Most high-end digital cameras (not named Ricoh) aren’t designed to be modular. If you want a new sensor in your camera, you’ll need to buy an entirely new camera. Want to use a different lens system? You’re out of luck.
What if there existed a universe in which all the major camera companies came together to form an extremely versatile modular digital camera? That’s what Korean designers Dae jin Ahn and Chun hyun Park are attempting to answer with their concept camera design, called Equinox.
Fujifilm’s new X-Trans sensors diverge from the traditional way CMOS sensors are designed by using an irregular pattern of red, green, and blue pixels. This allows the sensors to eschew the standard anti-aliasing filter, eliminating moiré patterns without putting an extra component in front of the sensor. Roy Furchgott over at The New York Times has an interesting piece on how the new tech is inspired by Fujifilm’s glory days in the film photography industry:
Old fashioned analog photographs didn’t get a moire pattern because the crystals in film and photo paper aren’t even in size and placement. That randomness breaks up the moire effect.
So Fuji built a new sensor employing what it knew from the film business. Instead of using the Bayer array, it created a pattern called the X-Trans sensor which lays out the red green and blue photo sensors in a way that simulates the randomness of analog film.
Furchgott does a good job of explaining the new sensor design (and its benefits) in an easy-to-understand way.
Old Technology Modernizes a Camera Sensor [NYTimes]
Could Panasonic be planning to jump into the action camera market and compete against the likes of GoPro? A recently published US design patent suggests that it might be the case. The patent, first spotted by 43 Rumors, was filed in December of last year but published a week ago. Simply titled, “Digital Camera,” it contains a series of simple illustrations showing what appears to be a pocket-sized durable action camera.
After seeing the “woodenized” Canon F-1n that we featured earlier this month, Vancouver, Washington-based photographer Charlie Boucher decided that he wanted to give the mod a go. Unable to find any wood shoots locally, Boucher decided to go with a somewhat different (but slightly related) material: cork.
Tom Brinckman is a Belgian-based freelance photojournalist and wedding photographer. Since he works one deadline every week for his local newspaper, he’s able to do most of his image editing work from his home office. Recently he decided to upgrade his workspace, and not just with new equipment or a new arrangement: he decided to put a good deal of effort into building a completely customized home office with an emphasis on functionality.
Photographer Jessica Nichols‘ most popular photograph on her Flickr account (above left) is titled “Loads of Ranunculus” and has more than 10,000 views. Nichols got a nasty shock a year ago when she discovered that American fashion designer Chris Benz had apparently turned the photo into numerous clothing designs for his Spring 2012 line, without Nichols’ knowing and/or permission. Since July of this year, Nichols has been fighting against the infringement in an attempt to get the designer to pay up.
Photographer Patrick Ng has an obsession with natural materials such as wood and leather. Recently, he decided to “woodenize” his beloved Canon F-1n SLR (a professional film SLR released back in 1976). He didn’t use a pre-made kit for the conversion, though… Instead, he simply ripped off the faux-leather and replaced it with faux-wood wallpaper.
Nanoblock is a plastic building block system that’s like a shrunk-down version of LEGO. It has been growing in popularity as of late, and may soon become a fad on the level of Buckyballs. Japanese novelty photo company Fuuvi has partnered up with Nanoblock for a new toy digital camera that can take on all kinds of custom shapes and designs.
Hasselblad surprised the photo world last month by announcing the Lunar: a hyper-luxury mirrorless camera with an opulent exterior and a Sony NEX-7 at its core. To say it wasn’t well received would be an understatement; photographers immediately mocked the camera’s over-the-top design — it’s decorated with gold and precious metals — and the fact that it will carry a price tag $5,000 more than the camera it’s based on.
Hassy isn’t fazed by the criticism. The latest word from the Hasselblad camp is that it has opened a new design center in Italy, where the Lunar was conceived. Regardless of what you think about the camera, at least Hasselblad’s game plan is becoming more clear.
Watts Martin of Coyote Tracks has an interesting piece titled “Iconic” that discusses the idea of trade dress — the reason why Apple doesn’t have any branding on the front face of the iPhone:
You don’t need to see the name plate on a Ford Mustang or a Corvette or a Porsche 911 to recognize one. Or a Coke bottle. Or, once you’ve seen one, a Tivoli Audio tabletop radio. Or a McIntosh amp. These products have a design language that’s become part of their brand identity […] That’s what Apple wants, too: products that look like Apple. They’ve nailed it. You can look at a computer or a tablet or a phone being used in a coffee shop and you can immediately tell Apple or not Apple even if you can’t see the logo. And this is virtually unique in their industry: you’ll usually need the logo to know exactly what the not Apple product is.
This is why trade dress battles are so important to Apple. Try introducing a soda in a container that’s easily mistaken for a Coke bottle and see how far “har har har, you can’t patent curved glass!” gets you as a defense. If somebody makes a product that can be easily mistaken for an Apple device, then Apple is going to do whatever they can to get that product either off the market or changed.
DSLRs are pretty uniform in their appearance, so we don’t see much fuss about trade dress in that sector, but it’s interesting that there isn’t more tension between Leica and Fujifilm — two companies that both offer cameras without front branding.
Iconic [Coyotke Tracks via Daring Fireball]