Posts Published in February 2010

PMA 2010: Underwater Point-and-Shoot Cameras a Trend this Year

Underwater housing units for DSLR bodies can cost upwards of $1499 at most distributors. Waterproof cases for point-and-shoots already average $150. But this year, a major trend in most camera companies is the point-and-shoot designed for underwater use and toss-around durability at a competitive cost.

Around the show at PMA 2010, almost every major point-and-shoot manufacturer had a new array of cameras ready for surf, sand, snow and hard falls.

Here’s a sampling:

Olympus

8010_front

Scott Hennessey and the crew at Olympus let me shoot around the booth with a prototype of the Olympus Stylus Tough 8010, which is due for release this March for about $399.

This camera was particularly noteworthy because as far as I could tell, it’s got the ability to remain watertight up to 33 feet underwater, while most other brands ranged between 10-16 feet.

It is also shockproof for a drop up to 6.6. feet, freezeproof at 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and crushproof (LCD and all), able to withstand up to 220 pounds of pressure; it will take a lot to kill this camera.

And standard for a lot of point-and-shoots, this camera shoots 14 megapixel stills and  720p movies.

I took a few images with the Tough 8010 in the water at the Olympus booth. The first one is of the other Olympus waterproof camera, the Stylus Tough 3000 which is a bit more standard, waterproof up to 10 feet and shockproof to 5 feet and a price tag of $229:

Samsung

Samsung’s AQ100 waterproof camera looks pretty fresh, available in black, aqua blue, and red. It’s slim with a 0.78 inch thickness, and will sell for about $199 this spring.

Sony

Sony’s stylish Cybershot TX5 has one of the cleanest designs for a shockproof (5 ft), waterproof (10ft) and freezeproof (14 F) camera. It’s also dust-resistant and has a touchscreen.

Casio

The Casio Exilim EX-G1 is also pretty heavy duty, surviving falls of up to seven feet. It’s also waterproof to 10 ft, dustproof, and freeze proof to 14 F. It’s also got software built in for easy uploads to YouTube.

Other Waterproof and Durability Gear

Also at the show, several companies, such as Delkin Devices, showed off their new accessories to compliment waterproof, durable cameras.

The Delkin Devices Jellyfish is basically a pouch for a small point and shoot, coupled with a floating ball. It’s simple, with a little fun: the flotation device includes a little bottle opener.

For more practical use, Delkin has also released a super durable CF card called the Combat Flash:

The Combat Flash capacity ranges from 4GB to 32 GB, and boasts a fast transfer speed at 91 mb/s, 625 x. It has sealed components to protect from moisture or submersion, can last at an altitude of 80,000 feet, and can withstand temperatures from -58 degrees F to 212 degrees F. It can also handle most shock and gunfire vibration.

Prices range from $84 – $329.

No word yet on whether they’re developing an SD version (obviously, durability works much better with CF cards), but they do have a shock and weatherproof tote for 8 SD cards:

Fotobabble Helps You Make Talking Photos

Fotobabble is a newly launched service that allows you to add a short audio clip to photographs via either your computer or iPhone (using their free application).

Here’s the description on their website:

Fotobabble lets you create talking photos in two clicks. Simply upload a photo and then record your voice directly through your computer to create a talking photo. You can easily share it by e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or embed it into a blog or website.

It’s free and all completely web-based. No software to download, just register and get started in seconds.

Here’s an example Fotobabble found on the website that we embedded into this post:

(via PhotographyBLOG)

Exploded by Adam Voorhes

Here’s an amazing and unique project by Adam Voorhes, titled Exploded.

Adam tells us,

So, I’m a commercial artist… most of my time is spent on client work. That’s always my first priority. But when I have the chance I like to play. I get really excited about exploring objects. I go through phases where I focus on a technique and do a small series. There was a period a few months back where all I wanted to do was make 3D photos. I tend to have a long list of sketches and idea that I want to try. They don’t always work, but this ‘Exploded’ project seems to have gone over well.

It started a few years ago with an art director friend of mine, Torquil Dewar. He always wanted me to levitate stereo equipment for his magazine and we got pretty good at pulling it off. Once he even convinced a manufacturer to let us disassemble an amp and we did an exploded view of it. This project was just the next step. Simple objects analyzed in a very simple way.

I was doing a test with a stylist and we dismantled a couple of things and started these photos. The amount of work that went in to each one of these images was insane. Objects are hung from wires, floated on glass and stacked on acrylic blocks. I tried to keep the light very simple and objective. I do as much as I can in front of the camera to minimize the post production. I wish I could have captured everything in a single shot but I did have to do some compositing and clean up to get to the final product. When I did the frog photo my producer Robin dissected a few frogs and we hung all of the parts. That image required the most work, and she was diligent in finding the perfect organs!

