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A simple addition could make body caps more useful
When it comes to fancy body caps, Olympus may be the winner having put an actual lens into a body cap for their micro four thirds cameras. Canon, however, has reportedly filed a patent for a body cap that actually cleans the cameras lens contacts when it's put on.
The original page is in Japanese, but the concept seems pretty simple. A small brush tries to get the gunk off the metal contacts that help your lens talk to your camera body to enable things like autofocus.
It's not exactly earth-shattering, but maybe if body caps also helped clean the camera, I wouldn't lose them all the time.
From: Canon Watch
Sony gives their first full-frame ILC some welcome upgrades
UPDATE: The Sony A7 II is coming ot the US in early December 2014 for $1,700 body only. If you want the 28-70mm kit lens, it'll be an even $2,000.
It’s not official in the US at the moment, but starting in January, it looks like Japan will be getting an updated version of the Sony A7 full-frame interchangeable-lens compact camera, and it looks really promising.
The biggest new addition to the camera is the 5-axis image stabilization that’s built-right into the sensor. They promise up to 4.5-stops of stabilization, which is a very significant amount of correction, beyond the 4-stops promised by most optically stabilized lenses right now.
The AF system has also been revamped. It still uses the same number of points, but by refining the system, they claim it will be noticeably faster and better in terms of tracking moving objects.
The body has also changed a little. Now, the grip will actually be a little bigger, which we’re very interested to experience. The compact nature of the A7 in combination with its full-frame sensor is really what makes the camera as excellent as it is. I don’t imagine the change will be that drastic, but if it makes the camera more comfortable to hold, that’s definitely an upgrade.
It'll go great with your top hat and monocle
By now, you probably know about Hasselblad's line of "re-imagined" Sony cameras that they gussy up with luxury materials and sell for a premium. Now, there's a new model in their upscale arsenal in the form of the Stellar II.
As you might expect, the camera is basically a Sony RX100 Mark II (no, not a Mark III) dressed up in some very fancy materials. You can opt for a shiny lacquered wood grip or one made of carbon fiber if that's more your style.
Otherwise, the camera is a lot like the Sony you can still buy at many retailers. The Hasselblad, however, will set you back $2,395. It's a substantial markup and, honestly, it's not really something worth getting mad about. The posts about Hasselblad's Lunar and Stellar cameras are always filled with vitriol, and I get it, but the truth is that these cameras aren't made for pros or enthusiasts, which make up the vast majority of our readership (and staff, for that matter). They're made for collectors and people looking for functional fashion accessories.
New book compiles vintage images of small time crooks and criminal masterminds of old-time Chi-town
You’ll find all the evidence you need of Chicago’s crime-ridden past in the belly of the Chicago Tribune.
Five stories below the building in a temperature controlled room there are rows of numbered boxes, stuffed to the gills with decades worth of glass plates and acetate negatives, some of them nearly 100 years old. Two years ago, the Tribune’s photo staff began digging through these archives, unearthing images that in many cases hadn’t been seen since they were first captured. Now, these historic photos of Chicago’s criminal past have been compiled into a new book, Gangsters & Grifters: Classic Crime Photos from the Chicago Tribune.
“I was looking for photos that are so compelling that they would just stop you dead in your tracks,” says Erin Mystkowsk, one of the photo editors who worked on the project. “You know it when you seet it and it just gives you chills.”
Although many of the negatives came with their share of dust, scratches and finger prints, Chicago Tribune photo editors Erin Mystkowski and Marianne Mather Morgan said the bulk of the archive was in solid condition, and those little flaws actually add to the photos.
“We decided early on that we wanted to do as-is. We simply scanned them even if they had cracks and finger prints or dust and scratches,” says Mather Morgan. “We wanted them to be very truthful to their age.”
A willingness to work with those imperfections actually led to a number of surprises during the editing process. Photos of John Dillinger on trial for murder and a young Al Capone (when he was still going by his alias Al Brown) didn’t seem like much on the negatives, but when scanned in produced some incredible results.
“The John Dillinger negative is kind of low light, when we scanned it in and instantly you could see Dillinger in the center in white, handcuffed to the sheriff deputy next to him,” says Mather Morgan. “He looks like he is in control of the room, he almost looks bored.”
The images are often presented alongside their original headlines and subheads, with brief descriptions about the nature of the crimes committed. “It was so interesting to see how the newspaper covered these crimes,” says Mystkowski.
