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.

Stay off those train tracks!



The photo ain’t worth it: Believe it or not, people *die* every year from purposely standing in front of an onrushing train.
…Okay, they were just posing for a photo — on a train track.
On which a train arrived. At full speed.

As The Online Photographer reported earlier this year, “on January 18th, in Auburn, Washington State, a 42-year-old Las Vegas man was struck and killed by an Amtrak Cascades passenger train traveling from Portland to Seattle. What was he doing on the tracks? You guessed it — posing for his girlfriend, who was taking pictures of him.”

• In 2012, TOP reports, a 52-year-old California high school photography teacher was killed on the train tracks. “She was photographing one train approaching her and was struck by another coming the other way. She must have assumed that the horns and ground vibration she heard were coming from the train in front of her, not another one behind her.”

More than 900 people were injured or killed while trespassing on railroad property in the U.S. just last year alone, according to Federal Railroad Administration statistics.

Now the Union Pacific Railroad is officially “urging professional photographers to refrain from taking photographs of sports teams, high school seniors, wedding parties and other subjects on or near train tracks or trestles.”

“You never know when a train will come along,” says Union Pacific’s director of public safety, and so “we want to remind photographers that walking on or near railroad tracks is extremely dangerous.”

Want to safely and legally access a site? Look here.

Five reasons to attend Mobile Photo Connect

mobile photo connect

mobile photo connect

Hey, the fact that we’ll be there isn’t on the list – what gives, Hans? : )

PMA is a media sponsor for the conference this month that “offers unique learning and networking opportunities for senior executives in the mobile photography industry.”

1. Conference chair Hans Hartman says his Mobile Photo Connect will let you “network with movers and shakers from key mobile, imaging and photo app vendors shaping the mobile photo business.”
Among the top companies going are Adobe, Carnival Cruise Lines, CEWE, Dropbox, Ecce Terram, Fujifilm, HTC, Kodak Alaris, Lifepics, Magisto, Mailpix, Mediaclip, Mosaic, RPI, and Walgreens.

2. The summit will feature four panel discussions on photo organizing, storytelling, funding mobile photography startups, and profiting in photos.

3. There will also be live demos of 33 photo apps, and 4., a panel of imaging industry investors.

5. World-renowned photographer Doug Menuez will present a first-hand account of how Steve Jobs and other leading innovators of the Digital Revolution struggled, failed, sacrificed and succeeded. “This photo-rich session will be more than a reflection on a fascinating past – it will be a source of insight and inspiration for today’s entrepreneurs attending the Mobile Photo Connect conference.”

The Mobile Photo Connect executive conference is October 15, 2014, at the Fort Mason Conference Center in San Francisco.

There’s more information here.


GoPro goes full 4k

gopro hero 4

gopro hero 4

Outdoor action cam maker GoPro updated its lineup with a cheaper model, and a full 4k camera.

The Hero4 Black captures 30 frames per second of full 4k video — twice that of a previous GoPro that took 4k at 15fps. It will also take 2.7K video at 50 frames per second, and 1080p video at 120fps for slo-mo playback.

Additional enhancements include improved image quality and low-light performance, as well as highlight moment tagging and an improved user interface “that allows for easier discoverability and access to key features and controls,” the company says. Yu can extract an 8-megapixel still from the 4k video. Also, GoPro says its redesigned audio system now captures high-fidelity sound with 2x the dynamic range of previous models. It’s $500, and includes WiFi and Bluetooth.

The $400 Silver models doesn’t deliver the full 4k or slo-mo, but it adds a touchscreen “for those who value convenience and ease-of-use over no-holds-barred performance.” And while it won’t take 4k, it can snap “12-megapixel magazine cover-quality photos at burst speeds of 30 photos per second,” the company claims.

There’s also a new entry-level model: it captures 1080p video, but lacks the WiFi and other high-end features. It’s $130.


Flying cameras get FAA approval

parrot bebopdrone

mit drone light

The Federal Aviation Administration is now permitting the use of camera-equipped drones on movie sets. It’s hopefully a first step in lightening regulations on all pros and hobbyists who want to shoot stills or video from their quadcopter.

The Consumer Electronics Association says the FAA decision “is an important milestone as the agency develops rules to allow unmanned aircraft to operate safely in U.S. airspace. We support the FAA’s action and related guidance that provides a model for other private businesses seeking approval to operate drones in populated areas under controlled environments.”

The devices are used in aerial coverage for sports and real estate, assistance in search and rescue and disaster relief missions, and “providing novel new camera angles to capture professional and personal video footage,” the CEA adds.  “The sky is the limit.”

CEA forecasts the global market for consumer drones will approach $300 million by 2018 (just under a million units).

Seamless 4k panoramic capture


Kogeto_cameraA new device captures panoramic 360-degree video capture at 4K resolution.

The Joey camera is primarily target at VR displays like the Oculus Rift goggles, where it can “take the immersive virtual reality experience to the next level” says developer Kogeto.

The new 360-degree 4K camera was already deployed by Lexus to for a recent car launch, the company says. It will also provide live webcast and 2-way videoconferencing capabilities.

Kogeto is a Manhattan-based publicly traded company that manufactures its products in the US. It now offers the Lucy professional panoramic video camera, and the Dot panoramic video accessory for the iPhone.

