PT360: Episode 7 – A 1 Billion Pixel Sensor, Photography’s Therapeutic Value, Macro Photography Demystified, and Gadgets, Gizmos and News From Around the Web
This week we’ve got a varied offering of goodies to satisfy your photography desires! We start with a Pentax lens that’s gone from rumor to reality. From there, we take a look at the latest photography news, including an investigation into the makings of a 1 billion pixel sensor. We also highlight some special photographers in India that use their craft as a therapeutic treatment for child cancer patients. We’ve got lots of fun features as well, including a new section entitled Concept of the Week, in which we give a quick explanation of often-confusing photography techniques. And, as always, we’ve got cool gear reviews, hot gear deals, and great inspiration from the Photography Talk community. Let’s get to it!
The Rumor Mill
First Look: The HD Pentax-D FA 24-70mm f/2.8ED SDM WR Lens is a Rumor No More!
Image from Adorama
PhotoRumors recently reported that Ricoh ended the rumors swirling around its new 24-70mm lens and made it officially available for pre-order.
The lens has 17 elements in 12 groups, including three ED optical elements, three aspherical optical elements, and one anomalous-dispersion-glass aspherical element that allow the lens to accommodate super-high-resolution sensors. The result is a lens that can produce ultra-sharp images with sufficient light levels, even on the periphery of the image field.
When the lens is mounted to a 35mm full-frame DSLR, it provides a zoom ratio of 2.9, which covers everything in the ultra-wide-angle to standard range. The maximum 2.8 aperture is also available across the entire zoom range, ensuring that images are crisp and clean throughout its focal range.
Perhaps its best feature is the Supersonic Direct-Drive Motor, which gives the lens high-speed autofocus capabilities that allow photographers to snap images quickly and efficiently. The Quick-Shift focus system is a nice touch as well, which allows you to switch instantly from auto to manual focus after the camera’s AF system has focused in on the subject.
The HD Pentax-D FA 24-70mm f/2.8ED SDM WR lens is priced at $1,299.95, which isn’t bad considering it’s collection of awesome features.
In the News
The Guy That Invented the CMOS Sensor Just Developed Something Even Better
Eric Fossum, the physicist and engineer responsible for developing the CMOS sensor, has been up to his old tricks again.
Working with Jiaju Ma, a PhD candidate at Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, Fossum has developed pixels for the Quanta Image Sensor (QIS) that may very well revolutionize the manner in which cameras can see in low-light situations.
In essence, the QIS is so sensitive that it can see individual electrons. The pixels in the sensor are smaller than normal, meaning more of them can be squeezed onto a normal-sized sensor.
“We’d like to have 1 billion pixels on the sensor and we’ll still keep the sensor the same size,” explained Ma.
In case you were wondering, 1 billion pixels is a lot!
The QIS technology isn’t something that will be available tomorrow – or for a long time after that, for that matter. But Fossum and Ma are trying to work out the considerable obstacles that currently prevent a technology like this from being implemented, such as how to build a QIS without it being too expensive.
It will be exciting to see what the next few years of development will bring!
Read more about this engineering breakthrough at Phys.Org.
Have used camera gear you want to sell or trade in? Get a free quote HERE.
Turns Out Photography is More Than Just Awesome; Can Be Therapeutic Too
As photographers, we all know the joy to be derived out of our photographic pursuits. It’s fun hunting the perfect shot, and it’s nice to know that once in awhile our photos strike a chord with others or make other people happy in some way.
But as Sangeetha Devi Dundoo discovered, photography now has a place as a therapeutic treatment.
In a recent article published in The Hindu, Dundoo explains the journey of former photo-journalist P.V. Sivakumar. Sivakumar gifted a camera to a friend’s young son who suffered from a thyroid condition that caused him to fall behind in his studies. Sivakumar simply hoped the camera would give the boy something fun to do to take his mind off his worries.
But what Sivakumar found out is that the camera totally transformed the boy. The boy grew more empowered and relished the opportunity to be creative, which, in turn, helped him improve in his school studies.
That experience led Sivakumar to approach doctors at Apollo Cancer Hospital with the idea of putting cameras in the hands of children that were undergoing cancer treatments.
Again, the results were heartwarming. Kids that were scared and felt isolated turned into confident explorers as they went around the hospital snapping pictures of everything from people to flowers. With a new creative outlet, the children seemed to have a new fervor and joy for life. Some of their images are even on display as part of the Indian Photography Festival 2015.
Sivakumar has since gone to other hospitals to try his photography-as-therapy out with additional children. He’s even recruited some of his photographer friends to serve as mentors. Their work reminds us that while photography is fun, it can have a tangible, positive impact on our world.
