Canon Sends Out Invites For March 22 Event; Canon 70D Inbound?

There have been rumors suggesting Canon might announce a new product—possibly the 70D—this month, and low and behold, press invites have gone out for an event on March 22. These aren’t your ordinary invites, either.

Recipients were sent a secretive black box containing a nondescript silver pen. So? So, the pens actually contain a hidden message one can only see in a dark room. That’s some Bond-level spy stuff right there.

The pen is actually branded PowerShot, so perhaps in addition to the possibility of the 70D, Canon will announce one or two other shooters for the spring season. It’s unclear what time the announcement begins, but we do have a date, so we’ll keep an eye out leading into next Friday.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Nikon Coolpix A: Point-and-Shoot Body With DSLR Dreams

The Nikon Coolpix A looks like any old point-and-shoot: compact, attractive and handy as a possible vacation camera. But this is far from your typical shooter, and in fact further blurs the line between gear for professionals and the average consumers—at a cost, both in literal and figurative terms.

In the Coolpix A, Nikon managed to cram a DX-format sensor—16.2-megapixel APS-C—inside of a 4.4 x 2.6 x 1.6-inches body. Consider, if you will, how large a comparable professional DSLR is, and there’s reason to scoop this up for casual street photography, or maybe some easy landscape shots. The results, as you can see below, look pretty fantastic, showing off the Coolpix A’s range in different lighting situations.

The first downside is that the 18.5mm (equivalent to 288mm on a full frame) lens is fixed, and doesn’t zoom. That might not jive in a lot of shooting scenarios, but it’s a sacrifice. The max aperture of f/2.8 will be great for low-light situations when coupled with an ISO range of 100 to 25600. That black and white profile is an example.

Users will get plenty of advanced settings and manual modes, including a manual focus ring and multiple Scene Modes. There’s also a 4 frame-per-second burst mode to better capture action, and a dashboard menu on the LCD, along with additional body controls.

There’s no optical viewfinder, interchangeable lens support or zoom, but it’s compact, produces high quality results, and creeps toward what you’d expect in some of today’s entry-level DSLRs. But it’s also $1,100, which is a hefty price tag for something that sacrifices on features for size. Look out for the Coolpix A when it grops next month.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Instagram now has a full web feed to compliment its mobile app

Since its launch in 2010, Instagramhas remained an almost entirely mobile-only experience, only recently bringing a profile page component to the web. That changed today with the now Facebook-owned company introducing a full web-based image feed, including commentating and sharing options, for viewing your photos and those of your friends from within any browser.

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom announced the admittedly major step for his brand via its official blog, stating that it comes as the result of user demand. While the web feed mimics its in-app counterpart very closely -- particularly when viewed in mobile Safari or Chrome for iOS -- it most notably lacks the option to upload photos from within your browser. Systrom remarked that the feature was left out because the core of Instagram remains "about producing photos on the go, in the real world, in realtime."

[Source: TUAW]

Lynx A Camera

It's the world's first point-and-shoot 3D camera. It's not a conventional camera, but it's like a camera - particularly when it comes to learning curve and ease of use. If you can use a point-and-shoot Nikon, you'll find the Lynx even easier to use. Instead of outputting 2D images, it produces 3D models of whatever you point it at.

It's a light, plastic device shaped like a tablet. It has specialized, front-mounted optics including a 640x480 color camera and a 3D sensor. On the front, there's a large, 14" color LCD screen for an instant and accurate view of imaging results. You can navigate your captured models using joysticks, just like a videogame controller. The device has a powerful graphics card for capture/render and high-capacity storage. The battery is good for four hours. It fixes the annoying stuff (bad battery life, small screens, costly storage) of conventional cameras.

Capturing with the device is really cool. From the startup screen, you can select from three features: scene modelingobject modeling, and motion capture. Each starts instantly and has a simple start/stop interface. 

Scene modeling is more like a paintbrush. Scan surfaces around you and watch the 3D model get painted in the viewfinder. Scene modeling is more appropriate for large scenes because it stores the models in an extremely efficient manner.