I guess it was a long road to such simple imagery, but I’m really happy with the final product.

To see more of Adam’s work, you can visit his website.


Image credits: Photographs by Adam Voorhes and used with permission.

Shoot New Places by Tossing a Coin

Here’s a neat idea I came across yesterday: tossing a coin to explore your city or town.

Since the summer of 2004, Gavin Edwards has been taking walks from his home near the World Trade Center site in NYC and using a coin to determine his destination.

Periodically, I would leave my house and flip a coin. If it was heads, I’d go left. If it was tails, I’d go right. At every intersection, I’d flip the coin again: after an hour, I’d stop and photograph whatever block I was on.

If you enjoy street photography but need some motivation, perhaps give this a shot!

48 Hours from Ground Zero (via Boing Boing)


Image credit: chance by Vinay Deep

Housing Project Demolition in Stop Motion

Yesterday we posted a mind-boggling video of water drops at 2000 fps. The above video is pretty neat in a different way – it shows the Cabrini-Green building in Chicago being demolished over a period of months using stop motion.

(via Boing Boing)

Vans and the Places They Were

Vans and the places where they were is an ongoing project started in 1996 by Joe Stevens, a filmmaker and photographer based in New York City.

Joe tells us,

This project examines the juxtaposition between the van’s aesthetic and that of the surrounding architectural and natural elements, and asks us to consider whether that has occurred consciously, subconsciously or as a result of pure chance. Sometimes I am drawn to situations which suggest that perhaps the driver chose this arrangement on purpose or it seems as if the van may have somehow chosen the arrangement itself. I am also drawn to instances where the arrangement creates conflict.

I suppose the answer will come with each individual’s reading of the images. Clearly there is pride which comes with owning something which is unusual and one of the last of its kind. In cases where the vehicle has been customized by the owner it presents a glimpse into that individual’s personality and evidence of the human compulsion to turn something which was stamped out on an assembly line into something which is more strongly indicative who we are. Whether or not we might describe it as such, each of us makes hundreds of art-direction choices every day. This project asks whether something as seemingly mundane as choosing a parking spot is actually one of them.

You can view more photographs from this project here.


Image credits: Photographs by Joe Stevens and used with permission.

Standard Getty Photographer Olympic Kit

There are some pretty amazing photographs of the Olympic games coming out of Vancouver these days. If you’re wondering what photographers are shooting with, Pocket-lint has the lowdown on what Getty provides its photographers:

As for the kind of kit you’ll need for the job, well typically, Getty Images supplies its men with 2 x Nikon D3s DSLRs, a 24-70mm lens, a 400mm lens, a 500/600mm lens, a 1.4x teleconverter just to make sure, a tonne of spare batteries and a deck full of memory cards. The photographer would also be wise to add thermal underwear and boots, an extra set of clothes to put on when in position as well as lots and lots of chocolate. The aim of the game is to have everything you could possibly need and generally at least two of them. It’s a long way back down the mountain.

Sounds like it’s not just the athletes who need physical training for the Olympic games.

(via Gizmodo)

Paparazzi Lose Chance at Million Dollar Tigers Woods Photo

There will one less millionaire paparazzo in the world.

The first public photograph of Tiger Woods after he reemerged from Tigergate was one of the most highly sought after photographs, and major paparazzi agencies estimated that the photo would bring in over $1 million in worldwide distribution profits.

However, the first photos that emerged (Tiger going on a jog) were not shot through the lens of a paparazzo, but were instead released through Getty Images, the subscription-based photo agency. This effectively wiped out the value of any paparazzi photograph, and provided the photograph to most media outlets for relatively nothing.

Paparazzi photographs can occasionally fetch astronomical prices – photos of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s newborn twins reportedly fetched $14 million.

(via Silber Studios)


Image credit: Tiger Woods by Keith Allison

Digital Cameras With Detached LCDs

We’ve been seeing this idea floating around in concept cameras and new camera accessories, so it might be a coming trend in digital photography: detached LCD screens.

Xi Zhu Concept Camera

This isn’t an actual product, but rather a concept camera by designer Xi Zhu. The idea is that while the LCD and camera are normally held together with magnets, the LCD can also be detached and held by the subject of the photograph, allowing them to instantly view the photos, and delete those they don’t approve of. The photographer shoots through the optical viewfinder, and doesn’t actually get to see the resulting photographs, delegating chimping responsibilities to the subject.

