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The sign of more things to come

Strange times.

Brave new cloudy world

So the other proverbial shoe has dropped. There will never be an Adobe Creative Suite 7. Software boxes are gone.

Instead, Adobe is moving to a purely subscription-based model. Everyone’s going to have to pay monthly. Very interesting, with a lot of pros and cons for the user. The company is also introducing a couple of new hardware products - a wireless pen and ruler. (though the latter promotes the incorrect myth that Napoleon was a short man. Tsk!)

Sigma’s 1.8 zoom

Well. This is an interesting development! Sigma have announced a new 18-35mm f/1.8 lens. That’s right - f/1.8 in a zoom lens. It’s only for subframe DSLRs and not full frame (easier to illuminate the smaller sensor area), but it’s still a remarkable technical achievement. The lens is a bit on the short side - it’d have been really useful for portraiture if it were a bit longer - but considering what they’ve produced, I’m not surprised. Guess we’ll see what the quality and pricing are going to be!

Nigh unliftable!

The super-luxurious mondo giant sized edition of Sebastião Salgado’s new book, Genesis. On display at the Taschen store, London, for his book signing. In case it’s not obvious how huge this book is, those are power sockets down on the floor. It’s 18×27 inches in size.

Gorgeous photos, but I went for the standard merely large edition. More practical, you see.

Adobe Camera Raw is 10

Adobe’s Camera Raw software turns 10 yesterday. Man. Ten years.

Gigi Giannuzzi

I just heard the news that Gigi Giannuzzi, the founder of Trolley Books, died last month. Very sad to hear.

I had the pleasure of meeting up with him on two or three occasions. I pitched a book project to him once. He never went for it - I suspect because my work is insufficiently grim and serious for his particular artistic tastes - but he himself was unflaggingly cheerful and enthusiastic. The last time I saw him was the middle of last year. I’d just wandered into his new gallery space on Riding House Street in London. “Come in! Have a look downstairs!”

A big loss to publishing.

Jessops: 1934-2012

Another sad victim of online sales in Britain - Jessops, the high street photography chain, is no more. Jessops joins Jacobs, which shut down in June 2012.

Sadly, this isn’t entirely surprising. The primary market for Jessops was the average consumer. People who had no idea about photography but wanted something for their snapshots, or who wanted prints made up. The thing is, everybody uses their phones now. The average consumer no longer wants to carry a point and shoot around. And it’s easier to share a photo online than mess around with prints.

Meanwhile the high end of the market is split between professionals, who often shell out for the support from companies like Calumet or Fixation, or advanced amateurs, who shop around and then buy the cheapest thing online.

Either way, the end result is the low end in photographic retail is gone. Probably won’t be missed by the average photographer - I have a now-useless £20 gift certificate lying around the place that someone gave me years ago and which I never got around to spending. But a tragedy for the thousands of laid-off staff, and photographers who funded their way through life by working in a shop.

Powershot N

Well, this is an interesting one. For years camera makers have been releasing cameras that, well, seem a bit on the unimaginative side. They sort of parrot generations of previous designs with some little design tweaks here and there.

But the Powershot N looks quite interesting. I don’t know how practical or actually usable it is, never having tried one, but it’s definitely a case of a camera manufacturer having a little sit down and coming up with something new and unusual!

Basically it’s a small compact camera, square from the front, which can be used from any orientation. It has a flip-up touchscreen display, and some fun user interface tricks like a rotating ring for adjusting zoom.

Sigma Dock

Okay, so this is old news - the product was apparently announced last September. But I missed it. Still, very cool idea. Naturally it only supports Sigma lenses, and a recent subset of Sigma lenses at that, but hopefully other manufacturers will produce similar products. Not a ton of people will want to fiddle with their lens firmware like this, but for those who do, it’s an awesome concept!

Yet another slimy rights grab

Instagram users may want to consider using a different service for creating their intellectual property. The new terms of service for the Facebook-owned company contain a pretty massive grab. Consider some of these specific points:

  • “…you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service…”
  • “…you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”
  • “You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.”

If you don’t want Facebook to sell your photos in perpetuity to other corporations without your consent and for their profit, you have until 16 January 2013 to remove your photos from the service.

Update 18 December. Instagram now seem to be backtracking, basically saying, “we didn’t mean what we said.” Guess we’ll see how that works out.