Big Blog Changes Effective Immediately: Rebooting What We Cover and How We Cover It
+ Stackable Olympus M43rds Instant Rebates (exp 3/1/14)
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April 23, 2014

TypePad Blogs are back after DDoS attack

All apologies for the outage of the last couple of days. Unfortunately the Blogging and Web Hosting Service of the main blog and the Camera Deals blog, TypePad, suffered a major DDoS attack during the weekend, and it was only in the early hours of today that they managed to get everything in order. They had been trying to fix the issues, as evidenced by their non-stop tweeting.

The timing of this was rather unfortunate for this blog since it came shortly after our changes blog-post, leading some to think that we just pulled the plug (literally) on the whole thing :(

April 18, 2014

Big Blog Changes Effective Immediately: Rebooting What We Cover and How We Cover It

All apologies for the delays! This should have happened a few months ago, but I was hoping I could find a way to continue with the original blog-format. It did not work out. Effective immediately, we are pushing the reset + reboot buttons on the Noisy Blogs, we are changing What We Cover and How We Cover it. Here is the situation...

The Camera Deals blog continues
The Camera Deals blog (with full-text RSS feed) is a fairly self-contained project and will continue. This will also allow us to pay more attention to it. We are evaluating whether to switch it to Wordpress which offers more flexibility and more features.

The Review Streams will no longer be updated
The Camera Reviews and Lens reviews streams will no longer be updated. Both of them depend heavily on the newscycle (see section below) and will not continue.

The Big Change: We Are Getting Out of the News Cycle!
We are officially getting out of the 24 x 7 x 365 chasing the "News Cycle" and trying to always keep up with the "timeline" and the latest news and reviews and announcements. This is what caused most of the delays in updates. Most of the original blog format depended on always being up to date. Unfortunately this relentless non-stop chasing the news stopped being fun many months ago and the cumulative effects of the burnout refused to go away no matter what I tried to counter them. I can't tell you how much of a relief this is for me to lift this burden.

What Will Get Covered Going Forward?
When I say reset and reboot buttons, I mean it! Nothing is off-limits. Anything goes. This will likely develop organically as time goes by. The key here is to be "stretchable", focus on things that don't require round-the-clock baby-sitting of the news-cycle. Also we have to make it fun again. And triangulate on the things people are interested in reading with things I am interested in covering with things I am capable of covering. One thing is for sure, the original format is not coming back :(

So sometimes we may have a lot of posts, sometimes not. Sometimes we may cover news-related topics, sometimes we won't. We will likely pay more attention to content generation versus never-ending news and reviews round-ups. Various ideas and experiments are on paper and in the air. It is a reboot! Getting out of the newscycle, it gives us flexibility. If there are any topics of the non-newscycle nature you would like to see covered, please let us know! All ideas are welcome!

Finite Time and Energy
I understand that you may be upset, disappointed, frustrated, angry, etc, etc, etc. I am too when one of my favorite websites/blogs does something like this. Unfortunately none of the previous 20,000+ blog-posts (from the very short to the very long) wrote themselves. This was a very demanding project time-wise and effort-wise and required a lot of big and small sacrifices. While this was not a non-profit blog, we were running it as a semi-non-profit in the sense that we avoided most of the annoying-to-readers revenue-generating activities (conventional sponsors, annoying ads of every kind, appeasing manufacturers and fanboys, etc, etc, etc).

Where to Get Camera News?
The internet changed a lot since we started doing this. Now there are many more ways to get to the latest news. There's Twitter and Google+ and Facebook and Pinterest and Linked In and many more social networks that light up when something of interest happens. There are thousands of photography forums at every corner of the internets. Both Imaging Resource and dpreview increased their news coverage. You can find most of the buzzworthy stories at Petapixel. You can get the headlines of many photo-related websites at Alltop Photography in a snapshot. You can easily create custom topics of interest at Flipboard, Zite, Taptu, Blinkfeed, News360, and many other similar services, deilvered right to your smartphone or tablet or web browser. RSS readers and apps are available for all desktop and mobile platforms, even QVGA cellphones. Etc, etc, etc.

