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5 Ideas to Use Your Camera Creatively at Home

As photographers, being stuck at home can feel very limiting – but it shouldn’t mean that you can’t take any photos at all! If you usually shoot events or are limited in your options for nature photography, try something new at home. Use the equipment you have and put it to use for a different purpose than usual. Try food or product photography, pet portraits or document a new hobby you might be learning at the moment. In this article we’d like to give you some inspiration to keep busy and creative with your camera while staying home!

1. Combine learning a new hobby with photography

It seems like everyone is starting a new hobby recently to make all the time spent at home more fulfilling. Since many of us no longer commute to an office, there are a few hours more per week to devote to learning a new skill: be it a new form of exercise, a manual skill like sewing, woodwork or gardening, (re-)learning an instrument or arts. If you feel like you have nothing to photograph since you can’t go places, try documenting your learning journey. This will not only give you new subjects to shoot, but it’s also satisfying to visualize your progress this way. Here are some examples:

  • Learning to cook or bake creates great opportunities for food photography – going way further than the occasional phone shot at the restaurant! Try recording the entire process of making the dish to the final result.
  • Creating something with your own hands can be so satisfying… and the photo opportunities a new manual skill or a form of art can give you are unlimited! You could even get into product photography if you want to sell some of your creations.
  • Take photos every week to document your improvements in any form of exercise you are practicing. This works especially well for things like flexibility training or learning a certain yoga pose.

2. Learn from constraints

Since most of us are stuck at home, unable to travel to photogenic locations or do photo-shoots with people, it’s easy to feel like you have nothing to take pictures of. Normally you would have a stunning landscape or a model as an inherently interesting subject. Creating visual interest in your own home will definitely be harder, but honing the skill of perception can make your future shoots a lot easier.

For the challenge: choose one room of your home that you will take all pictures in. Take a close look around you to identify possible subjects. Then try to take as many creative pictures of the environment, working with different perspectives, lighting, negative space, and composition. You can also spread this over the day and notice how the natural lighting conditions change the look and atmosphere of your pictures. Limiting yourself like this can really push your creative boundaries since you have to work with what you’ve got and sharpen your eye for interesting compositions.

3. Shoot (self) portraits at home

For many people, more time at home means more family time. Why not use the opportunity to take some family portraits? You can also try practicing new techniques on your family members, partners, pets, room mates, or if you live alone – on yourself. YouTuber Sorelle Amore does a great job on explaining how to take the best “advanced selfies”. Check out her tiny room challenge or this one in a small town for inspiration. Taking portraits of yourself is quite tricky so having remote control over your camera will be extremely helpful. Here are a few ways to add some creative spark to your photos:

  • use props like glasses, phone screens, prisms, glass balls, kitchen utensils like sieves, knives, etc. in front of your lens to create interesting flares and shadows
  • use fabrics you have at home like curtains, sheets, scarves or blankets as backgrounds, in the foreground, draped around you or even as clothes
  • project a picture or pattern over the subject using an overhead projector

4. Time lapses & long exposures at home

Sure, you have less opportunities to travel at the moment. That shouldn’t necessarily keep you from creating stunning time lapses and long exposures, though. You may still be able to capture magnificent sunsets or sunrises from your window or garden. If you live in a highrise or the middle of the city, its neons and passing cars lend themselves perfectly to long exposures. Or change things up a bit and record time lapses indoors: meal prep, food baking in the oven, a satisfying decluttering session, your plants growing, someone making art… the possibilities are endless!

5. The Airbnb Photo shoot

Using the extra time to deep-clean your home seems to be trending at the moment, so why not use the opportunity to do a little photo shoot and get some beautiful shots of your living space? Pretend you want to put your apartment on Airbnb or get featured in an interior design magazine − make your place look immaculate. (Maybe it can also motivate you to tidy up in the future, once it no longer looks like in the pictures ;) ) Get creative with your shots by using wide angle lenses to get sweeping shots of the room and some more detailed shots with a tighter lens. Use a macro lens for details usually overlooked to get some cool abstract shots. If your apartment doesn’t have great natural lighting, this can also be a good challenge to practice your low light photography skills.

We hope some of these ideas inspire you to use your camera creatively at home!

