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.
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.
If you’ve tried to scan film using an ordinary flatbed scanner as you would a piece of paper, you’ve probably discovered that it didn’t turn out very well. The reason is because film needs to be illuminated from behind, while conventional scanners capture light that’s reflected off what they’re scanning. Before you give up hope and shell out money for a film scanner, here’s some good news: you can build a cheap and simple cardboard adapter that turns any scanner into a film scanner! Read more…
Pose is a camera case that doubles as a simple stand. Designed to replace the little bean bags or mini-tripods that many people carry around separately, Pose has an attachment mount built in, and can either be propped up by itself on flat surfaces or wrapped around poles and curved surfaces. The $24 accessory is available for pre-order over at quirky, and will be manufactured if at least 1,000 people join in.
Time-lapse enthusiast and electronics wiz Achim Sack came up with this super-small hardware-based intervalometer. Only a little larger than the size of a standard 2.5mm stereo plug, the device doesn’t require any special setup or configuration — all you do is plug it into your Canon/Nikon/Pentax DSLR and then take two photographs between 0.4 seconds and 18 minutes apart. The device will continue to shoot photos at that interval until the memory card is full or the battery dies. Sadly, it’s not for sale, but if you’re handy with electronics you can find the schematics and code for free on Sack’s website.