If you’re looking for a high end compact camera, the newly announced Nikon P7000 may just fit the bill. I’ve found myself leaving the full size SLR behind more and more lately so I’ve been thinking of filling the gap with something a bit more portable without sacrificing much in picture quality.
You can pick one up later this month for around $500. Plenty more info and specs over here.
I’ve had these images laying around for ages and stumbled across them again tonight. This is a prototype digital camera Kodak produced way back in 1975. The “toaster-sized” system relied on a cassette tape for recording data. The digitized images took 23 seconds to record to tape which then had to be played back using a specialized system (shown in the second photo — note the name of the Motorola computer, “EXORciser”). This is one of those times where I’m tempted to say “look how far we’ve come in such a short time!”. But damn, 1975? I wasn’t even born. I never would have guessed they had this sort of tech back then.
I’m really not sure I’d be doing the things I do now if I was coming up back in those days. Either computers have made me lazy, or I’m just inherently lazy, but I honestly can’t imagine dealing with 23-second-per-image write times and cassette tapes.
Check out this piece about the process of creating the prototype by one of the original team members, Steve Sasson: “Plugged In – We Had No Idea“
Photographer Justin Quinnell created these eerily beautiful photos with a pinhole camera fashioned from a soda can. Each image represents a six month exposure. Incredible. For the top one, Justin affixed the camera to a telephone pole where it sat quietly soaking in the view for half a year. The arc created by the sun is amazing, the time lapse gives us such a clear perspective on nature’s orderly design. Check out some more pinhole shots here.
On a side note, these images instantly reminded me of the Niépce Photograph (first ever photograph) which in turn got me thinking about the first photograph of a person (lower left, getting a shoe shine) and the Gorskii stuff (very early color photographer). It’s all so intriguing, like you’re seeing something you’re not supposed to.
This has to be the best concept rendering I’ve ever seen. Saikat Biswas designed these mock-ups to illustrate his concept for an open-source camera platform based on the original Holga camera. But unlike the original, Saikat has applied some tried and true Rams/Braun-esque styling to the exterior that’s sure to inspire lust in the hearts of design geeks everywhere. Check his full post and you’ll see he’s really thought the whole thing out. Apparently he’s received quite a bit of interest so hopefully this thing makes it to production someday. I’m not sure, but didn’t Lomography buy the rights to the Holga a while back? Saikat might have an easier time if he gave it a different name.
Lee Morris from Fstoppers did a fashion shoot using only an iPhone 3GS. As you can see, the results were nothing short of incredible considering the equipment being used. But I think this is less about the camera and more about how powerful quality lighting can be in photographic work. Of course, for a phone, the iPhone has an exceptional camera built in, but with good lighting a great photographer can make any camera take good pictures. Which takes us back to the idea that you shouldn’t ever blame your equipment, just ask this guy.
I personally don’t buy whole-heartedly into this concept. Yes, a professional with the right equipment and a lot of knowhow can get great output from almost anything. But better cameras do make a difference, they make it easier to get good results and many times are just easier to use from an interface / usability standpoint. I think this is all the more important for those of us who are primarily graphic designers. We often don’t have the budgets to hire professionals when we need photo work for projects. But we also might not have the background and expertise that a full-time photog would have. A camera like the 5D or D700 put professional results within the grasp of us mere mortals, because I’ll tell you right now, not in a million years could I get a iPhone to output the stuff you see above. But I shot a 7D last weekend and got the best pictures of my life in a living room under natural light.
But seeing Morris’ results definitely makes you think the whole thing over again.
FITC just released the highlight reel from this year’s festival in Toronto. The video was done by Stock Archive and features the most recent Tycho single, Coastal Brake as the soundtrack. I’m pretty sure the whole thing was shot with the Canon 5D MK2. I did an interview for the Stock Archive guys and they had a couple setups, one of which was the 5D on one of those body-mounted steady cam rigs. It was insane; the guy looked like a robot. Some of the panning shots definitely look like they were using it.
I’m really impressed with the editing, I’m not sure what I was expecting but this certainly exceeded it. I think as the quality of the 5D becomes ubiquitous people will stop being so blown away by the visual aspects alone and elements like editing and narrative will become much more important. Right now I feel like you could record a dumpster for 30 minutes with the 5D and it would be watchable.
