Blindly Taking Apart a ,000 Camera to See What’s Inside
While riding an ATV through snowy trails, photographer Peter McKinnon accidentally broke the mic input jack on his $6,000 Canon 1D X Mark II. Before sending the DSLR in to Canon for repairs, McKinnon decided to try his hand at blindly opening up the camera to see what’s inside.
As you’ll see in the 12-minute video above that documents the experience, McKinnon decided to try and figure out how to open it up himself simply by poking around. So, he went to the hardware store and purchased some tools he thought he might need:
The screws you’ll need to take out to open up the camera body aren’t ordinarily visible. McKinnon found them after taking the gutsy step of pulling off the rubber grips found all over the body. Once the screws were removed, he was able to pop off both the front and back of the camera.
“For me, it’s actually really interesting to see the inside of such a workhorse of a camera,” McKinnon says. “It really makes you appreciate any camera that you’re using for any job. They’re very delicate and extremely impressive devices. And we carry these with us every single day.”
This 3-Year Timelapse Reveals How Quickly Seattle Has Grown
In January 2015, a 360-degree HD webcam was installed on top of the iconic Space Needle in Seattle. Ricardo Martin Brualla amassed still frames over the past 3 years and created this beautiful 4-minute time-lapse video showing how much Seattle has been developed over this period of time.
Brualla is a Google researcher whose interests include computational photography. He gathered together a total of 2,166 panoramas shot by the webcam — two ~9-megapixel photos per day (shot at 10:30am and 2:30pm), every day for the past 3 years.
The photos were then stabilized and smoothed temporally “to remove the variation due to weather and lighting conditions” (i.e. the jarring flickering that occurs in these types of timelapses). Here’s a short video that shows how the timelapse was made:
“It is fascinating to observe it at a larger time-scale, as my video shows,” Brualla tells The Seattle Times. “However, I’m still impressed with what’s coming up. If you walk/bike/drive through South Lake Union and Denny, there are still a lot of projects in the early stages of development or that have not broken ground yet! Seattle is going to continue changing very fast.”
‘Structure’: 4K Shots of Organic Things Magnified up to 1000x
Structure is a new short film by photographer Drew Geraci, who used a microscope and 4K camera to capture the beauty of ordinary organic objects when magnified up to 1000x.
Here’s a list of the things that appear in the film: Kiwi, Strawberry, blueberry, Lemon, Lime, Green/Orange Bell Pepper, Bell Pepper Seeds, Soap Bubbles, Star Fruit, Dragon Fruit, Beet, Beet Leaf, Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Prickly pear, Horned Melon, Carbonated Water, Mushrooms and Pachira Aquatica, Broccoli, Carrots.
“It all started with a single shot – a small frozen snowflake I captured using a 100mm macro lens,” Geraci writes. “I’ve shot plenty of macro photography in the past, but for some reason, this image ignited my imagination and passion to shoot.
“So I did what any sane person would do — bought a microscope with camera capabilities and I started to shoot everyday objects at 1000x+ magnifications.”
Geraci visited the grocery store and purchased as many unique-looking organic foods he could find, and then spent 30 days shooting the 20+ subjects at different magnifications.
Everything was shot with a Sony a9 mirrorless camera looking through a microscope, and the motion was done by connecting the lower microscope tray to a stepper motor, which created microscopic slider moves.
Here’s what Geraci has to say about the challenges he faced in shooting this project:
Since I was capturing motion now everything needed to be 100% completely still. This was the hard part at 1000x magnification. I must have filmed the same sequence 10 or 20 times before I got a completely still and usable shot. The slightest vibration could easily ruin the scene.
The next challenge was lightning. Capturing video via a microscope requires a ton of light and the microscope’s light is only so powerful. Each bulb only lasted for up to 3 hours at max power before they would die. I must have gone through 8 or 9 bulbs during the course of filming (and they’re not cheap bulbs!). Because of this, I needed to rig up external lightning that could help illuminate the scene. I ended up using a small Manfrotto Lykos light which did the trick.