Over 64,000 pictures in the Readers Flickr Pool

We have another new milestone in the Readers Flickr Pool. Over 64,000 pictures submitted by photographers like you. As usual, we mention the milestone picture, picture #64,000, the Old Overbey Store in Tennessee, an HDR photo by photographer Joel Williams taken with the Leica M9 at 24mm.

If you are not familiar with the Flickr Readers Pool, you can check the details (three paragraphs) after the break...

»» Continue reading "Over 64,000 pictures in the Readers Flickr Pool" »»

April 01, 2014

(A1) GameStop to open 150 DSLR mini-stores in select US metro areas in next 3 years

This is an April Fool's Day 2014 post... Original post after the jump...

»» Continue reading "(A1) GameStop to open 150 DSLR mini-stores in select US metro areas in next 3 years" »»

(A1) Launching new Essay blog covering the intersection of Photography and Religion

This is an April Fool's Day 2014 post... Original post after the jump...

»» Continue reading "(A1) Launching new Essay blog covering the intersection of Photography and Religion" »»

(A1) Launching new Selfies Photography School (SPS)

This is an April Fool's Day 2014 post... Original post after the jump...

»» Continue reading "(A1) Launching new Selfies Photography School (SPS)" »»

Reader Picture Showcase powered by flickr

March 25, 2014

New HTC One Flagship Smartphone with Bokeh Camera and Open Camera API and microSD slot (up to 128GB)

Apple and Samsung may have been moving smartphones by the millions, but it was HTC One (M7) that won most of the critical acclaim in 2013. Today HTC announced their new flagship, the HTC One (M8).

From a photography perspective, the main new feature is a two lens camera on the back of the phone. The second camera is used to capture detailed depth information of a scene - this is captured using hardware, not software guestimates. The term Bokeh was featured prominently in the official presentation by HTC. So let's just call it the Bokeh smartphone!

Also of interest to photography developers, HTC is opening up the camera API to outside (of HTC) developers, so if you have great ideas on how to take advantage of the second camera, this may be something you want to look into.

HTC continues with their Ultrapixels, not joining the "megapixel wars". Among other camera features, you can save a group of settings together (custom settings).

The front camera is trying to appease the selfie-generation with a 5mp wide-angle camera.

Of photography interest also, the phone now supports microSD memory cards, and it can use cards up to 128GB in storage size. So you can shoot and shoot and shoot and not worry about running out of space. Combined with the smaller Ultrapixel files, you can shoot even more. Also helping in photo shooting marathons is the promise of 40% improvement in battery life versus the previous HTC One (as usual with announcement estimates, we have to wait for actual real-life tests to see the practical benefits).

And if you are shooting out and about and break your screen, you get one free screen replacement if it breaks within six months of purchase. This is part of the previously launched HTC Advantage program.

Other specs: 5 inch screen (1920 x 1080), the new Snapdragon 801 processor, 440ppi, etc. Also, the HTC specific apps will now be upgradable through Google Play.

HTC has a Flash-based page touting the phone's camera features. HTC's white paper on the Camera module can be found in browser-readable format at Into Mobile.

Announcement Coverage
Live-blog coverage of the announcement at Engadget and The Verge and Live video stream of the announcement event at HTC.

Post-game show (video stream) at

If you don't have a lot of time to read all these, Tech Crunch has a compact article covering most of the major points.

More detailed announcement coverage at the best place to get all your tech news quickly, Miss Techmeme.

Completed Reviews and Previews
Hands-on preview of the camera: CNet compares the HTC One M8 camera with the iPhone 5S camera and calls the results Hit Or Miss for the M8 phone.

COMPLETED REVIEWS: the HTC One 2014 has completed reviews and they now ready for you to read. At Engadget they have THREE dedicated camera sections, with the new "Duo Camera" getting its own segment. The Verge highlights this finding from their review: "HTC improved everything but the image quality". You can also check the video component of their review. There is also a completed review at with the camera segments of the review on page #2.

More completed reviews at Wired and Gizmodeaux and not Walt Mossberg at WSJ and yes Walt Mossberg at Re/Code.

