Posts Published in April 2011

Pinhole Camera Made from a Pine Nut

Transforming foods into pinhole cameras appears to be one of the popular trends. We already shared the egg pinhole camera, and now here’s the pine nut pinhole camera. Italian photography student Francesco Capponi created this tiny camera by painting the inside of the shell black, poking a hole in one side, loading it with a piece of photographic paper, and using his thumb as a shutter. He calls it the “PinHolo”, a play on words since “pinolo” is Italian for “pine nut”.
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Lower ISO Doesn’t Always Lead to Higher Quality Images

When learning about ISO, you’ve probably heard that the lower the number, the lower the noise and the higher the image quality, but did you know that this isn’t always the case? The reason is something called the base (or native) ISO of a camera — the ISO achieved without amplifying the data from the sensor. This is usually somewhere between ISO 100 and ISO 200. Why does this matter? Bob Andersson of Camera Labs explains:

We all know that using high ISO numbers results in more sensor noise. More surprising, perhaps, is that using an ISO number below the native ISO number also degrades the image.

An interesting example is that when shooting on a Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, ISO 50 has roughly the same signal to noise ratio as shooting at ISO 800. This explains why the lowest possible ISO numbers can only be accessed through custom functions on some cameras.

Know your Base (or Native) ISO (via Reddit)


Image credit: Photograph by Filya1

Transform Your Old Flatbed Scanner into a Cheap Lightbox

If you have an old or broken flatbed scanner lying around and gathering dust, a neat thing you can do is convert it into a cheap, do-it-yourself lightbox for viewing negatives and slides. Photo-enthusiast James Wilson did this as a weekend project:

It was a simple process; gut the scanner, hook up a light fixture inside it, and paint the inside of the glass white. Total cost was around ten bucks for the light fixture, wiring, and paint. [#]

You can read Wilson’s writeup here. There are also some additional photos over on Flickr.

This was one of my weekend projects (via Lifehacker)

Nikon Image Authentication System Cracked Just Months After Canon’s

In December 2010, Russian security firm ElcomSoft announced that they had cracked the encryption software that Canon uses to prove that photographs are genuine and unmodified. Today they announced that they’ve also cracked Nikon’s system, which shows that forged images can be made to pass validation using Nikon Image Authentication Software. To prove their point (like they did in the previous case), they released a series of ridiculous images that pass validation. The above image shows Russian president Dmitry Medvedev addicted to Apple(s).
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Documentary Footage Shows Workings of the First Leica Factory

Here’s a short documentary film directed by Oskar Barnack (father of 35mm photography and inventor of the Leica camera) showing the workings of the factory where the first Leica cameras were made. The film includes footage showing the assembly of the Leica 1, produced between 1925 and 1932.

(via Leica Rumors)


P.S. Did you know Leica stands for Leitz camera, named after the founder Ernst Leitz?

28 Drawings of Vintage Camera Models from Days Gone By

28 Camera Drawings is a beautiful drawing by Christine Berrie that features 28 different old-school cameras. It’s available as a limited-edition 14”x11” print over on 20×200 for $50.

28 Camera Drawings (via swissmiss)

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.

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Play Kalei Transforms Your Photos into a Puzzle Game

Play Kalei is a creative new puzzle game by Chillingo that allows you to use your photo collection as part of the fun. It takes a particular section of a photograph and turns it into a kaleidoscope-style pattern, and you’re objective is to figure out where that point in the photo is. The normal version is available for $1, and there’s also an HD version designed for the iPad for $2.

Play Kalei (via Gizmodo)

Sony May Steal DSLR Market Share from Canon and Nikon During Shortage

Production issues experienced by Canon and Nikon (caused by the earthquake and tsunami) may soon allow competitors to eat into their dominant DSLR market shares and, according to a story by USA TODAY, Sony is pegged as one of the main benefactors:

Canon has 44.5% of the digital SLR market, followed by Nikon at 29.8%, Sony with 11.9% and Olympus at 5.1%, IDC says.

[...] At a time when many Canon SLRs are hard to find, due to production issues, the Sony models are not only in amply supply, but discounted to sell with special promotions.

[...] Sony has the name recognition, and ample shelf space in prominent stores.

These gains would likely be limited to first time buyers who are looking for their first DSLR — camera owners already committed to Canon or Nikon’s mounts are unlikely to switch systems just because of a temporary shortage.

Sony could benefit from shortages of Canon, Nikon SLRs [USA TODAY]


Image credit: SONY A55 by 246-You

Add-on Grips for Compact Cameras Designed for Little Hands

Compact cameras are portable and convenient, but often they trade ergonomics for their small size. If your camera is a bit too small to hold comfortably in your large hand, Flipbac Camera Grips are designed to help you get a grip. Their shapes are inspired by actual grips found on larger compact cameras, and each one sticks to your camera securely and non-messily using 3M adhesive.
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Leica Helped Jews Flee Nazi Germany

Did you know that Leica boss Ernst Leitz II is considered the “photographic industry equivalent of Oskar Schindler” for helping Jews flee Nazi Germany?

Leitz [...] helped Jews find jobs outside Germany, securing immigration visas and paying the travel expenses of refugees bound for the United States. [...] They fled Germany under the guise of Leitz employees, until they could find work overseas. Such was the Nazi reliance on Leica optics for military purposes, that officials largely turned a blind eye to Leitz’s activities.

He’s credited saving the lives of around 80 Jews while risking his life in the process.

Leica helped Jews flee Nazis: Fresh evidence uncovered [Amateur Photographer]


Image credit: Schindler’s grave by See The Holy Land