Take a look at your camera, and there’s a good chance it’ll have this symbol: Φ — a small circle bisected by a long line that looks like a hieroglyph of Saturn. If you’ve always wondered what it means, today’s your lucky day: it’s called a “film plane mark” (or “focal plane mark”, depending on who you ask), and indicates exactly where the film (or sensor) plane is inside the camera body. One reason the mark is useful is that macro photographers often want to determine the exact distance between their subject and the film plane, and the mark can make this calculation much easier.
(via PhotoNotes.org via Reddit)
P.S. For a complete list of common camera symbols, check out this page on PhotoNotes.org.
We’ve heard of camera manufacturers dipping into unrelated fields before, and we’ve also seen some pretty interesting marketing stunts, but in the early 90’s Kodak had already done both… in a colorful, cuddly sort of way. Back then, as an either desperate or creative ploy to get kids into photography, Kodak came out with the Kolorkins: a set of colorful, collectible stuffed animals. Read more…
You may have heard that digital cameras can be made sensitive to infrared light by removing the IR filter found inside, but did you now that something similar can be done with the human eye? People who have aphakia, or the absence of the lens on the eye, have reported the ability to see ultraviolet wavelengths. Claude Monet was one such person. Carl Zimmer writes,
Late in his life, Claude Monet developed cataracts. As his lenses degraded, they blocked parts of the visible spectrum, and the colors he perceived grew muddy. Monet’s cataracts left him struggling to paint; he complained to friends that he felt as if he saw everything in a fog. After years of failed treatments, he agreed at age 82 to have the lens of his left eye completely removed. Light could now stream through the opening unimpeded. Monet could now see familiar colors again. And he could also see colors he had never seen before. Monet began to see–and to paint–in ultraviolet.
[...] With his lens removed, Monet continued to paint. Flowers remained one of his favorite subjects. Only now the flowers were different. When most people look at water lily flowers, they appear white. After his cataract surgery, Monet’s blue-tuned pigments could grab some of the UV light bouncing off of the petals. He started to paint the flowers a whitish-blue.
The lens on a human eye ordinarily filters out UV rays, so we don’t see many of the things certain animals see. For example, the males and females of some butterfly species look identical to the human eye but very different to UV-sensitive eyes — the males sport bright patterns in order to attract the females!
Monet’s Ultraviolet Eye (via kottke.org)
Have you ever wondered why newer Canon DSLR battery covers have a small rectangular hole punched into them? It’s more than just for style:
Take a look at the cover. Does it have a small cut-out a few millimetres in from one edge? This is not just decoration. It is designed so that you can tell at a glance which of your batteries are fully charged and which are not. The batteries that come with this cover have a blue stripe down one side of the back. When you remove a charged battery from the charger, you can attach the cover so that the blue is visible. When you remove a discharged battery from the camera, you can attach the cover so that the blue patch is not showing.
It’s a simple and useful tip that those of you who don’t read instruction manuals may have never learned.
(via Canon Professional Network)
Here’s a simple trick for those of you who find yourself always plugging in USB cables the wrong way on your first attempt: pay attention to the seam on the metal tip. Apartment Therapy writes,
Look closely on the metal tip and you’ll notice that there is a seam on one side of the connector. This seam denotes the contact side of the USB. In horizontal oriented USB ports the seam should face down. In vertical oriented USB ports the seam should face left. If you follow those rules, you’ll get your USB plugged in the right way, the first time, most of the time.
(via Apartment Therapy via Lifehacker)
Ever wonder why camera manufacturers these days are describing often sensor sizes with fractions instead of millimeters? Roger Cicala of LensRentals explains:
[...] then we get into all of these fractional-inch-type-measurements for the smaller sensors. That measurement system originated in ancient times (the 1950s to 1980s) when vacuum tubes were used instead of CCD or CMOS sensors in video and television cameras. The image sensor was, in those days, referred to in terms of the outside diameter of the vacuum tube that contained it.
Why do manufacturers keep using such an archaic measurement? Because it helps them lie to you, of course. If you do the math 1/2.7 equals 0.37 inches, which equals 9.39 mm. But if you look at the chart above you’ll see that a 1/2.7″ sensor actually has a diagonal of 6.7 mm. Why? Because, of course, a thick glass tube used to surround the sensors. So they calculate the sensor size as if the glass tube was still included. Makes perfect sense to a marketing person who wants to make their sensor seem larger than it is. What sounds better: 1/2.7″ or ‘less than 10% the size of a full frame sensor’?
If you have a few minutes, give his entire post on sensor sizes a read — it’s quite illuminating.
Sensor Size Matters [LensRentals Blog]
Image credits: Photograph by Sphl
With the introduction of iOS 5, Apple finally turned the iPhone’s volume up button into a shutter button and its headphones into remote shutter releases. However, did you know that many Bluetooth headsets can now be used as wireless shutter releases? As long as your device can wirelessly increase the iPhone’s volume (and not just its own) it should work. This means that even Bluetooth keyboards can be used as wireless remotes!
(via Macworld via Lifehacker)
Image credit: jawbone + iPhone by camflan
Photography business analyst Dan Heller has written a helpful post in which he busts common misconceptions photographers in the US have about model releases. A big one is that you need to first obtain a model release before selling photos of people. Heller writes,
[...] newspapers buy photos, and their use of the photo is unlikely to need a release. So, selling a photo (and making a profit doing so) to a newspaper also does not require a release. And because the law does not require you to have any knowledge of the buyer or their intended use of a photo, you are always allowed to sell photos without a release.
His point is that model releases have to do with photographs being published, not sold. A photographer cannot publish the photos however they’d like, but they can sell them however they’d like since liability rests solely with the eventual publisher. That said, it’s still a good idea to always use one, since they’re often required by the buyers.
Busting Myths about Model Releases [Dan Heller]
Image credit: 257/365 by /*dave*/
According to Wikipedia, there are roughly one trillion photographs on film or photo paper in the world today — enough to cover an area of 4,000 square miles (~10,000 square kilometers). That’s about half the size of Wales, or pretty much exactly the size of Los Angeles County.
Did you know that Photoshop has built-in mechanisms that prevent you from editing photos of banknotes? After getting a payday, Reddit user tarballdotgz tried to Photoshop some of his hundred dollar bills, but ran into the above error in Photoshop. Even if you find a way to edit the images in Photoshop, there’s a good chance your printer will give you a similar error if you try to print the image out!
TIL that Photoshop doesn’t let you edit photos of currency [Reddit]
Update: Another interesting fact: apparently one mechanism used to do this is something called the “EURion constellation“, a specific pattern built into banknotes worldwide. (Thx David!)