Archive for February, 2009

Your Digital SLR & The Wave Of Technology: Repair, Upgrade, … Manipulate?

February 26, 2009

Up until recently, photographers had to make a one-time investment in their photographic equipment. A purchase of a sophisticated 35mm SLR or medium format body with sharp professional lenses that providing optical quality surpassing that of any consumer camera. This was done as a photographer was getting out of school or into the business; now in the digital age photographers are investing in new equipment on average every 12-18 months to stay ahead of consumers.

Camera manufacturers are coming out with new technology it would seem every quarter, the top of the line digital SLR from 5 years ago is today’s paperweight as it has been surpassed in quality by even a $300 point and shoot digital camera. There is some irony in the speed of the transition of technologies with digital cameras. After all the first digital camera was invented by an engineer for Eastman Kodak named Steve Sasson in 1975, but digital SLR’s were not in the public eye until the early 1990’s and not really affordable until the turn of the century.

When you purchase a camera today you can’t help but naturally wonder, “when is the next version coming out?” Constant upgrades and improvements are part of the digital age. For years photographers awaited new film to be introduced to help with various aspects of color and contrast, it was as natural as putting $5 down on a counter and loading a roll into your aforementioned “one-time investment” that was your camera. However with digital the upgrades are not rolls of film, they are image a sensor, LCD screens, built-in image stabilization, HD video capability and more!

With all of these features your current digital SLR is a renaissance machine in the golden age of technology and enlightenment. Equipment can become antiquated, components can break down and you find yourself asking, “is this worth fixing, can’t I just buy a new and better camera for a little bit more?” The sad answer for those who clung to camera gear for years is yes.

repairs

Repairs can often cost more and provide you with less considering the wave of technology

At Unique Photo store manager Scott Kearns is faced with this scenario on almost a daily basis. “A customer can come in with a damaged digital SLR, it will cost him over $250 in repairs which is reasonable but it is going to repair older technology which limits some of his options in the future.” Which is true, new image sensors that work with specific lenses, adjustments in memory formats, cameras are improving and moving forward and sadly not all the time are they looking back.

From the beginning of the Digital SLR movement camera manufacturers have tried to lay down guidelines and basics for all their SLR’s. For example, Nikon made sure that any lens with an F-mount would be compatible with any Nikon Digital SLR. Sounds good however they fail to mention full functionality will not be guaranteed, in the age of face detection sophisticated TTL metering and even GPS capabilities your lenses might only work in a strict manual setting only.

This makes a new camera sometimes not necessary but even mandatory for future capabilities. How can you use a camera with all the bells and whistles but not have the right lenses or flashes to use with it? Technology advances, and the gear become obsolete. And it is more often than not you need to have someone such as Scott Kearns does for customers at Unique Photo, help you weigh your options of what is worth fixing and when it is time to upgrade to more modern technologies.

Parting with your investments on a regular basis or faced with the aspect of repairing or not repairing equipment can be a tough decision. Sometimes it is clear and there is no second thought about it. Your camera has a damaged image sensor, to replace it costs $600, or you can buy a new upgraded version of your camera compatible with your current equipment for $750.

Not all decisions are as easy and transition for whatever reasons financial or attachment to your equipment can prolong your decision to upgrade with the times. Recently I upgraded to a Nikon D300 digital SLR, 12.3 effective mega pixels with live view LCD and a CMOS sensor that can achieve low noise at 3200 ISO. Quite the step up from my previous digital SLR body, which was a Fuji Finepix S2 which in the late winter of 2002 I purchased new for the bargain basement price of only $2,800. I would like to think that I am one of the few who really got their money’s worth out of my investment.

What can you do with your old camera gear?

What can you do with your old camera gear?

Back then $2,800 for a SLR camera that didn’t take film was a miracle! Heck, the predecessor was the S1 from Fuji was considered a steal at $3,500 when Nikon’s 2.74 mega-pixel equivalent was still well over $5,000. I upgraded my Fuji S2 cause after 6 years of use, it was showing some signs of age but still functioning and I wanted to use the more sophisticated technology of the time, hence the D300 to still use my Nikon lenses. But what to do now with my Fuji S2? They sell on Ebay and Amazon (if you can find them) for a whopping $200. Like many photographers, I have found creative ways to keep my gear that is still functioning and put it to practical use and I have made technology do the work for me.

