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The University where I work, UT Dallas, is closed today due to the sleet and snow that fell overnight here in Dallas. While I was having breakfast I was watching the weather show out our front window and thought to myself that it would be fun to take a few snow/sleet pictures with an iPhone 4 app I bought recently for 99¢ called Slow Shutter Cam by Cogitap Software.
I wanted to see if the app would be good at actually showing the snow falling. I had taken a shot last week in the snow with the app and knew it could do it, but I wanted to expand upon the idea and match the iPhone 4 app against my Canon T1i DSLR camera to see which one did a better job with the shot.
So I set up the Canon on a tripod and framed a shot shooting through our front window out into the street. I tried to match the shot view as best I could with the iPhone. I took a number of shots with the Canon, shooting at different shutter speed/aperture combinations trying to get a slow enough shutter speed to capture the snow and sleet falling.
My results amazed me! I was using a Canon Ultrasonic 28-105mm 3.5-4.5 lens which gave me an f22 at the 28mm end. The shots I am showing were taken at 28mm f22 at 1/15th sec. exposure time (second shot) and 28mm f22 at 0.4 sec. exposure time (third shot). The iPhone 4 shot is at the top.
The iPhone 4 shot was the only one that really shows the snow and sleet falling. I just could not get any action out of the Canon DSLR in this situation. At 1/15th of a second, the DSLR had totally washed out the shot and obviously I needed at least a 3 second or longer shutter speed to capture the falling stuff.
The iPhone 4 handled it very easily giving me a shutter speed of 15 seconds at a sensitivity level in the app of 1. This was the best combo of settings I tested for the app. The actual size of the photo it gave me was 1936 x 2592 pixels, which is a good size, but not as large as the raw from the Canon, which was 4572 x 3162 pixels. I cropped them all down to the same pixel size and tried to keep the shot parameters the same. You can also click on these three shots to see a larger version of each.
Oh, and I did not use a tripod with the iPhone 4, I simply held it flush up against the window and held it steady through the 15 second exposure.
I will have to play around with this app some more using light trails and other experiments. You can take a look at the app on the Cogitap Software website where it goes into much more detail about the settings available and features. There is a link on the site directly to the iTunes store where you can read reviews as well or purchase the app.
For a buck this is a great steal of a photo app. If anyone else has tried this app I would love to hear about what you have tried to do with it.