On a side note, I will be speaking at FITC San Francisco this summer. I’ll be posting more on that next week, but just a heads up if you want to score some tickets before they go up in price (May 28th I believe).
Gizmodo has an interesting piece up about a top-secret digital version of the now discontinued Nikon Nikonos waterproof camera that was developed for use by Navy SEALs.
This Nikonos was a total mystery. A secret that not many people knew about until recently. In fact, its existence was repeatedly denied by the manufacturer, even after the US Navy published this photo, showing a member of SEAL Team One equipped with one and the following caption:
980608-N-3236B-003 NAVAL AIR BASE CORONADO, California (June 8, 1998) — Navy SEALs attached to SEAL Team One, Naval Air Base Coronado, CA, conducts training using the Nikon/Kodak DCS 425 underwater digital camera which can send real time digital images to decision makers, and an LPI LPD tracking device uses brevity codes to send both mission status and precise longitude/latitude. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer Mate 2nd Class Ted Banks. (RELEASED)
Pretty interesting stuff and kind of odd to see the branding intact on the model used by the SEALs. The Gizmodo article makes a good point that it’s a shame the consumer version was discontinued; even if you don’t do underwater photography, it would make for an excellent no hassle all weather setup. More info and links can be found in the original article.
Apparently there’s a pretty good used market for these; all you aspiring SEALs can start planning your beach assaults with a nice rig like this. I’d like to see a digital model, but aesthetically I’m still partial to the original 35mm version:
I did it. I am now a very proud owner of the Canon 5DMKII. It took months (years) of deliberation (pretty much since Scott wrote this article) and I finally pulled the trigger. I know the rumors are swirling about Mark IIIs and the etc, but once I heard about the upcoming 24fps firmware update I decided it was time. No more waiting. I’ve been shooting on a Nikon D40 since I started school and it was definitely time for an upgrade. (Though I still love the SB 600 flash — took the photo above)
As soon as I pulled it out of the box I was in awe. People say that Canons feel cheaper due to the construction materials, but I disagree. This thing feels like it could level a small village if thrown at the proper angle. Pair the body with the kit lens (24-105) and you have one serious piece of machinery. I purchased through Adorama because they seemed to have the best package deal. Just about everyone sells the body for $2499 at the moment; Adorama throws in a shoulder bag and a 16GB card. (Update: Or at least they used to…it must have been a temporary special price because now that package is listed higher. Keep an eye out in case it comes around again.)
My shots so far have been decent. Honestly I’ve only had it for a few days and have yet to really take it for a photography spin. I’ve mainly been experimenting with the HD video feature (a large part of why I bought the camera). After numerous videos of my shoes and other random subjects I decided to test it out in a music video scenario. Nothing crazy, just a acoustic performance like I usually do on Youtube (till now I’ve been shooting on an embarrassingly old MiniDV camcorder that is almost twice the size of the Canon). You can view the result here.
An unexpected issue with the completion of that video was the post-production file format mess. Apparently Canon had no interest in making things easy on us (although that looks like it will change this month). I ended up following the steps outlined here on Vincent Laforet’s blog with great success. I imported to the desktop, converted H.264 to Apple Prores (tanked my drive space), imported to Final Cut, sent to Color and back, exported using Quicktime H.64 compression, then uploaded to Youtube. Kind of a long roundabout process, but things went smoothly. As is true for the still shots as well, you immediately notice how much more control you have over the image in editing mode. Edits that used to crunch up image quality or produce unwanted noise no longer do so at all. The picture is so clean that you can tweak away to your heart’s content without ever losing the integrity of the image.
As I said, I’m just getting my feet wet with this thing and I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it once I field test it a lot more. I’ll be going to Japan in May and am looking at that trip as a great opportunity to take thousands and thousands of pictures and crash my hard drive with absurd amounts of footage. As I continue to experiment with this wonderful object I’ll put together a more complete review. In the meantime, for my sake, cross your fingers Canon *doesn’t* come out with any shiny new cameras anytime soon.