This week at the Google Plus Photographer’s Conference I had the opportunity to go on a photowalk with Google and a handful of other photographers to try out the prototype “Google Glasses”, also referred to as “Project Glass”. It was such an amazing experience to test out such new and futuristic technology, and I felt honored to be invited among the dozen or so photographers running around trying them out.
I posted a few photos of me wearing the glasses over on my Google+ profile earlier this week, and got enough questions which warranted a solid post about the topic (I don’t want to leave you all in the dark on details I’m at liberty to discuss). So … here they are!
Q: How much do they cost?
A: I have no idea. The units we had to work with are prototype units … in other words, they aren’t on the market yet and it may be years before we see them at a consumer level.
Q: What did it look like through the display when you were wearing them?
A: What I can tell you is this: I could see a photo I took after I pressed the shutter button. The display rested just above my normal “vision line”, so I had to look up with my eyes a bit to see it. Because these units are so extremely new and still in testing, everything I saw is very likely to change when they’re finalized and released to the public.
Q: Can you wear them with glasses?
A: I wear glasses, but my vision isn’t too bad so I took them off for the photowalk. I was told that it’s possible, but it might be uncomfortable. I have a gut feeling that when these cameras are available that there will be some sort of solution to that … a lot of us use prescription glasses (or want to wear sunglasses) and don’t want to be left out.
Q: Are they comfortable?
A: Yes :) They felt lighter than my regular glasses, but in terms of looking at the heads-up-display (the “screen”) I’m not sure how it would be to constantly wear them all the time. Time will tell … and they are likely to change a lot over time so who knows what they’ll be like in the future.
Q: What was the actual photography experience like?
A: Photographing with Glass was a very unique experience. I’m used to holding a big camera and lens in front of my face to create photos in this environment, but instead I was able to see through my own eyes, and then capture an image by just pressing the shutter button on the top-right of the device (on the side). My image popped up immediately after so I could preview it. There was a slight learning curve to understand the focal length and shutter speed, and there was somewhat of a lag after pressing the button and I had quite a few blurry “thought I got the shot but moved my head to quickly” images. The shutter speed was slow, as you can see in the image of the man walking on the sidewalk, but definitely an okay shutter speed for creating a sharp image with no camera shake.
Overall, this device opens up so many doors and possibilities for creating photographs. While I don’t expect it to be a replacement for my “professional” camera, it allows new opportunities for creating authentic imagery of everyday life. Things that we normally wouldn’t photograph or videotape, especially when a camera is inconvenient or just isn’t fast enough to grab and get turned on in time, will be able to be recorded with Glass. It’s also a very “freeing” experience … I have a love-hate relationship with camera gear and sometimes just want to travel light, and this is definitely a way to do just that.
I cannot wait until this product is officially launched and available for everyone. I expect it to be a while, but when they are released they will change the way we photograph, think and see the world around us. Glass is just like the stuff we see in Sci-Fi movies, but it’s literally right around the corner. I’m excited to find out what this and other future technology has in store those of us who love creating and sharing photographs.
There’s some more info about Project Glass over on the Huffington Post blog … along with a selfie I took wearing the glasses :) http://huff.to/JCoydB
BTW, all of the photos in this post were taken by me while wearing Glass. They’re the full-res files, un-cropped and un-processed (straight-out-of-camera). Feel free to click on them to get a closer look!