30 million wearable cameras to ship annually

Abstract tech vector design

Abstract tech vector design

By 2020, wearable camera shipments will surpass 30 million units annually, projects market researcher Tractica — up from 5.6 million in 2014.

The firm adds that GoPro is driving momentum in sports applications but consumer, enterprise, and public safety applications are not far behind. “In many ways, wearable cameras are an extension of the smartphone camera, enabling hands-free functionality that allows users to capture both planned and spontaneous moments from unique perspectives, by using body or head mounts, or simply clipping the camera to clothing. Wearable camera adoption will be strongest in areas where there is a clear and specific use case or context in which the camera is used”

Other areas noted include consumer “lifelogging” cameras, public safety/body-worn cameras for police officers, and enterprise uses such as user experience research in retail and hospitality.

Tractica says its “Wearable Cameras” report analyzes the global market for wearable cameras, providing an assessment of market drivers and barriers, technology issues, and key industry players. The study provides detailed forecasts for wearable camera shipments and revenue across application markets including sports, public safety, consumer, enterprise, industrial, and healthcare.

There’s a free executive summary here.

New action cams from Garmin

garmin VIRB_XE

garmin VIRB_XE

Garmin says its next generation of HD action cameras “shoot rich, high-definition, wide-angle footage” with a new form-factor allows for more mounting options.

The $300 Virb X is more rugged, and doesn’t require an external case for underwater shooting — it’s waterproof to 50 meters. Also, a new microphone delivers “extremely clear audio, even underwater.”

It captures 1080p with super slow-mo options and image stabilization. Built-in sensors include high-sensitivity GPS, accelerometer, and gyroscope. It also has WiFi and Bluetooth.

The $400 Virb XE model has more advanced manual camera adjustments such as white balance control, sharpness control, color profile control, ISO limit and exposure bias.

There’s more information here.

Red ups rez to 8k

red 8k

red 8k

And here you thought 4k was new (not to mention 1080p):

High-end video camera maker Red announced a 40 x 20mm sensor that captures 8192 x 4320 resolution. That’s right, 8k — or 35 megapixels.

Dubbed the “Weapon,” it will ship by the end of the year, the company says, for $20,000… as an upgrade to an existing camera. (Engadget calculates here that the cost new is about $60k.)

First 13MP four-color RGBW sensor — in a phone

Huawei P8max

Huawei P8max

Huawei says its P8max “introduces a new philosophy for camera design, optimized for low light and high contrast” — with the world’s first 13-megapixel four-color RGBW sensor in a phone.

The Chinese smartphone manufacturer says the sensor in its P8 increases brightness in images by 32 percent. A dedicated image processor reduces noise, particularly in low-light and high-contrast environments.

The P8max edition adds a larger 6.8-inch screen.

MakerBot app turns 2D photo into 3D object

makerbot 3d

makerbot 3d

MakerBot has updated its PrintShop app with a “Shape Maker” feature that it says can “bring your drawings to life in 3D — with no design experience necessary.”

Using the iPad’s camera, the company says, a “snap of a photo and a touch of a finger” are all that’s needed to transform sketches, photos and screen captures into a 3D printable file, without any 3D design experience.

The free iPad app is here.

MakerBot says there are now more than 80,000 MakerBot Desktop 3D printers in use.

MakerBot PrintShop App

Expandable remote control in Blackmagic camera



Blackmagic Design says its new Micro Cinema Camera “is the smallest and most expandable digital film camera in the world.”

The $995 camera is a professional digital model in the Super 16mm style. It sports a new expansion port can work with model airplane remote controls “to operate the camera wirelessly for capturing action anywhere,” the company adds. “These radio control receivers are low cost because they are consumer hobby products and they feature multiple “channels” that can be connected direct to the camera itself. This means these channels can be mapped to any camera or lens setting in the camera, and then remote controlled via the radio controller. Customers can then remote control features such as iris, focus, audio levels, and start and stop recording all remotely.”

blackmagic microcinema

Also, the miniaturized design features a body (2.57 x 3.25 x 2.74 inches) that is “not much larger than the Micro Four Thirds lens mount,” the company adds, “making it as small as a camera with a professional lens can be.” Blackmagic says the camera “is perfect for use on quadcopters, as a crash cam, or even hidden on set for reality TV. It’s small enough to be used anywhere, like on a skate board for spectacular extreme sports shots, mounted to a drone for recording panoramic fly overs, or even strapped to a helmet for amazing point of view shots. The miniature size lets you to mount the camera in unique locations, like on bike handles, hang gliders, remote control toy cars, and even on your own body for cinematic quality shots that would be impossible to get with any other camera!”

It captures 1080 HD as 12-bit RAW video, with 13 stops of dynamic range and a switchable 60 fps rolling shutter or 30 fps global shutter.

There’s more information here.

Blackmagic URSAJPG

Blackmagic also announced a new 4K sensor that captures 15 stops of dynamic range.

