Posts Published in January 2010

Lady Gaga Interview at CES 2010

Here’s a brief interview with Lady Gaga by MSNBC. Aside from her distracting hat, she makes an interesting point about how Polaroid’s traditional medium, the instant camera, is “tangible,” and how the company is struggling to find a place for itself in a digital world. Strange as it may be, she might be key (though maybe in name) to bringing Polaroid back.

Breathtaking Photorealistic CG Animation

Computer-generated animation has come a long way in recent years and has made films more and more realistic, from the photographic-technique effects in Pixar’s WALL-E, to the stunning landscapes in Avatar. The Third & The Seventh by Alex Roman is a great example of just how beautiful and realistic CG animations can be. It’s an artistic piece dealing with architecture and photography, and you’ll notice many camera techniques throughout the film.

Before I learned it was fully computer generated, I actually had no idea, and thought it was simply beautiful filming. The video is actually going viral, with over 200,000 views in the past two days. If you don’t believe it was CG, check out the following video, which is similar to a “behind-the-scenes” look into how some of the scenes were created:

There’s also a separate “making-of” video for a particular shot, if you’re interested.

Be sure to view it full screen for maximum effect, and be ready to be blown away!

Aerial Photography with iPhone-Controlled Quadricopter

This is one of the coolest gadgets we’ve seen in quite some time. The Parrot AR.Drone is a quadricopter that you control visually through wifi using your iPhone or iPod touch. The quadricopter has a built in camera that displays the real time view of the drone on your screen while you control it. We’re not sure if still photography or video capabilities are built in, but this could open the door to making simple aerial photography accessible to the general public.

What’s even cooler is the fact that the AR.Drone comes with augmented reality games for both single and multiplayer. This means the real world is turned into the battleground, and you can either have aerial fights with virtual enemies or your friend’s quadricopter!

Parrot is currently showing off the carbon-fiber toy at CES 2010 in Las Vegas, and there isn’t any word on the pricing or availability yet. If the price is anything reasonable, you can be sure these things are going to be flying off shelves!

To whet your appetite even more, here’s a super-awesome video demonstrating how the AR.Drone works:

(via PDNPulse)

CES 2010 Pre-Game News Roundup

The Consumer Electronics Show hasn’t even officially begun, but product announcements and press releases are already flying around.

There are plenty of new, amazing, and often routinely updated camera features, point-and-shoots, and swanky add-ons like the upgraded Eye-Fi 8GB Pro X2. In addition to our regular content, we’ll be discussing some of the gear on PetaPixel and sharing noteworthy photo-related news links over the next few days as CES kicks off.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HXV5 has GPS Feature

Sony’s got an interesting concept: the Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V features a built-in GPS and compass, on top of the included Sony G 25mm-equivalent lens, 10x optical zoom, and a 10-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, a full HD video mode, and 10fps. Impressive. However, for consumers who already have a functioning GPS system or a smart phone, GPS as a camera feature seems a bit redundant.

Read the Sony release here.

Sony starts new line of SD memory

Sony made a surprising announcement that they are to produce a new line of SD memory cards. In the press release, Sony claims the inclusion of SD technology in more products, along with manufacturing Sony branded cards will “compliment Sony’s existing Memory Stick line, satisfying the needs of a broader range of users.”

Read the release here.

Kodak and Canon release Wi-Fi enabled printers paired with Apps

Kodak’s new ESP 6150/ESP7250 models (ESP 7250 shown on left) are compatible with the Kodak Pic flick application which allows smartphone users to print images directly.

Canon multifunction printers (Pixma MX870 on right) also utilize the new Easy-PhotoPrint EX application for the Apple iPhone.

Read more on Kodak and Canon printers.

LaCie’s WhizKey and CooKey modern USB design

While not directly photo-related, the new LaCie key-shaped USB defices are worth a second look. LaCie came out with the innovative design last year, but jazzed the 2010 with faster transfer rates and a more durable handle.

Take a look here.


More cool news and products:

Stay tuned for more CES 2010 news and product finds later today on PetaPixel.

Odd Romance: Lady Gaga Partners with Polaroid

Whether you love her or hate her, music artist Lady Gaga’s made an interesting new business venture, expanding what she dubs her “Haus of Gaga” into the world of Polaroid. Famed for its square, white-framed instant gratification photography, the company seems to suit her. According to a Polaroid press release, Gaga will be the new creative director for a specialty line of Polaroid products.

She’ll actually be making an appearance to discuss her new line and partnership with Polaroid at the Consumer Electronics Show, which kicks off tomorrow in Las Vegas.

Polaroid’s been an iconic presence in the consumer photography world for over half a century, and music culture seems to have a special place in its heart for the company … or at least OutKast did (“Shake it like a Polaroid picture”). It’s a stretch, but Gaga indirectly references photography in her song, Paparazzi. Whatever the connection might be, keep an eye out for more info at CES from Polaroid, which has now focused its photo business arm onto digital photography.

Lady Gaga will be making speaking at the Polaroid booth tomorrow at 10:45am, and Gaga-inspired products are set to be released late 2010.


