarvis coined, the best camera is the one that’s with you—sometimes that’s your cellphone. Whenever I use my iPhone for photography, I always use my very own camera app: RitchieCam. Designed with a one-step philosophy, RitchieCam produces photos that are ready to be shared or printed the instant that they’re captured.
I partnered with Sahand Nayebaziz to develop RitchieCam. I worked with Sahand on the Fuji X Weekly and Ricoh Recipes Apps, so we already had established a great working relationship even before beginning work on this camera app. Sahand uses Fujifilm cameras, and sometimes his iPhone, for his photography.
Sahand and I were talking recently when he mentioned that his favorite RitchieCam filter is Instant Color 3 set to about 30% intensity. I have always used 100% intensity. Even though I put this feature into the app, I had never used it personally, other than testing it out when it was being developed. I thought that some would appreciate it, so it was important to include it.
The three-slider icon (between the star and gear) opens the Filter Intensity slider. All the way right is 100% and all the way left is 0%. I like to use 100% on all of the filters, but that’s to be expected because I created the filters. You might prefer something different, so you can customize the intensity to fit your tastes.
I thought that there’s some potential for creativity with this feature, so I began to experiment with it. First I tried Sahand’s suggestion of Instant Color 3 at 30%, which did in fact produce good results (see the picture at the top of this article). Then I played around with the other filters at various intensities.
I found the three black-and-white filters in particular can produce interesting results, because they become muted-color filters when set to about 70% intensity. Of the three monochrome options, my favorite filter to adjust the intensity of in order to create color pictures is Dramatic B&W. Set to about 70%, the Dramatic B&W filter makes for wonderful muted-color photography. I was actually very impressed with this, and spent a couple of days shooting the Dramatic B&W filter set to about 70% intensity.
Here are some examples:
The RitchieCam App has 18 filters (15 color and 3 B&W), but the potential aesthetics that can be achieved using RitchieCam is much greater because you can adjust the intensity of each filter, and that adjustment changes the look—at least a little, and sometimes a lot—which gives you even greater creative control over your pictures.
If you have an iPhone and you haven’t downloaded the RitchieCam App, go to the Apple App Store right now and do so! Then play around with the Filter Intensity slider and see what fun things you come up with. Let me know which filter is your favorite, and what intensity you use. If you find something especially interesting, I’d love to try it myself.
Leigh & Raymond Photography (formally known as The Snap Chick) dropped a video with a wonderful shoutout to my RitchieCam iPhone camera App! You’ll find the video above—RitchieCam is mentioned at about the 11-minute mark. Wow! Really, wow! I’m speechless. Thank you, Leigh and Raymond, for your kindness and support!
For those who don’t know, RitchieCam is an easy-to-use streamlined camera app intended to bring one-step photography to the iPhone. There are 18 analog-inspired filters so that you don’t have to edit your mobile pictures if you don’t want to. It is intended to be simple enough to be useful for anyone and everyone with an iPhone, although it is robust enough that even seasoned photographers should find it satisfying. Visit RitchieCam.com to learn more. Also, be sure to follow RitchieCam on Instagram!
I just released the first “major” RitchieCam app update. For those who don’t know, I created an iOS camera app to simplify and streamline your iPhone photography. The app is free, and is intended to be a useful free tool, yet becoming a RitchieCam Patron unlocks all of the filters and the best app experience.
There are a lot of features that I want to incorporate into the app, but it takes time and work to implement them all, so they will roll out over time. In other words, RitchieCam is just going to get better and better! I just released the first significant update—if you have RitchieCam on your phone and it didn’t automatically update, be sure to manually do it in the App Store now.
One new feature is the volume button—either up or down—as a shutter release. Depending on how you hold your phone, this is a more convenient way to take pictures. Instead of tapping the circle shutter at the bottom, you can press either volume up or volume down to accomplish the same thing. The ability to use the volume buttons to capture photographs was highly requested, so I’m pleased to be able to include it in this update.
Another new feature is additional aspect ratios. Originally, all RitchieCam photos were in iPhone’s standard 4:3 aspect ratio, which is necessary if you want to use the full resolution of the sensor. But if you prefer a different shape, there are now five aspect ratios to choose from: 4:3, 3:2, 5:4, 1:1, & 16:9.
Here are some photos, all captured using the Standard Film filter on RitchieCam, illustrating the different aspect ratios:
4:3 / 3:4
3:2 / 2:3
5:4 / 4:5
16:9 / 9:16
RitchieCam saves the pictures in Apple’s High Efficiency Image Container (HEIC, also called HEIF) format, which maximizes image quality while simultaneously taking less space on your phone. It’s also necessary for implementing some new features down the road. The downside to HEIC is that it is less universally compatible with non-Apple programs. For those who prefer JPEG over HEIC, you now have that option—tap the Gear icon, and you’ll find the Format toggle about halfway down.
The other improvements are less obvious. RitchieCam will now remember the last Flash and EV settings used (as well as the aspect ratio), which will hopefully improve the user experience for some of you. There are several behind-the-scenes optimizations to improve speed, stability, and quality, which you’re not likely to notice, but micro improvements add up over time, so they’re important to continuously work on.
And that’s the update! Already work has begun on the next one. If the feature you were hoping for isn’t in this one, with any luck you won’t have to wait too long for it, but I do ask for your patience, because these things do take awhile. In the meantime, I hope there’s something in this update that you find helpful to you.
