Posts Tagged ‘consumer’

Photos Showing the Bewildering Array of Choices on Store Shelves

Choices is a Warhol-esque (or Gursky-esque) project by photographer Richard Stultz, who visited various stores to document the mind-numbingly large number of choices consumers are faced while shopping. He states,

When we shop, we are presented with aisles of thousands of different products. There are shelves with an endless variety of similar items, often just a variation on the ones next to them. Other shelves display large quantities of identical products. We may find 50 types of beer, hundreds of jars of bleach, or graphic displays of soap. There are cans of dog food with descriptions that sound as appetizing as anything we might cook for ourselves. There are so many shades of hair coloring that we can’t distinguish between many of them.

Beyond the astounding quantity and selection, retail displays are often visually interesting with striking design elements, color, and repetitive patterns. But as we shop and try to find the perfect product, we often don’t see the perverse beauty of these choices.

Read more…

Researchers Turn an Ordinary Canon 5D Into a Hyperspectral Camera

Hyperspectral cameras are capable of collecting and processing information across the electromagnetic spectrum and beyond what the human eye can see. The technology ordinarily costs a fortune to get a hold of, but scientists at the Vienna University of Technology have figured out how to create a hyperspectral camera using an ordinary DSLR (the Canon 5D) and an adapter made of off-the-shelf parts (PVC pipes, a gel filter, and three camera lenses). The camera still has a ways to go in many areas — it requires several seconds to exposes images rather than milliseconds — but it’s a big step towards showing what’s possible with consumer camera technology.

(via Vienna University of Technology via The Verge)

Full-Frame Sensors in Consumer Cameras

As technology improves, features that were once limited to expensive professional models often become available to the masses, but will this ever be true for full-frame sensors? Nikon’s Senior VP David Lee was recently asked this question in an interview with TWICE, and here’s what he said:

I think that there are definitely two different approaches here. What we’re seeing is that sensor performance continues to improve, but obviously there’s really a need for bulk because with a full-size sensor there’s a real low-light performance benefit, high speed performance, framing rates, and so on and so forth. So, I think you’ll definitely continue to see the higher-end pro consumer continue to have that large format. It’s definitely needed in the D3 and D700. You’ll see that technology continue to improve and grow, but the DX sensor form factor is also important. The compactness of the D3100 and D5100 is very popular. I don’t think one approach will ever overtake the other because of the overall image capabilities and the light performance capabilities.

Seems like he either misunderstood the question, or decided to beat around the bush. It’s an interesting question though — will any of the big manufacturers shake up the industry by being the first to put a full-frame sensor in a consumer-level camera? The sensors have already jumped from pro-level cameras to prosumer-level ones starting in 2005 with the Canon 5D, so it seems like the next logical step will be the consumer level. A sub-$1000 full-frame camera. Now that’s a thought.

How Much Does Size Matter In Image Sensors (via 1001 Noisy Cameras)


Image credit: What’s That? (63) by jurvetson

Check Whether or Not to Buy That Camera You’re Eyeing with Decide

Last week we featured Shopobot, a new website that can show you the price history of camera gear and tell you whether it’s stable or not. Decide is a new service (just launched yesterday) that goes a step further — it not only tells you whether to buy or not based on price stability, but checks to see whether there’s a newer model available or likely to be announced in the near future. The service bases each decision on 40 price factors, historical trends, and relevant rumors regarding upcoming announcements. With a new camera being announced every 45 hours on average, Decide might just help you avoid the pain of buyers remorse.

Decide (via Mashable)


Update: A reader reports that the retailer AJRichard (which reportedly does bait and switch scams) is listed on Decide. Be smart when choosing where to purchase from! (Thanks Ryan!)

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)