On The Site
Beam an image up, and get back a stellar version
SpaceBooth is a Belgian company that plans to launch its own tiny, tiny satellite photo booth by the end of the year—giving you a chance to get a portrait with the stars, Moon, or Earth behind your head. And all for free.
The way it would work is incredibly simple. You upload an image with the SpaceBooth app (jpeg or png, 2MB or smaller), and it gets compressed at sent up to the satellite. Once there, it's projected onto an outward facing window, and the SpaceBooth captures a photograph of your image, with the magnificence of space behind you, and sends it back down to you in VGA resolution.
The plan is to put the pico satellite into orbit by the end of the year, where it'll circle the planet at 321km height (around 200 miles). The satellite itself is described as a tube with 16 sides, with a transparent front end—and it'll be a bit larger than a smartphone.
Since the satellite is so small and simple, there's no control of what direction it's facing—so what the background on your image will be is up to the luck of the draw. If the satellite is in a spin, it might even be a blurry mess. You're also only allowed one upload, in order to conserve precious bandwidth.
Assuming the SpaceBooth actually launches without a hitch, even with all those caveats it should be a pretty neat project, and one that we can't wait to see come to fruition. Because even if the images end up looking horrible, they're still a lot more interesting than most others.
How do 600 MB Tiff files sound?
The trend in medium-format digital photography at the moment is the switch from CCD sensors to CMOS. Hasselblad is continuing in that direction, but now they're offering their Multi-Shot technology on their newest sensor, making it capable of churning out photos at up to 200-megapixels.
Designed for studio, product, and still-life photographers (for whom medium format cameras are the norm), the H5D 200c actually achieves its massive file size in a clever way. Here's the official explanation from Hasselblad:
Hasselblad Multi-Shot cameras use a 50 megapixel sensor mounted onto our patented symmetrical multi-shot frame, which positions the sensor with extreme accuracy, using piezoelectrical actuators. The camera then captures 4 or 6 shots, by moving the sensor 1 and 1/2 pixel at the time, to create a 50 or 200 megapixel capture.
So, rather than taking a single 50-megapixel shot, the camera actually takes several slightly different shots, then mashes them together to get maximum detail and color accuracy. They also say that the process helps get rid of other photographic detractors, like moire.
A six-shot image will produce a Tiff file that takes up roughly 600 MB for each image. The way it works is actually pretty clever. When the sensor moves over by a pixel, each pixel is now under a different color filter in the Bayer array. So, with each shot, each pixel is picking up specific color information about a scene. Because of this, the camera doesn't need to interpolate to compensate for each pixel only recording one color. In a way, it's similar to how Sigma's Foveon sensor records data for each color at the same time.
Practically speaking, almost none of us will ever buy one of these. They typically cost about as much as a very nice car (The H4D version was roughly $45,000), so even the high-end pros typically rent them.
Still, it's nice to see Hasselblad working hard to serve the people who live and die by their cameras.
Quickly build and share 360Â° panoramas
Android users have long had a major photographic feature to laud over users from other platforms: the Photo Sphere. This excellent panorama tool from Google allows you to quickly stitch together a full 360° panorama, and then share it with your friends and embed it into Google Maps. And now, it's finally come to iOS, too.
iOS users can now download a free app called Photo Sphere Camera on anything newer than an iPhone 4, and can use it to create these panoramas, and share them over Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and email.
Google is hardly the first to help you stitch together a panorama: Apple has a native sweep panorama tool, and Microsoft's Photosynth does an excellent job, too. But where the Google Photo Sphere really shines is in its integration with Google Maps. You can geotag your spheres, and share them privately with just a select few, or else upload them for the whole world to see. If there's part of your neighborhood you really love, or a sight that you want to show your friends, you can put it smack dab on a Google Map for them to see.
And if you don't see how that sounds fun, have a nose around the Google Views page to see how other people are using them.
One of the few C-41 processing black and white films is no more
One of the most readily available black-and-white films on the market is no more. Kodak has announced that it will no longer be producing the easy to find, easier to get get processed, Professional BW400CN 35mm film. In a statement on its website, Kodak said:
Due to a steady decline in sales and customer usage, Kodak Alaris is discontinuing KODAK PROFESSIONAL BW400CN Film. Product should continue to be available in the market for up to six months, depending on demand.
We empathize with the Pro photographers and consumers who use and love this film, but given the significant minimum order quantity necessary to coat more product combined with the very small customer demand, it is a decision we have to make.
You won't find huge legions of fans defending the overall look of BW400CN film, but what it was really prized for was convenience. It is C-41 process, so any Walmart or drugstore that does color film processing was able to put the roll of film through, and get you back your black and white prints. Because of this, it was widely sold, and could be found in just about every store.
For those who don't have a dedicated camera lab near them, and aren't able to setup their own developing room, thankfully you can still purchase Ilford XP2, which is also C-41 processed.
With film use continuing to decline, it's inevitable that more and more once common films will become harder and harder to find, and eventually discontinued. So now's an excellent time to look into some other films that are worth shooting before they're gone.
The photographic equivalent of Zoolander
There are a lot of photographers out there right now and getting noticed can be tricky. Chris Bauer, however, came up with a clever (depending on who you ask) parody marketing video that is currently getting him a ton of attention. It depicts him as "Male Photographer of the Year."
The video touches on many of the current "hipster" photography trends and even includes the phrase "grip it and rip it." It's clever, well-made and, so far, proving extremely effective.
The ultimate decider about its effectiveness, however, will be how much work it gets him as a photographer in the long run.