Hands-on previews at Engadget and The Verge.

Reviews from the ANDROID World
Perhaps the most detailed review of all, at least from an Android perspective can be found at Android Central.

Hands-on reviews include a camera section at Android Authority and also at Android Pit.

More benchmarks have come out as well, rounded up in two screenshot PNGs at Android Headlines. Over there, you can also find a spec-sheet comparison.

For more threads that you can possible digest, check the XDA forums.

Reviews from Mobile Tech websites
A detailed 11-page review is now out at GSM Arena and it includes dedicated review page for the camera module.

A review is also out at Laptop Magazine which includes a Camera/Video segment, including a sample picture comparison between the One and the iPhone 5S and Galaxy S4. They also compare the M8 vs M7 features and specs wise and spec-compare to Galaxy S5.

Completed reviews also available at Boy Genius Report.

Phone Arena has their completed review and also compares this to the Sony Xperia Z2 and also to the Galaxy S4 and has a top ten new features feature. They also have a feature on the Duo camera. If you feel like an HTC One M8 immersion, they have dozens and dozens of posts on it! [INFORMATION OVERLOAD!]

Phone Arena has an 8-way camera comparison between the new HTC One M8 (2014) and a variety of other flagship phone cameras, including the Lumia 1520, Nexus 5, Galaxy S4, iPhone 5S, LG G2, Galaxy Note 3, and Xperia Z1S. A slide-show comparison widget shows the 48 images that are part of the comparison.

If you are on a high-speed internet connection with a stable browser and bigger screen, you can see all 48 samples pictures in this giant one-page comparison. [HOT!]

The phone will be available for ordering starting at 1pm today (not sure which timezone). The phone will be available for $200 on a two year contract (16GB) or $250 (32GB). Contract-free unlocked prices are $650 (Developer edition from HTC) and $700 for the Google Play Edition (GPE). The GPE is running stock Android, while all the other versions are running the HTC Sense 6 UI.

If you are a brick and mortar shopper, you can also walk into a Verizon Wireless store and buy it today (!).

HTC One M8 Pre-Orders
+ AT&T Wireless: $200 with 2yr new contract or $640 without contract or $32/month (Next 12, 20 months) or $25/month (Next 18, 26 months)

+ Verizon Wireless: Buy 1 Get 1 Free with two new two-year activations/contracts, $200 contract price. However, the link on their front page for the new One currently points to the old one (as of 1:24pm ET).

+ Sprint: $200 with new 2yr contract or $27/month for 24 months

+ T-Mobile: as of 1:33pm ET I can't find it on their website

+ HTC: Developer edition for $650, in-stock now (GSM, unlocked bootloader, 32GB storage)

+ Google Play Edition: $700 unlocked and no-contract, GSM, pre-orders "coming soon"

March 18, 2014

New Samsung NX Mini camera is officially announced

It looks like Samsung is taking a page from its smartphone strategery and transferring it to their NX interchangeable lens cameras. Today Samsung announced the new "NX Mini" iLC camera, with a 3-inch twist-and-shout screen on the back, a 20.5mp backlit CMOS sensor, 6fps RAW, NFC, pop-up flash, 1080p video, and Lightroom 5 full version included. It will be available in multiple fashionable/pastelish colors.

The NX Mini will be offered in two different kits. The prime kit will be bundled with 9mm f3.5 lens with a starting price of $450. The zoom kit will be bundled with the 9-27mm f3.5-5.6 Lens and SEF-7A Flash for $550. Both come with LR5 as mentioned above.

Due to time constraints we cannot do our usual announcement round-up. You can find the detailed specs at B&H Photo for the prime kit and the zoom kit.

If you are familiar with the various Samsung Galaxy smartphone variants, you may want to prepare for an avalanche of NX camera variants. How about an NX Mega? NX Active? NX Ring? NX Amp? NX Prevail? NX Admire? NX Victory? NX Stratosphere? NX Reverb? Joking aside, the first two hypotheticals could be useful for some photographers, "Active" as in weatherproof/waterproof and "Mega" with a big screen for people who like iLC cameras with giant LCD screens.

