DI Reporter names Dealer of the Year

nat cam exchange

nat cam exchange

Which photo retailer exhibited leadership, innovation and exemplary customer service in the digital imaging industry? Digital Imaging Reporter named National Camera Exchange as this year’s winner.

The industry trade publication says the 2014 Dealer of the Year “is a true success story, that has… transformed itself to become one of the leading retailers of the industry.” The Golden Valley, Minn., company is celebrating it’s 100th anniversary this year, and has also “stayed true to it’s roots — the legacy of the Liss family continues to impress the photo world, and we’re proud to bestow this honor upon them.”DoY2015-thumb-large

National Camera Exchange began as a camera store willing to exchange almost anything for a camera, from guns and gems to a St. Bernard dog, Digital Imaging Reporter adds. “But their true genius was in innovation and customer service.” It is now a 5-store chain.

The full story is here.


ACD adds layers

ACDSee Ultimate 8

ACDSee Ultimate 8

ACD Systems latest Windows software mixes image management with a layered photo editor.

The all-in-one digital asset manager and layered editor combines layer editing, GPU-accelerated image processing and support for 32- bit and 64-bit transparency with photo adjustment and management capabilities, the company says. Users can merge photos together, add text, apply effects and edit each layer individually.

ACDSee Ultimate 8 is $150.


Snapselect finds and removes similar images

macphun snapselect

macphun snapselect

The Snapselect app for Mac “quickly discover your best photos, get rid of duplicates & similar images, and saves disk space,” says developer Macphun.

With its image recognition, the $15 Macintosh app automatically groups similar images and duplicates “and lets you pick the best snaps in a few clicks.” You can then move your best images to separate folders, “and get rid of photos you don’t like.”

The app can also filter photos before transferring from camera to computer — deleting the bad shots before they make it to a hard drive. Or it can import images from any folder and any external drive, or from iPhoto, Lightroom, and Aperture. Then, “One click gets rid of unwanted photos.”


Instagram grows to 300 Million

Instagram icon

facebook and instagramFour-year-old online photo sharing service Instagram reports it now has more than 300 million members — up from 200 million just nine months ago.

Users have shared 30 billion photos, USA Today notes. Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012.

“What began as two friends with a dream has grown into a global community that shares more than 70 million photos and videos each day,” writes CEO Kevin Systrom on the company blog. “…As Instagram gets bigger, we’re focused on helping you discover photos and videos from people who you care about, whether it’s a friend or your favorite musician.”

The service also announced a new “verified badges” feature for celebrities, athletes and brands, “making it easier for you to connect with the authentic accounts you’re looking for.”


Moving cameras talk to each other

tracking camera

tracking camera

To track and identify pedestrians, a proposed new surveillance system will connect its cameras.

Technology developed at the University of Washington “distinguishes among people by giving each person a unique color and number, then tracks them as they walk,” the school reports.  The algorithm “trains the networked cameras to learn one another’s differences. The cameras first identify a person in a video frame, then follow that same person across multiple camera views.”

The problem with tracking a human across cameras of non-overlapping fields of view is that a person’s appearance can vary dramatically in each video because of different perspectives, angles and color hues produced by different cameras, the report notes. “The researchers overcame this by building a link between the cameras. Cameras first record for a couple of minutes to gather training data, systematically calculating the differences in color, texture and angle between a pair of cameras for a number of people who walk into the frames in a fully unsupervised manner without human intervention. After this calibration period, an algorithm automatically applies those differences between cameras and can pick out the same people across multiple frames, effectively tracking them without needing to see their faces.”

Here is the full story.

There’s a demonstration video here.

Cam-copter on a leash

cyphy pocketfly leashed drone

cyphy pocketfly leashed drone

A new pocket-sized drone is tethered with a leash — which sounds like a step backward when you want a free-flying copter to give you new perspectives from on high…

However, developer CyPhy Works says its PocketFly can help first responders navigate inside buildings or in dangerous situations, Fast Company reports.

The PocketFly weighs less than three ounces and is attached to a thin microfilament that powers it for two hours and provides uninterrupted communications. It captures “continuous, unbroken, 720p, 30fps, HD video. Not just high definition resolution, it’s actually high-quality,” the company claims.

One of the co-founders worked on the original Roomba robot vacuum.

There’s more information here.



Customizing cameras at National Geographic

national geographic customizer

national geographic customizer

Off-the-shelf cameras are getting better every year, but some extreme use cases call for some extreme alterations.

At National Geographic, Kenji Yamaguchi has a shop that “could be mistaken for Sid’s workbench from Toy Story, a place where mangled lenses and broken shutters crowd out bare areas of his workspace.”

In a basement office “filled with drill presses and electric saws… surrounded by robotic motors, modified macro lenses, and custom flashes, Kenji builds contraptions that can’t be bought,” the magazine says. “When a photographer needs to fasten a camera onto a thirty-foot pole to capture a bird in her nest, or build a wide-angle macro lens to identify pollen on a flower with mountains in the background, he’ll call Kenji.”

The full story is here.

On the PMA Podcast: Selling Cameras with Heino Hilbig

Heino Hilbig

Heino HilbigConventional wisdom can be wrong, says Heino Hilbig, managing director of Mayflower Concepts. Camera sales are declining, but not for the reasons you may think — and new thinking is what’s required to reverse the trend and save the industry.
Hilbig is the former digital camera marketing manager for Olympus, where he helped launch the first digital cameras in Europe in 1996.
He will present at the 2015 PMA conference, and we have a wide-ranging discussion with him in this podcast about some of the topics he will touch on next January.

You can download the podcast or subscribe here.

Or listen in now by clicking on the player:

Wedding photo app makers raises $4.25 million



The developers of a photo sharing app aimed specifically at wedding photography have had their business model validated to the tune of more than $4 million in new investments.

TechCrunch reports North Carolina-based WedPics closed $4.25 million in Series B funding.

The sharing app for wedding couples and their guests is acquiring 25,000-30,000 new brides per month, the company claims, and hosted more than 6,000 weddings per weekend this summer “with 175,000 guests joining and users uploading a photo every second… Over half of WedPics’ users upload at least one photo, and of that 55%, 76% upload at least three photos.”

The full story is here.


Casio selfie cam puts the lens behind a mirror

casio selfie cam

casio selfie cam

Rather than look into the large display on your camera or photography as you snap a shot of yourself, Casio proposes a large mirror, with the lens and 14-megapixel sensor hidden behind it.

The lens in the Exilim EX-MR1 zooms 4x from a 21mm-equivalent wide angle, DP Review reports.

There’s also a make-up mode that simulates skin tone adjustments. There’s also WiFi. The camera has so far debuted only in Asia.