Kodak Turns 92-Year-Old Film Manufacturing Building Into Rubble

by JamesNYCJuly 19. 2015 23:04

Yesterday marked the end of another piece of Kodak’s once-powerful film manufacturing business. The company used 100 pounds of dynamite to take down the 92-year-old Building 53 at Eastman Business Park in Rochester, New York. The sprawling 250,000-square-foot plant, once used to manufacture acetate base for camera film, was reduced to 1,500 tons of steel and concrete in less than 20 seconds.

A number of spectators gathered at the park to witness the demolition.

Since 2003, Kodak has spent $200 million in demolishing around 45 buildings. The industrial complex is being redesigned to allow other companies to move in share it with Kodak.

At the peak of Kodak’s reign during the days of film photography, more than 50,000 employees worked out of Eastman Business Park, but that number has since dwindled to around 1,000. A second plant in the business park is still operational and will still be churning out acetate film base for Kodak.


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The World’s Smallest Micro Four Thirds 4K Camera

by JamesNYCJuly 18. 2015 22:56

It’s not every day that a startup company launches a new camera to challenge the likes of heavyweights like GoPro and Panasonic, but that’s what the Las Vegas-based company Z Camera is doing. It just unveiled the 4K-capable E1, the world’s smallest Micro Four Thirds camera that combines the size of GoPro with the interchangeable lenses of mirrorless cameras.

 Specs and features in the E1 are impressive, given its petite size. It can shoot cinema-quality 4K 4096×2160 video at 24 frames per second or ultra high-def video at 3840×2160 and 30fps. The 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor at the camera’s core has “incredible” low-light performance, Z says, and can shoot at 102,400 while maintaining good image quality, thanks in part to 3D noise filtering technologies.

 A special companion app, available for iOS and Android, allow users to compose shots and control the camera using their smartphones. Other features of the E1 include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a magnesium camera body, continuous autofocus in both photos and video, a 45-minute battery life for 4K recording, and a 2.5-inch LCD screen on the back.

Z’s goal is to give the industry a compact, flexible, high-quality 4K camera that doesn’t break the bank. The company is planning to sell the E1 for a relatively low price of $699 if/when it hits store shelves. First, the company is running a fundraising campaign to launch the camera, over on Kickstarter. Z is looking for $42,000 in funding, and early contributions of $449 and up will be rewarded with an E1 camera when it starts shipping in December 2015 (if all goes according to plan).


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Fujifilm discontinues more professional Films

by JamesNYCJuly 14. 2015 21:05

Citing declining demand, Fujifilm plans to kill off several of its film products and jack up the prices on existing films, according to the company's Japanese website.

Here are the films Fuji plans to terminate, with their respective end dates:

* Fujicolor Pro 160NS (220 size; Dec. 2016)

* Fujichrome Provia 400X (135 size; Dec. 2015)

* Fujichrome Velvia 50 (220 size; Dec. 2015)

* Fujichrome Velvia 100 (220 size; April 2016)

* Fujichrome Provia 100F (220 size; March 2017)

* Fujichrome Velvia 100F (220 size; Aug. 2016)

* Fujichrome Velvia 100F (4x5 cut sheet; March 2017)

* Fujichrome Velvia 100F (8x10 cut sheet; March 2017)

Meanwhile, Fuji plans to hike prices on a number of films by roughly 20 percent on average starting in October 2015. Films to be hit with the price increase include Fujicolor 100 (135), Superia Premium 400 (135), Fujicolor Pro 160 NS (120), Fujichrome Velvia 100 (135 and 120 cut sheets) and more. The full list of films getting a price hike is  here.

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GoPro presents Its First All-New Camera In Nine Years

by JamesNYCJuly 7. 2015 13:53

GoPro today announced its first all-new camera since 2006, the lightweight, cube-shaped, waterproof Hero4 Session.

