The Coolpix P340 is Nikon’s latest pocket enthusiast camera, featuring a large 1/1.7″, 12.2-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, full manual controls (P, S, A, M) and Raw image capture. The P340 has a versatile 5x (24-120mm equivalent) wide-angle to telephoto zoom range plus 10x Dynamic Fine Zoom and a fast F1.8 maximum aperture lens with Lens Shift VR image stabilization. We’ve spent a few days shooting with it to see if these specs add up to impressive performance. See gallery
Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Nokia’s Devices and Services division, and in March both companies confirmed the $7.2 billion deal would be closed by the end of April. Now Windows Mobile Power User got hold of a leaked letter which Nokia supposedly had sent out to its suppliers in Finland. In the letter it says that the name of Nokia Oyj will change to Microsoft Mobile Oy. Learn more
The Travelwide is a new large format film camera that costs just $149, but shoots on 4×5 film. If you’ve ever wanted to experiment with analog writ large, this is probably one of the most affordable ways you’ll be able to do it—and in a package that’s small enough to take with you to just about anywhere you want.
The Travelwide weighs just 9.7oz, and can focus from infinity down to 2 feet. However, it only comes with a pinhole lens—so for anything more advanced, you’re going to need to spend some time scouring eBay and used lens listings to get the right sort of glass. It’s designed for use with the Schneider Angulon 90mm ƒ/6.8, and will also accept most 90mm ƒ/8 lenses. You’ll also need to load it up with a film holder for the back, either a standard 4×5, or else a Polaroid 545i if you want to shoot instant film.
It also comes with three cold shoes for mounting accessories, including the metal sports viewfinder that it ships with. And while it might not come with a real lens, there is a pinhole lens included so you can at least get started shooting something pretty quickly.
Photographers with an eye towards self-publishing now have a much easier way of making their work available to the largest audience in the world: Amazon. The online retail megagiant has paired with book printers Blurb in a venture to get your self-published photo books on sale.
Amazon has long offered ways for people to publish their own text works, both digitally and in actual print, but this marks a move into a more photographic space. With the Blurb combo, you set whatever price you want for your photo book. From each sale, Amazon then takes a 15% cut, Blurb pays for printing, and then a processing fee of $1-$5. The remainder is paid out to you on a monthly basis, via check or PayPal.
For now, Blurb is saying “Enrollment in Blurb to Amazon is free for a limited time”, though so there may be extra fees that pop up in the not too distant future. You can also sell directly on Blurb’s online shop, and while you might not reach the huge potential Amazon customer base, then you won’t have to deal with Amazon taking a cut, either.
If you’ve ever wanted to put together a photo book to try and sell, this might the easiest way to get it out into the general public, without having to having to go through a publisher, or fill your garage with copies to sell by hand.
Can vastly improved hardware make Lytro a real contender?
When we were first introduced to the Lytro light field camera a few years ago, we were intrigued. The promise of focusing after the photo had been taken was immediately interesting. But, the camera itself was early hardware and had some shortcomings. Now, Lytro is trying to fix that with a more grown-up version of the camera called the Illum.
It has the look of a Sony NEX (now part of the Alpha line) or the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Cam, but the lens is attached. It’s 30-250mm (full-frame equivalent) field of view F/2 lens that sits in front of a “40 megaray”, 1-inch sensor. That’s decidedly bigger than its predecessor and should alleviate some of the image quality issues that befell it. It even has a hot shoe so you can use it with a flash.
On the back of the camera is a 4-inch touchscreen for previewing and composing shots, which is quite a bit of real estate. There’s also a Lytro button, which uses a series of colored overlays to help you preview the depth data that will be recorded with your image. It’s kind of like focus peaking, only you’re not really focusing because of the light ray technology. It’s just giving you an idea of what you’ll be able to do with the final interactive image.
As before, the software is an integral part of the process because the images aren’t meant to be flat photos, but rather immersive scenes with which viewers can interact. While it will spit out standard JPEG photos if you ask it to, Lytro hopes you’ll instead use their proprietary platform to embed images that users can click around in, changing things like focus and perspective.
The camera itself seems like a serious upgrade and, well, like an actual camera, which may draw more people to check it out. All those upgrades, however, do come with considerable cost. The old Lytro was $400, but the new Illum commands a $1,599. While the new functionality does seem very cool, it has a long way to go in convincing people it’s a legitimate creative tool worth that much money, rather than a cool novelty.