Many photographers are sitting on medium format film cameras; they longer can justify the cost of the film and lab’s for the quality of a digital SLR. But why sell it for the price of a low-grade digital camera when that’s all they can get for it? Some just put it up in the window in the studio so people know it’s a photo studio, or perhaps, “this guy is really good, look at that old big camera! He has been around and knows what he is doing.” Another photographer I know uses his film backs as a physical storage for his memory cards, marketing options with your older equipment functioning or not is limitless. However, when the gear functions, and has a digital base you have just opened up a new window.

IR Examples © Lifepixel.com

IR Examples © Lifepixel.com

Not willing to take a mere $200 I re-invested in my Fuji S2 and converted the image sensor to infrared. Sensor manipulation is something that has made my backup digital SLR now one of my favorite toys to utilize. Companies on the Internet convert select digital cameras to IR for a fee of a couple hundred dollars, price varies depending on the camera. Many will begin to say this can be done with appropriate image software and some time in front of the computer, but the sensor will provide a better RAW image as opposed to a manipulated one, and I for one would rather have more time behind the lens instead of in front of a computer

Technology will always improve, and we as photographers must accommodate along with it. How we do so and in the most creative of ways will always help us get the most out of my gear. Like many Nikon shooters I purchased a D300 only to watch the announcement a month later of the full frame Nikon D700 for a little bit more. Soon after the rumblings of what the “Nikon D400” will be, but for now I have two digital SLR’s. One giving me cutting edge capabilities with the latest technology and science from Nikon, and the other helping me get back to the art of photography. Money well spent, and money saved all in one motion.

Olympus E-620 Digital SLR Inspires Consumers To ‘Color Outside The Lines’

February 24, 2009

e620leftHave Fun and Free Yourself with In-Camera Art Filters and Multiple Exposures; Travel Freely with the Smallest DSLR with Built-In Image StabilizationCENTER VALLEY, Pa., February 24, 2009 – As children, our imaginations run wild and finger-painted artistic creations are proudly displayed on our family refrigerators. But as we grow older, we learn to color inside the lines, and have less and less time for art. We often lose touch with how satisfying it is to create something uniquely our own. Olympus delivers the new E-620 digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera to bring back that free-style experimenting and the magical feeling of being inspired by our own art.

The new camera’s easy-to-use Art Filters and Multiple Exposures (built right into the camera) are fun for consumers – whether you’ve been shooting for years or picked up your first digital camera today. Enjoy capturing creative images on the go – without being tethered to a computer and editing software! Now it is possible to easily customize your images so they’re worthy of posting on the gallery wall (or at least the family fridge).

“Experimenting and creating your own unique masterpieces has never been easier or more fun,” said John Knaur, senior marketing manager, Digital SLR, Olympus Imaging America Inc. “Pop Art, Grainy Black & White, and Pin Hole are just a few creative options that can be effortlessly found on the camera’s mode dial. The access is easy, and the results are fun and limitless.”

The new camera’s freedom of expression is matched by its freedom of mobility. First, the camera travels with you to more places, thanks to its compact size and light 16.76-ounce body. Second, as the world’s smallest DSLR with in-body Image Stabilization, the E-620 adjusts when your body moves to remove blur caused by camera shake (with any lens attached). Finally, add Live View shooting with a swivel 2.7-inch HyperCrystal™ LCD that frees you to cover subjects from a range of angles, and this 12.3-megapixel DSLR seamlessly combines motions with emotions – proof that Olympus lets you capture it all.

Olympus E-620 Digital SLR Inspires Consumers To ‘Color Outside The Lines’

Largest US Camera Store Chain Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

February 23, 2009

Ritz CameraRitz Camera Centers, the nation’s largest retail photography chain, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  The Beltsville, Md.-based company submitted its filing Sunday in federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, estimating assets and liabilities at between $100 million and $500 million. The list of its top 30 unsecured creditors is led by Nikon Inc. and Canon USA Inc., which are owed a combined $40 million in trade debt.

Ritz has about 800 photo stores in 40 states, operating as Ritz Camera, Wolf Camera, Kits Cameras, Inkley’s and The Camera Shops. It also operates 130 Boater’s World stores. The company, which has about 6,400 employees nationwide, recorded sales of just under $1 billion last year.