Priced at $399 and available throughout most of the world on July 12, the Hero4 Session is half the size and 40% lighter than the existing Hero4 line of cameras. It was designed to be much more simple than other GoPros, with a single button that starts and stops recording. It’s also meant to mount on objects, like bicycle spokes, that are too small to hold current Hero4s. It works with all existing GoPro mounts.

The company hopes the Session’s smaller size and lighter weight will make it more attractive to many of the professional athletes it works with, and who shoot and share videos of their action-sports exploits. GoPro Hero4 Session

"I think it’s going to be probably one of my secret little weapons," pro mountain biker Aaron Chase told Fast Company. "It’s a fraction of the size, and I can tuck that camera away even more than the original GoPro. I think it’s going to add another dimension. [A kayaker told me] he could put it one of the fishes’ mouths."

GoPro is positioning the Hero4 Session as a camera for users who want something lighter than the Hero4 Silver or Black, but who don’t want to give up much when it comes to features.

At 1.4 inches cubed and weighing just 2.3 ounces, the Session has to give up some of the components of its larger cousins—most notably, an LCD screen. That means users will have to rely more heavily on either the GoPro mobile app or the Wi-fi smart remote than is necessary with larger GoPro cameras. On the other hand, the Session is waterproof to a depth of 33 feet without the need for an additional housing.

The Session can shoot 1440p at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 60 fps, or 720p at 100 fps. It can also shoot 8-megapixel photographs in burst mode at 10 fps, as well as .5-second to 60-second time-lapse photos, and includes a number of settings for slow-motion recording and high-resolution images.

GoPro says the Session’s battery would last up to two hours at 1080p30, while the Hero4 Black would last 90 minutes at the same frame rate. "So Small. So Stoked"

Befitting the Session’s size and the parlance of its target market, GoPro is using the tagline "So small. So stoked." According to a spokesperson, GoPro has been working on a cube-shaped camera since 2011, and earlier this year was granted a patent for a "camera housing for a square profile camera."

The spokesperson said GoPro CEO Nick Woodman has wanted a smaller device for a long time, in large part because the Session is ideal for athletes who have been asking for a smaller, lighter, and more discreet camera they can use to shoot video and photos during competitions.

One major difference between the Session and other Hero models is that the new device has just a single button that is used to turn on the camera and almost immediately start shooting video or photographs. The spokesperson said it takes about a second to start recording after pushing the button. One benefit is that this extends the Session’s battery life because the camera is never on and idling.

By contrast, the existing Hero line utilizes separate buttons for power and record and can be turned on even when it’s not shooting.

The Session was designed with dual microphones, a feature meant to minimize wind noise in recordings. The idea, the spokesperson said, is that the camera auto-detects where wind is coming from, and utilizes the microphone that will record better sound.

At the same time, because the camera is cube-shaped, it is meant to be mounted in any direction, and built-in technology senses the proper direction to orient the image capture. Not Aiming For The Low-End

Last year, Polaroid released The Cube, a $99 device many saw as its attempt to undercut GoPro in the action-camera market. Other companies, like Xiaomi, have also put out low-price GoPro competitors.

Given the small form factor and cube size, many people may be tempted to think of the Hero4 Session as a low-end device. But GoPro says the camera’s feature set is much more aligned with the Hero4 Silver, and is not aimed at the entry level.

GoPro also said it’s certain that the Session will mount on the company’s forthcoming drone, which is expected to be launched next year. The spokesperson said other drone companies, many of which have traditionally made it fairly easy to mount GoPros, are likely to support the Session.

As for athletes like Chase, the smaller Hero 4 Session means being able to tuck the camera under his goggles or to use a selfie stick knowing there's less weight on the end.

"I wouldn’t have guessed they could make it much smaller, because of how much they packed into the camera" already, Chase said. "Once I found out (about the Session), I’m all in."


