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January 15, 2014

Crowdfunding Lenses: Moment promises two quality add-on prime lenses (0.63x and 2x) for iPhones and Galaxy smartphones

One of the big benefits of the internets is the democratization of creativity. And Kickstarter and similar crowd-funding services can sometimes help make ideas come to life. One such case is a new Kickstarter project, Moment, that is making add-on lenses for the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphones. Two lenses are in the works, a wide and a tele prime. The raison d^etre of this project (in their own words): "We were tired of sacrificing quality for convenience, so we made lenses that put photographic finesse in your pocket.". That's the premise and promise.

They already include a number of sample pictures taken with iPhones at their Kickstarter page (page down and down to see them all). They have already received more than 2X as much as their original goal. The Kickstarter levels are $50 for one lens or $100 for two lenses. Free shipping in the US, +$25 for addresses outside the US. They also have additional tiers, including one for software developers wishing to take advantage of the new lenses.

The two lenses that are part of this crowd-funding project are the 0.63x wide lens (five elements, four groups) and the 2X tele lens (four elements, four groups). The exact "equivalent" focal range depends on each phone's own built-in lens. Per the FAQ at the bottom of their Kickstarter page, more lenses will come out eventually if all goes well.


Moment-smartphone-lenses-on-kickstarter-jan2014


If you find this interesting but don't have and don't want an iPhone/Galaxy, they have a Google Docs form accepting suggestions for what other cameraphones to support (eg HTC One, Lumias, Nexus, etc).

More details on their blog and website and twitter.

Via The Next Web and The Verge and the rest of the internets.

Their Kickstarter video (800x600) is embedded after the jump...

»» Continue reading "Crowdfunding Lenses: Moment promises two quality add-on prime lenses (0.63x and 2x) for iPhones and Galaxy smartphones" »»

Cameras get drawn in the Drone Wars

As if we didn't have enough of the paranoid own-shadow-fearers associating cameras and photographers with terrorism, we now have a new front of fearnoia, weaponized drones with cameras. And this isn't something an average person said, but a high-ranking Senator. Soy vey! Details and discussion in the comments at The Verge.

Stock Photography Gets Its Own Dollar Store

There are plenty of dollar stores in the brick and mortar world, and the popularity of mobile apps at 99c further pushed the "dollar store" mentality to the forefront. Now, big buyers of stock photography have their own "dollar store", and they don't shy away from using the name. Fotolia named this their Dollar Photo Club. You pay $10/month and get ten free images, and every image after that is $1. You can buy as many as you like at $1/photo from a choice of 25 million images. No contracts and no commitments. Via Tech Crunch.

This got buried by CES news: "Two more Wake Up Calls for the Digital Camera Industry"

We posted this right before the CES 2014 announcement madness began, so it got buried quickly and many people did not even notice it. So now that things have quieted down, it is a good time to highlight it. It is a post with the title "Two More Wake Up Calls for the Digital Camera Industry". This happened accidentally (I did not finish it before CES), we did not bury it intentionally to appease the militant positive-affirmations good-news-only crowd. I think we scared away that crowd a long time ago anyway :) Thanks to one of readers for the reminder!


UPDATE: Craig Mod wrote a follow-up to his New Yorker "Goodbye Cameras" post, the new article, posted on his own website, is entitled "Photography, Hello". Thanks to @thewsreviews for the alert!

Top 30 patent holders in 2013 in USA includes plenty of companies that make cameras

Cynics may consider patents as a "jobs program" for laywers and scientists, and that would not be an issue, except patents these days are used as ways to control a market and stifle competition and innovation and profiteer from master-of-the-obvious ideas. With that as intro, the Top 30 list of companies with most patents awarded in 2013 in the USA is now out and as you can see at the Top 30 at CNet, companies that make cameras and digital imaging technology continue to be in the Top 30:

2. Samsung
3. Canon
4. Sony
6. Panasonic
7. Toshiba
14. General Electric
16. Epson
17. Ricoh
19. HP

January 14, 2014

Over 61,000 pictures in the Readers Flickr Pool

We have yet another new milestone in the Readers Flickr Pool. Over 61,000 pictures submitted by photographers like you. As usual, we mention the milestone picture, picture #61,000, "West Side Story" by Arnie Goldstein taken with the Nikon D800 dSLR.

The Readers Flickr Pool is a place where photographers of all experience levels and camera types share their pictures. Everyone is welcome to join and submit up to five pictures per day. You can share your experimental pictures, your masterpieces, your latest pictures, your cat pictures, your outtakes, you decide! This is not an 18+ group, so please do not submit adult-themed pictures.

Recent additions to the flickr pool are featured on the front page (and index pages) of this blog. We do not store the pictures on this blog or elsewhere - they are displayed using standard flickr widgets provided by flickr (the flickr badge), and maintained by flickr. You can add or remove your pictures at any time by adding them or removing them from the flickr pool and you can also join/leave the Flickr Pool at any time and for any reason.

