Sometime in 2018, my friend, Rob Kent, downloaded an Android app that would help him record analogue exposure information. The app would let you enter the aperture, shutter speed, ISO and a subject so you could refer to it later. He tried to use this app during a couple of our of regular lunchtime photowalks, but it was a pain to use. The app wasn’t very user-friendly, it never “remembered” any of the settings from previous entries requiring all exposure data to be re-entered for each shot. This meant that recording a shot took way longer than necessary and, in my view, put you off using it. At the time, I was using a pen-and-paper approach to record my shots and was finding that to be equally slow and cumbersome. After trying the above app myself I thought: “I can do better than this”.
At this point, I should point out that I’ve been making a living writing software for over 30 years, so my exclamation wasn’t pure hubris. I also had a deadline as I had a holiday coming up where I was planning to shoot a lot of film, so I’d be able to test (or “dog food”) my own software. Plus, it was an excuse to learn a new programming language and write a mobile app. Thus, Analog Memo was born.
I had several goals in mind from the outset. The first was to make it as easy as possible to accurately record a shot with minimal typing. If it was fiddly to enter exposure data, I just knew I wasn’t going to use it and nor would anyone else for that matter.
Also, if it was easy to miss-enter data then that would put me and other people off too. So, I wanted to make it near impossible to enter nonsense data, like mismatching lenses to cameras or entering exposure details that were out of range for the equipment you were currently using. The first part of this goal was met by the app “remembering” the previous values you entered, by using drop-downs to select things like film types, cameras and lenses and by using sliders to enter exposure data like shutter speed, aperture and focal length (zoom lens shooters, I’ve got you covered!).
The accuracy part of the goal was met by recording information about gear. For cameras, this means recording things like shutter speed range and mount type; for lenses, aperture range and mount type (and zoom range). A happy side effect of recording your gear into the app is that it also becomes an asset manager, helping you keep track of all your toys.
My second goal was that the app should be able to keep track of multiple rolls of film, simultaneously. Like a lot of analogue shooters, I have a few cameras on the go at the same time and remembering where I’m up to with all of them is a bit of a chore. This goal was easy to achieve, it’s just a user interface and data issue and was easy to implement.
My final goal was to write the app with the wider analogue community in mind and to make it free to use. My aim was to make the app as useful and as accessible to as many analogue photographers as possible as well as putting something back into the analogue community. Consequently, Analog Memo will always be free of charge and be free of adverts. You also don’t need to log into services nor enter any of your personal info. You can, optionally, give the app permission to use your GPS, if you’d like to record where a shot was taken; and permission to use your microphone and storage, if you’d like to record a voice memo with each shot.
Does it work?
Version 1.0 of Analog Memo met some of my original design goals, it was easy to enter shot data but getting the app up and running needed some effort. The app needed some information about your equipment, upfront, before you could start recording exposure data and it wasn’t that obvious how to do this. After using the app for a while, it became clear to me that the app should revolve around the films the user had on the go and that the user should be able to enter data about their gear as and when it was required. After making these changes the app, now at version 1.7, was much more focused and easier to use. The current version, 1.9, saw the addition of voice notes.
There are a couple of reasons why Analog Memo asks you about your equipment. Firstly, it’s to help keep your data accurate – no impossible camera and lens combinations and no shots recorded with an aperture of f/1.0 on an f/2.8 lens. The second reason is speed. Once a piece of equipment has been recorded in Analog Memo it can, from then on, be picked from a list; you’ll never need to enter that info again and it will always be consistent. Over time, Analog Memo should become quicker to use as more of your gear is recorded. There is a third reason which I’ll explain below.
Is it useable and available now? Yes, and Yes. I’ve been using it myself for months now adding new features and fixing bugs as I find them. You can download it from the Google Play Store. I also have plans for an iOS version, I just need to get my hands on an iPhone to make that happen (hint, hint Rob!).
Is it finished? Nope, there are always more things to do like improve its internals and add more features. The latter is where you come in. What would you like to see in an app like this? I have plenty of ideas for new features, like a built-in light meter that pre-populates exposure data, for example. And, I’d also like to find a way of syncing the data collected by Analog Memo to your computer so that it works with Rob Kent’s “NameThatLens” application. NameThatLens updates the EXIF data stored in images files (either from scanned negatives or shots taken with a “classic” lens) to include exposure, lens and camera information; this is the other reason why Analog Memo records info about your gear (gear could also be added to NameThatLens and synced back to Analog Memo). But if you have any ideas for additional features then I’d love to hear from you.