Photo of the Week
Your photo inspiration this week comes from Photography Talk user Roger Hill. His photo, Colorful Oklahoma Storm, caught our eye because of the dynamic and dramatic formation of the storm clouds. Roger used a low horizon to capture the height of the storm while the framing of the photo – with the swirling clouds taking center stage – draws the eye upward into the eye of the storm. Congrats to Roger on a gorgeous image, and for braving the storm to get the shot!
Deal of the Week
Deal of the week is a new feature for us this week and we couldn’t be more excited! KEH is in on it with us as well to bring you amazing deals on great gear.
This week’s deal is a Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 SP DI VC USD Autofocus lens for Nikon. The lens incorporates axial chromatic and magnification aberration correction, which means it produces images that are ultra-sharp with excellent contrast. The turbo speed silent autofocus system helps you get those challenging shots without drawing attention to yourself as well. With VC image stabilization to reduce the effects of camera shake and Broad Band Anti-Reflection lens coating to reduce lens reflection and dispersion, this Tamron is built to make getting the shot as easy as possible.
Gear and Gizmos
This Gizmo Promises to Help You Go Further With Your GoPro
GoPro cameras have become a mainstay in photography, especially in venues where one needs to mount it to something, be that a car, a motorcycle helmet, a drone, or anything in between.
But an issue with the GoPro has always been that it’s a bit difficult to handle unless it’s mounted. But that won’t be an issue much longer if a new Kickstarter campaign gets the necessary funding.
The product is called the Exo GP-1 GoPro Housing and is designed for use with a GoPro Hero 3 or Hero 4 camera. It’s essentially a housing into which your GoPro is inserted, instantly making it a camera that’s actually easy to use and handle. It’s complete with a viewfinder, tripod housing, and has a cold shoe mounting as well. The housing is made from aluminum, so it’s sturdy, yet lightweight. Add in the ergonomic handle, leather strap, and the ability to attach filters, and you’ve got a fully functioning and stylish camera!
At the time of writing, the project has reached 33 percent of its funding goal, with three weeks to go in the campaign. To learn more about the Exo GP-1, visit the Exo GP-1 Kickstarter page.
Concept of the Week
Macro Photography: Working Distance Demystified
This is another new feature for us this week, in which we provide some insight into a specific photography topic that may cause some photographers confusion. In this first edition, we tackle working distance in macro photography.
One thing that confuses many beginner macro photographers is the concept of working distance. Quite simply, working distance is merely the distance from your camera’s sensor to the subject at the closest focal distance.
If your working distance is 20 inches, that means that with a combined lens and camera length of 8 inches, your subject can be another 12 inches away at the closest focus distance of your lens. If your working distance is only 8 inches, however, and your camera and lens combine for a length of 6 inches, you’ve only got two inches between your subject and your lens. Easy right?!
The Top 3
Three Movies Any Photographer Will Appreciate
This week we’d like to dedicate our Top List to the relationship between photography and film. Like photography, film is all about storytelling. But even though the pictures are moving, the individual moments in a film in which emotion, landscapes, light, and other imagery are captured can make or break the overall impact of the movie.
To honor the power of the still image, Resource Magazine put together a list of visually-striking movies for photographers to enjoy “bold, beautiful, and often bizarre imagery.”
We’ve chosen three films from Resource Magazine's list that are truly visually stunning. We hope you’ll find some inspiration for your photography after seeing these gems!
Tree of Life (Terrence Malik – writer, director)
This movie is a deep, philosophical journey during which a young boy from a small town grapples with many existential issues, including the meaning of life. While the storyline is interesting, the manner in which the film was shot makes for a stunning visual experience. Many of the film’s most striking scenes eschewed computer generated effects in favor of old-school techniques.
Citizen Cane (Orson Welles – director)
Widely regarded as one of the best films of all time, Citizen Kane deals with the aftermath of a man’s death, when reporters scramble to decipher his last words. The film is also one of the most visually stunning movies ever created. Nearly every scene in the movie is in deep focus, that is, everything from the foreground to the background is clear and sharp. The movie also makes use of low-angle shots to give the audience the point of view of looking upwards.
Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese – director)
In addition to being a raw, emotional look at the rollercoaster ride that is boxer Jake La Motta’s life, Raging Bull is also a masterpiece of visual storytelling. Director Martin Scorsese didn’t like how most movies portrayed boxing from the spectator’s point of view, so he filmed it from inside the ring, as if the viewer was involved in the fight in the first person. Shot entirely in black and white, Raging Bull is a testament to the power of visual storytelling.