Posts Published in May 2010

Cameras Made from Food Containers and Floppy Disks

peekfreak is a collaborative project between industrial designer Wai Lam and experimental photographer Yann Huey in which they explore the possibility of making cameras using everyday objects. The cameras they’ve made so far use things such as discarded bike parts, plastic containers, and 3.5” floppy disks.

The cameras are extremely minimalistic, and the sliding metal cover of the floppy disk is used as a simple shutter mechanism to expose the film. Check out the innards:

Since the cameras are so randomly put together, the resulting photographs have their unique looks depending on construction:

If getting weird looks while doing photography is your thing, then these cameras are for you! They aren’t for sale and there isn’t any tutorial on how to make these, but the cameras are simple enough that you should be able to figure it out from the photographs.

peekfreak (via Gizmodo)

Image credits: Photographs by peekfreak

A Look Behind the Scenes with Peter Funch


Peter Funch is a New York City-based photographer who we featured a while back in a post titled “4 Creative Projects that Bend the Reality of Street Scenes“. Funch photographs scenes for extended periods of time, and then combines people who share something in common. In the photograph above, he chose to include only people who were carrying manila envelopes. You can see more of his work over at his V1 gallery page.

I recently came across this interesting interview video that gives a neat look at how Funch works and how the images are assembled. The interview itself is in English even though the introduction is not:

We learn that Funch shoots at street corners for 10-15 days at a time, and sometimes plants his tripod in the middle of the street with cars behind him. Interesting.

Image credit: Photograph by Peter Funch

Pentax Unleashes Rainbow DSLR on Japan

Pentax has unveiled a new “Rainbow” version of the K-x DSLR camera. The limited edition camera will only be available in Japan through Tower Records starting on July 23, 2010.

Only 1,000 of these units will be made, and each one will set you back ¥74,800 (~$800). Aside from the funky colors, the technical specifications of this camera are exactly the same as other K-x DSLRs:

The camera is part of a 2010 campaign with a “Rainbow” theme by Tower Records that also includes footwear, t-shirts, and backpacks.

Selling strange looking cameras is nothing new to Pentax — they already allow you to customize your colors, and last year they released a limited edition “robotic” themed camera.

A Global Moment in Time on the Lens Blog

Today, the New York Times’ Lens blog posted the end result of a global photographic project. “A Moment in Time” is an interactive collection of all the images taken May 2, 2010 at 15:00 U.T.C. by the Times’ readers all over the world. By May 4, the Times estimated they had 14,000 images, and were still accepting submissions until May 7.

After what must have been a titan task of accepting and sorting thousands of submissions, uploading, checking and rechecking captions, not without some technical glitches, the Lens Blog has a very impressive portrait of the world.

The images are roughly sorted by geographical region, as well as category, though there is no way to find one specific photo or photographer without a direct link to the picture. If you can’t find the one you took, the Lens editors say that they are still processing more images to be uploaded to the site this month.

Nevertheless, the interactive interface is pretty enjoyable to browse through. There are some interesting recurring themes in regional photographs, like a collection of images of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, or intimate photos of peoples’ bedrooms, morning coffee, and sunsets.

(via Lens)

Canon 550D Helicam Floats Over Montana

If you need a 2 minute dose of relaxation, check out this video by Jeff Scholl of GravityShots. It was filmed with a Canon 550D/T2i-equipped helicam Whitefish, Montana Scholl used a 14mm lens, filmed at 720p, and rendered at 24fps. This kind of helicam footage reminds me a lot of dreams in which I’m flying, since the helicopter glides so slowly while everything on the ground moves at normal speed.

When asked how he stabilized the video, Scholl responds,

For stabilization I have a KS2 gyro on the mount plus I’m using Mercalli on PPro CS4, but the default settings on Smooth (FCP) should do a better job.

When I go out the door I’m probably carrying $25,000 worth of gear, but I’ve spent way more than that just figuring out these machines the last 9 years.

Man. Someone needs to come out with a cheap remote controlled helicopter designed for compact cameras and DSLRs. Think we’ll see an affordable one anytime soon?

P.S. In case you’re wondering, the music in the background is an instrumental version of “Mad World“.

48 Hour Magazine Launches as Newsweek Slowly Dies

As Newsweek continues to cause its parent company to bleed money, a new magazine is trying to defy the demise of print by being agile and efficient. 48 Hour Magazine is a project that aims to “write, photograph, illustrate, design, edit, and ship a magazine in two days.”

The team of editors behind the mag include Heather Champ (former community director of Flickr) and her husband Derek Powazek. The duo were previous the founding editors of JPG Magazine so, needless to say, they know a thing or two about the business.

“Issue Zero” had the theme “hustle”, and went from an idea at noon on May 7th to a complete magazine at noon on May 9th. The team received 1,502 submissions from all around the world, including from artists and writers at well known publications such as Rolling Stone and Wired.

The 60-page magazine is now available through HP’s MagCloud (which Derek Powazek helped start) for the price of $10. The page also features a preview of the entire magazine at low resolution.

Canon SD4000 Boasts 240fps and ISO 6400

Canon isn’t letting Sony have all the fun today — they’ve announced their latest Digital ELPH camera, the SD4000 (also known as the IXUS 300HS outside the US). The 10-megapixel camera has two features that really popped out to us: 240 frame per second slow motion video at 320×240, and ISO 6400 for low-light shooting. It can also capture 720p HD video, just not in slow-motion. If you’ve always wanted to play around with slow motion, this camera can enable you to do so (just for lower-res videos). The camera is priced at £379 (~$560) in the UK, and US pricing has not been announced yet.

