Lomography launches lens set designed to fit any camera

The Neptune Convertible Art Lens System is designed to recreate a vintage look without being completely terrible wide-open like the old C-mount trash glass you keep buying on eBay.

The Neptune Convertible Art Lens System consists of a lens base that’s mounted to your camera and several convertible lens components. By interchanging the front components, you can shoot photos or videos at three different fixed focal lengths — 35mm, 50mm and 80mm. An Art Lens System unlike any other; it offers you all the freedom of a zoom lens without compromising on prime lens quality, and it’s the only convertible Art Lens out there to work with a range of modern-day analogue and digital cameras. Each component is assembled by using the finest multi-coated glass and crafted to produce exceptionally sharp focus and strong, saturated colors for stunning high-definition images — even when you’re shooting close-ups at 0.25m/9.8” with Thalassa (35mm), 0.4/15.7” with Despina (50mm) or 0.8m/31.5” with Proteus (80mm). This is an Art Lens System that lets you take beautifully intimate shots, allowing you to get near enough to capture every last detail of your subject. And because it’s so small and lightweight design, you can take it with you everywhere.

That's $600 for a 35mm f/3.5, 50mm f/2.8 and 80mm f/4 set of very compact full-frame manual primes with drop-in aperture plates, natively mounted in Canon EF or Nikon F, with a custom adapter for whatever mount you got. "Compact" and "consistent" are the watchwords: on the photography sites, the old men of the mountain are all angrily pointing out that you can get the same results by attaching some ancient thriftstore artillery piece. Read the rest

New camera shoots at 5 trillion frames per second

Reserachers at Lund Univeristy in Sweden have developed a camera that captures images at a rate equivalent to 5 trillion frames per second, quintupling the previous high mark. Read the rest

It would cost more than $10k for a pro sports photographer to switch camera brands

Sony's cameras seem to be in a league of their own. So why do professionals stick with bulkier models from Canon and Nikon? One answer is glass—often just as pricey as pro-grade bodies, and you need a lot of it to be in business. DPReview's Dan Bracaglia suggests that Sony's latest full-frame model, the $5,000 A9, is so fantastic that many pros are talking about jumping ship, but should be cautioned by the sheer expense of doing so.

Using our example, the cheapest one could go full-on Sony, with most of the same kit is $22,870. After applying the $11,820 discount from having sold off all the Canon equipment, a photojournalist would still have to cough up about $11,050 to make the switch. Or they could simply take that $11,820 and buy a couple of a9 bodies and maybe a lens.

"Switching systems is a headache," he adds, "and sports photography gear is crazy expensive." Read the rest

Square prints at last for Fuji's instant cameras

Fujifilm's Instax cameras are fun, but the expense of the cartridges is a drag and you're either into the "illusion of truth" of instant photography or you ain't. The Instax Square heads past this by integrating a display so you can choose whether or not to print a shot. It also prints square photos, like old-fashioned Polaroids (albeit smaller), instead of the usual half-size or widescreen Instax slips.

The drag now is the basic price: $280! And despite my pooh-poohing of the idea that instant photography is any more truthful than "best selfie of 100" smartphone photography, I kind of wish they hadn't added filters. I suppose once you have a digital display, you've got some computing power in there, and that kind of feature creep is inevitable. Likewise, there's now a card slot to let you transfer photos to phone or computer. It's out in May, but you can order it already.

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 Instant Camera [Amazon link] Read the rest

Video from camera falling from airplane and landing in pig pen

An oldie but goodie. I was expecting the GoPro logo to pop up at the end.

"Camera falls from a sky diving airplane and lands on my property in my pig pen. I found the camera 8 months later and viewed this video."

(via Kottke)

Read the rest

Snap is developing drone for users to share overhead videos and photos: NYT report

One of the products that Snapchat owner Snap Inc. is developing as “a modern-day camera company” is a drone, reports the New York Times today.

Sources for this bold claim are “three people briefed on the project who asked to remain anonymous because the details are confidential.”

The drone would help users take videos and photographs from overhead, then share that visual data with Snap, and presumably, other users of the service.

Snap is scheduled to go public later this week in a long-anticipated IPO. Read the rest

How an old camera flash became the first Star Wars lightsaber

The legendary lightsaber that Obi Wan passed on to Luke in Star Wars: A New Hope was actually a modified battery tube from a 1940s Graflex camera flash. Once that was known, prop recreators drove up the price of the flashes, frustrating vintage camera geeks who appreciate the elegant gear for a more civilized age.

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Surveillance camera vandalized in Russia

An apartment-dweller in Tver, Russia installed a video camera on his or her front door, looking out into the stairwell, then uploaded a compendium of amusing and/or interesting moments to YouTube. The neighbors seem generally hostile to surveillance, though some of them are in no condition to notice it.

Google Translate suggests the following caption: "Pensioner, hammer and inadequate man camera shot war neighbors in apartment building in Tver."

