After the death of Osama bin Laden and the subsequent dumping of his body into the sea, a number of groups have called for the release of photographs captured during and after the raid — particularly the images showing his corpse. A year ago we reported that the Associated Press had taken legal action to obtain the images. Yesterday federal judge James Boasberg put an end to all the requests by ruling that there were legitimate national security interests at stake and that the photos would not be released. He writes,
A picture may be worth a thousand words. And perhaps moving pictures bear an even higher value. Yet, in this case, verbal descriptions of the death and burial of Osama bin Laden will have to suffice, for this court will not order the release of anything more.
Trigger Happy is a new product that lets you use your iOS or Android smartphone as a fancy camera remote. It consists of an app and a one-meter-long cable that goes from your phone’s audio jack to your camera. Besides acting as a simple remote shutter release for shake-free shots, the app offers bulb functionality for timing long exposures, an intervalometer for timelapse photography, HDR mode, and bramping. They’re also working on lightning detection, audio waveform detection, face detection, and accelerometer-based triggering. Read more…
Nikonian DSLR shooters will soon be able to use their existing F-mount lenses with Nikon’s 1 System line of mirrorless cameras. The FT1 adapter launches next week in Japan on December 22nd for ¥23,310, or roughly $300. Most lenses in the mount system will be compatible, and AF-S lenses will have the added advantage of being able to utilize the cameras’ autofocus systems. Be prepared for massive crop though — the tiny sensor on the cameras mean that your lenses will have a crazy 2.7x crop factor. A 50mm normal lens will turn into a 135mm telephoto lens.
Photography business analyst Dan Heller has written a helpful post in which he busts common misconceptions photographers in the US have about model releases. A big one is that you need to first obtain a model release before selling photos of people. Heller writes,
[...] newspapers buy photos, and their use of the photo is unlikely to need a release. So, selling a photo (and making a profit doing so) to a newspaper also does not require a release. And because the law does not require you to have any knowledge of the buyer or their intended use of a photo, you are always allowed to sell photos without a release.
His point is that model releases have to do with photographs being published, not sold. A photographer cannot publish the photos however they’d like, but they can sell them however they’d like since liability rests solely with the eventual publisher. That said, it’s still a good idea to always use one, since they’re often required by the buyers.
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. Read more…
Sigma announced today that its flagship SD1 DSLR will be available starting in June 2011 with a hefty price tag of $9,700. The unique thing about the camera compared to its competitors is the 15MP Foveon sensor that uses 3 stacked sensors, giving each photo 46 million pixels of color data — this supposedly helps provide sharper pictures, truer colors, and fewer artifacts compared to traditional sensors (but also means 45MB Raw files). The camera will shoot at 5fps, use 11 autofocus points, and have a 3-inch LCD screen.
Sigma is reportedly targeting existing medium format shooters with this camera, but the sensor had better be out of this world to justify shelling out nearly 10K on a 1.5x crop factor 15MP DSLR, since photographers can pick up the 40-megapixel medium-format Pentax 645D for the same price.
Update: Sigma has released a number of sample photos here. Be patient with the site though — it seems to be under a heavy load.
Last November NYC firefighter Robert Keiley posed for a stock photograph that showed him covered with soot and holding a helmet. Despite signing a release when the image was made, he was shocked when he found an edited version of the photo in an advertisement show him holding a picture of the Twin Towers on 9/11. The ad read “I Was There”, and was for a law firm specializing in 9/11 lawsuits. Keiley, previously a model, didn’t join the fire department until 2004. Now, the agency behind the ad has pulled it after Keiley announced intentions to sue. The news clip above shows two lawyers debating this case. Your thoughts?
Television network TBD recently sent photographer Jay Westcott to cover a Lady Gaga concert in Washington D.C. Upon arriving at the Verizon Center, Westcott was given a release form, on which the fourth paragraph read,
Photographer hereby acknowledges and agrees that all right, title and interest (including copyright) in and to the Photograph(s) shall be owned by Lady Gaga and Photographer hereby transfers and assigns any such rights to Lady Gaga.
After making a call to his editor, Westcott was told to not sign the release and to not shoot the concert. Read more…
Olympus announced new compact cameras today. The SZ-30MR (on left) is the world’s first compact that can shoot both 1080p Full HD video and 16 megapixel stills at the same time. What’s more, the camera can record two different videos at once — videos that differ in zoom, quality, or filters.
Next, the TG-810 (on right) is supposedly the “world’s first 100kg crushproof camera”. While we’re not so sure that it’s the world’s first, it certainly seems to be one tough camera. This 14 megapixel camera capable of 720p HD video is crushproof up to 100kg (~220lb), shockproof from a distance of 2m (~6.5ft), waterproof to 10m, and freezeproof to -10°C. Both cameras will be available in April 2011 for $400.
Nikon announced the high-end compact P300 today to compete against the likes of Canon’s popular S95 and Olympus’ XZ-1. First, the good things — the 12 megapixel camera has a sweet f/1.8 24-100mm equivalent lens that should perform quite nicely in low light situations (especially with an ISO that can be boosted up to 3200). It can also record HD video at 1080p and 30fps, and has a 3-inch LCD that’s easy on the eyes.
On the flip side, Nikon decided for some reason to leave RAW shooting out, making this an extremely expensive, high-quality JPEG shooter, something that isn’t going to satisfy more serious photographers who want a smaller compact that still allows serious post-production work. You can find some comparison tables showing this camera stacked up against competition over on CNET and on Nikon Rumors. It’ll be available in March 2011 for $330.