Distorted yo-yo when photo is taken too close?


I disagree; I think the software adjustments get it pretty close to what it “should” be and far better than the full-frame massively distorted versions!

I wonder why anti-fisheye isn’t built into iOS and Android camera apps though, at least as a photo filter you can apply? That’d be best.

(ClockMonsterLA) #22

Oh, I agree that fixing a bad photo in post is better than leaving it bad. What I was trying to get across was that it is far more desirable to get it right in-camera to begin with, avoiding the need for post manipulation that can only get “fairly close” in many–if not most–cases.


Yes but any solution that requires people to lug around extra crap in their lives, versus the smartphone they have in their pocket 24/7… is destined to have very limited success.

Hence, that’s why I think the software fix could be so powerful and effective. It’s already in your pocket.

(ClockMonsterLA) #24

Fair enough. However, I think that when people take photos for their yoyos they are usually at home, where there is no lugging around of anything, just a little setup maybe. The effort it takes to set up a decent photo with decent equipment is less than it takes to transfer a photo into a piece of software, fiddle with a bunch of sliders, and then save it out again. The problem is that neither approach is convenient enough for 99% of photo takers, so the difference is probably immaterial.


Wider angle lenses will distort or warp the subject! Always! - to be completely accurate and warp-frew it’s best to use a telephoto lens and be completely parallel to the yoyo.

You also have to consider the plane at which the camera lens is in accordance to the yoyo - comparing a 45 degree angle image to a 0 degree doesn’t make for good comparison!

Here’s an example of this in portraits:


Not what I’m talking about at all.

  • Take Photo
  • Tap “adjust for fisheye” in native platform Photos app
  • Done

But right now, yeah, it requires another app on your device most likely, so:

  • Take Photo
  • Switch to {app name}
  • Tap photo
  • Tap “adjust for fisheye”
  • Done

Like so

Except imaginate some really performant preset options here for fisheye with preview :wink:

(ClockMonsterLA) #27

A built-in distortion remover would be cool. However, I still rate the results of such a post-process as tolerable, maybe even acceptable, but not ideal. It is easier still to just Take Photo and have it correct right from the start. There is no step 2! But that isn’t convenient due to the equipment required, so I understand that the less-than-ideal compromise is about as good as I can expect in most cases. Still, I suspect that 99% of people wouldn’t even bother removing the distortion with a built-in app. Lazy bastids.


They do have aftermarket phone lenses, but I’m unclear which one would help in this case? Not wide (super wide landscapes), not macro (closeup), not fisheye (lol)… I guess telephoto?

(Justin ) #29

What do you suggest people without real cameras do?

({John15}) #30
  1. Buy a real camera and get a degree in photography.


  1. Continue to suck


Use my tic-tac-toe rule of :+1: thumb.

  • Go outside and place the yo-yo where there is a lot of indirect light.
  • Pretend the yo-yo is in a game of tic-tac-toe in the center square when you frame the shot – don’t get any closer than that!
  • If you have a fancy phone with 2x optical, NOT DIGITAL zoom… use that, too, and you can take a slightly closer picture. Still, don’t get too close and don’t even think of taking up the full frame.

Beyond that, I am thinking a telephoto lens that clips on to your phone is the only real practical option…

Of course a good lens is kinda expensive as you need precision fancy glass, photographers know all about this stuff… but for experimenting maybe something like this $17 kit?


I want to simply thank you guys for posting up all your photo taking thoughts.

Closest thing to taking a short class in up close Photography.

Really useful information in this conversation.

And not just ‘quick answers’. The comps and images give a lot of depth to your perspectives on the subject.

Now… that being said; I have a question or two for you.

(Not all) but many of the images(at least half) are images of BST yoyos. And the majority of those yoyos are ‘known’ shapes. They can easily be referenced by checking yoyo stores or Maker sites for more accurate, undistorted yoyo shapes, etc…

Many of the images you prolly don’t like are taken by any number of devices. By any number of guys that vary as much in Photo chops as they do in yoyo skill levels.

If a guy posts up and somewhat distorted image of a Wide Shutter; he is not trying to win a Photo contest. He is just showing you his particular Wide Shutter. His funny photos(s) May be amateur in nature. But he is trying to show or sell his yoyo. And most likely not trying to get somebody to hire him for a Photo Shoot.

Personally I like your information because if anybody actually pays attention; they will surely have a better handle on how to take and post up better images.

…But honestly; I think(think) most people are just going to use whatever is most convenient and fast for them(probably any cell phone available).

I don’t think many are going to live in fear of the Photo Police lecturing them on proper methods for more tasteful image results.

I enjoyed your lab work; regardless. I learned some useful stuff; no doubt.



Always go with option #2 … I call it… THE HUMAN CONDITION


Pretty much this. Most of the time you just want to see a picture to know the colorwat or the condition of the yoyo (dings, scratches, etc). As long as the picture of the yoyo is clear and not blurry, the lens distortion is not too big a deal.

And the fact of the matter is that most people don’t even own a dedicated camera these days. I know its sad and all that, and I used to be “that guy” who would always bemoan the LQ of smartphone pics, but quite honestly most phones of today take better pictures than what average joe used to use (ok, less lens distortion on closeups, but still). It is completely unreasonable to expect people to take yoyo pics with a digital camera. I don’t even have mine on me at the moment. I let my brother borrow my SLR when he went on vacation and I haven’t got it back yet.

I think codinghorror’s solution/compromise is a pretty good one. Most camera phones have crazy high resolutions, so even cropping out a decent amount of the picture will still result in a photo that is clear and detailed enough. But in the end, you will still have the majority of people taking potato quality pictures.

(YoYoStringLab) #35

Let’s make this super easy:

Distance from the the lens to yoyo is what matters regardless of what camera people are using.

10 inches will work, but I get the impression that the yoyo is rounder in shape than the actual yoyo.
12 inches is a good compromise between resolution and distortion.
15 or more gets the shape fairly square and looks accurate to the yoyo as I hold it.

Then crop or zoom in as desired. If you have optical zoom, like 2x on your phone, then definitely use that.

(ClockMonsterLA) #36

Oh, I agree completely. I just wanted to make people aware of what’s going on when they take closeup photos of things (yoyos in this case) with their smartphone cameras and the teeny-weeny wide angle lenses that are built into them. What people do with that information is up to them, and I agree that most folks will just discard that info since doing something with it will be too inconvenient.

But maybe, just maybe, one or two people will learn something here, take it to heart and change their photo-taking practices because they’ve decided that it matters to them (for whatever reason). That alone makes bringing it to their attention worth it in my view.

(Jordan Blofeld) #37

This is why I bought that compensation lens for my camera. That and the background compression
Super wide lenses can create cool photos though. This is 21mm on full frame.

(Jacob Waugh) #38

I’m afraid to google that to tell if you are joking,


Um, it is definitely a joke. I think he means it is an expensive wide angle lens. From my PC you can tell that the pic is extremely high quality, and quite frankly it makes me wish I had my expensive camera back.

(Jordan Blofeld) #40

21mm is wider on full frame cameras than most phone cameras. Most phone cameras have about a 24mm equivalent iirc. It depends on a lot of things like framing and distance from the camera. If you just shove the camera up your yoyos arse it’s gonna distort but if you bring it back the right amount that changes.