30 April 2015
Author: Michał Koralewski
After four months of intensive testing under different weather conditions and ever changing lighting, after walking nearly 800 kilometers while photographing streets of Poznan, Cracov, Berlin and Barcelona, I’m clear: COVR Photo is one of the most interesting gadgets for a mobile photographer I have ever seen. Since I started to use it, it quickly became my “must have” accessory, sitting next to the powerbank and a mini-tripod with magnetic legs. Here is a review and some photos I took with this photo case.
Just like a TV remote
COVR Photo is a protective case for your iPhone, equipped with a movable prism, which allows you to photograph in a way that stays almost invisible to the neighborhood. Handling iPhone in front of you pretty much the same way like you handle your TV remote or write SMS, so you’re able to photograph kids while playing, snap some candid shots on a family party or photograph a passer-by on a street in a way that no one notices. Since I got COVR Photo, I am able more easily and discreetly record the life thriving on the city streets, with interfering into that situation I’m trying to capture. Additionally, being a father I very much value an ability to unobtrusively photograph the encounters of my little imps.
COVR Photo sticks to your iPhone very tightly. No extra space in between, no fear that the phone incidentally slips away from the case. There is a little con in that – COVR Photo sticks to iPhone so much, that it make it a challenging task to remove it. But on the other hand – why bother removing such a usable gadget? A plastic out of which COVR Photo is made is very hard and durable. It protects the phone against the damage in case it’s dropped on a floor (checked by me many times). But what makes COVR Photo very unique and a priceless gadget for mobile photographer – is a prism, mounted in a movable handle. The little prism, made of transparent material, allows to shoot a photo of a scene that is in front of iPhone when held in a horizontal way. It is not a mirror, which would affect the photo quality, add distortions and was subject to dirt, it is a real high-quality prism, which is used in production of many professional optical devices such as periscopes or binoculars. During many months of testing COVR Photo, I could not recall a single case where photo quality would be compromised. Just the reverse – not only the quality is very high, but the gadget makes the correct exposure even easier because of the light bending in the prism (we’re avoiding white, burnt-out spots where the contrast between highlight and shadows was the biggest). Prism’s handle has a little flip which allows to move it: you don’t need to remove the case in order to go back to traditional photography. You just need to move the prism down, and to move it up again in case we want to photograph with prism again.
Due to the fact that while using COVR Photo we photograph while holding iPhone horizontally, we have much more freedom in using phone’s display. It is truly the most natural way to photograph with a smartphone, actually just like a photographing with the medium format cameras e.g. where you always looked down while shooting. Additionally – the way you hold your phone can improve your comfort – you can use all the phone functions and apps with one hand, while preserving firm grip. You will fully appreciate it when you will want to shoot a photo with one hand only, having another hand busy (with a shopping bag, taking your kid’s hand or even running a bike – I tested that too!).
COVR Photo proves very useful also in the puddleography (photographing puddles) – thanks to the fact that we can lay the phone flat, with the display upwards – which gives us a preview of the frame even when the phone is held only centimeters from the ground. With COVR Photo you don’t need to lay down in order to see anything on the display.
The world upside down
The only downside of using prism is a fact that the picture that reaches the sensor is turned by 180 degrees (upside down). Therefore it is recommended that you use special apps that will revert the picture to its proper orientation. COVR Photo producer has released their own app with very basic functionality. But if you fancy changing some parameters or have more control, you should use one of the alternative application such as PureShot or 645Pro Mk III.
COVR Photo is currently available for iPhone 5/5s and costs around $55. A Kickstarter campaign for iPhone 6 compatible version will start in the first week of May.
You can find more details about the idea of COVR Photo from the movie clip:
COVR Photo’s creator is Thomas Hurst, american photographers with a big professional experience. We recommend that you have a look at the interview with this incredible man.: “War is a mirror that reflects the darkest side of man”.
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