About Paul Worthington

Paul Worthington is a journalist and consumer imaging consultant. He produces the annual Future Imaging Summit at PMA@CES, and writes for PMA Newsline and PMA Magazine, as well as other publications.

Sony stabilizes full-frame mirrorless camera

sony 5-axis

sony 5-axis

Sony updated its A7 mirrorless camera, saying it now offers the first full-frame ILC with a 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization system.

The 5-axis system compensates for yaw, pitch, roll, and vertical and horizontal motion, and Sony says it will yield 4.5 stops of stabilization correction. As the Imaging Resource notes, Olympus first debuted a 5-axis system — and with Sony’s investment in Olympus, it could be using similar technology.

The A7 II has the same 24-megapixel sensor as its predecessor, but with a 30 percent faster focus speed and 1.5x better tracking. It is currently official only in Japan.

 

Flickr decorates walls

flickr wall art

flickr wall art

Yahoo’s Flickr photo sharing site says it is now “bringing the best photographers from around the world to your walls.”

The service will sell large prints of more than 50 million “freely-licensed Creative Commons images” and selected collections from Flickr’s licensed artists. (Artists retain 51 percent of net sales, TechCrunch reported.)

Among the images now available are “interstellar dreamscapes from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center” with infrared solar flares, “gaseous galaxies in deep space, and beautiful satellite images of our earthly home.”

This follows the October debut of personal photo “Wall Art” prints. Sizes range from 8×10 to 20×30-inches.

“Smartphone Mums” risk losing memories

nero Moms

nero Moms

In London, imaging software developer Nero says its research shows “44 percent of this first generation of ‘smartphone mums’ admit that they would lose all of their photos if their phone was lost or broken.”

The study found 92 percent of UK mothers use smartphones to photograph their children, and 49 percent believe social media pages are the safest place to store photos, the company adds.

One-fifth “complain they have lost a treasured digital photo.”

“We would urge parents not to play roulette with precious memories when backing up securely is such an easy and simple thing to do,” Nero says. “Children grow up so fast that losing even a small amount of images can cut out a large chunk of a child’s life. Backing up is simple and easy, so there really is no excuse to forget.” (Yes, they sell back-up utilities — but the general idea is true of all “mums,” and hey, many other young mothers too.)

 

JVC offers Micro Four Thirds camcorder with 4K resolution

jvc 4k cam

jvc 4k cam

JVC says its “palm-sized camera with professional features …makes ultra-high definition 4K economical for cinematographers, webcasters and broadcasters, corporate and live event production teams, and independent filmmakers.”

The GY-LS300 compact camcorder features a Micro Four Thirds lens mount, “to accommodate the largest variety of lenses and adapters without compromising image quality and lens characteristics,” the company adds. It has a Super 35 sensor, as well as a 3.5-inch display with smart focus assist. It’s $4,450 for the body, available in March.

More information is here.

 

Google advances image recognition

google image pizza

google image pizza

I don’t know about you, but now I want pizza.

On its Research Blog, scientists at Google who are “building a natural description of images” report they’ve improved the automatic accurate description of a complex scene.

“People can summarize a complex scene in a few words without thinking twice,” they write. “It’s much more difficult for computers. But we’ve just gotten a bit closer — we’ve developed a machine-learning system that can automatically produce captions to accurately describe images the first time it sees them.”

How? By merging “recent computer vision and language models into a single jointly trained system, taking an image and directly producing a human readable sequence of words to describe it.”

The researchers add that the system could “eventually help visually impaired people understand pictures, provide alternate text for images in parts of the world where mobile connections are slow, and make it easier for everyone to search on Google for images.”

The full report is here.

 

This Week’s Tech News

3d moon

3d moon

Are you interested in more than just photography news — but you don’t exactly have time to study all the tech news blogs?

We’ve got you covered! Check out the Top Ten Today–Tech service, which provides a summary of recent technology news… While covering only the truly important or innovative announcements.

Among this week’s items are:

1. “Print” a base on the Moon

2. 3D-printed guns made practical with new bullet design

3. President Obama backs Net Neutrality

4. Internet service sent via Satellite

5. Robot scallops to swim in your blood

Read the rest here.

Sony sensor speeds phone’s focus

sony sensor

sony sensor

Dedicated cameras snap shots faster than phones thanks to specialized autofocus functions — but Sony seeks to close that gap a little with a new image sensor that also has phase-detection AF.

The 21-megapixel Exmor RS IMX230 is the first CMOS image sensor for smartphones equipped with an onboard image plane phase detection AF signal processing function, Sony says, “to achieve excellent focus tracking of fast-moving subjects.”

It will also yield improved high dynamic range (HDR) function, with high-resolution still images and 4K video recording.

“These features fulfill the growing needs in smartphone photography for high-speed autofocus and clear, high-quality capture of bright and dark areas even in backlit scenes,” the company says.

The sensor will ship in April 2015.

There are more details here.

Shutterfly acquires photo-printing subscription service

groovebook

groovebook

In the late 90s/early 2000s, it seemed that at least once a year Kodak acquired another online imaging service that appeared to provide many of the same functions as previous acquisitions.

Of late Shutterfly also looks to be acquiring overlapping if not redundant start-ups. This week the photofinishing service paid $14.5 million for Groovebook.
The app distinguishes itself somewhat from the crowd with a subscription service that — like Ecce Terram and timeshel — combines 100 photos into a personalized 4.5×6.5-inch book, for $3 every month.
The new company is best known for receiving a $150,000 investment on the TV show Shark Tank.

In a press release, one of the start-up’s founders says joining Shutterfly will help get costs down for the sub service, and the Shark Tank investors are quoted as saying the original entrepreneurs are now “financially independent and free”  — but what prevented Shutterfly from launching its own subscription service (perhaps one even tied into any of the other apps it’s acquired) instead of spending $14.5 million? Apart from a reported 500,000 paid subscribers, “adding GrooveBook to our family of brands,” Shutterfly says, “will introduce a new photo book form factor while leveraging the viral, social, and word of mouth nature of the GrooveBook mobile apps.” Those many sub-brands now include Tiny Prints, Penguin Digital, Wedding Paper Divas, R and R Images, Treat, MyPublisher, and ThisLife.

Wrist-mounted flying camera wins Intel prize money

nexie wrist drone

nexie wrist drone

The Nixie got a lot of coverage this Summer when it debuted on Kickstarter — and it took another step closer to commercial feasibility with an award from Intel.

Basically a wearable quadcopter drone that rests on your wrist before launching to take your selfie, the Nixie won the $500,000 grand prize in Intel’s “Make It Wearable” competition, Phy.org reports.

There’s a demo video here.

 

On the PMA Podcast: Investing in photography’s future

evan N

evan NEntrepreneur Evan Nisselson has a long history of working with new companies in the photography field — and now with LDV Capital, he’s investing directly in start-ups that can capitalize on the changes still affecting imaging.

In this episode of the PMA Podcast, Nisselson explains what changes are having the most impact in imaging now, what he looks for in a new company, and why the Photography field remains one in which profits can be made.

You can download the episode or subscribe to our podcast here.

Or listen in now with the player below.