Lifehacker: Take Impressive Macro Photographs with Your Point-and-Shoot and CHDK

This sounds awesome. I’m gonna have to pull out my SD450 and give this a shot…pun intended. 😉

Remember the Canon Hacker’s Development Kit, aka CHDK—the open-source firmware that turns your point-and-shoot into a super-camera? Here’s how bug enthusiast Tim used CHDK and DIY ingenuity for better macro results from his point-and-shoot.

Spending more money was off the table for Tim’s spending budget, so rather than pony up for some new, expensive equipment, he turned to the wonder of open source. His setup is a little heady if you’re not familiar with the subject, but Tim used a reverse mounted lens technique along with the focus bracketing feature of CHDK. The results—one of which you can see in the screenshot—speak for themselves.

via Digital Photography: Take Impressive Macro Photographs with Your Point-and-Shoot and CHDK.

British Journal of Photography: Fujifilm’s killer medium format film camera

It has long been only a prototype. We first heard about at last year’s PMA trade show and were able to see a wooden version of it at Photokina in September 2008. But now, it’s official. Fujifilm is weeks away from releasing its GF670 Professional medium format film camera. Here is our full article about it.

Outside of Japan, the camera should be released under the Voigtlander Bessa III 667 name, which Cosina will distribute.

(via 1854, the blog of the British Journal of Photography.)

Nikon D3 Cut In Half « Tokyobling’s Blog

Fascinating!

I visited the Tokyo Eco Products convention the other day (2008/12/12) to be exact and naturally I headed straight for the Nikon booth where my gaze immediately fell upon this beauty: a Nikon D3 cut in half for all of our camera porn pleasures! For a technophile camera lover as myself, I was for once happy to be a foreigner in Japan: the staff politely ignored my feeble attempts to take a decent photo through the counter glass. I felt slightly incestous: a Nikon D60 photographing a crippled D3. Behold all the beauty that is Nikon technology! And pray that you never see anything like this again.

(via tokyobling.wordpress.com)

The White Balance Lens Cap at The Photojojo Store

This is awesome. I’m definitely going to pick one of these up as soon as I can. I just need to figure out which diameter I want. (My lenses are 72mm, 58mm, and 52mm.)

You may think automatic white balance is good enough. But if you’ve ever had to fix dozens (or even 100s) of photos with just slightly different colors, one-by-one, you know the true meaning of pain.

The White Balance Lens Cap leaves you no excuse for not properly white-balancing every situation you encounter.

Simply flip your camera into custom White Balance mode, snap a photo with your White Balance Lens Cap on, and your camera creates a perfect profile of the actual lighting in front of you.

Best of all, unlike a gray card, the White Balance Cap takes no extra room in your gear bag. Just replace your existing lens cap with this one and you’ll always be able to white balance with no additional equipment.

Squeeze the White Balance Lens Cap’s side tabs for easy attachment or removal, even with a lens hood in place. The center pinch-release mechanism prevents it from accidentally being bumped off, while in your bag or shooting in a crowd.

Each White Balance Lens Cap comes with both a neutral and a warm color dome. Pick whichever you prefer and give all your photos perfectly consistent white balance.

Available for lens thread sizes 52mm, 55mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm and 77mm. (Don’t know your thread size? Just check the outer rim or bottom of your lens for one of these numbers.)

Note: You may look a little silly setting your white balance by taking a photo with your lens cap still on, but the results are worth it. We promise.

via The White Balance Lens Cap at The Photojojo Store.

Making a Pinhole Lens for SLR Cameras

Pretty cool little guide from CameraHacker.com

Ever since I started learning about photography, I have been fascinated with the art of pinhole photography. I always thought that the possibility of creating an image using the tiniest hole is amazing. If you are unfamiliar with pin-hole photography, see my related links section; I have added some links about pinhole photography for your wandering minds.

