One of the many cool things Google announced at its Google I/O event includes several new features on Google+ Photos – Auto Enhance, Highlight and awesome Auto Awesome editing tools within Google+ Photos. First up, Auto Enhance well, will automatically enhance your photos such as adjust the exposure, soften skin, minimize wrinkles, reduce noise and such, so your pictures are perfect before you share them on Google+.
Using Highlight, Google will automatically select the best pictures in an album and highlight it to you. This means that it will only pick out unique and clear shots, hiding away all the blurry and duplicated ones. Highlight can also recognize smiling faces and highlight those, minimizing the effort on your side to pick out the best photos to share.
Finally Auto Awesome is as its name suggest, awesome, to me at least. Auto Awesome can automatically create collage, HDR, panorama, smile and motion GIF images. This means that if you have a continuous shot of your pet running towards you, Auto Awesome will group those images together to create an animated GIF for you. All these editing tools are reversible by the way, so if you don’t want an enhanced image or the stitched panorama picture, you can easily revert back to the original picture.
Now, Google’s move to integrate the storage space from Gmail, Google+ Photos and Drive suddenly makes so much more sense. Google+ Photos now allows you to automatically upload camera shots into it in full resolution however, I have a feeling that 15GB will not be enough. If you use Google+ Photos, do downsize your picture to smaller than 2,048 pixels so that they don’t count towards that storage limit.
Visit Google+ Photos to test out the new features now.
So recently there has been a revelation in the photography world that has everyone grabbing their digital pitchforks and starting up virtual lynch mobs. The winner of the World Press Photo of the Year Paul Hansen, A Swedish Photojournalist, has been accused of photoshopping his winning entry. His photo of a funeral procession for 2 dead Palestinian children drew flak after a forensic image analyst determined that the image is a composite of multiple images with tonality in the faces of the subjects adjusted to be warmer and brighter than usual. In short, Hansen HDR-ed his photo.
Let’s bring this back a little bit. I think the term “Photoshopped” has come to be associated with a rather negative connotation these days. Most people will think that to Photoshop a photo means to drastically alter the image to the point of complete mushy smooth skin, reduce dress size by 4, add 30 people to an image or even alter the reality of an image. While this may be true in what you CAN do in photoshop, it’s not something that often happens. Most of the time you just bring up the brightness and contrast to make the subjects pop a little bit more from the background, especially if you shoot in RAW. For example, when I shoot a portrait, it is a given that I will be doing touchups to colour and tonality of the image, perhaps do some cropping to a better, more flattering crop. Did I photoshop it? Yes. Did I alter it and manipulate reality? No.
Hansen has spoken out against the accusations and had this to say, “In the post-process toning and balancing of the uneven light in the alleyway, I developed the raw file with different density to use the natural light instead of dodging and burning. In effect to recreate what the eye sees and get a larger dynamic range.
“To put it simply, it’s the same file – developed over itself – the same thing you did with negatives when you scanned them.”
So what if he HDR-ed the photo? The edited dynamic range of the image doesn’t do anything to change how the emotion the feeling evokes from the viewer. A lighter or darker picture won’t take away from the framing and emotion captured by Hansen and the sheer timing that was displayed by this photo. For the record, I don’t think he did anything wrong with the process he took on the photo. What do you think? Should press photographers not be allowed even the slightest image adjustments?
It looks like the next couple of weeks will be more interesting than ever, Google I/O will go on from 15-17 May 2013, Apple’s developers program, WWDC is only a month away and it looks like you have more things to look forward to – Samsung SM-C101 aka Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom.
Shortly after the first rumor about the next Samsung phone built for photography, the device appeared in the Bluetooth Certification Body and now, the first sample image taken with the SM-C101 has appeared in a Google+ account. The accounted belongs to a person named Shahriar Hossain, who supposedly works for Samsung Electronics in Bangaladesh.
According to the EXIF data of the picture captioned as “Morning View”, the device carries the same model number as the one that showed up in Bluetooth SIG – SM-C101. No further information have been revealed, the data does not provide any solid information as to how many megapixels the camera has and the zoom level offered on the lens, but I guess it shouldn’t take too long for Samsung to finally make an announcement.