Poll to help determine blog's future: which recurring blog features do you find more useful?

Once upon a time we were able to follow the whole camera market with a very wide angle lens. However, since then, a steady barrage of new cameras (200+ per year) and new camera systems made the everything-about-everything style of coverage unsustainable. So now we are in a transition period. So far we've been trying to nibble around the edges to make it work again. It FAILED!

So more drastic action is needed. Part of the transition period unfortunately included an on-going analysis-paralysis stage, or as Jim astutely summarized in a previous comment, "semi-suspended animation". Part of this is caused by the nature of this blog, because we cover a lot of things on a timeline basis, falling behind even a little has a cumulative multiplier effect. But regardless, no one wants to read a meta-blogging essay (but if you do, please let me know and I'll write a separate essay just for you ;-).

So this is a feedback poll for you to vote on what recurring blog features you find the most useful. This will help us prioritize what to cover and what not to cover in the future. Please keep in mind, different tasks have different workloads, so this is not a "decider poll", but a "feedback poll". Task A may only need 10% effort vs Task B which may require 50% effort. I am sure 99% would vote yes on "write a 30-page in-depth technical review for every single camera and cameraphone ever made", but the chances of that happening are about 0.000000000000000000031415%.

Because of the nature of the poll, we will keep the results private for a few days, so early results won't influence voting. After a few days, the results will open up. The answer order in the voting widget is computer-randomized every time the page is loaded to prevent position bias.

This is a multiple selection poll, so vote for as many as you find useful. Unfortunately there is no way to prioritize the selections, so use your voting/non-voting as a way to prioritize.

For more complicated answers, please use the comments below or the Online Contact Form or Twitter @1001noisycamera (no final "s" because Twitter handles are 15 chars or less).

Explanation of the various categories
+ News round-ups: individual news or round-ups covering multiple news and newsy items, examples in the News category

+ New Camera Gear announcements: eg New Cameras and New Lenses

+ Cameraholic Digest: round-up of latest reviews, hands-on reports, samples, debates, etc. Here are examples of older episodes

+ Opinion Soup: a round-up of diverse opinions on camera gear and photography and related topics. Here are examples of older episodes

+ Lens Reviews stream: the latest lens reviews, one post per review

+ Camera Reviews stream: the latest lens reviews, one post per review

+ Reference posts: things like the Trade Show calendar (behind) and New Cameras of 2013 (behind) or Year In Review (behind) and Professional Photographer List (2008) and such

+ In-Depth and "Noisy Original" posts: Examples, data-driven charts such as the The Age of DSLRs (2010) or Who Reviews Digital Cameras (2008) or Google Reader alternatives (2013). Also: goofy things like How to Frak Your Next Digital Camera purchase.

+ Camera-centered: for example, the 5DMk2 blog and the Panasonic LX3 diary and D3s reference page

+ Other: write in blog-comments or use contact form

If you are reading this in an RSS reader, the voting widget below likely won't work. Please visit the actual blog post or go to the Polldaddy voting page directly.

Podcast: Talking Fuji X system at Digital Trekker (49 mins)

If you have 49 minutes to spare or to mix into your commute, The Digital Trekker latest podcast talks to photographer Piet Van den Eynde about the Fuji X system. This is their second conversation on the X system. The first conversation happened a year ago, in March 2013.

You can find all the podcasts at the Digital Trekker Soundcloud page.

If you are not familiar with Soundcloud, you can comment on the podcasts at specific time periods, so for example, if you have a question about something mentioned at 12 minutes and 34 seconds (random time stamp example), you can leave a comment at that timestamp. Soundcloud accounts are free (you can also sign-into Soundcloud with Google+ or Facebook).

You can also find the podcasts Soundcloud-embedded right below using the official Soundcloud iFrame widget, first the 2013 podcast (1 hr long) followed by the 2014 podcast (49 mins long)...