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Nikon Z6 and Z7 officially supported – USB-C Cable finally available!

Just before Christmas we finally received the custom made USB-C cables from our supplier. This means that now the Nikon Z7 and Nikon Z6 are officially and fully supported by the Unleashed N2!

Even though the Unleashed N2 was already mostly compatible with the Nikon Z6 and Z7, the optional USB cable gives you access to a few more features, such as photo review. We already had 3 different USB cable types for the various Nikon cameras, but unfortunately, Nikon added yet another USB socket when they released the Z series: both the Z6 and Z7 have USB-C sockets. And while it was possible to use the Micro USB cable with a USB-C adapter, that setup would protrude significantly from the side of the Z series camera. So of course we went and designed another custom cable with a beautiful, tiny, right-angled plugs – one end with our custom plug that fits the Unleashed, and the other end a USB-C plug that fits the Nikon cameras perfectly, without the need for any adapters. Now, it’s finally here!

Unleashed N2 on Nikon Z6 with USB-C Cable
Unleashed N2 on Nikon Z6 with USB-C Cable
USB-C is reversible - both directions work
USB-C is reversible – both directions work

This means you can now use the entire Unleashed feature-set on Nikons Z6 and Z7! In addition to geotagging, shooting time lapses, remotely changing settings, and starting and stopping video, and all that was already possible without the cable, you can now also get thumbnails transferred to you phone, see a few more setting details, and try out the LRTimelapse-based auto-ramping algorithms for smooth day to night “holy-grail” time lapses! See this FAQ for the exact details.

So now is the perfect time to get your Unleashed for your Nikon Z6 or Z7!

Order the Unleashed N2 here to get the best smart camera remote control yet.

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Canon EOS R/RP and others: DIY compatibility with the Unleashed

Canon EOS R

In the last year we’ve shipped out many Unleasheds to customers all over the world and the feedback has been great. Since then we’ve also implemented improvements, new features and have published many app and firmware updates.

Of course, we’ve also received quite a few requests regarding the compatibility of certain Canon cameras that are not (yet) on the compatibility list, most of all the Canon EOS R line. Another favorite is the 70D, and the same goes for the 200 II, 250D, 50D, 90D, 850D, 7D Mark II and the 1DX. Unfortunately, for both of us, Canon decided to mix things up a little. These cameras either have a new USB-C socket or the arrangement of the USB and HDMI socket is different from all their other cameras. As a result, the Unleashed is physically not compatible. All of these cameras are more or less unique in their socket arrangement, so we would have to develop and produce a new Unleashed model for each of these camera models, which is not feasible – at least at this point.

Using the Unleashed with adapters

The good news is that just because they don’t fit the camera body directly, that doesn’t mean the Unleashed won’t work on them. In fact, the Unleashed’s firmware (and therefore all of its functionality) is absolutely compatible with these cameras! The only thing necessary are two adapters or extensions depending on the camera. Of course, you’ll lose the conveniently small design of the Unleashed, which normally blends seamlessly into the camera’s design. But if you’re after the feature-set and don’t mind the cables, this allows you to use the Unleashed and all its features.

Want to shoot day-to-night “Holy Grail” time lapses with your new EOS R5? Geotag with the 7D Mark II, shoot long exposures with the 70D? Wirelessly start video recording with multiple 90Ds on tripods? Well, now you can! Read on to find out exactly which adapters you’ll need.

List of adapters

For every Canon camera that is not yet officially compatible, we recommend using the Unleashed C1, since it has more space between its HDMI and USB plug than the Unleashed C2 does. On all Canon cameras, except the EOS R5 and R6, you’ll need a Mini-HMDI (HDMI type C) extension. Canon EOS R5 and R6 need a Micro HDMI (HDMI type D) (plug) to Mini HDMI (socket) adapter. Depending on your camera, you’ll additionally need the following USB adapter cable:

  • Canon EOS R, RP, R5, R6 & 1Dx Mk III: Micro USB socket to USB-C plug
  • Canon 7D Mk II, 90D, 200 II, 250D & 850D: Micro USB socket to Micro USB plug (i.e. Micro USB extension)
  • Canon 1Dx, 50D & 70D: Micro USB socket to Mini USB plug

(Just for clarification: socket = female, plug = male)

If you already have an Unleashed C2 from another camera, you’ll need a cable with Mini USB socket (and the above camera-dependent plugs instead.

