Posts Published in December 2009

Nikon Cameras May Soon Include Email

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According to a patent filed in June 2007, Nikon is looking into adding an email client directly into their point-and-shoot cameras (DSLR users can breathe a sigh of relief). This would allow people to quickly email photographs from their cameras, rather than have to transfer them to a computer first.

Obviously this is being done more and more these days through the use of cameraphones, and having email capabilities in a camera might not be very useful unless the camera can access the Internet from anywhere. However, email capabilities would be extremely useful on a trip if you don’t have your laptop with you.

What do you think of this idea? Do point-and-shoot cameras need email?

(via Nikon Rumors)

Thoughts on Tumblr’s Camera Statistics

tumblrlogoIn a post published on their blog yesterday, Tumblr revealed some interesting data on cameras and Canon lenses uploaded to the blogging service, presumably harvested from the EXIF data of each photo.

While much of the data reflects what we know about camera popularity through other means, like Flickr’s Camera Finder and Amazon’s bestselling list, there are certain bits and pieces that we found interesting and would like to highlight.

First, take a look at the chart of cameras sorted in descending order of popularity:

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Aside from the fact that people seem to love posting Photo Booth images to their Tumblrs, what caught my eye was the fact that high-end Canon DSLRs (i.e. Canon 5D) seem to be dominating the prosumer lineup (i.e. Canon 40D). On Flickr, all the prosumer DSLRs except the 10D and 50D are represented more than the 5D. Not sure why Tumblr doesn’t reflect the same thing, since photographers more serious about photography seem to gravitate towards Flickr rather than Tumblr.

Like on Flickr, the 50D lags behind the 40D significantly, showing that photographers (myself included), really didn’t see much of a reason to upgrade, and that new purchasers might have opted for a new or used 5D instead.

I think the lens chart that was posted is a bit more interesting, especially since Flickr doesn’t have a corresponding “Lens Finder”:

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Here’s my main question: Why on earth is the Canon 50mm 1.8 more represented on Tumblr than the Canon 50mm 1.8 Mk II? The original 50mm 1.8 was discontinued in 1990, and is rare enough nowadays to be selling on eBay for more than double the Mark II, which you can purchase cheaply left and right. Maybe they’re not as rare as we think, but are instead simply being hoarded by photographers who prefer it over the plastic Mark II?

If anyone has any theories or answers to these points that we’ve brought up, let’s discuss them in the comments!

Tumblr camera stats (via CrunchGear)


Image credit: Charts by Tumblr

Customize Your Bokeh with the Bokeh Masters Kit

bmklogoHere’s yet another interesting camera accessory that might make a good present this Christmas season.

Back in April of 2007, Udi Tirosh over at DIYPhotography wrote an article describing how to customize your bokeh using a paper cutout in front of your lens. That do-it-yourself project was so successful that Udi has now turned it into a camera accessory you can purchase. Behold, the Bokeh Masters Kit:

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Using the “Bokehtinator” in the kit, you can change the way light enters the lens, giving your bokeh (out of focus light points) creative shapes. Here are some example photographs with custom bokeh:

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The full kit costs $25, and comes with both pre-cut and uncut disks that you can place in the disk holder. The uncut disks allow you to create truly custom shapes by cutting them out yourself using an exacto-knife.

We’ll be giving away two of these kits in early January 2010, see stay tuned for that. We wish Udi the best of luck on this new venture!

Bokeh Masters Kit (via DIYPhotography)

Fathers of Digital Photography win Nobel Prize in Physics

boyleandsmithThe technology behind DSLRs, video cameras, web cams, and even astrophotography and medical imaging would not be where it is today without the combined ingenuity of Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith, who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics today in Stockholm.

In 1969, Boyle and Smith invented the first digital imaging sensor, the charge-coupled device, or the CCD sensor. The two scientists developed CCD technology from 1921 Nobel Prize predecessor Albert Einstein’s theory of the photoelectric effect, through which light is converted into electrons. In short, CCD sensors capture the electron signals in the form of image points, or pixels.

The invention of the CCD sensor ushered in the digital age of photography, facilitating distribution of photographs and broadening the use of digital imaging into the fields of medicine and astronomy.

Currently, CCD sensors are still employed in a variety of cameras such as the Hasselblad digital H series (which costs as much as a high-end economy car), the entry-level Nikon D40, and the average phone camera and webcam, including the Apple iSight.

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CCD sensors, which are generally recognized as more mature since they were developed earlier, tend to be preferred when high sensitivity, accurate color, and more pixels are needed. Thus, CCD sensors are also used in the Hubble Space Telescope and medical imaging. Also, smaller cameras, like webcams and compact digital cameras, have smaller sensors, so the CCD sensor can compensate for the reduced sensor area, which usually results in lower light sensitivity and higher noise.

Most modern DSLRs use complimentary metal-oxide semiconductor sensors, or CMOS — you’ll usually see this listed next to most camera specs. CMOS sensors have lineage from CCD sensors, capturing light in the same way.

CMOS sensors took over the camera industry over the last decade, mostly because they are cheaper to manufacture, as they’re made like a computer microchip. Additionally, they require less energy to capture an image, and thus require a smaller battery, which is more friendly and practical for the average consumer. Most modern CMOS sensors are also have a built-in image processor, unlike CCD sensors, which is solely devoted to capturing light, and has a separate unit to process image data.