Tip: use stickers. Legal, easily carried, completely effective, no damages. Read the rest

Kodak is bringing back Ektachrome film

Kodak's Ektachrome film, developed in the 1940s, was a favorite of National Geographic photographers. But digital cameras flatlined the sales and it was discontinued in 2012. A revived interest in film cameras has prompted Kodak to revive the beloved 35mm film. Look for it later this year.

From Kodak's press release:

Ektachrome Film has a distinctive look that was the choice for generations of photographers before being discontinued in 2012. The film, known for its extremely fine grain, clean colors, great tones and contrasts, became iconic in no small part due the extensive use of slide film by National Geographic Magazine over several decades.

Resurgence in the popularity of analog photography has created demand for new and old film products alike. Sales of professional photographic films have been steadily rising over the last few years, with professionals and enthusiasts rediscovering the artistic control offered by manual processes and the creative satisfaction of a physical end product.

Image: Wikipedia Read the rest

Fantastic selfies from 1920

Famed photographer Joseph Byron holds the camera for a few group selfies in 1920. No selfie stick. No duck face.

More info on these shots here and here. (via r/OldSchoolCool)

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Your camera as emergency survival gear

Chris Nicholls of the Camera StoreTV demonstrates what to do if you are lost in the woods with only your camera gear.

Tying flies is boring.

(h/t PetaPixel) Read the rest

360-degree kitten-cam

Complete with the sort of music that accompanies peaceful villages in Japanese adventure games, newStory's 360° footage of four adorable kittens is here to brighten your day. Drag and click inside the video to look around! [via Metafilter] Read the rest

Squirrel-cam footage

Watch this video to get exactly what the headline promises: a squirrel's-eye view of what it's like to squirrel around the treetops. It was reportedly shot in Westmount Park, Montreal with a GoPro Session (low quality, but light enough to be grabbed by/attached to a squirrel.) Read the rest

Sheepview: cameras attached to roaming ruminants in the Faeroe Islands

Sheep in the remote Faeroe islands, between Scotland and Norway, have been fitted with cameras to provide a vast corpus of sheepcam footage. At Sheepview, you may soon be able to explore the windblasted heaths and crags as if you were yourself an ambling, grass-munching ruminant—and help Google to catch up and generate street-view imagery that islanders need.

As the sheep walk and graze around the island, the pictures are sent back to Andreassen with GPS co-ordinates, which she then uploads to Google Street View.

“Here in the Faroe Islands we have to do things our way,” says Andreassen. “Knowing that we are so small and Google is so big, we felt this was the thing to do.”

So far the Sheep View team have taken panoramic images of five locations on the island. They have also produced 360 video so you can explore the island as if you are, quite literally, a sheep.

Read the rest

Fantastic Manfrotto 3-way head

I am absolutely thrilled with this Manfrotto 3-way head. My last one took nearly a decade to wear out, mostly due to abuse in salt water environments, and I had to have a new one.

This head works great with some of my larger lenses on board. The Nikon AI-S 300mm F2.8 and my Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8 are both perfectly stable on this head. Friction controls are a nice addition, missing from my last head, and the collapsible levers get out us your way. Bubble levels pretty much exactly where you'd want them and a fantastic quick release system. It uses the same mount as previous pan-and-tilt Manfrotto head, so I can even use the old mounting plates.

I expect to get another 5-10 years out of this one.

Manfrotto MHXPRO-3W X-PRO 3-Way Head with Retractable Levers and Friction Controls via Amazon Read the rest

Ultra-rare unopened Leica camera for sale with X-ray to prove what's inside the box

The Leica KE-7A is a very rare camera manufactured for the US military in the early 1970s. It's essentially a hardened and dust-resistant version of Leica's popular M4 camera. With around 500 produced, it's nearly impossible to find one in good condition. That's why this unopened specimen up on eBay right now is so special, and so expensive, priced at $45,300 or best offer. The listing includes an x-ray of the package.

According to the listing, the image below depicts another example of the same camera outfit as the one in the sealed package. But then again, how can you know for sure what's inside until you open it...

"Although I do not advise I can open the bag to inspect the camera for you at a Euro 5000 nonrefundable deposit," says the seller. "If you decide not to buy at any reason the deposit will not be refunded as the value will then be less."

Read the rest

The Leica Q is the best fixed-lens compact camera

Craig Mod reports on six months in the field with the $4,000 Leica Q, a compact, fixed-lens camera for professionals and for amateurs who are very serious indeed. He loves it with an intensity that would seem unreasonable were it not for a) the fact that the photos illustrating his essay are spectacular, and b) he discusses how using it changed his mind on photography basics.

Compare with the just-published review of Sony's latest RX1R-II at DPReview. It's serious competition for the Leica Q in the rarefied market for fixed-lens compacts that cost more than a MacBook Pro. Though it's $700 cheaper, and in many respects technically superior, the design (from UX to battery life) sounds so frustrating and ill-considered that it's hard to imagine preferring it over the Leica if you're spending that much dough on a fixed-lens camera to begin with.

There's a great section in Craig Mod's review to remind you this is all for stills folk: "Video: I think the Leica Q does video."

Leica Q [Amazon.com referral link] Read the rest

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