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!

A sad article

About the seemingly inevitable decline of Kodak. The mighty.

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.