#cameras

Craig Mod:

After two and a half years, the GF1 was replaced by the slightly improved Panasonic GX1, which I brought on the six-day Kumano Kodo hike in October. During the trip, I alternated between shooting with it and an iPhone 5. After importing the results into Lightroom, Adobe’s photo-development software, it was difficult to distinguish the GX1’s photos from the iPhone 5’s. (That’s not even the latest iPhone; Austin Mann’s superlative results make it clear that the iPhone 5S operates on an even higher level.) Of course, zooming in and poking around the photos revealed differences: the iPhone 5 doesn’t capture as much highlight detail as the GX1, or handle low light as well, or withstand intense editing, such as drastic changes in exposure. But it seems clear that in a couple of years, with an iPhone 6S in our pockets, it will be nearly impossible to justify taking a dedicated camera on trips like the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage.

I know a lot of people hate this reality. But it is going to be a reality.

Om Malik:

While $199 is a low enough price, they are competing with smartphone as a camera. So as a company they need to take a good look at their roadmap and then at the roadmap of mobile phone makers and figure how best they can get ahead or on par with the handset cameras. And at the sometime they need to embrace the wider web — from storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Weibo or whatever —  and use the device software as a strategic weapon. They need to add Wi-Fi sharing and Bluetooth 4.0 LE to allow me to use the phone as connected device option as well.

I’m still shocked that today, well over six years since the launch of the iPhone, the vast majority of point-and-shoots get away with not only having no social features, but no connectivity. At the very least, every point-and-shoot should have GPS and WiFi — these are now table stakes — yet only a few do. Not sure what these camera manufacturers are thinking. They all seem to just be sitting around waiting for the market segment to die.

Andrew Weissman on his son using a smartphone as his camera:

All these techniques were driven by his ability to see the photos immediately after taking the picture. He could see, right away, the results of his tinkering. Something rarely available in the past.

As a result, he became fearless. About experimenting, using what he had but also trying new techniques, methods. Seeing the results and reacting to them, altering them, discarding them. In real time. He’s wondering if should save up and get at some point a digital single-lens reflect camera. Maybe he will, maybe he will lose interest in all of this.

Regardless, a new technology, one that I worried took away a most important part of the process for him (using the lens of my own experience), instead taught him something much different. And maybe more important. And he didn’t need to inhale any chemicals to learn that.

Sometimes I think the key to life is taking what you initially perceive to be a weakness and figuring out how it’s actually a strength.

bijan

bijan:

And I’m seeing so many people do just that. They are double fisting. iPhone in one hand and a more “serious camera” for different photography experiences.

I like this new notion of “double fisting”, and I’ve certainly seen this trend amongst some friends as well. But I highly doubt this becomes a norm. Most people will always “single fist” and that single fist will carry a smartphone as a camera.

Remember too that while improvements are being made to standalone cameras, the speed of innovation is happening much faster on the smartphone cameras. I can’t wait to see this new “iPhone 5S” camera. I have a point-and-shoot that broke a few weeks back. I haven’t yet had the urge to fix it because I never use it anyway. 99.999999% of my pictures are taken with my iPhone.

Randall Stross of NYT looks at the growing trend of police officers wearing tiny cameras to record all of their interactions with civilians. It may sound intimidating, but at least one study shows this is a very good thing:

THE Rialto study began in February 2012 and will run until this July. The results from the first 12 months are striking. Even with only half of the 54 uniformed patrol officers wearing cameras at any given time, the department over all had an 88 percent decline in the number of complaints filed against officers, compared with the 12 months before the study, to 3 from 24.

Rialto’s police officers also used force nearly 60 percent less often…

Part of this reminds me of Google Glass. Part of it reminds me of End of Watch. Also interesting: Taser makes these cameras — yes, that Taser.

[via @cdixon]

You know that amazing photo you saw everywhere a few days ago… Emi Kolawole of The Washington Post:

Post photojournalist Nick Kirkpatrick did a little digging and found that the lower photo (shown below this paragraph), which features a sea of smartphones and tablets, was, indeed, taken during the announcement of Pope Francis’s election. But the top photo (shown above), which shows an audience with far fewer gadgets was taken during the funeral procession of Pope John Paul II — a very different mood and event type. There was no one addressing the crowd from the balcony, for example. So, the comparison isn’t quite accurate.

We’ll call it correct in spirit, though.

[via scifi451]

How on Earth has it taken point-and-shoot makers this long to create a camera running Android? This was such an obvious move at least two years ago

Currently on Flickr, the most popular camera overall is the iPhone 4S. The second most popular camera is the iPhone 4. The most popular point-and-shoot, the Canon PowerShot S95 (which I own), isn’t even in the top five. 

I haven’t used one yet, but this thing is fascinating to me. I love that they’ve made a camera with a totally new form factor rather than trying to cram the technology into something that looks familiar. 

Writes Sam Grobart for The New York Times:

Where a traditional image sensor (as in your point-and-shoot or DSLR) can only record where light strikes the sensor surface, Lytro’s image sensor can also record the angle that beam of light had when it struck it. By capturing that information, the sensor can pull in far more data about an image, allowing you to move through the picture, clicking and refocusing along the way.

There are additional advantages to a lightfield sensor. By capturing the angle of light beams, all pictures shot with a Lytro camera are natively 3-D (you still need a 3-D display and glasses, but the information’s already there). More importantly, the camera no longer has to focus because it’s capturing every focal point, which means there’s no focus lag. The camera can respond almost instantly to a shutter-release button.

And it has 8x optical zoom.

The downside is that it won’t be available until early 2012, and the cheapest version will be $399 (for the 8GB model, which can store about 350 pictures). 

Also awesome:

The Lytro only works with Macs, but Windows software is in development.

Imagine anything not made by Apple going that route even just 5 years ago. 

Update: This Is My Next gave it a try and said that it’s “not universally amazing”, but also notes that it’s still a prototype version that they tested out. 

John Gruber in his iPhone 4S review:

I spoke to some friends familiar with the development of iOS 5 and the 4S, and word on the Cupertino street is that camera speed — time from launch to being able to snap a photo, as well as the time between subsequent photos — received an enormous amount of engineering attention during development. The stopwatches were out, and every single tenth of a second that could be shaved was shaved.

The iPhone is and has been my main camera for some time. The dramatically improved camera speed alone makes the upgrade from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S worth it for me. All the rest is just icing.