March 11, 2014

Over 63,000 pictures in the Readers Flickr Pool

We have another new milestone in the Readers Flickr Pool. Over 63,000 pictures submitted by photographers like you. As usual, we mention the milestone picture, picture #63,000, a black and white portrait by photographer Dierk Topp taken with the Sony a7r and the Zeiss Vario-Tessar FE 24-70mm f4 ZA OSS lens. [corrected; lens is 24-70, not 24-80]

Since Flickr introduced a new feature, Flickr picture embedding (similar to how you embed YouTube videos), we are adding a new feature to the milestone posts, Flickr-embedding the milestone picture using the Flickr embed feature.

This new Flickr embed feature is also a great opportunity to feature more of the Readers Flickr pool work. We will experiment with it in the next few weeks. If you have any ideas, suggestions or feedback, use the online contact form or leave a comment below or tell us or DM us on Twitter...

If you are not familiar with the Flickr Readers Pool, you can check the details (three paragraphs) after the break...

»» Continue reading "Over 63,000 pictures in the Readers Flickr Pool" »»

March 10, 2014

It Pays To Complain: 500px now gives photographers 70% of revenue

500px generated a big controversy among photographers rights advocates (eg photographers) when it announced in early February that photographers would only get 30% of the revenue from every sale. A firestorm ensued, and finally, the fruit of the complaint labor paid off, this month 500px announced that photographers will get 70% of the revenue from every sale.

The 70-30 split is an increasingly popular split between the creators and the infrastructure, including iTunes and Google Play.

And here's where this reversal potentially becomes great news for photographers. 500px has a minimum license price of $250, so photographers can make a minimum of $175 per license (70% of $250).

Sony and Panasonic agree on Archival optical discs (coming Summer 2015)

Taking pictures is where the fun is, but the hard truth is that every photographer has to wear a mini IT system administrator hat in order to deal with backups and backups of backups and even more backups. And G-d forbid if you need to perform restores. Adding to the options (or the confusion) today is a new agreement between Sony and Panasonic for new Archival optical discs for long term storage. The first wave of products are expected to come out at some point in the summer of 2015. The first generation will offer 300GB per disk (write-once, dual side), with storage options increasing to 500GB and 1TB over time. More details as they get closer to release.

Announcements at Wired UK and CNet News and Engadget.

Prices revealed (and pre-orders available) for Panasonic GH4 and DMW-YAGH Interface

Panasonic generated some 4K excitement with the GH4 announcement and its optional DMW-YAGH Pro Audio Video Interface. Fast forward to now, and the prices have been announced for both items and pre-orders are accepted.

The GH4 camera body only kit will start at $1700 and it is available for pre-order at and Adorama and B&H Photo. The shipping estimate for the GH4 is late April to early May in 2014, with the usual caveats of new releases.

The DMW-YAGH Pro Audio Video Interface will start at $2000 and it is available for pre-order at and Adorama and B&H Photo. The shipping estimate for this is May/June 2014 with the usual new release caveats.

However, if you happen to want both, there are some good news, you can pre-order them together as a kit for $3300, a discount of $400 over buying them separately. Pre-orders for the combo are available at Adorama and B&H Photo. The shipping estimate for this is May/June 2014 with the usual new release caveats.

HTC bucks trend, continues with Ultrapixels as it teases new HTC One flagship

Whle most Android smartphone manufacturers are obsessed with increasing the megapixel count, HTC is bucking the trend with its Ultrapixels technology and judging by the new official HTC teaser for the upcoming highly-anticipated new HTC One flagship phone, HTC will continue with the Ultrapixels idea, even though the mere notion (of offering the mass market something with a smaller number) is a high risk proposition.

You can watch the video on YouTube or find it YouTube-embedded right below...

Via Android Central and Android Spin and Cult of Android

March 06, 2014

Getty Images adopts the YouTube approach, Image Embeds for the Web and Social Media

Getty Images is trying a new approach to the way its images are (mis)used by the free-content-hungry internet denizens, they are going YouTube-style, by having an "Embed" option for Getty Images, so people can embed them (non-commercially) on their social media, websites, blogs, tumblrs, and forums. This move is an attempt to get some kind of return on the already-happening sharing-without-permission of their images. Even if a small percentage of people use the new tools, it is a practical win for Getty and those involved. At least in theory.

