JPEG is a remarkably resilient file format. Despite having many upstart formats attempt to dethrone it over the years — including JPEG 2000 and Google’s WebP — the JPEG is still used by nearly 70% of websites and is holding strong in popularity.
Now there’s a new competitor in the ring. It’s called BPG (Better Portable Graphics), and it’s a format designed and advocated by notable French programmer Fabrice Bellard (creator of FFmpeg and QEMU).
When it comes to medium format photography, prime lenses are the norm. The size, weight and quality of construction of lenses are all areas of constraint for medium format over DSLRs or mirrorless, and so zoom lenses are more of a rarity.
However, there are always impressive exceptions to the rule, which is exactly what Phase One has done with its second-ever zoom lens for the 645 digital medium format system. Read more…
When you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, sometimes the best bet is to wander off the beaten path and take an alternate route. The ‘road less travelled’ if you will.
As demonstrated by DigitalRev in the video above, this can mean taking a step back in time if you’re wanting to shoot something larger than full-frame without, “breaking your bank or your arm.” Read more…
“BYOB” is an initialism that’s readily understood by college students who party. To artist Rafaël Rozendaal, however, it means something entirely different. In 2010, Rozendaal launched Bring Your Own Beamer, a series of novel “open source” art exhibitions in which participants were asked to bring their own beamers (AKA projectors). The recipe for the concept is extremely simple: find a venue with plenty of wall space (and outlets), invite a bunch of artists and art-lovers, and have images projected all over the walls for everyone to enjoy.
Adobe has officially added lossy compression into the latest specification (1.4) for its Digital Negative (DNG) RAW file format. The new Lossy DNG, which first appeared as a feature in Lightroom 4 earlier this year, gives photographers a middle-ground between the quality of lossless DNG photos and the small file size of JPEG photos.
When XQD memory cards were announced in December 2011, the CompactFlash Association touted the format as the successor to CompactFlash cards. We definitely seemed to be moving in that direction at first: one month after the unveiling, Nikon’s flagship D4 DSLR was announced with XQD card support. The day after that, Sony became the first major memory card maker to announce a line of XQD cards. Six months later, Lexar also announced its intentions to join the party.
Since then, things have died down to the point where you can hear grasshoppers chirping. Not a single XQD-capable camera was announced at Photokina 2012 this past week. Despite being the first to make them, Sony strangely decided to leave the cards out of its top-of-the-line cameras as well.
At the end of last year a new format called XQD was unveiled as the eventual replacement for CompactFlash. About a month later at CES 2012, Sony announced the first XQD cards. If you’re not sold on the new format, here’s some good news for you: Lexar and SanDisk have both announced that they have no plans to release XQD cards in the near future and that they’re both committed to the CompactFlash format (a bit strange though, given that SanDisk was one of the companies that announced XQD in November 2010). Lexar’s actions certainly back up its words: at CES it unveiled its largest (256GB) and fastest (1000x) CompactFlash cards ever.
Image credit: 22 GB of wedding photos by John Carleton
Perhaps in response to the growing capacities and falling prices of SD cards, the CompactFlash Association has announced a new format to replace CF cards for professional photographers. It’s called XQD, and has a size that falls between CF and SD cards (it’s thicker than SD cards, but smaller than CF cards). The interface used is PCI Express, which has a theoretical max write speed of roughly 600MB/s, though the target for real-world write speeds at first will be 125MB/s. It’ll start making public appearances at trade shows early next year, and will be licenced out to card makers around the same time.
One of huge benefits of shooting in RAW is that RAW files usually have considerably more dynamic range than a JPG. This means that details in the shadows and highlights of an image that would otherwise be lost if shooting JPG are stored in the RAW file, and able to be recovered if needed during post-processing. Reddit user Jake Kelly shot the photo on the left of his friends in a dark movie theater, severely underexposing the image but avoiding hand-shake with a shutter speed of 1/60. A quick adjustment in Lightroom helped him recover a ton of detail that definitely wouldn’t be possible had he been shooting in JPG (try taking the JPG on the left and getting the result on the right).
For a more in-depth look at this topic, you should read the “Dynamic Range & Exposure Compensation” section of the RAW tutorial over on Cambridge in Colour.
Image credits: Photographs by Jake Kelly and used with permission
Here’s a fun bit of photo history: did you know that back in 1982, Kodak attempted to introduce a cartridge film format that resembled a floppy disk? Each rectangular cartridge contained a circular film disc with 15 exposures, and the disc was rotated 24 degrees after each exposure to line up the next frame.
Disc film did not prove hugely successful, mainly because the image on the negative was only 11 mm by 8 mm, leading to generally unacceptable grain and poor definition in the final prints. The film was intended to be printed with special 6-element lenses from Kodak, but many labs simply printed discs with standard 3-element lenses used for larger negative formats. The resulting prints often disappointed the consumer. [#]
Disc cameras were made until 1989, but the film remained in production until 1998. With over 8 million Disc cameras made in the first year alone, it’s no wonder there’s plenty for sale on eBay for just a few bucks.
Image credit: Photograph by D. Meyer