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Inside the lens are 15 elements in 10 groups, including 7 special optics: 2 aspherical lenses, 4 high-refractive lenses, and 1 extra-low dispersion lens.
This design “minimizes distortion and various aberrations while producing crystal clear resolution,” Samyang says. “The remarkably even image quality from center to corner of the wide 116.6 degree angle of view appears distinctly on its MTF chart.”
Other features of the lens include weather-sealing, a 7-blade aperture, and a built-in AF/MF switch.
5 Things We’re Hoping For From Camera Companies in 2018
Designing and manufacturing camera gear ain’t easy, as anyone who has invested in a Kickstarter project can attest. The amount of technology that’s stuffed into gear is astonishing, but that doesn’t mean each product meets the needs of the photographer. So in the spirit of “there’s always room for improvement,” here are a few of our hopes in the new year.
#1. A full-frame mirrorless system from Nikon and Canon
Had it not been for the release of the Nikon D850, 2017 would have been a winner-take-all year for Sony. The introduction of their a9 and a7 RIII convinced many professionals (particularly those who shoot both stills and motion) that mirrorless technology had matured and had distinct advantages over DSLRs (e.g. 20fps of completely silent shooting).
Canon’s M-series, while well-intentioned, isn’t competitive with mirrorless offerings from Fuji and Sony. And what are Nikon and Canon owners supposed to do with all that glass? Arguably the main shortcoming of the Sony system is the lack of glass – particularly in the telephoto range – and this would give Canon and Nikon a clear advantage if they could develop a full-frame system that could use existing glass. Sony has become a dominant player in the pro-camera segment in a very short period of time. Some solid competition could make the landscape very interesting.
#2. Third party manufacturers FTW
In the past few years, Tamron and Sigma have reinvigorated their brands with a focus on quality rather than price. The results have been pretty remarkable – giving photographers more lens choices, often times with higher quality for a cheaper price than the camera manufacturer brands.
And the rise of Korean and Chinese brands like Samyang, Rokinon, and Yongnuo have shocked a lot of photographers with significantly cheaper pricing while still maintaining solid image and build quality.
These more nimble brands have really given the old guard a run for their money, which means better options for consumers. Here hoping that the third party manufacturers keep pushing the envelope.
#3. Improved wireless connectivity
Your phone can probably shoot a combination of stills, auto-stitched panoramics, 240fps video, 4k video and more, and then transmit all that data into the cloud within seconds.
But transferring photos from my dedicated cameras to my phone via Bluetooth or WiFi is still like pulling teeth. Most camera manufacturer apps have user interfaces that look like they were built 10 years ago, and are buggy and prone to crashing.
Wireless flash systems often still require additional controllers and suffer from reliability problems, or god forbid, are still using optical connectivity.
#4. More medium format options
The release of the Hasselblad X1D and Fuji GFX proved that medium format digital could be “reasonably” priced with a measurable advantage in image quality and resolution. On an inflation basis, the cameras aren’t much more expensive than the first generation of DSLRs, and we hope that this niche continues to evolve giving photographers more creative options.
#5. Keep making wacky stuff!
Photo gear is just a tool for creative expression. But tools can also inspire, and we love seeing wacky ideas come to life and into the hands of photographers.
Product and macro photographers are gonna love the Adaptalux. The newest arms give UV and laser options.
Sliders are cool, but they’re so long and cumbersome. The Glidearm is patterned after your elbow joint and gives you a pretty amazing reach for more dynamic shots.
The most practical use cases for the FLIR camera are scientific, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have yourself a little fun for $249.99.
But if you really want to convert your DSLR into a full-fledged infrared camera, there are a number of vendors like LifePixel that can do it for you. Probably not the best bet for your primary camera, but a pretty neat choice for your old body.
About the author: Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter, which regularly publishes resources for photographers. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Allen is a graduate of Yale University, and flosses daily. This article was also published here.