The Ursa 4.6 is a Super 35 sensor with 4608 x 2592 resolution. It takes 120 frames per second and “images that rival those shot on traditional 35mm film,” the company says.
Cameras with the sensor will ship this summer for about $7,000.

Smallest superzooms from Sony

Sony HX90V and WX500

Sony HX90V and WX500

Claiming “the world’s smallest 30x optical zoom cameras” Sony debuted two new models that are aimed at different buyers:

The WX500 is a $330 compact consumer camera with an 18-megapixel sensor, tilting 3-inch display, and WiFi and NFC connectivity.

The HX90V is a bit more for enthusiasts, adding a popup OLED viewfinder, customizable control ring, and GPS receiver. It’s $430.

Smarter drone flies itself while you shoot video

solo drone

solo drone

It’s the “first drone designed with every aspect of the photographer’s experience in mind” — and with autonomous flight and camera control, 3D Robotics claims its Solo is “the world’s first smart drone” …which means “you have to do less,” the company says. “We’ve turned the Hollywood toolkit into software, and allowed everyone to experience epic video, both behind and in front of the camera.”

The quadcopter uses twin Linux computers (one on the craft and one in the controller) to “define its own flight, freeing users to focus on getting the shot,” The company says the drone’s intelligence “unlocks powerful and one-of-a-kind computer-assisted Smart Shots. Just set up the exact shot you want in real time, then tap “play” on the app and Solo will execute it with a level of precision and a soft touch that even seasoned cinema pilots can’t match. The effortless computer-assisted Smart Shot flight features allow even new pilots to capture professional aerial video from day one. Effortless flight means effortless filming — less flight control, more creative control.”

solo air view

How smart is it? “Because we use the onboard computer’s processing power to do the heavy lifting,” the company adds, “the autopilot becomes the “brainstem,” exclusively focused on executing the rudiments of stable and reliable flight, while the computer serves as Solo’s “frontal cortex” and handles the higher-level processing; this task distribution dramatically reduces the likelihood of autopilot system failure during flight.”

It’s also the first drone to fully control an onboard GoPro camera (start and stop recording, snap photos, change filed of view, FPS, and exposure compensation). It streams HD video to a mobile device, or through the remote control’s HDMI port.

solo remote view

The Solo is $999, and will fly 20 minutes per charge with the GoPro and gimbal.

Here’s more information.
There’s a preposterously pretentious launch video here.
…And a more straightforward presentation here.

There’s a hands-on review at the Verge here.
It has an interesting conclusion: “Flying Solo is a blast, and yet I’m still not sure I see the regular use case for myself. Getting great shots requires travel, and bringing Solo with me on vacation will mean checking one more bag and lugging it around. There are only so many drone-shot selfies a person needs, no matter how fun they are to shoot. So while I’m convinced Solo will make it easier and more fun for novices to fly drones, I’m skeptical of how much it can broaden the market for drones beyond hobbyists and filmmakers.”

Some other recent drone news:
• No drones at the Boston Marathon
• No drones or selfie sticks at the Kentucky Derby
• Amazon gets FAA exemption to test drone delivery
• Drones will mace you


Olympus Stylus 1s super-zooms at f2.8

olympus 1s s

olympus 1s s

While announced in Japan last year, Olympus’ Stylus 1s is now making its US debut.       

The $700 enthusiast camera has a f2.8 constant-aperture lens that zooms 10.x. It has a 12-megapixel BSI sensor, and a 100-percent field of view EVF.

Olympus also updated its Stylus Tough camera. The TG-4 captures Raw images, and has an f2.0 lens. The camera is waterproof to 50 feet down, as well as crush-, shock-, freeze-, and dust resistant, “making it the ultimate outdoor camera for worry-free shooting,” the company says. It’s $380.

olympus tg4

Facebook helps organize child photos

facebook collage

facebook scrapbook2_1

Facebook is making it easier for parents to tag, share, and organize their pictures of their children.

“As a new dad who loves photography, I enjoy taking pictures of my son and sharing them with friends and family around the world,” writes product manager Dan Barak. “I believe these photos help us all feel closer and more connected. (But) over the past few months, I’ve noticed the more pictures I shared of my son on Facebook, the more scattered they became across my different photo albums—I needed a better way to organize them. And, I found myself tagging my wife in photos of my son so her friends could see them, too.”

The company surveyed parents who share pictures of their children on Facebook, and “parents also told us they want to collect photos of their little ones in a place that will grow with them over the years.” Also, 65 percent of them tag their partner in these photos to share them with their partner’s friends.

As a result, Facebook is starting a pilot program with which parents can choose to organize photos using a special tag that adds the photo to a customizable scrapbook.

“Photos of my son are the most important pictures my wife and I will ever take. It’s important to us that we’re in control of these photos. I believe other parents want the same thing,” Barak concludes.

facebook collage