If you’re a videographer using Canon DSLR’s chances are you’ve used the Magic Lantern before. Now, in a wonderful update they have done the seemingly impossible and given us raw continuous video recording for the 5D Mark III. When active, the 5D3 turns into a BlackMagic Cinema Camera of sorts recording 1920×720 HD Raw video at about 90MB/s and reports have said that the camera is more than up to the task at hand. If you record the video at 1080p, the file sizes are similar to 2.5K on the BlackMagic Cinema Camera.
Currently the version is in development and not really even in alpha just yet so we are not fully able to test it for ourselves. Once it is finished, there will be no doubt that it will be ported to the 6D or even the 600/700D. If you want to find out more about the technical aspects of this build and how this will affect the world of videography as we know it, head on over to our source link for more.
Olympus has been one of the original names in the Micro 4/3s game and has never failed to deliver with their PEN series of cameras. Modelled after the film cameras of the same name, the latest in the line, the E-P5 adds a little more to an already stellar offering. Coming in at 16MP, the E-P5 will have the same design as the previous 3 iterations with intuitive changes to the design while still retaining the overall aesthetic. One of the cool features is that the E-P5 actually goes up to a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000s allowing you to shoot wide open on larger aperture lenses in daylight for you bokeh fiends or to freeze motion. On top of that, the E-P5 comes with one heck of a 5 axis stabilizer from the OM-D, allowing you to negate most handshake associated with shooting at a slower shutter speed in dim light.
Hit the jump for more info, pictures and even a sexy video from the media preview.
Finnish giants Nokia have reportedly placed a substantial investment into Pelican Imaging, a startup company focusing on array camera technology. The Finnish company have reportedly been tracking Pelican Imaging’s progress since its founding in 2008 before making its decision.
At the centre of Nokia’s – and reportedly other device manufacturers – is Pelican’s 16-lens array camera technology it is currently developing. Instead of one lens and sensor, Pelican’s array camera uses sixteen lenses, each of which only captures one RGB colour, reducing noise resulting from cross-talk. More interesting is the fact that each sub-camera also captures 3D depth information which, when paired with Pelican’s software know-how, allowing for users to adjust the focus even after the image has been captured – similar to the Lytro camera, which uses light-field technology.
So when can we expect some imaging magic to make its way into our smartphones? Pelican Imaging’s CEO Chris Pickett mentioned that the product is scheduled to be part of “at least one new smartphone launching in 2014″, and that it is currently being trialed right now. The array camera’s main challenge at the moment seems to be on improving the hardware: its reference design uses an f/3.1 sensor that is “at least four generations old”. For more information on Pelican Imaging, do take a look at the promo video above, or head on to its official website here.
If for some reason, you’re caught in a situation that requires you to edit RAW files and you don’t have a computer on hand, Adobe has got your back. Adobe is working on a mobile complement to Lightroom which will let you view and edit RAW images on your computer from your mobile device. While still in development the app will use the lossy DNG Smart Preview which is new to Lightroom 5 to keep your tablet chugging along without locking up. The app will also use the same image processing model that is used in Lightroom and ACR. The changes will then be able to sync changes between devices quite easily.
While it sounds pretty useful, I don’t see where this will slot into a workflow in any way, shape or form. I’d rather get a MacBook Air, or any 11incher rather than use a tablet to edit my photos (monitor calibration comes to mind). For now, it’s still not fully confirmed yet, but it will depend on many factors to see if its going to be successful or not. How much would you pay for an app like this?
(Source: The Verge)
When the Lytro camera was first introduced, we were pretty much blown away by the ability to refocus the image you’ve taken earlier. However, the device costs a whopping USD$399, approximately RM1,200; not something very affordable for an average person who wants a camera solely for the ability to shift the focus after the picture has been taken. FocusTwist is an iPhone app that lets you do pretty much the same, but for only USD$1.99.
How FocusTwist work is pretty simple, it takes several snapshots of your picture at different range, taking about 3-5 seconds to capture an image. Once done, you can touch the part of the image you wish to focus and FocusTwist will do the magic. Once you’ve selected what you want, you can save it to your album or share it out on various social networks.
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