Category Archives: All

New Canon Sensor Boasts 120 MP, Equivalent to Human Eye

Coming out of CP+ today, and apparently big enough of a story to find it’s way to my desk, a new Canon sensor prototype sports a wopping 120 megapixels, with a pixel count equivalent to the amount of photoreceptors in the human eye.

New Canon Sensor Boasts 120 MP, Equivalent to Human Eye

 

What does it mean?  Either this sensor takes incredibly detailed, high-resolution and space-hogging images, or it’s another one of those clever sensor-marketing ploys about how “natural” the images look.

In support of the pixel-count-equivalency claim, there is the whopping resolution of this sensor – a not-too-shabby 13280 x 9184 pixels.

So, um, yeah…

Any chance that this new Canon sensor is going to make it to a camera soon?  No.  Ever?  Probably not.  Canon has a reputation for cranking out prototypes that don’t go anywhere (the Canon Wonder Camera, the Colani designs, etc.).  That and the simple fact that overall, the physical size of the sensor is APS-H, and not Full Frame (and therefore not “professional”).

Applications – at some point down the road, Canon posit – may include videography or astrophotography.  Which seems kind of mean when you consider that the Nikon D810A just came out and now there’s this 120 MP sensor hanging over it.

Of course, Nikon might be trying to crank out one of these suckers too, but the Nikon sensor is going to be a dust magnet with a band at the top of every image, soooo…maybe you should just get the D810 and accept

Introducing Sennheiser URBANITE Headphones

Sennheiser Urbanite Banner

While XYZ is primarily photography, every now and then we’ll talk about a product we find particularly interesting. Today we will take a look at a new Sennheiser headphone that just hit the market this month.

Sennheiser URABNITE is geared toward the average listener, a crowd sennheiser isn’t exactly known by. Typically Sennheiser is known for their extremely balanced headphones that generally take root in more “industry” communities such as musicians, DJ’s, A/V people, pilots, and travelers and more. However in a departure form their norm Sennheiser has opted to create a headphone that goes after today’s Beats By Dre obsessed youth.

With a cheeky & bizarre ad campaign Sennheiser looks to capture today’s youth by making them laugh and simultaneously learn about why the headphone they have been listening to stink. Playing on Sennheisers German hermitage the new ads feature a life sized version of the headphone as a hopeless romantic with a heavy Germanic accent.

How to The Sennheiser URBANITE Stack Up To Beats By Dre?

Beats by dre feature what is known as a “smiley face EQ” what this means is that the lows and highs are deliberately tuned way higher than they should be to give the effect of really hard and intense bass. While this can be great at times, the life sized Urbanite reminds us that “harder isn’t always better”. Sennheiser Urbanite offer a great low end, on with much more bass than the average sennheiser headphones but without being over exaggerated or too fluffed up. The thing about having tons of bass in the EQ of a pair of headphones is that you end up missing a lot of the frequencies in between the lows and highs that often make up the melodies of the song. What you are left with is a really muddy sound.

Sennheiser on the other hand has figured out how to add just enough bass to the headphones that the average listener loves the sound. Previously many people who like genres of music that rely heavily on the lower frequencies for their “driving force” felt that Sennheiser headphones were too “tinny” for their liking. Not the Sennheiser Urbanite, music lovers of all genres love the Urbanite and it’s clarity and booming lows.

The Urabnite is built for life on the go. One of the fist full sized fully collapsible headphones from Sennheiser, the Urbanite is ready to fold up and go anywhere, unlike the momentum, Sennheiser’s last take at a life-style headphone.

If you’re looking for an affordable headphone that’s going to last for years to come, the Urbanite might be the choice for you, with its replaceable cable, folding design, and its nearly unbreakable headband. With a price tag of only $199.95 the Urabnite is considerably more affordable than most beats by dre headphones being sold. While the price may be less, these headphones truly deliver more with their great sound and awesome design. With unbeatable comfort these headphones will allow you to enjoy your music anywhere with stunning clarity and presence.

Auctionata is Selling Rare Prints for the Next 24 Hours

auctionata

If you’ve been longing to get your hands on a Henri Cartier-Bresson, or one of Weegee’s photos, head on over to Auctionata, where (for the next 24 hours, at least) they are conducting an online auction to sell off some rare prints from masterful photographers.

