Here’s a neat idea for photographic experimentation: create a pinhole camera out of photographic paper by folding it into an origami box with the light-sensitive side on the inside. The hole that is used to blow the box into its shape is also used to expose the inside to the outside world. After exposing it, simply unfold it and process it using standard developer and fix.
As newspapers and magazines struggle to keep eyeballs from turning to the free world of the Web, more and more blogs are rising up to fill the niches once dominated by print. Despite the changing landscape, magazines are still able to command high advertising rates that blogs can’t match (yet). Wanting to find out whether magazines or blogs provided the best bang of each advertising buck, photographer Trey Ratcliff recently spent $26,000 placing ads in three major photography magazines, comparing the results to his online affiliate ad returns. His conclusion?
If I was consulting for one of these product companies that puts significant funds into magazine advertising, I would challenge them to try something new for six months: Try taking 50% of that money and put it into several hundred blogs, podcasts and review sites and measure the results. Cut the worst performers and find new ones.
Only one of the three magazines actually made Ratcliff money (the other two lost over ten thousand dollars) — the one that included an online ad rotation as part of the package.
This video shows a social experiment in which disposable cameras were left unattended in various public locations with a simple message: “Take a Photo”. Hidden cameras were stationed nearby to observe how people responded to the cameras, and to provide some behind-the-scenes footage to how the various photographs were captured.
Major camera makers including Olympus, Samsung and Sony have all filed patents in recent days for liquid lens technology. Unlike traditional glass lenses, liquid lenses don’t have any moving parts. Instead, liquid is used to focus light, and different voltages are applied to the liquid to change the shape of the liquid, thereby controlling the image. In the video above, techie Ben Krasnow introduces the technology, and then shows off a device he made by ripping a liquid lens out of a USB webcam.
Maurice Ribble of Tech Photo Blog recently found the ingredients list for flash powder, which was used for state-of-the-art photographic lighting 150 years ago. After making some of the powder, he began to test it to see how it compares to modern day flashes (more specifically, a Canon 580EX II).
One of the tests is a simple scene that was lighted with a modern flash and then flash powder so we can compare the images. Overall I was quite impressed with the amount of light that even a small amount of flash powder makes; however, there were many disadvantages to flash powder.
If you’re interested in making your own, a simple search on Google will point you in the right direction. Be careful though — the stuff is quite dangerous.
You’ve probably heard before that focal lengths between 85mm and 135mm produce the best head shots because they provide a desirable perspective in head shots, but how much of a different does the focal length actually make? Photographer Stephen Eastwood decided to find out, shooting 10 portraits of the same subject with focal lengths ranging from 19mm to 350mm.
Jim Harmer of Improve Photography conducted an interesting experiment in which he stacked the Gary Fong Lightsphere up against an ordinary piece of tupperware:
The Gary Fong Lightsphere costs $50. For a hunk of rubber that produces only marginal improvements over the on-camera flash in my opinion, that is just way too much money. The fact is that the darn thing looks like a piece of tupperware to me. So, I got curious. Was this product doing anything that any other hunk of plastic couldn’t do?
His conclusion is that there was absolutely no difference in quality, and that you should save your money by using a makeshift diffuser.
You’ve probably seen videos showing the rolling shutter effect turning airplane propellers into boomerangs, but what if the camera was attached to the spinning object rather than pointed at it? mguw of Helidigital decided to find out by attaching a small camera to the rotorhead of an RC helicopter, synchronizing the RPM of the rotor to the scan rate of the camera. The result is an uber-trippy video in which reality is bended through the rolling shutter effect.
It’s a pretty common question: if you had to choose, would you rather have a top-of-the-line DSLR with a cheap lens or an entry-level body with pro glass? Kai of DigitalRev attempts to answer the question through a hands on experiment in this humorous and educational video.
His conclusion is that unless you need to specific high end features of pro bodies (e.g. full frame sensor, high ISO performance, fast focus and burst shooting), then you’re probably better off going with a cheaper camera and more expensive lenses. Lenses hold their value much better than camera bodies, and there isn’t too big of a difference in image quality these days between entry level and pro DSLRs — especially when using high quality glass.
You’ve probably read plenty of articles touting the benefits of Sony’s translucent mirror technology (e.g. high fps, AF for video, quietness, etc…), but what about the cons? One of the main downsides to having a translucent mirror is that the light hitting the sensor passes through an additional layer (the translucent mirror), which reduces the amount of light and the image quality.
Ray over at TheSyberSite attempted to quantify how much the mirror affects the resulting image quality by removing the mirror on his A55 and comparing the resulting photos. He confirmed that about 1/2 stop of light is lost, and estimates that 5% of the detail in each shot is lost due to the mirror. Head on over to the article for some side-by-side comparisons.