There’s more information here.

kogeto joey pano

SLR-like control on an iPhone with “Manual” app

manual app

 manual app

Apple has long been criticized for not providing developers with deep enough access to the iPhone’s camera operation. That’s changed in the latest version of iOS, and a two-man team has already released an app that capitalizes on that greater control.

Developer Little Pixels calls Manual “a powerful camera app with full control over your image.” The tool lets you “quickly and simply adjust all parameters of your image.” It controls Shutter, ISO, White Balance, Focus, and Exposure Compensation. (There’s no aperture control as the lens iris is fixed.)

It also provides a live histogram and a Rule of Thirds grid overlay.

“If you’re a photographer tired of trying to tap your way to the exposure you want, then this is the app for you,” they conclude.

There’s more information here.

The app is here.

Polaroid’s Cube “Captures Life”

polaroid Cube

polaroid Cube

Polaroid says its new Cube “lifestyle action video camera” is a “cute, fun, lighthearted camera” with a 35mm square design “harkening back to 35mm film.”

While outdoor photography is a “high-octane market,” the company notes that “we’re not all cliff divers or extreme athletes. Many of us would like to be able to capture and share a monumental moment such as our child’s first bike ride, a walk in the park with the family dog or a family weekend beach excursion out on the water.” While people use all kinds of cameras to capture those moments, Polaroid say its Cube makes “fun and easy” with a one-button design, a weatherproof rubberized exterior, and a built-in magnet “allowing it to attach to bicycle handlebars, helmets, household appliances and more.”

The camera has a 124-degree wide-angle lens, and captures HD video or 6-megapixel stills. There’s also a microphone and an LED light. It’s $100. There’s more information here.


ACDSee Pro turns 8

acdsee view

acdsee view

ACD Systems says version 8 of its Pro image management app includes updated editing features such as “Pixel Targeting” that selects parts of an image based on color and tones.

Also, the Edit Mode Fill tool “can enrich every pixel the same color as the one you clicked with your selected background color for fast enhancements.” ACDSee Pro 8 “provides the richest combination of features and value available in one solution,” the company says, and is “the most complete solution for the enhancement and control of image production for professional photographers.”

ACDSee Pro 8 is $200. The standard edition ACDSee 18 is $80.


Financing for app developers: Free paper from Mobile Photo Connect

mobile photo connect

mobile photo connect

Are you thinking of developing a mobile imaging app — but also thinking that the project might cost more than you have? There are financing options available, and if you want to know more about them, there’s now information ready — at no cost.

In preparation for its session on “The Ins and Outs of Funding mobile photography startups,” at the upcoming Mobile Photo Connect conference, conference organizer Suite 48 Analytics is offering a free white paper that describes photo app developers’ and investors’ considerations for financing photo app startups.

The Financing Photo Apps study draws lessons from interviews with developers with revenues ranging from less than $100K to over $20M.  The investors span the range from angel investors to investment banks.

Topics include:
•       Valuation drivers in financing transactions
•       Valuation drivers at exit
•       Characteristics of “good” investors
•       Deciding between transaction and revenue goals
•       Deciding when it’s time to get to market

The studies authors are Don Strickland, president and CEO of Strickland & Associates and adjunct professor at Imperial College London, and Hans Hartman, president of Suite 48 Analytics and chair of Mobile Photo Connect.

Several of the study participants will also participate in various panels at the Mobile Photo Connect conference on October 15 in San Francisco, including Rudy Burger, Managing Partner at Woodside Capital, and Evan Nisselson, Partner at LDV Capital.

The free white paper is here.


“Expressing beauty” – Casio cam captures “stunning self-portraits”

casio exilim x

casio exilim... ladies

Casio says its latest twistable camera was “developed with the goal of expressing beauty in two ways,” including the new sensor and Make-up Plus mode on the inside, and an outside that is “designed with the aim of offering users a beauty tool that is itself a delight to own.”

The case is “coated the front panel with multiple layers of variably processed transparent resin to give the camera a unique brilliance, and cut the ornaments surrounding the lens in the shape of diamonds, creating a beauty enhancement tool that stands out from anything else… The texture changes depending on the angle from which it is viewed. In this way, the front panel shows a wide range of subtle differences every time the user holds the camera, expressing the many sides of a woman’s beauty.”

The inside: the EX-TR50 has a new lens and 1/1.7-inch high-sensitivity 11-megapixel sensor that is “the same size used in Casio’s top-of-the-line digital camera, the EX-100,” the company says. “By adopting the new lens and sensor, the camera brings out feminine beauty with remarkable clarity.” Also, the Make-up Plus feature enhances skin quality and tone, and “takes advantage of the camera’s high resolution to capture images so detailed that every eyelash and hair of the subject can be seen.” And the “Posing Shot” function takes five successive photos while providing voice guidance for each shot. “Just press the shutter button once to take a series of self-portraits while changing poses like a fashion model,” Casio says.

The Exilim series lets you rotate the lens, frame, and monitor, “allowing shooting from various angles impossible with a conventional camera,” the company notes. They have “garnered rave reviews among young women in countries worldwide, especially in Asia, for their usefulness as new beauty-enhancing tools that go far beyond what an ordinary digital camera can do.”

Pricing and availability were not announced — but with the above marketing language we’re guessing it’s going only into a few markets…

There’s more information here.