The latest version of Android, called “Ice Cream Sandwich”, was unveiled by Google and Samsung in Hong Kong this morning, and they’ve focused a great deal on improving the gallery and camera aspects of the mobile OS. There is indeed built-in photo editing now, allowing users to do everything from crop and rotate to adjust levels and remove red eyes. There are also a number of Instagram-style filters that can be applied to photos. Adjustments are non-destructive and stored in a file separate from the photo being edited.
The camera has also been upgraded with zero shutter lag, touch-to-focus with exposure lock, panorama stitching, 1080p recording, and time-lapse video mode. The UI has been improved with a digital zoom slider, and many of the editing options (including red eye removal) can be used in “live view”. The war between smartphones goes on, and photography continues to be one of the main battlegrounds.
Android 4.0 Platform Highlights [Android Developers]
Today Instagram released version 2.0 of its wildly popular iPhone app, which will soon see its 10 millionth user. The base technology has been completely overhauled to bring speed to the app — filters now apply 200x faster, tilt-shift applies 100x faster, and both can be viewed live while shooting. Four new filters have been introduced (seen above), and borders on filters are now optional. Finally, the resolution of photos saved to the iPhone 4 has been increased from 612×612 to 1936×1936 (the size of photos uploaded to Instagram remains unchanged).
Noticeably absent from today’s announcement was an Android version of the app, though with this major release you can bet that they’re working harder than ever on getting it released.
Instagram Version 2.0 (via Instagram via TechCrunch)
Photo sharing is proving to be one of the main battlegrounds in the social networking war between Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Facebook launched another counterattack today by increasing the resolution of displayed photos yet again from 720px to 960px, a 33% increase (last year they increased by 20% from 604px to 720px). Furthermore, the company claims that photos now load twice as fast as before.
If you had any doubts that Leica’s new M9-P is simply the M9 given a cosmetic makeover, get this: Leica is offering to upgrade any customer’s M9 camera into an M9-P. For the low Leica-esque price of $1,995, the company will give your camera “sapphire glass” for your LCD screen and a new top cover without the famous Leica red dot. If only upgrading to the latest DSLR were this easy!
Apple unveiled its new iOS 5 at the Worldwide Developers Conference 2011 today, which includes some notable upgrades to the camera functionality on the iPhone. First off, the volume up button now doubles as a shutter button, allowing the phone to be used more easily in a camera orientation. There’s also a new camera button on the phone’s unlock screen, letting you quickly switch to the app before a precious moment slips away. Finally, a AE/AF lock feature will allow you to tap any area on the screen to quickly determine the appropriate focus and exposure for that point.
Forget the uber-expensive Leica cameras with their special edition embossed ostrich skin. Custom cut exotic skins is what it’s all about! CameraLeather is a company that can outfit or restore your camera with a wide range of different materials. You can go from the basic goat skin leather all the way up to lizard and snake skins. The above Olympus camera is sporting the black & white cobra skin covering. It’s not too pricey either — outfitting a 35mm SLR with snake skin starts at $40.
Canonites in Japan who often find their mode dial inadvertently changed can now choose to have their camera upgraded with a locking mode dial. The service upgrade costs ¥10,500 (~$125) and adds a button to the center of the mode dial that must be pressed before the dial can be changed. Maybe DSLR makers should find a way to have this be an available (but not mandatory) option on all DSLR models. What do you think?
Announcement on Canon Japan (via Photography Bay)
Update: This upgrade will be available in the US starting December 6th, 2010.