Getty has an Embed Help page and added an "Embedded Viewer" section to its Terms and Conditions.

Via Tech Crunch and Wired UK and CNet and The Verve.

Example of new Getty Image embeds
Here is an example below using the new Getty embeds feature. The image "Cat and Camera" by Akimasa Harada is Javascript-embedded below using the new Getty Images Embed feature.

The embed widget includes the picture, which is a link to the Getty page of the particular image, along with a byline (but no direct link) to the photographer, along with social media share buttons: Twitter, Tumblr and Share (Embed).

Free Adobe Photoshop Express adds In-App Purchases (Filters and NR)

Adobe is slowly building up its mobile imaging app arsenal as it is faced with hundreds (if not thousands) of mobile imaging apps already in the marketplace. Yesterday they launched Revel on Android (Google Play) and today they have added two features to the free Adobe Photoshop Express app via In-App Purchases: Filters cost $3 and Noise Reduction costs $5. I am mildly surprised there's no HDR buzzword in-app option :)

Via Android Police.

March 05, 2014

Mozilla launches new JPEG encoder that reduces file size 10% on average

JPEG has been attacked from all sides, yet it remains (for a variety of reasons) the main digital image format on the interwebs. So the good digital hippies at Mozilla decided to help squeeze some compression juice out of JPEGs. They launched today, as a Version 1.0 project, a new JPEG encoder, Mozipeg, that on average reduces JPEG file size by 10%. The estimate is based on 1500 sample images from Wikimedia. The project is introduced at the Mozilla blog and is available for all to see and compile and hack at Github. Source code is included!

Via Tech Crunch and CNet News.

Android imaging apps: Adobe Revel arrives at Google Play (free to use; must sign-up/sign-in)

The Adobe Revel mobile photography app is no longer an iTunes exclusive. The app is now available to download for free at the Google Play. It is free to use, however, you must sign-up or sign-in with an existing Adobe, Facebook or Google+ account in order to use it. Because all our data is belong to them :)

Via Android Central and CNet Central.

A screenshot crop of the relevant parts of the start screen you see when you run the app on Android is right below...


Rotating below are the Stock Status pages of the Panasonic GM1 and Sony a7 and a7r and Olympus E-M1 and Fuji X100S and Ricoh GR (APS-C)...

New crafty adaptive Pentax K mount adapter ring for older Pentax DSLRs/SLRs

And now some crafty work in the world of mount adapters. Singapore-based Adaptive, as their name suggests, is releasing their first Pentax K mount adapter ring that allows the mounting of various lenses from other mounts (Nikon F, Olympus OM, Contax-Yashica, Konica) to some older Pentax dSLRs and some Pentax film SLRs. This is ...adaptive in some ways.

Supported with this product are older non-weather-resistant dSLRs like the K-x, K-r, K-m, K2000, K100D*/K110D, and five *istD*. There is a detailed page on which Pentax Film SLRs are supported.

As with all adapters, there are trade-offs and restrictions. You can find the full details on their website. Here are some of them:
+ no autofocus; only manual focus
+ aperture control is manual
+ no lens release catch
+ check their website for details
+ instructions in JPEG or HTML are linked to from the right hand site of the above page

This is a six minute video demo produced by Adaptist on Vimeo.

This is one mount ring for all the supported mounts. The ring supports Pentax K-lenses as well so you don't have to remove it if you want to go "native".

The price of this new product is around $100 Singapore Dollars. Orders outside Singapore have a $5 shipping fee for the first item plus $3 per additional item. All prices are in Singapore dollars. Based on current currency rates, $100 Singapore Dollars is around $80 US Dollars.

Sample Pictures
Adaptist has a sample pictures gallery showing actual pictures taken with the adapter using lenses from Nikon F, Olympus OM, Contax/Yashica C/Y and Konica AR.

What about the newer and weather resistant Pentax DSLRs?
Hope is not lost! While this first product does not support them, the Adaptive website, in red ink, states:

"*PK+MM for WR DSLRs is under development and not available yet."

Via The Photography Blog

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