Ricoh extends DSLR optics line with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens

DFA24-70_bRicoh Imaging Americas Corp. announced a 24-70mm high-performance K-mount lens for Pentax DSLR cameras. The weather-resistent HD Pentax-D FA 24-70mm f/2.8 ED SDM WR lens is compatible with full-frame, 35mm-size image sensors. The lens provides a 24-70mm focal-length range with full-frame 35mm image sensors, and a 37-107mm range with current PENTAX K-series APS-C bodies.

By incorporating three Extra-low Dispersion (ED) optical elements and four aspherical optical elements, the lens assures sufficient light levels even at the edges of the image field, and compensates for various aberrations to deliver fine-detailed images, rich in contrast and resolution.

DJI announces Micro Four Thirds aerial cameras for professionals

Drones have been used for serious photography and filmmaking for quite some time, but drone leader DJI has upped the ante with two aerial cameras featuring Micro Four Thirds sensors. Both cameras can take 16 megapixel stills and 4k video on a stabilized 3-axis gimbal integrating with the Inspire Interchangeable lens options with remotely controllable focus and aperture.

The $4,499 Zenmuse X5, including a DJI Inspire 1 and DJI’s MFT 15mm F1.7 ASPH lens, will begin shipping before the end of September. The Zenmuse X5R will be available in Q4 2015 for $7,999. Both can be purchased as stand alone cameras with, or without lens.

DJI claims Zenmuse X5 is the first commercially-available micro four thirds camera designed specifically for aerial use. The camera will capture high-resolution 16 megapixel photos or 4k, 24fps and 30fps videos in complex lighting environments. Zenmuse X5 will support additional lenses and offers full wireless aperture and focus control. At the time of launch, the Zenmuse X5 supports four interchangeable lenses, including the DJI MFT 15mm f/1.7 ASPH lens, Panasonic Lumix 15mm G Leica DG Summilux f/1.7 ASPH lens, Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm f/2.0 lens, and Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 lens.

While in flight, pilots can adjust both focus and aperture via the DJI GO app or through DJI’s previously-announced Follow Focus system. The camera’s lightweight 340 gram (0.75 pound) body integrates with DJI’s signature 3-axis Zenmuse gimbal technology, creating effortlessly smooth video and stabilized long-exposure photos (up to 8 seconds).

“The professional applications of the Zenmuse X5 are almost endless,” says Eric Cheng, Director of Aerial Imaging, DJI. “In addition to shooting professional-quality photos and 4K video, the new camera can be used to create high-quality aerial maps and 3D models, and can also help industrial teams get even more detail from their aerial imaging pursuits, for example, in utility inspection using a drone.”

DJI also announced the Zenmuse X5R camera, which shares the same sensor and lens compatibility with the X5, but records video both to an onboard microSD card as well as to a removable 512GB solid state disk (SSD) on the gimbal’s top plate. The Zenmuse X5R records CinemaDNG (RAW) video to the SSD, and opens up lossless 4k video recording in a groundbreaking, compact form factor with video bitrates averaging 1.7Gbps (with a maximum of 2.4Gbps). The Zenmuse X5R also offers a brand-new D-LOG mode that offers a broader array of color correction options in post production. To support the management of Zenmuse X5R Cinema DNG files, DJI will release software to edit and convert RAW camera footage. CineLight, which will be available when the Zenmuse X5R camera is released later this year, simplifies users’ workflows by offering offline proxy editing before converting the CinemaDNG files to ProRes.

Apple breathes life into old idea with Live Photos

Apple iPhone 6 and 6S

Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus feature force-touch screens

Apple Inc. once again grabbed headlines with its fall product announcements, primarily about new hardware, like the AppleTV, the iPad Pro and two new iPhones, the 6s and the 6s Plus. Coverage of the new products has been, well, extensive to say the least, so we thought we would look at the photo-specific features of the announcements.

The new iPhones support Force Touch, already found on MacBooks and the Apple Watch, but this version is called “3D Touch” because it has varying levels of sensitivity. Apple calls two new gestures — Peek and Pop — to let the user “dip in and out” of content without their place. For example, pressing lightly to “Peek” at a photo, and press a little harder to Pop “open” the photo itself.