Despite my fascination, I have never involved myself with pinhole photography. I read about how to make a pinhole camera out of a 35mm film container. Although the process of making the camera is easy, loading and processing the film is extremely cumbersome. In fact, to use it, one frame of film has to be loaded in the dark, exposure has to be calculated, picture has to be exposed by uncovering the pinhole, pinhole has to be covered, and film has to be unloaded in the dark. All that work for a single exposed frame. But that is not the end, because the frame will have to be processed a personal darkroom, since it is extremely hard to find a place to process 35mm films one frame at a time.

I have always thought, “wouldn’t it be nice if I can have a pin-hole camera that has built-in exposure meter, uses 35mm film roll, and comes with auto film winder?” Then I can concentrate on creating pinhole art, instead of concentrating on the processing of creating pinhole art. After a few years (yes I am a tad slow) I thought, “wouldn’t it be nice if I can have a pin-hole lens on my EOS camera that has auto-exposure, uses standard 35mm film, and has automatic film winder.” Wow!

via Making a Pinhole Lens for SLR Cameras.

(You can pick up the whole book at Amazon here)

Canon Dial 35 – Camerapedia.org

Fascinating camera from the 1960’s…

The Canon Dial 35 was an unconventional half-frame 35mm camera with clockwork automatic film advance. It was made in Japan by Canon from November 1963. The Dial 35 was also sold as the Bell & Howell Dial 35.

The body had an unusual “portrait” format rectangular shape, with a short, wide-diameter lens barrel containing the CdS meter photocells window around the 28mm lens. Rotating the lens barrel set the speed of the Seikosha shutter; the aperture was set automatically. A button below the viewfinder could be pulled out to give manual aperture control, for manual exposure settings or flash. Film speed was set on a scale around the meter window.

Focus was set on a lever around the top of the lens barrel, with a display inside the viewfinder.

There was a cylindrical handle at the bottom, which also wound the clockwork mechanism. On the (users) left is an accessory shoe. The film ran vertically, from the cassette at the top to the take-up spool at the bottom, giving a landscape-format 24x18mm frame when the camera is upright.

Dial 35-2

The 35-2 has a black nameplate at the top in place of the engraved name and a longer-lasting clockwork motor. Speed range is increased to 1000ASA, the meter uses a different battery and a hot shoe is added.

via Canon Dial 35 – Camerapedia.org.

More info here: http://web.comhem.se/~u87754955/canon-dial-35.html

(If you’re in search of the original manual, you can find it here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2570932/Canon-Dial-352-manual)

Quality control sticker? (PASSED)

passed

I’ve always wondered what that sticker meant…

Hiro Matsu , Aug 09, 2006; 08:17 a.m.

Anyone recognize this sticker? Thanks.

James Lai , Aug 09, 2006; 08:44 a.m.

Yes, it is a quality control sticker from the Japan Camera Inspection Institute. The JCII was set up by the Japanese government and camera industry to ensure the quality of camera equipment exported from Japan. I don’t think they’ve put those stickers on cameras for several years now, and in the later years there were plenty of knock-off stickers floating around.

via Quality control sticker? – Photo.net Nikon Forum

E18 Error Fixed! (Canon PowerShot SD450)

Huzzah! I finally fixed the E18 error I’ve been experiencing on my Canon PowerShot SD450, which prevented my lens from extending when the power was turned on, and the fix wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had expected. I’ve even snapped some shots of the process so that you can follow along at home, and fix your own camera if you are experiencing the same problem that I was.

Canon_Ixus_II_with_E18_errorIf you’re not yet familiar with the E18 error, check out this information on the topic from Wikipedia:

The E18 error is an error message on Canon digital cameras. The E18 error occurs when anything prevents the zoom lens from properly extending or retracting.[1] The error has become notorious in the Canon user community as it can completely disable the camera, requiring expensive repairs.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E18_error)

This is a fairly prevalent problem with the PowerShot cameras, and a class action lawsuit was filed (but dismissed) against Canon:

A Chicago law firm, Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, has already filed a class action,[4] while the law firm of Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo LLP are investigating this camera flaw and may issue a class-action lawsuit against Canon.[5] There is at least one other.[6] Although the suit was dismissed in a court of law, the plaintiffs are appealing.