Auctionata:  Eisenstaedt, Goldin, and Richardson, Oh My!auctionata

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004), Ahmedabad, India, 1966

The digital auction is being held today, June 12, at 6 pm Central European Time.  If you want to get your mitts on some of these opuses, be prepared to shell out massive amounts of cash.  The solitary Cartier-Bresson starts at 2800 Euro.  The estimated value is at 5,000 Euro.  But honestly, it’s probably going to sell for twice that.  Other photographs that jumped out at me as I perused the catalog included several from Nan Goldin and several from Alfred Eisenstaedt.  Weegee is in there too, at an affordable price, I would say.  Even Terry freaking Richardson shows up with a picture of a woman on a bed, legs spread.  The rest of the catalog is breathtaking as well, from landscapes and nudes to street and celebrity photography (including Sharon Tate, Briggite Bardot, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Marilyn Monroe).

auctionata

Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995), American Ballet, 1937

auctionata

Peter Brüchmann (b. 1932), Sharon Tate, 1960s

auctionata

Weegee – Arthur Fellig (1899-1968), Bowery Bum, New York, 1940.  (Dear God, if only I could afford to buy this.)

The whole gamut is astounding, and includes prime examples of classic photography and its more modern counterpart.  If you have the funds, you should probably jump at this chance to own a little bit of photographic (and art) history.

Snypex Optics Releases Knight ED Binoculars

snypex

SNYPEX, LLC, a company based in Long Island, New York, specializing in the production of premium grade performance sports optics products for the industrial, military and consumer markets, is pleased to announce the release of its Knight ED (extra-low dispersion glass) binocular series, designed for all outdoor activities: from birding to biking, hunting to safaris, and a multitude of activities in virtually any environment. The Knight ED binocular series feature six models of the full-mid to compact prism sizes.

snypex

SNYPEX Knight ED Series Binoculars are offered at an average price point of $439.00. Its products include the compact Knight ED 8×32 and 10×32 binoculars, as well as the larger 10×42, 10×50, 8×42 and 8×50

SNYPEX Knight Optics Bak-4 prisms use precision-crafted ED glass with a higher degree of color correcting and image-lacking chromatic aberration, resulting in true-to-life images with startling clarity and color accuracy. Fully multi-coated optics and phase correction coatings enable a wide field of view, unusually close focus distance varying from 6.56 to 4.92 ft., generous eye relief, and a comfortable, functional open bridge body design that is both fog and waterproof, nitrogen-filled, lightweight, and strong because of its magnesium/alloy body.

snypex

All SNYPEX LLC Knight ED Binoculars are protected with a durable rubber housing to absorb shocks and are backed by a five year warranty.

“It is our pleasure to bring high definition precision ED binoculars with competitive pricing to sportsmen, distributors, and dealers worldwide,” says Sam Shaheen, founder and president of SNYPEX, LLC.

Specifications:

  • Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass produces outstanding color fidelity and high quality images
  • Bak-4, Phase Coated Roof Prisms
  • 100% fully multi-coated optics, green-coated on four sides of the prism
  • Large aperture apochromatic lens with water-repellant coatings
  • Exceptional image quality in all lighting environments
  • Rubber-armored, shockproof, anti-slip body
  • Long eye relief and twist up eye-cups, compatible for eyeglass wearers
  • Minimum focus distance of 4.92 f on 50mm and 40mm models, 6.56 ft on 42mm model
  • Magnesium alloy for maximum durability and lightweight body
  • Fully waterproof, fogproof, nitrogen-filled allowing submersion to 1 meter for 15 minutes
  • Wide field of view
  • Ergonomic open hinge design
  • Extra-low image aberration even at the edge of the field of view

http://www.snypex.com/collections/knight-ed-binoculars

 snypex

About SNYPEX, LLC

SNYPEX, LLC is a sports optics company based in Long Island, New York, offering an extensive line of products, including ED binoculars, ED spotting scopes, ED digiscopes, military laser range finders, and more. The powerful instruments are ideal for all outdoor activities, from birding to biking, hunting to safaris, and a multitude of other activities in any environment.