Apple also updated the camera hardware onthe new iPhones, featuring a 12-megapixel sensor with advanced pixel technology and Apple-designed image-signal processor; and a new 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera and “Retina Flash” (which momentarily makes the display three times brighter with True Tone lighting, for illuminating low-light selfies).

One of the more interesting iPhone 6s camera features was Live Photos, which are 12-megapixel images with a short video component. Basically, the camera records a second-and-a-half worth of images both before and after the shutter press, and then plays the images with a 3-D Touch. At the press conference, Apple execs said these are not videos, but actual 12-megapixel images presented in succession, with sound. Live Photos can also be viewed as a watch face on Apple Watch.

While Live Photos was presented as a new, compelling feature, similar features have been available from other camera makers. For example, Panasonic calls this “4K Photo Pre-burst mode” on its Lumix G7, while makers like Casio and Sony have used pre-burst images to ensure the subjects are smiling. So Live Photos is not a technologically new idea, but Apple will do much to popularize this concept.

Here is a video demonstrating the Live Photos feature:


For video, both of the new iPhones offer HD and 4K video recording; the iPhone 6s Plus adds optical image stabilization to video recording.


Condé introduces customized Lace Faces


DyeFlex LaceFaces

Condé Systems Inc., Mobile, Ala., added DyeFlex Lace Faces to its DyeTrans line of sublimatable products. Suitable for  shoe sizes 9-12 with an average of 3.25-inches of vertical open lace space, each Lace Face provides a 1.62-by-by-3.25-inch white image area that can be custom decorated for schools, sports teams, fundraisers, and shoe retailers wanting to adorn high-end footwear with unique, full-color messages and designs.


Photo retailer a catalyst for change


Staff members of Buckley's, which is benefiting from a new shop local initiative

Staff members of Buckley’s show off their shop local sticker

— by Chris Wilkinson

Joanne Hall, owner of well known New Zealand photo retailer Donald Buckley Photographics has been a driving force behind her township’s goal to regain local goodwill and customers for its businesses.
The Love Gore – Shop Local initiative is part of a major program that’s designed to help retailers adapt to meet their market, build capability and re-engage the community with its stores and services. The initiative has seen support from across the commercial and consumer sectors — and led to an awareness that without support, town centers will be under threat.
Sponsored by Gore District Council and developed by town center strategists First Retail Group, the plan is to continue building on the program by listening to customers and helping retailers become ‘on radar’ with their marketplace.
Lorraine Nicolson, First Retail Group’s project lead, has been especially enthused by Gore’s early success with the strategy. “While we deliver these programs across the globe, Gore’s community has especially embraced this,” she said, citing the 130+ people that attended the recent launch.
Hall’s business knows a thing or two about adaptation and meeting its market. The much loved retailer has been developing the memories for generations of local residents and continues to diversify as it meets the needs to today’s consumer. The GoRetail program is helping reawaken people to stores like Donald Buckley Photographics, and the retailer is already seeing an increase in customers walking back through its doors.

Rhinos get camera implants


Here’s another example of how ubiquitous affordable cameras and image transmission can change our world:

How can wildlife protectors prevent poaching? Perhaps surveillance will ward off illegal hunters… But it’s not like installing a few cameras in your home or business —they can hardly place cameras everywhere an endangered animal might tread.

So instead, they’re putting cameras on the animal. Or, actually, in the animal — in the horn.

The non-profit organization Protect says their 24/7 real time poaching alarm and monitoring system for rhinos is the result of 15 years of “finding a way to effectively protect the species from poaching and bring it back from the precipice of extinction.” Rangers warned “a team of poachers could be just over that rise in the land butchering a rhino right now and we would have no idea it was happening. We need to know when and where the poachers are striking, as it happens. If we had some tool to alert us to a poaching event as it took place, we could be there in minutes, there would be no escaping for the poachers, no way to get horn or tusk or bone away; poaching would become impossible, we just need that tool.”

That tool turns out to be a camera and transmitter, one small enough to be embedded in the horn of the rhino, ensuring any illegal hunter can be spotted and identified.

