The Sharpen Tool in Photoshop has always been useful in that it allows you to quickly sharpen specific areas in a photograph, but a major problem was that it had the tendency to introduce nasty artifacts into the image. Alternative methods that avoid this issue (e.g. using a new sharpened layer) became popular, leaving the Sharpen Tool to gather dust on many users’ tool pallets.
Well, if you’ve recently upgraded to Photoshop CS5, you might want to take another look at the tool. They’ve quietly introduced a new feature (on by default) called “Protect Detail”, which allows for brush-based pressure-sensitive sharpening without the annoying artifact problem.
Earlier this year we saw the launch of two search engines — Stolen Camera Finder and GadgetTrak Serial Search — that help find stolen cameras by searching photos on the web for the serial numbers. The idea is neat, but no one knew whether it would actually help recover stolen gear or not. Turns out it does work. Read more…
Emotional Breakdown is a cool new web app that attempts to gauge the mood of the world every day by analyzing the photographs found on The Guardian’s 24 hours in pictures. Using facial recognition technology to find happy, sad, angry, surprised or neutral faces in the images, the app creates a colorful pie chart breaking down the emotions. From the chart above, we see that the world was mostly neutral, surprised, and happy today.
Even cooler is the fact that you can also run the tool on any other URL. Try your own photo collection to see what emotions you’ve been capturing in your images.
Multi-tools are pretty convenient when you’re wandering around the great outdoors, but they’ve never really been a friend specifically to photographers. That changes with Gerber’s new Steady multi-tool, which turns into a mini-tripod using fold-out legs on one side and a fold-out tripod screw on the other. It also has 11 other useful tools to help you get things done. The Steady will be available starting in Spring 2012 for $65.
Shopobot is a new shopping tool that helps buyers determine the best price to buy products from various retailers by tracking their price changes across time. Retailers often change the prices of different items often to determine the best price point, which can cause frustration for people who buy a product only to find it $50 cheaper the next day. If you’re looking to buy a camera, lens, or any other piece of gear, you might benefit from doing a quick search on Shopobot to find the price history of that item.
Flickr is a popular method of sharing photos, but the service doesn’t provide any easy way to download them in bulk. Flick and Share is a web app that creates simple download links for Flickr sets that you can send to family and friends, allowing them to quickly download a copy of the images you shot at an event. We’ve tested it out, and it works as advertised.
It seems every time we feature a fun or useful phone app, it’s for the iPhone. If you’re an Android user (there’s more and more of you out there), here’s one for you: Photo Tools is a free app that offers a pretty large number of useful photography tools bundled into a single application. In it you’ll find everything from a digital gray card to a sunset/sunrise calculator.
A camera’s sensor size is a very good predictor of how good its image quality is, but understanding and comparing the sensors sizes isn’t very easy. While televisions and computer monitors are usually measured by diagonal length, sensors sizes are listed with its two dimensions in millimeters. Back in 2008, David Pogue of the New York Times wrote an article about this issue, calling for someone to develop an online tool for converting confusing sensor measurements into the diagonal length of the sensor in inches. Within three hours two new websites were born: Sensor-Size and Sensor Size Calculator.
If you’re the kind of person that constantly misplaces your lens caps after removing them to shoot (Psst! You can ditch them in favor of UV filters), the LensCapTrap can help you hold on to them. It’s an uber simple kit that allows you to attach your lens caps to your camera strap using Velcro, avoiding the annoyance of having your caps dangle like they do with the popular string-style holder. The standard kit costs $6 and provides Velcro patches for two lens caps, though creating your own do-it-yourself version shouldn’t be too difficult either.
Microsoft’s jaw-dropping Photosynth technology has arrived on the iPhone as an app that allows you to easily create immersive 360-degree panoramas. All you need to do is load up the app and sweep your camera around in every direction, and the app automatically snaps photographs filling in the panoramic image (you can also tap it if it gets sluggish with its snapping). Read more…