Panasonic GH5S: The Most Sensitive Camera in Lumix History
Panasonic has unveiled the new GH5S, a hybrid single lens mirrorless camera with improved photo quality and stronger video capabilities.
The camera is designed for both still photos and video recording, but Panasonic says that it was designed with professional filmmakers in mind.
“The LUMIX GH5S achieves highest-ever image sensitivity and video image quality in the history of LUMIX cameras, especially in low-light situations,” the company says.
Inside the camera is a 10.2-megapixel Micro Four Thirds MOS sensor that can shoot 14-bit RAW photos at up to 10fps (12fps in 12-bit RAW), capture 4K60p video, and do up to 51200 ISO recording without extended ISO. Resolution has been halved from the 20.3MP GH5, but what you get is superior low-light performance.
“When shooting in dark environments, videographers can now focus on filming that perfect shot as they no longer need to worry about noise which often results from having to use higher ISOs,” Panasonic says. “The Dual Native ISO Technology [with low range (400) and high range (2,500)] suppresses noise to produce cleaner footage when taken in all light.
“As a camera that excels in shooting in low light, the LUMIX GH5S boasts -5EV luminance detection performance with Low Light AF thanks to the higher sensitivity and optimized tuning of the sensor. Live Boost is another practical feature that makes it possible to check the composition even in total darkness, by boosting the sensitivity just for Live View.”
The multi-aspect sensor has a True “Multi-Aspect Ratio” Function, which provides the same angle of view in 4:3, 17:9, 16:9, and 3:2 aspect ratios for photos and videos.
“This feature means you can easily swap between difference aspect ratios giving you the accuracy you want from your lenses, and making the process easier while producing and editing in post-production,” Panasonic says.
The camera’s DFD (Depth from Defocus) autofocus system provides speedy focusing in approximately 0.07s using 225 focus areas. Focusing options include Face/Eye Recognition, Tracking AF, 1-area AF and Pinpoint AF.
In the area of durability, the magnesium alloy body is splashproof, dustproof, and freezeproof (down to -10°C or 14°F).
On the back of the camera is a 3.68-million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder as well as a 3.2-inch, 1.62-million-dot, 120fps free-angle touchscreen.
The GH5S features a Variable Frame Rate (VFR) feature that lets you record overcranked/undercranked video in C4K/4K (60 fps, maximum 2.5x slower in 24p) and FHD (240 fps, maximum 10x slower in 24p). Here’s some sample footage:
Other features and specs of the GH5S include no recording time limit, internal 4:2:2 10-Bit Long GOP, V-Log L Gamma and HDR Hybrid Log Gamma, dual UHS-II SD Slots, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, Time Code IN/OUT for easy synchronization of multiple cameras, a 4K PHOTO mode that captures 60fps images at 8MP resolution, AF Point Scope, and a 20x magnification ratio in MF assist (useful for astrophotography).
Here’s a comparison of the GH5S and the GH5:
Here are some first impressions and hands-on review videos for the GH5S:
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New55 is Dead Along With Its Dreams of Reviving 4×5 Peel-Apart Film
New55 has announced that it has shut down operations, putting an end to its dreams of helping to bring peel-apart 4×5 instant film back from the grave.
“New55 FILM ended operations on December 31, 2017,” reads the startup’s website in a message titled “New55 Ends Operations.” “We would like to thank all supporters and all customers as well as our steady suppliers for their faith and good service.”
Despite the film photography community’s enthusiasm, financial struggles were clear even early on. In February 2016, the startup shared about its “deep debt” in a message to supporters:
[T]he project is deep in debt and has a demand note against it. Through the 2nd half of the year, about $200,000 of supporting sales occurred which are promising but not sufficient to support the necessary capacity. Materials and paid staff comprise the bulk of the spending. Bob Crowley, Sam Hiser and others continue to work as unpaid volunteers.