If you’re interested in learning more about Analog Memo, there’s a complete user guide for it which is available here. If you have any other questions, you get hold of me via Twitter using the @AnalogMemo handle. I’ll also be at the Photography show on Saturday the 14th of March, if you’d like to chat about Analog Memo, see it in action or anything else.
Otherwise, you can download Analog Memo, for free, here.
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67 thoughts on “Analog Memo – Creating a Digital Notebook App for Android – By Barry Carr”
Could be very helpful for those idiotic moments in which I’ve forgotten which film is loaded in the camera, and far more besides. Thanks for putting this out there Barry, I’m going to give it a go
Thanks Faraz, I hope you find it useful. If you have any problems or feedback, please let me know.
Looks interesting – thanks for making the effort and sharing. The first thing that occurs to me is that there seems no facility to customise the shutter speed slider. Not every camera uses the now standard 1/30, 1/60, 1/125 and so on. I have a Leica iiif and it uses 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 and so on. Either you need to provide a few variants or allow a custom set. Otherwise, using with these older cameras will be very unsatisfactory.
Good start though…
Firstly, thanks very much for the feedback. You’re absolutely right, you can’t currently customise shutter speeds (nor apertures for that matter), however, It is something I’m planning on adding very soon. I’m just trying to think of a way of doing it thats not too fiddly for the user to specify.
This looks great, I will download it and give it a try.
In the meantime, being able to save the data for a roll with the images from that roll would be great. I can see why you might want to link with Namethatlens, but that only runs on Windows/Mac/Linux. I’m using an Android tablet, so I would be looking for an Android solution!!
Thanks very much for feedback. This has crossed my mind too and Rob and I have also chewed this over. I’ll add this to my backlog and look into adding it as a feature. Not sure how long it will take tho.
Excellent work and thanks for making this so easily available! A couple of things:
1. I often use filters and the +/- EV setting works for some of them (red, yellow and polarizer) but not for ND, where I need typically up to 6 extra stops. It’s not a big thing, but entering “Filter” would be nice? Or too much fiddling/typing?
2. I like to write a title for my films, especially if I am going on a trip where I will have multiple rolls of the same film… how does the app deal with this? I have not yet used AM in this situation, and I am not sure how I will do it Perhaps just write a date on the film in ink and match the date with AM information later?. I guess the voice note will solve these issues, and having said all of this I suppose that entering too much info would just be a disincentive to use it!
3. An automatic text-fill suggestion on the “scene” field would be nice as I often (usually) shoot the scene more than once.
But already really good! And safe to ignore my suggestions and still have a really great App.
Firstly, thanks very much for your kind words, I’m really pleased you like AM.
1. What about a user defined drop down list of filters? I could add a facility where you enter your filters (and their EV modifier), like your other gear, and then you can optionally pick a filter when you enter shot data. That way you only have to enter the filter data once and they’re always consistent and available.
2. Currently it doesn’t but I can add an optional film title field, I can imagine a few people needing that. Thanks.
3. You can do this already by copying the last exposure you’ve recorded. In the shot list screen, swipe the last recorded exposure to the right and you’ll see a copy button. Tap this and the all the details of the last shot are copied to a new shot, including the title. I added this for people who work a scene. Please note that copy option is only available on the last exposure. HTH.
Thanks for the response. One more urgent mod that would be useful! The option to delete (or maybe hide/archive?) an entire roll. So when you swipe left to edit, a delete option would be nice. I am starting to fill up my AM!
I imagine with all the covid isolation you will have loads of time for app development…
I have plans to provide an archive option for completed film rolls.
I can imagine this being very useful for film users. (This is one area in which digital cameras have their film forebears beat.😪) I like the idea of it being able to log data for different cameras.
Being a somewhat lazy guy, this would be an absolute killer app if it could include speech to text.
Would it be feasible to down the data to a sheet that could be stored with the negs?
