New Lytro

So the first Lytro camera, which lets you adjust focus in an image after a picture has been taken, was a fascinating proof of concept. But now Lytro has ratcheted things up quite a few notches with a new, and much more serious, camera. It’ll be fascinating to see how the “Illum” works and how well it’s received.

Calumet USA closes

Still more sad news, particularly for the employees of the company. Apparently the European locations are OK for now.

More film on the way out

Sad news from Fuji - another Neopan and a Fujicolor being discontinued.

Nikon Df - an unabashedly self-conscious blast to the past

So after a long period of rumours, the new Nikon Df has been announced. This is basically Nikon’s ultra-retro retro camera - a solid metal block, with 1970s styling, that looks and feels like a classic Nikon F-series film camera, but which is completely digital.

It’s an interesting experiment which should appeal to the wealthy nostalgia market. It even has the usual solid lockable top dials and the ability to use ancient pre-AI Nikon F lenses. But no video - that would undermine the purity of the stills-only approach!

It does look pretty cool and I’ll bet it’ll be a lot of fun to use. But it is amusing that Nikon is billing the UI as intuitive and stuff, after decades of vaunting an increasingly digital UI as being, well, intuitive. And I also just don’t buy it. I do like big chunky dials and the like, but they’re not inherently more intuitive. They’re just a product of the technological capabilities and cultural traditions of the 1970s.

But, speaking of not buying it, it’s also not a camera that’ll be making it to my house anytime soon. I don’t have any cameras in the Nikon system, but the main thing about the Df is that it is mind-blowingly expensive.

Still, good on Nikon for doing something fun like that. It’s certainly a change from the me-too cameras out there, flooding the market!


A one-off design by Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson.

Adobe hacked

Oops. Data on 2.9 million Adobe users has been stolen from Adobe’s servers in a pretty big security breach. The data stolen was encrypted, but it’s probably a good idea to change your Adobe password at the very least!
Definitely one of the big risks of continued growth online commerce and paid cloud services…

Fireflies in the dark

Canon have been promising super low light capabilities for a while now. Here’s a demo, which is an interesting step, considering that they usually announce new breakthroughs in the form of actual products rather than technology previews.

Hopefully they’ll be able to roll this tech out into some affordable cameras soon. Quite impressive.


I just don’t know

Camera makers are really struggling to come up with new ideas now that it’s painfully clear that mobile phones are in the process of completely obliterating the traditional point and shoot camera market. Mobile phones offer the unstoppable combination of good enough image quality and always-there convenience. After all, how many people want to carry more than one device?

Sony’s trying to come up with something new to combat this, with an external mini camera to be used with mobile phones. It’s a clever idea, but I just don’t see it making much of a dent, really. The cameras still have the cost and bulk problems… But definitely points for trying!


Shooting promo stills

Very interesting interview with American photographer Frank Ockenfels III who has shot publicity stills for various high profile US TV shows, including Breaking Bad and Mad Men.


Crazy fast lenses and Stanley Kubrick

For my book the Lens I was able to track down one of the actual Carl Zeiss f/0.7 lenses purchased and modified by Stanley Kubrick to shoot indoor scenes lit only by candlelight for his film Barry Lyndon. (he bought 3 of the 10 such lenses that Zeiss produced) Here’s my photo of the incredible lens.

Now, shamelessly using Kubrick’s name, German rental firm P+S Technik has bought one of these legendary lenses and has modified it for use with modern digital video cameras. And they’re available for you to rent today at insane prices! Note that, despite the name, the lens they acquired isn’t one of Kubrick’s - those remain the property of the Kubrick archives.

Of course, with today’s fast ISO it’d be a bit bonkers to rent this lens. The depth of field is insanely thin. Kubrick had to get his actors to sit completely motionless for his famous candlelight scenes in Barry Lyndon. Kubrick’s producer Jan Harlan also mentioned to me that the lenses tended to have focus problems when tilted away from the horizontal, so they could only pan and dolly track. But if you want to follow in the footsteps of a technically amazing filmmaker, I guess now you can!