Sony Announces New Interchangeable Lens Cameras and Camcorder

Sony officially announced their new EVIL cameras, the NEX-3 and NEX-5. There wasn’t really anything in the announcement that we didn’t know before today. After all, the actual camera was spotted in an Asian bar at the end of last month, and official photos and specs started appearing online yesterday.

Both cameras are intended to compete with the Micro Four Thirds format, and use Sony’s new E-mount interchangeable lens system. They boast 14 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensors, and have tilting 3 inch LCD screens. The NEX-5 offers 1080i AVCHD video on top of the 720p found on the NEX-3. For more specs, check out our post about the camera yesterday.

Now onto the surprising news… Sony is developing an interchangeable lens camcorder!

The camcorder will use the same sensors found in the NEX cameras and the same E-mount lenses. Additionally, it will accept any of the lenses designed for the Alpha range of Sony cameras with an adapter.

Imagine if Canon or Nikon released a camcorder that accepted their DSLR lenses! I’m guessing they’re already working on such things, and that Sony simply wanted a slight head start by announcing their efforts earlier.

What are your thoughts on these new cameras? Do you think Canon and Nikon should jump into these markets?

Sony NEX-3 Photos and Specs Leaked

Everyone knows that Sony’s going to announce the new NEX-3 and NEX-5 cameras at a big press event tomorrow. However, it looks like Digital Photography School accidentally let the cat out of the bag by publishing their review a day too soon. The review was published and taken down within the span of an hour. Here’s how it started:

A few days ago I could tell nobody about this newbie. I was under an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) from Sony. The Sony NEX-3 was a hot camera!

So Sony gave me a review unit of the Sony NEX-3 three days, explaining that they were so fearful of leaks that a Sony person would collect it from me when my time was up: “Can’t trust couriers — they’ve been known to open up boxes and leak the info to competitors!”

That’s pretty ironic, huh? Looks like Sony just had an Apple experience. My guess is that the embargo ended at 4pm on May 11th after the press event, but Digital Photography School accidentally scheduled their review to be published at 4pm on May 10th, a day early.

One thing I found interesting about the camera is how the LCD swivels in both directions vertically:

Here are the official specifications according to the review:

Image Sensor: 14.2 million effective pixels.
Metering: Multi pattern, centre-weighted and spot.
Sensor Size: APS-C-sized CMOS (23.4×15.6mm).
Lens: Sony E Series mount.
Shutter Speed: 30 to 1/4000 second. Flash sync: 1/160 sec.
Continuous Shooting: seven fps.
Memory: Memory Stick PRO Duo, PRO-HG Duo, SD, SDHC, SDXC cards.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4592×3056, 4592×2576, 3344×2224, 3344×1872, 2288×1520, 2288×1280.
Movies: 1280×720, 848×480, 640×480 at 30 fps.
Colour Space: sRGB, Adobe RGB.
LCD Screen: 7.5cm LCD (921,600 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, RAW, JPEG+RAW, MPEG4.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 200 to 12,800.
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMNI, AV.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 117.2×62.6×33.4mm WHDmm.
Weight: 297 g (inc battery and card).
Price: Around AUD1000 for body and kit lens.

Seven frames per second is pretty amazing. Did anything else in the photographs or specifications pop out to you?

Digital Kodak Nikonos Mystery Solved

In 1998, this US Navy photo was published, showing a Nikonos camera no one recognized from the IPTC caption:

NAVAL AIR BASE CORONADO, California (June 8, 1998) — Navy SEALs attached to SEAL Team One, Naval Air Base Coronado, CA, conducts training using the Nikon/Kodak DCS 425 underwater digital camera which can sends real time digital images to decision makers, and an LPI LPD tracking device uses brevity codes to send both mission status and precise longitude/latitude. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Ted Banks. (RELEASED)

The enigmatic photo and description sparked much interest — this is a digital SLR that requires no underwater casing, and was far advanced for its time with its built-in tracking, real-time uploading, GPS, and communications. The underwater film Nikonos RS camera existed on the market already, but this futuristic iteration was unheard of in 1998.

What’s more, Kodak denied existence of the camera altogether. When Jarle Aasland of NikonWeb did some research into the matter in 2005, Kodak told him:

“I’m sorry but those cameras never existed here at Eastman Kodak. We never made cameras for that specific use. The information you have is incorrect.”

Another Kodak source told him:

“I think the issue is who they were made for.”

After further investigation into the mythical camera, Aasland finally found photos of the camera listed on eBay, hard evidence of the cameras existence. He published a story on his findings.

Days after Aasland published his article, he was contacted by Kodak’s lead engineer for the DCS cameras, Jim McGarvey. As it turns out, the camera was not quite top secret, but it was so low-profile that few knew about it, including Kodak Professional, McGarvey said. Quite simply, the specialized cameras were not advertised on a consumer level, since they were designed for government use, McGarvey wrote:

“The Nikonos body cameras were made by Kodak’s Commercial & Government Systems division. Through most of the DCS years, that group would take our commercial camera designs and adapt them for government and other special needs. Some of that work was secret, but most of the products were simply only marketed in limited venues and didn’t appear on the commer[c]ical photography radar screens. I don’t think the Nikonos cameras were ever actually secret.

…I have no idea how many Nikonos units were built, but I doubt the total would be over 100. They had no super secret special communications stuff, just standard DCS420 features.”

While it’s still highly unlikely that we’ll see such a formidable does-it-all camera on the mainstream market anytime soon, it’s pretty fascinating to see how today’s consumer products are taking a step in that direction. Some 12 years after the legendary digital Nikonos, we’ve got cameras equipped with GPS, wi-fi enabled cards for real-time uploading, and a plethora of hardy, underwater point-and-shoots on the market.

(via Nikon Rumors)