A Way to Bring Computational Photography to Your Camera?

Biro

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An ad for this device popped up on Facebook today. I'd never seen it before. I'm trying to decide if this really is a way to bring computational photography to our dedicated cameras, or whether it's just an extra Intelligent Auto algorithm on top of what our own camera might (or might not) offer. Has anyone else seen this or know anything about it?

https://witharsenal.com/
 
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BDR-529

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This looks like a clever but complicated way of giving your camera some functionality it already had.
 

RichardC

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Oh heck. I'm sure there are people out there who feel they need this.

If you know what hyperfocal distance is, you are more than half way to figuring it out for yourself.
If you know you want to remove people from your otherwise static scene, you might need to learn the technique once.
De-ghosting? Lightroom does that.
Stacking? Olympus cameras do that.
Bracketing? Olympus cameras do that.
Stitching panos? You are still going to have to reposition the camera. Switch the grid on if you need a guide and appreciate the kindness of manfrotto et al for putting a degree scale on your tripod head.
etc. etc.

Clever device, but will it get you out of bed to travel to a nice place on a nice day? That being a good way to get nice photos.

Disclaimer: I'm the bloke who said the Internet would never catch on.
 
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OR: they are a small company with limited development budget for a niche product, so they focus on compatibility with cameras from the largest manufacturers.

Priorities.
 

Mountain_Man_79

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My buddy got one for his Nikon DSLR, primarily for taking time lapses at sunrise and sunset, as it automatically adjusts for the changing exposure in the scene and makes it much easier to get a good result. According to him it works well for that purpose.
 

BDR-529

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If you look at the list of supported cameras and Arsenal functionality it's pretty obviuous that the target group are older DSLR cameras. These don't have WiFI or BT or even basic semi-intelligent features like focus stacking or in-body HRD let alone manufacturers smartphone apps which enable remote control of exposure parameters and image upload to cloud AI services.

The physical part of Arsenal is just a usb-WiFi dongle which supports the proprietary camera communication protocoll. All the additional processing power is in your smartphone which of course has a more powerfull GPU than most older desktop computers. Since the idea seems to be to mount the smartphone on top of camera anyway (sold separately though) they could just plug the usb-cable directly into smartphone because that's all the app needs.

It's not clear to me why anyone would use this contraption together with cameras like A7R IV, R6, X-T4 or Z7 which already support full wireless control out of the box and also have build-in features similar to what Arsenal adds to legacy models.

At least their slogan explains clearly who and why would buy this thingy: "AMAZING PHOTOS WITHOUT EDITING" which of course translates into anyone under 30 who has spent so much time on the internet that they are unable to complete a single task that requires over 10 second concentration without checking facebook updates or browsing for cat videos on youtube.
 
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demiro

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At least their slogan explains clearly who and why would buy this thingy: "AMAZING PHOTOS WITHOUT EDITING" which of course translates into anyone under 30 who has spent so much time on the internet that they are unable to complete a single task that requires over 10 second concentration without checking facebook updates or browsing for cat videos on youtube.
In my house I'm the "hates editing" guy, at 53 yrs old. My 16 year old considers is almost as important as pressing down the shutter button. She doesn't even show me anything SOOC unless I ask.

Having said that, I have no plans to buy this gadget, but I do think we'll see this approach take hold in some way, shape or form. Maybe for folks with decent amounts of cash sunk into slightly older Canon and Nikon bodies this will seem like a bargain to enable features they'd have to pay big bucks for in the form of latest and greatest bodies.
 

BDR-529

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In my house I'm the "hates editing" guy, at 53 yrs old. My 16 year old considers is almost as important as pressing down the shutter button. She doesn't even show me anything SOOC unless I ask.
Problem here is the fact that anyone who belongs to "Hates editing"-category is more than likely to belong to "Hates constantly charging and setting up a separate contraption with a correct cable on the correct camera port, downloading the correct app on smartphone, pairing these two together and ever managing to make the setup work as intended"-category too.

Also the potential buyer must be a self-proclaimed über-geek and by default also fully capable of editing photos the usual way. That being said, I still use occasionally my old Canon DSLR with adapted lenses and I find Arsenal sort of interesting as a product but just can't figure out a use case for it. It's just so much easier to load RAW files in my PC and use whatever AI SW I see fit.
 

PakkyT

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My only thought is if this thing is so wonderful and revolutionary and they are new selling the second version of it, how come I have never heard of it with the first version? If that great you'd think everyone would have been talking it up.
 
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I don't know why you are all so negative about this. Seems like a great product to me and I'm sure there are lots of average photographers (like me) who get to travel to amazing places and come home with average photos but instead could use a gadget like this to bring back a bag full of winners.

This is a good idea IMHO and I would buy it.
 
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The promotional video looks interesting, but the reviews of the first version seem not that great. Reliability and performance issues, apparently. If the device "just works", then yes, people might benefit from it. But if you try to connect it to your camera, have to wait for 10 seconds, then see the app crash, then restart the app, try to take a picture, wait for 3 minutes for it to finish its focus stacking, and finally find that your picture didn't get saved... I'd save myself some frustration and spend the time on learning about shutter speed and aperture instead... (Or just use auto mode on your camera.)

I must say the demonstration of the panorama feature looked pretty cool though. Just hope it works as well in real life as it does in the marketing material...
 

PakkyT

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I don't know why you are all so negative about this. Seems like a great product to me and I'm sure there are lots of average photographers (like me) who get to travel to amazing places and come home with average photos but instead could use a gadget like this to bring back a bag full of winners.

This is a good idea IMHO and I would buy it.
My problem with products like this is they are usually very vague about how it works or are not really clear that what you are essentially paying a lot for an app. And it is hard to pinpoint what their specific hardware parts actually do in the process. As @BDR-529 already mentioned, this expensive device seems to be nothing more than a wireless interface between the camera and phone and a $5 cable between the camera and phone could do the job just as easily. So that leaves the app. Now if the app is super fantastic then great, I see no issue paying, ummmmm, say $39 for the app and then if you want the optional piece of hardware to give you remote access then buying that as well. Or not if you don't need it, but there appears to be no option for that. Minimum $209 buy in for the lowest option.

Now I could be way off base here and that plug in gadget it actually doing something other than communicating with the camera via USB and with the phone via WiFi and simply passing data back and forth. But looking around the web site a bit, I didn't see any mention of that device doing any of the actual computational work and just being a very expensive WiFi dongle with the camera's communications protocol loaded.
 
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