Proposed FAA regulations could make commercial drone flying much tougher
Drone photographers are capable of some truly impressive stuff, but it may soon be getting tougher for commercial drone shooters to get off the ground. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the FAA is rolling around the idea of requiring a pilot's license to commercially operate a remote controlled craft.
According to reports, you would need to go through all the training required of a pilot for an actual airplane. Then, you'd still have to follow some stringent rules with the drones themselves. There's a 400-foot altitude cap, they can only be flown during daylight situations, and they have to stay within the pilot's line of site. That's pretty restrictive. And it doesn't just apply to larger commercial crafts, but anything under 55-pounds.
The regulations aren't in place yet, though, and they likely won't even be officially proposed until the end of the year. Then, there will be a period of public comment where people can voice their opinions about the rules. Also, it seems this will only apply to commercial applications, but if you're charging someone money to take pictures with a drone, that will likely fall under the umbrella of the rules.
It will be interesting to see how the whole thing pans out. Places like state parks and cities have been implementing their own drone rules to try and keep people and environments safe in case they decide to crash into the ground.
How do you think the FAA should handle it?
Tenba focuses the shrink ray on one of the best messenger-style bags around
The original Tenba DNA camera bag was one of the more versatile messenger style bags I've ever tried. Not only was it tough and stylish, but it also had enough room to comfortably carry a 15-inch laptop and tablet at the same time. Now, Tenba has scaled the whole thing down and created the DNA 13 camera bag.
The concept is basically the same. It's a messenger-style bag with a removable padded insert that holds camera gear. While the original DNA 15 was meant to hold a DSLR, the new 13 is geared more toward the interchangeable-lens compact crowd. It also holds a 13-inch laptop and tablet.
So, while it's smaller, it seems to have retained all the things we liked about it. You can order it right now from Tenba for $149.
This DSLR is â�¨operating at its height and takes the trophy â�¨for 2014â��s Camera of the Year
Panasonic and Fujifilm each brought mirrorless ILCs with ground-breaking features.
The musician's condition causes flashes of light to trigger vertigo-like symptons
Ménière’s disease is an inner-ear condition with which many people aren't familiar. It's a tricky thing because it affects people in a wide variety of ways. UFC president Dana White has it and so does Musician Ryan Adams. At a recent concert, a fan in the front row repeatedly took flash photos of the performer during his set and it caused enough of a problem that he stopped the set and asked them to stop.
Here's the video (language NSFW). The notable message comes after the 2:30 mark.
If a full-on episode is triggered, many people describe vertigo-like symptons including dizziness and nausea. It's actually a serious thing.
While this is obviously an unusual circumstance, it does lend some credibility to the "no flash" rule employed by many music venues. Not only can it hurt the experience of the audience, but the performers as well.
The Nikon D750 has got just what youâ��ve been waiting for
Could the days of installing Photoshop be coming to an end?
It has become very clear in the past couple years that Adobe would like to have Photoshop and their other editing tools on every possible screen. Now, they’re working on an interesting project that would allow users to use a full version of the Photoshop software right through Google’s Chrome web browser without the need for downloading or installing any programs.
It’s called the Project Photoshop Streaming program and Adobe has already apparently made quite a bit of progress on it. The idea is to give people access to literally all of the Photoshop tools from any computer and use Google Drive as a file system to backup and save files.
Of course, this whole thing is a rather major undertaking so there are some pretty big hurdles at the moment. For instance, there’s no GPU integration, which means some key features like overlays and the awesome color sampler ring are out of the question at the moment. You also can’t interface with other devices like cameras and scanners. Even printing is out of the question at the moment.
Right now, Adobe is just giving the program a shot, but it does feel like something worth pursuing for them. It also seems in line with their Creative Cloud subscription model. After all, it would be giving subscribers something truly new and useful in exchange for subscribing. The Beta is currently only available to some Educational users, but may roll out wider in the futre.
What do you think? Would running Photoshop in a browser be something you would find useful?
It's like a tiny, robotic lighting assistant
There are all kinds of ways to remotely trigger a flash, inclusing radio frequency, optical sensors, and even a plain old long cord. You can even control flash power remotely with things like the Pocket Wizard Flex system. Changing the direction of your flash from afar, however, is trickier and often requires walking over to your flash (or making your assistant do it). The Panlight, however, makes it a lot simpler.
