Compact but costly medium-format camera

phase one alpa

phase one alpa

Danish developer Phase One has combined its medium-format sensors with camera and lenses from Swiss camera maker Alpa for a compact but pricey product.

Phase One is selling the mirrorless A-series cameras for $47,000 for a 50-megapixel model, with manual controls for shutter speed and aperture, a mechanical shutter, and no autofocus or automatic metering.

CNet has the full story here: How a $47,000 camera learned to go mirrorless.

CyberLink, Intel use 3D camera for SFX

cyberlink youcam

cyberlink youcam

You can beat your local weatherman’s special video effects on your laptop — providing it’s camera uses Intel’s RealSense, and you’re working with the new YouCam RX software from Taiwan’s CyberLink.

The webcam app “utilizes the unique Intel RealSense 3D camera to provide immersive virtual webcam environments,” the company says. It “provided us with an opportunity to create software that blurs the line between human and computer interaction.”

YouCam RX provides a real-time green screen-like experience, letting you create customized backgrounds for a webcam session, CyberLink adds. “Users can instantly place themselves in any setting of their choice, appearing as if they were chatting from the steps of the Sydney Opera House or the peak of Mount Everest. Enterprise users can also utilize YouCam RX in the work environment by removing the background entirely and replacing it with a PowerPoint presentation or other graphic for a truly interactive approach to conferencing.”

The software provides depth-sensing foreground/background adjustments, allowing lighting and contrast enhancements to be applied to specific regions of the webcam window.

The Intel RealSense 3D camera is billed as “the world’s first and smallest integrated 3D camera” that delivers real-time depth sensing for all-in-one PCs and laptops.

There’s more information here.


Facebook auto-enhances photos

facebook auto enhance

facebook auto enhance

Who has time to optimally expose every snapshot? Not most phone users, that’s for sure. And now Facebook will automatically enhance your pics posted to its social service.

TechCrunch reports the technique is now rolling out to iPhone users, and will come to Android at a later date. “You’ll be able to adjust a slider to control just how enhanced you want the light, shadow, and clarity, or revert back to your original shot.”

Photos are of course a prime factor when it comes to online engagement, and Facebook is looking at evermore competition in that regard from Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and others.


Three 8MP cameras on one phone

honor phone 2 cams

honor phone 2 camsHow many cameras do you need? Okay, how many does your phone need? Chinese phone maker Huawei thinks the answer to that second question is “Three.”

The Honor 6 Plus is a high-end Android smartphone with three 8-megapixel cameras: there’s one at the front for selfies, and two are side-by-side on the rear for… what, exactly? Perhaps to also capture depth and distance information, DP Review reports here: “The dual lens setup allows for refocusing of already captured images… According to Huawei, the look of the images can be adjusted to resemble pictures taken at apertures from F0.95 to F16.”

The phone has a 5.5-inch display,

On the PMA Podcast: iON enters home security

ion home family

ion home family

iON Cameras has made a name for itself in the last few years with its WiFi-enabled wearable and mountable action cameras. Now the outdoor-oriented consumer electronics firm is almost literally entering a new area: inside your home.

In this interview, CEO Giovanni Tomaselli tells us why the company entered the security market, how it’s competing in action cameras, and what other markets hold potential for imaging.

You can download the episode or subsribe to our podcast here.

Or listen in now through the audio player below.

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.”


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.



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.