We've come a long way since 1839
As we noted yesterday, August 19th 1839 marked an immense shift in the history of the recorded image, as the daguerrotype debuted and soon became widely available. In the following 175 years, we've seen major technological breakthroughs with impressive regularity—as well as a constant flow of more minor changes making devices we keep in our pockets would be completely astonishing. Now the folks at Lytro have pulled all those breakthroughs together into a single infographic.
Unsurprisingly, Lytro puts its own technology on this list—and, to be fair, it's pretty revolutionary stuff. It just remains to be seen if the Lytro light field photography will take off like some of the other breakthroughs that the infographic describes. This also comes just as Lytro has released a majorly overhauled mobile app.
This month's collection of awesome reader-submitted photos
Summer is one of my favorite times for taking photos. It's warm enough to go adventuring and the sun stays up so long that you feel like you could shoot forever. July is the apex of that, which translates into a crazy good crop of photos from July's Your Best Shot contest.
As usual, the entrants cover a very wide array of subjects and styles, which is really the thing I love most about this contest. There were a ton of great star trail photos, probably because warm temperatures and clear skies make this a great time to try them (Learn how here). There are also portraits, wild life shots, street photos, and a little bit of everything else. There are even some decidedly non-summery photos (like the one posted above shot by Lewis Abulafia) from Iceland.
Once you've clicked through the gallery and are feeling inspired, head over to our Contests Page to find out how you can participate in our challenges and win great prizes while showing off your work.
One Huge Sandbox
The Girl on the Bus
Water, Fire, Earth and Air
The Changing of the Guards
Dance of the star serpent
Dreamy Gamcheon Village
Iceberg Beach #3
The Shoemaker from Trastevere
Getting (almost) away from it all
Ghosts of Brooklyn Bridge
Palm Branch Water Drops
Pointing to the Heavens
Sweat and water flies with each punch
A Lone Tree Against the Pacific
Windmills on the Palouse
Shades of Summer
The flower keeper
A rising sun
Wasting Our Young Years
Skyline at Sunset
The start of something very important happened almost two centuries ago
There are a lot of important days in the history of photography, but August 19th is one of the big ones. On this day in 1839, the daguerreotype process was officially announced to the public and the materials required to make them became available to the public.
The Giroux daguerrotype camera started making its way across the world just a few weeks after it was announced.
It was a huge step in terms of the photographic process, adding a new layer and beginning a movement that would ultimately result in our current state where cameras are pretty much omnipresent.
You can get more information about the history and the process over at the Eastman House, who have great historical archives and resources for getting to know your photographic roots.
Think you know what your city looks like from the sky? Help NASA identify and classify nocturnal images from the ISS
If you've lived in a city for any length of time, you're probably become accustomed to its layout, and even at night, you can identify its major roads and layout from the city lights. Now NASA needs your help to put that knowledge to good use as part of its Cities By Night project.
NASA has a trove of more than a million images taken from the ISS at night, and it needs the help of citizen scientists to correctly identify what's going on in the countless photos that need processing. The first step is to help out with the Dark Skies task—where you can help correctly spot if an image is of stars, a city, aurora, or something else.
Then comes locating the city. You can click on a dot on a map for the geolocation of the ISS at a specific point, and then compare the image taken then with Google Maps to try and identify what the city it's looking at is. Finally, there's georeferencing the cities—matching up specific points on a map to points on the photo, so that NASA knows exactly how the two line up.
What's the point in all of this? It's at least partly a move to help map the light pollution of these cities. As the site explains: "
Light pollution causes serious problems. Its effects can be measured from the inside of our bedroom to hundreds of kilometers away. The light destroys the essence of the evening darkness. Humans have an ancestral fear of the dark, but too much light produces very negative effects on the ecosystem and our health.
Satellite images help us measure and compare large illuminate areas. With the colors of the images taken by astronauts on the International Space Station, we can measure the efficiency of lighting in many cities on the planet.
So if you feel like helping out NASA by scoping out some images of your city, here's a chance to help.
Seeing white dots from long exposures? Here's how to get your camera fixed
Nikon has released an official product advisory for the Nikon D810, identifying an issue where some users are seeing large white spots when shooting long exposures or in 1.2x mode. The advisory helps identify the units that are at fault, and will get them fixed as soon as possible.
We have received a few reports from some users of the Nikon D810 digital SLR camera indicating that bright spots are sometimes noticeable in long exposures, and in some images captured at an Image area setting of 1.2× (30×20).
After looking into the matter, we have determined that bright spots may occasionally be noticeable when shooting long exposures, and in images captured at an Image area setting of 1.2× (30×20).
Nikon service centers will service these cameras that have already been purchased as needed free of charge to the customer.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused.
On the USA site, it asks you to enter in your serial number, and will tell you if your camera is eligible for the repair or not. The EU site goes one step further, and also says "please be aware that cameras with a black dot in the tripod socket on the bottom of the camera body, like that shown in the photo below, have already been inspected and the necessary adjustments made to prevent this issue from occurring. Therefore, if your camera has the black dot, you may continue to use the camera without concern, even if its serial number is one of those indicated above."
This issue comes on the heels of the D600 "oily sensor" issue, which caused some headaches for Nikon, so we're expecting them to be very proactive about addressing this one. Have any of you noticed this issue in your cameras?
Get a cool shot for a great cause
If you've been on any social media network at all in the past few weeks, you're almost certainly familiar with the Ice Bucket Challenge. For the unfamiliar, it's a viral social media campaign that challenges people to raise money to help fund research to cure ALS. You have to make a video while you dump a bucket of ice water on your own head, then call out some friends who have 24 hours to then complete the challenge themselves. If you do it, you're on the hook for a small donation ($10-$25). If you opt out, you're on the hook for $100.
