Posts Tagged ‘innovation’

Sigma Drops Bombshell, Announces a 18-35mm f/1.8 Lens

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Wow. The rumor of a new Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens we shared earlier today has just been confirmed by Sigma. The company has just officially announced the lens, which is the world’s first lens that offers a fixed f/1.8 aperture throughout its zoom range. That’s a pretty big deal.
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Rumor: Sony May Introduce Eye-Tracking Autofocus Next Year

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Want to focus your camera simply by looking at a particular area of the viewfinder? If you’re a Sony shooter, you might be enjoying that feature as early as next year. The company is reportedly working on building Eye Tracking autofocus into its cameras, with the initial version arriving in a flagship camera sometime in 2014.
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Peak Design Unveils Leash, the Optimus Prime of Camera Straps

If you’ve ever had to take traditional camera straps on and off your camera, you probably know how annoying the task is. Peak Design, makers of the Capture camera clip system, wants to change the way people think about and use straps. The company has unveiled a new strap called the Leash, a versatile accessory that can take on different configurations and be used for multiple purposes.
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MIT Develops a New Self-Cleaning, Fog-Resistant, Anti-Glare Glass

MIT researchers are at it again: the university’s latest research project to receive attention from tech blogs the world over is their new self-cleaning, anti-glare, fog-resistant glass. They’re calling it “multifunctional” glass, and by using a nano-textured surface it eliminates glare and fogging entirely, essentially making it invisible.

As an added bonus, water droplets “bounce” off of this type of glass like little bouncy ball. As of right now the process involved in making the glass is complicated and would be too expensive to implement on a large scale, but the researchers have both hope and ideas for how to make this a reality. When that happens, photographers can cross their fingers that we’ll start seeing lenses made of this special glass. We certainly hope it happens: no dust, no fog, no glare… yes please!

(via MIT via Engadget)

Flickr Launches Android App and Cool Photo Sessions Feature

If you’re a Flickr loyalist that hasn’t jumped ship for competing services, Flickr is rewarding you with a couple new tools for sharing your photos. Today the company announced an official app for Android and a new photo-sharing feature called Photo Sessions.
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New LG Mouse Can Scan Photos with the Flick of a Wrist

In the future, after you print photos onto paper using your camera, you’ll be able to scan them and share them on Flickr using your mouse. At CES earlier this year, LG showed off an amazing new mouse that lets you quickly scan images and documents by simply waving the mouse over them. Now it’s available — if you live in the UK, you can buy one from Dabs for £90 (~$150).

(via Engadget via Reddit)

Upcoming Sony Lens Adapter Does More than Adapt Lenses, Helps Focus Too

Here’s some interesting innovation on the tech-side of photography: on August 24, Sony will be unveiling a new lens adapter called the LA-EA2 that will let customers use large Sony Alpha DSLR lenses on their small NEX mirrorless cameras. Unlike most lens adapters, this one actually does a lot more than adapt lenses — it has its own translucent mirror and phase-detection autofocus sensor to aid the camera in providing snappy autofocus. It’s almost like an accessory that helps turn small NEX bodies into a DSLR-style camera (except there’s still no optical viewfinder).

(via Photo Rumors via Wired)

Canon 200-400mm Lens to Include a Built-in Switchable 1.4x Teleconverter

Canon is on a tear today with its announcements. In addition to new Rebel cameras and new entry level flashes, they also have some lens news. First, they’re releasing new versions of their 500mm and 600mm lenses, but even more interesting is the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens they announced the development of. This is a zoom lens that has a 1.4x teleconverter built right in. Once you switch it on, it instant turns into a 280-560mm f/5.6 lens!

Sony Compact Design Hides Lens Behind Foldable Grip

Sony has been gaining ground on Canon and Nikon lately by focusing on innovation, creating new technologies and entering the mirrorless market early while the two mega-corps have mostly been content with playing it safe with their popular products. Sony recently filed an interesting patent in Japan that shows some of this creative thinking at work. It’s a design for a compact camera in which the panel that hides the lens on the front of the camera turns into a camera grip when the lens is exposed!
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Top US Patents Captured by Non-American Companies

Just as the Winter Olympics are heating up international competition in Vancouver this week, the U.S. has suffered a bit of a statistical loss to non-American companies on home turf: American-owned companies have captured far fewer U.S. patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2009. U.S. corporations hold about 49% of all U.S. utility patents in 2009, while non-U.S. firms hold the majority.

In a repeat of last year’s trend, major Asian companies, such as South Korea’s Samsung, Japan’s Canon, Panasonic, Toshiba, Sony and Seiko Epson have snagged a spot in the top ten in number of patents issued in 2009, according to the IFI Claims Patent Services ranking.

An interesting note: out of the top 10 on the list, many, such as Canon (viewfinder patent sketch featured above), Panasonic, are diverse companies whose products include printers and televisions, but have a notable stake in the consumer camera industry. Fujifilm, a Japanese-owned company dedicated to consumer camera products alone, placed 19th on the top 50 list as well.

Though the sheer number of patents does imply an accelerated growth and company innovation with an intent to bring the products to a consumer market, the press release notes that America has held its own considering the recession climate that still lingers:

Although the margin of patent dominance between U.S. and non-U.S. firms is slight and has been for several years, there is no uncertainty that foreign firms are adding patents at a frenetic pace.  “Interest in protecting corporate intellectual property has become intense both in the U.S. and abroad, and as a result we’re seeing an increased level of patent activity,” continued [general manager of IFI Patent Intelligence Darlene] Slaughter.  “The silver lining may be that the high priority foreign firms place on U.S. patents is a confirmation of the value and importance that the U.S. market represents.”

U.S. companies, IBM, Microsoft, Intel, and Hewlett-Packard held top spots on the rank as well, at 1st, 3rd, 8th, and 10th, respectively.