SNYPEX has set a new standard for high-performance optics, raising the bar to a level of quality rarely achieved in the field.

Contact Us
http://www.snypex.com
Email: marketing(at)snypex(dot)com
Tel: 1 855 276 9739
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/snypexoptics
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/snypexllc

Canon Instant Rebates for February!

canon instant rebate pic

These Canon Instant Rebates are in effect now until March 1st.  So if you’re looking for savings from one of the leading names in the business, take advantage of the savings.  Here are setups eligible for the Canon Instant Rebates.

Canon Instant Rebates

canon instant rebate pic

Canon EOS 6D

Like the 5D, this camera offers extreme potential for its price point, with 20 megapixels, a full frame, and everything else you’ve come to expect from Canon.

EOS 6D Body Kit + EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Reg. Price:  $1,899.00 + $649.99 - $250 Instant Rebate = $2,298.99 Final Price

EOS 6D EF 24-105mm IS USM Lens Kit + EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Reg. Price:  $2,499.00 + $649.99 - $250 Instant Rebate = $2,898.99 Final Price

canon instant rebate pic

Canon EOS 7D

Like that professional performance, but don’t want to break your bank?  Snag the EOS 7D and get HD Video, an 18 megapixel full-frame sensor, and improved auto focus.

EOS 7D Body Kit + EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Reg. Price:  $1,499.00 + $649.99 - $250 Instant Rebate = $1,898.99 Final Price

EOS 7D EF 28-135mm IS USM Lens Kit + EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Reg. Price:  $1,699.00 + $649.99 - $250 Instant Rebate = $2,098.99 Final Price

EOS 7D EF-S 18-135mm IS Lens Kit + EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Reg. Price:  $1,799.00 + $649.99 - $250 Instant Rebate = $2,198.99 Final Price

canon instant rebate pic

Canon EOS 70D

The prosumer-turned-pro camera that offers stunning HD Video and versatile performance in a compact design.  Canon Instant Rebates abound on this model, offering you the chance to save big on your perfect setup.

EOS 70D Body Kit + EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Reg. Price:  $1,199.00 + $649.99 - $250 Instant Rebate = $1,598.99 Final Price

EOS 70D EF 18-55mm IS STM Lens Kit + EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Reg. Price:  $1,349.00 + $649.99 = $250 Instant Rebate = $1,748.99 Final Price

EOS 70D EF-S 18-135mm IS STM Lens Kit + EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Reg. Price:  $1,549.00 + $649.99 - $250 Instant Rebate = $1,948.99 Final Price

EOS 70D EF 18-55mm IS STM Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
Reg. Price:  $1,349.00 + $349.99 - $150 Instant Rebate = $1,548.99 Final Price

EOS 70D EF-S 18-135mm IS STM Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
Reg. Price:  $1,549.00 + $349.99 - $150 Instant Rebate = $1,748.99 Final Price

EOS 70D EF 18-55mm IS STM Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II
Reg. Price:  $1,349.00 + $299.99 - $150 Instant Rebate = $1,498.99 Final Price

EOS 70D EF-S 18-135mm IS STM Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II
Reg. Price:  $1,549.00 + $299.99 - $150 Instant Rebate = $1,698.99 Final Price

canon instant rebate pic

Canon EOS 60D

A mid-range shooter that shows promise in an enthusiasts hands, the 60D is the perfect next-step-up for any evolving photographer.

EOS 60D Body Kit
Reg. Price:  $899.99 - $200 Instant Rebate = $699.99 Final Price

EOS 60D EF-S 18-135mm IS Lens Kit
Reg. Price:  $1,199.00 - $200 Instant Rebate = $999.00 Final Price

EOS 60D EF-S 18-200mm IS Lens Kit
Reg. Price:  $1,299.00 - $200 Instant Rebate = $1,099.00 Final Price

EOS 60D Body Kit + EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Reg. Price:  $899.99 + $649.99 - $450 Instant Rebate = $1,099.98 Final Price

EOS 60D EF-S 18-135mm IS Lens Kit + EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Reg. Price:  $1,199.00 + $649.99 - $450 Instant Rebate = $1,398.99 Final Price

EOS 60D EF-S 18-200mm IS Lens Kit + EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Reg. Price:  $1,299.00 + $649.99 - $450 Instant Rebate = $1,498.99 Final Price

canon instant rebate pic

Canon EOS Rebel T5i

The newest addition to the Rebel Line, the T5i offers an entry-level experience with an 18 megapixel APS-C sensor, as well as an improved ISO and auto focus.

