Lytro‘s groundbreaking consumer light-field camera made a splash in the camera industry this year by making it possible to refocus photographs after they’re shot. However, the cheapest model for the boxy device has a price tag of $399, and the reviews have been mixed so far.
If you’d like to play around with your own refocus-able photographs without having to buy an actual Lytro device, you can actually fake it using a standard DSLR camera (or any camera with manual focusing and a large-aperture lens).
Back in October, Roger Cicala shared some first impressions of the Canon EOS M with us, and stated that he believes the camera is “a firmware update and a price drop away from being a great camera.” While we haven’t seen any major price cuts to the camera so far, a firmware update may be on the near horizon.
By “update,” we mean “third-party firmware enhancement.” Magic Lantern has announced that its firmware add-on will indeed work with Canon’s mirrorless camera, and that they’ve begun the process of porting it.
Photographer Nick Cool came up with one of the strangest pieces of do-it-yourself camera gear that we’ve seen so far this year. He took an ordinary stainless steel sink filter — yup, the thing that catches food at the bottom of kitchen sinks — drilled various-sized holes through it, and stuck it into a filter ring after taking out the glass. The resulting photographic sink filter takes soft focus photos with pretty strange-looking bokeh in the background. Changing the size of the holes drilled into the plate produces different bokeh styles.
You can find the step-by-step tutorial on the build over on DIYPhotography. There are also some more sample photographs over in this Flickr set by Cool.
How To Build A Soft Focus Filter From A Sink Drainer [DIYPhotography]
Image credits: DIY soft focus filter and DIY soft focus filter by Nick Cool
Samsung released the open source kernel files for its new Galaxy Camera late last week, something commonly done in the smartphone world — at least with certain platforms — but a foreign concept in the world of digital photography. This opens the door to all kinds of possibilities as hackers begin to peer into the cameras brain and dream up new possibilities for how it should work.
Developers are already talking about the possibility of introducing voice calling to the camera — a feature Samsung left out of the camera, presumably to avoid cannibalizing its smartphones.
Here’s a clever trick for if you ever need to print out a photo but find your inkjet cartridges low (or dried out): bust out your hair dryer. Paul Boutin of The New York Times writes,
If your printer’s ink cartridge runs dry near the end of an important print job, remove the cartridge and run a hair dryer on it for two to three minutes. Then place the cartridge back into the printer and try again while it is still warm.
“The heat from the hair dryer heats the thick ink, and helps it to flow through the tiny nozzles in the cartridge,” says Alex Cox, a software engineer in Seattle. “When the cartridge is almost dead, those nozzles are often nearly clogged with dried ink, so helping the ink to flow will let more ink out of the nozzles.” The hair dryer trick can squeeze a few more pages out of a cartridge after the printer declares it is empty.
The trick only works once or twice per cartridge, but apparently it works pretty well.
Hardware security guru Joe Fitz has successfully hacked the WU-1a wireless mobile adapter to be compatible with the Nikon D800. “Why would anyone want to do this?” you might ask. Well, to get the same features, you could also buy a Nikon UT-1 Communication Unit for $470 and Nikon WT-5A Wireless Transmitter for $580 — a combined total of $1050. The Nikon WU-1a, designed for the entry-level D3200, costs just $58!
If you have an old plastic kit lenses lying around, something that you are not using for anything serious, you can give it a new life as a macro lens by removing the front element.
When Google upgraded its Android OS to Jelly Bean 4.2 a couple of days ago, the company unveiled a new camera app called Photo Sphere that lets you shoot 360-degree panoramas by waving your camera around. If you’ve been dying to play with the app on your Android device running the older version of Jelly Bean, but can’t bear to wait until 4.2 officially comes to you, this should be music to your ears: the new 4.2 camera/gallery upgrades and Photo Sphere have been successfully ported to Android 4.1.1.
Remember the remote Instagram printer called Instaprint? Although the Kickstarter fundraising campaign for the product raised nearly a quarter of a million bucks from 800+ backers, it failed to reach its goal of $500K, and we haven’t heard much about the device since then. If you can’t wait to print Instagram photos remotely using a simple hashtag, James Croft over at MacTalk has a tutorial on how you can build your own:
Using a Mac, with a combination of web services & apps, we can breathe life back into [a cheap Bluetooth] printer, and turn it into a hashtag-based Instagram printer! In other words, any time there’s a new photo with a certain hashtag in Instagram, this will find it, download it, crop & resize it, then print it out. All completely automagically.
You’ll need a Bluetooth printer, accounts on IFTTT/Instagram/Dropbox, Hazel, and Photoshop (the last two are optional). While Croft’s tutorial is for Mac users, developer Lee Martin is working on a universal web app that’ll work across platforms.
Hacking Together an Automatic Instagram Printer [MacTalk]
Thanks for the tip, Phil!
If you regularly shoot in dusty or sandy environments, here’s a handy tip for keeping your camera clean: create a simple cleaning brush that attaches to your camera bag. Digital Camera World writes,
You’ll never bag a great photo with dirty lenses and dusty gear, so keeping your camera and lenses clean and protected is crucial. The front line of defence against dirt and grime is constant cleaning. This isn’t easy if you have to carry around cans of compressed air, blower brushes, fluids and other bulky equipment. Professionals actually tend to use ordinary paintbrushes for camera and lens cleaning, so save yourself money and space [by] making a handy cleaning brush that clips onto your belt.
You’ll need a hacksaw and a drill to “hack” a 25mm paintbrush, and a split-ring and carabiner for attaching it to your camera bag or backpack.
Keep Your Camera Clean with This Homemade Brush [Digital Camera World]
P.S. The magazine also suggests attaching double-sided sticky pads (or tape) to the inside of your lens caps to trap dust that’s floating around in your camera bag.