Object modeling is like sculpting with a chisel. You walk around the object of interest and it slowly carves out a watertight 3D model of the object. 

Motion capture is like having a motion volume in front of your camera. Point the camera at an actor, press record, and just have the actor start moving around. When you press pause, the results are instantly ready.

With all 3 of these features, you can immediately output the files into the formats you currently use in your workflow including PLY, OBJ, STL, XYZ, JPS, BVH, and more.

One of the most disruptive features of the device is the price. If you cobbled together all the hardware and software you would need to accomplish these tasks, you'd end up dishing out a couple hundred grand. That's not accessible at all. The Lynx device sells for about the same price as a full-framed DSLR, making it a serious value for small outfits and innovators trying to break into these technologies.

[Source: Kickstarter]

Pentax shows NERV, flashes Japan-only Evangelion-flavored Q10s

We've seen Neon Genesis Evangelion-branded devices for quite awhile now, and as a testament to the garish-hued series' longevity, Pentax has announced a special edition, show-themed Q10 series of its own. It'll release a mere 1,500 of the models in Evangelion heroine shades, starting with the Eva-01 model shown above at a price of 59,800 Yen ($660 or so). Besides showing your love for '90s anime, that sum will get you a 12.4-megapixel, mirrorless interchangeable shooter capable of Full HD video, while filling out the already-bounteous Q10 color choices from the hue-loving outfit. Stateside fans of the show will likely be disappointed though -- it'll only be sold in Japan, starting in April. Check the source to see the other colors.

[Source: Engadget]

New Kodak Branded Micro Four Thirds Cameras

ROCHESTER, N.Y., January 07 -- Eastman Kodak Company and JK Imaging, Ltd. today announced that they have entered into a multi-year agreement for JK Imaging to license the Kodak brand name for certain consumer products, including digital cameras, pocket video cameras, and portable projectors. JK Imaging plans to launch its first products in the second quarter of 2013.

“Kodak remains a strong and trustworthy brand in the consumer space and this agreement reinforces how valuable our brand is,” said Laura Quatela, President of Kodak and Personalized Imaging. “When we announced our plan to exit the digital camera business last year, we said we would explore licensing opportunities for the brand in this category. The JK Imaging team has global experience and expertise in the industry.”

JK Imaging’s CEO, Joe Atick, is chairman of JA Capital Holdings, a global supplier specializing in consumer imaging and electronics products. Atick said, “Our decision to license the globally-recognized Kodak brand from Eastman Kodak Company was a natural fit. With more than a century of imaging firsts, there is great significance and value in the Kodak name. We intend to continue this legacy and bring to market the next generation of ‘must have’ portable, personal electronics that enhance the lives of consumers worldwide.”

Terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.

Kickstarter Project Adds Canon L-Series Level Environment Protection To Any DSLR Lens

I’ve got a lot of Canon gear, but only one L-series lens of my very own, and that’s also the only one that features a rubber gasket where the lens mounts to the body to keep out dust and moisture. It’s a shame that it isn’t included in any other lenses (including some pricey Sigma glass I own), because it’s a relatively inexpensive component and one that can really help prolong the life of your body and lens. That’s why a new Kickstarter project called Dust Donut is such a great idea.

The project, from Joshua Tree, Calif.-based photographer Tyler Sterbentz, adds basic weather sealing to any Canon EF Mount lens (including third-party offerings from Sigma, Tamron and the like) starting at just $20 for a single unit pre-order pledge. That covers about 75 percent of the lenses available from Canon itself for EF-mount bodies, according to Sterbentz, and gets rid of the need for photographers to use lens covers and skins to achieve the same effect.

[Source: TechCrunch]

Polaroid iM1836 Mirrorless Camera is Real and it Packs Android 4.1; Starts at $399

Polaroid is still a company that makes stuff and things, and that rumored mirrorless camera with Android is the real deal. The company officially unveiled the iM1836 on Monday, and when you stop and think about everything this device is trying to do, it’s not the worst deal imaginable. The Galaxy Camera just got some major competition.