EOS Rebel T5i Body Kit
Reg. Price:  $699.99 - $50 Instant Rebate = $649.99 Final Price

EOS Rebel T5i EF-S 18-55 IS STM Lens Kit
Reg. Price:  $849.99 - $50 Instant Rebate = $799.99 Final Price

EOS Rebel T5i EF-S 18-135 IS STM Lens Kit
Reg. Price:  $1,049.00 - $50 Instant Rebate = $999.00 Final Price

EOS Rebel T5i EF-S 18-55 IS STM Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
Reg. Price:  $849.99 + $349.99 - $200 Instant Rebate = $999.98 Final Price

EOS Rebel T5i EF-S 18-135 IS STM Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
Reg. Price:  $1,049.00 + $349.99 - $200 Instant Rebate = $1,198.99 Final Price

EOS Rebel T5i EF-S 18-55 IS STM Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II
Reg. Price:  $849.99 + $299.99 - $200 Instant Rebate = $949.98 Final Price

EOS Rebel T5i EF-S 18-135 IS STM Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II
Reg. Price:  $1,049.00 + $299.99 - $200 Instant Rebate = $1,148.99 Final Price

EOS Rebel T5i EF-S 18-55 IS STM Lens Kit + EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III
Reg. Price:  $849.99 + $199.99 - $150 Instant Rebate = $899.98 Final Price

EOS Rebel T5i EF-S 18-135 IS STM Lens Kit + EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III
Reg. Price:  $1,049.00 + $199.99 - $150 Instant Rebate = $1,098.99 Final Price

canon instant rebate pic

Canon EOS Rebel SL1

A newcomer that boasts the title of most lightweight DSLR ever made, this camera offers excellent creative control in an ultra-portable package.  Get great savings with extra Canon Instant Rebates when you pair it with qualifying lenses!

EOS Rebel SL1 Body Kit
Reg. Price:  $599.99 - $100 Instant Rebate = $499.99 Final Price

EOS Rebel SL1 EF-S 18-55 IS STM Lens Kit
Reg. Price:  $749.99 - $100 Instant Rebate = $649.99 Final Price

EOS Rebel SL1 EF-S 18-55 IS STM Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
Reg. Price:  $749.99 + $349.99 - $250 Instant Rebate = $849.98 Final Price

EOS Rebel SL1 EF-S 18-55 IS STM Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II
Reg. Price:  $749.99 + $299.99 - $250 Instant Rebate = $799.98 Final Price

EOS Rebel SL1 EF-S 18-55 IS STM Lens Kit + EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III
Reg. Price:  $749.99 + $199.99 - $200 Instant Rebate = $749.98 Final Price

canon instant rebate pic

Canon EOS Rebel T3i

The T5i boiled down to a bare-bones shooter with video capabilities, the T3i is great place to start with Canon DSLRs and your wallet.

EOS Rebel T3i EF-S 18-55 IS II Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
Reg. Price:  $599.99 + $349.99 - $150 Instant Rebate = $799.98 Final Price

EOS Rebel T3i EF-S 18-135 IS Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
Reg. Price:  $799.99 + $349.99 - $150 Instant Rebate = $999.98 Final Price

EOS Rebel T3i EF-S 18-55 IS II Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II
Reg. Price:  $599.99 + $299.99 - $150 Instant Rebate = $749.98 Final Price

EOS Rebel T3i EF-S 18-135 IS Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II
Reg. Price:  $799.99 + $299.99 - $150 Instant Rebate = $949.98 Final Price

EOS Rebel T3i EF-S 18-55 IS II Lens Kit + EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III
Reg. Price:  $599.99 + $199.99 - $100 Instant Rebate = $699.98 Final Price

EOS Rebel T3i EF-S 18-135 IS Lens Kit + EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III
Reg. Price:  $799.99 + $199.99 - $100 Instant Rebate = $899.98 Final Price

canon instant rebate pic

Canon EOS Rebel T3

The most basic of Canon’s DSLRs, the T3 has been around for a while now, and for good reason.  Offering a no-nonsense experience perfect for still shooters who don’t care for extra bells and whistles, it is also a great gift for those who have outgrown more compact cameras.

