Well that was fast… Just hours after Instagram launched a major update to its popular photo sharing app, Twitter dropped a bomb on the industry by finally unveiling its own long-awaited and recently-leaked retro filters. The move brings it into direct competition with what Instagram offers — the two services virtually offer the same product now, except Instagram is solely focused on images while Twitter lets you Tweet text as well.
Instagram officially ended Twitter’s ability to display embedded Instagram photos this past weekend. Twitter users aren’t pleased, but Instagram is now trying to divert their attention away from what they no longer have to what they do. The company announced a major update to the iOS version of the app today, which includes a sleeker look, faster speed, and a brand new filter for Instagrammers to play with.
The mobile photo sharing wars are heating up, and two of the big players, Instagram and Twitter, are in the process of trading blows. Back in November, it came to light that Twitter is currently working to build Instagram-style retro filters into its smartphone apps. Instagram retaliated this week by announcing that its photos will soon no longer be embeddable on Twitter. The latest news now is that Twitter is trying to spoil Instagram’s holidays by pushing out its new filters by year’s end.
Back in 1998, PC World magazine published a review of the Sony Mavica MVC-FD71 as the digital camera industry was beginning to pick up steam. He’s what they wrote:
[...] the original model took about 8 seconds to save a photo to a disk, this version averaged a more tolerable 4 seconds. In addition, Sony has added some nifty new features. These include the ability to make copies of floppies using just the camera–very handy if you want to hand out extra disks on the spot. A new quarter-resolution (320 by 240) option also makes it faster to e-mail photographs. (The camera’s full resolution is 640 by 480.) A built-in menu on the MVC-FD71’s LCD screen permits you to easily take advantage of useful new options such as these.
My main complaint? The high price tag. List-priced at $799, the Mavica costs more than many high-quality 35mm cameras. And as with most digital cameras, this model fails to deliver image quality that is comparable to the quality produced by a 35mm.
The reviewer also commends the camera for weighing in at just 1.2 pounds.
Sony Mavica Camera Slims Down, Speeds Up [PCWorld via MetaFilter]
Image credit: Sony Mavica MVC-FD71_0433 by Bobolink
Facebook wasn’t content with beating out Twitter in the pursuit of Instagram: the company has now beaten Twitter in launching photo filters in its primary mobile app as well. Just days after The New York Times reported that Twitter will be adding retro filters to its mobile apps in order to compete against Instagram, Facebook has gone ahead and added Instagram-style filters to its official Facebook iOS app.
Photography purists, you might want to look away. For the rest of you: remember that Craiglist listing we shared a couple of months ago posted by a couple looking for Hipstamatic wedding photographers? Among the hoards of enthusiastic Hipstamatic shooters who responded were Keith and Marc, hosts of the iPhoneography podcast TinyShutter. After being chosen for the gig, they drove down to Connecticut from Massachusetts and New Hampshire to capture the wedding with their iPhones.
Watts Martin of Coyote Tracks has an interesting piece titled “Iconic” that discusses the idea of trade dress — the reason why Apple doesn’t have any branding on the front face of the iPhone:
You don’t need to see the name plate on a Ford Mustang or a Corvette or a Porsche 911 to recognize one. Or a Coke bottle. Or, once you’ve seen one, a Tivoli Audio tabletop radio. Or a McIntosh amp. These products have a design language that’s become part of their brand identity [...] That’s what Apple wants, too: products that look like Apple. They’ve nailed it. You can look at a computer or a tablet or a phone being used in a coffee shop and you can immediately tell Apple or not Apple even if you can’t see the logo. And this is virtually unique in their industry: you’ll usually need the logo to know exactly what the not Apple product is.
This is why trade dress battles are so important to Apple. Try introducing a soda in a container that’s easily mistaken for a Coke bottle and see how far “har har har, you can’t patent curved glass!” gets you as a defense. If somebody makes a product that can be easily mistaken for an Apple device, then Apple is going to do whatever they can to get that product either off the market or changed.
DSLRs are pretty uniform in their appearance, so we don’t see much fuss about trade dress in that sector, but it’s interesting that there isn’t more tension between Leica and Fujifilm — two companies that both offer cameras without front branding.
Iconic [Coyotke Tracks via Daring Fireball]
Fujifilm is a camera company that’s going all-in on the idea of “retro design”. We’re not complaining. Its new XF1 compact camera brings the sleek design of X-Series’ cameras to the world of “point-and-shoots”, featuring a minimalist aluminum body that’s covered with faux-leather. The camera feels very nice and solid in the hand. It’s not as compact as other point-and-shoots (the Canon S110 is around 30% smaller and 20% lighter), so I’d say it’s purse-sized rather than pocket-sized. What it lacks in portability, however, it makes up for in beauty and brawn.
We had a chance to play around with the new Fujifilm X-E1 at Photokina 2012, at a meeting attended by people who were the brains and hands behind the camera. Announced back on September 6, the X-E1 is the more affordable counterpart to the well-regarded X-Pro1. It’s an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera with the same beastly APS-C sensor, shedding 30% in size, 21% in weight, the fancy hybrid viewfinder in favor of an all-electronic one, and 41% in price (from $1,700 to $1,000).
If you want a 50mm f/1.4 lens for your DSLR, you’ll need to shell out at least a couple hundred bucks, even if you buy one made by a third-party manufacturer. For those of you who don’t mind losing autofocus, you can get the same focal lengths and apertures for much cheaper by buying some old glass and an adapter. By much cheaper, we mean as low as $10-$20! India-based photographer Brock Whittaker recently did this after seeing an auction on eBay for an old Mamiya camera kit.