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.

Fujifilm rents pro cameras

fujifilm rents2

fujifilm rents

Customers can now “experience an X-Series product” without buying one, Fujifilm says — and photographers can rent bodies and lenses during a repair.

The new Fujifilm Professional Rental program is aimed at “enthusiast and professional photographers who want to experience” an X-Series camera or Fujinon XF lens, the company says, “for a limited time during a special event, a weekend getaway, or just for fun while out taking pictures.”

There’s more information here.


NatGeo photographer ascended Everest with Windows Phone

alverez microsoft

alverez microsoft

What do you give a photographer who could shoot with any camera? A Windows phone, apparently: Microsoft this week profiles National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez took “smartphone photography to the next level” by climbing Mount Everest without any “real” cameras in hand.

The two-week trek up Mount Everest in April 2014 was shot with a pair of Lumia smartphones, and “it’s likely… he was thinking how lucky he was to not need to schlep a five-pound, professional-grade SLR up the world’s steepest incline,” the company says.

Alvarez has worked with National Geographic for 20 years. The magazine “asked him to photograph the Seven Natural Wonders of the World using only Microsoft smartphones.”

After the event, Alvarez commented that “the digital jump didn’t surprise me so much, but the miniaturization of cameras into telephones I never really saw coming. Now, when I have to go back to the big SLRs for work, I sometimes forget how huge they are. I mean, just how gargantuan is a pro SLR with a lens on it? They’re great imaging devices, but at the cost of an awful lot of weight, and an awful lot of money.”

It’s not just the weight differnce: “Alvarez manages to easily capture the kind of genuine human moments you have to finesse a bit while packing a full SLR rig,” the profile adds. “Everyone knows I’m a professional photographer,” Alvarez said. “Yes, I’m shooting for Microsoft; yes, these pictures will be used commercially; yes, they’ll sign releases. Everyone’s happy with it. But using a smaller device is just a lot less intimidating, because even though they know all that stuff, the camera that I’m putting in front of them is something that even people in the Khumbu Valley see every day. They all have smartphones and they all use them.”

It’s an interesting read: The full profile is here.


Stickie cam for simpler selfies

podo cam

podo cam

Tired of holding your phone or camera at arm’s length to snap a selfie? A new tiny camera is designed to stick to most surfaces, so you can more easily get into your shot.

San Francisco-based Podo Labs says they’ve made “the first stick and shoot camera.” With it, you can “forget the selfie stick. Podo is a wireless, re-stickable camera that turns any surface into a photo booth. Just stick, shoot, & share.”

It offers a pivoting base, timer, 2-hour battery life, Bluetooth connectivity, and 8-megapixel still and 720 HD video capture.

The company says Podo sticks to walls, windows, poles (basically any solid surface) using a re-washable, re-stickable pad. “We added a strong magnet in there too.”

The Podo is now on Kickstarter for $79 now; it will $99 this Fall.

There’s more information here.

podo cam graphic

Samsung improves camera on Galaxy phone



Samsung says its new Galaxy S6 and S6 edge phones “are equipped with an incredibly vivid, bright and fast” camera. It has a 16-megapixel sensor and an f1.9 lens to “provide the most superior image quality in a smartphone.”

The company says it also provides auto real-time high dynamic range, optical image stabilization, and IR-detect white balance.

The phones also have a 5-inch touchscreen that is “enhanced for outdoor visibility with a brighter display.”

Lenovo offers 2-in-1 camera/smartphone, projector


lenova vibe

“Connectivity and mobility are driving consumers to record and share more of life’s moments,” Lenova says, and so “we designed the Vibe Shot to help them capture every moment.”

The “2-in-1” device is a “fabulous camera that shutterbugs will love,” as well as a smartphone. It has a 16-megapixel sensor and a six-piece modular lens with optical image stabilization. The tricolor flash adjusts photo luminosity automatically based on ambient light conditions. The infrared focus is “twice as fast as normal autofocus,” the company adds, and there’s also a physical shutter button.

The $349 Android phone also has a 5-inch display, and 32GB of storage.


