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Photo News Of The Week July 30, 2010

Photo News Of The Week July 30, 2010

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A round-up of the best of what’s new and interesting in the world of photography

July 30, 2010

An Ansel discovery goes negative; Panasonic debuts a 3D camcorder; Samsung announces a WiFi pocket cam; The Return of Frankencamera; a 71MP photo; and new mix-and-match camera/lens combos.


The Garage Sale Photo Find:
Ansel, Uncle Earl, Pop Laval, or...?

Didja hear the news, widely reported this week, that a collector, Rick Norsigian, bought a box of glass plate negatives at a garage sale for $45 which, he claims, were taken by none other than Ansel Adams? The negatives are thought to have been lost to a darkroom fire in 1937. Norsigian went to art, forensic and handwriting specialists to see if his suspicions were true and they all confirmed it, boosting the value of the negatives to—gulp!—$200 million according to a dealer Norsigian’s working with. They’ve been called a “missing link” in the Adams collection. CNN reports Nosrsigian is preparing to have prints made, which we can assume will generate a handsome profit….

Not so fast, says Ansel’s grandson, Matthew. In a story that first appeared in the UK’s Amateur Photographer magazine, things might not be so black-and-white. Matthew says there are misspellings on the negative envelopes of places Adams surely knew of, leading the Adams family to question the negatives’ authenticity. In a video interview on CNN, he goes on to say the $200 million value estimate, even if the negs were made by Ansel, are “ludicrous.” Considering how much time and effort Ansel put in to creating prints, he may be right.

Watch the interview with Matthew Adams.

Finally, this morning, two individuals who saw the reports claim that the images are the work of someone else—someone they knew. Was the photographer Ansel,
an Oakland, CA resident's Uncle Earl, or a San Fransisco-based professional photographer from the early 1900's, Pop Laval? Or, perhaps, someone else? It’s interesting twist; I can't wait to see how this story develops.



World’s first Prosumer 3D Camcorder from Panasonic—but what to view it on?
With movies like Avatar and the latest Shrek movie leading consumer interest in 3D movies, it was only a matter of time before someone would figure out a way to make it easy for consumers to shoot home movies in 3D. Panasonic now holds the distinction of being first to bring a 3D-capable camcorder to market. The HDC-SDT750 shoots 3D videos with an included 3D conversion lens that can be attached to the camera’s traditional lens.

The camera records in up to 1080p HD AVCHD videos, recording right and left images at 960x1080 pixels, recorded using the side-by-side method. A 5-microphone set-up lets you record in 5.1-channel surround sound. Included HD Writer editing software converts the footage into viewable video.

Ah, but what can you play it back on? Standard TV sets can’t handle 3D! Well, this shouldn’t be a surprise: Panasonic makes a lineup of HD 3D TVs— the TC-P50VT25, TC-P54VT25, TC-P58VT25, TC-P65VT25 and the TC-P50VT20 models. 3D playback is done by connecting the camera directly to the TV, or playing back on Blu-Ray or DVD discs. Panasonic is attempting to position the SDT750 as a consumer-level camera but its $1,400 pricetag—plus the required investment in a 3D-capable TV—puts it more in the Prosumer category.

In addition to the 3D camcorder, Panasonic this week also unveiled a small, light, web-friendly HD camcorder with a traditional camcorder design, the  HDC-SDX1, and the palm-sized HM-TA1 (left), which at $170 is being positioned to take on the Flip.



Samsung Launches Wi-Fi camera and a Flip competitor
We thought Samsung was done with its compact camera introductions last week, but they’ve got more. The ST80 is a 14MP touch-screen-operated point-and-shoot camera with WiFi connectivity. It uses Samsung AllShare connectivity to share images via email, Facebook, YouTube, and Picasa. Other features include 30fps HD video at 720p, a 3-inch LCD, Smart Auto mode, and a modest 3x optical zoom lens, with a list price of $250.



Samsung became the second company in one day to announce a direct competitor to the popular Flip pocket video camera. The HMX-E10 ($200) shoots 1080p full HD video, has a 2.7-inch touch screen LCD, a non-zooming AF lens, and a swivel lens so you can turn it around and do videos of yourself.

Frankencamera: It’s Alive (almost)!

Remember that open-source camera being developed by Stanford scientists? Well, the software platform is now available as a download for the Nokia N900 series of mobile computers. “We’re going public,” inventor Marc Levoy proclaimed, and he hopes that the programming community will get busy creating new imaging applications using the software platform. The Stanford team is sharing a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation with colleagues at MIT to develop SLRs equipped with the open platform.

What kind of tricks will these cameras be able to do? Computational photography, including fixing camera shake

"What we're hoping is that, if making your camera programmable adds value to the camera, that this could shift the entire camera industry," Levoy was quoted as saying by Scientific Computing. Read the whole article.



Do We Really Need A 71-Gigapixel Photo?

Now we go from Frankencamera to a monster photo. In Budapest, a Panoramic 360-degree shot of the city was created by a group of pixel-gobbling Hungarians. A joint Epson-Microsoft-Sony venture, the photo was shot using a pair of Sony A900 bodies, each outfitted with a Minolta AF 400mm f/4.5 APO G lens and 1.4x teleconverter and mounted on a really sturdy tripod and a specially made robotic head. Using a muscle computer (Dell Precision T7500 Workstation with 2 quad-core Intel Xeon processors, 24 gigabytes of RAM and 6 terabytes of storage capacity), it took two days to stitch the images together to create a 590,000x121,000-pixel file that, if printed, would measure 156x31 meters at 300 ppi. And that, my friends, is a world’s record.
Too bad about the atmospheric haze.

You can view the entire image here, but be sure to have the latest version of Microsoft Silverlight installed.

Mix and Match, Part 1: DSLRs to Sinar view camera

Sinar this week announced the “P-SLR” system, which lets you mount a Canon or Nikon DSLR to a Sinar view camera system to take advantages of the tilts, yaws and other moves that can be best achieved with a view camera. You can easily change the camera’s position from vertical to horizontal while it stays affixed to the camera back. It’ll cost 1980 Swiss Francs (approx. $1,900). US availability not yet known.
Mix and Match, Part 2: Nikon lenses on Canon EOS body

For those who have their feet firmly planted in both the Nikon and Canon DSLR camps, there’s hope and flexibility: Novoflex, a company that has made many mix-and-match adapters, has just announced a new lens adapter that lets you mount any Nikon lens (including the G series) to any Canon EOS camera. Aperture priority autoexposure and stop-down metering are possible with this lens, and a side lever lets you adjust the aperture on G lenses. This is a refinement of Novoflex’s original Nikon to Canon adaptor, with the G-lens support added.


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