I am an extremely handsome man
It's fun and it serves a great cause, but since I'm a photographer, I thought a portrait might fit my personality better than a video. So, I busted out a few lights and made myself a few portraits, then made a donation. I had a surprising number of people message me to ask how I did it, so I figured a tutorial was in order. While I'm not officially challenging any of you, making a donation certainly would't hurt. And feel free to share your videos and photos in the comments.
Since we were going to be throwing water all over the place, it was clear that we needed to be outside, so I simply went out into my yard at roughly 6:30 in the evening. You wouldn't guess by the dark black in the background, but the sun was still well above the horizon when we shot this.
Setting up the shot
I marked a spot in the grass where the subject needed to stand, that way I didn't need to move the lights or adjust their power once they were in place. I decided to use my Canon 7D with a 70-200mm lens because it would allow me to get pretty far away from all that splattering water.
I wanted to make the background as dark as possible, and use a very narrow aperture in order to make sure all the water splashing around the frame would be in focus. So, I started at F/11 with a shutter speed of 1/200th sec, which is the fastest my flashes will go without going into high-speed sync. At ISO 100, this made the background pretty much black, so we were already good to go.
I positioned a Canon 580 EX slightly to camera right as the main light with no modifier. I left the flash head zoomed out to 24mm so it would cover all of the water in addition to the subject. Then, I placed two flashes (a canon 580 EX and a Canon 420 EX) behind the subject. Each rear flash was between five and six feet behind the subject and about 3.5-feet to either side. That gave us enough room that the flashes wouldn't get splashed and we wouldn't need to crank the power level on the flashes too hard.
The rear flash to camera left has a purple gel placed over it, while the less-powerful flash to camera right has a blue gel taped onto it. The gels aren't necessary, but I really wanted the images to stand-out to people who might be scrolling quickly through their social media feeds. The blast of color helps with that. But, the effect would still be very cool without it.
After a little tweaking, I ended up keeping the power level of each flash at just over half-power. With fresh batteries, it let me get a few pops off during each pour to minimize cold, we do-overs.
Getting the shot
The timing was one of the trickiest things about the whole process. Getting a great splash required precise timing. For the self-dumping shots, it wasn't that difficult, but coordinating with a dedicated pourer for the kid shots too more finagling. Counting down from three helped, and shooting with both eyes open helped as well. Framing things a little looser and cropping in later also came in handy.
There's a lot of action happening in the scene, but our subject remains static, which means taking autofocus out of the equation all together is a good idea. You don't want the AF locking onto an errant water droplet and dragging the focus away from the person taking the challenge. You can lock the AF on the person's face before they start the water dumping motion, or, use manual focus from the start and just maintain your distance from the subject. Since I was at F/11, I had quite a bit of leeway anyway.
I was intentionally using hard light because I wanted a lot of contrast and very clearly defined edges and shadows on the water droplets. Because of this, adding even a bit more contrast during processing made the effect even more pronounced. I also added a small amount of clarity in Lightroom for the same reason.
There were still a few visible details left in the background of the image due to spill from the flashes, so I did some simple burning using the Lightroom paintbrush tool.
Other options to explore
Just because I decided to go crazy with the lights doesn't mean it's the only way to do it. In fact, there are a lot of other ways to get a great picture with water splatter. Here are a few things to remember when setting up:
- Keep your shutter speed as fast as you can if you don't plan on using a flash. Even if that means cranking up the ISO. 1/500th even seemed a little slow when I was experimenting with it. Getting up over 1/1000th seems ideal.
- This is one of the rare occasions where using an on-camera flash works totally fine. It will help you freeze the action and because water will be obscuring the face a lot of the time, the shortfalls of the harsh light will actually work in your favor for once.
- Picking a plain background (or using flash and keeping your ambient exposure very dark) will help the water stand out from the background. Leaves and other busy patters make the droplets harder for the eye to pick out.
- Using a light source from behind your subject helps accentuate the water. It doesn't have to be a flash, either. You can use a lamp, or even the sun if you want to. The trick here is that you'll need to keep your shutter speed fast even though you're using a flash, otherwise you'll get blur.
- Give yourself enough depth for field so you can keep most of the water in focus. The sharp droplets really do draw the eye. When they get blurry, the effect isn't as pronounced. Of course, you may like that better, so it's really up to you.
- Remember that water is bad for camera gear so long lenses are your friend. Just be sure to back up enough to leave room in the frame to catch all the splashes.
Oh, and if you're doing this specifically for the #icebucketchallenge, then be sure to donate!
Projection mapping gets that much cooler when it's not on the side of the building
If you've ever seen a crazy animation projected onto the side of a building, you've encountered projection mapping. It's a technique that's exploded in the last few years, and is now commonly used in street art, advertising, and when combined with 3D animations can create an astonishing illusion. But what happens when you use that same technology on a live model?
Omote is a Japanese 3D projection group, and its most recent project is real time face tracking and projection mapping—and you can see it in action below. To put it bluntly, it's astonishingly cool. What starts with just fairly a minor bit of digital makeup, soon transforms into increasingly elaborate animations and transformations—culminating in real time reflective surfaces, the stuff that's usually confined to CGI.
If you look closely, you'll see the model actually keeps her eyes shut the entire time, despite what the animations show. That makes sense, since she has an incredibly bright projector shining in her face—and it's also one of the downsides of this technique. It won't be replacing traditional makeup anytime soon, but it does make for a fascinating video.
[via DIY Photography]
Turn your flash into a multi-tool
With just a couple of days remaining on the clock, the Kickstarter for the BounceLite is in a race against time to successfully fund an innovative accessory designed to help you easily modify your flash for better shooting results. With 4 days to go, the project still needs to raise more than £4200 (around $7,000)—but for those who frequently use their hotshoe, it could be a boon.