Multnomah Falls is an iconic scenic stop along the historic Columbia River Highway in Oregon. Found within the Columbia River Gorge, it is the tallest year-round waterfall in Oregon, and the most visited natural site in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The famous footbridge was constructed in 1915, while the gift-shop at the bottom—originally a lodge—was built in 1925, and both are on the National Register of Historic Places. It is an incredible location to experience, with beauty that rivals what one might find within National Parks.
I recently visited Multnomah Falls, and used my Fujifilm X100V and iPhone 11 to photograph this amazing spot. Unsurprisingly, I had several of my Film Simulation Recipes programmed into my X100V, and I used my RitchieCam camera app on my iPhone. Because there is a lot of mist from the falls, and it was a rainy day (as is common there), having weather-sealed cameras was important—both the X100V (as long as a filter is on the front) and the iPhone can handle getting wet, and both did get wet. Really wet.
While it might seem unnecessary to carry both an X100V and an iPhone, that turned out not to be the case for two reasons: focal-length, and ease of sharing. The X100V has a very useful 34.5mm (equivalent) focal-length lens, while the iPhone 11 has a 26mm (equivalent) camera and 13mm (equivalent) camera (if I had the “Pro” version, it would also include a 52mm camera, but alas I don’t have that model). The X100V was wide-angle enough to capture some good photographs of the falls, but the wider-angle lenses on the iPhone 11 were often better options, and I used it more than the Fujifilm camera at this location. To the second point, I was able to text pictures of the falls to some family and friends immediately—before even getting back to the car—and share with you via social media pictures of the falls within minutes. The X100V pictures were pretty quick and easy to share, too—thanks to the wonderful JPEG output of the camera—but not quite as immediate as the iPhone images.
What’s better, X100V or iPhone? For pure image quality, the Fujifilm camera is hands down better, but that only really matters if you are viewing the pictures large. Looking at them on this website or on social media, the quality difference is hard to spot, and even if you can see it, the quality difference is pretty insignificant. If you were viewing 11″ x 14″ prints of the pictures, the quality difference would still be fairly small, although if you compared them side-by-side you could tell without much trouble that the X100V is superior. But if you are viewing 16″ x 20″ prints or larger, the iPhone images just don’t hold up nearly as well as the Fujifilm. So the X100V is definitely the better tool if you might print the pictures large, but the iPhone is a capable tool if you don’t think you’ll be printing large—let’s face it, most pictures don’t get printed large, or even printed at all.
There’s no reason why both the X100V and the iPhone (or other cellphone camera) can’t both live together in peace and harmony. They’re different photographic tools that have different advantages and disadvantages, and they can both serve purposes within your photography. Film Simulation Recipes make the Fujifilm workflow more streamlined and the process more enjoyable. RitchieCam does the same thing for your iPhone photography. One tool might be better in a certain circumstance, and the other might be better in another circumstance, and perhaps both might be useful in a circumstance like Multnomah Falls.
Do you like the Fujifilm X100V pictures better, the iPhone pictures better, some of each, or none at all? Which Film Simulation Recipe that I used do you prefer? Which RitchieCam filter did the best? Let me know what you think in the comments!
I recently visited the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. This iconic mountain range sits just north of the tourist town of Jackson Hole. If you’ve never been, this is a “bucket list” kind of place that you should absolutely try to see in person if you can. My visit was a quick weekend getaway, and not surprisingly the weather didn’t really cooperate. Still, I wanted to get in some photography, and so I did.
What I don’t want to do is view massive crops side-by-side. The Fujifilm X100V and the iPhone are much different tools, so this will be a very general overview without pixel-peeping.
Technically speaking, the X100V is far superior, and it isn’t even close. For technical image quality, the X100V is the camera to grab, but the iPhone, with its tiny little sensor, is surprisingly good, all things considered. The advantage of the iPhone is that you have it with you all of the time, and you can quickly and easily share the pictures captured with it across the world (especially if you used the RitchieCam app). Convenience and speed are the reasons to choose the iPhone over the X100V, but the X100V is pretty compact and quick, too. For printing or viewing large, the X100V is the right tool. For quick sharing, the iPhone is the right tool. Here’s the great news: you don’t have to choose—use both, or use the one that you happen to have with you.
This is the first in a series of articles where I’ll compare photographs captured with the Fujifilm X100V using Film Simulation Recipes and the iPhone using the RitchieCam app. Below are photographs captured with these cameras at the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. Let me know in the comments which pictures you like best!
What is RitchieCam? It’s an easy-to-use streamlined camera intended to bring one-step photography to the iPhone. You’ll find 17 analog-inspired filters so that you don’t have to edit your mobile pictures if you don’t want to. I think you will appreciate the app, yet it is intended for anyone and everyone with an iPhone, and not just photographers. You can read all about it at ritchiecam.com.
This is a project I’ve been secretly working on for nearly a year. While I always thought it would be difficult and complicated, I had no idea just how much so! I’m extremely happy with how it turned out, yet I hope that this is just the beginning, as there are several new features and improvements already in the works, and even more on my wish-list. I’m very proud of RitchieCam, and I hope that you find it fun and useful. I personally have enjoyed using it over the last several weeks, including on a road trip to Moab, Utah.
RitchieCam is free! Or, really, it’s a “freemium” app, and for $9.99 (USD +Tax annually) you can unlock all of the filters and features.
Some pictures I captured with RitchieCam on that Moab road trip: