Learn by doing: CameraSim 2.0 will teach you how to use a DSLR camera.
A couple years ago, I built a simple online camera simulator to help people understand their DSLR cameras.
I'm now trying to raise funds to develop the next version: CameraSim 2.0.
First, a little background: CameraSim 1.0
CameraSim 1.0 lets you experiment with wildly different camera settings and see how each affects the final “photo.” It provides instant feedback on what you did right, or how your settings can be improved. It isn’t perfect, but it does a great job of demonstrating some DSLR basics like:
- Shutter speed
- Focal length
- ‘Camera shake’ blur
- Tripod stabilization
- Subject motion blur
- Over- and under-exposure
- Exposure priority modes
As more background, here’s a quick overview of the current CameraSim 1.0:
I’m proud of what my developer Josh and I have been able to do with CameraSim as a mere side project, but we’ve only scratched the surface. There is SO much more that we can do to make this the ultimate DSLR-learning tool!
That’s where we need your help!
An exciting new chapter: CameraSim 2.0!
The current version of CameraSim represents a time investment of hundreds of hours, and building the next version will require even more. This will be a total rewrite of the application as we create a more thought-out, scalable architecture. It’s a ton of work, but we’re excited and can’t wait to get started!
With your financial support, we’ll be able to work on this full time for ~9 months and create these cool NEW features for CameraSim 2.0:
- NEW scenes that simulate various photography challenges. This has been our #1 feature request!
- See the effects of different lenses (i.e. zoom, telephoto, prime, macro, etc.)
- See the effects of different image sensor sizes (i.e cropped, full-frame, etc.)
- White balance, demonstrated and explained
- Exposure compensation, demonstrated and explained
- Composition principles, demonstrated and explained
- HDR photography, demonstrated and explained
- Save-able CameraSim photos to compare shots and settings
- RAW vs JPEG, demonstrated and explained
- Simulate fundamental post-processing concepts (i.e. histograms, saturation, contrast, cropping, vignetting, etc.)
- An “Instructor mode” to suppress the hints and helpful feedback, allowing an instructor to use CameraSim as a wonderful interactive visual aid in a classroom or presentation setting.
- A fun, gamified approach to learning DSRL photography (i.e. levels, achievements, etc.)
(If you’ve not already done so, please check out the video at the top of the page.)
Here’s why we’re so excited about building the next version of CameraSim:
- We have a great audience. I’m humbled to have thousands of visitors come to CameraSim every single day from all over the world. This puts CameraSim in a good position to help a lot of people, and in doing so, help make the Internet a better place. Yeah, that sounds cheesy, but that’s truly how we feel.
- We’ve done our market research. All those people I just mentioned? Hundreds of them have told us what they like, what they’d like to see, and what completely sucks about CameraSim 1.0. We have no shortage of excellent feedback.
- We gotz skillz. It’s an exciting time to be a geek, and we have the technical chops to build a killer product. All we need are just the months to work hard and make it happen.
Q: Who are you guys?
A: Josh Roof and I (Jon Arnold) are a company of two. We design software and have been in business since 1998 (which in internet years is like an ice-age ago). We want to take our pet project CameraSim into a new, glorious era.
Q: What will CameraSim 2.0 do? How will it be better than CameraSim 1.0?
A: CameraSim 1.0 covered only the very basics of using a DSLR camera. We want to enhance it to simulate ALL settings of a DSLR, and cover some non-camera fundamentals like composition, lighting, and post-processing. Basically, everything that a person new to photography needs to learn to start taking amazing photos!
Q: Why not just work on this in your spare time?
A: We have been, hence the CameraSim 1.0 you see today. We’ve made improvements to it over the past year, but nights and weekends are only getting us so far. The unfortunate reality is that great products don’t emerge from part time efforts. It’s time to go for it and do it right.
Q: Why not get investors like a normal startup?
A: We’re not looking to raise millions of dollars and have espresso-bots serve us drinks all day. We are simply appealing to the benevolent Internet – via the fabulous Kickstarter – to help get this off the ground.
Q: What platforms will CameraSim run on?
A: We’re going to optimize it for Windows, Mac, and tablets (iPad and Android). We may do a smartphone version, but right now it’s a low priority. Our current CameraSim 1.0 for iPhone only gets about 25% of the downloads that our iPad version gets, so we’re thinking that the app is just better suited for the tablet and desktop worlds.
Q: Is CameraSim for people learning photography or is it for photography instructors?
A: Yes. And by that I mean both. I originally intended CameraSim to be used by anyone wanting to learn about DSLRs on his or her own. But I hear from photography instructors all the time how it is an invaluable tool for classroom or tutoring settings. CameraSim 2.0 will have an “instructor mode” that will make it more of an interactive visual aid appropriate for instructors and presenters.
Q: How will you use the Kickstarter funds?
A: Josh and I will be putting our “real jobs” on hold for 9 months while we work fulltime on CameraSim 2.0, so most of the funds will go toward our salaries (we both have families that require feeding almost every day.) We also have some basic operational expenses that we’ll need to cover. Anything raised above and beyond our goal will allow us to make CameraSim 2.0 even better by working longer or bringing in more hands to work faster.
Q: What happens if you don’t reach your Kickstarter funding goal?
A: Pledges aren't actually processed by Kickstarter unless we reach our goal. That’s why we need your help, otherwise we get nothing.
Q: I dig your efforts to help people learn DSLR photography. How do I support you?
A: Just peruse the rewards on the right and pledge as much as you can and feel like you should. You’d also be doing us a huge favor by sharing this on Facebook, Twitter and such.
You can help us spread the word!
Whether you decide to pledge or not, you can help the CameraSim cause by sharing this with your friends:
- On Facebook: Just click the “like” button under the video at the top of this page, or paste this page’s URL on your wall with a personal message!
- On Twitter: Just click the “tweet” button under the video at the top of this page, or paste this page’s URL in a tweet with a personal message!
- By Email: Spam your photography buddies with this page’s URL and encourage them to support budding photographers everywhere.
- Word-of-mouth: Don’t be afraid to dominate every social encounter with talk of CameraSim. Simply insist that your friends check out this page (or you can just direct them to camerasim.com; we’ll hustle them from there!)
Need more info?
We’re here to help and don’t want to leave any question unanswered. For any questions of any kind (media inquiries, special circumstances, curiosity questions…seriously, anything) please contact me (Jon) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For general information about CameraSim, check out camerasim.com.
A final word…
Tell me, and I will
Show me, and I may remember.
Involve me, and I will understand.
-- Confucius, 450 BC
That quote pretty much sums up what I’m trying to do with CameraSim: help people truly ‘get’ and enjoy DSLR photography.
Thanks for reading and supporting the future of CameraSim. It truly means the world to me!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.