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


ISO 51,200 film lit by Moonlight

Lit by Moonlight

Without a big SFX budget, how can you make a short sci-fi film look like it was shot on an alien world?

Use Sony’s A7s, the mirrorless full-frame camera known for its extreme light sensitivity, and shoot the whole movie under moonlight, that’s how.

The director also used Canon prime lenses and the Metabones Speed Booster, and shot at ISO 51,200.

The 7-minute film Refuge is available here. It’s reportedly the first narrative film shot by moonlight, and has some R-like action and language.

Distinctions disappearing: InfoTrends studies interchangeable lens cameras

infotrends study

The distinction between SLRs and competing compact interchangeable lens cameras is disappearing, reports research firm InfoTrends, “given recent camera introductions and their positioning in the market.”

“2014 represented a year of change in the digital camera market, with significant decreases in unit shipments and sales across multiple global regions,” the company says. “Nevertheless, InfoTrends expects the ILC market to remain profitable for innovative imaging companies that continue to introduce new products and respond to consumers’ needs.”

“At this junction of the DILC market, vendors need to boldly move forward and not be deterred by the decline in sales that the market has experienced recently,” adds InfoTrends’ Ed Lee. “Opportunities still exist in this market. Smartphone owners are now the breeding ground for first-time DILC camera owners. There is a segment of smartphone owners who are graduating from casual photographers to photography enthusiasts and are beginning to seek out education opportunities to learn more about the art of photography.”

The company’s studied the U.S. interchangeable lens camera market since 2008, and the 2015 edition of its report looks at the relative importance of product attributes, as well as buyer demographic characteristics such as age, gender, income, parental status, and photographer type, and compares the demographic profile of smartphone only, point & shoot, CILC, and DSLR camera owners.

Here’s more information.


Sony claims growth in Mirrorless camera sales

sony Alpha 5100

Amidst overall declines in camera sales, many claimed market share gains are mere larger slices of a smaller pie — but Sony Electronics says it’s instead actually selling more interchangeable lens cameras of late.

Sony says it is “experiencing record growth in sales of mirrorless cameras, a rapidly expanding segment of the interchangeable lens camera business.” The company sites NPD Group research data showing “overall mirrorless camera revenue has grown 16.5 percent over the past 12 months… Sony has experienced a robust 66 percent boost in their company’s mirrorless camera sales.”

Sony adds that it’s held “the dominant position as the #1 overall mirrorless brand” for four years” — and notes NPD data showing “DSLR sales declining approximately 15% over the same period.”

Also noted: InfoTrends’ surveys showing more than 61 percent of first-time ILC buyers are under the age of 35, up from 54% approximately two years ago.

Sony is also the overall largest image sensor manufacturer.

Try capturing a “Panoselfie”


Is the much-maligned selfie better when it’s wider? That’s the idea behind the “panoselfie” — get more of the environment in your shot, so it’s not just a distorted close-up of your own ugly mug.

“They’re fun and look great,” writes MetaFilter founder Matt Haughey, “letting you fit both large groups and giant landscapes into a photo.”

Taking one is as simple as you might think, although it might require a little trial and error, Haughey adds. “Set your stock iPhone camera app to panorama mode. Hold your arms out straight away from you as far as possible. Turn the phone 90º to the right so you’re staring at the side of your phone, hit the camera button to start the shot, then smoothly spin your phone clockwise 180º towards you until the phone finishes, pointing at your left shoulder.”

Here is the full article.