Sorry, Paul Simon, Kodak’s taking Kodachrome away

In this photo taken on Sept. 15, 2008, a roll of Kodachrome 64 is seen in Tonawanda, N.Y. Kodak announced Monday that it is retiring its most senior film because of declining customer demand in an increasingly digital age. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
In this photo taken on Sept. 15, 2008, a roll of Kodachrome 64 is seen in Tonawanda, N.Y. Kodak announced Monday that it is retiring its most senior film because of declining customer demand in an increasingly digital age. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Sorry, Paul Simon, Kodak is taking your Kodachrome away.

The Eastman Kodak Co. announced Monday it’s retiring its most senior film because of declining customer demand in an increasingly digital age.

The world’s first commercially successful color film, immortalized in song by Simon, spent 74 years in Kodak’s portfolio. It enjoyed its heyday in the 1950s and ’60s but in recent years has nudged closer to obscurity: Sales of Kodachrome are now just a fraction of 1 percent of the company’s total sales of still-picture films, and only one commercial lab in the world still processes it.

Those numbers and the unique materials needed to make it convinced Kodak to call its most recent manufacturing run the last, said Mary Jane Hellyar, the outgoing president of Kodak’s Film, Photofinishing and Entertainment Group.

“Kodachrome is particularly difficult (to retire) because it really has become kind of an icon,” Hellyar said.

(via Google News/AP: Sorry, Paul Simon, Kodak’s taking Kodachrome away)

Lifehacker – LightBox Makes Simple Touch-Ups a Snap

I’m downloading this now – looks very cool. =)

Windows only: LightBox is an extremely user friendly tool for editing photos when you need more than a simple crop and resize but less than a full out Photoshop massaging.

How user friendly is LightBox? When you run the program you’re presented with a sidebar of common tasks like color balancing and red-eye removal. Mousing over each of them provides not only an explanation of the tool but sample pictures showing the results and every tool within the editor itself has mouse over tips. Once you’re actually editing your image you can easily—as seen in the screenshot above—divide the image to show how the alterations are effecting it compared to the original. The divided and side by side comparison feature is great for photo enhancements where your goal is to make the picture more appealing without giving it an unrealistic appearance. If you need additional functionality, there is a Plus version available for $19.95 which adds on features like masking and auto color correction. The basic version of LightBox is freeware, Windows only.

via Lifehacker – LightBox Makes Simple Touch-Ups a Snap – Image Editing.

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)

JPG Magazine Could Be Saved?

I received some very cool news from 8020 Media (the company behind JPG Magazine) today via e-mail:

We couldn’t ask for a better community. In the week or so since our last email, the outpour of support has exceeded our wildest expectations. Your efforts, such as starting savejpg.com, writing blog posts, commenting on Twitter and Flickr, and generally making your voices heard, have provided exciting new opportunities for us.

We’re thrilled to say that because of you, we have multiple credible buyers interested in giving JPG a home. We will be keeping the site up after all, and hope to have a final update in the next week or so on who the acquirer will be. Thank you for making all of this possible.

Laura Brunow Miner
Editor in Chief

In case you hadn’t heard, JPG is/was in danger of going out of business, as they explain via this entry on their blog:

Today is a particularly sad day for all of us at JPG and 8020 Media.

We’ve spent the last few months trying to make the business behind JPG sustain itself, and we’ve reached the end of the line. We all deeply believe in everything JPG represents, but just weren’t able to raise the money needed to keep JPG alive in these extraordinary economic times. We sought out buyers, spoke with numerous potential investors, and pitched several last-ditch creative efforts, all without success. As a result, jpgmag.com will shut down on Monday, January 5, 2009.

The one thing we’ve been the most proud of: your amazing talent. We feel honored and humbled to have been able to share jpgmag.com with such a dynamic, warm, and wonderful community of nearly 200,000 photographers. The images on the website and in the magazine were adored by many, leaving no doubt that this community created work of the highest caliber. The kindness, generosity, and support shared among members made it a community in the truest sense of the word, and one that we have loved being a part of for these past two years.

