HTC’s tube-like camera

htc RE

htc RE

While HTC invites you to “Step out from behind the viewfinder and focus on the moment, not on your camera,” its new camera would mandate you have to do just that — as it lacks a viewfinder.

The RE is billed as a “remarkable little camera,” and the company says it “applies HTC’s innovative touch and stunning design philosophy to break into a completely new product category and reinvent photography to suit current and future trends… Once people get a RE in their hands, they won’t want to put it down.”

The RE has a 16-megapixel sensor and a 146-degree wide-angle lens. It has WiFi to send photos through a paired mobile phone, and it’s also waterproof without needing an additional case. It will sell for $200.

The “minimalist cylindrical design… fits naturally and comfortably in the palm of your hand,” HTC adds, and the grip sensor “instantly activates the camera as it’s picked up, eliminating the need for a power button.” The large shutter button captures photos with a tap, and videos with a longer press.

The company is betting that “For the moments that really matter, you want to be at the heart of the action, not peering through a lens.” But given that anyone can, y’know, choose not to look through the viewfinder while shooting with the camera or phone they already have  (I’ve done it that way often) it begs the question of what this design offers apart from no framing the shot when it is important you get it just right — and no checking immediately after to ensure it exposed and focused correctly.

There’s more information here.


Unveiling imaging apps

Mobile Photo Connect

Mobile Photo Connect

Seventeen mobile photo app developers will debut their work at the Mobile Photo Connect conference in San Francisco next week.

Among the start-ups will be Applied Recognition, AtomKnows LLC, BeFunky, CanvasPop, Eversnap Pro, Joindrop – Onepastfive GmbH, Krome Photos, Looksery Inc., MailPix, Orbeus, PhotoGurus,  Pixicle, Quirl, Sky Mobile Technologies, Takes Inc., Taopix Ltd, and Walgreens.

The conference says more than 130 photo app developers, imaging companies, mobile vendors, and other industry participants from Asia, Europe and the Americas will attend.

The announcements will include face recognition technology, iOS native photo book creation and ordering, event photography, photo auto-matching, real-time face perfecting and transforming effects, and more.

PMA is the media sponsor for Mobile Photo Connect, an executive conference focused on promoting innovation and partnerships in the mobile photography ecosystem. The event will be held October 15, 2014, at the Fort Mason Conference Center in San Francisco.

There’s more information here.


Image sensor may be 12x more sensitive

12x sensor

12x sensor

Better than the human eye? That’s the talk surrounding a new imaging technology that captures more complete color information at each photosite on a sensor.

How much color? It will distinguish 36 individual color channels, twelve times that of today’s chips — and our own eyeballs.

The “Transverse Field Detectors” developed by researchers at the Universities of Granada, Spain and Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy, can be precisely tuned to detect a photon’s wavelength.

The Imaging Resource has the full story here.


Deep learning into image recognition and beyond

Mobile Photo Connect

Mobile Photo Connect

Only a week left to get ready for Mobile Photo Connect in San Francisco — and prepare for the “Deep Dive” the conference is promising into key areas in imaging technology and marketing.

Most important perhaps is picture organization: Consumers are already overwhelmed by the sheer number of photos they and their families and friends capture and share; now, significant changes in usage models are adding complexity for customers and vendors alike.

• A majority of consumers store photos on multiple devices or web services, thereby making it more difficult for them to keep track of their visual assets. A Suite 48 Analytics research study on The Dispersed Photo Challenge found that 76 percent of North American respondents use at least two different types of devices to store a significant number of photos.

• Photo consumption and visual communication are increasingly becoming “capture and flow” rather than “capture and store” processes. More and more photos are instantly shared through services like Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Instagram Direct. Finding these images after the fact is an insurmountable challenge for many.

Most traditional photo management and photo sharing programs have not kept up with the rapidly changing needs of today’s “any device + any sharing method” photo users. However, a number of innovative startups are tackling this problem by bringing to bear leading edge photo categorization, image recognition and deep learning technologies.

Mobile Photo Connect “will provide a unique opportunity to see many of these game-changing applications demonstrated in the course of 33 show-and-tell presentations – as well as two in-depth panel discussions dedicated to this key topic:

The future of photo organizing: from manual to deep learning, with:
•       Matthew Zeiler, Founder and CEO of Clarifai, winner of last year’s ImageNet Challenge
•       Naren Dubey, CEO of PhotoGurus and author of the All Too Much – The Problem of too Many Digital Photos white paper
•       Chris Lee, Product Manager, Photos at Dropbox
•       Yi Li, CEO of Orbeus

The future of storytelling: from sharing photos to sharing experiences, with:
•       Reid Genauer, CMO at Magisto
•       Loren Appin, Director of Growth at Pixable
•       Jochen Moelle, Head of Developer Program at Kodak Alaris
•       Mok Oh, Co-founder & CEO of Moju Labs, former Chief Scientist at PayPal

PMA is the media sponsor for Mobile Photo Connect, an executive conference focused on promoting innovation and partnerships in the mobile photography ecosystem. The event will be held October 15, 2014, at the Fort Mason Conference Center in San Francisco.