Pixel LV-WI Wireless Live View Remote Control

Unlike the above concept, LV-W1 Wireless Live View Remote Control by Pixel Enterprise Limited is an actual product you can buy for your DSLR (for $335). Though the photographer can still see instant feedback on their camera, the remote receives the Live View wireless through the 2.4GHz band and displays it on a 3 inch screen. It works by attaching a transmitter to the camera’s hotshoe, and allows you to operate the shutter remotely.

This can also be done through your iPhone or iPod Touch using onOne Software’s DSLR Camera Remote application, though this app requires wifi and a laptop.

(via Yanko Design and Engadget)


Thanks for the tip @eugenephoto!

PMA 2010: Fujifilm Showcases Diverse Camera Line, from 3D to Medium Format

The vast range of the new Fujifilm camera lines might explain how Fujifilm, the imaging-specific company placed 19th on the list of top US patents filed in 2009.

In addition to its existing line of point-and-shoots and digital hybrid bodies, Fujifilm has also been developing a 3D camera paired with special 3D photo and video digital viewers, an improved instant photo line, and a new medium format camera. A booth rep said that Fujifilm’s major selling point is their “commitment to photography in all forms,” which resulted in their wide spectrum of cameras this year.

3D Imaging

Fujifilm’s FinePix REAL 3D W1 camera had a limited release on the Fujifilm store site in 2009, and carries a hefty price of $599.

I spoke to the 3D imaging product manager Jim Calverley at PMA, who said the reasoning behind the price was because Fujifilm wanted the product to be available for serious 3D photographers who would appreciate the functionality of the camera, and would be less likely to return the equipment. At the same time, Calverley said, “Don’t expect to film the next Avatar on this handheld camera.”

Nevertheless, this point-and-shoot sized camera can produce some pretty fascinating images and video — that is, if you’ve got an eye for what would work well with the 3D style. Calverley said that the 3D technique works best with images that have many layers of depth — not necessarily depth of field in photo terms, which is entirely different. Depth of field for traditional camerasrefers to the distance and section of a photograph that is in focus (like a single flower, sharp against a blurred field in the background), whereas 3D photographers shoot images that have multiple layers or depth in a compositional sense, layering  a flower in front, a person behind, and the field in the background.

The camera takes two images at a time, much like how the human eyes see images: with two separate lenses.

Images taken with the camera can be viewed in several different ways — and top of the price of the original camera:

  • The photos can be sent to Fujifilm’s print site, seehere.com, to be turned into lenticular prints for $6.99 each.
  • The camera comes with PC software so the images can be viewed on a computer, BUT they will only be in 2D. To enjoy the 3D, the photographer has to have 3D applications such as NVIDIA 3D Vision system, or software like Stereo Photo Maker. You’ll also need glasses. There is also a display that can be used with polarized glasses, much like the ones provided for 3D showings for Avatar and current 3D movies, but it’s pretty pricey for the average consumer as well.
  • Fujifilm has a special digital viewer, the FinePix REAL 3D V1, which allows the images to be viewed with the naked eye, but this gadget is almost as expensive as the camera, at $499.

The prices are pretty high since the use of the technology on a consumer level is new, but Calverley said,” We’re casting a wider net this year,” and that the products will be more widely available to see and test at local camera dealers.

New Instax Cameras

Back to a more practical and affordable consumer level, Fujifilm is also releasing new models of Instax, their instant camera line, which now includes the Instax mini 7s for around $99 and the smaller Instax mini 25 for about $119. There is also a new wide-format Instax 210.

The Instax mini 25 (pictured on the left) is especially geared for the youthful consumer; it comes equipped with a small self-portrait mirror next to the lens opening.

The Fujifilm reps said that the cameras, especially the wide image format, are popular in fashion photography, when quick images and headshots are demanded. Interestingly, another industry, so to speak, that the cameras are in demand  for is the law enforcement and crime scene investigators; these instant shots cannot be digitally manipulated and have a higher integrity and faster tangibility than digital or film.

Medium Format

fuji_mediumformat

For film fanatics, Fujifilm also boasts a new GF670 medium format camera for pros. The camera is projected to be released in April 2010 for an MSRP of $1995.

The camera features a folding 80mm Fujinon lens, which gives the camera a lightweight, compact feel and a nostalgic look. (Mouse-over the image to see the side view.)

It also has an electronic metering system and rangefinder, PC flash cord port, and up to 3200 ISO.  It can shoot in 6×6 format or 6×7.

Another breath of relief for film fans: the booth rep also said that any whispers or rumors about Fujifilm discontinuing any type of their film are rumors; they’re doing better than most film companies, he added.

In any case, it looks like a big year for Fujifilm.