The BounceLite is designed to easily lock in place over almost any commercially available flash. Once there, it serves triple duty as not just a diffuser/softbox, but also flash bounce, as well as for applying filters. Even fully closed, the removable diffuser plastic will serve to soften the harsh lights of a strobe. But once you start to play with the bounce door is when the BounceLite gets really interesting. Since it can be easily locked to a variety of different angles, you can use it to precisely control your flash for specific lighting effects.
The BounceLite also features a built-in filter system, where you can easily load up colored gels to modify your lighting.
If you're interested in backing the BounceLite, and helping it make that last little push towards hitting the funding goal, one can be yours starting from £80 (around $134), and they're expected to ship this December.
It doesn't have an electronic viewfinder, but Sony's new ILC offers high-performance for not a lot of money
Hybrid autofocus is becoming the standard for interchangeable-lens compact cameras, and now Sony has brought it to what used to be the NEX-5 series with the A5100.
At the A5100's heart is a 24.3-megapixel APS-C sensor that has 179 phase detection AF pixels baked right into it. It's reminiscent of the A6000 in that regard, and Sony claims it can focus in as little as .07-seconds. The sensor is paired with their newest BIONZ X processor, so we wouldn't be surprised to see noise performance tick up from the old NEX-5 cameras, either.
The back of the camera is dominated by a 921,000 pixel WhiteMagic touchscreen you can use to select focus and navigate the menu system. The screen also flips 180-degrees upward to face completely forward, which is a function custom made for taking "selfless."
In addition to the new AF system, the A5100 has also gotten some upgrades in the realm of video capture. It can churn out footage with a data rate of over 50 Mbps while maintaining full AF performance. it can also record two separate video files--one high res and one lower res for sharing--at the same time to the same card.
As you'd expect with modern Sony cameras, it has WiFi and NFC built-in, so you can use their PlayMemories apps for things like sharing photos to your devices and even remotely controlling the camera from a smartphone or tablet.
The camera will be launching in September with a price tag of $700 for the kit with the 16-50mm motorized zoom lens or $550 for the body alone. That means you can get the kit for $100 less than their true compact, the RX100 Mark III.
You don't get the viewfinder you would if you opted for the more-expensive A6000, but with lots of features and very aggressive price tag, we'll be very excited to see the test results when the A5100 hits our lab in the coming weeks.
Full Press Release Below
Sony Debuts Ultra-Compact α5100 Interchangeable Lens Camera with Impressive Autofocus
New Mirrorless Camera Features Remarkable AF speed and tracking, 24 MP APS-C Size Sensor, BIONZ X™ Processor and more
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 17, 2014 – Sony Electronics has today introduced the stylish new α5100 camera, a new model packing pro-quality AF performance and image quality into a portable, lightweight package.
The speedy new camera (model ILCE-5100) features the same Fast Hybrid AF system as the acclaimed α6000 model, which allows it to acquire focus in as little as 0.07 seconds1. It also shares the α6000’s image sensor – a 24.3 MP APS-C Exmor™ CMOS sensor – and powerful BIONZ X processor. This impressive combination of hardware ensures that the camera can capture still images and full HD videos in sharp focus with incredible detail.
Unique to the new α5100 is its extremely compact design, placing it among the smallest and lightest interchangeable lens cameras in market today.
“Sony continues to innovate in the mirrorless camera space, offering products that are not only smaller and lighter than competitive DSLRs, but that consistently outperform them,” said Neal Manowitz, director of the interchangeable lens camera business at Sony. “The new α5100 is a primary example, offering world-class AF speed and performance in a palm-sized body at a great price. It’s powerful enough to satisfy the most experienced DSLR shooters, yet not too intimidating for the casual weekend photographer.”
Fast Hybrid AF system
Borrowing from the award-winning α6000, the compelling Fast Hybrid AF system on the new α5100 camera features focal plane phase-detection AF points with an extremely wide autofocus coverage area (179 focal points) that is teamed with high-precision contrast-detection AF. This potent combination allows the camera to accurately track and respond to a subject moving through nearly the entire frame, whether shooting still images or full HD videos.
Additionally, the α5100 camera has an extremely responsive touch screen which works with the AF system to enable Touch Focus, allowing shooters to focus by simply touching the intended subject on any area of the LCD screen – even if it’s at the far edges.
The new α5100 model also comes equipped with Eye AF and Lock-on AF functions that debuted in the α7/ α7R, a Flexible Spot AF area function, and AF-A mode (automatic switching between AF-C and AF-S) that is also offered in the α6000.
HD Video Performance
The versatile α5100 supports full HD video shooting in AVCHD as well as the XAVC S2 codec, which records video at a high data rate of 50 Mbps with advanced compression for impressive video quality. XAVC S paired with the advanced focusing system of the α5100 makes for a compelling HD video shooting solution that only a select number of cameras in market today – mirrorless or DSLR – can offer.
Additionally, with the power of the BIONZ X processor, the camera is able to read, process and output data from all of the sensor’s pixels during video recording, ensuring that it produces the highest quality video possible by eliminating aliasing, moiré and false color artifacts.
The new camera also features dual video recording, allowing it to simultaneously record two files – one in Full HD (AVCHD or XAVC S) and the other in lower resolution MP4 format – to a single installed SD card2. This gives videographers a high-quality file for viewing on large screens or working on in post-processing, as well as a smaller, lower data-rate version that is ideal for uploading and sharing.
