4K video is the realm of high end cinematography gear right? Maybe not. Two new 16MP sensors announced yesterday by OmniVision may be bringing smooth 4K video technology to everything from compacts to smartphones. The sensors, which are the tiny 1/2.3-inch format, can record 4K (3840 x 2160) video at 60fps, or even higher resolution (4608 x 3456) at 30fps.
The two sensors are no less powerful in the area of still photography either, being able to capture 12-bit RAW images. Of course your phone or camera processor will have to be able to handle the load, but newer devices with beefier image processors may well be sporting the new OmniVision sensors before long. Check out the press release for all of the
juicy technical details.
(via Omnivision via Engadget)
Here’s a super cool trick: instead of buying a special macro lens for your smart phone, simply use a drop of water! Carefully place a drop of water over your lens, carefully invert the phone, and voila — instant macro shots with the cheapest lens you’ll ever own. Alex Wild over at Scientific American has more details on the technique and some great sample shots taken with it.
Transform Your iPhone Into a Microscope: Just Add Water (via Gizmodo)
Nokia dropped a bomb on the cameraphone market today by introducing its new 808 PureView phone — a phone that is capable of capturing 41-megapixel photos. The native resolution of the phone (16:9) produces 38-megapixel images measuring 7152×5368. The phone also allows you to capture 5-megapixel images by condensing every seven pixels into one, which dramatically reduces noise and improves image quality. Other features include a 4-inch screen, 16GB of built-in storage, a Carl Zeiss f/2.4 lens, lossless digital zoom (i.e. cropping a photo out of the giant image), and HD video recording. It’ll hit store shelves in May at a price of €450 (~$600).
If you have an old mount for attaching a GPS or cell phone to your windshield, you can upcycle it into a suction cup tripod for your camera (just make sure it’s not the flimsy kind that falls off on its own). What you’ll need to do is flatten the mount surface and then install a tripod screw. Nano_Burger has a step-by-step tutorial on how he did this conversion over on Instructables. The resulting tripod allows you to fix your camera in locations that aren’t accessible to tripods that don’t suck (hah, get it?).
Turn Your GPS Suction Cup Support Into A Camera Tripod (via Lifehacker)
Yesterday we wrote that Steve Jobs had been interested in Lytro‘s novel camera technology during the final years of his life. PC World did an interview with Lytro executive chairman Charles Chi, who seems to indicate that Lytro is very open to the idea of partnering with cell phone makers and licensing light field technology to them:
If we were to apply the technology in smartphones, that ecosystem is, of course, very complex, with some very large players there. It’s an industry that’s very different and driven based on operational excellence. For us to compete in there, we’d have to be a very different kind of company. So if we were to enter that space, it would definitely be through a partnership and a codevelopment of the technology, and ultimately some kind of licensing with the appropriate partner.
He also states that Lytro has “the capital to do that, the capability in the company to do that, and… the vision to execute.” If Apple were to form an exclusive partnership with Lytro for its iPhone cameras, light field photography would instantly be adopted by the millions of people who purchase the phones every year. That’d definitely be a huge shift in the way people take pictures.
Q&A: Lytro Exec Charles Chi Talks Light Field, Battery Life, and Licensing (via Engadget)
Add-on lenses for cell phones are pretty common nowadays, but usually they’re specifically made for certain models and are incompatible with others. The Macro Cell Lens Band is different — it’s a stretchable band with a macro lens baked right in. Simply slip the band onto your phone, place the lens over your phone’s camera, and voila! Instant macro shots. When you’re not using it, you can also wear it around like a gel bracelet. They cost $15 each over at Photojojo.
Macro Cell Lens Band [Photojojo]
Photographer Lisa Bettany has an interesting post over at Camera+ comparing the iPhone 4S camera to the cameras on each of the previous versions (and a couple other cameras as well). It’s an interesting look at how much cell phone cameras have improved since the original iPhone was announced at the beginning of 2007.
We’ve shared before that the Canon 5D Mark II was used for scenes in Captain America and Iron Man 2, but if you think that’s crazy, get this: the upcoming movie ‘The Avengers‘, which features an entire team of Marvel superheros, contains scenes shot with the iPhone 4. The movie’s cinematographer Seamus McGarvey tells IFTN,
The beauty of photography or cinema is that you make every choice based on the content at hand. On The Avengers, I did a couple of shots on the iPhone and they are in the movie. In fact, they are in the trailer! I understand that sometimes there is no choice and you have to go for the cheapest option, but if you are limited for choice, you can still make poignant decisions that will effect the look of the film.
Assuming he was using an iPhone 4 rather than the recently announced iPhone 4S, the scenes were captured at just 720p and 30fps.
Earlier today we shared an interesting video comparing 1080p video shot with the iPhone 4S with footage from a Canon 5D Mark II. Here’s another short video demonstrating the quality of the new f/2.4 lens and Sony-made sensor, created by photographer and filmmaker Benjamin Dowie. He says,
Got an iPhone 4S yesterday and got up this morning to go for a surf. No surf, so thought I’d shoot some stuff to see what the new camera is like on the 4S. Got home, looked at the footage, and couldn’t believe it came out of a phone. Was so excited so thought I’d quickly cut a vid to share the goodness.
It’s actually amazing. The automatic stabilisation seems to work wonders, and gets rid of most the jello. Depth of field is flipping awesome. Colours are really good straight out the camera, but I did give this footage a slight grade. [#]
For a comparison of the cameras found on the latest smartphones, check out this smartphone camera showdown published by Engadget today.
The 4th version of Android, named Ice Cream Sandwich, is set to be released sometime in the next month or so. If you’ve been craving for a built-in photo editor, you may soon get your wish. Android Police has uncovered a boatload of icons and images that strongly suggest that future Android phones and tablets will ship with photo editing tools built into Android Gallery. In addition to basic tools such as crop, sharpen, and rotate, there will apparently be 19 different photo effects you can apply as well. Sadly, they’re of the cheesier variety (e.g. posterize), so don’t expect them to compete with the likes of Instagram anytime soon.
(via Android Police via Engadget)