Thursday, November 17, 2011

Changes to Focus on Photography

There are a few changes to the blog here, as you may have noticed. It's now easier to subscribe to it and I am now allowing moderated comments. I turned off the comments a while back because of some weird spammy comments that kept showing up. And with luck, the new favicon will now show up on everyone's screen views. Cheers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Polaroid Goes Digital!

Talk about "What goes around, comes around," Polaroid is once again making a "spit 'em out" instant camera. The difference this time is the camera is really a digital camera with a built-in printer. So it acts just like an old Polaroid camera, but it saves the 14 MP images on an SD card, so you can print them out bigger at a later time. Convenient and flexible!

The old Polaroid cameras were loved by countless amateurs for family pictures and vacation snaps, but photojournalists used them, too. Many times, in the field, far away from a lab, working photographers would hand out Polaroids to their subjects, in place of prints from their "serious" cameras. I could see this camera filling the same niche.

The Polaroid Z340 Instant Digital Camera will retail for around $299.99 for the camera and $19.99 for a pack of 30 prints. You can order them directly from Polaroid, B&H, Adorama, and Amazon. Considering the cost of a good point-and-shoot, not to mention even an inexpensive mini-printer, this seems like a good deal to me. It's nice to see Polaroid back in the game with a camera that hits the right nostalgia notes along with current digital convenience. Kudos to Polaroid!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Basic Portrait Lighting Tips

Here's a well-done, though with a slightly silly, slapstick ending, video on five basic lighting set-ups for portraits. It's on the Digital Photography School website and features photographer Jay P. Margan. I recommend this for poeple looking for basic, easy to follow info, and you can see it here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Digital Cinema Developments

When the EOS 1D X was announced recently, I thought that Canon would have another high-end camera to add to the line-up, and here is a preview of it. It has no name yet, but the letter "C" is a clue to what it is: a pro-quality DSLR designed specifically for HD cinema shooting. Canon isn't saying much about this new model (my guess for its final name is the EOS 1D C), so we don't know the resolution of the sensor, though I'm assuming it will be full frame 35mm, but they have said it will shoot in 4K, which means 4000 lines of horizontal resolution, compared to the 1080 lines that 1080P HD now has. That's a substantial increase in resolving power and it may change the way that movies are made in the future, even more than the 5D Mark II changed things. We shall see.

Canon also announced a new line of lenses, the 4K EF Cinema lenses. These are lenses designed for the latest HD video format mentioned above. The price of these lenses are somewhat unbelievable and indicate they are being targeted to the film studio crowd. For example, the lens pictured will go for $47,000. Ouch! Saving your pennies won't help with these babies.

Another cinema product is the EOS C300, a HD video camera with an interchangeable lens mount for Canon EF lenses. This isn't a 4K camera, but it will have a Super 35mm 8.29 MP CMOS sensor. This means that the sensor is approximately half the size of full-frame 35mm and will match the size of the image that pro 35mm film movie cameras shoot. Its price will run around $20,000, another high priced item aimed at pros.

The last item is one that should have potential buyers of the EOS C300 rethinking their choices. RED has finally announced its Scarlet-X camera with a Canon EF lens mount, which will shoot in 4K resolution with a 13.8 MP sensor. It will sell for less than $10,000. Relatively speaking, it sounds like a good deal, especially when compared to the EOS C300. I wonder if Canon will lower their prices on that camera when it finally becomes available. I wouldn't be surprised.

Friday, November 4, 2011

"Grit" Equals Success in Life

There is an interesting article up on the Behance website that talks about personal "grit" being the most important factor in determining success and achievement in life. More than talent or ability, being able to stick with a task and not let obstacles get in your way is a better predictor of how well you do in school, career, and life.

Angela Duckworth, a researcher at Harvard, sums up the two main qualities this way:

1. "The tendency not to abandon tasks from mere changeability. Not seeking something because of novelty. Not "looking for a change." "
2. "The tendency not to abandon tasks in the face of obstacles. Perseverance, tenacity, doggedness."

In my life, I've seen this in action more than once, where people with a modest amount of talent, nothing extraordinary, succeed because they just never give up. They just work harder than anybody else. And I've seen other people with enormous amounts of talent ultimately fail because they just never stick with anything. They either get bored or they lose interest or they move onto something else.

So when it comes down to it, as it turns out, personal drive is more important than talent. You can read the article here.