Thanks for your comment. Bridging the meta-data gap was one of my motivations for creating AM.
Wasn’t planning on doing speech-to-text in the near future, but if there’s enough demand for it then I’ll move it up my backlog.
With regards to a data sheet, I have contemplated sending the data to a google spreadsheet. I haven’t looked into this so I don’t know if its feasible, but, If it was, would that work for you?
Thank you so much for creating this and sharing; just downloaded it and looking forward to it filling some gaps in my process – looks great. As Duncan says above non standard shutter speeds would be a help as the current camera I have loaded right now (and so the one I have added to the app first) has a max shutter speed of 1/400 which is not represented.
Not a complaint just adding my plus one to that feature being added but also appreciate you are not doing this for profit so appreciating it for what it is too 🙂
Thanks very much, I’m really pleased you like AM.
I’m going to address the shutter speed issue in my next update. I’ve just recently got a Barnack Lieca so, I need it myself 😊.
I think it’s great that these apps exist. Unfortunately I’m an iPhone user so this won’t help me. The iOS app I use is decent, but it has a bunch of annoyances, and hasn’t been updated in years, so I don’t expect it to change, and I haven’t seen any new replacement iOS apps show up. Like you, I keep thinking to myself—I should just break down and build my own, but my experience is more on the web dev side, not native apps, so I keep hoping someone else gets the same idea.
There will be an iOS version very soon. Currently, AM does build and run on iOS. The issue I have, ATM, is around permissions and gaining access to GPS, Microphone and Storage. Once I’ve got that sorted a version will become available in the App Store in the near future. HTH.
One other suggestion… with regard to film stock, it might be nice to have a value for expiry date? Would be useful to know; particularly with old expired film (which I have a fair amount of) so ability to enter dates in the past would be ideal.
I have added an number of cameras and lenses to the app and so far I like it very much – looking forward to using it in the field.
Thank you so much!
Good idea. I can add an expiry date field to the films.
Would a field for “date processed” be of any use or interest to you (or anyone else)?
Glad you’re liking it so far, please let me know how you get on after you’ve used in the field.
Not sure about date processed; maybe…I’d have to think about that.
I have to say that I went for a short photo walk today and having that app to hand really focused my mind on what I was doing and helped me decide whether to make the shot; thinking about what I would log made me consider more and be more deliberate. Thank you again for this 🙂
I will add a review in Google Play too.
I found one limitation and admittedly this is an edge case but I have a Mamiya C330 which is an interchangeable lens camera but, I guess it’s unusual, as the shutter is part of the lens and the shutter speeds ‘live’ with the lens not the body; so you can have different min/max speeds as a result. As I say this is an edge case and coding for it would, I’m sure, be cumbersome.
OK, I’ll hold off on a “date processed” field.
Really pleased to hear that AM helped you on your photowalk, that is very encouraging. And, thank you very much for taking the time to write a review for AM – that is very much appreciated. If you’re going to the photowalk in Birmingham, this Saturday, say hi and I’ll ply with a hot beverage of your choice or alcohol.
With regards to your Mamiya C330. Rob and I talked about this very issue, yesterday evening, WRT to LF photography. You’re right, AM doesn’t support this at the moment. I don’t think it will be too difficult to add and I’m not averse to adding it as a feature. It’s low down on my list of priorties, ATM, unless there is greater call for it, in which case I’ll bump it up the list.
Based on the feedback and comments I’ve received on here, my current back log for AM is as follows:
1. Film Title & File Expiry date (easy to do, should only take me a couple of hours)
2a. User defined shutter speeds (and apertures)
2b. iOS version
3. Delete/Hide unused items
4. Internal architectural changes
5. Shutter speeds on lenses (your request)
6. Film developer field (Terry B’s request)
Thanks, once again, for your feedback.
+1 for me re holding the shutter speeds with the lens as an option – as well as a Barnack Leica (good to hear you own one too!) I also have a Mamiya C220 as well as 2 other MF leaf-shutter cameras, which all have the shutters in the lenses.