Image Credit: Lady Gaga publicity photo from LadyGaga.com

14 Hours of Walking in Stop-Motion

Here’s a video for your inspiration that shows what can be accomplished through good ol’ fashioned dedication and hard work. These guys started in Toronto, Canada, and walked for 26 miles over 14 hours to produce this mesmerizing stop-motion video. Enjoy!

At the end of Yonge St (thx @chechwolf)


Update: In case you didn’t know, Yonge Street was formerly listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest street in the world, at 1,178 mi/1,896 km.

MIOPS: Smartphone Controllable High Speed Camera Trigger

MIOPS is a new smartphone-controlled camera trigger that combines all of the features photographers want in a high-speed camera trigger into one convenient device.

Read more…

Ginormous 5200mm Canon Lens on eBay

If you have an extra $45,000 lying around, you might still be able to purchase the Canon 5200mm f/14 lens that was listed on eBay last month. It ended on December 14th with 0 bids (I wonder why…). Here’s a screenshot, in case the listing is removed:

Here’s an old advertisement that was displayed on the auction, demonstrating the power of the lens:

For an even better idea of how powerful the magnification of this lens is, here’s a video made with the lens attached to a video camera:

Some of the facts and figures listed in the auction and on the video page are pretty interesting… The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 393ft/120m. It weighs 220lb,100kg without its stand. In a flyer promoting the lens, Canon states that,

This is the only ultra-telephoto lens in the world capable of taking photographs of objects 18 to 32 miles away (30km to 52kms away). Having a focal length of 5200mm, Canon Mirror Lens 5200mm can obtain one hundred times as large an object image as that of a 50mm lens.

What’s even more interesting, is that if used with a DSLR with a crop factor (i.e. Canon 50D), the lens is effectively a 8320mm lens. Wowzers.

Obviously, this lens isn’t very practical for things aside from spying on someone across a city, or staring at some portion of the moon. It seems like the lens would primarily be used for astrophotography. Can you think of any other examples of where this focal length could be useful?

(via PDNPulse)

Canon Announces the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II

The mystery of the disappearing Canon lenses deepens. Today, Canon announced the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. The first version of this lens is among Canon’s most highly regarded (and expensive) lenses, so if this second version delivers on all its improvement claims, then it’s sure to be another home run.

Here are some of the important improvements you should be aware of:

Durability

Canon claims that the new lens has been redesigned for better strength and durability without a significant increase in weight. The weight is increasing from 3.24lb/1.47kg to 3.28lb/1.49kg, and increase of about one percent.

Optics

The internals of the lens have been redesigned and added to, leading to less chromatic aberration and higher contrast and resolution. Canon has pretty lofty goals for this lens, and claims that it will become “the leader of Canon’s L-series lenses,” a title arguably attained by the first version.

Focusing

The algorithm behind focusing has been improved, leading to faster AF speeds. In addition, the minimum focusing distance of this lens has been reduced from 4.6ft/1.4m to 3.9ft/1.2m, which allows you to get significantly closer to your subject than you could before. This give the new lens the same minimum focusing distance as the f/4 versions of the 70-200mm.

Design

A common complaint with the first version of the lens was that the auto/manual focus switch gets bumped easily. Some photographers worked around this problem by covering up the switch with tape. While it’s unknown whether this particular annoyance has been resolved in the new lens, the “UI” of the lens has been redesigned, and the thickness of certain components such as the switch panel has been reduced, leading to a sleeker-looking lens.

Pricing and Availability

The lens will be available at the end of February 2010, with the price reportedly set at £2,799.99, or roughly $4,500.

Conclusion

It looks like the rumors going around about big Canon announcements are starting to come true. However, Canon is acting somewhat unusual in announcing such a significant lens so quietly before CES, which starts Thursday. Even more curious is the fact that Canon will not be attending PMA next month, which is where pro-oriented gear is usually announced.

Regardless, we expect more announcements coming from Canon in the near future (possibly the 24-70mm f/2.8 IS?), so stay tuned!

A Polaroid Camera LEGO Needs to Offer

If you’re a fan of Polaroid instant film, then 2010 might soon become a great year for you. The classic instant film format is making a comeback through the Impossible Project, so it might be time to dust off your old Polaroid cameras (if the redesigned format is compatible, that is).

To trigger some nostalgia and anticipation for the film’s comeback, the above photograph is a Polaroid 1000 camera built with LEGO blocks. Sadly, the camera doesn’t work, and only spits out pretend photos. However, with the number of people who love both Polaroid and LEGOs, a working version of this thing would surely be on everyone’s wishlist the instant it’s released.

LEGO Polaroid (via MAKE)

Get Ready for 14-Megapixel Camera Phones

Camera phones may soon offer more megapixels than some DSLR cameras. Imaging company OmniVision announced today that they have developed a 14.6-megapixel image sensor that will fit in cell phones. These sensors are capable of both high-resolution still photography and 1080p high-definition video recording.

I wonder how long it will be before camera phone imaging quality rivals the quality of the best point-and-shoot cameras.

(via Photography Bay)