Fortunately, at least in my case, the fix did not require returning the camera to a Canon repair facility or having to take unreasonably complex steps.

My solution for the PowerShot SD450/IXUS 55 follows:
(You’ll need a very small Philips head screwdriver, #00, to remove the screws)

  1. There are six screws holding the metal frame of the camera body together, two on each side, and two on the bottom. Remove all screws, pop the strap-hook plate (sorry, probably not the most technical term there), then gently lift the front plate off by pulling up from the bottom, and remove the back plate in the same fashion. These should come off relatively easily. This is what the camera should look like as you remove the plates:
    IMG_5340
    IMG_5342
    IMG_5344
  2. Now, looking from the top of the camera, you should see a small motor on the left side, as shown below (it’s beneath the cable with a “22” written on it):
    IMG_5346
  3. Take your screwdriver (or another small instrument) and gently try to rotate the plastic piece attached to the motor on the left side, as shown below:
    IMG_5359
  4. At this point, try placing the battery back in the camera (if you have removed it), turn the camera to one of the capture modes, and press the power button. If all went well, your lens should now be able to extend and retract properly.

Further information (and other repair tutorials) are available at the following locations:

Unforunately, the site that had the most comprehensive information about this issue, e18error.com, seems to be down for the time being. Here’s a quote from their site that I saved in another blog post before the site was taken down:

HOW IT ALL WORKS:
Canon E18 error happens when the lens gets stuck while trying to extend. The camera will beep a few times and the LCD will display a little E18 in the lower-left corner. The lens gets stuck in the extended position, and refuses to move either to focus the lens or to retract when powered off.

Apparently, people who posted about this incident on forums say they had to send the camera for repair and that Canon has horrible customer support and response time.

Here is how the E18 error looks like. You just get a black screen with small “E18″ sign in the lower-left corner:

The problem usually happens because dirt or sand get into the lens mechanism. But it seems that more and more people are showing, who took great care of their camera, and still started receiving E18 errors.

(http://www.e18error.com/)

Please share your experiences with this fix, or the E18 error in general, in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

PC Fastlane: Most Expensive Camera Lenses Ever

This list is awesome, but it leaves out the most expensive and largest camera lens I’ve seen, the Canon 5200mm f/14 lens, which is currently for sale on eBay

From PC Fastlane:

canon-ef-800mm-super-telephoto-lens

Expect to sell a few organs to afford this thing. Price at almost $12,000, the Canon EF 800mm is designed for the pros among us. It will be released in May 2008, it is meant for long-range photography like sports, wildlife, and nature. Don’t expect to use this thing without a tripod by the way. At over 10 pounds, it probably weighs more than your camera. Thankfully, Amazon has graceously included free shipping with the item.

(more here: http://www.pcfastlane.com/rants-raves/most-expensive-camera-lenses-ever/)

Canon 5D Mark II Released!

Wow! These specs are even better than I’d hoped for!

InspirationUnlimited

According to digital Photography School:

Here’s what Canon DSLR fans have been waiting for – the new Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR.

This 21 megapixel DSLR (CMOS full frame sensor) has an ISO range of 50 to 25600, HD movie recording (seems to be the way we’re going), Live View framing of images on it’s 3.0 inch LCD (920,000 pixels), burst mode of up to 3.9 frames per second, DIGIC IV processor and sensor dust reduction.

This beauty will set you back $2699 USD when it hits stores in November this year.

I’ve included the news release from Canon announcing the Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR below.

PS: also announced today by Canon is a new Canon 24mm f/1.4 II USM lens. Fast, wide angle which has gone through an update from its previous version.