One other thing I do, particularly with my Hasselblad, is track which back my film is in, so I can monitor performance, light leaks, etc. I suppose I can just register 2 Hasselblad cameras rather than one, or do you have a better suggestion?? Cheers…
Looks like I’ll need to bump the lens/shutter feature higher up the list to item 3. As for film backs, registering two cameras is a good work around for this, at the moment. However, in the long term, this looks like it might be something that shoukd be associated with the a film roll rather than a camera – I’ll need to give this some thought as I can see other MF togs needing this. Do you ever change film backs mid roll?
Do I ever change film backs mid-roll? Yes; reasonably often. Tends to be a switch from b&w to colour, though sometimes I might just have the wrong film in one so leave it half shot and move to the other. I know I’m getting esoteric know but the other interesting requirement is double exposures – not so bad when you take them both at the same time but for those who expose a whole film twice, I suspect they’d love you to provide them some help. I have a couple of cameras just made for multiples hence I mention it 😉
The offer of a beer is appreciated Barry, unfortunately I am in California 🙂 but if ever you are in the area…
That’s a shame. Thanks for your help over the past couple of days. Much appreciated.
Barry, I’d go along with Nigel’s view on date processed. With about 42 years’ worth of negatives to look back on, I can safely say that the vast majority were Ilford FPx series, from 3 to 4Plus, or Kodak Tri-X and from this knowledge I know that most would have been developed in Aculux/Acutol or ID11/D76. But when I started out, I would be trying others and of which I’ve no recollection of now.
Today, one find’s those new to film and taking up home development are experimenting with film/developer combinations, so perhaps not so much when a film was processed, but with which developer might be useful for reference purposes, perhaps.
Nice idea! I’d never have thought of adding a developer field. I’ve added it to my backlog (see my reply to Nigel). There’ll be a bit of work in this, as it will have to be consistent with the rest of the app – Register the developer with the app and then pick it from a list on the film screen.
Thanks for the feedback.
Just downloaded…looks good 👍🏾
Hi Toks, thanks very much. I hope you find it useful.
I’ve been using a simple google form for this, and yes, it’s clunky. Useful but clunky.
One nice thing about it, that you didn’t mention, is that with a google form, the data is immediately uploaded to a google drive spreadsheet, so it’s already available on your desktop when you get there.
Would be a nice feature to add, if it isn’t there already.
Waiting on an iOS version.
Thanks very much.
I am considering sending data to a google spreadsheet. I need to do a bit research first to see if its possible.
An iOS version is planned and it should be available soon. My app runs on iOS, and the permissions problem I was having (mentioned in another comment) has now been resolved. I just need to do some more testing before its released.
What a great idea Barry! I am looking forward seeing it for an iphone. It is really a great idea, because sometimes I really forget these data especially which lens was used or which film.
Good luck for your App
Thanks very much. I don’t know if you’ve seen my reply to Geof, above, or not. An iOS version will be coming in the next few weeks, I just have a few issues to iron out on iOS before it can be published. I’ll make an announcement on Analog Memo’s twitter feed (@AnalogMemo) when its released
Thank you, Barry. I will use it during my upcoming photo trip. Greetings from Poland 🙂
You’re welcome. Thanks for giving it a go. Let me know how you get on with it.
Thank you Barry, for this gift to the film community. Very timely as, thanks to 35mmc, I move towards resurrecting my film gear. Also great to find us Android users at the front for once!
Nothing else I can add to the many suggestions above, and it looks like you will be busy for a while. I have already entered my film kit and – for inventory purposes – will try entering my digital kit too (also for when legacy lenses cross over).
You’re more than welcome. I glad you’re finding AM useful. Please, feel free to send me your suggestions and feedback.
Maybe it’s been mentioned already but slowest shutter speed I can set is 4s. Also can only set whole aperture and shutter speeds. Some cams have half stops and some third stops.
Many of these issues have beem discussed on Photrio in relation to EXIF Notes, a similar and more fully featured (through a lengthy process of feedback and updates) app. All the info a photographer may require has probably been mentioned in that years old thread
But I do prefer your horizontal sliders – just need more increments!
Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I know about the shutter speeds and aperture issue. It’s going to be addressed soon.
Didn’t know about Exif Notes, I’ll be taking a look at that. Thanks for the heads up.