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The New Sigma 24-35 f/2: The Fastest Zoom Lens EVER

by JamesNYCJune 29. 2015 21:21

Sigma has just released their latest in the Art series of lenses, and it’s touting the title of, “fastest zoom lens ever made.” The Sigma 24-35 f/2 Art Lens is indeed the fastest zoom lens ever made to cover a full-frame body. Their previous lens, the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 had people impressed, but it was only made to cover APS-C sized sensors. Unfortunately, that leaves out a wide swath of shooters that would otherwise be using Sigma lenses.

Now that they’ve released a lens of such a caliber, I have a question: Who is this lens for?

Well, it’s for the shooter that would like to use the popular 24mm and 35mm primes that Sigma has, but either not want to buy multiple lenses, or they want the convenience of one lens.

The follow-up to that is, are there that many prime shooters out there that are willing to transition to a zoom? I would love to believe so. Often I have found that prime shooters are rather set in their ways. If Sigma is to be believed, this 24-35 f/2 matches the sharpness and quality of their primes. Could this be the straw that breaks the prime shooting lifer’s back?

The weight is at 2lbs, making it slightly heavier than its APS-C sized brother. I love good solid build and weight on a lens, but considering the length, this could sometimes be difficult to handle. I’m still left wondering when lens manufacturers will start making E-Mount glass.

Those small critiques aside, Sigma’s quality record over the past few years has been stellar, and many of their customers (me included) trust their word. If they say it’s sharp, it’s gotta be sharp. Right?

We’ll know plenty more once we see tests when it’s released. On paper this looks like a fantastic lens, with the capability of replacing two or more lenses in your bag.

No word yet on price, however you can expect this to be in the $750 to $1,250 range. Availability slated for July 2015. Hope you’ve been saving your pennies.

Sigma‘s New 24-35mm f/2 is the Fastest Full-Frame Zoom Lens Ever Made


Sigma is once again proving that even smaller lens companies can innovate.

Adding to their impressive lineup of zooms and primes, they’ve announced the 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art lens, the very first zoom capable of covering full-frame sensors and maintaining a constant f/2 aperture. This zoom is the newest in their Art series of lenses, which aim to give tremendous performance at affordable prices. Though they’ve already got a full-frame lens in the Art series that covers this range (the 24-105mm), that lens is an f/4 throughout — a full two stops slower. It’s certainly nothing to scoff at, but it does put the speed of the 24-35mm into perspective. Essentially, Sigma has set out to create a zoom that can replace primes in the 24 to 35mm range, with image quality that’s just as good and an aperture that’s nearly as fast.

Here are the specs:

  • Focal Length: 24 – 35mm (Comparable 35mm Equivalent on APS-C Format Focal Length: 38.4 – 56 mm)
  • Aperture: f/2-f/16
  • Mounts: Canon, Nikon, Sigma
  • Angle of View: 84.1° 63.4′
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 11″ (27.94 cm)
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1:4.4
  • Elements/Groups: 18/13
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9, Rounded
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Autofocus: Yes
  • Tripod Collar: No
  • Filter Thread: 82 mm
  • Dimensions: 3.4 x 4.8″ (8.64 x 12.19 cm)
  • Weight: 2.075 lbs. (941 g)
  • Availability: July 2015
  • Price: TBA

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RØDE RØDELink Filmmaker Kit

by JamesNYCJune 22. 2015 21:11

For still photographers getting into filmmaking, audio has been a difficult production skill to master  even in the best circumstances.

When you’re a one-man production team (or even two), you just don’t want to spend the time looking for a clear frequency, and then find half-way through a shot you have to change it again anyway – often my experience with the EW100 G2.

In comes the RØDELink, with virtually no setup; constant frequency hopping; no external antennae to bend; quality I already know; and a price – $399 – roughly half the price of a comparable Sennheiser kit.

RØDE: please add an external mic module.