The flash sits on a rotating base that's controlled remotely with a radio remote. It has a range of up to 100 feet and can swivel the flash left and right or tilt it up and down. It moves at a nice consistent pace, so it's not crazy conspicuous if you happen to be using it at a wedding or in some other quiet situation.
You can also add an adapter to the Panlight and attach a camera to it. It's likely too loud to shoot with video if you're using audio from the camera, but if you're going to be cutting the audio track anyway, it seems like it could be a great way to pan and tilt.
It's currently in Kickstarter mode and if you pledge roughly $163, you can get one of your own.
It seems like a pretty nifty invention, but it has some real funding momentum to build if it wants to meet its goal.
First look at Leica's LCD-free camera system
At the Photokina trade show this year Leica announced that they would be making a special 60th anniversary version of the M (typ 240) to mark this milestone for the company’s iconic camera system. In conjunction with Audi’s industrial designers, Leica created a camera that they say is dedicated to, “reductionism as a celebration of photographic art.” What this means is a digital rangefinder body that has no LCD screen and only gives you control over shutter speed, aperture, focusing, and ISO.
Given a few moments with the camera, we didn’t even notice a way to format an SD card. Add to that the fact that it has no lugs with which to attach a camera strap and you have to wonder if Leica expects these collectible cameras to ever be used to make photos at all. They’re lovely to look at though.
Leica M Edition 60
Leica M Edition 60
Leica M Edition 60
Leica M Edition 60
Leica M Edition 60
New app allows you to print your photos on your kicks for $110
Adidas' MiZX Flux app, which allows uses to design custom Adidas shoes using photos from their phones, has finally opened up ordering for customers in the United States. The app was first announced last spring, and has been available for download for the last few months, but until recently the awsome custom kicks you created with MiZX could only live in the digital space.
MiZX is available for iOS and Android and is easy to use. You select your size, country and gender, take a photo or select one from your phone's storage and then scale and place the image on the shoe. MiZX then gives you a 360° preview of what the sneakers will look like and an order option for $110. If you are indecisive (like I am) you can save your designs in the apps "Shoebox" until you decide on the perfect picture. Images need to be shot with a camera with over 5 megapixels in order to print on the shoes—probably Adidas' way of making sure people aren't trying to print things they've screengrabbed from the web.
A pair of shoes designed from an old Instagram photo.
To safeguard against stolen designs Adidas also runs everything through a legal moderation team before they print. According to the FAQ of the app, designs submitted that are text heavy, branded with a company name, use images of celebrities or are considered indecent will be rejected--so downloading a bunch of hacked celerbity nudes and trying to print them on your shoes won't fly.
I've had a lot of fun messing with app using the photos stored in my camera roll and, with a little creativity, I think the MiZX Flux app could create some pretty incredible looking shoes.
Interested in other objects that can be custom printed with your photos? Check out our list here.
Where's our 12-300 F/1.4 lens?
Fast lenses have always been desirable, but here in the internet age, we're a bit spoiled. In fact, I saw a comment on another site calling the new Canon 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 II zoom lens a "door stop" because it wasn't fast enough. Comments like that suggest that there are people out there who don't actually know what F number actually represents. This handy video from Matt Granger does a good job exploring the topic.
To get the F number of a lens, you divide the focal length by the diameter of the aperture. This is easily done because they're both measured in millimeters, but it's not a calculation we're really ever required to do as modern photographers.
So, can you make lenses with absurdly low F numbers? Sure, but the results aren't always great. The video makes mention of a Zeiss lens with an F/0.33 f number, but it looks ridiculous and doesn't actually work.
If you're in the mood for more insane lenses, check out our list of crazy lenses that actually exist. A few of them are actually mentioned in the video.
An American photojournalist gets in on the fun at Nigerian weddings
Even with endless guest lists, Nigerian weddings still draw plenty of uninvited guests. Everyone in the community attends these brightly decorated multiday events, where food is plentiful and gifts pile up for both the newlyweds and invitees. At larger weddings, dozens of photographers mob the bride and groom like paparazzi.