The Protect RAPID (Real-time Anti Poaching Intelligence Device) also combines a heart rate monitor that triggers an alarm, and a GPS receiver “pinpointing the location within a few meters so that rangers can be on the scene via helicopter or truck within minutes.”

Here’s more information.



MMIE 609: Sales = vanity; Margin = sanity

MIME Logo PMANMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #609 – July 21, 2015

Remembering back about three years, comments made by Australian industry guru John Swainston during a PMA session ring as true today as they did then:

“Top line sales may make you feel good and feed your vanity, but bottom line profits are your sanity check on reality.” John Swainston

The context was the then huge boom in unit volume growth of P&S cameras and DSLRs, but the observation that they were being sold at tiny or even negative margins for the retailer and were just tying up more and more working capital.

In his presentation, John outlined the areas of service opportunities for retailers, such as education, frames, albums, accessories, photobooks, etc., all of which tied up much less capital and provided real returns.


So what’s your idea?

We’ve given you hundreds and hundreds of marketing ideas, now it’s your turn.

  • Got a promotion that worked? An idea generated by a staffer? Something that’s exciting and/or motivating the crew? Doing something that’s bringing customers in, got customers buzzing, got them buying? Tell us.
  • We’d appreciate getting pictures to help illustrate the ideas.
  • Send your ideas to
  • Don’t worry if you’re not the best writer; we’ll be happy to tidy things up for you.
  • And if you want to take a look at more than 1,000 marketing ideas, the archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange are your resource:

Print a picture book with a text


No app required: a photo book publisher is striving for the most simple print ordering system yet — just send an SMS text.

Mountain View-based SimplePrints says it has “trained professionals standing by 24/7 to create the perfect photo book for you. Simply send us a text message and a member from our photo curation staff will immediately get started on your book.”

It’s called Photo Magic but no, it’s not quite that automatic: you then have to upload photos to a website, answer a few questions about a theme, and approve an online proof prior to printing. “Once we get started you should have a draft within 30 minutes,” the company adds.

SimplePrints offers 8×8-inch softcover and hardcover photo books, starting at $15 for 20 pages. They print, assemble, and ship books from California and New Jersey.

Here’s more information.


Panasonic rangefinder captures 4k

panasonic gx8

The new GX8 from Panasonic features 4K video capture, and image stabilization in both body and lens.

Almost any type of vibration can be effectively suppressed with this innovative image stabilization system,” the company says. “As a result, you can get a clear handheld shots in low-lit situations.”

The rangefinder-style camera has a 20-megapixel sensor and a quad-core CPU that performs high-speed signal processing, the company says. It has an ISO of 25,600, burst shooting at 8 fps, and 30 fps 8-megapixel stills. There’s a tilting 3-inch display, WiFi, and NFC.

The mirrorless interchangeable lens camera has a magnesium allow body with a splash- and dust-proof rugged design, Panasonic adds.

It’s $1199 for the camera body.



The FZ300 is “splash- and dust-proof camera for sports, outdoor and events,” Panasonic says, and packs a 24x optical zoom that has an F2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range.

The $600 compact captures 4K video and 12-megapixel stills.


Apple updates its “Camera” — iPod Touch


Most people take photos with their phones, the iPhone is by many measures the world’s most popular camera, yada yada…

So why doesn’t Apple make a camera?

As we’ve pointed before, it kinda does: the iPod Touch is an affordable smart camera, one that offers many features that compact “standalone” cameras do not.

And now Apple has upgraded the camera components in its media player, for the first time in 3 years: from a 5-megapixel sensor to 8, as well as a faster processor than boosts many imaging functions. The Touch can capture time-lapse and slow-motion video, as well as panoramas and burst still photos. There’s even a motion coprocessor which can be used for smoother video capture.

It’s a lot of camera for just $199 — especially as it provides all the functions of an iPhone (except for that making calls part*). That includes access to popular imaging apps such as Instagram, and the primary method for sharing and viewing photos, Facebook — which cameras can’t match — as well as a 4-inch touchscreen.

(* Although Apple points out “Three times faster WiFi lets customers stay in touch with friends and family through FaceTime calls.”)