Printers and services: HP to split into separate companies.

hp logo

hp logoA few years back there was talk that the well-liked head of HP’s immensely profitable printer division would take the reigns of the whole company after another boardroom kerfuffle. Instead, HP favored the direction heralded by its purchase of Autonomy and EDS: enterprise IT services.

Today the company says it will split in two along those old battle lines: Printers and PC will now be sold by HP, and services will be the business of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise.

Current shareholders will own a stake in both new businesses.

Reuters report is here.


Google Glass fights crime

google wink

google winkDon’t go breaking any laws in Dubai: facial recognition technology combined with the head-mounted camera and computer in Google’s Glass device may make it easier to ID suspects, detectives there say.

Reuters reports the Gulf Arab emirate will deploy software developed by Dubai police to connect the wearer and a database of wanted people. Once the device “recognized” a suspect based on a face print, it would alert the officer wearing the gadget.

Glass is available now, pre-mass release, for $1,500.

The full story is here.

Animoto surveys “next generation of home movies”

Animoto Video Creation Survey

Animoto Video Creation SurveyToday, 85 percent of us enjoy creating videos, Animoto reports in a new survey.

The Animoto Video Creation Study surveyed 1,031 U.S. consumers who had recorded or created a personal video in the past six months, the company says, and showed that the vast majority enjoyed creating videos, while 80 percent said they create videos to keep in touch with friends and family.

The Animoto web service provides video creation tools. “We were curious about how people thought about capturing video and what motivated them to edit their personal video clips,” the company says. “The survey showed consumers are actively interested in creating videos that can be shared and watched numerous times. They’re inspired to bring their life stories to video, so they can preserve their memories and experience them in a meaningful way with friends and family.”

Other findings include:

• 76 percent have used a smartphone’s camera, and 60 percent used a digital camera with video capabilities to record video.
• 72 percent of consumers create video to have as keepsakes.
•56 percent of respondents use a smartphone to record video at least once a week — 16 percent of those do so on a daily basis.
• 81 percent feel more connected to family and friends when watching videos of them.
• 86 percent enjoy sharing videos they create.
• 76 percent have shared videos via Facebook.
• 52 percent use email to share videos; YouTube scored 50 percent.
• 34 percent used text messages/SMS to share videos.

“Consumer-created videos featuring beloved photos and videos have a powerful emotional impact on creators and viewers, and can tell a compelling story in a way that static photos simply cannot,” Animoto adds. “In fact, 65 percent of consumers prefer watching videos to looking at photos, and 79 percent of respondents believe it is important that the videos they create can be watched time and again.”


YesVideo launches outsourced photo-scanning and memory-keeping


legacy republic

Proclaiming “memories matter,” analog-to-digital video service YesVideo launched a spin-off that will outsource scanning an estimated 2 billion analog videos and photo albums stored by US families.

WW-LR“If you’re passionate about preserving memories and helping others, this is the place for you,” the company says of the new Legacy Republic. “Establish your personal legacy and create moments that matter while connecting your family with generations to come. Our mission is to protect, preserve, and share your memories.”

Details are scare on the company’s own sites, but TechCrunch reports the new service will “build a freelance workforce to digitize family photos and videos.”

YesVideo will “recruit an army of Legacy Makers.” The contractors are described as micro-entrepreneurs similar to an Uber driver or an Airbnb host.
YesVideo was founded in 1999.
The full report is here.

Forest Service says you can still shoot in the wild


meet-forest-serviceThere’s been a lot of talk online lately about the U.S. Forest Service banning or fining pro photography in the woods.

Just a misunderstanding, the government agency now says.
Nonetheless, it’s also asking you to have your say at its site as it seeks to firm up future policies.

Arizona Highways reports that while shooters were justifiably concerned that the proposed rule change for photography permits in wilderness areas could affect amateur photographers and the general public, “the Forest Service has clarified its stance on the issue. The proposed change would only make permanent a temporary directive that’s been in place for years. And it only applies to commercial shoots, such as movies or TV commercials; it would not affect the vast majority of photographers or other visitors to wilderness areas.”

“If you’re there to gather news or take recreational photographs, no permit would be required. We take your First Amendment rights very seriously,” the agency says in a statement. “Professional and amateur photographers do not need a permit to photograph in wilderness areas unless they use models, actors or props; work in areas that are normally off-limits to the public; or incur additional administrative costs.”

The Forest Service is soliciting public comment on the proposal here.


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.