American photographer Glenna Gordon often appears among the wedding crashers. (Whether invited or not, she always introduces herself to the families of the bride and groom and asks permission to photograph the event.) The 33-year-old freelancer attended her first Nigerian wedding in 2012 with one of the official photographers. She had been living in Uganda for five years, working as a writer and photographer for international media outlets, but had started focusing solely on her photographic work, including assignments throughout West Africa and personal in-depth documentary projects.
Key tips for adjusting your approach to make the most of natural light
It is often said that light is the lifeblood of photography. What exactly does that mean? Aside from the obvious fact that without illumination there would be no image, the quality and characteristics of light greatly determine the visual impact that a photograph will have with a viewer. Light, for better or worse, can turn an expertly composed scene into something bland and boring—or transform the ordinary into the extraordinary and magical.
For the novice, determining the difference between good and bad light can be confusing. There really is no objective scale for “good” and “bad,” only various degrees of accommodating light for different photographic situations. The key to mastering light is knowing how to match the available natural light to the appropriate scene, subject, or situation.
To help illuminate this process, let’s focus on three basic attributes of light: intensity, color, and direction.
The Brightness Factor
Intensity refers to the volume or amount of light the scene or subject receives from the sun, the primary light source for outdoor photography. Light of high intensity is most closely associated with the bright sun at midday, when many photographers put their cameras away and take their naps.
Pejoratively referred to as harsh or even idle light, the bright midday sun is usable as long as the entire subject or scene is evenly illuminated, avoiding distracting shadows and bright highlights (as seen in my photo of a charging bear). Working with natural reflectors—such as the surface of a lake—can fill in the darker shadows and make for a more balanced exposure.
Reflected Glow: Sandhill cranes fly over the Magdalena Mountains at sunrise in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM. Bernabe captured them with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and 200–400mm f/4L Canon EF IS lens, with an exposure of 1/640 sec at f/7.1, ISO 2000. Photo: Richard Bernabe
Light of low intensity is soft and diffused, ideal for revealing important details in intimate landscapes and macro photos. Cloudy and overcast skies create these conditions, and a bright, overcast, midday sky is the best scenario. Soft light evenly illuminates the scene, and its tonal range is compressed. Waterfalls and stream scenes are ideal in cloudy, low-intensity light, as long as the featureless white skies are omitted from the composition.
Bounced light and glow are forms of soft light reflected from either clouds or some other surface, such as buildings or canyon walls. Glow occurs when the sole source of light reflects from the sky, usually during the twilight hours immediately before sunrise and after sunset (as in the picture of cranes in flight). Depending on whether there are clouds, the light can turn colorful shades of pink, red, or gold. Glow and bounced light are similar to overcast light in that it is soft and creates muted shadows and highlights.
The light’s color can have strong implications for the impact of an image. The color temperature—its coolness or warmth—can be “corrected” by the white balance setting either in the digital camera (if shooting JPEGs) or on your computer during the processing and conversion of RAW files. But don’t be too hasty in removing these useful color shifts.
Cool light is most common during the “blue hour”—about an hour before sunrise and an hour after sunset—and in shade on bright days. Twilight blues add a moody, meloncholy feeling to an image (as in the photo of the blue mountains), while a snow-covered hillside or icy glacier can be rendered cool to give the psychological feeling of physical coldness.
Ultra Cool: For this shot of a blue mountain Bernabe used a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with 16–35mm f/2.8L II Canon EF lens on a Really Right Stuff tripod. Exposure was 1/13 sec at f/9, ISO 200. Photo: Richard Bernabe
As long as there are no clouds blocking the sun, the “golden hour” can flood a scene with a low-angled, warm glow both flattering to subjects and pleasing to the eyes (as in the shot of the grazing antelopes). Viewers tend to respond more favorably to warm images than cool ones.
The light near sunrise or sunset may provide the opportunity to include both warm and cool light in the same image. Look for blue tones in the shadows that contrast nicely with the warm yellows and oranges from the available sunlight. You can use color contrasts—such as the combination of blue and yellow in the Torres del Paine photo—to render an image much more dynamic and captivating than a strictly warm or cool scene.
Color Contrasts: Shooting in warm morning sunshine at the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, Bernabe set his 70–200mm f/4L Canon EF lens to a focal length of 122mm; it was mounted on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III. His exposure was 1/160 sec at f/8, ISO 250. Photo: Richard Bernabe
Pointing the Way
There are basically three variations to consider with light direction: front light, sidelight, and backlight. Front lighting occurs when the sun is directly behind you, the photographer. If your shadow is pointing at or near your subject, you can be sure you are getting full front light. While this is relatively easy to manage—as the scene or subject is evenly illuminated and there are no shadows to worry about—the results can be boring and predictable, with little drama, and the subject often appears flat or two-dimensional.