Ritz Camera Files Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

PocketWizard® – PocketWizard Goes Beyond TTL

February 17, 2009

So. Burlington, VT – February 16, 2009 – Professional photographers have depended on PocketWizard radio slaves for reliable triggering of their manual flashes and cameras for years.  With the advent of digital technology, photographers have been seeking a simple solution for off-camera TTL flash without limitations or complexity.  PocketWizard has made it possible with the “Slide-n-Shoot” simplicity of the new ControlTL™ system, featuring the MiniTT1™ Transmitter and FlexTT5™ Transceiver for Canon and Nikon.  These new E-TTL II and i-TTL capable radio slaves make taking off-camera flash as effortless as slide-in, turn-on and shoot.

Now you can get perfect off-camera flash photos in any environment — around corners, out-of-sight and in bright sun. Canon and Nikon users can use the new MiniTT1 Transmitter and FlexTT5 Transceiver to control single or multiple off-camera Canon E-TTLII or Nikon i-TTL flashes at speeds up to 8/fps.

PocketWizard® – PocketWizard Goes Beyond TTL – Press Release.

Color, Style, & Photographic Expertise Inspire New Powershot Line-Up From Canon

February 17, 2009

Canon Powershot Line-Up 2009

Canon Powershot Line-Up 2009

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., February 17, 2009 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, today introduced 10 new PowerShot cameras that offer an array of photographic options for the entry-level consumer right up to the photo enthusiast. Whether on a family vacation, swimming in an ocean or out for a night on the town, the new line-up of PowerShot digital cameras enable consumers to customize their photographic experience to their personality with color, style and features galore.

Most PowerShot cameras for 2009 feature Canon’s exclusive DIGIC 4 Image Processor, with proprietary technology which accounts for the camera’s higher performance levels, including improved signal processing speed and higher image quality. This new chip paves the way for a host of features including Canon’s new Smart AUTO. Smart AUTO intelligently selects the proper camera settings based on the specific shooting conditions of each scene, ensuring that all images are accurately focused, exposed, stabilized and white-balanced before the shutter is even pressed. Using data derived from Canon’s Optical Image Stabilization, Genuine Face Detection and Motion Detection Technologies, Smart AUTO automatically adjusts a multitude of settings including brightness and hue, during various shooting situations. Another enhancement available with select PowerShot models is Blink Detection Technology, which uses the Face Detection function to display an icon after shooting with a warning that someone’s eyes were closed (such as when blinking) during shooting. Unlike other systems which prevent users from taking a photo, Canon’s Blink Detection Technology lets users know immediately whether there’s any need to reshoot the image, thus providing a far more intuitive experience.

A third technological advancement with select PowerShot cameras is Active Display, which is used for quickly switching between images during playback. Instead of culling through a long line of images, via a control dial, Active Display advances pictures simply with a gentle shake of the wrist, making the viewing and sharing of pictures more fun and enjoyable.

“The power of the Canon PowerShot series is its ability to enhance consumers’ enjoyment of photography through its unique combination of ease-of-use, affordability, and personalization,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A. “We are excited about this year’s PowerShot line-up because Canon’s cameras are loaded with advanced technologies and design options, thus enabling consumers to have the ultimate photographic experience.”

Canon PowerShot SX1 IS and SX200 IS Digital Cameras: The SX series cameras are designed for tech-savvy consumers looking for a little gusto in their camera with affordable high-power zoom performance. Packed with features sure to please, the new PowerShot SX1 IS and SX200 IS Digital Cameras offer an array of shooting options enabling the user to choose a product that is customized to fit their needs and enhance their overall shooting experience.

Canon PowerShot D10 Digital Camera: Consumers looking for an all-around waterproof, freeze proof and shockproof camera should look no further. The Canon PowerShot D10 Digital Camera, a first of its kind for Canon, comes equipped with a 12.1-Megapixel resolution and 3x Optically Stabilized Zoom lens, making it an ideal companion for thrill-seekers of all types. This uniquely styled camera is amazing for capturing high-resolution images and off-camera editing. The PowerShot D10 Digital Camera can withstand depths up-to-33-feet deep, is freeze proof from 14 degrees Fahrenheit and shockproof up-to-four feet.