Update from July 2021: We are now selling the adapter sets in our shop! You can find them here or by navigating through Entagged > Accessories.

A mini HDMI extension is actually quite hard to find, however, there is a 90 degree adapter available that we found, and can confirm that works. It’s called: “Manhattan 353458”. The only alternative we have found so far are so called “FPV HDMI cables”, but even here HDMI C Socket to HDMI C Plug are not commonly found.

Here’s what the Manhattan Adapter and a USB extension cable look like:

Manhattan Adapter on Canon

We know it’s not ideal and we would love to have a perfect Unleashed model for each camera! However, for now, we believe it’s definitely a solution/hack/work-around worth looking at. Of course, for some of the newer cameras, we’re also working on dedicated Unleasheds, so stay tuned for those! Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know, or follow us on social media to stay up-to-date!

Let us know in the comments what you camera you have and what you think.

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Geotagging with external GPS receivers now possible (updated)

GPS receivers: Holux, QStarz, Transystem

A few weeks ago, we released app and firmware updates that enable a handful of external GPS receivers to be paired directly with the Unleashed, to provide GPS location data for geotagging without the need of a smartphone.

This is great news for those customers that were unhappy with their smartphone’s location precision, or simply prefer a more independent geotagging solution. This might be to extend battery life of the smartphone, or to enjoy longer battery life of external GPS receivers, especially on long trips off the grid.

The compatible GPS Receivers are:

  • Holux M-241 Plus
  • QStarz BL-1000ST
  • QStarz BL-1000GT
  • QStarz BL-818GT *new*
  • Transystem GL-770

After pairing one of these GPS receivers with your Unleashed through the app (Menu->Your Unleasheds->Edit Unleashed->Accessories), you will see new GPS Modes in the first picker of the GPS settings. In addition to “OFF” and “Smartphone”, you will now also have the options “External GPS only” as well as “External GPS with smartphone fallback” (We hope the new icons make it clear which is which). The first new option will exclusively use GPS data from the external GPS, and not of the smartphone, whereas the second option will use the external GPS while it’s available and providing valid data, but will automatically fall back to using the smartphone location otherwise.

We’ve also added a few new LED colors/sequences to make using the Unleashed without the app a little easier:

  • Lightblue: when an Accessory (such as a GPS receiver) is connected, but the app is not connected, the led will slowly pulse lightblue instead of turqoise.
  • Red blink: alternating with the normal sequences, the Unleashed will blink red to show that there is an error, until now mostly GPS related errors. You can then start the app to see details about the error, or simply check that the the external GPS receiver has a Fix and is connected. Some of these errors are:
    • External GPS receiver not connected (even if it then uses Smartphone fallback)
    • GPS data not valid (even if using last known position)
    • GPS accuracy too low

Comparing the receivers

The Holux has the Unique feature that it uses a single AA battery, for which you can buy replacements anywhere in the world. At the same time battery life is not as good as with the rechargeable Li-Ion batteries of the other options. The QStarz devices provide a little more data than the other two receivers [update: Transystem caught up], and we’ve implemented a neat little feature where you can use the POI button on the Receiver to trigger the camera. But they are also the most expensive. We recommend the BL-1000ST rather than the BL-1000GT, since the Unleashed will not make use of the 10Hz update rate, so it is not worth the extra cost. The BL-818GT doesn’t support the triggering functionality, as it lacks logging, and thus the button is not for POI saving. The Transystem device is more affordable than Qstarz, while providing just as precise position data, but has a quirk that it uses a non-standard USB-A to USB-A charging/data cable. So don’t lose that!

Right from the start, we had planned to make the Unleashed directly compatible with external GPS receivers, but technical challenges forced us to decide against pursuing backwards compatibility to GPS receivers using Bluetooth Classic. Unfortunately, at the time of Launch that basically left us with no options, since virtually all GPS receivers used Bluetooth Classic. However, in the past few years, the above devices were released, so we put a lot of effort into making the Unleashed compatible with external accessories in general, and added support for each of the GPS receivers one after the other.