EOS Rebel T3 EF-S 18-55 IS II Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
Reg. Price:  $449.99 + $349.99 - $150 Instant Rebate = $649.98 Final Price

EOS Rebel T3 EF-S 18-55 IS II Lens Kit + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II
Reg. Price:  $449.99 + $299.99 - $150 Instant Rebate = $599.98 Final Price

EOS Rebel T3 EF-S 18-55 IS II Lens Kit + EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III
Reg. Price:  $449.99 + $199.99 - $100 Instant Rebate = $549.98 Final Price

E-M5 Test: Digital for the Film Photog

e-m5 review sample image

This year, a lot of folks are buying the E-M1, but I’ve encountered even more people asking about the E-M5.  And even though it’s already over a year old, the camera is still a worthwhile investment for many photographers.  But why?  To be sure, I too was somewhat skeptical when I first picked up the E-M5.  Soon, though, I realized that what so many reviewers had pointed out as shortcomings or deficiencies are in fact selling points for this robust and versatile camera system.

Testing the E-M5

Ergonomics/User interface

The E-M5 is incredibly light.  With no grip, there’s room to spare for those with big hands.  The slim body is more reminiscent of film cameras than any other retro-looking digital bodies, and this really improves the portability.  Even without a pronounced grip, a rubber thumb pad on the back of the camera offers enough control to avoid dropping it.  The EVF is excellent as well, offering 100% coverage and a slight magnification of 1.15x.

e-m5 review sample imageThe user interface works for beginners and pros alike.  A touch screen LCD and intuitive menu lend themselves to novices, while two control dials and three customizable function buttons reel in the pros.  Shooting with the E-M5 was more fun that any of the Pens or even the E-M1.  While having to delve into the menus to change white balance and ISO, there’s no confusing switches that change the function of the dials, like the haphazard “2×2” setup on the E-M1.

e-m5 review sample imageThe only drawback I could find in the design of this camera was the position of the tripod mount, which was just a little off-center, and could prove bothersome to panoramic shooters.  Otherwise, I was generally impressed with the layout and construction of the camera.

e-m5 review sample imageImage Quality

Another high point for this camera is the image quality, no doubt stemming from the pairing of its 16 megapixel sensor  with the TruePic IV processor.  The max resolution one gets from this combo is 4608×3456.  Image quality is further secured with 12 white balance presets, 5-axis  image stabilization, and an ISO range of 200-25600.  I have yet to print anything shot by the E-M5, but even at larger magnification the image quality holds up.  Finally, the ISO range is excellent, only showing true noise around ISO 1600.  I found I could live with it, as I could with most of the images shot at higher ISO settings (the only exception here being 25600, which reminds me of grainy film).

Should you still desire it, you can use one of the art filters to give your photos a certain look, like this black and white shot of pigeons.

e-m5 review sample imageFocus

Here we have perhaps the most pronounced shortcoming for pros and serious amateurs – the lack of focus peaking, which is available in both the E-P5 and the E-M1.  Although I found manual focus easy enough, I can see where some users would have difficulties.  With 37 points of focus, though, relying on the camera’s contrast-detect auto focus isn’t necessarily a bad idea.

e-m5 review sample image

e-m5 review sample imageOptics

The E-M5 kit includes the 12-50mm f/3.5-5.6.  And while I generally poke fun at most kit lenses, I strongly urge the use of the 12-50.  Besides having the focal length equivalency of a 24-100mm lens on a full frame or 35mm camera  (a range that covers wide angle to medium-length telephoto ), the lens is weather resistant, and offers the photographer a third customizable function button.  The lens mode ring is another key factor in why I suggest it – featuring both manual and electric-assisted zoom, the whole setup is richly rewarded by a third, close-focusing macro mode at 43mm.

e-m5 review sample image

e-m5 review sample imageVideo

Video recording is easy and straightforward  – exactly what you’ve come to expect in most top-shelf cameras.  While resolution probably suffers from the Micro Four Thirds Sensor, there’s no difficulty in shooting video with the OM-D E-M5, since it has a dedicated button allowing near-instant video capture, regardless of current camera settings or scene modes.

