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.
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We’ve featured special gloves and mittens designed for photographers before, but what if your camera uses a touchscreen instead of physical controls? Here’s a video by Make’s Becky Stern showing how you can sew some conductive thread into your glove to make it compatible with capacitive touchscreens.
Video after the jump
You don’t need to shell out money for a nicer camera or a special lens to play around with macro photography. In addition to freelensing and using your lens backward, you can also place an ordinary magnifying glass in front of your lens to enlarge the world. Graphic designer Clif Dickens shot these close-up photos using a magnifying glass and an iPhone 3GS.
Modern DSLR lenses don’t usually have aperture rings, and opening and closing the aperture is the camera’s responsibility. If for some reason you need to keep the aperture blades locked in a certain position, the “lens twist trick” can help you do so. Simply untwist the lens from the camera while holding the depth of field preview button.
One practical use for this trick is time-lapse photography. Cameras don’t always close the aperture to exactly the same size every shot, and the slight variation can cause a flicker in the resulting time-lapse video (a problem called “aperture flicker“).
A couple days ago it was discovered that iPhones, iPods, and iPads running iOS 5 have a secret panorama mode that’s hidden in the operating system. The feature can be enabled, but featured either a jailbroken device or knowledge in how to edit a particular iOS 5 preference file. Luckily for non-hackers, Redmond Pie has discovered an easy way to do this by taking advantage of iTune’s backup feature. This tutorial will teach you how to get the panorama feature unlocked in 5-10 minutes.
Many digital cameras are battery-only, and can’t be directly connected to an outlet for an infinite source of power. That’s ordinarily not a problem, but can become an issue if you attempt to do things like time-lapse imagery, for which the camera needs to stay powered and perfectly stationary for extended periods of time. That was the problem faced by Instructables member txoof with his Olympus E520. Handy with electronics and woodworking, he decided to build his own AC/DC interface for the camera, crafting a wooden mold that acts as a wall-powered “battery”.
If you have the same problem and aren’t afraid of sockets and buzz saws, check out his tutorial for instructions on how to do this yourself.
Buying an illuminated white background for high-key lighting (or to use as a giant softbox) can set you back hundreds of dollars. Fortunately, you can create something similar on the cheap using simple white bedsheets, some PVC pipes, and some lights. Assemble the PVC pipes into a square frame, stretch the bedsheet over the frame, and illuminate the bedsheet from behind. You’ll want to blow out the white area on the street for evenly white lighting. Check out the full build tutorial over on DIYPhotography.
A Light Wall Of Light From Bed Sheets And PVC [DIYPhotography]
P.S. You can also try sticking a bedsheet over a window or doorway to get a sunlit softbox. Thanks Jeremiah!.
Image credit: Photograph by David Dicarlo
If you have some translucent film canisters lying around, you can turn them into DIY glow sticks for light painting photography. Fuse three of them together into one translucent tube, stick a small flashlight into it, wrap it with a colored translucent sheet, and voilà, you have yourself a cheap and simple glow stick. It’s a way to add some thickness to your light painting “brush”.
DIY Glow Sticks From Film Canisters [Lomography]