Posts Published in April 2010

Holga Medium-Format 3D Stereo Camera

The Holga 120 3D Stereo Camera is a plastic, medium-format camera that captures two slightly offset images at the same time on 120 film. The resulting images are then viewable in stereo 3D using the special Holga 120 3D Slide Viewer. The camera itself costs $100, but for $150 you also get the 3D viewer, some 120 film, and a set of slide mounts.

If you’d prefer doing 3D photography digitally, Fujifilm’s FinePix REAL 3D W1 can do the trick, though, with an MSRP of $600, it costs nearly six times as much.

(via Gizmodo)

Send Your Best Images into Photo Battle is a fun little web application that pits two submitted photographs against each other and asks the visitor to vote on which photo they think is better. Of course it’s entirely subjective, and photos can be of different types and flavors, but it’s an interesting way to see what the general public thinks of your work compared to other photos.

You can submit up to 9 of your photographs into photobattle, and the 10 most successful photographs are displayed on a scoreboard.

The app was built using Rails by Canada-based developer Kyle Fox. Fox also works for Fotojournal, a newly launched photoblogging service that we covered recently.

If any of your photographs make the top 10 list, leave a comment letting us know!

Thanks for the tip Noah!

Sigma 8-16mm Uber-Wide Angle Lens

Sigma announced yesterday that the upcoming 8-16mm f4-5.6 DC HSM, first announced at PMA 2010, will have a retail price of £799.99.

While it’s not an accurate measure of what the lens will cost in the US, at the current exchange rate this is roughly $1,232.

The lens, designed for APS-C (crop) sensors, will be available for Sigma, Nikon, and Canon mounts when the lens is made available at the end of April. It will also be released for Sony and Pentax shortly thereafter.

When used on APS-C sensors, the lens is equivalent to a 12-24mm lens, and is the first zoom lens to offer 8mm without being a fisheye.

The closest to this Nikon and Canon come with their own lenses are the 10–24 mm f/3.5-4.5G and 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, respectively.

PicTreat Provides Instant Face Retouching

PicTreat is a free online application that allows you to quickly and easily retouch portraits using patent-pending face detection and correction technology.

By “correction”, they mean the application can make your skin “smooth and shiny”, remove “irritating skin flaws”, fix red-eye, and correct color balance.

While we would prefer not to promote our culture’s obsession with outward appearance, we wanted to examine the technology behind this application.

Here’s an example of a before and after displayed on the front page:

To test exactly what the application does to a portrait, I decided to use the portrait of President Obama that I referred to recently. However, the app apparently couldn’t find any “blemishes”, and returned a nearly identical image — albeit with mildly smoother skin.

Thus, I decided to test how the service retouches a photograph by altering the photograph manually. Using Photoshop, I added some red-eye, added some spots to his face, and gave the photo a green tint. Here are the original, altered, and PicTreated images:

The app successfully corrected the artificial red-eye, restored the color to almost what it was originally, and left the random spots I added alone (which it should, lest it remove things like birthmarks).

In spite of the interesting technology behind PicTreat, many may find the app offensive due to the fact that it intentionally removes such things as freckles (a taboo among photo editors) and uses the slogan, “everybody’s perfect”.

What are your thoughts on this kind of service?

Image credit: Obama portrait by the Obama-Biden Transition Project

Top AP Photographers for Hire

Got an assignment? Hire an AP photographer!

The AP announced a new program allowing outside sources to hire some of their top photographers for regional assignments. AP Director of Photography Santiago Lyon said in a press release that the deal is pretty straightforward:

If a particular publication or media outlet wants to use one of our staff photographers for an editorial assignment — photographing Easter festivities in Spain, for example — and it would fit into the photographer’s scheduling and our commitments, we would assign that shooter to the story.

There are 25 elite AP photographers on board with the new program. Their names and bios can be seen on the AP Editorial Assignment page.

The AP hasn’t released price ranges for assignments, but it’s likely they will vary case by case.

It would seem that the AP is rapidly expanding and personalizing its agency services; they recently added AP videos to their imaging collection, and they offer image research services. The agency also currently allows their photographers to be commissioned to shoot commercial style and stock images for AP-owned PR Newswire.

Divorced Couple Clash Over Photos

A divorced Long Island couple decided to share custody of their kids, but they ran into a hitch over who got the family albums.

