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Category Archives: Digital Cameras

Olympus Develops 360 Degree Camera Lens

olympus 360 degree lensBy David Ponce

Every now and then, R&D departments spew out prototypes that look promising enough that we can imagine them making their way into finished products one day. Recently, Olympus has announced the development of an “Axial symmetrical free curved surface lens”. This lens is capable of gathering light from 360 degrees horizontally and 45 degrees vertically, and focusing it on a CCD without the use of other lenses. While only a prototype at the moment, possible uses for the lens include security cameras… and extreme sports.

Yeah, there are other 360 cameras on the market. But if our understanding is right, the innovation in this case is that the one lens does all the focusing, negating the need for extra lenses, and allowing the manufacturing of more compact devices. Of course, we’re gleaming this from a Spanish article, and a translated Japanese page. So if any Japanese native speakers can help us out, you’d enlighten a whole bunch in the process.

[ Press Release (Translated from Japanese) ] VIA [ Xataka ]

Mecablitz External Flash For Compact Digicams


By Evan Ackerman

Personally, I would almost never recommend using the on-camera flash of a compact digital camera. Not only is it invariably unbalanced and underpowered, but the proximity of the flash to the lens often causes nasty reflections. So if you’re determined to use your compact digicam for flash photography, you might consider the Metz Mecablitz 28 CS-2 external digital flash. It bolts right to the tripod mount on the bottom of your camera (or you can hold it or put it somewhere else), and is quite easy to set up and use. No wires or connectors are necessary; the Mecablitz simply watches for your camera to flash and then sets itself off. You can set a variety of options including delays, power adjustment, and optimum flash distance. It accepts AAAs, and can get over 100 flashes off of a set of rechargeables. The big downside for me would be that you still have to set off your on-camera flash to trigger the external unit, although with some creative use of the delay feature and your camera’s red-eye reduction you could probably get around that. Oh, and the other big downside is that it costs $175.

You can read a full review at Digital Lifestyles.

[ Metz Mecablitz 28 CS-2 ] VIA [ Red Ferret ]

Ricoh To Release GX100 With Detachable Viewfinder

ricoh caplio

By Andrew Levine

Earlier this week Ricoh introduced their new compact prosumer camera the ‘Ricoh GX100’, taking design cues from their critically acclaimed ‘Ricoh GR Digital’. They have added a fast f/2.5-4.4, to take pictures in lower light and a 24-72mm wide angle zoom lens with a macro mode enabling the user to focus in on a subject 1cm away. It packs a 10MP CCD sensor and is all packed in a body 2.5cm deep.

In addition to this, Ricoh has implemented the worlds first removable electronic viewfinder, giving full frame coverage, perfect for pesky sunny days or getting that old nostalgic feeling of taking a picture without holding the camera 6 inches from your face.

It’ll be available at the end of April for about $785.

[ Caplio GX100 ]

Camera Lens Diet: 85% Less Fat, More Flexibility

Folded Camera Lens

By Evan Ackerman

Sure, having a camera in your cell phone is neat and all, but nobody?s getting fooled into using camera phones as digital camera replacements. Cell phones pride themselves on small form factors, and there?s just no way to squeeze quality camera optics into a space with the approximate thickness of a McDonald?s milkshake. Unless, of course, you fold them up first.

Researchers at the University of California San Diego have origami-ized a typical 35mm camera lens down to 5mm by getting light to bounce around folds inside a focusing crystal, instead of passing straight through as with conventional camera optics. Changing the number of reflective surfaces and the distance between them lets the lens zoom and focus. Their next prototype is already 5 times smaller still, while retaining the quality of a 35mm lens.

Until these hit the cell phone market (no timeframe yet and DARPA is first in line), I?m going to keep using my regular digital camera. My cell phone camera is relegated strictly to emergency pictures, like alien abductions.

