Instagram increases resolution

instagam home screen

Photo sharing service Instagram has always been optimized for mobile image viewing, first with 612-pixel square images, then up to a whopping 640.

Now it’s taken the leap to 1080-pixel images (still square) and says that while the images will look better, the change will barely effect the site’s performance or users’ data usage.

Despite the pixel count going from less than half a megapixel to more than 1, the file size has not doubled, but rose only from less than 100kb to just 110kb, Petapixel reports.


Google turns 2D photos into 3D video

deep stereo

There have certainly been many stills-to-video conversion tools, and even 2D-to-3D techniques — but “DeepStereo” takes it all many steps further.

The algorithms made by Google researchers can take multiple standard images, analyze them for scene and texture data, create a 3D simulation of the setting, and finally generate a new video that freely moves through the simulated space.

It all looks very realistic. See for yourself here.

The detailed research PDF is here.

Petapixel has more here.

Palette offers accessory controllers for photo editing


Tired of editing photos with keyboards, mice, or touchpads? Now you can snap together modular sliders, dials and buttons to create a controller customized for your workflow.

Developer Palette says it provides “tactility and precision at your finger tips.” Designed particularly for Lightroom and Photoshop, it lets you assign built-in functions to individual magnetically connected controlers. You can “get direct control through your fingertips as you adjust a range and quickly feel where you’ve left off without having to look down.”

Pricing starts at $199.

Here’s more information.

Here’s a demo video.


On the PMA Podcast: Fly4me takes off

fly4me crewNeed some aerial imaging but don’t want to buy and crash an expensive drone of your own? “Let us fly for you,” suggests a new service. “The future of on-demand drones is here.”

Fly4Me is an online marketplace that matches customers with verified (and insured!) pilots. “You will be able to review pilot profiles and start receiving bids within 24 hours of your proposal,” the company says.

And once the drone is in the air, “you will be able to have a fully interactive experience by leveraging our ground-breaking technology,” Flight Stream, which lets you “connect with your pilot during the flight to get a view from the cockpit. You will also be able to comment on flights in progress, ensuring that the drone goes exactly where you need it to.”

The company adds that it can provide “footage that will last a lifetime. Whether it’s for a wedding, graduation or birthday party, our drones deliver high-quality images that will enhance any private event.” It’s also pursuing real estate, mapping, and other areas.

The service says is already approved by the FAA.

In this episode of the PMA Podcast, co-founder Adam Kersnowski, who tells us why they started the company, and what it can offer to photo service providers everywhere.

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

Or you can tune in now with the player below.

fly4me faa

Smaller, lighter, simpler: GoPro goes mini


After a few years of tweaking its popular design, leading action camera maker GoPro debuted a new model that is 50 percent smaller, 40 percent lighter, simpler to operate, and waterproof.
(Strangely, it’s still called “Hero4” like the other models however, albeit with “Session” tacked onto the name.)
The camera features one-button control, and it starts recording video as soon as it powers up. “This simple one button design drastically improves the speed and convenience of capturing life moments as they happen,” the company says. It can be controlled via mobile device… Or perhaps that’s “must be controlled via mobile device,” as many settings that were adjustable via on-camera buttons on previous models now require a phone for adjustment.

The new dual mic system has a microphone on the front of the camera and one on the back. “When you’re filming in windy conditions or during high-speed activities like motorsports, the camera automatically switches to the mic that’s best-suited for capturing optimal audio,” GoPro adds. “The result? Reduced wind noise and enhanced audio capture—no matter what the conditions or activity.”
A possible issue: it’s no bargain. Small wearable cameras can sell for $100-$200, and the Hero4 Session is $400 — and at the price many cameras offer 4k video capture, and this new model still tops out at HD. It also captures 8-megapixel still photos.

Here’s more information.
Here’s a demo video.

“Professional-grade” VR camera system designed


While companies like GoPro plan to capture immersive 360-degree videos by combining existing cameras into multi-cam rigs, others are making all-new imaging tools for “capturing cinematic virtual reality experiences.”

Palo Alto-based Jaunt says it’s “developed a new series of cameras designed from the ground up to enable the next generation of filmmakers and visual creatives to produce the highest quality cinematic virtual reality content.”

The Neo camera system has a large-format sensor, custom wide-angle optics “specifically designed for 3D light-field capture,” and a fully synchronized global shutter sensor array.

The first systems will be available this August.

Photoshelter says film isn’t dead

film- photoshelter

The latest free guide from Photoshelter provides “a look inside the photographers & companies keeping film photography alive,” the company says, “who continue to honor film photography today.”

The guide looks at:

  • Why does film persist?
  • Why do photographers continue to use it?
  • What iconic film cameras are photographers turning to?
  • What are the film-based projects you should know about?
  • Which companies are keeping film alive?

The free guide is here.

Sony senses money

sony exmor sensors 1

Already the world’s leading image sensor maker, Sony is, for the first time in decade, issuing public stock to fund further development in the technology.

Sony calls it’s a “profit generation and investment for growth” phase, and says it “plans to apply the funds raised by this issuance of new shares to expenditures for increasing the production capacity of, and research and development for, stacked CMOS image sensors in the Devices segment in order to further enhance profitability.”

Here is the full announcement.


40-year ban lifted: Visitor photography allowed again in the White House


Michelle Obama on photos at White House

For 40 years, visitors to the home of the United States President could not take pictures.

Today First Lady Michelle Obama literally tore up that policy in a video she posted to Instagram, with the accompanying text: “Big news! Starting today, we’re lifting the ban on cameras and photos on the @WhiteHouse public tour. Visitors are now able to take photos and keep those memories for a lifetime!”

The White House press office later released an official statement, saying “Today, the White House is lifting its longstanding camera and photo ban on public tours. This ban has been in place for over 40 years… Effective today, guests are now welcome to take photos throughout the White House tour route and keep those memories for a lifetime.”

Permitted items now include phones and compact still cameras with a lens no longer than 3 inches. Still prohibited are video cameras (which is weird, seeing as how all phones and compact cams capture video) cameras with detachable lenses, tablets, tripods, monopods, and camera sticks, as well as flash photography and livestreaming.

Also: The White House is now posting here the new pictures taken by tourists.

white house photos


Photoflex bought by Promark


Lighting manufacturer Photoflex reports it’s been acquired by Promark International.

Photoflex had all-but gone out of business earlier this year. (See previous coverage here.)

“Together, Promark and Photoflex will focus on delivering high quality, industry-defining lighting solutions for photographers of all skill levels,” the two companies announced.

Photoflex says “business will go on as usual” now, as it develops photographic lighting tools.