Kodak Down, Apple Up

Kodak sells of Photography assets 

“The bankrupt printing and imaging company on Monday said it had tentatively worked out a deal with its U.K. pension plan that would see the pension plan buy Kodak’s Document Imaging and Personalized Imaging operations. Kodak would receive $650 million and the pension plan, in turn, would write off roughly $2.8 billion in claims it has against Kodak.

This was an unfortunate but unsurprising move by Kodak this week.

Russian buys $100M worth of Apple Stock 

“I believe in the future of this company even after Steve Jobs,” Usmanov, 59, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Moscow offices, referring to Apple’s late co-founder. “When the company lost $100 billion of its market value, it was a good time to buy its shares, as the capitalization should rebound.”

I too remain just as optimistic about Apple as Mr. Usmanov. I think that the world is going to be surprised at how innovative Apple Inc. still is, especially with the executive shake up putting Jony Ive in charge of the Human Interface department.

Pentagon Expected to Embrace Apple, Samsung Devices

Separately, DISA is expected to rule in early May that Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 6, conforms to a different security-requirement guide, the Defense Department spokesman said. That would allow iPhones and iPads to be used by military agencies for nonclassified communications, such as email and Web browsing.

This is just another step forward to more government agencies using iOS devices.

Artists request wild snacks

Hargreaves tells us that what attracted him to the series was “the way their requests manage to say something about the performers personality that words struggle to,” and the way they “were able identify with them through what they chose to eat and drink.”

Being a concert photographers, I’ve had my moments backstage where I can vouch for Hargreaves. Through the many years of photographing small to large acts in the business, one of most memorable events was Ryerson Universities frosh week concert featuring Canadian band Metric. They showed up an hour late as they demanded their steak dinner. Fans weren’t too pleased.

Current Events, Inspirational, LINKS, Photography, Technology


Sigma announces revolutionary lens 18-35mm f1.8 DX

Most constant aperture zooms, even those targeted at pros, peak at F2.8 – with exceptions including the Olympus 14-35 mm F2. This is why many photographers also have faster prime lenses in their kit bag for when they need those extra light gathering properties or an ultra-shallow depth of field. With its constant F1.8 aperture, the Sigma 18-35 mm F1.8 DC HSM lens could mean you don’t need to carry as many lenses with you.

This is a pretty exciting new development and a first in the photography industry. Never before has any one Nikon, Canon, Olympus etc. made a standard zoom lens with a fixed aperture of a stunning 1.8. But this results in the lens being quite large and pricey for the average joe, who are typically the targets of the DX or APS-C lineup of cameras.

LightRoom 5 Beta is revealed by Adobe

In my tests this week, the Lightroom clone and heal tools were almost as effective as Photoshop — about 95% there. As a photographer who brings 1,000 plus images into Lightroom every weekend, I will greatly appreciate the ability to do this sort of work within the app.

Digital photographers rejoice with the latest significant update to Adobe’s LightRoom editing software. One of the coolest new features for me is the “advanced healing brush”. This tool acts like the clone stamp, but allows you to brush over an area of the photo and then paste a cloned image from another more appropriate area of the image. It actually looks like it works pretty nicely.

Pictures: 2013 Pulitzer-Winning Photos Feature Syrian Conflict 

“It means that history won’t forget them.”

Winners of the Pulitzer prize are always top-notch. Javier Manzano is no exception with his photos of the Syrian conflict. I have always been drawn to the grittiness of war-photography and am sometimes jealous of brave these men and women can be.

Protecting the Right to Photograph, or Not to Be Photographed

“As a rule, I’d say it would be common courtesy to ask people whether you can take their picture,” he said. “But, then again, if you’re doing street photography and you see something going on, you don’t want to alter that dynamic.”

I love street photography and understand how some or many pedestrians absolutely hate having a picture of them taken without their consent. The issue is that technically, if the place the shot is taken is in a “public area”, then anyone can legally take a photograph of anything. What needs to be done is for street photographers to show some more class by learning how to “flow” with their work better. Learning how to “charm” your subjects will make you a better/stealthier photographer overall.

Austin Kleon on stealing like an artist via John Paul Caponigro

“Stealing from one person is called plagiarism, stealing from many is called research.”

This is a revisited talk by Mr. Kleon. But in essences, nothing we do today is completely and 100% “original”. Everything we do is built upon previous generations. And this is NOT a bad thing. This is called progression and an evolution into something even better. Having your work “stolen” or modified should be highly sought after by everyone as it builds on their own legacy.

LINKS, Photography, Technology, Travels

Searching for the Perfect Travel Camera

Whether you are a travel writer, photographer, blogger or just a by-standing tourist, a camera is probably not too far away from you. We use these as a way to record our best moments and there are many to be had while traveling.

Chase Jarvis says:

 The best camera is the one that you have with you.