Instant feedback from me:
1. I love voice notes, would love text notes too. This would allow to add some notes post developing.
2. Sometimes I just dont remember settings – today I made some shots with Phone left in the car, but i need to add them anyways. I would prefer blank fields rather than defaults (4s)
Do not print on screen any value when left blank.
3. Add a field with a number of film to track it easily in the archive.
Hope those make sense. I believe there will be more.
Thanks for your feedback.
1. Glad you like the voice note, feature. I can add a text note field to a shot, the only reason its not there at the moment is because I didn’t think people would want to type a load of text in on their phone.
2. Do you mean you don’t want a shot to default to the previous shots settings? If not can you explain in more detail, please.
3. I’m going to add a film title field in the next update, you can use this field to number your film.
Hope this helps. Thanks once again.
Ad2. Hide switch maybe
4. Film stock quantity field with autoupdate – when you shop but dont remember whats in the fridge
5. Film stock notes field
6. Notes for entire film (for summary, developing formula, further ideas)
7. Archive for films
Hello, again, Aleksander.
4. Interesting idea, I’ll consider this. Could you provide more details of what you have in mind, please?
5. Yep, should be easy to do, I can add that.
6. I already have plans to provide a developer field to a film (See my reply to Terry B’s comment). But I can add a general notes field as well.
7. If you mean mark a film as finished or done, then yes, I’m going to add this feature.
Thanks, once again, for your ideas and feedback.
Not usable in current state! Main defect is what you can’t enter exposure time in seconds. So while logging the exposure time in extremely important for the night shots, your app do not support it. You should fix it. And it can’t be customizable list in that manner like today, how i can deal with long calculated exposures like 4m37s?
Then, what is the popping sliders, are you kidding? It is ANNOYING
Should be an ability to add a smartphone shot on the shot page – this is essential!
And fourth, why the sujet text is required field? You provoke to fill the zeroes into it. Eskimo is not a writers. We want to leave a shot from a smartphone camera here.
Fifth I want to log a filter in the shot, in that manner, like lens and other.
Shutter speed on a lenses? For that marginal old lens users, which have a set of odd lenses with a different shutter speeds for they odd cameras? Let they wait. On my camera leaf shutter speed set is identical on all lenses!
Anyway concept is right, keep on!
Thank you for your feedback.
I’m going to adding user defined shutter speeds in near future update. However, you’re the first person to ask such long exposures. I’m not sure what I have in mind will be what you want.
“Popping silders”, no plans to change – unless I find something better.
For the time being, the subject field is going to remain a required field – if there are more requests for this then I’ll add the option of making the field optional. Adding a smartphone picture to a shot is planned but is low down in my backlog.
Adding filters details to a shot is also planned.
Shutter speeds on lenses has been discussed in other comments and I’m going to add it. As are user defined shutter speeds, as mentioned above.
I hope this answers your concerns.
There’s a guy on Talk Photography doing much the same thing, he has an Android version called FilmLog on G Play, and an IOS version called MyFilmLog on TestFlight, IIUC, see https://www.talkphotography.co.uk/threads/building-an-app-for-film-shooters-filmlog-now-public-on-google-pay-and-appstore-testflight.706693/
As it turns out, I do have a question, or idea: In an idle 15 minutes away from my kit, I entered most of my gear, thinking I could go back in and edit some, details and add serial numbers later. That seems not possible at the moment, unless I am missing something?
Is it also possible to delete items if, for example, one is sold?
There might already be a simple way of doing this that I have missed and I apologise if so. Otherwise, I can see someone like Hamish have a lot of redundant entries over time!
I knew as soon as I wrote, I would see! Just swipe the item to the left and an editoption appears…
Glad you managed sort it out. Let me know if you have anymore questions.
Hi Barry, first off, thank you very much for this tool. I downloaded it immediately. Love it. Even joined the Beta. I agree with prior comments that an expiry date for film stocks drop down and use defined list of filters would be great. Also, I’m wondering if it’s possible to have a user defined list for whether the film was processed at home or at a lab. And if at a lab, a user defined list of labs. Next to film stock, camera/lens and exposure, I find the biggest difference is between processing labs.
The other thought I had was that perhaps you might somehow (and this is way above my knowledge base) be able to make the data importable intonAdobe Lightroom’s Darkroom Notebook extension: https://exchange.adobe.com/creativecloud.details.100417.darkroom-notebook.html.