Thanks to a new Flickr feature, there is now a nice Flickr Members page [you must be logged on to a Yahoo account that has an associated Flickr account in order to see these] showing square thumbnails of all the members participating in the flickr pool. This is a never-ending scroll page, so you keep pressing "Show more members" at the bottom to see them all. According to that page, photographer Mike Gavin was the first to boldly join this Flickr Pool when it started!

Beta for CyanogenMod: new GalleryNext app available in Google Play (Beta)

If you are a boldly going Android mobile photographer and love to try out new apps before they are fully cooked, CyanogenMod has a beta version of their new GalleryNext photography app available for download through Google Play. Because this is a beta app, you have to join their Google+ group (requires Google+ account) and then download the beta app through Google Play using the link over there. An overview of the app and instructions on how to get in on the beta are available at the CyanogenMod Google+ page.

Current features include integration with Flickr, Dropbox, Picasa/Google+, and Facebook. If you have any suggestions or pet peeves, they are listening - per their post above, so it is your opportunity to make a difference (you can get inspired by @Lessig getting Google to add Usage Rights filters to their image search and make that great new suggestion!).

Via Android Authority and Android Central.

Google makes Images Search by Usage Rights easier for those who use excuses to use without permission

Google has finally made it easier for people who use their Image Search search engine to search by "Usage Rights"! This was announced on Twitter by Google Chief Spamologist @MattCutts. We can thank law professor @lessig (website) for "encouraging" Matt Cutts and The Google to make this option available to the general population. Via Engadget and CNet News.

The option to filter by "Usage Rights" does not appear unless you first make a Google Images search and then click on the "Search Tools" option. Then a second bar of options appears and one of them is "Usage Rights". The default option is "not filtered by license". The other options are "labeled for reuse" and "labeled for commercial use" and "labeled for reuse with modification" and "labeled for commercial use with modification". This may not be ideal from a photography perspective, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. If nothing else, another small step in educating the general population that those Tumblr and ImgUrl pictures they love to use/reuse don't fall out of the sky like rain.

We created a simple annotated screenshot example of this new feature using an image search for "Elephants" as an example...


Image-search-by-usage-rights

January 13, 2014

Camera and Lens Reviews updated again: Df, a7, X-E2, D7100, EOS M2, etc

It looks like the more drastic adjustments we made are more successful in not falling behind! We just updated the latest review streams with the latest completed reviews posted online (as of the time of writing). The latest action includes new reviews for the Nikon Df and Canon EOS M2 and Fuji X-E2 and Sony a7 and Nikon D7100, along with two new Dxomark lens reviews and Pentax primes. You can find the latest completed reviews now (and in the future) online or by RSS as follows:

+ Camera Reviews website and/or Camera Reviews RSS feed

+ Lens Reviews website and/or Lens Reviews RSS feed

Mega Roundup #2: Hands-On Reports from the CES 2014 Trade Show Floor

On Friday we posted the first CES 2014 Mega Round-up. This is Part #2, covering posts and reports we did not previously mention. Here we go...

A lot of the newly announced cameras and lenses are available for pre-order at Amazon. Your orders and pre-orders are the main source of funding for this free-for-all-to-read blog with free full-text RSS feed and no banner ads, so your help is greatly appreciated in advance!


Overall Coverage
+ DigitalCamera.jp (computer-translated) - they don't have permalinks so we can't include them in the brand-specific posts below
+ DC Watch Impress (computer-translated)


CES 2014 Recaps
+ 7 things you need to know (if you ignored everything about CES so far) at What Digital Camera?
+ recap at Thephoblographer
+ best of show slide show at dpreview slideshows
+ cameras and imaging recap at Engadget


Nikon
+ Nikon D3300 and D4s at DC Watch Impress (computer-translated)
+ Nikon D4s video at Photography Bay
+ Coolpix L830 hands-on at Pocket Lint


Fuji
+ S1 superzoom first look at Pocket Lint
+ new hand-grips for X-E2, X-E1 and X-Pro1 at DC Watch (computer-translated)
+ pictures of new 56/1.8 lens and black X100S and new P&S models at DC Watch (computer-translated)
+ Instax Share SP1 printer first impressions at Reviewed.com


Samsung
+ NX30 first impressions at Reviewed.com
+ Galaxy Camera 2 Android superzoom first impressions at Reviewed.com
+ NX30 and WB2200F dual-grip superzoom and more at DC Watch (computer-translated)


Sony
+ Sony a5000: 27 JPEG sample pictures, including two ISO range shots (ISO 100 to 16000) at Optyczne.pl
+ five body pictures of the a5000 mirrorless at DC Watch (computer-translated)
+ new wooden grip for RX1 and RX1R at DC Watch (computer-translated)


Zeiss
+ body pictures of recently announced Otus and Touit lenses at DC Watch (computer-translated)


Sigma
+ body pictures of two new 50/1.4 and 18-200 Sigma SLR lenses at DC Watch (computer-translated)


Canon
+ body pictures of N100 Powershot at DC Watch (computer-translated)


