Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Owle Bubo

Today I write about the Owle Bubo for iphone, a hefty mount that comes with two lens options. a multitude of filter attachment possibilities, four tripod mounts, and a cold shoe mount.

Like yesterday, I will say that it is great to have an old friend back in good shape. Here’s a couple of shots with the tele lens on the H1.
Moon, Andrew D. Barron ©2/22/11
The neighbor’s cat.
Lou, Andrew D. Barron ©2/22/11
The H1’s tele adapter makes a predictably unpleasant bokeh. It has grown on me, I suppose because there is nothing I can do about it.

There was a massive problem with shipping things across the county in the last three weeks. My carefully staged experiments were halted without recourse for a time. I found other things to write about, rather than below-the-line whining about our national shipping services or dangerous pontifications about weather phenomena. The sudden arrival of everything means I will be very busy, and likely lose my blog readers in a heap of product-focused write ups. C’est la vie. Here’s a shot from yesterday that couldn’t find a home in my write up of the Nikon P6000.
Bandon deocorations, Andrew D. Barron ©2/21/11
When it rains it pours. I have carefully been formulating my needs as a photographer, striving for that elusive ‘next level’ of image capture for two years and beyond, but 2010 was an entire year of seeking what I need. Experimentation has been constant even if blogging has not. Right now, I love iphoneography, the new word to describe taking the photographs from your iphone’s camera seriously. The device’s success has created a substantial market for an industry of add-on accessories. The iphone’s ubiquity has put a usable camera into the hands of people at all times. This has been my style with the H1, and is also consistent with the so-called lomo movement.

These days, I find the shooting with the Hipstamatic as satisfying as any other camera. Recently, I sold an expensive video converter to fund these gear acquisitions. In 2007, I had hoped to learn more about documentary filmmaking and also the restoration of old VHS tapes. In the last three years, it seems that my ‘cameraman’ intent has yielded to photographer. And thus the sale of my adored but valuable Canopus ADVC300 as well as my Sony VCL-DH0758 wide angle lens.

I have begged for someone’s donated iPhone 4. I looked on ebay. There is simply too much demand for the new iPhone for the prices to be reasonable. The same was true when I originally purchased the 3G over two years ago. Since I am unable to find a way to get the better iphone camera in my hands, I did something else. The Owle Bubo (without the 40 thieves) finally arrived. This thing takes iphonoegraphy into the stratosphere of ‘slick.’ Here it is holding my 3G running the Hipstamatic 190.
Owle Bubo, Andrew D. Barron ©2/22/11
To my eyes, this is easily one of the coolest camera accessories I have ever seen. It looks like a tie fighter from Star Wars. It even looks a little like Darth Vader’s firing mechanism in his ship. (That one is for you Dr. Koehler!)
Owle Bubo, Andrew D. Barron ©2/22/11
Through the included wide angle lens in the Hipstamatic:
Umbrella plant, Andrew D. Barron ©2/22/11
My friend Mr. Sweitzer once commented in photographer-speak that I ‘wasn’t shooting through enough glass.’ A silly criticism of my H1, but totally applicable to the teenytiny iphone 3G camera lens. The Bubo mounts serious glass to your iphone. The lens design is ingenious. Threaded together are a single element macro lens that couples to a double element wide-angle lens. The lenses are of good quality, though I sadly scuffed them at first use: they were too tightly screwed together to seperate without tools. The channel locks bit a little too deep. Here’s the 3g camera app showing without and with the Bubo’s lens.

In the photo, the keyboard was bout 7 inches from the camera; you can see the 3g was unable to focus clearly (on left). Here’s couple with the wide angle lens on:
Holly tree, Andrew D. Barron ©2/22/11
There’s never enough of this stuff for my cold bones!
Firewood, Andrew D. Barron ©2/22/11
Here is the macro lens only:
The mighty Sony DSC-H1, Andrew D. Barron ©2/22/11
First impressions are important, and my first impression of the Owle Bubo is childishly enthusiastic. I simply can’t wait to shoot with this thing for the rest of the life of my 3G! I always like to see something built with integrity to satisfy a real need. The build quality is truly astonishing, and functionality is infallible. A great piece of hardware to a great piece of hardware (3G), and using a great piece of software (the Hipstamatic), I find it difficult to tame my enthusiasm.

I’m reminded of an old friend from southern California, Mr. Henderson, who proclaimed the excellence of In-N-Out burger. I'll paraphrase:
“You do one thing. You use quality ingredients, hire quality people that you pay fairly. How could it not be the best?”


  1. Hi,
    I found the Bubo's lens caused too much of a fish-eye effect for my taste...have you noticed this?
    My mic was also an issue, the one that came with the Bubo must have been defective, it crackled and sounded very tinny.
    Here's a link to a video I shot yesterday.

  2. Yeah, the mic sounds tinny on mine, too. I need to reevaluate further. There is noticeable distortion in the wide part of the pictures, yes. I wrote some more about that more recently:

    I sort of expect fish-eye distortion; you can hold the lens up to your eye and see what it is going to. Square images, such as produced by the Hipstamatic cut off most of that wacky edge area.

  3. I've taken only photos if the first week I've had it. I like depth of a bigger lens, but am having to crop photos to remove the beveled edge look from the bubo. The unwanted fish-eye effect is disappointing. I wish the distributor (ALM) disclosed this.

  4. Yeah, it was a hidden benefit to using the square format Hipstamatic. I still maintain that what the Owle Bubo does with distortion is just a function of optics. I don't see how the tiny lens of the iphone could be stepped up to a wider field of view without distortion.


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