The Times hits a paywall; Epson introduces Pro Printer; New Flash Modifiers from Fong, Expoimaging; Firmware updates, more
NY Times Photojournalists Freed, Tell Their Story
The four New York Times photojournalists that we reported were captured last week by Libyan forces were released six days later into the custody of Turkish diplomats, and crossed into Tunisia. The foursome, including photojournalists Tyler Hicks and Lindsay Addario, were inadvertently driven to a roadblock manned by Ghadaffi forces, where they were taken prisoner. Read their harrowing story.
NY Times Paywall: A Controversial Online Content Model
You may not be able to read harrowing stories of photojournalists' adventures, or to view the Times' Lens blog, for much longer. Starting Monday, the Times will charge between $15 and $35 per month for you to have unfettered access to its web content. Non-payers can view the homepage and up to 20 articles per month for free, but then access will be restricted. If you have home delivery, there's no extra charge to view the web content.
While this is bad news for news junkies who have been conditioned to expect to get their news for free, there might be a silver lining for photojournalists. With newspaper budgets squeezed by the plethora of free content online, will the Times' Paywall model work and bring in enough income to support photographers in the manner to which they were once accustomed (in other words, making a reasonable living), or will it simply chase disenfranchised web surfers to other news sources that rely on ad income and don't charge, such as CNN.com?
Epson Introduces Stylus Photo R3000 pro Inkjet Printer
Epson's R3000, a printer capable of exhibition-quality 13-inch-wide prints according to the manufacturer, is shipping to retailers now. Announced in January, the 9-ink printer uses Vivid Magenta ink technology, has a MicroPiezo AMC print head, and can handle rolls up to 44 inches long. The R3000 costs $849.95 and pre-orders are being accepted now. (Credit cards will not be charged until order ships.)
Gary Fong Micro Four Thirds Pop-Up Flash Diffuser
Gary Fong, whose gadgets have gained popularity for their clever, practical designs, is at it again, adding a new Puffer flash diffuser designed for pop-up flashes found on Micro Four Thirds cameras such as the Olympus Digital Pen and Panasonic GF cameras. The puffer takes the immensely powerful output of these cameras' flashes and provides a larger surface that softens the harshness of the light. The Puffer is attached via the camera's hot shoe and can be positioned over any pop-up flash, no matter where it's positioned on the camera. Availability to be announced Monday.
Expoimaging Rogue Grid Flash Modifier
In our review of the Expoimaging Rogue Flashbender series, we marvelled at the flash modifier's practicality. Now Rogue has introduced a 3-In-1 Stacking Grid, which provides a honeycomb grid with 16, 25 or 45 degree spot lighting control. Honeycombs help to more narrowly focus light from a snooted flash. Learn more here.
Kingston Adds Class 10 microSDHC Cards
If you have a handheld camcorder, cell phone or Netbook, you may be storing your images and videos on microSD cards. Kingston is speeding them up, offering Class 10-speed microSDHC cards with a claimed 10MB/s transfer rate. The cards are available in 4, 8, and 16GB capacities. Read more.
Canon's New LCD Projetors are Bright, Budget-Friendly
Canon this week upgraded its lineup of digital projectors, adding five new models that include a widescreen 16:10 projector with 2500 lumens and WXGA resolution, the LV-8225. Notable is the fact that prices are lower than the previous generation. Key features shared by all five projectors are:
- Auto Set-Up Functions – for signal input, PC signal type, and vertical-keystone correction. One push of a button automatically identifies the type of input signal (video or computer), and – if a computer input – automatically synchronizes the projector’s display with the computer screen’s pixel configuration. Auto vertical-keystone “squares” images when the projector is facing the screen at an angle.
- Extended Projection-Lamp Life – up to 6,000 hours in Quiet Mode (projection-lamp life of the model LV-7490 is 5,000 hours in Quiet Mode).
- Extended Air Filter Life – up to 5,500 hours in ECO Mode (the filter, made of a new three-layer, highly efficient, hybrid material, cleans the air drawn in by the internal fan that cools the projection lamp).
- Wide-Angle 1.2x Zoom Projection Lens – for bright, clear picture quality.
- Manual Zoom and Focus – for exact user-determined settings of projection optics.
- Quiet Operation – at only 29 dB (in Quiet Mode), these new projectors are equipped with a cooling system that produces very little noise.
- Easy-Install Lamp and Direct Power-On – convenient features for users wanting to ceiling-mount their Canon multimedia LCD projector.
- Multiple Inputs – ample computer, video, and audio connections ensure compatibility with a wide variety of display sources.
- RJ-45 Network Connection and RS-232C Serial Connection – for full LAN control and remote PC control.
The LV-7490 has 4000 lumens of brigtness for use where there's more ambient light; the LV-7390 offers 3000 lumens; the LV-7295 has 2600 lumens and the LV-7290 has 2200 lumens. The projectors range in price from $1,099 down to as low as $599.
- Ricoh GXR System, GR Digital III: Major firmware update, available starting Monday March 28. Function-enhancing firmware adds five processing filters (soft focus, cross process, toy camera, miniaturize, high contrast monochrome), subject tracking focus and exposure, and a revised magnified playback. GXR 28mm and 50mm modules add ability to assign white balance or exposure compensation to zoom buttons. GR III gets electronic level, target follow. Download here after March 28.
- Nikon Coolpix P100: Minor bug fix addresses problem with LCD remaining black when in standby mode and the shutter release is pressed. Download.
And finally...Don't Photograph My Farm!
Burned by hidden-camera video footage showing animal abuse, agribusiness-friendly legislators are working on bills that ban photographers from taking pictures of farms without the farmer's permission—including, in some cases, when shooting from public roadways. Rather than rectifying the abuses uncovered by organizations such as PETA or the Humane Farming Association, or enforcing existing laws (since the farms are private property they are protected under the “reasonable expectation of privacy” provision as well as laws against tresspassing), the bills being discussed by legislatures in Florida, Iowa, and other states would criminalize photography and videography. Read the original article.