And it is with good reasoning this is so. Just because you have a $20K Hassleblad does not necessarily mean that you will take the best shots. Keep in mind that my primary body is a Nikon D4, which is no light lady either. You could very well miss the best shot you would have ever taken simply because your heavy-duty workhorse of a camera is tightly packed away in your carry-on. Jarvis (and I) would ideally like to have a camera permanently attached to our heads or something. We just want something that is “always there”.

However, while our iPhones or smart-phones may have a decent built-in camera, it is really not the best piece of equipment for a lot of situations. Right now, the biggest bugger is that these phones have very small sensors which result in a lot of noise and a lack of data captured in low-light or high-action situations. The technology is getting better, but for me, it is not quite there yet.

Enter point-and-shoot cameras. I recently picked up a Sony Cyber-shot WX50 for my mom. It is a decent 16 megapixel camera, but when I did some test shots in the dark, I noticed substantial noise and an odd wavy-painted look to the images. There is absolutely no way I’d use the images from this in my portfolio of work.

In recent years, mirror-less camera’s have been all the rage. I even picked up an Olympus EPL-1 back in 2011 just for something more portable. This was significantly better than a point-and-shoot solution and I actually really enjoyed using it. However, the kit lens it came with was slow and made of cheap plastic. It is a kit lens after all right? Olympus does make “pro” level micro four-thirds lenses but they cost almost as much as a Nikkor 24-70 f2.8! Also, another downfall going mirror-less, such as the Canon EOS-M, Nikon J and V etc. is that yes, they are more compact than a dSLR, but their interchangeable lenses are still pretty large. They will not fit into your front or back pocket unless you buy a pancake lens. So, I see these types of cameras has something that doesn’t really solve any problems.

Interestingly enough, the answer to the traveler’s camera dilemma might actually be point-and-shoots…that is, the high-end P&S cameras. In the last year or so, pretty much all of the big name manufactures have started selling these. The most notable of the lot are the Sony RX100, Nikon Coolpix A and recently announced Ricoh GR series.

Obviously for me, the Nikon Coolpix A stands out because it features a famility user-interface as my Nikon D4. Its has a slick design and is very compact. The killer selling-point with this camera is that it has the same DX-format (APC-S) sensor the Nikon D7000 dSLR has. That is incredibly!

Jmeyer describes:

Focusing speeds are also a little lacklustre, making it a little slow for the street photographer that this camera is so very clearly aimed at.

Another negative for the Coolpix A is that it only has a 28mm equivalent fixed lens. While decent for street photography, I really do enjoy the comfort of having a zoom. And because this isn’t an interchangeable lens system, that ain’t going to happen. A turn off from many will be the cost of this baby. The Coolpix A is priced at around $1000 USD and this amount could buy yourself a low-end dSLR! What gives Nikon? But personally, I understand who their target audience is. It’s for the professional or enthusiast like myself, who owns high-end gear and wants to maintain the same level of quality, manual control but in a pocket sized form. Nikon succeed here to an extent and I realize that this is just the first one many A’s to come.

This brings me to what I believe is currently the best camera for travel photographers: the Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100.

Steve Huff approves:

The RX100 literally squashes any previous P&S or pocket camera. The new upcoming Leica D-Lux 6 better have something special inside because it may be tough to beat the RX100. Seriously.

David Pogue confirms:

No photos this good have ever come from a camera this small.

Quotes such as these by two leading technology reviewers really add some strong credibility to the RX100 and Sony should be given an award for its creation.

Why do I think this is the best traveller’s camera right now?

I have a list of 5 criteria:

  1. Camera should have a large sensor, at least a APC-S to allow for high ISO shooting
  2. Must have a ranged-zoom lens
  3. Must be “flat” when the camera is in the off-mode
  4. Must be able to fit in my front or back pockets
  5. Must not break the bank

So, the RX100 features a generous 20 megapixel 1” sensor which lets me be confident when shooting in low-light situations. It does indeed have a 28-100mm equivalent lens that becomes completely packed away when off and did I mention is it is a Carl-Zeiss lens? Check! How much is this miraculous camera? An affordable and worthy $649 USD.

Despite being so great, I am still putting off on investing in another camera until I at least see what the second version of Nikon Coolpix A’s turns out to be. If they can fit a ranged-zoom like how Sony did, I am all in.

In the next 3-5 years, I predict significant technological advances to be made. Manufactures might be able to fit full-frame sensors like the D4 and Canon 1DX being fitted into compact bodies.


Links of the Week [2010-03-06]

This is my first entry for my new end of the week posts. I noticed that on facebook, I post alot of really interesting and neat articles or websites. So I thought that I would just summarize all of my findings throughout the week on Saturdays (today will be Sunday of course 😛 ) I hope you enjoy this side project !

It’s official: An asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs

The Teen Brain: It’s Just Not Grown Up Yet

Nicaragua’s Anti-Abortion Policy Endangers Women, Criminalizes Doctors, Experts Say

How Grad School is just like Kindergarten

A measure for the multiverse