While we had to reverse engineer Holux’s Bluetooth Protocol (and we got the Date portion wrong for a while), QStarz was kind enough to provide documentation that allowed us to implement support for their devices much more quickly. Transystem went one step further: They used a standard protocol defined by the Bluetooth SIG, and when we found a small issue with their implementation and had additional wishes, they swiftly made changes and added support for those in a firmware update. So a big thank you to both QStarz and Transystem for your support!

So, finally, the Unleashed now enables direct geotagging with external GPS receivers for Nikon as well as Canon DSLRs!

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Website finally available in German

Brandenburger Gate Berlin Germany

We have finally taken the time and put in the effort to translate our entire website to our native language: German.

There is a Language switcher in the top right corner of the website – hover over the flag and code of the current language to see the available other language. On smartphones, the alternative languages are at the end of the menu. There is another switcher in the footer, at the very bottom of the website – available for both the desktop and mobile page.

Translating the page to German has been on our to-do list for many, many years, but with our limited resources, we always prioritized product development instead. We thought it was enough to keep all information in english – the common denominator of our global customer base. However recent feedback has shown us that we underestimated just how important it is to our customers (and those that would like to become our customers) to be able to inform themselves about our products in their native language. And for many reasons, this is even more true for Germans than it is for the rest of the world. For this reason, combined with the fact that we have a very large customer base in Germany, we have only focussed on a German translation so far. Everything is prepared so that we can add more languages in the future.

We’re very sorry it has taken so very long, and as a small consolation/compensation for that, as well as in celebration for the launch of the German site, we’re offering free shipping for all Unleashed orders to Germany!

Buy Unleashed with free shipping to Germany

The truth is, that the translation of the content was by far the easier part – it was much more difficult technically preparing the website, with shop, faq section and many many other details for translations. Some of you might have noticed that a few parts of the website are still in English, even after switching languages. There are a few places left where we are still working out how to translate them, but we’re almost done. All current content is translated, and we might continue to translate a few of the older, but still relevant posts and pages, as time goes on.

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Introducing: Foolography Crew

Community Crew

With the UNLEASHED, you can have complete control over your camera through your smartphone. Developing the UNLEASHED, our goal was not only to solve problems, but to help you get out there taking more photos and making the lives of many photographers around the world easier.

We’ve shipped our product to thousands of customers all around the world. Now we want to bring our community together and show our appreciation for the support on our journey so far. We think it would be great to connect with the community of UNLEASHED users to hear about their thoughts, ideas, inspirations and feedback! We want to know how the UNLEASHED ist being used and what amazing images it can help you take by giving the Foolography community room to share photos, tips and experiences!

In the past weeks, we’ve started reviving our social media and would like to honour the content you create. We’d like to give you another platform and space to connect with others just like you.

Some users already shared their videos, time lapses and pictures on Facebook or on Instagram, using the hashtags #unleashed or #foolography. We saw some users creating outstanding content and we’d love to see more of it. That is why we want to encourage all Unleashed users to share their work with the whole Foolography community: Keep on using the hashtags!

As a Foolography Crew member, we would share your photographs in our social media with proper credit (obviously the ones you would like to have shared) and will let you know about upcoming challenges and deals beforehand. You will also receive discounts when shopping at our site – starting with a one-time discount for your next UNLEASHED (we know you have an UNLEASHED already, but in case you need one for your second camera or a friend of yours would also like to have one).

If you are interested in becoming part of the Crew and would like to learn more, just let us know, contact us via Facebook, Instagramor write us to crew(at)foolography.com. Send us your Instagram-Account or some sample photos. We would love you to be a part of it and would be honoured to have you on board.

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New app and firmware update available!

App-Icon with Badge

A couple of weeks ago we published a new app update for iOS and Android. Not only does it fix many bugs and improves overall performance and stability, it also includes a first firmware update for your Unleashed. This firmware update will fix all known bugs and issues that were caused by, or had something to do with the firmware on the Unleashed. Check out our forum entry “What are UNLEASHED’s 1.0 known issues?” to get detailed infos on what’s exactly been fixed.

