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What do the new Facebook smart glasses mean for the future of photography?

Facebook's Ray-Ban Stories
(Image credit: Ray–Ban / Facebook)

Facebook recently unveiled its latest product – a pair of smart glasses produced in collaboration with Ray–Ban. While we've seen other smart glasses before, such as the Google Glass and Snapchat's Spectacles, these new glasses from Facebook lack the augmented reality features that others boast.

Instead, the Ray–Ban Stories are focused on enabling users to capture photos and videos, listen to music and answer phone calls. For this ambitious array of tech to become a reality, Facebook had to pack an optimized Snapdragon processor, dual 5MP camera sensors, a battery and speakers into the classic Ray-Ban Wayfarer, Round or Meteor frames.

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Red lights on the frames alert others when your Ray-Ban Stories are recording  (Image credit: Ray-Ban)

The Facebook View companion app for iOS and Android has also launched in conjunction with Ray–Ban Stories. This app is designed to give users an easy way to import, edit and share any content captured on the smart glasses – and if you're wondering whether you can only upload to Facebook-owned social media platforms, you'll be pleasantly surprised. Users should be able to upload content to Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat and more. 

It will be interesting to see how the Ray–Ban Stories will be received. While we've seen other smart glasses appear over the past few years, there hasn't yet seemed to have been a product that has truly connected with consumers in the same way that smart watches have. 

It's possible that focusing on content creation rather than augmented reality could be the winning factor for Facebook and Ray–Ban. Being able to quickly capture photos and video without having to get out your phone could potentially give rise to a whole new host of viral content. The only potential sticking point we could see is the 5MP camera sensors, as we wonder whether these will be good enough quality to please photo and enthusiasts - although video is recorded at 1184x1184 pixels @30fps - which is at least slightly better than Full HD. 

Ray–Ban Stories are now available in the US, UK, Italy, Australia, Ireland and Canada, starting at $299 / £299 / AU$449. 

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Louise Carey

With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something at which she is so adept that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Louise also brings years of experience as both a web and print journalist, having served as features editor for Practical Photography magazine and contributing photography tutorials and camera analysis to titles including Digital Camera Magazine and  Digital Photographer. Louise currently shoots with the Fujifilm X-T200 and the Nikon D800, capturing self-portraits and still life images, and is DCW's ecommerce editor, meaning that she knows good camera, lens and laptop deals when she sees them.