Photographer Preston Turk has an idea for how to best store lens caps when they’re not attached to lenses. Called the Stow-Away, it a universal lens cap holder that can hold most of the standard lens diameters (AKA filter sizes): 52mm, 55mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67mm, and 72mm. Turk designed the accessory to attach to the underside of cameras via the standard tripod mount. Giving your lens cap a quick shove underneath your camera will click it securely into place.
Compact cameras feature lenses that automatically “cap” themselves when retracted and not in use. Interchangeable lenses, on the other hand, usually don’t. The X-Cap changes that. It’s a Taiwan-designed lens cap that snaps onto the front of certain lenses that feature a retracting front element (the Micro Four Thirds system has lenses like this). When the front element retracts, the cap automatically closes — great for people who hate dealing with lens caps.
HandiZoom is a new camera accessory that adds a special grip to your DSLR that allows you to hold and use it like a camcorder. The device adds ENG-style zoom controls by connecting directly with the zoom ring on your camera lens. Videographers who’ve transitioned to DSLR shooting may feel much more at home with their hand around an ergonomic grip and a zoom rocker under their fingertips.
Photographer Jesse Rosten wanted a more efficient and mobile way to do off-camera lighting, so he invented this backpack-style apparatus that he calls “The Strobist Jet Pack”. Although it’s pretty ridiculous looking (it reminds us of Ghostbusters), it works well for placing lighting equipment in exactly the place needed while still being able to move about.
Google scientist Sam Hasinoff has come up with a technique called “light-efficient photography” that uses focus-stacking to reduce the amount of time exposures require. In traditional photography, increasing the depth of field in a scene requires reducing the size of the aperture, which reduces the amount of light hitting the sensor and increases the amount of time required to properly expose the photo. This can cause a problem in some situations, such as when a longer exposure would lead to motion blur in the scene.
Hasinoff’s technique allows a camera to capture a photo of equal exposure and equivalent depth of field in a much shorter amount of time. He proposes using a wide aperture to capture as much light as possible, and using software to compensate for the shallow depth of field by stacking multiple exposures. In the example shown above, the camera captures an identical photograph twice as fast by simply stacking two photos taken with larger apertures.
Light-Efficient Photography (via Amateur Photographer)
The Image Fulgurator is a brilliant device created — and patented — by Berlin-based artist Julius von Bismarck. It’s an optically triggered slave flash that fires through the back of a camera, projecting a message or image on the film through the lens — basically, it’s an optically triggered projector. What this allows von Bismarck to do is prank unsuspecting photographers by adding random pictures or words into their photographs whenever they use their camera’s flash.
Have an idea for a photo product and an entrepreneurial itch? PDN published an article this past week with three stories of people who successfully turned their ideas into products (and businesses). One of them is the story of Gary Fong and his Lightsphere:
Gary Fong, the former wedding photographer-turned-entrepreneur whose name has become synonymous with lighting accessories, says he got the idea to make his first photographic product, the Lightsphere, while flipping through an in-flight magazine. “There was an ad that said something like, ‘We make plastic parts for your ideas.’” It started him thinking about what he would like to make. What he wanted, he thought, was a large light diffuser, modeled on a lampshade. “Until then, diffusers were tiny. They sat on top of your flash and they didn’t do anything to the shape of the light. All they did was block the light coming through your flash.” He noticed that when he photographed indoors, light filtered through lampshades—which create a hot spot on the ceiling while diffusing the light on faces—produced pretty skin tones. “I thought, okay, I’ll make a big lampshade for electronic flash.”
Fong’s advice to fellow inventors? “All you need is the customers. It’s got to be a product that customers will buy. If they buy some, you know grandma will be packing boxes for you. If they buy waves of them, you’ll have grandma supervising some temps who pack the boxes until you find a distribution company.”
How Inventors Turn Their Ideas Into Photo Products [PDN]
Image credit: April Seattle Flickr meetup by Paul David Gibson
Cell phone photography is a huge trend these days with Instagram skyrocketing past 10 million users this past weekend, but have you ever wondered how it all started? An entrepreneur named Philippe Kahn is credited with creating the camera phone back in 1997. On June 11th of that year, Kahn took the first “camera phone” photo of his newborn daughter in a maternity ward, and then wirelessly transmitted the photo to more than 2,000 people around the world. Since “camera phones” didn’t exist at that time, Kahn actually hacked together a primitive one by combining a digital camera and a cell phone to send the photos in real time.
Kahn then went on to start LightSurf, a company that was hugely influential in picture messaging. LightSurf technology is still used by Sprint, Verizon, and other major carriers around the world.
Back in March of 1954, Popular Science magazine featured an invention called the “dentapod” — a metal bracket attached to the tripod mount that you bite with your teeth to stabilize your camera. For some reason, this didn’t seem to catch on back then, but if any of you aspiring entrepreneurs decided to revive this thing for DSLRs, I’m sure it would be the next big thing.
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)