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Samsung boosts storage of high-capacity SSDs to a hefty 2 TB

by JamesNYCJune 6. 2015 09:26

Samsung looked to usher in the consumer adoption of solid state drives (SSDs) back in 2013 with the launch of its speedy EVO series. It continues to forge ahead with its high-capacity vision for consumer-oriented, flash memory storage solutions with the addition of a pair of 2TB SSDs to its lineup.

The newest members of Samsung's SSD family are powered by the company's proprietary 3D Vertical NAND (V-NAND) technology, which it first unveiled in 2013. This brings the total range of products in its SSD lineup to 20, ranging in capacity from 120 GB up to the whopping new 2 TB options.

The drives are housed in the same 7 mm, 2.5-in aluminum casing as previous models and comprise 32 layers of 128 GB 3D V-NAND flash chips and an improved MHX controller to better support the 2 TB format. Also inside are four 20 nanometer-class 4Gb LPDDR3 DRAM chips.

Samsung has launched two versions, the 2 TB 850 EVO and 2 TB 850 PRO. The PRO variants have traditionally promised slightly better read/write speeds and reliability. Though Samsung is yet to release technical details on the new drives, it is guaranteeing the PRO model for 10 years or 300 TB written, and the EVO model for five years or 150 TB written.

The 2 TB 850 EVO is expected to cost US$800 and the 2 TB 850 PRO $1,000. There's no official release date yet, but they will be available to buy in 50 countries. Samsung also says that it has plans to extend the 3D V-NAND SSD lineups to include mSATA and M.2 form factors.


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Elle Australia Puts a Breastfeeding Model on Its Cover

by JamesNYCMay 22. 2015 08:43

Magazine dares to display Real-Life Moment

Breastfeeding moms are not a new thing when it comes to magazine covers, but Elle Australia apparently took advantage of a real-life moment when producing its June 2015 cover going out to its subscribers. The cover features new mom and model Nicole Trunfio breastfeeding her baby son Zion Clark. The shot, apparently, wasn't originally part of the magazine's plan. Ms. Trunfio was already booked for the shoot with photographer Georges Antoni. She brought her son along and started to feed him during a break, but the scene was so moving that the mag's team jumped on the opportunity to capture it on film.

"This wasn't a contrived situation: Zion needed a feed, Nicole gave it to him, and when we saw how beautiful they looked we simply moved her onto the set," Elle's editor-in-chief Justine Cullen said on the Elle Australia site. "It was a completely natural moment that resulted in a powerful picture."

Ms. Trunfio's reaction? "When I saw the [subscriber] cover of me breastfeeding, which was unplanned and just natural, I teared up and thought, 'Wow, this is such a special moment where my worlds have collided'," she told Elle.


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Rankin creates an Orgy of Surreal Erotica for Coco de Mer (NSFW)

by JamesNYCMay 20. 2015 23:18

Coco de Mer: X from TBWA\London on Vimeo.

U.K. erotic lingerie brand Coco de Mer is known for its risque ads, and in its latest, it goes for full-on erotic bombardment, albeit in a surreal style. The brand teamed up with photographer Rankin and TBWA/London to conceive the film, which will run in cinemas as well as online. It takes the viewer on a rollercoaster ride of sexual images (some definitely NSFW, but they're so brief you might miss them) mingled with seemingly random vignettes of other stuff -- from fighter jets to owls -- as it builds up to a climax and reminds us how often we think about sex. It was shot by an ensemble of directors including Rankin himself, Vicky Lawton, David Allain, Damien Fry, Joe Hunt, Trisha Ward and Bronwyn Parker-Rhodes.

Coco de Mer: This is Not a Rehearsal from TBWA\London on Vimeo.

Coco de Mer: This is Not a Rehearsal

Coco de Mer: Girls & Their Toys from TBWA\London on Vimeo.

Coco de Mer: Girls & Their Toys


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Straight talk from Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1958

by JamesNYCMay 20. 2015 14:31

Brilliant insights from a true legend.

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