Verdict

In conclusion, the E-M5 is a well-rounded camera offering a cost-effective alternative to the pricier E-M1.  Additionally, analog photographers desiring to make the move to digital may find the shape and size of the E-M5 to be more comfortable than other models.  Finally, I recommend getting your hands on one of these so you can try it out yourself, considering its merits with your own needs in mind. 

Increasing Online Visibility for Your Photography

increasing online visibility

A new year means new opportunities for growth, so make sure you’re making the most of your photography by increasing online visibility for your work.  There are a lot of great options out there, and while many of us probably already have a Twitter, Flickr, and professional website, there’s still plenty of other avenues to consider.

Four Platforms for Increasing Online Visibilty for Your Photography

1.  Tumblr

Still growing, and no longer just the province of trust-fund hipsters, this blogging platform allows free or paid layouts – both with HTML code you can tailor to your needs.  A popular relationship with younger crowds and the more vocal sectors of the internet mean you’ll receive a fair amount of traffic without having to actually do anything.

increasing online visibility

Viral images or photos with a viral appeal will work best on Tumblr, where users like or reblog material over and over again, growing your traffic exponentially.

2. WordPress

An excellent alternative to the DIY approach, WordPress can give you a photo blog or a pro-looking website, complete with all the plugins and widgets you need to make the most of your web experience.  The online community that this site has already fostered enhances its appeal, with plenty of tutorials for anything you could possible want to do.

increasing online visibility

WordPress is a great platform for just about any kind of image, but I especially recommend those photos that form the backbone of your portfolio.  The strong sale-makers for your clients.  

3. Smugmug

Upload, share, and sell.  What’s not to love?  The site offers many photographers more than just a shot at increasing online visibility.  Photographers subscribing to Smugmug can make money from the sale of their prints.  Photographers take the photos and Smugmug handles prints, shipping, and customer service, as well as legal fees.  All for a 20% cut.  Not bad indeed.

increasing online visibility

Excel at Smugmug by showcasing your work that will sell – think of images people would buy for consumption, and post, post, post!

4. 500px

Just when Flickr started to suck, another website came to fill its need.  Photographers the world over are rejoicing and joining up, with easy connectibility to Facebook not only increasing online visibility, but multiplying the relevance of your photos in social media.  And as an added bonus, there is no “save” option when users right-click on an image (regardless of browser), discouraging theft of your images.

increasing online visibility

Here is a site where you can let your creativity fly.  With as much focus on creative genius as Flickr used to have, this option guarantees your hard work and vision won’t go unnoticed.  

So what are you waiting for?  Get out there and get seen.  Great images deserve to be shared, and with all the confusing technology out there today, it really is time we started using it to our advantage.

Cameras for Kids: Learning Basic Photography

cameras for kids

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting a man who was looking for a camera that his daughter could use.  Now, I love photography.  And I love helping people get into photography.  So here are some suggested cameras for kids, if you have a little tyke who wants to learn basic photography.  For the purpose of helping all parents looking for cameras, my suggestions will be partly based on cost – all of my suggestions can be purchased for right around $400 or even less.

Cameras for Kids by Age Group

Young Children (5-7)

For the youngest of the youngsters, I recommend Fujifilm Instax.  Five years old isn’t an age requirement, but it’s the youngest I’ve seen kids get into photography.  The good thing about the Instax cameras is that they are mostly automatic, with instant, physical results.  As far as cameras for kids go, this one won’t have you spending mad money on a digital camera and printing paper and ink.  You also won’t have to upload your child’s photos to a computer.  All in all, this is an excellent way to give a child near you the photography bug.

cameras for kids

An excellent camera used by people of all ages, the Fujifilm Instax is a ready-available successor to the Polaroid machines of yesterday.  Average price: $70.