Also: Lenovo says its pocket projector will “surprise and delight media lovers who are limited by their small screen mobile devices or who just want a larger-than-life entertainment experience.” It snaps onto a phone, and projects a 110-inch image “on any wall or surface in low-light conditions.” It has a 50-lumen high-contrast optical engine, the company says, to “display colorful, vivid and bright images.” The $250 device also automatically corrects for distortion while allowing users to rotate the angle up to 90 degrees for the best views.

IEEE updating image quality ratings


ieee_logo_mb_taglineIEEE says its industry-wide effort will “develop and deliver a standardized, metrics-based rating system for mobile device image quality” — and they’re asking others to join in the effort.

“Stakeholders globally… (are) invited to participate,” says the professional organization dedicated to advancing technology. “The IEEE Camera Phone Image Quality conformity assessment steering committee is engaging carriers, mobile-device camera designers and manufacturers in creating a rating system that is easily understandable for consumers.”

The goal is “development of a standardized approach to testing and certifying smartphone cameras. This standardized approach will provide great value to players throughout the camera phone supply chain, as well as consumers,” IEE says. The standards association adds that “There is a need in the marketplace for a clear, concise and comprehensive definition of image quality that consumers of current and future mobile imaging devices worldwide could use in comparing products. We envision a rating system that would eliminate ambiguity about the image quality to expect from a given device, and help consumers make better-educated buying decisions for their specific needs. In these ways, these efforts bring clarity to the marketplace and ultimately fuel innovation of higher-quality devices and overall market growth.”

There’s more information here.


Nikon zooms 83x; updates SLR

nikon COOLPIX-P900

nikon COOLPIX-P900

The new Coolpix P900 has a built-in 24-2000mm lens — an “exciting long zoom” that Nikon says is “capable of reaching previously unimaginable distances.”

Also, the Snapbridge function shares images from the camera to a compatible smartphone or tablet via built in WiFi and Near Field Communication.

The 16-megapixel camera snaps 7 frames per second. It also has GPS and a 3-inch tilting display. It’s $600.

Nikon also updated its 24-megapixel SLR: the D7200 has a larger buffer capacity and 30 percent faster image processing than its predecessor. It has a 100-25,600 ISO range, a 3-inch LCD, and adds WiFi and NFC connectivity.

“In addition to robust performance and incredible image quality, the D7200 also sports a feature set designed to foster creativity in any level of photographer,” the company says. The DX-format SLR “features the next generation of picture controls, including Flat and Clarity settings, to help users craft each individual image to their intended expression.”
It’s $1200 body-only.

Top Tech#6: Holograms, eye implants, bionics, haptics, rockets, teleportation.. and doodling

leia city

leia city

There’s a lot of technology news — but this digest aims to highlight only the most interesting or important innovations.

This edition’s Headlines

Leia’s only hope: Holograms
Lenses as thin as paper
3D-printed wearable temperature sensor
Second Sight implants aid eyes
Brain-bossed Bionic Hand
Gadgets that touch you
Smartphone scans for HIV
Take-off for brain-driven drone
‘Butt Boop’ Boeing Launcher
Beam me up — Quantum teleportation achieved
3Doodler draws solid lines
Intel flies 3D camera

You can read the full article here.

Fujifilm offers “Cute little photobooks”

pop book

fujifilm pop books

“We all take photos with our mobile phones, but how many of those photos will ever see the light of day?” Fujifilm asks.

Is the UK, Fujifilm is testing an app that “makes a photobook of 21 pictures with just a few taps on the screen.” Pop Book uses photos on an iPhone or iPad, or a Facebook or Instagram account. “It’s a quick, easy and low cost way to use the photos,” the company says, “so you can show, share, organize or simply enjoy them.”

The app is free for iOS; an Android version is in development. The 10cm or 13cm square photobook costs is £4.99, including delivery.

There’s more information here.

pop book

QuickFlics delivers phone photos to drives or DVD



A new service transfers photos and videos from phones onto a flash drive or DVD, and  delivers the physical media to the customer’s front door

Idaho-based QuickFlics says its “memory-preservation options” include a 4-gigabyte flash drive or a DVD. “Cloud-based storage options are understandably popular, but many consumers still want a physical storage option – something they can touch, see, and put on their shelves. Now users have a streamlined way to preserve their memories, and media no longer takes up valuable space on their smart phones.”

The iOS and Android app is free to try; subscribers pay a monthly fee. Orders “will arrive within a week,” the company says. “Enjoy your memories forever.”