Autodesk offers new free image enhancer

pixlr

pixlr

Longtime software maker Autodesk says its new Pixlr for Mac and PC “brings together the best tools we’ve built over time, including popular Stylize filters that turn your photos into sketches and watercolor paintings.”

Other features include a double exposure option and “Influence Masks” which can be used to “not just correct photos but to do more advanced editing or create photographic art,” the company says. “This collection of masking tools helps you isolate areas or objects and apply sophisticated effects to just those areas. Change the color of a necktie at the drop of a hat, or make a background into something illustrated and artistic.”

”Why free? It’s a freemium strategy, of course: “When you download the app, you’ll be using the starter edition,” Autodesk says. Create a free Pixlr account to unlock Essentials, giving you access to additional effects, overlays, and tools like double exposure. Subscribe to a Pro membership and take advantage of advanced masking tools  — as well as everything we add to the app as it grows and evolves.” Membership is $15 per year.

 

Olympus Pen features Selfie mode

Olympus EPL7

Olympus EPL7

For its latest compact interchangeable lens camera, Olympus is trying to sway smartphone users with a new way of taking better “selfies.”

The Pen E-PL7 has a 3-inch pivoting touchscreen that turns into a mirror display and activates the “Selfie Mode” when it’s tilted downward in the 180-degree position, for “perfect for one-touch selfies” the company says. On the screen, a shutter-release button appears so you can frame the image appropriately, which is captured one second after the button is touched.

The 16-megapixel sensor captures 8 frames per second, and has built-in WiFi. Also, the 3-axis image stabilization system compensates for horizontal and vertical angular shifts (yaw and pitch), Olympus says, as well as camera shake along the optical axis (roll).

The camera is $700 with a 14-42mm lens.

 

Ricoh flattens user interface for latest Pentax

Pentax K-S1

Pentax K-S1

Ricoh Imaging says its latest camera’s “unique flat field user interface,” with a back-lit LED selection dial, four-way navigation, and a 3-inch LCD, “breaks the tradition of the knobs and buttons found on traditional SLRs.” 

The camera “is designed to attract a mid-level customer who is accustomed to a mobile interface and is looking for a similar interaction in a DSLR,” Ricoh says. “The simple UI eliminates many of the complexities of a DSLR and provides immediate feedback including shooting parameters, filter selection and effect modes, even in total darkness.”

The K-S1 has a 20-megapixel sensor with sensitivity of ISO 51,200, in-body shake reduction, and captures 5.4 frames per second, with a 1/6000 shutter speed.

It’s $800 with an 18-55mm lens.

 

Photos in the Cloud: Dropbox lowers cost for terabyte online to $10 monthly

dropbox tTB

dropbox tTB

Online storage service Dropbox upgraded its Pro offering with more capacity and functionality — at a lower cost.

Dropbox Pro is now $10 per month, for a terabyte of storage. Shared links can now be password-protected, and folders — say, of photos you want to share with clients — can be made “view-only” so no one else can delete or even copy your shots, PopPhoto reports.

Dropbox already automatically syncs photos and videos and organizes images.

 

Instagram offers free Hyperlapse app

instagram hyperlapse

instagram hyperlapse

It was only a week or two ago that we were all marveling at a Microsoft Research project that superbly smoothed out videos that had otherwise suffered from lots of motion.

And now Instagram is providing a free app that will let anyone do it on an iPhone.

Instagram said it used its own in-house stabilization technology to let you “shoot polished time-lapse videos that were previously impossible without bulky tripods and expensive equipment.” You can shoot handheld even “while you’re walking, running, jumping or falling.” The result “will be instantly stabilized to smooth out the bumps from the road and give it a cinematic feeling.”

Examples of its us could include “Capture an entire sunrise in 10 seconds—even from the back of a moving motorcycle; Walk through the crowds at an all-day music festival, then distill it into a 30 second spot; Capture your bumpy trail run and share your 5k in 5 seconds,” the company says.

The app is here.

Wired has a very interesting profile of the developers here. “What was once only possible with a Steadicam or a $15,000 tracking rig is now possible on your iPhone, for free,” the article says.