Adolescents (8-12)

When it comes to adolescents, there are usually three factors you need to consider:  ease of use, durability, and (some) control.  With that in mind, these cameras for kids include options from the Pentax WG Series, and the Olympus TG Series, with both lines designed to handle rugged wear and tear, or constant drops, spills, and intense pressures.

cameras for kids

The Olympus TG-2 is a top of the line point and shoot camera with some manual controls and a plethora of defenses, making it particularly enticing to those who want a rough-and-tumble alternative.  Average price: $330.

cameras for kids

The Pentax WG-1 is just one of the cameras in the WG series, but offers a nearly indestructible camera complete with a carabiner clip.  Again, some manual controls offer growth with this model, as well.  Average price: $300.

Another option to consider is the Fujifilm XP Line, which offers many of the same features as the WG and TG cameras.

cameras for kids

A point and shoot camera with some tweak-able features, the XP series stands out as Fujifilm’s offering to the everything-proof camera market.  Average price: $200. 

Teens (13+)

For teens, consider cameras with a bit more under the hood.  If you’re looking at cameras for kids in this age group, point-and-shoot models just aren’t going to work.  For these young photographers, I recommend the Canon Powershot G15, the Rebel T3 (also by Canon), Nikon’s J2, and the Olympus E-PM1 or E-PL3.

nikon-j2-2-s

The Nikon J2 offers users the ability to change lenses and take photos on a relatively large sensor, with plenty of manual control to boot.  And with a compact and lightweight body easily comparable to the Canon M, but less expensive, this comes highly recommended among cameras for kids.   Average price: $400.

cameras for kids

Often billed as the enthusiast’s compact dream, the Powershot G Series from Canon offers excellent image quality paired with manual control and an optical viewfinder, albeit at a relatively high price.  For those on a budget, you could go with the G15 or an older model.  Average price: $450.

canon instant rebate pic

Start them off while they’re young, and splurge on a Rebel T3.  A body like this can last a long time, and as your young photographer progresses, he or she has a range of lenses to invest in without needing to switch camera bodies.  Average price: $400.

cameras for kids

The Olympus E-PM1 is a fairly decent camera with a range of settings that will encourage your child to photograph more, and learn more in doing so.  With recent additions to the Olympus lineup, older models are being sold at very affordable prices.  Average price: $300.

cameras for kids

Another camera worth considering, the Olympus E-PL is another mirrorless camera with less weight and plenty of control.  Easily portable, its design will ensure easy use, and plenty of it.  Average price: $400.

Hopefully these suggestions have helped.  But if you want to know what the best camera is for a kid, just ask them.  Some kids like viewfinders, and others want the LCD.  Some will jump at the thought of changing a lens or what they see inside the camera, and others will be happy with a fixed lens.  At any rate, the important thing here is that we get them shooting, right?  My first camera was a crappy plastic 35 mm film camera with a plastic lens and two aperture settings.   And yet it made me the photographer I am today.

SD Cards and How to Choose Them

sd cards sample

When you buy a camera, you need memory.  And while most cameras use SD cards, choosing them can be confusing and frustrating.  Luckily I’m here to give you a few pointers.

SD Cards:  Things to Consider

1. Size

SD cards come in different sizes, from a humble 512 MB to a whopping 128 GB.  But in many circumstances, shelling out major cash for a 128 GB card can be downright overkill.  Even my 64 GB card seems a bit overkill at times – even though I shoot JPEG + RAW files, I never seem to come close to my 1000+ image capacity.

sd cards sample

The Toshiba FlashAir has 8 GB and built-in wireless LAN, giving certain cameras wifi.  

With that in mind, most cameras can get by comfortably on an 8 GB card.  A 16 GB card is a decent improvement, and 32 GB is a bit extreme.  Go higher than 32 GB if you plan to travel and can’t unload your card onto a computer during your trip.  For most other purposes – day trips, photo shoots, relatively small memory cards can see you through.

2. Class/Speed

Class and speed are two very important things to consider when shopping for SD cards, because while seemingly insignificant, they can affect your output in various ways.

sd cards sample

A Sony card with a high write speed.  

