Crown + Flint: The digital companion for analog images

So, I made an app. I made it as a result of I wanted it. And I’m hoping you’ll discover it useful too.

Look, analog images requires, along with inventive imaginative and prescient, a technical mastery of a variety of kit and equipment with a mind-boggling vary of variables in play. Digital camera our bodies supply choices and limitations, and are typically finicky. Lenses are dripping with persona…and persona flaws. Totally different movies yield completely different outcomes…however not at all times, and people variations may be refined or huge. Our growth processes are possibly not as constant as we imagine them to be.

I gained’t belabor the purpose, what I imply. It’s why so many photographers left analog for digital: A world the place these variables now not exist, the place lenses and sensors are largely fungible and actual variations emerge solely in how we manipulate RAW information.

However I (such as you, I believe) love the analog world, the squishy, messy, characterful, oh so very flawed world of movie. However I gained’t lie, I can’t maintain observe of all this shit in my head.

I need to develop as a photographer, and partly meaning cultivating a greater sense of topic, composition, lighting. But it surely additionally means understanding my gear higher, its strengths, its limitations. And understanding—actually understanding—when it’s holding me again, and it’s time to spend money on one thing higher. I need to know which lenses arise large open, and which of them can’t get it collectively at f/8. I need to know which digital camera meters I can belief (even after they lie, as long as their lies are constant). I need to know what mixtures of movie and developer are literally reaching the look I’m going for. I need to know when my digital camera is letting me down. I need to know when my gear is shining past my expectations. And I would like this information on file, simply accessible, not in my head the place some essential element will completely get forgotten.

The reply, clearly, is to take notes. Since I began taking pictures movie within the early 2000s, I attempted to maintain notes about my pictures (beginning with a hipster pda). I knew this was the one technique to actually perceive my gear, to grasp the technological aspect so I might give attention to the artistry. And whereas I like my Japanese artisanal paper and my hand-crafted fountain pen nibs, and I perceive the worth of handwritten notes for reinforcement and retention…if you’re within the streets, attempting to be spontaneous, attempting to stay within the second, it’s primarily inconceivable to maintain observe of every little thing with a pen and paper. And definitely not with an app, if it’s not designed to get out of the best way.

So I wrote an app.

So, as I mentioned, I wrote an app. I set some fairly stringent objectives for this app. It should acquire related metadata on pictures I take: Publicity, gentle metering, location, time, which digital camera physique and lens I used, what movie is loaded. It should be no extra cumbersome to make use of than a hand-held gentle meter. It should make it straightforward to correlate the collected information with the bodily movie itself, ideally by way of some mixture of printable sheets to retailer with the negatives and/or EXIF information I can merge into movie scans. And it ought to mirror the wants of the photographer, not simply the wants of the information being collected.

Crown + Flint is the results of these efforts. I’ve been utilizing it for a few months now, and it’s already been an enormous assist to me. I believe possibly it might enable you too.

Crown + Flint has three most important modes.

Handle your gear

Here's a detail view of your Leica M3, showing its range of shutter speeds, and available lenses. If only we all had Leica M3s.

Crown + Flint knows all about your camera bodies and lenses.

The primary mode you gained’t use fairly often, however is crucial to the remaining: Managing your assortment of kit. Crown + Flint collects a ton of information about your cameras and your lenses. It’s not meant to be a set administration instrument—quite, the purpose of that is to make the following mode much more helpful.

Seize metadata and meter gentle

See an overview of all the shots on this roll of film, view more detail on each shot, and edit anything that's not quite right.

Meter light with a live preview of the scene. Select the lens you're using, and pick the camera settings to match the light meter reading. All this gets saved when you're ready to shoot.

That second mode is capturing metadata about every shot, whereas offering correct gentle metering on your digital camera. The sunshine meter is aware of exactly what gear you’re utilizing, and what it’s able to—and so it should by no means counsel (for instance) that you simply shoot at f/1.4 when your lens solely goes to f/2.8. That is the core of Crown + Flint, the place the place you’ll spend probably the most time. Each shot you need to file, that occurs right here.

The interface is designed to be acquainted to those that have used needle-match gentle meters earlier than. Crown + Flint makes use of your machine’s digital camera to counsel a lightweight meter studying as an publicity worth (relative to ISO 100), similar to many gentle meters you could have used earlier than. The important thing distinction is that, in contrast to most hand-held or in-camera meters that supply comparatively primitive strategies to guage the scene, Crown + Flint makes use of your smartphone’s native clever evaluative metering to make it possible for shadows retain element, whereas the remainder of the scene stays in steadiness.

Then you choose a mix of shutter pace and aperture that strikes the match needle near the meter needle. Sooner or later, I plan on including aperture precedence, shutter precedence, and program auto-exposure modes to hurry issues up much more.

Monitor your movie

Track you film as you put it in a camera, remove it (perhaps only temporarily), and finally develop and archive it.

The third and closing mode is monitoring the lifetime of your movie, from cracking open the carton to submitting lower negatives into sleeves. As you add movie rolls to Crown + Flint, you possibly can assign them to particular cameras, then take away them marking them as uncovered, and at last file them as filed in your archives with full growth notes. By no means marvel what’s loaded into which digital camera, or what rolls are ready to be developed.

Your suggestions is essential

Look, Crown + Flint isn’t executed, it’s not but prepared for launch. September 2023 is my purpose. However proper now, I would like your assist. I’m searching for beta testers to assist me perceive how I can enhance it to be the indispensable instrument it is advisable to develop as an analog photographer. Attain out to me ([email protected]) in case you’re inquisitive about attempting the app out—as a beta tester, you’ll obtain free lifetime entry to Crown + Flint in change on your suggestions.

However even in case you’re not inquisitive about being a beta tester, your feedback under are very welcome certainly.

In any other case, search for it on the Apple App Retailer and Google Play Retailer within the coming months!

Lastly, you retain up with how issues are coming with Crown + Flint on Instagram.

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