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Category Archives: Digital Cameras

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

zink

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 3 By 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

actiondvr by 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]

Seitz Roundshot D3 Panoramic Camera

Seitz Roundshot D3 Panoramic Camera (Image courtesy Seitz Phototechnik)By Andrew Liszewski

While you can take your own 360 degree panorama shots with the right lens and a small roundtable why not go all out and do it right? The Seitz Roundshot D3 can create a full rotation digital panorama in only 2 seconds and the resulting images are composed of about 470 million pixels. The sensor on the D3 gives the camera an impressive ISO/ASA range of 500 to 10,000 and the unit even includes a 640×480 touch screen that can be used for previews and as a wireless remote.

Of course keep in mind that an uncompressed 360 degree panorama shot taken by the camera at 48-bits will weigh in at about 2.7GB so the unit relies on a special portable hard drive that it connects to via gigabit ethernet. I guess swapping out SD cards after every photo is just not practical.

A mobile version of the Roundshot will be available for $37,463 but why not save a few bucks and just go with the studio version which only costs $34,906. Both models are due for release in early 2007 so make sure to preorder yours now.

[Seitz Roundshot D3] VIA [Camborg]

Pure Digital Makes One-Click-Upload Digital Camcorder, Pleases The Elderly

pure digital

By David PonceIt seems that for some people, even the drop-dead easy YouTube video uploading process is a little too strenuous on their thinking membranes. (I’m thinking Grandmas though, well, anyone could be similarly impaired I imagine) And while I’m unable to find confirmation on their website, it seems company PureDigital is aiming to take the (imaginary) pains out of online video sharing (while riding the YouTube hysteria) by selling basic point-and-shoot digital camcorders with one-click upload to your video sharing site of choice: simply connect the camera to your PC, press a button, and the video gets uploaded directly from the device. Presumably, you’ll have to go through an initial setup process (for login info and such, which is likely to involve Grandson) but after that initial setup, you’ll be able to watch thrilling videos of wicker baskets being knit any time of day or night, which Grandma uploaded all on her own.

There are two models of the cameras, which hold either 30 or 60 minutes of videos. The player works on two AA batteries, has an LCD screen for immediate playback and while the quality may not be stellar, it is reported to be sufficient for home movies. It’s $130 and available at Target, though the one-click upload models may not yet have arrived. We hear they’re on their way.

[Pure Digital’s oint-And-Shoot] VIA [FarEastGizmos]

Sony’s Cyber-Shot DSC-N2 Reviewed

sony cybershot dsc n2

By David Ponce

The inevitable elbow-rubbing with throngs of overweight Holiday shoppers is only a few weeks away. Don’t be part of the hysteria, and start planning now. So, how’s a digital camera from Sony grab you? The folks at Imaging Resource have reviewed Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-N2, a 10.1 MP addition to their N-line, and seem pleased enough. The nice thing about this camera is its touch-screen interface, which allows for a clean body style (perfect for pockets) while enabling a much simpler user interface. The only reason we’re mentioning it, in fact, is due to this particular feature, though a couple of other things are worth noting. The ISO settings go up to 1600, which is nice when taking shots in low light settings, but unfortunately the camera produces very grainy shots in the higher range. The 3X optical zoom can be artificially compounded by up to 17X (depending on resolution) plus an additional 2X Precision Digital zoom. However, with no image stabilization, you better set the camera down on something stable for those long shots.

The MSRP is at $450, which doesn’t factor in the generally overpriced Sony Memory Sticks. Still, it is 10.1MP, and it is a funky touchscreen interface which is bound to attract a few compliments for a little bit. For a full review and sample pics, follow the link love.

[Imaging Resource Reviews Sony’s DSC-N2] VIA [TechEBlog]