(dPS: Canon EOS 5D Mark II)

And, from the Canon site itself:

(http://web.canon.jp/imaging/eosd/eos5dm2/index.html)

The newly designed sensor is ultra-sensitive, too, empowering you to explore creative opportunities in challenging environments thanks to a wide ISO range of 100 to 6400 at the standard setting. ISO expansion extends coverage from ISO 50 to an astounding ISO 25600. Shooting with auto ISO is also nicely responsive with a comfortable ISO range of 100 to 3200. Whether shooting outdoor scenes at night or charmingly lit interiors, you can now capture all the subtle nuances of natural lighting through the unencumbered joy of hand-held, flash-free shooting.

(http://web.canon.jp/imaging/eosd/eos5dm2/01.html#01)

Awesome. Just awesome. I was aware of most of the specs from the pre-release buzz, but the HD movie mode is new to me. What do you think?

canon-eos-5d-mark-ii

My previous posts:

Canon EOS 50D SLR

It’s a bit surprising to me how quickly Canon is skipping over the 40D; I purchased a 30D at the end of its sales life (and was able to get the nicer 28-135mm lens shown below as part of the kit), right before the 40D came out, just about a year ago..

canon_eos50d-thumb-450x505

Canon today strengthens its EOS range with the addition of a powerful new digital SLR: the EOS 50D. A newly designed 15.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor delivers ultra-detailed, low-noise images – ideal for large-scale reproduction or creative cropping. Canon’s new DIGIC 4 processor is fast enough to allow up to 6.3fps continuous shooting, in bursts of up to 90 JPEGs with a UDMA card. Used with Canon’s wide area AF system, which locks onto subjects with 9 individual cross type sensors, stunning action sequences can be captured – even in low-light conditions. A new 3.0” Clear View VGA LCD provides extra-large and wide angle-of-view image review, with plenty of clarity for accurate focus checks in playback. By switching to Live View mode – which displays a real-time image on the LCD – photographers can enjoy simplified shooting from awkward angles, or connect to a PC for remote shooting.

(continued via fareastgizmos.com)

DPS: 5 Quick Tips To Keep You Motivated

Great post from digital Photography School about how to keep yourself motivated in your photographic endeavors:

We all have those days. Days where you know you want to do something with your camera or photographs, but the motivation tank is on Empty. I’ve been having some of those days recently and came up with a list to help pop me out of the rut and back to being productive. This list is by no means exhaustive and I’d appreciate any additions that work for you, in the comments section.

TIP #1 – Go for a walk
Copyright marta the good oneI know, I know. It’s one of the hardest things to do when you’re not feeling motivated. Even worse if it’s raining outside. But getting your bum off the chair or sofa and out the door is a great first step. It is a lot easier to just keep staring at the computer screen and letting your analytical mind wander, sometimes feeling like you’re accomplishing something, but getting your blood pumping and elevating your heart rate will help activate your creative mind. It doesn’t need to be a long or fast walk. Just 15 minutes will be enough to get the juices flowing.

It also helps because it removes you from an environment that is obviously not helping you become creative at the moment. I like this method because it requires no special equipment, clothes or location. Everyone has ‘outside’ out their front door. Just lace up some shoes or boots and get your heart going!

(via 5 Quick Tips To Keep You Motivated)

Lifehacker: Pack a Photography Survival Kit

Another great article from Lifehacker (AU) about how to pack a Photography Survival Kit.

Planning a long, leisurely trip through the wilderness, down the highway, or maybe around Thailand, and want to return home with some killer pictures to look through? David Hague, managing editor of Australasian Camcorder magazine, has been there, and back, many times. Hague keeps three separate backpacks for varying degrees of roughing it, but his list of potentially equipment-saving stuff is good for any on-the-go kit. Among the provisions, for still or video cameras (and yourself):

  • Sealable plastic bags as emergency camera ‘raincoats’
  • Lens cleaning kit
  • Jeweller’s screwdriver kit
  • Small table top tripod (from eBay – around $10)
  • Dry socks

(via Pack a Photography Survival Kit)