Canonites in Japan who often find their mode dial inadvertently changed can now choose to have their camera upgraded with a locking mode dial. The service upgrade costs ¥10,500 (~$125) and adds a button to the center of the mode dial that must be pressed before the dial can be changed. Maybe DSLR makers should find a way to have this be an available (but not mandatory) option on all DSLR models. What do you think?
Just unveiled at Photokina, Casio’s new EXILIM EX-H20G point-and-shoot is a pretty ordinary 14.1 megapixel HD video-capable camera with a trick up its sleeve: a hybrid GPS system for geotagging your photos. Ordinarily cameras geotag your images with location based on signals from GPS satellites, but become oblivious to where you are if you move to a location where the signals can’t be detected. The EX-H20G attempts to overcome this problem by storing the user’s last known satellite location in the camera’s memory, and then using data from internal motion sensors to calculate where the user has moved to since the signal was lost.
It’s not clear yet how accurate this hybrid system is, or whether the camera needs to stay on for all this to work. If it does indeed work as advertised, then this is a pretty nifty solution to a common problem. The camera will be available in November 2010 for $350.
Apple had a special event this morning where they announced a few new products. In addition to the introduction of HD-video recording on the iPod Touch, an interesting new announcement was the HDR Photography feature in iOS 4.1, which is found on the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad (though the iPad doesn’t currently have a camera).
Google added a neat feature called “Face Movies” to its Picasa photo software last week. This feature uses facial recognition technology to help you create a movie slideshow where a person’s face is aligned in each photograph. An example of something you can do with this feature is to create a slideshow of your child growing up (like in the example Face Movie above).
Here’s a funny example of a photo-based security feature gone wrong: starting in May, Facebook started doing user verification checks when logging in from an unfamiliar computer in order to make sure it’s actually the account owner logging in. The verification checks are photo-based, and involve correctly naming people you have listed as friends. Unfortunately, the feature will sometimes ask users to correctly name unfamiliar things: people they don’t know very well, dogs, cats, objects, gummy bears, etc…
The above screenshot was taken by Facebook user Eleanor Herman, an author who connects with her readers and who hasn’t been able to correctly identify 5 out of 7 random friends. After failing the test, one must wait an hour before trying again. Herman has been locked out of her account for the past 10 days.
The Flip Video camcorder has had a convenient built-in USB connector for quite some time, so why not compact cameras? Today Samsung announced the PL90, a 12.2 megapixel compact shooter that offers a convenient USB plug built into the body of the camera. Gone are the days of carrying around a separate cable or card reader, or having to have a computer with built-in card slots.
Aside from the nifty connection, the camera is pretty ordinary on other fronts. It has a 2.7 inch LCD on the back, offers 4x optical zoom, and supports 640×480 video recording at 30fps or 15fps (what? no HD?). It’ll hit the market next month at an entry-level price of $150.
We’ll likely see more and more compact cameras offering this kind of connection in the near future.
Many of Sony’s new digicams have a nifty “Sweep Panorama” feature that allows you to create panoramas of up to 224 degrees by sweeping your camera across a scene. The camera then takes the numerous frames it captured during the sweep and combines them together into a panorama for you.
If you own an iPhone, a new app called 360 Panorama allows you to go a step further. Instead of creating traditional panoramas, the app lets you quickly create 360 degree panoramas by sweeping your camera in every direction. Each 360 panorama should take about 20 seconds to create, with the app filling in pieces of the panorama on an on-screen grid as you’re sweeping.
Now for a couple downsides. First, due to the app’s processor intensive nature, it’s only available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. Also, the app has iffy reviews on the iTunes store, with customers saying that it’s a work in progress. Still, it’s a pretty neat idea, and if they get it working smoothly and correctly it would be a nice feature to add to your phone for a cool $3.
In a post on the Facebook blog yesterday, Divvyshot founder Sam Odio announced that Facebook is adding the same face detection features found in many consumer cameras to its uber-popular Facebook Photos app.
Previously, users had to manually select each face found in a photograph to tag it with a friend’s name, but now the service will automatically select each face and prompt you for the name, streamlining the process and making it much easier for uploaders.
I’m guessing we’ll soon see features added that promote collaboration and pooling together photographs as a group to a shared pool, similar to what Divvyshot offered prior to the acquisition and shutdown.
Flickr has just announced a new feature that allows you to connect your Flickr account to your Facebook account to automatically update your Facebook friends when you upload new photographs. The above screenshot published by Flickr shows what the resulting Facebook status updates look like. To get started, visit the Sharing & Extending section of your Flickr account settings to connect your accounts in a few easy steps. For those of you who are already using the Flickr app on Facebook, Flickr recommends turning off that app and using this new feature instead.
Google has a new feature that photographers may enjoy: you can now customize the Google homepage with your own photography. Visit the Google homepage, and you should see a “Change background image” link on the bottom left hand corner of the page. If you don’t see this link, try logging out of Google and then visiting the page.
You can use images from a preset collection, a public gallery, your Picasa account, or your computer via upload. If you can’t see this feature for some reason, it should be rolled out to you shortly.