The extension hasn’t been updated in a while and it seems like it’s similar to the other applications you describe above. It works seemlessly in Lightroom, and it would be helpful to have all of the data Analog Memo collects in Lightroom , without having to manually enter it.
So far I absolutely love this App. It’s brilliant. I have used other “note taking apps” for this purpose and end up giving up. But the user defined lists and ability to pre-populate each frame, truly sets it apart. As I said I have joined the Beta program and cannot wait for future releases! Best regards, David
Thanks very much for trying AnalogMemo and your feedback.
I’m planning on adding a film expiry date field and filter register & selection feature. The lab field is an interesting idea, I’ll certainly consider it. If anyone else is interesting in this, then please let me know. In the meantime, I am planning on adding a notes field to film rolls in an immenint update, you could use this in the short term.
I’ve not heard of Darkroom Notebook, I’ll check that out. However, in the long term, I do have something similar planned in conjunction with Rob Kent’s “Name that Lens” (NTL) application. NTL won’t rely on Lightroom but update the EXIF data, directly, in your image. The plan is that AnalogMemo will sync with NTL and guide you through applying EXIF updates based on the data that has come from AnalogMemo. I should stress that this feature is way off being implemented.
I’m really pleased you like my app, it means a lot.
David, if you use Exif Notes, not only will it prepopulate etc, but it will give you an option to export the data as a script that calls exiftool; run that in the same folder as your scans and it will write the metadata into the files for any editor (and flickr) to see.
I just downloaded this app and it is just great! Thank you very much for this gift! I have been struggling for ages to find an efficient log system for my pictures. I would just like to add one more input on possible adjustments following some previous comments: I have a Leica R8 which has a maximum shutter speed of 16s, the current menu does not contemplate faster sets than 4s. It would be nice to add, as suggested already, custom enters or larger choices of values. (If I’m too stupid and it’s already possible to do so, please explain me and accept my apologies).
Analog photography needs people like you!
Thanks very much for your kind words.
No you haven’t missed anything with regards to shutter speeds, it is a fixed list, ATM but, I will be addressing this in my next-but-one update – lots of people on here have asked for it.
Thanks, once again.
Very nice application !
One thought : it would be interesting to delete an item (camera, lens, film, lens mount, etc) by adding a button in the Edit mode (under the Update button)
Thanks again for your work !
Thanks very much.
I am planning on adding a delete feature for items that haven’t been used or referenced anywhere.
Reminded me of the Exif notes app I have been using for a couple of years now.
That is a really useful app. I started using it today and I must say it is great – pretty straightforward and certainly the fastest option for taking notes of the exposures. I’ve been thinking if there is/could be an option to export the data about the given roll to the external text file? This way it could be easily printed out and stored with the negatives after the development.
Thanks once again for the effort,
Nice app !
Could you add a delete button on the items. And if possible a sort button for the lists.
Sorry haven’t seen that my first post…
Thanks very much, I’m glad you like my app.
A delete option is planned for items that haven’t been used elsewhere in the data set.
As for sorting, I can see a use for this. By what field would you like items sorted by?
By the displayed name in the list, like Camera Make and Model. If possible.
IIRC, I think that’s already the defualt display order. I’ll check, if it’s not, I’ll implement a sort feature in the near future.
Thanks for your feedback.
thanks for developing this!
One suggestion for the delete functionality: Make it a “hide” option instead of or in addition to delete. That would make it possible to sell of a lens and not see it as an option when adding shots, but still keeping it referenced for earlier shots.
A possible extension to the feature set is something to support digital as a “film”, for when one shoots vintage lenses on digital cameras. I am not sure what would be the best way to handle that, but maybe one could add it as “text”+”starting number”, and then just auto increment?
Thanks very much, I’m glad you like it.
Delete is probably going to really be hide, for the reasons you’ve stated. Still present in the data but unreachable from drops downs and lists, etc.
I’d not really considered classic lens shooters on digital, even though I do it myself. I’ll have a think about this. It wouldn’t be something that I implemented in the short term, unless there was a lot of demand for it.
Thanks for your feedback.
I look forward to using the iOS version of Analog Memo. Metadata is very important these days.
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