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Arsenal helps take photos like a pro
June 12, 2017, 11:44 am

Taking a decent photo on your smartphone is easier than ever, but if you want to graduate to the next level of photography with a DSLR or mirror-less camera, there is a lot more to think about. Factors range from focus to shutter speed, aperture to ISO, color range and more, and knowing how to balance them all requires practice. Now a new gadget named Arsenal — currently raising funds on Kickstarter — claims it can do all the hard work for you, taking the perfect photograph every time.

Think of it like a supercharged version of the ‘auto’ mode in any point-and-click camera. These auto functions adjust just one or two settings (like changing the exposure based on how bright the scene is) but Arsenal examines far more — looking at 18 separate factors in total. Most significantly, it also uses neural networks to recognize the scene you are looking at and compare it to a database of professional photographs. It then takes the camera settings used to capture those images and applies them to your camera. You can tweak them to your liking and then take the shot.

Ryan Stout, the creator of Arsenal, says he thinks his product fills a gap in the market. Stout says camera companies have underinvested in auto modes as they are usually disdained by pro photographers. This means, Stout says, they have not kept up with the advances possible using latest AI and new hardware.

Stout thinks the Arsenal will appeal to beginner and intermediate photographers who want to make the leap from phone photography, but are finding it difficult to get good shots with their DSLR.

The gadget itself looks like a slim battery pack and clips into the hot shoe mount on top of a camera. It connects via Bluetooth to an iOS and Android app, which can also be used to create time-lapses and long-exposure shots. With a price tag of $150, the gadget’s Kickstarter campaign has attracted more than $700,000 from backers — way over the $50,000 goal. It might not be long before mainstream camera companies also decide this sort of tech is worth a shot.

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