Try version 0.2 of the new CameraSim

Posted on October 26, 2015 by Jon Arnold

Thanks to everyone that tried the first preview of the new CameraSim. I so appreciate everyone’s time and valuable feedback! In this new v0.2 release, we inch forward with a few new features:

Focal Length

In additional to simulating physical distance from the subject, you can now dial in a focal length between 18mm and 55mm.  For now, I’m simulating a 1.6 cropped sensor since these are so common in the DSLR universe. Note how the level of zoom affects the depth of field.

Speaking of depth of field…

I’m hitting some technical limitations that are keeping this from being perfectly accurate, but I’ll continue fiddling with my formulas and improving this with each releases.


Move the new Focus slider to manually adjust the focus, or click the “Auto” button to autofocus on whatever is in front of the center focal point of the viewfinder. Even better: just click your mouse while it’s over the viewfinder to autofocus! Let me point out again that only the center focal point is active. This was partly to avoid programming complexity for the time being, but this is actually how I have my own camera set. (Not everyone agrees with this, but I’m a “focus, frame, shoot” kind of person and will be so until I’m in the cold, cold ground.)


There’s no shame in clicking around to all the different controls, but just know that it is so much faster (and more fun, I think) to use the shortcut controls. Here’s an example: left-mouse-drag to look around, right-mouse-drag to orbit the subject, scroll-wheel to move closer, left-mouse click to autofocus, then spacebar to snap the photo!

CameraSim v0.2 shortcut controls


This looks and sound more complex than it is, but give it a try and see what you think. (I don’t yet have a shortcut for focal length, so you’ll still have to drag that slider manually.)

Up next

Based on the feedback I got from the last release, I know many people are eager to see some exposure controls. Before I tackle that however, I’m going to implement multiple lenses and multiple subjects (and on-camera flash if I can fit it in). This, I think, will make the exposure controls more meaningful when I finally get them implemented.

Until then, check out the new (and still free) version 0.2 and keep the feedback coming!

  • Truelight

    Interesting and the focal length adjustment along with the ability to compose either landscape or portrait is nice. The dancing guy? Not so much. Without the ability to adjust shutter speed and thus teach motion freezing/blurring, he’s more of a distraction. I’d prefer static scenes with objects at different distances to teach depth of field, exposure, and focal length concepts. Your original program with the little girl in the park is still my favorite. Add some of this stuff to that model and it will be great!

  • Rodbm

    Missing all the adjustments, doesn’t help much with only a very few variables. I do have the Camera Sim

  • TehObLiVioUs

    I can’t wait until we get full manual mode!

  • Arjen

    I feel the same as Truelight. If it ain’t broke, …you know the saying ;-)

    I prefer the little windmill girl over the dancing guy. Maybe bring her back as a 3D windmill girl in the next update where you’ll have multiple subjects? The useful thing with the windmill girl was that you could adjust shutter speed to freeze the motion of the girl but still have motion blur in the windmill, and you could adjust shutter speed to freeze the motion of the windmill as well. With the dancing guy, there’s only one moving object (besides the leaves, but it’s hard to see motion blur in the leaves).

    It’s hard to auto focus on the dancing guy, he moves so quick! Can’t I just ask him to stand still for moment so I can focus? (I.e. pause button)

    Are the exposure settings (and tripod on/off) missing because this is an early version? Will you be adding them in an update? Those are the core features of CameraSim for teaching.

    Also I miss the exposure information at the bottom of the screen (where you can choose Canon or Nikon style).

    Adding camera flash would be awesome. Looking forward to that!

    BTW I’m curious what music is playing :-)

  • Iñigo Royo

    As i can not write english very fluently I will write first in spanish and later english.
    Estimado Jon, gracias por tus programas que a mí me han sido muy útiles para los cursos que imparto de fotografía. Tu programa de la niña me parece estupendo. Sin embargo, en tu nueva propuesta relacionada con el enfoque hay decisiones que has tomado que no acabo de comprender. ¿Por qué el individuo se mueve constantemente como si le hubiese dado un ataque de ansiedad? ¿Por qué sólo se puede enfocar con el sensor central de enfoque y no valoras la posibilidad de que haya una posibilidad en la que estén activos todos los sensores de enfoque, con las ventajas y problemas que esto tiene? Puedo ver al individuo desde múltiples puntos de vista pero, realmente, ¿eso qué utilidad tiene cuando estamos intentando explicar el funcionamiento del enfoque en las cámaras?
    Desde mi punto de vista los valores a tener en cuenta son:
    1 – Si empleamos una sola zona de enfoque o múltiples.
    1b – Si empleamos en la cámara enfoque normal o enfoque continuo

    2 – El objetivo que estamos empleando y su relación con la profundidad de campo.
    3 – La distancia al sujeto y la relación de esto con la profundidad de campo.
    4 – El diafragma empleado
    En cualquier caso, muchas gracias y te animo a que continúes con tu proyecto.
    Un cordial saludo.

    Dear Jon, I really apreciate your programs because, in my opinion, they are very useful in order to teach photography.
    But I would like to express some comments related with your last proposal around the focus.
    I can not understand why the man is continuosly moving. Is he depressed? In my opinion his movement has not any relation with the focus subject. We only can work with the central focus zone, why?
    And, for instance, the possibility of watching the guy from a cenital point of view is not very useful, do not you agree?
    In my opinion, the focus subject must include these items:
    1 . The possibility of using a focus zone or multiple focus zones.
    1b – Focus standard or continuos focus.
    2 – The focal lens and the depth of field.
    3 – The distance
    4 – The aperture
    In any case, thanks fot your work. I appreciate very much. Really.
    Mu best regards.

  • Ver JJ

    Well thanks to the new interphase, now I am able to capture this picture within 40 seconds after the game launches.

    • Micah Harshbarger

      I HAVE THE POWER !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Micah Harshbarger

    I like where this program is going. I also understand that it takes time to add the different functions in. There’s a lot going on just to add something that seems simple on the user end.

    The only issue I had really is that the motions move around way to fast and kinda jerky. I even slowed my mouse all the way down in my system but it didn’t change anything. The slightest move would send the screen way past where I wanted to frame it. It took me about 10 minutes to be able to look through the arm of the bench, and even then I wasn’t able to get it exactly where i wanted it. Going semi-freestyle is great to look around and figure out generally what shot you want, but sliders would be nice to tweak it to exactly where you want. Perhaps that could be a part of the ‘tripod’ mode? :)

    Please keep doing what you are doing, it’s looking great. :D