Autographer review

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The Autographer is a new type of camera, changing the way that you take pictures by simply being attached to your person and snapping photographs automatically, rather than having you take charge of exactly when you take your photographs and what you take them of.

Crucially for a piece of wearable technology, it’s very easy to integrate the Autographer into whatever activity you deem worthy of recording. You can wear it around your neck, you can clip it onto your shirt or trouser pocket or you can attach it to your bag—wherever it goes, it’s going to hold on tight and do its job very capably. The sleek design of the device means that its not going to be an easy target for pickpockets so you can wear it relatively worry-free, but it’s still an attractive piece of kit to look at. Similarly, you can rest easy that your Autographer is hard-wearing. Since it’s designed to be worn on the outside of your clothing, special consideration has been made for the sort of conditions that your Autographer is going to be weathering. The form of the device is a simple oblong structure, with very little that could either get caught on something and snap off or otherwise get damaged. Even the lens—one part of any camera that you will want to make sure is kept very safe—is well-protected as well as being a very solid construction to begin with.

The Autographer lives up to the ‘auto’ part of its name by taking care of exactly when the best time to take a photograph is. The technology behind this is made up of five main components; an accelerometer figures out whether you’re moving, a proximity sensor helps frame the shot, a compass determines your orientation and a  colour sensor and thermometer gauge what will be in the shot itself. The team behind the device have come up with a complex algorithm that makes sure that all these different components work in sync to document whatever you’re doing at the time just as well as if you’d been operating a standard camera.

For the most part, it makes an admirable attempt at doing just that. In fact, it’s not that the sort of photographs that you’ll get from the Autographer are somehow worse than the sort that you’d come up with pointing and shooting for yourself, they’re just different. Part of this comes from the slightly more pronounced ‘fisheye’ effect that can be particularly present when your device elects to take a shot whilst you’re in motion, and part of it is the non-traditional angle that photographs are taken from since it’s mounted on your chest rather been held at eye level. All this being said, it’s not really a criticism of the device. The photographs that you’re taking (I should perhaps say ‘having taken for you’) don’t look like exactly like the photographs that you might take of the same event – but they have an authenticity all of their own. And, of course, the photographs that the device produces are very high quality thanks to the high-end innards of the Autographer. It’s particularly impressive how well that Autographer copes with low light conditions that can sometimes have a huge negative effect on your results if you don’t know how to properly calibrate your camera to work in such a situation. Thankfully, since your Autographer takes care of that sort of thing for itself based on the information its sensors are giving it, there’s no need for you to step in—it simply does the job for you and leaves you with top quality snaps.

Once you have your photographs taken, it’s very simple to transfer them to whatever device you want to put them on. If you’re simply looking to move the files to your home computer, a USB cable and all the software you’ll need is included with the device itself, and it’s all compatible with computers running both Windows and OS X. Alternatively, if you want to transfer your images directly to your smartphone, the Bluetooth capabilities of the Autographer make sure you can do just that—simply download the companion app for your smartphone and you’ll be able to pair it with your Autographer and freely transfer shots between your two devices. Whilst this sort of practice is very common with pieces of wearable technology such as this, in this case it’s particularly well implemented and really serves its purpose well. The 8GB of onboard storage that you get with the Autographer is just shy of being ample, so such an easy way of transferring photographs to another device whilst you’re out and about is very welcome.

An example shot taken with the Autographer

An example shot taken with the Autographer

As for the photographs themselves, it’s really rather surprising just how good the Autographer is at producing a really vivid document of whatever trip or excursion you take it with you on. It’s really nothing like the sort of tired posed shots that come to mind when you think of holiday photographs—these pictures and vibrant and very lifelike. Part of that is thanks to the 136° field of view that the Autographer has to offer; as I mentioned earlier, it can sometimes verge on the appearance of a fisheye lens but it’s intended to mimic more closely the field of view that you would actually be able to see rather than the field of view of a traditional camera. It might take you a bit of getting used to—and if you’re looking for something more akin to traditional photos of your trip it might even be a dealbreaker—but if it’s something that you like the look of, or could grow to love, it can produce some great photographs.

If the style of photographs that it produces are to your tastes, the Autographer could be the ideal solution for the times that you want to completely immerse yourself in an experience but still have photographs to look back on after the event. It might seem a little daring leaving it all up to the inner workings of your camera itself, but this device is very much up to the task. The Autographer is available from the official web store for the product and retails for £299.

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