Want to know how long it’ll take you to save up for that camera or lens you’ve been dreaming of buying? grndctrl, an uber-simple personal finance web app, can tell you. It doesn’t take any personal details, but simply asks for your income, expenses, and savings amounts. You can then provide it with a list of “rewards” that you’d like to save up for, and it will give you estimates of how long you’ll need to wait.
Zoom creep is what happens when gravity causes your lens to zoom in or out due to it being pointed up or down. While it’s not really an issue when you’re shooting hand-held, it can cause problems if you’re trying to keep the zoom fixed while the camera’s on a tripod. A trick to combat this is to use rubber bands to keep the zoom ring still, but now there’s a fancier solution to this problem: the Lens Band. It’s a gel bracelet-style band that’s wrapped around the zoom ring when not needed. When you want to freeze the zoom, simply slide half of the band over the lens body.
They’re available in a variety of colors and sizes to fit most lenses, and cost $5 each from the Lens Band website.
Adobe’s amazing Image Deblurring demo was the star of the Sneak Peeks event at Adobe MAX 2011, but it was just one of the many demos shown that night. Another interesting photography-related demo was for “Pixel Nuggets”: a feature that lets you search a large library of photos for features (e.g. people, landmarks, patterns, logos). Read more…
Needing a portable light box, Instructables member HHarry came up with a ingenious collapsible design that has built-in lighting. He’s also written up a tutorial on how you can build one too, but be warned: the materials may cost you up to $80, and you’ll need a good amount of know-how. However, if you’re looking for a hefty weekend project and need a convenient way to light and photograph small objects on-the-go, this one’s for you.
Focus stacking is a technique for creating photos with a large depth of field by combining multiple photos with shallow depth of fields. One of the applications is in macro photography, where the technique is often used to make sharp images of tiny insects. Oleg over at Circuits@Home wanted an easier way to focus stack while shooting in the field, so he build a focus stacking assistant using Arduino. Given two focal points, the tool automatically takes a sequence of photographs, moving the focus slowly from one point to the other.
Oleg shares some details on how he created his EOS camera version, and says he’s also working on a Nikon version.
ifttt (If This Then That) is a new service that lets you automate tasks across different social media services you’re signed up for, including Dropbox, Flickr, Instagram, and Facebook. All you have to do is choose what “this” and “that” are, and the service will take care of handling the task. For example, you can use ifttt to automatically send every photo uploaded to Facebook that’s tagged with your name to your Dropbox account, or have it send all of your new Instagram photos to a particular Facebook album. Each task is called a “recipe”, and you can browse the most popular ones here.
Since we wrote about CineSkates last week, the tripod-on-wheels project has already raised nearly $200,000 in preorders — not bad considering the goal was only $20,000. Today, Emm over at CheesyCam just announced something similar: the Pico Dolly. It’s a tiny portable dolly system for your video-capable camera that lets you capture smooth tracking shots without the hassle of big and expensive equipment. Unlike CineSkates, they’re already shipping — $65 will buy you the dolly itself, and $90 gets you the dolly and an 11-inch friction arm.
JPEGmini is a new image compression service that can magically reduce the file size of your JPEG photos by up to 5 times without any visible loss in quality. ICVT, the Israeli company behind the service, explains how the technology works in an interview with Megapixel:
Our technology analyzes each specific photo, and determines the maximum amount of compression that can be applied to the photo without creating any visual artifacts. In this way, the system compresses each photo to the maximum extent possible without hurting the perceived quality of the photo.
Here’s a nifty visual guide to all the keyboard shortcuts you have access to when viewing a photograph on Flickr. Don’t bother bookmarking this page though — Flickr just added these guides to every page on the site. Simply press the “?” key for the popup to appear!
If you’ve been dying to turn your Android phone into a remote for your Canon DSLR, today’s your lucky day. A developer who goes by “chainfire” has released a new app called “DSLR Controller“. It gives you live view and access to a whole host of camera functions through your phone, which connects to the camera through a USB host cable. Check out the demo above to see it in action. The beta version currently costs $8.56 over in the Android Market.