Polamatic 4.0 brings the Polaroid camera experience to iOS

With Polamatic, you can really have some fun recreating classic-style Polaroid snapshots.

(Credit: Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET)

When it comes to consumer photography, perhaps the only thing more iconic than the Polaroid camera is the Polaroid photo. The size, the shape, and especially the white band at the bottom, where you could scribble a quick note about the scene — for those of a certain age (myself included), it’s quite evocative.

Polaroid embraced the smartphone scene a couple years ago with Polamatic, but the app didn’t exactly set the photography world on fire. (For proof, see the dismal ratings for the current Android version.) But with Polamatic 4.0 (currently for iOS only), the “official app of Polaroid,” the company hopes to bring the iconic style back into focus.

The app deftly recreates the experience of using a Polaroid camera (in ways the old version failed to). When you snap a new photo (or select one from your library), it slides into view with the telltale motor sound of the actual camera. But, what’s this, the picture is blank? Just wait a few seconds while it “develops.”

Now you can apply… [Read more]

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Security camera captures video of massive blazing fireball

There’s nothing quite like seeing a massive fireball burn through the night’s sky. Much bigger and brighter than a shooting star, these dramatic meteors tend to catch onlookers’ attention.

One recent fireball that blazed over Iowa and surrounding states, caused hundreds of wowed residents to call in the sighting to the American Meteor Society. The meteor appeared on December 26 around 5:45pm local time. More than 1,200 people reported the sighting, making it the third most reported fireball in the history of the society’s online reporting system.

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Epic skydiving with the Sony A7R camera

(Credit: Screenshot by CNET)

Simon Hammond has previously been the visual brain behind campaigns for brands like Red Bull, Olympus, and Motorola. In this marketing video for Sony, he takes the concept of changing lenses to an entirely new — stratospheric — level.

The Sony A7R is an interchangeable-lens camera with a 36-megapixel sensor and no optical low-pass filter, which means images should be sharper than those from cameras with the filter in place. You can read our review of its companion camera, the A7, here.

There isn’t really any other information about the video or how it was made, so we suggest you just sit back and enjoy a look at the most epic lens change we’ve ever seen. It’s a clever bit of marketing, even if we’re not entirely sure that the lens swap in the closeup could really be performed so steadily while hurtling toward the ground.

(Source: CNET Australia)

[Read more]

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Photography 101: Learning the ropes with your new camera

Flea markets, farmers' markets, and other outdoor events are great places to practice your photography and get a feel for what you like to shoot. At least until an irritated vendor says, "Are you going to buy something?"

(Credit: Lori Grunin/CNET) