Posts Published in September 2012

Leica Cameras Are Growing as a Status Symbol Among Celebrities

Wealthy people who want to flaunt their wealth are attracted to shiny and pricey things. It’s no surprise then, that more and more Hollywood celebrities are gravitating toward one particular brand for their photographic needs: Leica. Alex Williams of The New York Times writes that the stars aren’t simply adopting the revered marque — some are learning how to use it too:

“If celebrities are going to be seen with a camera, for better or for worse, Leica does lend a certain cachet,” said Michael Holve […] “It seems a Canon or Nikon is somehow bourgeois, or even pedestrian, by comparison.”

The swelling ranks of famous M-system devotees reach beyond those with a well-chronicled affection for the camera, like Brad Pitt. In recent years, Daniel Craig, Jude Law, Louis C. K., Miley Cyrus and many other celebrities have popped up in paparazzi shots toting Leicas.

[…] It is easy for cynics to sniff, but many Leica-toting celebrities take their photography seriously. Brendan Fraser, an aficionado, has had his work featured in the prestigious Leica Gallery in New York. And Mr. Pitt, who has appeared on the cover of Interview magazine holding a Leica M7, earns praise from photographers in Leica forums for his work, including a cover shoot of Angelina Jolie for W a few years ago.

Williams also makes the observation that the camera’s minimal features and manual controls naturally divide the celebrity owners into serious photo enthusiasts and posers.

Click if You Can Afford It [New York Times]

Google-Owned Nik Software will Continue Offering High-End Photo Tools

When news of Google’s acquisition of Nik Software emerged a week ago, most of the tech press (and this blog) focused on one particular offering: Snapseed. It’s a highly-acclaimed mobile photo editing app that has been growing like a weed as of late, so it made sense that Google would want it to participate in the ongoing mobile photo sharing war, right? Well, maybe not.
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Are DSLRs No Longer the Recommended Cameras for Newbie Photographers?

Are we past the age of entry-level DSLRs? Dan Nosowitz over at Popular Science has written a piece titled “Don’t Buy A DSLR”, in which he argues that DSLRs are no longer the best option for aspiring amateur photographers.

DSLRs are enormous, problematically-shaped gadgets. There’s no other portable gadget with such an unapologetically non-portable shape […] Hell, even giant headphones fold up into themselves. But DSLRs are bulky, heavy, roundish and squareish at the same time […] There’s a reason there’s a thriving economy of DSLR-specific bags.

[…] If you’re just getting into more serious photography, a DSLR’s button layout is a major obstacle to overcome, and, more importantly, an unnecessary one. It’s not that people can’t learn, or even that they shouldn’t–it’s just that for many users, there’s no need. To someone who’s only used a point-and-shoot, you know what a DSLR looks like? A f**king airplane cockpit.

[…] DSLRs should be, and will be very soon, for experts. For pros, or passionate amateurs. Sports photographers, bird-watchers, people who want to build a multi-thousand-dollar collection of lenses. But for those of us who just want to take better pictures, dammit, there are amazing options just for us.

I think the big question is “what does the aspiring photographer want out of their camera?” If it’s simply “better photos”, then a mirrorless should do just fine… but they’d be missing out on the joys of learning how to operate “a f**king airplane cockpit.”

Don’t Buy A DSLR [Popular Science]

Social Photo Aggregator Pixable Acquired for $26.5 Million

Social photo aggregation service Pixable has been acquired by Singaporean telecommunications company SingTel for $26.5 million. The service helps in photo browsing and discovery by aggregating photographs from your various social networks (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flicker) and using a special ranking system to only show you the interesting images. Billing itself as a “photo inbox”, users can also keep up with their friends’ photographs on-the-go using the company’s popular iOS and Android apps.
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The Booths of Major Camera Companies at Photokina 2012

Photokina 2012 came to an end in Cologne, Germany today. If you weren’t able to make the show this year and are wondering what the show was like, we’ve collected some photos of the fancy booths set up by major camera makers. Hopefully they can provide you with a glimpse of how the big brands went about showing off their latest and greatest wares.

The photo above shows the gigantic photo globe found between two of the halls. Called “the world’s largest photo globe”, it measures over 19 feet in diameter and was created as a collaboration between companies in the Photographic Industry Association.
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Canon Reportedly Field Testing a 46MP DSLR, Possibly the 3D

The frenzy of Photokina 2012 is coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean crazy camera rumors are going anywhere. A big one currently floating around is that Canon is working on a DSLR with a massive number of megapixels. Northlight Images writes that we may see a preview of the camera at PhotoPlus 2012 in New York, which starts October 24.

We’re told to expect to see a ‘preview’ of a ‘high MP EOS DSLR’ at the upcoming PhotoPlus show in New York (Oct 24-27). Although the current official line is that 20ish MP is a ‘sweet spot’ for DSLRs, D800 specs, price and performance is considered ‘worrying’ in some market areas.

Nikon’s D800 has a highly-acclaimed 36.3MP sensor. Here are the specs that Canon will reportedly respond with: 46.1 megapixels, 5fps continuous shooting, 16-bit RAW images, and an ISO range of 100 to 12800.
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The World’s Most Powerful Digital Camera Snaps Its First Photos

On a mountaintop in Chile is the most powerful digital camera mankind has ever constructed. Called the Dark Energy Camera, the phone booth-sized device shoots 570-megapixel photographs using an array of 62 separate CCD sensors and a 13-foot light-gathering mirror. Planning and building the thing took 120 scientists from 23 international organizations a whopping 8 years.

This past week, the researchers behind the project announced the first fruits of their labor: massive photographs that show patches of the sky 20 times the size of the moon (as seen from Earth).
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Mesmerizing Stop-Motion Animation of a Building Uses Its Windows as Pixels

Swiss artist Guillaume Reymond of NOTsoNOISY created this amazing stop-motion animation titled “Animated Tower.” He found students and staff volunteers to turn an 11-story-building at the University of Health Sciences (HESAV) in Switzerland into a giant 10 by 11 display, with each window serving as a single pixel.
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iPhone 5 and iOS 6: Polished Panoramas, Pixel Oversampling, and a Sony Sensor

iPhoneography has made some significant advancements in the past couple of weeks due to the launch of the iPhone 5 and the release of iOS 6. Here’s a brief report on some of the interesting improvements and changes.
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LIFX: A WiFi-Enabled LED Bulb that May Revolutionize Photographic Lighting

What if there existed a lightbulb that you could completely control using your phone? And by “completely control”, I don’t mean simply switching on and off. I mean being able to precisely control the brightness of the light emitted, and even the exact color of the light.

It sounds crazy, but it’s a light bulb that’s actually being developed. Created by Phil Bosua of San Francisco, the LIFX is a Wi-Fi enabled LED light bulb that can be wirelessly controlled using an iPhone or Android device. While Bosua imagines a plethora of home and commercial applications, it’s the bulb’s photographic potential that we find very exciting.
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