Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Getting started with Photoxor Toolkit

The Photoxor Toolkit App is now a bit like the 'swiss army knife' for photographers providing a very rich feature set to calculate, plan and track your photo journey. Ok, for a new user this can be overwhelming at first. Let's walk through step-by-step and experience some of the key tool now.
And while we step through I'll highlight a few tips as well.

The Start

Just in case you haven't installed the Android App, please download from the Google Play store now.
Get it on Google Play

Once installed, click the App launch icon to start. This brings up the Home Screen with a list of Cards. There are two types:
  • Info Cards
    provide you information, such as new features, the availability of a new Blog article, how permissions are used. Most of them can be clicked for further details. Swipe them either left or right to dismiss.
  • Action Icon Cards
    represent the Toolkit functions, and show up with an icon and short function name. Click them to bring up the function screen. These cards can be rearranged with first a long press and then dragging to the new position.
A note on permissions:
Some of the function screens require granting special permissions to work. For example to permission to 'take pictures and record video' is required for the camera-based lightmeter function, or the location permission to perform GPS tracking. I know, we are all concerned about granting permissions to Apps. With Photoxor Toolkit we try to delay the request until you open these particular screens. In case a permission is denied by the user, the particular function will not work correctly, but other functions should be operational. Please see also our specific Blog article on permissions explaining why these permissions are needed and how they are used.

Your Home Screen will look similar to this:



"What's new?" is an Info Card, and all other (square) cards are Action Icon Card.

Now please press on the top left 3 horizontal bars (the 'hamburger' icon). This shows the 'Navigation Drawer', a great tool to quickly access all Toolkit functions!

Scroll down to get an overview what's available!

Tip: Ticking the box on the right side shows this function as an Action Icon Card on your Home Screen, a great way to configure exactly the tools you use often.

Tip: There is another way to open the Navigation Drawer: it can be dragged out from the left side as well. Try a drag motion from the left of your screen towards the middle and the drawer starts to apprear.

Exposure

You just learnt how to access the Toolkit functions. Now let's start with some calculations, Exposure first.

On your Home Screen you should see an Action Icon Card 'Exposure Lighting'. Click it to bring up the calculation screen:



Use the drop-down lists to change Aperture, shutter speed, ISO value, and see how the calculated Exposure Value (EV) changes.

Tip: Use Locks to fix certain values (i.e.for example apply Aperture priority).

Now try out the built-in lightmeter. There are two versions:
  • Camera-based lightmeter
    Note: The camera permission needs to be granted!
  • Light sensor
    Only shown if your device has built-in this sensor.
Have a play with both of them to get a feeling how they perform on your phone.
Note: Results depend on specifics of these built-in sensors; for most modern phones measurements are pretty good.

Tip: Most of the function screens do have Info buttons (an i with circle around) to provide some addition details. Click them to explore.

The Slider Bar

Have a look just above the Exposure calculation screen. There is a slider bar with Tabs like 'FLASH', 'EV',  'FILTER', 'DOF'. Using this slider in Photoxor Toolkit we group functions for quick access.



Now the 'EV' Tab is highlighted; we are on the Exposure screen. With you finger slide on the calculation screen to the left, and you'll see the next calculation screen appear, the Filter screen. Please have a try to explore which areas are sensitive to the Tab sliding.

The same works for sliding to the right and the Exposure screen is shown again.

Depth of Field

Depth of Field is another important calculation for every photographer.

On your Slider Bar you see the 'DOF' Tab. Instead of sliding, now click on 'DOF'. This brings up the Depth-of-Field calculation screen.


Experiment with both the 'Focal Length' and 'Distance' sliders to see how the Near and Far distances change in response.

Tip: Press the Infinite button to set for hyperfocal  distance.


Tip: There is also a little Meter / Feet toggle switch.

We do support another Depth-of-Field calculation screen, go to Tab 'DOF NEAR/FAR'. This screen allows to set near and far distances of the required focus range and calculates the settings for Aperture and focus distance.

My equipment

Depth-of-Field calculations depend on the characteristics of your camera and lens. The DOF Screens  initially set for a 'Full Frame' camera and an 'Unrestricted' lens. This works quite well to get a first impression.
Now click the Camera button ('Full Frame') - they work to the same principle - one for Camera, the other for Lens. This brings up a list of pre-defined cameras. Select another sensor type and experience how the Depth-of-Field changes.

Next click the Lens button ('Unrestricted') and select another lens from the list. This will restrict the Aperture and Focal Length ranges according to the lens specification. For a primary lens there will be only one fixed Focal Length value.

Surely now you would like to customise the lists for your own cameras and lenses. Open the Camera (or Lens) list again. Bottom left you'll notice a button 'SETTINGS'. Click this one and the Cameras Definitions screen is presented.
Now use the big Plus (+) button and start defining your own cameras!

Tip: In the same way as for Cameras you now can define your Lenses, Filters, Flashes, Print Definitions, Locations and Exposure Presents. Open the Navigation Drawer, they are all under 'Configuration'.

Tip: Once you've defined your own equipment feel free to remove the sample entries if not needed.

Tip: Use the Export function to save your configuration to a file. This is a good way to have a backup, just in case. And also to transfer the configuration to another device. Best to use Cloud Storage (Google Drive etc.) for easy access.

And more ...

This is quite a bit to take in. There are more features available, like tracking, ephemeris, time-lapse, which I'll outline in another Blog post soon.

Final words

Hopefully this post provides you with some first guidance into Photoxor Toolkit. There is much more to explore. Please have a try, and let us know your experience. Your feedback will help us to continue improvements.

☹ In case you find any problems with the App, please send us a message, and we'll do our very best to fix. For your convenience, the App also provides a built-in Feedback function accessible from the Navigation Drawer.



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