In October 2016, New55 launched another Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of new color 4×5 peel-apart film. This fundraising effort failed, however. By the time it concluded, only 805 backers had contributed just $137,350 to the project, falling well short of its $400,000 goal.
In June 2017, New55 launched yet another Kickstarter campaign in an effort to raise “quality improvement” funds. Like the color film effort, this attempt also fell short, only raising $53,447 of the $150,000 goal from 337 backers.
Another important consideration is that we have no “personal cushion” of cash to bail us out in case something else goes wrong, like it did in the first successful Kickstarter campaign that many of you helped fund. Those who have been following along know that Bob put in an additional six-figure amount to make sure we’d finish the rewards – something we cannot expect him to do again.
[…] The 4×5 market is moneyed and viable, just as it always has been – at a higher price of course – something that cannot be said for the smaller formats. 4X5 photography will continue into the future. This is certain.
One of the big factors that affected plans was New55 supposedly losing its vendor 20×24 Studio, which supplied pods critical to the project. 20×24 Studio announced in June 2016 that it would end its production operations in late 2017.
Without money and without access to access to 20×24 Studio’s pod-making machine, New55 apparently ran out of runway after an ambitious 3-year takeoff attempt.
Zapping Film with Electricity: How to Make Spark Patterns in Photos
There are still a few very unique and interesting things that can be done with film but not with a digital camera. One of these experiments is the recording of sparks on film.
Sparks are created when an electrical discharge moves either through or across the surface of the film. I first got interested in this project when I noticed static discharge patterns on X-ray film. Those patterns were due to the charge buildup on the plastic rollers in the auto development machines, but I wondered could I make better patterns in the lab?
It turns out there is an easy and relatively safe way to record these patterns by using a demonstration electrostatic generator called a Wimshurst machine. These electrostatic generators were popular around 1900 when they were used to create high voltages. Now these devices are used in the physics classroom to demonstrate static electricity.
The Wimshurst machine can generate a voltage in excess of 50,000 volts but the current is very low making it quite safe for a classroom. The devices can be very expensive, but lately several manufacturers have introduced models that are in the 50 dollar range. This is the perfect device for recording high voltage patterns in a darkroom with no chance of death from high voltage.
The experimenter will most likely get a few shocks that are similar to the sparks created by rubbing shoes on a rug. If the experimenter is careful and holds film with wooden tongs, or places the film in a nonconductive holder there will be few shocks.
The dielectric breakdown of the film happens when the film is placed between the electrodes of the Wimshurst machine. The Wimshurst machine is hand cranked so a charge builds up between the two electrodes. When the charge builds to a point that the film can no longer hold up, the film will break down into a conductor and allow the current to pass through. When this happens, there is a large spark created and a loud snapping sound.
The film will be exposed by the light generated by the electricity traveling through the air and film. These fractal patterns of electricity are easiest to recorded in a sheet of film. To test out this process I used both black and white film, X-ray film, and color 4×5 format film.
Different manufactures yield different types of patterns. Fujifilm and Kodak color films show different colors as well as different structures to the sparks. The different patterns are due to the different manufacturing materials. I used a lot of black and white X-ray film since it was easy and quick to process in the lab. The color film had to be sent to the last local lab for development, a process that took several days.
The procedure was to hold a sheet of film between the electrodes until there was a big spark then to hang the negative in a dark box for a few hours. This wait time was very important to give any residual charge time to dissipate into the air. Without this wait time, the film would spark as the film was placed into the conductive liquid of the developer. The color film was placed into a box and taken to the development lab. The process of exposing and charge dissipation of the film all needs to take place in the dark.
I hope the reader will give this a try and see what types of patterns can be created. Please keep in mind that a hand-cranked Wimhurst machine is safe for experimentation, while any other high voltage source can be lethal.
About the author: Ted Kinsman is an assistant professor of photographic technology at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He teaches advanced photographic technology, light microscopy, and macro photography courses. Kinsman specializes in applying physics to photography. You can find more about him and his work in his faculty profile and on his website.