Here’s what it’s packing: 18.1-megapixel, 1080p HD video recorder inside of a mirrorless body. And it doesn’t have some janky early version of Android, either—version 4.1 is packed under the hood, according to Engadget, meaning we should (potentially) get a nice sweet, smooth experience. Instant Instagram posts all day, assuming you’re near a Wi-Fi connection. Is no 3G a big deal? Probably not.

Polaroids new gem is smaller than the Galaxy Camera, with just a 3.5-inch display, but that’s all in the name of keeping things tight and compact. What’s really great is that optics can be swapped at will (there’s an optional adapter for Micro Four Thirds lenses), along with a pop-up flash. A 10-30mm lens is included, so you’re sure to get a nice wide perspective of all those vacations and birthday memories.

But you’re asking yourself, “How much is this thing going to cost.” Well that smaller screen and lack of data certainly keeps things low(ish); the cam is going to be available in the first quarter of this year for $399, which is smack in the face to the Galaxy Camera for sure. But is it better? We’ll have to wait and see.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

New Toshiba camera sensor lets you refocus after the shot, plans 2013 launch in smartphones and tablets

Hoping for some after-the-fact focusing in your next smartphone camera? Well, you'll have to wait around a year, but Toshiba's planning exactly that with a new module that houses an array of 500,000 tiny lenses. Within a 1cm-thick unit, these lenses are layered in front of the camera sensor, which can capture slightly different images from each lens arrangement. Those picture can then be combined in a "complete" picture using Toshiba's own software. Apparently, the camera will also be able to measure the distance between objects in the shot -- similar to how 3D images are captured -- with the user then able to shift focus between close and distant detail, or even create images that are in-focus throughout. Toshiba says the module will also be able to capture video with a similar degree of focus management -- something that Lytro hasn't got around to just yet. The sensor is still a work in progress, but the manufacturer plans to commercialize the module before the end of 2013. Toshiba is looking to ally itself with multiple smartphone (and tablet) makers -- and here's hoping that it finds its way into a device outside of Japan.

[Source: Engadget]

Toshiba preps 20MP, backside-lit sensor for point-and-shoot cameras

When smartphones are encroaching on compact cameras' turf, how does a company try to stay relevant making sensors for those cameras? By upping the resolution, of course. Toshiba has given a peek at the TCM5115CL, a 1/2.3-inch, backside-illuminated CMOS sensor that hits 20 megapixels -- a big jump from the 16-megapixel sensors in many point-and-shoots and some smartphones. To combat the noise and sensitivity problems that usually come with a denser design, the electronics giant is using pixels that can absorb 15 percent more of a charge, and therefore more light. Toshiba has primed the sensor for high-speed shooting and video as well, with the potential for 1080p video at 60FPS and 30FPS burst shooting at full resolution, provided the processor can keep up. We're not bracing ourselves for an imminent renaissance among dedicated cameras, however. Mass production doesn't start until August, which suggests we're unlikely to have 20-megapixel shooters in our pockets during summer vacation.

[Source: Engadget]

Instagram rolls its ToS back to the previous version after uproar, will 'take time to complete its plans

After upsetting users with changes to its Terms of Service, Instagram announced tonight that it's discarding some of them for now, rolling back the advertising section to the ToS in place since 2010. Reiterating his previous statement that Instagram never had any plans to sell user photos, company co-founder Kevin Systrom explained in a blog post that instead of trying to create terms shaped around "possible advertising products it had not yet developed" it would come back with complete plans and explain to users "how we would like our advertising business to work." There are still changes to the ToS and privacy policy coming effective January 19th, 2013, which can be reviewed on its website.

Also apologizing for a failure to clearly communicate the company's intentions, Systrom noted that any distribution of user photos has been and still is governed by the separate privacy policy. Instagram's changes came as part of its acquisition by Facebook, and the change-policy-face-backlash-then-apologize dance step is a classic Zuckerberg move. So in light of this backtracking, are you going to watermark all your brunch pics before uploading, jump ship to competing services like Flickr or just keep using / not using the service as usual?

[Source: Engadget]