Design, Controls, Wi-Fi® and New Accessories
The compact new mirrorless camera features a high resolution 921k dot WhiteMagic™ LCD screen that can tilt a full 180 degrees upright, ideal for self-portraits. On top of the camera body, there’s a zoom lever for convenient one-handed camera operation and a handy pop-up flash for tough lighting conditions.
The α5100 camera has built-in Wi-Fi, giving consumers one-touch connection with Xperia® or NFC-compatible Android™ smartphones or tablets for instant image transfer and sharing. A single touch also activates Smart Remote Control, giving users a live image preview through their compatible smartphone or tablet, and allowing them to use the smart device to release the camera’s shutter.
For devices without NFC one-touch capabilities, users can wirelessly transfer images and videos and activate Smart Remote Control through Sony’s free PlayMemories Mobile™ application, available for the iOS and Android platforms.
The camera is also compatible with downloadable Sony PlayMemories Camera Apps, adding a range of exciting and creative capabilities. Currently there are a total of 10 different applications available with several others to be released this spring. Learn more at www.sony.net/pmca .
New accessories that are compatible with the α5100 camera include the style-matching LCS-EBD body case – available in three color variations – as well as the compact, easy-to-carry RM-SPR1 remote.
Pricing and Availability
The Sony α5100 compact interchangeable lens camera will be available in September 2014 in black and white in a kit with a compact, versatile 16-50mm motorized zoom lens (model SELP1650) for about $700, or as body-only for about $550.
The new camera and all compatible lenses and accessories will be available at Sony retail stores (www.store.sony.com) and other authorized dealers nationwide.
Sony α Lenses Assortment
The α5100 camera is compatible with Sony’s ever-growing assortment of E-mount interchangeable lenses, and uses the same Sony E-mount as the acclaimed α6000, α7, α7R and α7S models, as well as all the previous α ‘NEX’ cameras. All Sony ‘FE’ and ‘E’ lenses are compatible with all E-mount cameras.
Outlined below, the E-mount family now includes 20 different models with several premium models from ZEISS® and Sony’s G Series Lenses:
· E 16mm F2.8
· E 20mm F2.8
· E 35mm F1.8 OSS
· E 50mm F1.8 OSS
· E 30mm F3.5 Macro
· E 24mm F1.8 ZEISS
· E 10-18mm F4 OSS
· E PZ 16-50mm F3.5 – F5.6 OSS
· E 18-55mm F3.5 – F5.6 OSS
· E 18-200mm F3.5 – F6.3 OSS
· E 18-200mm F3.5 – F6.3 OSS LE
· E PZ 18-200mm F3.5 – F5.6 OSS
· E 55-210mm F4.5 – F6.3 OSS
· E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS
· E 16-70mm F4 ZEISS OSS
· FE 28-70mm F3.5 – 5.6 OSS
· FE 35mm F2.8 ZEISS
· FE 55mm F1.8 ZEISS
· FE 24-70mm F4 ZEISS OSS
· FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS
But it'll still cost you
Leica's are pricy. It's one of their defining features. So, the closest many of us will ever get to the famed red dot is through a computer screen. But the folks at Humster3D have at least made that a little more bearable with a whole range of high-quality 3d models of Leica cameras.
These models are available in 17 different formats (so it'll perfectly match your preferred rendering program), and feature hundreds of thousands of polygons (the exact count naturally depends on the specific model).
As of right now, Humster 3D offers the Leica M Typ 240, the Leica M9 in black and steel grey, the M9 Monochrom in black and silver, and the Lieca T in silver (as well as a whole array of other cameras).
But, much like a real Leica, these files don't come free. If you want to use the full 3D render, that's going to set you back $95. But if you need to get a hyper-accurate 3D model of a Leica camera into something you're working on, it'll save you a lot of time compared to modeling it yourself.
[via La Vida Leica]
For the bargain price of Â£99,000
In the 1990s, Canon made around 20 or so of the Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM Super-telephoto Lens, one of the largest autofocus lenses ever created. Weighing a whopping 36lbs, it has an angle of view of just 2.5°—and MPB Photographic in the UK has just managed to get hold of one for sale.
MPB is asking for £99,000 for the lens (that's including VAT), and apparently it's in excellent condition. It has no marks or scratches on any o the 13 elements, and comes complete with a hard, locking flight case; leather lens cap; rear lens cap; and Gelatin II drop in filter. Allegedly, the fluorite elements in the lens took almost a year to grow to a size they could be used in such a monstrous body.
In 2009, B&H did a full hands on with it, and had a used one in stock with an asking price of $120,000. According to them, "Using a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, faces were recognizable at distances up to a mile or more."
Even with so few of these lenses in existence, it's not exactly clear who owns what stock their is. According to B&H, Sports Illustrated has two, Canon Professional Services has two, and National Geographic has one. That's 1/4 of the estimated number accounted for right there.
This is one of the few opportunities you'll see to purchase one of these lenses—but with that high a price tag, you'd better be sure that you need one. At $165,000, that could buy you a house.
Shave a little weight, pay a lot more
Manfrotto has expanded its BeFree line of travel tripods with the introduction of the MKBFRC4-BH, a carbon fiber version of the existing aluminum edition. Identical except for in weight and price, the carbon fiber tripod is available to purchase immediately from Manfrotto and dealers.
The original aluminum BeFree tripod weighs 3lbs (1.4kg), and has a list price of $223 (though you'll get a $50 Visa rebate card if you purchase one right now). Conversely, the carbon fiber version swaps the aluminum legs for carbon, but keeps the aluminum/magnesium central column and aluminum castings, which shaves the weight down to 2.4lbs (1.1kg). The price, however, spikes up to $389.