The gist of it: rather than use a smartphone’s limited computational power to replicate intensive video post-processing, Instagram’s tech uses the phone’s built-in gyroscopes during capture to measure the camera’s movement directly.

 

Fujifilm improves compact cam

fujifilm x30

fujifilm x30

Fujifilm’s latest fixed-lens premium compact camera is “aimed at enthusiast and professional photographers,” the company says, with its dual manual control rings “for composing and taking pictures quickly and easily.”

The X30 has the same lens, processor, and 12-megapixel sensor as the preceding X20 — but it adds a tilting 3-inch LCD and WiFi, for the same price: $600. It also boosts battery life.

Fuji says its “Real Time Viewfinder” is the largest, brightest, fastest and highest resolving viewfinder in its class. Also, the 4x lens is made of 11 glass elements in nine groups, including three aspherical lens elements and two ED lens elements, which yield a wide-angle maximum aperture of f/2.0.

There’s more information here.

 

Vine now imports and edits video

vine edits

vine edits

“Vine” makes fun little video clips posted on Twitter and other social media. But the app has long had a serious limitation: you could only use the video you captured in the app. There was no using clips from your phone’s camera roll, no importing editned and enhanced video from other tools.

No longer: the newest version  “gives you the freedom to create a Vine in any way you want,” the company says. The new app “offers powerful ways to edit your videos as well as the ability to import existing videos on your phone and turn them into Vines. Simply put, this release gives you total creative freedom.” The app also sports imporved editing tools.

Vine boasts “Every day, millions of people open Vine to share memories in the moment. Every month more than 100 million people watch Vines across the web, and there are more than 1 billion loops every day.”

 

Hasselblad captures 200 megapixels

Hasselblad H5D-50MS

Hasselblad H5D-50MS

With its H5D-50MS Hasselblad  says its “raised the bar yet again” for capturing “super high-quality images.”

It’s not a 200-megapixel sensor in there however: the new camera uses the company’s multi-shot technology to combine 50-megapixel captures to take “still-life studio photography to mind-blowing moiré-free 200-megapixel resolution… to produce a quality that is hard to believe is possible.” (And let no one say Hasselblad can’t hyperbolize.)

Hasselblad adds that its “patented symmetrical multi-shot frame accurately positions the sensor with a sub-micron accuracy using piezo-electrical actuators, and can capture 6 shots with the sensor positioned accurately at a sequence of quadrants of the pixel…”

The medium-format 43.8 × 32.9mm sensor can take 1.5 frames per second, although long exposures can last 12 minutes. The high dynamic range is 14 stops.

MediaFire automates photo and video syncing on mobile

MediaFire-for-iOS-2

MediaFire-for-iOS-2

MediaFire updated its Android cloud storage app to automatically store, access and share mobile photos and videos; it launched an iOS version earlier this Summer.

“In just one week since the launch of our automatic photo and video syncing update for iOS, MediaFire users have used our app to back up and share over 5 million photos and videos online,” the company says.

The service “can be a convenient tool for photographers” the company adds “because it supports uploading file hierarchies. Creatives with lots of subfolders can automatically sync all that organized content to the cloud without having to upload individual files.”

The service also supports one-click sharing for a large number of social media services, and includes embed links for major blogging platforms. It also supports “watching” folders, so you can share, follow and track access to specific files.

MediaFire is available for Windows, OSX, iPhone, Android and the Web, and provides 15GB free cloud storage, and 1TB for $25 per year.

The “online storage and collaboration company” says it now has 37 million active registered users. It was founded in 2006 in The Woodlands, Texas.

 

Pics.io manages Google-stored photos

picsio

picsio

A new photo Web app is built on top of Google Web services: Pics.io will let you access, manage, edit and share photos from any device via your Google+ account, with online storage in Google Drive.

The service, pronounced Pixio, will feature asset management functions and rating tools such as stars, flags and color labels, as well as the company’s Raw uploading and editing capabilities, the Next Web reports.

The app, from software development company TopTechPhoto, is now in a beta release, and will “store your entire life’s photo library in secure and redundant storage,” the company adds.

There’s more information here.