Device turns camera phone into microscope

A pocket-sized optical accessory turns a phone into a high-resolution microscope.

Developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the thin module attaches to a phone magnetically. The camera’s field of view is 2 x 3 millimeters, and has a resolution of one-hundredth of a millimeter. LEDs are embedded in the outer edge of the lens, allowing objects to be illuminated from different angles — and the resulting images could be used to produce 3D topographic maps, VTT adds.

Finnish enterprise KeepLoop Oy is exploring the commercial potential of the invention. The first industrial applications and consumer models will be released in early 2012.

More information is here.


JVC camera records in darkness

With 28 built-in infrared LEDs, JVC’s TK-T8101WPRU bullet camera captures images in the dark.

The camera’s low light sensitivity is 0.05 lux for color, 0.015 for black-and-white, and 0 lux with active IR LED, the company says, at a distance of 115 feet.

Resolution is limited to 600 TV lines — in other words, VGA/standard definition, not HD.

The $350 camera has a 3.3-12 millimeter variable focal lens. It also has automatic high light compensation for use in extreme white light, and backlight compensation. It detects motion in four settable areas, with eight zones of privacy masking.

The waterproof and dustproof die-cast aluminum housing has a tempered glass front. It operates in temperatures between 14 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

More information is here.


Win an Australian Outback Photo Safari

An Australian Photo Safari in August with AIPP Grand Masters of Photography photographers Tony Hewitt and Peter Eastway is the Grand Prize package in a sweepstakes offered by a group of imaging industry companies.

“There are few experiences that match sunrise or sunset at Uluru, the amazing rock that stands in the heart of Australia’s Red Centre, Eastway says. “Surrounded by the myths and legends of the Aboriginal Dreamtime, there is something very special about this remote area, as well as the other areas we will discover on our Adventure in Oz.”

The Adventures in OZ photo safari sweepstakes ends March 1, 2012, with two Grand Prize drawings. Contestants can enter the sweepstakes online at

The Grand Prize packages, one of which will be awarded to a student and one to a non-student, are valued at approximately $12,000.

The contest is offered by Nik Software, Academic Superstore, Adorama, Animoto, Bay Photo Lab, Datacolor, GNP Frame, Hahnemühle, WPPI, and Zenfolio.

Study: 18 percent consider phones their primary camera

Consumers are complementing their digital photography needs with multi-use devices, such as smartphones and tablets, according to a new study released today from the Consumer Electronics Association.

The CEA found 55 percent of consumers still consider a point-and-shoot camera as their primary photography device — but the number who consider their smartphone to be their primary device for their photography needs has tripled in two years to 18 percent.

The rise of multi-use devices expands photography options and creates new opportunities within the imaging industry, CEA says. “The image quality of SLRs and point-and-shoot cameras is still very important to consumers. In fact, 93 percent of consumers ranked digital point-and-shoots highest in image quality.”

However, 74 percent of consumers favor smartphones when it comes to portability, CEA adds. “With 61 percent of photos taken at the spur of the moment, the convenience of smartphones allows the average consumers to take 35 photos per month on their phones, versus 32 photos per month on their point-and-shoot cameras.”

Backing up points made here about the importance of sharing to photography, the study also found 74 percent of consumers ranked smartphones highest on ease of sharing. Consumers with smartphones and tablets were more likely to use sharing-related applications, such as sending images from one phone to another (38 percent), emailing photos (58 percent), posting photos to a social networking site (48 percent), and texting photos (45 percent).

The survey was conducted in December 2011. CEA’s report, The Changing Landscape of Digital Photography, is available now.


On the Imaging Executive podcast: Turn your best customers into your marketers

Can you transform your businesses’ marketing and public relations from a costly process that does little for the bottom line into a source of successful sales? Alex Goldfayn of the Evangelist Marketing Institute , a former syndicated technology columnist at the Chicago Tribune, explains how to do it in this interview.

Pinhole Press announces new Baby Collection

Pinhole Press, Cohoes, N.Y., announced its new Baby Collection featuring birth announcements, thank-you notes, shower sets, nesting products, gifts for new grandparents and storybooks. The baby collection includes four themes — including Sunny Umbrella, Pink Pram, Diaper Pin and Rocking Horse — as well as a Photo theme which allows shoppers to make their photos the centerpiece of the product.