Both versions of the tripod are capable of holding up to 8.8lbs (4kg) in gear, extend to a maximum height of 4.6 feet, and collapse down to just over a foot in length. The BeFree tripods feature folding back legs which flip up around the tripod head in order to ensure the most compact possible travel size, a design first pioneered by Gitzo around a decade ago.
Long before sun damage shows under visible light, its origins can be spotted on UV
Artist Tom Leveritt's newest project might just make you take a much closer look at your own skin—and also about how you use sunscreen. his short video "How The Sun Sees You" records people with an ultraviolet camera rig, which shows them a view of their skin that they might never have seen before. He then offers them sunscreen, which shows just how effective sunscreen can be at blocking harmful rays.
On a technical note, we're curious how Leveritt shot the short film. He's obviously using a Canon DSLR—so maybe one with a modified sensor to remove the IR filter, and then maybe a light limiting lens that will only let UV light through?
In terms of the content of the video itself, it's not entirely clear what Leveritt is trying to say here. In it, he says "an ultraviolet camera can show not-yet-visible changes to the skin", but we're having trouble spotting what those are. Really, it seems to show melanin levels, which is why freckles show up so densely, and why teeth seem so astonishingly bright.
But, if nothing else, the video shows just how well sunscreen works to block UV light, and if you're at all concerned with protecting your skin, you should definitely use it.
Sigma revises a much-loved zoom
Is the 18–200mm APS-C zoom a sought-after lens category? We’ve tested four of them in recent years, and almost all the current stabilized models are in their third-generation. (Yes, they’re popular.) The new version, the 18–200mm f/3.5–6.3 DC Macro OS HSM ($399, street), is Sigma’s third such zoom and the first to join its family of Global Vision glass. It’s in the C (Contemporary) group, no doubt due to its attractive pricing.
Weighing about a pound, it’s several ounces lighter than Sigma’s 18–200mm Version II. It’s also compact: even fully racked out, it casts no shadow when used with the on-board flash of our Canon EOS Rebel T4i.
Quite beautiful, the lens contrasts matte black surfacing with crisp, delicate markings—including a macro scale atop the barrel. Our only gripe? The tiny, gray-on-black subject distance scale on the skimpy manual-focus collar-—a challenge to read even in good light. (The manual focus ring’s turning radius of 60 degrees is also skimpy.) The zoom turn is stiff, but okay. (Our Version II test sample was prone to serious zoom creep.) The zoom ring’s locking switch signals from afar whether it’s locked or not. Finally, the lens’ autofocus is killer. It jumps to sharpest focus: responsive, accurate, quiet, and in every way satisfying.
In our lab, the lens performed well. Distortion showed some improvement over Version II, rising into the Slight from Visible range (at 100mm) in our DxO Analyzer 5.3 tests. While this lens lacks the impressive 15X zoom range of a mega all-in-one, its SQF numbers were Excellent at all focal lengths. Most 15Xers inevitably drop from Excellent to Very Good, or even Good at the long end. For shooters requiring convenience, plus uncompromised sharpness, this could be your lens.
To their credit, none of the 18–200mm APS-C macro zooms that we’ve tested recently have shown serious light falloff or distortion in their macro ranges. If this month’s macro feature inspires you, consider this well-priced Sigma.
A photo can mean a lot, even if it's not much to look at
On a recent work-related road trip, my wife texted me a photo of this beat up old Polaroid she found in a box in her office. "Do you want this? It looks like an old photo of some buildings." That's exactly what it is. I texted her back immediately so she could set it aside for me. While the picture itself isn't much to look at, it's a very fond reminder of what went into its creation, and it sums up what I love about the photographic process.
I graduated college in 2004. A decade doesn't seem like that long of a time, but photography has changed so much since then. Every photo class I took was taught on film cameras. We developed and printed our film in the dark room. We used handheld light meters because some of the medium format cameras didn't have them built in. Saying all of that now makes it sound like this was 100 years ago, when in reality, we were already in the era of Facebook.
I shot the photo above in one of the first sessions of my advanced photography class. It was one of the first times I ever used a large format film camera. We spent several hours going over the lens movements and the set-up process before we headed out to the street.
The assignment was simple: Make a photo of some NYC buildings in which all the lines are straight. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this type of photography, the board that holds the camera's lens can be moved independently of the film plane. Because of this, you can correct for all kinds of things in your photo, including the effect that makes buildings look skinnier at the top than they do at the bottom due to the relative distance from the lens.
I started setting up and I was immediately struggling. I was used to running around with a 35mm camera or maybe Pentax 67 medium format SLR. I rarely used a tripod and I had literally never used a cable release before. I never needed it. But now, it wasn't an option.
I barely even composed the shot. I thought I would have no problem ripping off a quick, level shot, then moving on to something more exciting. After all, I didn't want to shoot architecture, I wanted to photograph people and events.
An old Polaroid photo of me from the same class. Please excuse the insufferable pose and expression.
In total, it took roughly two hours to get a single correct frame. I made every mistake you could make. I forgot to pull the dark slide out so I had at least one totally blank sheet of film. I forgot to dial the aperture back down after focusing so I significantly overexposed at least one shot. I would get the lines right and then get the focus wrong during the adjustments. I got more frustrated and more determined with every wasted sheet of (even then, really expensive) instant film.
I was on the second to last sheet in my box of film when I got the result you see above. It's still not perfect, but, at the time, I was thrilled with what I got when I pulled the sheets apart. Not only did I see the (mostly) straight buildings, but I saw all the work I had just put into it. I saw a process that made me slow down and think about what I was doing. I saw all the things I still had to learn about photography and all the things I already knew.
