Posts Tagged ‘japan’

Japanese Flying Ball Could Be the Future of Aerial Camera Systems

Japan’s Ministry of Defense has unveiled an amazing “Spherical Flying Machine”: a 42-inch remote controlled ball that can zip around in any direction at ~37mph. Built using off-the-shelf parts for about $1,400, in Internet is abuzz over the potential applications, which include military reconnaissance and search-and-rescue operations. What we’re most interested in, however, is the device’s potential as an aerial camera for things like sports photography and combat photojournalism.
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Olympus Fires CEO, Stock Takes Tumble

Olympus fired CEO and President Michael Woodford today, causing the company’s stock price to take a 17% dive. The 51-year-old Briton was accused by the board of ignoring the management culture that the firm has had in place for 92 years. Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa (who replaces Woodford) says,

We hoped that he could do things that would be difficult for a Japanese executive to do, but he was not able to understand that we needed to reflect the management style we have built up since the company was established 92 years ago, as well as Japanese culture.

The “difficult things” included ambitious cost-cutting plans, which proved to be successful in the company’s European division. Woodford had a habit of ignoring the management structure of the company by giving direct orders to employees rather than the leadership of the different units. While Olympus is known in the consumer electronics industry for its digital cameras, it’s medical equipment that keeps the company afloat — the Olympus camera division lost 15 billion yen (~$195 million) in the year to March 2011.

Olympus fires British CEO, a self-confessed loud-mouth [Reuters]

Chobi Cam One Arrives in the US as “The World’s Smallest Camera”

Remember the tiny Chobi Cam One “DSLR” that was introduced in Japan at the beginning of the year? Well the camera has found a distributor in the US and is generating some media buzz again after being marketed as “the world’s smallest camera”. While it certainly isn’t the world’s smallest camera, you probably won’t find an interchangeable lens digital camera that’s smaller. You can buy the video-capable 2-megapixel camera over at Hammacher Schlemmer for $100, though it doesn’t appear to come with any additional lenses besides the kit lens.

The World’s Smallest Camera (via Engadget)

Sony Drinking Canon and Nikon’s Milkshakes in Japan

Bloomberg reports that Canon and Nikon’s failure thus far to enter the mirrorless camera market has allowed Sony to eat into their combined market share — at least in Japan:

Canon and Nikon’s combined share of the Japanese market [for interchangeable lens cameras] has fallen by 35 percent, while Sony’s share has doubled

“Mirrorless cameras are a threat,” said David Rubenstein, a Tokyo-based analyst [...] “If the western geographies follow the same pattern as Asia, then it will be negative for Nikon and Canon.”

“In the long run, Canon and Nikon will have to enter the market,” said Hideki Yasuda, a Tokyo-based analyst [...] “Still, it won’t be too late for them to enter the market after mirrorless cameras become a global trend.”

Although mirrorless cameras are becoming all the rage in Japan, its adoption outside the country is much slower. Canon still owns a 45% share of the global SLR market, while Nikon remains at 30%. Canon also earned $1.5 billion in profit from selling SLRs last year, four times the profit generated by its compact cameras. SLR cameras and lenses were also Nikon’s biggest moneymaker.

Canon Clinging to Mirrors Means Opportunity for Sony Cameras [Bloomberg]

Here Come the 3D Cameras with Faces

It’s finally happened — companies are starting to realize that the two lenses on 3D cameras look a whole lot like eyes. This 3-megapixel “Felyne” camera is designed to look like a character from the video game franchise Monster Hunter, and goes on sale later this month in Japan for about $90. Something tells me we’ll be seeing a lot more of this kind of thing if 3D cameras start becoming popular.

I wonder if camera makers can make these things look like they’re blinking whenever you take a picture. That’d be neat… or creepy.

(via Famitsu via PhotoWeeklyOnline)

Beautiful Long Exposure Shots from a Japanese Train

Flickr user Céline Ramoni has a beautiful set of photographs shot from the Yurikamome rail line connecting the cities of Shimbashi and Toyosu in Japan. The exposure times aren’t too long (they’re all less than a second), but the speed of the train creates plenty of motion blur — even in daytime.
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A Theory on Leica’s Red Dot Logo

Maybe when Leica’s designers were brainstorming ideas for the company’s logo, they noticed the flag of Japan and said, “Okay, lets go with that.”


P.S. Co.Design has a great piece on Leica’s brand management.

Photos From Disposable Cameras Distributed After the Japanese Tsunami

You’ve probably seen countless photographs already of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan back in March, but they were likely captured by professional photographers looking to have the images published in news outlets. What, then, would photographs look like if they were taken by ordinary people who were directly affected by the disaster? Aichi Hirano found out the answer to this question by distributing 50 disposable cameras to survivors at a number of shelters with a note that read,

Please take photos of things you see with your eyes, things you want to record, remember, people near you, your loved ones, things you want to convey… please do so freely. And please enjoy the process if you can, even if it’s just a little bit.

Hirano did this once shortly after the disaster, then again two months later.

Rolls Tohoku (via Conscientious)

Wedding Rings Based on the Leica 50mm Summilux Lens

When two photographers got engaged in Japan, they asked their jewelry-maker friend to create wedding rings based on the Leica 50mm Summilux lens. The groom’s ring was the focusing ring while the bride’s was the aperture ring. The friend also created a stunningly realistic miniature Leica M3 to hold the rings (they slide onto the lens)!

(via Tokyo Camera Style)


Update: Here are some new photos of the rings:

This one shows the scale of the mini M3 next to actual Leica cameras:

Camera Industry Stocks Still Suffering After Japan Earthquake

The stock prices of major camera equipment manufacturers took a major — and expected — dive after the earthquake on March 11, 2011. Though they made a brief recovery afterward, they’re continuing to fall due to the risk that gear prices may soon skyrocket soar once decreased production isn’t able to meet demand.

(via Enticing the Light)