CMOS and CCD sensors have a complementary relationship; neither is considered particularly superior to the other, especially as technology continues to improve for both.

And as technology advances, so does mankind. The Nobel Prize for inventing the CCD celebrates not only the innovation of Boyle and Smith, but the far-reaching impact of photography on humanity through technology, communication, aesthetics, and science.

For more information about the Nobel Prize winners, visit the Nobel Prize site.


Image Credit: Boyle and Smith mugshots by the National Academy of Engineering, CCD by GEEZETH

Dancing to Music in Timelapse

Here’s your daily dose of (semi)photographic inspiration: Musical duo Gloobic put together this creative video in which Eric Gunther, one of the two members, dances to a Gloobic track in timelapse. I’ve never seen choreographed dancing in timelapse before, and there were all sorts of different words that went through my head as I was watching this (i.e. awesome, hilarious, strange, creative, and difficult). Keep an eye out for the guy who stops to take a close-up picture. Hilarious!

It’s pretty amazing what two guys and a little creativity can accomplish.

I wonder what the dancing looked like in real time, and what onlookers were thinking during the shots where the cameraman is pretty far away. It must have been somewhat bizarre.

If you liked the music, you can purchase the duo’s latest album, Music for Nothing on Amazon.

If you know of any other examples of time-lapse dancing, please share a link to it in the comments!

Here the Nothing by Gloobic

SnapHaven Offers Lifetime Guaranteed Photo Storage

snapheavenlogoBack in September we wrote an article discussing how difficult it is to keep digital photographs safe for a really, really long time. We mentioned that storing your images with a reliable service like Amazon is probably much safer than trying to archive data yourself, since you’re probably not an expert at doing so.

The problem is, although services like Amazon’s S3 storage service are probably among the safest options you have, the companies behind them don’t guarantee that your data won’t be lost. If your data is lost or damaged, the only thing companies like Amazon lose is their reputation and probably you as a customer.

Swiss Data Group, another data storage company, is offering a photo storage service in which they put their eggs in the same basket as yours: SnapHaven. They guarantee the lifetime storage of your data (99 years), and will return double your money in the case of any data loss or corruption. This might not seem like a good deal, but it’s much more than what Amazon guarantees, and the first photo storage service of its kind. I can’t see how they’d offer more than double money-back, since that might be making a promise they can’t possibly keep.

What’s even more attractive for photographers is the pricing model that SnapHaven offers. Rather than charge a recurring fee for storage and additional fees for data transfer like Amazon and similar cloud services, SnapHaven charges a one time fee of 3¢ per image for lifetime storage.

If you’re looking for a service to safely store your images for an extended period of time, you now have a pretty appealing alternative to Amazon and Rackspace.

SnapHaven (via The Imaging Resource)

Aputure Gigtube: A Shutter Release with Live View

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Here’s a little DSLR accessory that might be a great Christmas present for a photographer you know. The Aputure Gigtube is a “remote viewfinder” that allows you to use the “live view” functionality of your camera off-camera. You can either mount it on your hot-shoe, or use it separately as a remote shutter release.

This off-camera view allows you to use you to compose shots in situations that you previously had to guess in. For example, you could have your camera high above you head on a monopod, yet still compose your photo using the off-camera live view. It’s also great for self-portraits and for shooting video, since the LCD swivels like the detachable LCD screens in point-and-shoot cameras.

The Aputure Gigtube is currently priced between $189-$190, and can be found for pretty much any Canon or Nikon camera that supports Live View.

Aputure Gigtube on Amazon (via Imaging Insider)

Photographers Must Think Outside the Box

Just came across this hilarious animation of two guys discussing “thinking outside the box”. Now, I guess these guys could be anyone from philosophers to painters, but I like to think they’re photographers who are trying too hard to be “artistic”. Enjoy.

Doesn’t the conversation sound like something you might hear between two students in a photography class?

outside the box by joseph Pelling (via A Photo Editor)

Create and Share Lighting Diagrams on Your iPhone with Strobox

stroboxlogoStrobox is a new iPhone application that allows you to easily create and share lighting diagrams. It’s completely free, and you can download it now from the App Store.

According to DIYPhotography, the application will be part of an upcoming community website that will be launched in another half year. Here’s the product image as found on the official page:

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For a web-based alternative, try the Online Lighting Diagram Creator.

Strobox (via DIYPhotography)

FocalPop is Like a Stock Photo Competition

focalpopJust launched today, FocalPop is a new online marketplace that tries to harness the power of crowd-sourcing. The concept is very similar to thematic photo competitions such as Photo Friday or DPChallenge, where a keyword or theme is provided, and photographers submit suitable photographs to the competition.

The difference is that buyers looking for a particular kind of photograph are the ones submitting the keywords and themes, and are ultimately the ones that choose which photograph “wins”. The photographer behind the winning image releases the high-res version of the image to the buyer, and receives 70% of the price that the buyer placed on the competition.

Here’s a screenshot of a completed competition where the buyer paid $142 for a photograph of a “Happy Dog” (while we’re on the topic of happy dogs, check out this comic strip by Dinosaur Comics):

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I think the idea is pretty interesting and executed well from what I’ve seen so far. The design of the service reminds me a little of threadless, with brightish colors and a distinctly Web 2.0 feel.

FocalPop (via photography review)