VIA [ Applied Optics ]

Zink To Offer Miniature Ink-Free Printing


By David Ponce

Company Zink has announced the development of a printer so small, it could fit in your pocket alongside your cellphone, spare change and half-chewed gum. It would be able to print your pics without ink. How would it do this? By using some special paper.

“Images are created when a heated printer head comes into contact with a sheet of specialized paper,” which is actually a polymer containing three crystalline layers. Varying temperatures and pressure points create the pixels of color, and just in case you figure out your latest printout doesn’t showcase your eye color as well as you’d hoped, it’s recyclable.

It would be able to print small images, 2- x 3-inch, in color. The company’s first products are likely to be a $100 pocket printer, or a $200 printer/camera hybrid. The special paper isn’t that expensive, at $20 for 100.

It’s not clear just when the device might hit the shelves, though Zink will be showing off the technology at Demo ’07.

[ Tech Sheet (PDF) ] VIA [ Engadget ]

OhGizmo Review: The Nokia N73

By David Ponce

When it comes to taking quality pictures, it’s undeniable that cellphones are making significant strides forward. Hell, only two years ago, VGA was considered hot. But even with high megapixel counts, cameraphone images are still not up to par with even a basic point-and-shoot.

Until now.

The Nokia N73 features a 3.2MP camera with Carl-Zeiss optics, but most importantly: auto-focus and a mechanical shutter. These two features allow the phone to take pictures that are nearly indistinguishable from those taken from low-end dedicated digital cameras… as long as there is enough light. Of course, taking pictures is not all the phone does right, and I’ve got a good bit of ground to cover, so lets get started. Out here I’ll say this much: great phone, gorgeous pictures, slightly long camera startup times. But… no WiFi!

Keep reading for a bunch of unboxing pictures, and the full review.

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Digital Hero 3 Sits On Your Wrist, Looks Dumb

digital hero 3By David Ponce

We might as well give you fair warning that sporting this digital camera on your wrist (as it’s intended to be worn) will make you look like a douchebag. Yeah, you might as well get yourself a fanny pack, and flashing Bluetooth headset to go along with it. If, despite knowing this, you still trek on with your purchase, then you should at least know the specs. The Digital Hero 3 is a 3-megapixel, wrist-mounted, waterproof sports camera. It’s an upgrade to the previously reported GoPro Digital Hero, which shot bafflingly low-res VGA stills. The device accepts up to 2GB SD cards, so you should be able to take plenty of shots, most likely of people looking at you disapprovingly.

It’s a nice concept, and we applaud the company for their effort at making personal sports photography more accessible, but dude… a camera on your wrist? Well, whatever, it’s $140 and should be out later this year. It’s currently on display at CES.

[ GoPro Website ] VIA [ Crave ]

Record Your Life With The ActionDVR

actiondvrby David Edney

Remember the beginning of Johnny Mnemonic where that guy is running first person view from the cops and he falls to his death?Well, now you too can have your own reality TV show. For a measly $1095 you can buy your own portable DVR and be the star of your own show. The DVR4000 has 20GB of hard drive storage, and a battery pack that will probably burn a hole in your pocket… if if it even fits in there. The camera itself is only 21mm across, but if you plan to put it on your cap, even that’s a little large. You also get 5-7 hours of video at 480 lines of resolution, so you can record your super interesting life and entertain your guests like good old slideshows never could.

But you know something? At $1,100, I think I’ll stick to my cameraphone.

[Product Page] VIA [Gizmodo]

Underwater Camera

Sea and Sea
By David Edney

Another cool item just in time for the holidays is this new 860G underwater camera from Sea and Sea. It’s a 6.2 megapixel camera with a 2.5 inch LCD screen, and a 3x zoom lens. It will even record video with sound with 640x 480 pixel viewing. The only thing it’s missing is night vision. It’s going for $462, but it’s only available in Japan before Christmas. Since everyone out there is an avid underwater diver, or at least an avid snorkler like me, you might want to go pick this bad boy up before you go on that vacation to Fiji.

[Product Page] VIA [Sci Fi Tech]