I showed it to the professor and he gave me a "well done." It wasn't going in any photo shows or museums, but I was surely going to stick it up on my own wall.
I forgot about that photo for a long time, but seeing it brought all those memories back. It hit at the perfect time, too, because I had just done a job where I had shot literally thousands of photos that were sitting on my hard drive waiting to be edited. The whole shoot hadn't taken much longer than making this one photo.
I don't want it to sound like I think things were objectively "better" back then. I liked film, but it also delivered its fair share of frustration. It also got me into the best shape of my life because I spent a lot of my food money on film and paper. But, current photo technology has allowed amazing--practically magical--things to happen in the world of photography. Still, digital cameras don't age like film cameras do. If I were to pick up my old Sony Mavica, which recorded photos onto 3.5-inch floppy discs, it would be worth a laugh, but it wouldn't be anything like loading up a roll of film and heading out onto the street.
The difference between something that’s obsolete and something that’s “classic” can change dramatically based on individual experience. We get sentimental about our tools the same way we do our toys.
Now, the photo is back up on my wall, deteriorated from the fact that it was shot on Polaroid film, which was never patricianly well-known for its longevity. When I'm in the middle of a marathon editing session, when I'm so sick of pictures I'd rather go do anything else, I think it will remind me of how much I really do love making photos.
No more blocking everyone's views
We're all for people taking pictures. It's the platform on which our entire existence is based. There are limits, though, including situations where trying to take a picture would ruin an experience for someone else. Sadly, tablets with cameras seem to fit that bill all too often. Now, at least one place is making attempts to curb this behavior, with the Manchester United Football Club preventing fans from bringing tablets (among other things) into Old Trafford stadium.
According to the Manchester Evening News, an email was sent to club supporters saying "We want to make you aware of an update to our Club policy regarding home matches. “Supporters cannot bring large electronic devices (bigger than 150mmx100mm) inside the stadium. For example, ipads or other tablet devices and laptops are now prohibited. Also please be aware that large bags, large cameras and liquids (with the exception of a small bottle of water with the top removed) are included in our list of prohibited items."
So any tablet more than 6x10" isn't allowed in the venue—which we're sure that anyone sitting behind someone who decides that shooting a match with a tablet is a good idea will be thankful for. According to the Mirror, alongside the ban on large cameras and laptops, is to "stop supporters recording large portions of live matches on their tablet devices."
Hopefully, this will be the start of a wider spread move against people shooting with these view blockers, which are eminently unsuited for anything beyond video chat.
Image by Ian Mcallister = Imcall (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
No, they're not coming back
This is Cadence. She's four. She just discovered what happens when you delete a picture from a camera. And, as you know if you've ever accidentally deleted something really important to you, she's understandably upset.
As 4-year-old Cadence was playing with a little camera for her and her brothers, she pushed just the right sequence of buttons to delete a photo. When she realized what she’d done, and that the photo she’d deleted was of her good friend “Uncle Dave,” she was completely undone.
After taking a moment to regain some composure, she wanted to send this message to Dave…
You’ll all be happy to know that Dave delivered and all is now right with the world again.
Maybe now's a good time to make sure your backup system is in place. Not all of us have an Uncle Dave who can send a photo to us if we delete the original.
There's a lot to think about when planning a photo of the night sky, but the dramatic results are always worth it
As the image sensors in digital cameras continue to improve, night photography is becoming increasingly popular and much more accessible. It's now possible to shoot in a complete lack of light without the need for a pro-grade camera. Star trails, an exciting sub-genre of night photography, takes already long exposures and stretches them into hours to capture the stars as the Earth rotates throughout the night. There are two approaches to shooting star trails: you can use a single long exposure with a wide aperture lens and a low ISO or stack multiple long exposures using settings more common in night photography. Although this article will primarily discuss the multiple exposure method, there are many tips that apply to both approaches.
As with most photography, planning your shot is a key to its success. In addition to the normal factors, like weather, you’ll need to take a few other items in to consideration. When choosing the location of your shoot, you’ll want to consult a light pollution map (see below) to help find a suitable area. As you get further away from light polluted skies, you’ll be able to capture more stars in your frame and ultimately create a more exciting final image.
Once you have a general location selected, you can use resources like Google Maps to help find more specific areas that may have something interesting in your foreground.
Before deciding on this next element, you’ll next need to visualize how you want your final image to appear. For the darkest skies possible, you’ll be shooting near or during the New Moon phase. With a lack of natural or artificial light, your foreground may show up as a silhouette.
If your intention is to have the star trails appear over a well-lit landscape, you’ll want to shoot while the Moon is near quarter lit. If you shoot during a Full Moon, the landscape will appear very bright and many of the stars will be washed out. There is not a right or wrong decision when it comes to these options, it's all personal preference dependent on your desired results.
A screenshot from the StarWalk App
The Moon phase, as well as its rise and set time, can be found on most weather websites. Alternatively, you can also use a mobile astronomy app on your smart phone, such as StarWalk, PhotoPills, or Mobile Observatory.
This next factor can make or break an image. It certainly will make planning your shot a little more difficult, but it can lead to spectacular results. Depending on which direction your camera is facing when you shoot, the stars will create different patterns in the sky over the course of the night. Once you have a better understanding of this, you can use the patterns the stars will create to help build a stronger composition.
Quite often, the elements surrounding you will dictate which direction you’re able to face while shooting. Shooting in any direction that faces a larger city in the distance will often result in portions of your image having less stars than others. This unevenness can throw off the balance of the images and ruin hours of work.
Let’s take a look at how facing your camera in different directions will yield different results.
