Archives for January 29, 2012

JVC camcorder connects to, controlled by phone

JVC launched seven new Everio camcorders, four of which have built-in WiFi to tether to Android and iOS devices, enabling wireless transfer to the smartphone for internet sharing — and for the phone to serve as a remote control for the camcorder’s video capture.

“With Wi-Fi models, JVC fills the gap between a traditional camcorder and a smartphone by combining great image quality with advanced photographic features, such as a powerful zoom and excellent communication capabilities,” the company says.

Live Monitoring allows real-time viewing on a smartphone or computer of images taken with the Everio.

Auto Photo Email automatically emails stills taken using the Everio’s movement detection function to a computer or smartphone.

All the new Everio models record in 1920 by 1080 HD in AVCHD format. However, video clips sent from camcorder through the phone’s data connection are limited to 15 seconds long, and 640 by 360 in resolution.

The E/EX series has a 40x optical zoom. The V/VX series’ Super LoLux optics has F1.2 lens assures, and the camcorders capture hi-speed and super slow video. The GX series’ lens was “developed specifically to yield optimal results together with the 1/2.3-inch 10 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor.”

Prices range from $230 to $900. More information is here.


Google offers businesses “Trusted Photographers”

Find a photographer to put a 360 pano of your business online.

Last year Google offered “Street Views” of indoor businesses: click in a web browser to see inside a stores or restaurant. Now the company is connecting businesses with pro shooters who can make the 360-degree images for them.

When it first announced the Business Photos pilot program, “we wanted to give business owners an easy way to get customers in the door online using interactive, high-quality, 360-degree images,” Google says. “With thousands of businesses under our belt — from salons to gift shops — we’ve been hearing the same question again and again from both business owners and photographers alike: How can I participate? Well, with the overwhelming success of the first pilot, we’ve decided to unveil a complementary initiative that will help us reach more interested business owners, more quickly.”

The “Trusted Photographers” program lets anyone use phone or email to set up a photo shoot. “This self-serve model makes for easier scheduling and quicker turnaround, while also supporting the local photographers in your community,” Google says. The photographer will upload the images, “and shortly thereafter, you’ll see 360-degree panoramic views of your business on, Google Maps, and your Google Places listing.”

“Trusted Photographers” are now available in 14 cities. “Don’t see a photographer in your area?” Google asks. “Let us know, as that will help us determine where more Trusted Photographers are needed.”


Google improves image stitching on its Earth

New mosaic stitching in Google Earth removes the old "tile" effect.

Google says its “taking bird’s eye view to a whole new level” with the latest edition of its Google Earth world viewer.

Version 6.2 is “the most beautiful yet,” the company says, “with more seamless imagery and a new search interface.” The Google Earth globe is made from a mosaic of satellite and aerial photographs taken on different dates and under different lighting and weather conditions. Because of this variance, Google says, views of the Earth from high altitude can sometimes appear patchy.

A new way of rendering imagery “smoothes out this quilt of images,” the company says. “The end result is a beautiful new Earth-viewing experience that preserves the unique textures of the world’s most defining geographic landscapes—without the quilt effect.”

The update also adds the option to share a screenshot of your current view in Google Earth through Google+, as well as images of the places you’ve virtually traveled to with your Circles, such as family, friends or your local hiking club.


The Grand Canyon, before and after the new mosaic in Google Earth.

Topaz Labs intros Star Effects

The plug-in detects the direction of light in an image.

Allowing users to “create effects from realistic sun flares and glowing water to more obvious, artistic additions,” Topaz Labs released its Star Effects plug-in for Photoshop.

The $30 software automatically recognizes light sources in a photo with which to create radiant lighting and star effects, with adjustments such as star type, glow, ring flare, and color controls.

More information is here.


Sigma founder Michihiro Yamaki passes

Sigma founder and CEO Michihiro Yamaki died of liver cancer in Tokyo, Japan, on Jan. 18 at the age of 78.

“Mr. Yamaki was an industry visionary, and his leadership and enthusiasm has been the driving force behind our company’s innovation for more than 50 years,” the company says.

Yamaki founded Sigma Corp. Sept. 9, 1961. with the development of the first-ever rear attached lens converter, the company adds. “At that time, most photo enthusiasts believed a lens converter could only be attached to the front of a camera lens. The 27-year-old optical engineer turned conventional optical theory on its head.”