The Autographer is a 5 megapixel wearable camera designed to automatically take photos of your life as it happens, with 5 built in sensors and GPS it is designed to automatically know when it should take photos. We try it, to find out how the Autographer performs.
The Autographer was developed by OMG Life, the consumer subsidiary of OMG plc (Oxford Metrics Group), and was a follow on from a wearable camera designed to help alzheimers patients remember the events of their day.
Built to enable spontaneous, hands-free image capture, the camera includes a custom 136° eye view lens, an ultra small GPS unit and 5 in-built sensors.These sensors are used by a sophisticated algorithm to tell the camera exactly the right moments to take photos.Autographer's five sensors record a range of data which helps the camera decide when to take a photo. The readings are saved as metadata against each image which can be used as filters within your collection.
The idea being that the camera will automatically take photos while life happens around you, automatically capturing the most interesting moments in your life. You can securely connect Autographer to bottle pods, bike mounts, mini tripods, window mounts and other photography accessories with the optional Mount Adapter.
The 5 sensors are:
- Magnetometer, detects which direction the camera is facing,
- Colour sensor, detects light and brightness
- PIR, infrared sensor to detect motion
- Accelerometer, measures how quickly or slowly the Autographer accelerates
- Temperature, measures ambient temperature
Built in GPS calculates the camera's position on Earth, which is then embedded into the photographs.
- 5 megapixel "low light" sensor
- 136 degree field of view lens
- Fixed focus f/3.2 lens
- OLED display screen (for text)
- 8GB built in memory
- Available in black, blue, green, and yellow
The camera features a compact plastic design, with two buttons on the side, a lens on one side, as well as a sensor and OLED text screen. On the rear is the clip so that you can attach the camera to clothing, or use the provided neck strap to hang the camera around your neck. There is also a MicroUSB socket for charging and transferring of images to a computer. You hold the action button to switch the camera on and off. You can also turn the lens cover to pause recording for when you want privacy. If you want to choose when the camera takes photos, you can hold the action button and the camera will take a series of photos.
Pressing the menu button shows you the battery life, photo count, and memory used, and pressing it again takes you through a short number of options including: capture rate (high, medium, low), Bluetooth (on/off), GPS (on/off), Sound (on/off), and status blink LED (on/off).
A smartphone app connects to the Autographer via Bluetooth and is available for iOS and Android devices... although we could not get the Autographer to connect to an Android smartphone via Bluetooth, as the smartphone simply could not find the Autographer.
The Desktop app:
Autographer Desktop Software
From the Autographer desktop software you can view photos, as well as create videos or GIFs of your timelapse. You can also share photos to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (Videos), and Autographer. You can choose which photos are your favourites, as well as view the GPS map showing you where the photos were taken. The photo data is displayed on the right hand side of the screen and shows GPS, location, light levels, which way the camera is facing, motion detected, and temperature recorded.
Autographer - Make A Video or GIF dialog box
For those concerned about privacy or rather invasion of privacy from a camera automatically taking photos of everything in front of it, Autographer has published an etiquette guide.
Battery life - Battery life is said to last more than 12 hours on a single charge so should be good for almost a whole day, although you can extend this by switching GPS off. The battery is internal and charging is via a provided MicroUSB cable.
The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
OMG Life Autographer Sample Photos
- The f/3.2 lens performs quite poorly in low light with no built in LED or flash unit - although a built in LED or flash would most likely spoil some of the surprise as you would become much more obvious when taking photos, and would no doubt be frustrating if it went off randomly. With a fixed focus lens there is no zoom, so you will mostly need to use your feet in order to get closer to the action. Colour can be bright and saturated, however this can also heavily depend on the lighting conditions, with the camera struggling in low light, as well as showing a limited dynamic range, where skies are overblown at times. It's possible to capture spontaneous moments with the camera, and for the most part people would ignore the camera both before and after the explanation of what it does.
You can create unique content in the form of GIF's and stop-frame videos, an example of this can be seen below. With such a wide-angle lens, you come to expect a certain level of distortion, and distortion is high. If you shoot with the sun in the frame then lens-flare can be an issue, and in low light images will have high levels of noise and grain as well as other image issues. Image quality is quite low, with even photos taken in bright sunlight quite soft.
Video - Here is a time-lapse video created from the photos that the Autographer takes:
Value For Money
The Autographer is available for £299 and was provided by ebuyer.com for review, this makes it more expensive than most compact cameras, as well as smartphones with better cameras. An optional waterproof case is available, for the very reasonable price of £30.
An alternative is the 'Get Narrative' (fromgetnarrative.com)clip on 5mp camera that takes 2 photos every minute, priced at $230 or $280 depending on your subscription. Another is the MeCam HD, which is designed to video all of your important life moments in fullHD, and from this you can extract single frames as photos. The MeCam HD has an RRP of $259 although may be available for less.
The Autographer is a unique product designed for those that want to automatically record every moment of your life, although occasionally the camera won't take photos when you expect it to. It is activated by sensors, so if you wear it when driving you will end up with a lot of photos of your steering wheel, as there is a lot of movement, noise and activity that the camera picks up on. However, if you sit in a pub on a dark night talking to friends, then you might expect a lot of photos, but as this can be quite a sedentary activity you can end up with fewer photos than you might expect. A small blue light flashes on the device when it takes a photo, however even at these times it seemed to miss shots when reviewing the photos later.
The Autographer is a somewhat unique camera, designed for those that are interested in capturing the un-expected, or capturing the moment as and when it happens. It can take photos of both the interesting as well as the very mundane, resulting in one or two photos of family members and / or friends that you might treasure (despite the low quality), as well as hundreds of photos of you driving that you will quickly delete. For the socially active it could be a good way to remember a night out or a travelling holiday with the GPS map helping here as well, but for the majority of people with smartphones, simply taking more photos may be a better way of recording your day, particularly due to the relatively high price of the Autographer.
OMG Life Autographer Specifications
|35mm equivalent||No Data|
|CCD pixels||5Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||No Data|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Screen resolution||No Data|
|Min Focus||No Data|
|Shutter speeds shortest||No Data|
|Shutter speeds longest||No Data|
|ISO sensitivity||No Data|
|Exposure Comp||No Data|
|Continuous shooting||No Data|
|Video FPS||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||No|
|Battery Type||Built in rechargeable|
|CIPA Rating||No Data|
|Box Contents||Autographer, Lanyard, Pouch, MicroUSB Cable|
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