Placing Polaris, the North Star, in your frame will create the more popular circular pattern. Stars closer to Polaris will appear to move less, so a higher number of exposures will help yield more exciting results. This is a great starting point if you have never photographed star trails. The eye-catching circular pattern is a bit easier to frame and also slightly more forgiving when it comes to planning your composition.
Forever Wonder – Northern facing star trails over Jordon Pond in Acadia National Park, Maine
Placing the ecliptic (an imaginary line on which the planets travel along) in your frame while facing South / East will result in the stars traveling in three different directions. Along the ecliptic, the stars will have a very straight, horizontal path across your photo. On either side of the ecliptic, the stars will appear to curve away, towards either pole, North or South. The image below shows the ecliptic slightly off center to place the Milky Way closer to the opening of the pathway. This orientation can be slightly more difficult as an incorrectly placed ecliptic will result in awkwardly balanced star trails.
Live Free – Star trails taken facing South / East in Avalon, New Jersey.
Facing South, in my opinion, creates some of the most difficult trail patterns to successfully incorporate in to your shot. Over time, the trails will form somewhat of a wall of stars. While difficult, shooting near dark skies can certainly aid in creating a unique and appealing image. In the example below, I decided to use this pattern to help highlight the Cape May Lighthouse.
Shine Bright – Star trails taken facing South - Cape May, New Jersey
Facing West / Northwest, as seen in this photo, will product similar results to shooting East / Northeast.
Star trails taken facing North West in Avalon, New Jersey
After you have your composition planned, one final and very important factor will need to be decided. The amount of time you spending shooting your star trails can create vastly different results. Depending on the vision you have for your final image, you may find yourself shooting anywhere from 20 minutes to an entire night in an effort to come home with one image. Shorter star trails are often shot while the Moon is present and the landscape is well-lit. Since there are less visible stars during this time, those that do appear will serve as more of a subtle compliment to the Moonlit foreground instead of the main draw to the image. On the other hand, longer star trails will often immediately stand out and if they are accompanied with the right foreground will really elevate an image.
To help illustrate this point, I’ve taken individual exposures and stacked the images to create the star trails at 15 minute intervals. This will give you a better idea of the impact of shooting for different lengths of times will achieve.
25 Seconds: 1 Exposure
15 Minutes – 36 Exposures
30 Minutes: 72 Exposures
45 Minutes: 108 Exposures
60 Minutes: 144 Exposures
75 Minutes: 180 Exposures
90 Minutes: 216 Exposures
There is nothing wrong with the length of the star trails in any of the images above; they simply show that more time spent shooting can lead to more dramatic results.
All of these factors can play an important role when planning a successful shoot. When they’re all taken in to consideration and planned for accordingly, they can help ensure you come home with an image to be proud to show the world.
- Star trails can often take a few hundred photos to create your final shot. With this in mind, plan accordingly when packing memory cards. It’s always better to have extra then to run out part way through the night.
- Make sure your batteries are fully charged and always bring extra! Temperatures are often colder at night and can drain batteries quicker than normal.
- If possible, bring a second camera to shoot single images with. When you’re traveling, it can be difficult to give your trails the proper time as it may be taking away from time you could possibly be obtaining additional images.
Jack Fusco is a photographer based in New Jersey. You can see more of his work on his site and follow him on Facebook. He also teaches photography workshops if you want to learn more about night photography.
But why wasn't a faked photo submission caught?
On August 4th, an AFP stringer in Iraq uploaded a low-resolution image of what he claimed Sinjar in Iraqi Kurdistan—and the AFP syndicated it out to its clients across the globe. The problem? The image was stolen from famed photojournalist Lynsey Addario, and was actually taken in Syria in August 2013 for the New York Times. While the AFP ordered a kill on the image and publically apologized, it still raises the question of why this happened int he first place.
On Facebook, the AFP explained the situation, saying:
Agence France-Presse (AFP) wishes to publicly express its deepest apologies to renowned photojournalist Lynsey Addario for a mistake we made on August 4, 2014. On our photo wire, we wrongly used one of her pictures taken in Syria in August 2013 for the New York Times. We had been led to believe that it was taken by a photo stringer on August 4, 2014 in the area of Sinjar in Iraqi Kurdistan.
We discovered the mistake the following day. We immediately issued a Mandatory Kill (below) asking our subscribers not to use the picture. At AFP, we are all aware of Lynsey Addario's great reputation and have immense respect for her work - which makes this mistake even more painful.
We would like to assure Lynsey Addario, the New York Times and all our subscribers that we will take every measure possible to avoid any such mistakes in the future, and that very serious steps are being taken to find where we failed in the editorial process and rebuild confidence in the strength of our ethical and editorial standards.
Addario herself showed up in the comments, and said:
Please note AFP public apology for syndicating one of my photographs after an Iraqi stringer filed to AFP a low res version of my photo, originally shot on assignment for the New York Times in August 2013, and claimed it his own. While I appreciate the apology from AFP, one issue remains clear: AFP accepted and syndicated a low-res, pirated image without recognizing or questioning its authenticity. We have entered a time where news organizations are increasingly buying material from citizen journalists and amateur photographers who have not been schooled in the basic ethics of photojournalism, and editors and photographers need to be more vigilant when they buy and syndicate work.
This isn't the first time the AFP has landed in hot water over practices such as this. Late last year photographer Daniel Morel was awarded $1.2 million from Getty and AFP after they accepted work from another photographer that was actually his, and then licensed and sold it down their wire services. Obviously AFP acted far more quickly in the case of Addario's image, but nonetheless it's the same basic problem—someone taking a photojournalist's image, and selling it a major news agency, at which point it gets syndicated.
Hopefully with increased attention, wire services can do more to prevent this happening in the future.