Photographer Adrian Onsen wanted to use the AI Servo autofocus mode on his Canon 40D in low-light situations, but found that the AF assist beam is only emitted once until focus is achieved rather than every time the camera needs to refocus. He then purchased a laser pointer from a dollar store, disassembled it to obtain a defocused beam of light, and attached it to the top of his camera. The hacked-together AF assist tool ended up working pretty well — Onsen was able to shoot sharper photos at a dance club without anyone noticing the extra light. To learn more check out his in-depth writeup here.
There’s a well known photography joke that goes, “If you saw a man drowning and you could either save him or photograph the event, which lens would you use?” While it’s certainly morbid and pretty absurd, there’s plenty of examples of photographers having a “shoot first” mentality in a time of crisis. The rally racing photographer seen in this video provides one such example.
Flickr user Robert Hodgin purchased a cheap RC helicopter and shot these 30 second exposure photographs of him attempting to keep the helicopter from crashing. If you have RC helicopter skills, you might be able to create pretty neat light-painting photographs using this idea. Read more…
The iPhone 4 has become the primary camera for many of its owners, but it lacks many of the useful features found on actual compact cameras. iShuttr is a hard case that makes your iPhone operate more like a compact camera by adding a grip, a shutter button, zoom buttons, a larger flash, an external battery pack, and a tripod mount. The people behind the case are currently raising money for the project through Kickstarter: a $50 contribution will pre-order an iShuttr, which is set to retail for $70 when it’s actually released.
Reflector mounts (the things that attach a reflector to your bike) are so cheap that bike shops often give them away for free. Add a standard tripod screw, some washers, and some wing nuts, and you’ll have a super cheap camera mount that you can attach to a bicycle (it’s also a way to attach a camera to some random pole if you need to). You can also find a text version of this tutorial over on Instructables.
The AP published an article yesterday titled “How Much Longer Can Photographic Film Hold On?” that gives a pretty grim outlook for the future of film. About a decade ago, Americans were purchasing close to 1 billion rolls of film and 19.7 million film cameras every year. This year, only about 20 million rolls will be sold and film camera sales may fall below 100,000.
For InfoTrends imaging analyst Ed Lee, film’s fade-out is moving sharply into focus: “If I extrapolate the trend for film sales and retirements of film cameras, it looks like film will be mostly gone in the U.S. by the end of the decade.”
As high schools and colleges find the rising costs of analog photography prohibitive, they’re transitioning to a completely digital curriculum and shutting down their darkrooms, further reducing the demand for film. Film lovers, enjoy it while it lasts!
Do you have an efficient way of keeping track of which batteries or memory cards are fresh and ready to use? Flickr user Damon Hair uses Post-it Flags to tag charged batteries and formatted memory cards, letting him quickly swap out used ones when shooting without having to check them one at a time. For an even cheaper solution, you can try wrapping a small rubber band around them instead.
There’s plenty of tutorials out there teaching you how to fake the “Lomo effect” using Photoshop, but most of them don’t provide very realistic results. This “ultimate” tutorial by SLR Lounge attempts to mimic all the distinct characteristics of lomo photos (e.g. cross-processed colors, vignetting, blown highlights, and blurred edges) giving you a level of control over the results that an iPhone app could never do.
Apparently Sigma was aiming for a much lower price when developing the SD1 DSLR, but was forced to price it high after putting in whole bunch of “great stuff”. The company’s Chief Operating Officer Kazuto Yamaki is responding to user complaints on Twitter with some apologetic Tweets, saying the company had missed the price range that they had originally targeted. Perhaps the SD1 wasn’t designed as a halo product after all…
DC Watch has a tutorial on how to make your own bellows on which you can use various lenses (toy binoculars, magnifying glass, etc…). Print out the PDF template, then follow the video tutorial above to get started. Here’s a Google Translated version of the tutorial.