Weekend Wrap for June 24, 2011

Happenings on the Bleeding Edge of Photography



Refocus Technology: A Step Closer to Reality

It was 2006 when we at the Adorama Learning Center first reported that researchers at MIT, Stamford and other high-tech institutions of higher learning were collaborating on something called Refocusing Technology, which would let the user shoot first, then focus the image after the fact. Five years later, it has almost come to market. Almost. Lytro, a California-based start-up company, this week announced “the biggest innovation since digital cameras” that will use what is now called Light Field Technology. The cameras, which will be introduced later this year, are said to be able to capture all the light rays in a scene, allowing for immersive 3D images, focusing after the fact, unprecedented image capture speed, and low light sensitivity that will surpass anything on the market now.

Those are pretty big claims. Can they be real? Well, the company has garnered over $50 million in investment dollars, with World Wide Web pioneer Mark Andreesen one of the key investors. “Lytro's breakthrough technology will make conventional digital cameras obsolete. It has to be seen to be believed,” says Andreesen. Ren Ng, who initially presented a white paper on the technology in 2007, explains it best in his blog. Meanwhile, we will wait and see.

Apple Overhauls Final Cut Pro

Apple this week launched a major remake of its pro video editing software, Final Cut Pro X. New features include a Magnetic Timeline that lets you edit on a flexible, trackless canvas, Content Auto-Analysis that categorizes your content upon import by shot type, media and people, and background rendering that allows you to work without interruption. The Magnetic Timeline, according to Apple, is a trackless approach to editing your footage that lets you add and arrange clips wherever you want them, while other clips instantly slide out of the way. You can use Clip Connections to link primary story clips to other elements like titles and sound effects, so they stay in perfect sync when you move them. You can even combine related story elements into a Compound Clip that can be edited as a single clip. A new Auditions feature lets you swap between a collection of clips to instantly compare alternate takes.Built on a modern 64-bit architecture, Get the details here. Final Cut Pro X will cost $299.99


Lomo Launches La Sardina Ultrawide-Angle  Lens Toy Cameras

Freed from the constraints of making a camera to satisfly pixel peepers (or even anyone interested in sharp, well-exposed images), Lomo continues its oddball, random approach to camera design with a new series of minimally-featured, $59 35mm cameras called La Sardina. The cameras sport a 22mm lens with three focus settings and a form factor and artwork that resembles...how can we say this without sounding silly? We can't...the cameras are visual tributes to sardine cans. We don't know why, but we do wonder if Lomo will follow it up with a Gefilte Fish camera.


Kodak Announces Recycling Program For Consumer Electronics

One of the dirty secrets of consumer electronics is that, if disposed with regular garbage after the products break down or are replaced with the latest shiny new toy, they introduce toxic elements into the water table. Kodak has announced a Trade-In and Recycle Program that allows consumers to safely and responsibly dispose of their digital cameras, camcorders, printers, and digital picture frames as well as accessories such as old lenses and flashes. For products with no resale value, consumers are given several recycling options. Read the Kodak press release for details.


Sigma Offers Chances to Win Portfolio Critique

You can win a chance to have your portfolio critiqued by a top pro, as part of Sigma's 50th anniversary celebrations. Four winners will be chosen based on the quality of their work, as well as the use of interesting and appropriate subject matter. The selected photographer will have a one-on-one telephone critique session with a Sigma Pro, which will be recorded and made into a video showcasing the photographer's work and the discussion with the Sigma Pro. Interested? Submit your portfolio to the Our Pros, Your Photos program  by July 5. Critiques will take place from July to October, and the Sigma Pro critics will include  Lindsay Adler, who specializes in fashion photography,  Kevin Ames (portrait photography), Robert O’Toole (wildlife photography) and Dave FitzSimmons (landscape photography).

Doin' the Trade Show Shuffle: WPPI NYC Co-Locates with PhotoPlus

First, it was PMA, which announced a couple of months ago that it was cancelling its rescheduled September show and instead “co-locating” within the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in February, creating PMA@CES. Now the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI), has announced that it will conduct its first-ever East Coast show by co-locating with PhotoPlus Expo this fall in the Jacob Javits center in New York City. With the two shows combined, this may make WPPI@PhotoPlus and Photo Plus itself the largest stand-alone dedicated photo trade show in the United States, surpassing PMA. By the way, Nielsen, which owns Photo District News and PhotoPlus, recently purchased Rangefinder magazine and WPPI. The shows will run October 26-28, with workshops starting on the 26th and the trade show opening the next day. Info and registration here.


Velbon Unveils Ultrek Tripod

No sooner did Adorama publish its first-ever guide to travel friendly tripods than Velbon added a new member to the portable 'pod crew. The UT-43D Ultrek folds down to 11.6 inches via 6-section, reverse-folding legs. It can be extended to 61.6 inches and can carry a payload of 6.6 pounds. It comes with a ball head with quick release platform and a carry case, and weighs only 2.6 pounds. Pricing and US availability to be announced.



And finally...The next killer iPhone App: The Leica M9?

Could this be the photographer's dream mash-up? A design company called Black Design Associates has posted online a concept camera that combines a Leica M9-inspired camera with all the quality and workmanship of the original...but it includes a port for an iPhone and would presumably have its own set of apps and could apply any of the many photo-related apps already available for the iPhone to any photos taken with the Leica/Leica clone camera. “The Leica i9 Concept is a dream project that addresses a desire to combine two great products, while considering both the consumer's and company's needs. It's common practice to combine a smart phone with a digital camera, but how do you combine a great smart phone with a great digital camera?” the company asks on its web site. Could it happen? Is anyone at Leica and Apple listening? See the concept renderings below and check out the site.


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