Write Speed is how fast the memory card can write your photos or video to it.  This is usually expressed by an amount of MB per second.  A slow card might write anywhere between 4-15 MB per second.  A fast card writes faster – usually around 40 MB per second, or even 90 MB/s.

Read Speed is how fast the camera recalls your images, like when you load them onto a computer.  For just about any given card, this speed is faster than write speed.  While this may not seem like a big factor, it can hinder productivity in situations where a card must be quickly unloaded and used again.  For the longest time I used a large card with a slow read speed, thinking it would never catch up to me.  When I found myself in the middle of a photo shoot with a full memory card – and no way to continue, short of putting those files onto my computer right then and there – I had to pay my model extra while we took a break so I could upload those photos.

Class is a term used in SD cards to generally quantify the performance of a card – Class 2 is the lowest or slowest card, while Class 10 is high-performance.  There is a second kind of class called UHS-1, or Ultra High Speed 1, which is faster than a class 2 or 4 regular SD card.

3. Other Designations

Other designations usually get jumbled together with “SD” in the description of a card – for instance, SDHC and SDXC.  Thes acronyms stand for SD High Capacity and SD Extended Capacity.

sd cards sample

SDXC cards won’t work in all devices, especially older models.  Check your manuals to see what cards can be used with your camera.

In general, choosing SD cards is never really easy, and even though these tips can save you some time, different cards fit different situations, equipment, and habits.  Always save yourself some of the hassle by asking salespeople at local stores.  Skip the big chains and go small, because you’ll get better service and a specialist’s opinion from the mom-and-pop joints.

The Story of Frankencamera and Open-Source Firmware

frankencamera image

While some of us just can’t stop complaining about what our cameras can’t do, a couple of grad students at Stanford are actually doing something about it, or have been for the past four years.  How do you get the camera of your dreams?  If you are these students, you build a custom body, mount Canon glass, and adapt Linux into an open-source firmware.

Frankencamera:  Open-Source Firmware in a Custom Body

I’ve always been interested in building a camera.  I’ve known friends who built pinhole cameras out of trashcans.  But the Frankencamera has really trumped any ambitions I might have had, giving way to outright awe.  To say I’m interested is an understatement.  But why?  It’s not much to look at.  In fact, it’s actually quite ugly.  The black, boxy camera doesn’t seem to have all the controls you’d think of seeing on the exterior of a camera.  In fact, the only real giveaways as to this monstrosity’s purpose are the shadow of a handle and the seemingly-out-of-place Canon lens on the front.

frankencamera image

The Frankencamera in all its boxy, ugly glory.  

Then again, it doesn’t need to look like a normal camera because, well, it’s not.

Because the Frankencamera actually runs on a Linux build customized to control the camera’s mechanics.  If you go out and buy a Nikon or Canon feature, the firmware (the software that controls the hardware) is not custom.  It is mass produced, and probably offers you very little custom features – like the Fn Button or custom White Balance presets, to name some of the more common features you can change.

With open-source firmware, you can change the binary code of your camera’s user interface.

Want a camera that takes a photograph every 3.9 seconds?

Want a camera takes a photograph when you say “meow”?

Want a photograph that can name files whatever you want (e.g. summerday_06_23_state park_00000005)?

Or maybe presets that change depending on the lens – like a max ISO of 578 with a 50 mm f/1.8 lens, or a minimum shutter speed of 1/481 with a 200 mm lens?

You could even put video games on your camera and use the directional pad as a controller.

frankencamera image

An image taken with a hacked Nokia N95 running custom firmware.  

With the Frankcamera and its open-source firmware, a truly-custom camera isn’t just a tangible idea, but a reality waiting to happen.  In fact, it’s already halfway there:  Linux builds now exist for Nokia phones that essentially hack the phone’s hardware for its camera, allowing the user to change settings previously locked-out to users.  The implications?  Even before we see an open-source camera aimed at consumers, we may find ourselves hacking already-present hardware to change the things we don’t like about our cameras.  The most immediate niche for this would be Nokia phones currently running on Linux builds, but as other phones’ operating systems can be replaced with Linux, it stands to reason that over time, other phones’ cameras could be altered as well, giving us more control, or more automation, depending on the user.

« Older Entries