The first time I saw Turtleback's Turtlejacket Tri-Eye I couldn't make out what it was. It looked like a combination of multi-lens 8mm camera and old movie reel, I immediately fell in love with the look, just that it was too expensive as an iPhone case. I kept coming back to look at it and wondered how it works, I mean I couldn't make the purchase by looking at its online shop, I had to touch and feel if it was right for me.
Smartphone photography is unstoppable, the technology convenience and convergence only means more and more people will take the advantage of improving smartphone sensors and social network connectivity, leaving behind their digital camera. We took a lot more (crap) photos when the digital camera age came, now we take and *share* photos like crazy. One major movement is that, with smartphone photography, we seem to take it more slowly and enjoy the process of tweaking photos with dozens of apps before posting with nice captions.
Turtleback was probably overwhelmed by orders so they were out of stock for a while, Tri-Eye is now back in stock and I'm happy to have gotten one. You know me, I like to customize things (one reporter said 'you are the type who wouldn't carry a thing not being customized by yourself' and I agreed). Well it was simple, I just used masking tapes from MT and Cavallini and I was happy.
(dinner with boss)
Tri-Eye has a full aluminium body, the rotating wheel allows you to carry 3 different lenses at the same time. I found myself playing with fisheye (x0.33) mostly, because of the dramatic effect it creates. Wide angle (x0.7) allows you to capture more in compact spaces, Tele (x1.5) I don't use much, so I plan to get a macro lens somewhere to replace it.
(Mido Cafe, Hong Kong)
Yesterday I took a Korean friend to Mido cafe in Yau Ma Tei, we had a nice sharing there after lunch hour. A beautiful old place to visit, nice Hong Kong dishes, but don't expect smiles from the staff over there, which is one thing they need to improve a lot.
(Staircase, Mido cafe, Hong Kong)
Switching to fisheye on my Turtlejacket, I was able to capture this narrow and steep staircase with details and patterns I couldn't see.
(Old cashier, Mido cafe, Hong Kong)
I guess staff over there are still not used to being photographed despite it being a popular tourist spot, whenever I pulled out my iPhone, they'd either look away or flocked. A little more courtship may help, but I was there just for a short while, perhaps next time.
(Star Ferry, Hong Kong)
One of the reason why I love Tri-Eye is that you get to play with different lenses inexpensively and portable. Yes it is full metal and relatively heavy but it is still a great bargain for me because of all the fun it provides. Yup, fisheye photography is a thing I will explore more, my aim is not to make you bored by my twitter/Instagram fisheye images :)
(Customized on/off button, eraser, kid's complaint)
One thing I think Turtleback must improve is the accessibility of the iPhone on/off button. The hole is so narrow and deep, you will need a flat finger tip or long nail to turn on/off the phone. My solution is to steal my son's eraser, cut off a 10mm width x 4mm depth x 3mm height block, tape it to the iPhone on/off button before inserting it to the jacket. It works perfectly and I can even feel the eraser's cushioning effect. My son found out the missing corner of his eraser, I would be the only one in the house doing that, he drew a question mark on the eraser and gave me a note :)
Here's one more customization I'll do on my Tri-Eye: a two-tone leather holster with cool looking flap. Well, you can use straps to carry Tri-Eye on your neck, but it is way too heavy for my neck. I prefer a holster, perhaps it is a man thing I like, to pull and shoot. A few ideas of the cutting is drawn on my notebook, just need to steal a few hours to experiment and make it happen. I already feel happy about it, will tell you more. In the mean time, enjoy an interview with famous Instagramer @Zirosou Mr. Sohjirou Yamagata from Hong Kong.