We wish we could have found a way to leave the site running for the benefit of the amazing folks who have made JPG what it is, and we have spent sleepless nights trying to figure something out, all to no avail. Some things you may want to do before the site closes:

Download the PDFs of back issues, outtakes, and photo challenge selections. We’ll always have the memories!
Make note of your favorite photographers. You may want to flip through your favorites list and jot down names and URLs of some of the people you’d like to stay in touch with. You may even want to cut and paste your contacts page into a personal record.
Catch up with your fellow members. Our roots are in this humble flickr forum and we recommend going back to find fellow members, discuss the situation, or participate in another great photo community.
Keep in touch. This has always been much more than just a job to each of us, and we’ll miss you guys! We’ll be checking the account jpgletters@gmail.com in our free time going forward. We can’t promise to reply to every email (since we’ll be busy tuning up our resumes) but we’d love to hear from you.
Stay posted. Although the magazine is ceasing publication, we’ll be updating you on what’s happening with your subscription early next week.

We’re soggy-eyed messes, but it is what it is. At that, JPGers, we bid you goodbye, and good luck in 2009 and the future.

Laura Brunow Miner
Editor in Chief

Take a chance to check out their back issues if you have a moment. Very cool stuff. I hope they find a new home soon. 🙂

Engadget: Canon EOS 5D Mark II firmware update cures ‘black dot’ ailment

Excellent news! (And one of the reasons I’m glad I got off the early-adopter bandwagon…)

Those equipped with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II might’ve noticed a few continuity errors between their shots and real life, such as light from a building window missing its right side. The company has released firmware update 1.0.7 to eradicate this “black dot” phenomenon — which can affect any point light source — as well as fix a problem with vertical banding noise that appears when recording in sRAW1 format. Hit up the read link for patch instructions. You can go now resume your regularly-scheduled Mark II lovefest.

via Canon EOS 5D Mark II firmware update cures ‘black dot’ ailment – Engadget.

From the Canon site that has the firmware:
(http://web.canon.jp/imaging/eosd/firm-e/eos5dmk2/firmware.html)

What has changed in Firmware Version 1.0.7?

It improves and mitigates the following image quality phenomena.

  1. “Black dot” phenomenon (the right side of point light sources becomes black)
  2. When shooting night scenes, the right side of point light sources (such as lights from building windows) may become black. The phenomenon may become visible if the images are enlarged to 100% or greater on a monitor or if extremely large prints of the images are made. This firmware improves and mitigates this phenomenon.

  3. Vertical banding noise

    If the recording format is set to sRAW1, vertical banding noise may become visible depending on the camera settings, subject, and background. The firmware improves and mitigates this phenomenon.

And, if you’re not yet familiar with the issues that this firmware fixes:

  1. Black Dots from Hell: Is the 5D Mark II Fucked?
  2. 5D Mark II Banding Problem – Why has the lord forsaken us?

Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM

Wow.

Features:

  • Lens construction: 13 elements in 10 groups
  • (protective glass and drop-in filter included)
  • Diagonal angle of view: 2°-5°
  • Focus adjustment: Inner focusing system with USM
  • Closest focusing distance: 14m / 46ft
  • Filter size: 48mm rear drop in

Canon’s most powerful supertelephoto lens

The world’s largest interchangeable SLR AF lens, in terms of both focal length and maximum aperture. Two large fluorite elements eliminate secondary spectrum, resulting in extremely sharp, high-quality images. With Extender EF 1.4x or 2x. a whopping focal length of 1700mm f/8 or 2400mm f/11 can be obtained respectively.

Sources:

Almost as impressive as this bad boy:

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)

JSTN – Please, Canon

He’s got an excellent point – I’d love if I could set up my camera the way he’s described…

Please, Canon

Let me set my own lower limit for shutter speed with auto ISO.

I want to shoot wide open, but 1-divided-by-focal-length is just too slow for me most the time. At 24mm it frustratingly picks 1/20th even with several usable ISO stops that could go towards a faster shutter speed.

Shutter priority mode does me no good; I can’t rely on it to choose the maximum aperture (in fact, it rarely does).

Manual mode doesn’t support auto ISO. If you have it selected and you switch to manual it forces the ISO to 400. Instead, I wish it let me lock a shutter speed and aperture and then float the ISO as needed. Hitting the floor would cause the shutter speed to drop, but not before.