Sidelighting—the effect of the sun illuminating the scene at about a 90-degree angle—is perfect for emphasizing texture, depth, or patterns. Sidelight can create the illusion of three-dimensional depth by creating separation between different elements in the scene. For example, a sand dune, where the ripples and texture in the sand are important elements in the image, is best captured with strong sidelighting.
Extreme Warmth: Bernabe shot these oryx antelope in warm light with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6L IS Canon EF lens, fully zoomed. Exposure was 1/200 sec at f/5.6, ISO 640. Photo: Richard Bernabe
Backlit scenes or subjects create numerous photographic difficulties—which is why beginners tend to avoid them—but they can also offer visual rewards. Backlighting can create highly dramatic effects, provided a little care is taken in the process. Subjects with translucent materials—such as grasses, fall foliage, or animal fur—can come alive with a gorgeous backlit glow or rim light.
One of the difficulties photographers encounter when using backlight is exposure. If your subject is placed in front of a strong light source, the general tendency of any camera’s metering system is to render it as underexposed. Unless you actually intend to create a silhouette, adding 1 or 2 stops of light will preserve important details in the subject.
If the sun’s rays strike the front element of the lens when attempting a backlit scene, the results may include nasty flare, ghosting, or light fogging. A lens hood can help if the sun’s rays are at the right angle, but it will be of little use when shooting directly into the sun. Try shielding the lens from any direct sunlight with your hand, a hat, or a book, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the image. Otherwise, try positioning the sun behind a tree or other obstruction, if the composition allows for it.
The challenge is to adjust your approach to the situation at hand. Once you learn how to manage variances in the intensity, color, and direction of natural light, the world is your canvas.
South Carolina–based nature and travel photographer Richard Bernabe has written many photo books and leads workshops around the world.
Check out the view through this massive piece of glass
We have written a lot about Nikon's 6mm Fisheye lens. You can usually find one on eBay since the super-high price tag makes it a bit of a tough sell. But, the latest auction actually has some video shot through the lens.
As you can clearly see, the 220-degree field of view is really wide. I'm not a fan of circular fisheye lenses at all, so to me, this is just a true collector's item. But, it's cool to see some footage actually shot with it. Of course, now that we're all innundated with super-wide GoPro footage, it doesn't even look that crazy.
If you want to buy this copy of the lens, the bidding currently sits around $62,000.
If you're into crazy glass, check out our list of 9 Amazing Lenses that Actually Exist
Famed wilderness photographer on how he gives voice to the animals
In a new TED Talk wildlife photographer Frans Lanting shares a story of a chance meeting with a tribal elder that he says has heavily influenced his photography. The elder essentially told Lanting that his people believed that all animals are the same, despite the many differences in their outward appearance.
“The ancient understanding that underneath their separate identities all animals are one has been a powerful inspiration to me,” Lanting tells the crowd. “I like to get past the fur the feathers and the scales—I want to get underneath the skin.”
A spectacular array of Lanting’s vibrant nature photographs cycle through as he shares his story. “My goal is to connect us with them eye to eye,” he says.
Turn your mobile device into a portable print station for $99
By now, you probably know we're fans of instant photography. Now, a French startup called Prynt has created an interesting new smartphone case with an instant printer built right into it.
The case, despite its printing capabilities, is actually fairly slim. The case holds up to 30 or so sheets of special heat-activated paper like what you would find in Polaroid's later-model instant printers. The case connects to the phone via Bluetooth, so you can beam photos over and have them spit out in physical form.
Each photo takes roughly 30-seconds to print, which is probably about as long as it would take you to upload the photo to Instagram anyway. In a way, it works a lot like Fujifilm's Instax printer, only using zInk paper rather than traditional instant film packs.
One of the coolest features about the Prynt device (which will cost roughly $99 when it launches), is an augmented reality function. The Prynt app captures video from before and after you press the shutter. Once you make the print, you can hold it up to the phone's camera and it will play the video back to you.
It's a clever little device and, even though it won't be terribly practical, it sure sounds like something that would be very cool at a party or an event.