The ex-husband and wife were together for 21-years, during which they amassed some 7,000 family photos, most of them pictures of their kids.

The great debate sprang up over who actually held the rights to the photos in the first place.

The wife claimed that she was not in several of the photos because she was the one who took them. The husband accused her of not wanting to be in the photos in the first place and vindictive for wanting them now.

Presiding Family Court Judge Vito DeStefano had suggested that the couple scan the images and share the digital copies. The couple split the cost of scanning, $2,100.

But then it seems that the couple finally found common ground: they both hated the digital results.

The court eventually awarded the husband 75% ownership, and the wife got the remaining 25% — or more simply, out of each family album page, the husband keeps three photos, while the wife keeps one.

According to the New York Daily News, Judge DeStefano concluded:

The court finds that the husband was intricately involved with taking, compiling and cataloging the thousands of photos at issue… He equated his collecting of photographs of family with the hobby of collecting rare books.

It’s possible that the family album comprised of all Polaroid photos, but oddly, there’s no word regarding the original negatives.

(via NYDailyNews)

Image credit: aw/phOtoalBum by awshots

Birthday Cake Shaped Like a Nikon DSLR

We’ve featured a couple posts on cakes shaped like Canon cameras recently, while Nikon has been underrepresented on this front. Well, we just received an email from Aimee over at True Beauty Photography with photographs of a Nikon DSLR birthday cake she surprised her husband Dustin with two years ago:

It was his 29th birthday and I planned a surprise dinner for him at Gordon Biersch in San Jose, CA. I invited his old friends from Sacramento and close friends from work. Tricked him into going to a guys night out with his best bud, and then surprised him at the bar with all his other friends! I gave the cake to the waiters to put in the fridge, and they were all gushing about how cool the cake was as they have never seen something like it before. They brought out the cake after dinner, and Dustin just couldn’t stop laughing and gushing (you can see it in the pictures :D).

The cake was created by Debbie Does Cakes based in Oakland, California.

If you have other photos of cakes shaped like cameras, lenses, or anything related to photography, feel free to email them in to us!

Uber-Compact Chobi Mini Digital Camera

The Chobi Mini Digital Camera is an uber-compact digital camera that captures both still images and video. It captures AVI video at 1280 x 960 resolution, and JPEG photographs at 2048 x 1536, or 3 megapixels.

Here are a couple more photographs to give you a better idea of just how small this thing is:

Obviously, this thing doesn’t have any real glass, so great imaging quality isn’t a feature. However, it could make a novel (and expensive) gift, a carry-around toy camera, or a fun conversation piece.

Sadly, the price will likely be a deterrent — it costs ¥13,850, or about $149.

2010 Webby Award Nominees for Best Use of Photography

This year’s nominees have just been announced for the 14th annual Webby Awards, and one of the nearly 70 categories is “Best Use of Photography“.

These are websites that showcase photography rather than websites about photography. The Webby Awards don’t have an award for that (yet).

Here are the five nominees this year:

It’s interesting to note that all of the nominees are flash-based websites that use dark gray or black backgrounds.

Small HD Field Monitor for Video DSLR Cameras

Video monitor maker SmallHD has just announced the DP-SLR, which they boast is the smallest HD field monitor on the market. The DP-SLR is 5.6″ diagonally (or 4 x 6 x 1), and has a resolution of 1280 x 800 at 270 ppi. As the name implies, it’s designed for use with DSLRs with video capabilities.

The monitor mounts on the camera’s hotshoe and connects to the body with an HDMI cable. The standard monitor also has a component connection. The higher end model includes a 3G SD/HDI, which puts the monitor on par with professional monitors for broadcasting.

But tech jargon aside, this pint-sized monitor is a pretty huge step for folks who shoot video with DSLRs. The DP-SLR is compact, so it won’t compromise the mobility of a DSLR, but allows more viewing space than the camera body’s monitor.

The functionality might even encourage some videographers to jump ship in favor of a more compact video DSLR.

At $899 for the standard model and $1199 for the model with 3G SD/HDI, the unit is a bit on the pricey side compared to most small field monitors, but it still remains affordable.

SmallHD’s website is taking pre-orders for the monitor, and says that the product will be available this July.