In case you haven’t done the update yet, here’s a quick explanation. To get the firmware update you need to update the app first. Once you did this, the update will be available in your Unleashed profile in the app. To install the firmware update, make sure the Unleashed is plugged in, the camera is turned on and the app is connected. Tap “Install Update” and the magic happens. Updating will take about two minutes and once it’s done, a big checkmark will appear. For all Canon users: Please keep your camera “awake” by half-pressing the shutter button of the camera every ten seconds. This is necessary so the Unleashed gets power.

Unleashed App Screens

We are continuously working on the Unleashed and are planning to provide app and firmware updates on a regularly basis. The next update will probably include new features that we will announce at some point in the future.

If you have any feedback, please let us know. You can either have a look at our forum or write us an email to our info@ address. Thanks for your on-going support. Let’s continue to make a great product even greater! :-)

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How to? – Unleashed Tutorials

Unleashed Video Tutorial

When you order the Unleashed, it comes in a beautifully designed box. In order to get started, all you need to do is to install the free Foolography Unleashed app, plug the Unleashed into your camera and start the app to connect. We designed and developed everything with the goal that you won’t need a manual. However, we did get some feedback that a couple of explanations would be helpful. That’s why we shot several How-To-Videos that you can find on our support page. So if you’re still wondering how some of the modes work, check out the videos that explain all features in detail. The tutorials come with English and German subtitles as well as text transcripts so you can get the most out of your Unleashed.

UNLEASHED TUTORIAL VIDEOS

If you have any feedback, please let us know. You can either have a look at our forum or write us an email to our info@ address. Thanks for your on-going support!


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Update on shipping of the 2nd batch UNLEASHEDs

2nd batch of Unleashed is being shipped soon.

The Foolography team hopes that everyone had a great start into 2019. We’re super excited about this year as we have big plans for the Unleashed and other products. One of our goals is definitely to grow the community around the Unleashed so we can help each other to get the most out of our cameras and become better at taking photos and videos. We’re very grateful for everyone who supports us and the vision!

We’re also thankful for all the great feedback that helped us to fix many bugs and make the Unleashed more stable. It’s great to see how so many people love using the Unleashed and what you can create with it.

As the 1st batch of Unleasheds was already sold out in October, the 2nd batch is in the making and will arrive at our office soon. We initially planned to have it by December to be able to ship all the other pre-order before Christmas, but unfortunately, we’re experiencing delays in the last steps of production. To give you a little more insight: The only step still missing before we can start packing and shipping the Unleashed, is that the casing is being ultrasonic welded around the PCB. So basically, all the chips and components are already assembled, the firmware is on the PCBs, but the plastic casing still needs to be attached. Right now, we’re very much dependent on our production partner and hope that we’ll receive the finished Unleasheds in the next couple of weeks. Once we have them, we’ll start immediately with packing and shipping.

Thanks everyone for your ongoing support!

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New Update on shipping of the 1st batch UNLEASHEDs

Drone shot of shipping containers.

As around 800 Unleashed’s have been shipped and another 200 been packed so far, we’re still packing and shipping the rest of 1st batch Unleasheds. So far, we’ve mainly shipped N1 and N2’s, but started with the Canon versions C1 and C2 this week, as well.

In general, we ship depending on the versions, shipping country and order date. As written in the last blog entry, we started with the N1, then N2, then C1 and C2. The distinction amongst shipping countries is necessary as the way of shipping might vary amongst countries and thus the packing/labeling process. So depending on the version you ordered your Unleashed might not have been shipped yet. – But will be soon!

Tracking will be available, but not for 100% of all shipments, and there’ll be varying types of tracking. Some will be available as a link to the customer with full details of every step, some will just be basic tracking, and yet others will use RFID tracking with only a delivery confirmation for us (ie no info for the recipient). What kind of tracking you get depends on destination country and shipping batch. Where available, you’ll get the tracking link in an email once we ship your Unleashed. In any case, you’ll get an email when we ship your device. We can’t give you more details than that before we actually get to shipping your package.

Check out the VIDEO of us bringing the first Unleasheds to the POST and DHL.

In case you already received your Unleashed, check out our TUTORIAL on how to plug it in. More tutorials are in the making and will follow.