Canon PowerShot SD970 IS, SD960 IS, SD780 IS and SD1200 IS Digital ELPH Cameras: Whether the activity du jour involves dancing ’til dawn, attending a black-tie gala or a quiet evening for two, Canon’s colorfully clad Digital ELPH Cameras are there to capture the magic of the moment and preserve the memory for years to come. Their substantive and stylish box and circle design, and striking colors, are the perfect complement to any situation and offer both the fashion-forward and feature-hungry photographer an all-in-one must-have camera.

Canon PowerShot A2100 IS, A1100 IS and A480 Digital Cameras: From the tentative first-timer to the passionate photographer, the PowerShot A-Series product line provides the ever-present convenience and cost-effectiveness of being power driven by two AA batteries. With bright, bold, new colors, no wonder the A-Series line is a convenient must-have among consumers.

Color, Style, & Photographic Expertise Inspire New Powershot Line-Up From Canon.

WPPI 2009 – Convention and Trade Show

February 13, 2009

WPPI 2009 PRESS / NEWS

WPPI @ MGM Grand Hotel & Convention Center,
Las Vegas Nevada
EDU-Convention February 12 thru February 19
Trade Show February 16-18, 2009

WPPI presents a variety of radio programs geared towards editorial, commercial, nature, portrait & wedding photography professionals. Join WPPI Radio host Scott Sheppard with in-depth interviews featuring special guests representing the industry’s photography experts who will be speaking at this years WPPI EDU-Convention as well as with executive insiders. Listen to the latest News on the WPPI 09 Trade Show & Convention from:

The Road To WPPI 2009  – WPPI Radio

Adobe Launches Installer Team Blog

February 12, 2009

This blog is intended as a two-way communication about the “out of box experience” that users of Adobe software have when they purchase our products. Through posts on this blog we intend to communicate what is happening with the deployment installer/updater and provisioning licensing aspects of Adobe software. The scope includes everything from the time of purchase through download, installation, licensing and later updates of Adobe applications. Along the way we will provide some historical perspective for why things are this way today and where we’re going tomorrow.

Adobe Launches Installer Team Blog

Canon PowerShot G10 Firmware Update

February 11, 2009

Firmware Update (Version 1.0.2.0)

This firmware update corrects the following phenomenon.

Phenomenon:

If RAW images are captured by continuous shooting under the ISO 1600 setting, abnormal data is recorded and a magenta cast appears in the second and subsequent RAW images. This phenomenon also occurs in the second and subsequent recorded RAW images captured by single shooting, but only if the LCD monitor display mode is set to the OFF position.

This phenomenon cannot be confirmed when images are played back on the camera’s LCD monitor. It can only be confirmed if image processing software (such as the Digital Photo Professional software bundled with the product) is used to develop RAW images on a PC.

Canon PowerShot G10 Firmware Update.

Five favorite iPhone photo apps

February 9, 2009

f/8 DoF Calculator

So you think the camera on the iPhone is a joke? Then turn your iPhone into a depth-of-field calculator for your digital SLR with this app from BitWerkz.

For $3.99 you can load up a “bag” of bodies and lenses, letting the app know what you have to work with. The app comes with presets for more than 800 camera models including those from Canon, Casio, Epson, Fujifilm, HP, Kodak, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, and Sony. There are also presets for various film and cinematographic formats.

Five favorite iPhone photo apps – CNET Reviews.

Nikon Introduces The World’s Fastest DX Series Lens: AF-S 35mm 1.8G DX Lens

February 9, 2009

MELVILLE, N.Y. (Feb. 8, 2009) – Nikon Inc. today announced the AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G lens, which is the first fixed focal length, fast-aperture DX-format lens that affords photographers superb image quality along with the creative possibilities and versatility of the classic 50mm focal length (FX-format equivalent of 52mm). When mounted on a DX-format camera body, it enables photographers to document their world with a lens that produces a picture angle similar to the field of vision as seen through the human eye. Whether new to D-SLRs or a seasoned enthusiast, users will appreciate the extreme low-light performance and the expanded ability to dramatically separate the subject and background with the new 35mm DX lens’ wide f/1.8 aperture.

Nikon Press Center – NIKON INTRODUCES THE FASTEST DX-FORMAT LENS TO DATE: THE AF-S DX NIKKOR 35MM f/1.8G.