Pentax and Ricoh
+ interestingly the Pentax K-500 DSLR has not been announced in Japan so far says DC Watch (computer translated)
+ new case for Ricoh Theta at DC Watch (computer-translated)
+ something fun+goofy: giant 60-250mm f4 lens attached to tiny pink Q7 mirrorless at DC Watch (computer-translated - with sample pictures


Kodak of JK Imaging
+ lots of pictures of the new Kodak S1 camera and lenses (12-45 f3.5-6.3 and 42.5-160 f3.5-5.9) and sensor-lens modules and P&S cameras at DC Watch Impress (computer-translated)


Polaroid
+ Socialmatic, new mirrorless design and more at DC Watch (computer translated)


Other Manufacturers
+ interview with Monoprice on their Action Cam and more at Android Central
+ slideshow of new action-cams at CNet at CES


CES 2014 in General
+ overall trade show coverage at Reviewed.com - a great way to catchup with all the important high tech announcements in one page
+ another way to quickly catch-up on tech in general, 31 videos in a single playlist at Android Central
+ 4K round up at Cinema 5D
+ start-ups steal the show at CNet at CES
+ 11 minute interview with Pelican Imaging CEO by Geek Beat TV (YouTube) (via ISW)
+ on the backburner at CES at dpreview slideshow
+ Booth Babes don't convert at Tech Crunch

Polaroid iM1836: a new mirrorless camera prototype at CES 2014 (that does not look like a Nikon J1)

After getting legally slapped in the face by Nikon after they got caught cut-and-pasting the Nikon J1 design, the Polaroid "designers" went back to the clipboard drawing board and showed a new mirrorless camera design at CES 2014. Who did they copy this one from? :)

Pictures of the prototype at DigitalCamera.jp (computer-translated) [use your browser's search feature to search for "Polaroid" - DigitalCamera.jp does not have permalinks to individual posts]. Digitalcamera.jp notes similarities between some Polaroid and Vivitar products and prototypes. After all, both of them are brand names attached to products made by not-famous OEMs.

Via Focus Numerique and Optyczne.pl and Chasseur d'Images forums.

Lunacy Limited Edition: Hasselblad Lunar Limited Edition (only 200 copies availalble)

Once upon a time Hasselblad was a very respected photography company. Now they are the subject of ridicule with their "designer" editions of cameras only photophools drowning in money would buy. But if their previous photophools cameras were not "elite" enough, they are now back with a new "Lunar Limited Edition", with only 200 worldwide copies to be made available, and a before tax price of 7200 euro in Europe. Their press release is pandering to the Chinese New Year celebrations. But before you complain about the price, you also get the 18-55mm kit lens! Or you can buy a handful of the original Sony NEX cameras the Lunar was made of :) Via Quesabesde.

Vivitar shows IU860 Modular Smartphone Lens System at CES 2014

Vivitar (aka whoever owns the branding rights to the name) is taking the sensor-lens camera module approach to the next level by showing a modular/interchangeable approach to the add-on lenses. With the Sony QX and Kodak/JKI approach, you attach a sensor-lens to your camera. With the Vivitar approach, you attach a sensor-module and a lens-module. The sensor-module is fairly skinny, the lens is obviously thicker. This is a trade-show prototype system, so we have to wait for more news to see whether or when this will be an actual product.

Pictures of this prototype system were captured at the trade show floor at DigitalCamera.jp (computer-translated) [use your browser's search feature to search for "Vivitar" or "Viviter" - DigitalCamera.jp does not have permalinks to individual posts].

Given the nature of OEM manufacturing and rebranding, it is highly unlikely that this is going to be a Vivitar-brand exclusive thing if it materializes. Chances are it will appear under multiple other brands.

And while one can find modular camera fantasies in the forums dating back to the early days of digital, commercial success may be a different story, judging by the non-commercial-success of the Ricoh GXR system. Unicorns are after all donkeys with a big zit ;-)

Via Optyczne.pl and Foto Actualidad.

(ENDED) Ends by Tue 3am ET: Sony NEX-3N w/16-50mm for $290

This deal du jour expired... The main Gold Box deal of the day at Amazon is the new condition black Sony NEX-3N with 16-50mm offered for $290 with free shipping. This offer is good until Tuesday 1/14/14 at 3am ET or earlier if it sells out. It is a very affordable entry-point into the Sony NEX E-mount of the APS-C variety. You can research the camera with the Sony NEX-3N reviews list (16 completed reviews including Dxomark). For more specials, check the Camera Deals blog with easy to remember url noisydeals.com

January 12, 2014

Camera and Lens Reviews updated

Thanks to behind-the-scenes changes we made (more on those later on), we did not fall behind updating the latest completed camera and lens review streams despite the CES 2014 madness! You can find the latest completed reviews online or by RSS as follows:

+ Camera Reviews website and/or Camera Reviews RSS feed

+ Lens Reviews website and/or Lens Reviews RSS feed

+ a new CES 2014 round-up will be posted at some point on Monday - we are waiting for some more CES reports to be posted online


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