Actually, what I really want is a modeless UI that lets me set any two of the three (shutter, aperture, ISO) and institute my own graceful degradation.

Camera interface designs up until now have relied on the assumption that you’re only making two exposure decisions per shot (shutter speed and aperture, ISO being decided beforehand when you load the film). Digital suddenly adds a third thing to think about and the interfaces haven’t caught up yet.

via JSTN – Please, Canon.

Nifty Fifty! (Canon 50mm f/1.8 II Review)

Box
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II: Box

I just picked up the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens, and so far, I’m quite impressed – much more than I thought I’d be!

Until yesterday, when I purchased the 50mm f/1.8, I had been shooting almost exclusively with the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM zoom lens that came with my Canon EOS 30D. I’m still quite fond of the 28-135mm, and for most occasions it’s the perfect walking-around lens (until I can get my hands on one of the L-series zooms). However, everyone I’ve talked to so far in the photography world has highly recommended getting a prime lens, and I wanted to find something inexpensive to tide me over until I could get my hands on the 100mm f/2.8 macro that I’ve heard such wonderful things about.

I’d also heard good things specifically about 50mm lenses (though on my 1.6x crop APS-C sensor, the 50mm is more like an 80mm), and set out to find myself a relatively cheap 50mm as my first prime lens. Of course, I found the 50mm f/1.8 Mark II lens first, because of it’s ridiculously cheap price compared to the rest of the EF/EF-S lineup of lenses, and the reviews said that the optics were surprisingly good for such a cheap lens.

Canon 50mm f/1.8 Mark II
Canon 50mm f/1.8 Mark II

I must say that I agree on both points above: this is a ridiculously cheap lens (both in construction and price), and it’s optics are surprisingly good. I first saw this lens on Amazon.com, so I knew what it looked like, but had no idea of the actual physical quality. If you haven’t seen this lens before in person, and you’re coming from a relatively higher quality kit lens like the 28-135mm, you’ll probably scoff at the 50mm f/1.8 lens. No ultrasonic motor, completely plastic housing and mount, and it’s light as a feather. I almost thought that I was going to break the damn thing when I was holding it, but I decided to try it out anyway, and I loved the clarity of the images that I saw coming from it. It is remarkably crisp, and quite fast for the price – much faster than my zoom at the wide end (f/3.5) and way faster at the narrow end (f/5.6). I’ve found that I’ve been able to take handheld shots in much lower light, and I love the bokeh it makes when it’s wide open at f/1.8.

I’ll admit, the plastic body of the f/1.8 made me strongly consider stepping up to the f/1.4 (the f/1.2 is waaaay too rich for my blood), but the price of the f/1.8 was just too good to ignore. I picked up the f/1.8 locally for $119, while the f/1.4 at the same shop was going for $300, and the f/1.2 was over $1600!

I haven’t been able to process any of the photos I’ve taken with it yet, since I’ve taken so damn many of them, but I’m sure you’ll be seeing my Flickr stream flooded with shots from my “nifty-fifty” as soon as I can get them posted. I’m really getting a kick out of this lens, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking to get their first prime lens for their Canon SLR or DSLR!

Additional Links:

Der Stasibunker – The Nuclear Bunker

Wow, so cool!

Info: Das Bunkermuseum

Vielen Dank an Mike Preißing Vorsitzender des Bunkervereins dass er uns alles erklärt, uns bis in die letzten Winkel des Bunkers geführt und uns die ganze Technik vorgeführt hat. 4 Std!!! 🙂

Vielen Dank an Familie Höhn dass sie uns das Fotoshooting erlaubt hat. Ihr habt ein super Hotel und Restaurant mit Bunker!!! 🙂 Wir kommen noch mal zum Essen und Quatschen wieder! www.waldhotel-rennsteighoehe.de/

This nuclear bunker (3600 square meters!!!) was build for the security of the Ministry for State Security of the German Demokratik Republik in a nuclear war case. It was Top secret till the end of cold war. The bunker is a museum now, but its full functionally. All aggregates are still active.

Der Stasibunker – The Nuclear Bunker – a set on Flickr.

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)