Koci Studios Reviews Google Glass for Photography and Video

Equipment

 

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How did you get them?

Google held a contest,  called #ifihadglass in order to secure a spot as a beta tester or as it’s been called, a Glass Explorer. Here’s my winning tweet:

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Basically, I got put at the front of the line with about 1,700 other contestants.

 

 

Did you have to pay for them?

YES. I paid for them like everybody else.

 

 

Unboxing, photo and video basics AND ‘What about my privacy?” :

 

 

 

How long have you had them and how often do you wear them?

About 3 weeks. They’re extremely comfortable and I wear them as often as possible or as long as my 15-year-old daughter will allow before commenting, “Dad, REALLY!? Then they come off.

 

 

How do they work?

You can find more details with a simple web search or by watching the video below:

How do you share stuff? 

You tether and pair via wifi and or Bluetooth to your mobile phone or available wifi network. Google also sets you up with a myglass URL

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Are they going to replace your mobile phone?

Not yet. Remember this is still in beta. But I think it’s highly likely based on what I’ve experienced so far.

 

What are the technical specs?

 

From the Google Glass FAQ

Fit

  • Adjustable nosepads and durable frame fits any face.
  • Extra nosepads in two sizes.

Display

High resolution display is the equivalent of a 25 inch high definition screen from eight feet away.

Camera

  • Photos – 5 MP
  • Videos – 720p

Audio

  • Bone Conduction Transducer

Connectivity

  • Wifi – 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth

Storage

  • 12 GB of usable memory, synced with Google cloud storage. 16 GB Flash total.

Battery

One full day of typical use. Some features, like Hangouts and video recording, are more battery intensive.

Charger

  • Included Micro USB cable and charger.

While there are thousands of Micro USB chargers out there, Glass is designed and tested with the included charger in mind. Use it and preserve long and prosperous Glass use.

Compatibility

  • Any Bluetooth-capable phone.
  • The MyGlass companion app requires Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher. MyGlass enables GPS and SMS messaging.

 

 

What does the video look like?

You can watch the above unboxing video to get a sense of the 720p video quality. or watch this from Google:

 

Okay, let’s talk photography!

 

First, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the images and the general dynamic range of the 5MP camera. Pictures are sharp and decently exposed, even under challenging lighting situations.

My very FIRST image with Glass, taken during my fitting at the Google campus in Mt. View

My very FIRST image with Glass, taken during my fitting at the Google campus in Mt. View

 

There are two ways to shoot. The first option is to click on the shutter release button on the  top frames. This is my preferred way to snap. The second option is to tap the touchpad on the side of the frames and say the words, “ok glass”  followed by “take a photo” also, every photograph is followed by an audible beep which both you and anyone within arms length can hear.

 

My first SELFIE with glass

My first SELFIE with glass, I look so serious, :)

Okay, let’s talk about the actual moment of taking a photograph. No matter which option you choose to snap your picture, there is a noticeable and slightly disappointing shutter lag. This of course is not an uncommon problem to have in “regular” point and shoot cameras or even some mobile phones like the Windows phone that I recently tested. I would guess that in the evolution of glass this is a problem that will be fixed. Fingers crossed. In terms of exposure there are no controls for exposure compensation or any kind of focusing. Again glass is in beta so I suspect they will be working-on or thinking about that aspect. I can certainly see how easy it would be to put an exposure compensation feature into the touchpad on the side of the frames so that once I’m framing up an image, I could slide the touchpad back and forth with my finger to change the exposure, and the same thing could be said about focus. Needless to say, in photo mode there is no live preview it just snaps the picture.

 

I'm sharing my Glass images on Instagram under the user name koci_glass

I’m sharing my Glass images on Instagram under the user name koci_glass

I’m sharing my Glass images on Instagram under the user name koci_glass

SAMPLE IMAGES:

[These are straight from Glass, not post processing]

 

 

Video on the other hand gives you a live preview as you record. A video recording defaults to only 10 seconds but can easily be extended by touching or tapping the touchpad and can continue as long as there is battery power and hard drive space. Typically that is about 35 to 45 minutes straight of recording video in 720p before the battery fails.

 

What’s the workflow for post processing?

Google Glass is clearly set up to be a very faithful companion to Google plus. Once you plug in your glasses via USB to your laptop, your photos are automatically uploaded to your Google plus account. They are not immediately shared as they are set to private mode. From there you can open Google’s web based post processing application. Pictured here:

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If you’re on a Mac, your images are available via iPhoto and you can even import videos via Final Cut Pro.

 

What surprised you the most?

That there is no earpiece or volume control. There is of course a feature that transmits sound via bone conductance which makes listening and understanding phone conversations and spoken Google results quite clear.  But, if you’re having a phone conversation anyone in arms length gets to hear both sides of the conversation it’s basically like having an open speaker attached to the side of your head.

 

 

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Did anybody notice you?

Not really.  I’ve been in several restaurants, bars, supermarkets, gas stations and shopping malls and no one has asked that I remove them. In fact hardly anyone has noticed them at all which is a bit surprising to me as I thought they would stand out like a sore thumb. But since most of us don’t look other humans in the eyes, they pretty much go unnoticed. I did hear a quiet whispering of a gentleman in an elevator say, “oh look he has those Google glasses.” That has been the extent of their random noticeability. Another great accessory are the shades that come with a glass on a bright day they almost conceal the camera making it even more on noticeable than a pair of sporty sunglasses.

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STREET PHOTOGRAPHY SIDEBAR:

The shutter button is a great option for street photography because all you have to do is reach up to your frames and it almost looks like you’re merely adjusting your glasses and you can snap a picture. You can see how this is preferable to speaking the words out loud if you’re practicing street photography.  The audible beep that follows the taking of a photograph is generally drowned out by the natural sounds of the street. The noticeable shutter lag is certainly a con at this point especially for capturing moments instantly. On the bright side, it has certainly pushed my limits in terms of learning and practicing to time certain photographs with much more anticipation. Also, wearing the dark shades that come with the glasses are particularly helpful as they don’t seem to stand out any more than a sporty pair of regular sunglasses.

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OVERALL:

I’m a geek, so I love them. I’ve always wanted to live in the future and this is one step closer to being out of an episode of Star Trek. Are they ready for “prime time” photography? Not yet, and I say not yet because it doesn’t seem quite fair to be critiquing a product in beta, but at the same time letting Google know where it might improve this product is certainly worth mentioning. I would say, once the glasses get some basic exposure compensation and the shutter lag gets significantly improved or completely eliminated, then and only then could I see it as a potentially usable tool for professionals. With that said, don’t forget many professionals have adopted mobile phones as part of their normal workflow to great success, Dan Chung and Ben Lowey, to name a few. There were many debates about the mobile phone as a tool for professionals and with improvements every year, we can see that they have clearly made their way into the tool bag of many professionals. I would certainly want a pair of these as an audio/visual option once it’s out of beta. In the meantime I will continue to enjoy this early product release with much fun and experimentation.

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Just a quick comparison between a glass shot and an iPhone5, glass is a bit wide for my taste, :)

GOOGLE GLASS

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Google Glass

 

IPHONE 5

iphone2

iPhone5

GOOGLE GLASS

Google Glass

Google Glass

 

IPHONE5

 

iPhone 5  straight no processing

iPhone 5 straight no processing

———————–

“Dad, REALLY!?”

 

Ok, time to take them off, for now, :)

 

I’m happy to answer more questions in the comments.

 

Best,

 

-Koci

 

 

 


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