“The new baby collection was created with the idea of celebrating and cherishing every moment along the way, from the baby shower to baby’s first step,” says Bart Robinson, vice president, Pinhole Press. “We want our products, designs and colors to complement the major milestones, achievements and personalities of your newborn, so you can embrace the current moments, as well as remember and hold onto these memories for years to come.”

The baby collection includes four themes — including Sunny Umbrella, Pink Pram, Diaper Pin and Rocking Horse — as well as a Photo theme which allows shoppers to make their photos the centerpiece of the product.

The company has also restyled its baby announcements to offer more than 70 cards in an assortment of perfectly chic designs.

Neil unveils Photo Slurpy Tumbler

Neil Photo Slurpys show images outside and inside

  Neil Enterprises Inc., Vernon Hills, Ill., created a double-walled acrylic Photo Slurpy Tumbler, which an 11-by-6.5-inch Tapered insert. The Slurpy Tumbler holds two inserts, one viewable from the inside and one viewable from the outside, and includes an acrylic straw with a built in stopper (so the straw doesn’t slip out) and four pre-printed inserts framing a 6-by-4-inch photo. At only $4.50 each, it is sold in 24-count cases.

SeaLife introduces DC1400 Pro Duo underwater package

SeaLife DC150 Pro Duo

SeaLife Cameras, Moorestown, N.J.,  created an underwater photography package for divers, the DC1400 Pro Duo, blending a 14-megapixel underwater camera with a powerful 500-lumen three-in-one LED photo/video light and a digital flash. The package comes with a deluxe soft case, and its MSRP is $1,129.95.

Based on the DC1400 digital camera, the DC1400 Pro Duo incorporates the advanced LED light technology for close-ups with the explosive power of the digital pro flash for long shots.

“Photos and videos of your oh-so limited time beneath the seas are the lasting memories that prove to the world where you have gone and what you have experienced,” says Brian Correia, SeaLife’s director of sales and marketing. “Whether you’re partaking of your first adventure into the big blue world under the water’s surface or you’re an old salt who’s growing webs between their toes, the DC1400 Pro Duo will help you create a vast gallery of memories of your undersea explorations that will last a lifetime.”

The DC1400 digital camera features five simple-to-operate “Piano Keys” that select the camera’s operational modes for superior photos above and below the surface. The DC1400 camera has six underwater color modes allowing photos to be taken down to 200 feet.

Zookbinders revamps customer service, loyalty program

Zookbinders Inc., Deerfield, Ill., revamped its customer service approach with initiatives that make doing business easier and more profitable for professional photographers. The company’s renewed commitment to service excellence includes formation of The Zookbinders Customer Advisory Board and introduction of its customer-loyalty program, Zook Rewards.

“We got pre-occupied with workflow innovation and improvement the last few years, and partially lost sight of our commitment to customer service,” admits Mark Zucker, CEO and founder. “Walking around our offices, I heard our colleagues explaining why we couldn’t do certain things, when we should be talking about how we can provide solutions. We’ve worked hard for 16 years to garner a reputation for high quality products and service, but our service had room for an upgrade.”

The Zookbinders Customer Advisory Board meets formally on a quarterly basis and provides constant feedback on how the company can reduce pain points and be a better business partner. The company now offers online Live Chat (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT Monday-Friday) and new flat-rate shipping fee of $16 anywhere in the United States via FedEx Ground. For an additional $5, the album company drop-ships the order directly to the customer and sends the paperwork to the photographer.

The new points-for-purchases Customer Loyalty Program launches in the second quarter of 2012 with rewards such as free shipping, free samples, free product upgrades and free design services.

AP: Kodak ends naming deal with Hollywood theater

The Associated Press is reporting Eastman Kodak Co. received court approval to end its 20-year, $74-million sponsorship of the Hollywood theater bearing its name, which is the venue for the Academy Awards. The deal was signed in 2000.

According to the report, the company’s financial advisers said in court documents  the benefits of having the company’s name on the 3,300-seat erstwhile Kodak Theatre aren’t worth the contract’s cost.