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



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, 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.

Shutterfly: Americans fail to share memories

shutterfly logo large

shutterfly logoOnline photo service Shutterfly reports most Americans take most of their pictures with their phones — and leave them there, as “more than half of new photos aren’t being shared after they are snapped.”

A survey of 1,169 regular photo takers “reveals that Americans now take more than 10 billion photos every month,” the company says, “bolstered by the ever-present mobile phone, which nearly 60 percent of respondents say is their primary photo taking device.”

• Half of the respondents hasn’t looked at a picture that is more than ten years old in the last month.
• Millennials snap more than 100 photos each month on average, and they’re unlikely to have looked at an old photo in the past month.
• Ninety percent agree that revisiting and sharing the story behind a photo with someone else makes it more meaningful.
• 84 percent learned about their family memories from photos accompanied by verbal stories or detailed captions.
• Nearly half of people say that as a society, Americans are not spending enough time with family revisiting the stories behind photos. 


Would Dick Tracy wear this?

berg watch

berg watchDutch designer Hermen van den Burg says his smartwatch combines robust functionality with avant-garde design in a convenient user-friendly device — at an affordable price. 

The Burg 12 Smartwatch has full phone functionality to make and receive calls with the watch’s speakerphone, using an included SIM card, or paired with either an iPhone or Android phone.

Why are we covering it here? Well, it also has a camera built in, because these days, what doesn’t? However, we couldn’t find any indication what resolution it captured, so we’d guess it’s in the low megapixels.

The watch has a 1.5-inch touchscreen with a 240 x 240 resolution. It also provides music and video playback, a calendar, contact list, and voice recording.

It’s $199 at Walmart and on Amazon.

First photo from a Comet

comet photo

comet photo

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe landed its rover — and the Philae lander sent back the first photo captured on a comet.

Philae bounced on arrival, and is now grounded about a kilometer from the intended target — but hey, after 10 years and traveling previously unimaginable distances all around the inner solar system, that ain’t bad.

The two-image mosaic, from the lander’s CIVA camera of seven micro-cameras in a ring, also shows one of the lander’s three feet in the foreground.

The ESA’s Rosetta blog is here.

It features this great simulation of the entire mission.

Flying cam captures 4k

dji 4k cam copter

dji 4k cam copter

Remember when remote-controlled planes and copters only had VGA-res cameras? It wasn’t that long ago, was it? Today handheld- and tripod-mounted 4k cameras are hardly mainstream — but DJI’s latest drone has a 12-megapixel sensor for full 4k video, as well as Raw stills.

“Everything is better in 4K,” DJI says, which “gives you the power to make every shot a masterpiece.”

dji 4k cam

The Inspire 1 remote-controlled quadcopter has a 3-axis gimble on the bottom to stabilize the camera, the lens of which has 9 elements in 9 groups including an aspherical element, the company says, “producing extreme clarity.”

Also, a real-time feed from the Inspire 1’s camera is displayed in 720p HD on your mobile device, “giving you a perfect view of what the camera sees to frame your shots.” DJI says its Lightbridge technology can now transmit the video feed from up to 2km away.

The cam-copter will sell for $2,899.


SanDisk transfers photos from mobile to desktop devices

sandisk ixpand

sandisk ixpand

Noting that almost 75 percent of all images are now captured on smartphones and tablets — and that 82 percent of U.S. smartphone users find transferring photos, videos, music and other files to be very important to them — SanDisk says its iXpand Flash Drive offers “a quick and safe way” to move content between devices.

The drive transfers photos and videos from an iPhone or iPad to a Mac or PC “without cables, Internet connections, or bandwidth limitations,” the company says. The iXpand sync app launches when the drive is plugged into an iPhone or iPad, and can be configured to automatically sync photos and videos from the camera roll to the drive.

You can also store a movie on the iXpand and instantly play it from the drive on their iOS device.

Storage options range from 16–64GB, price from $60–120.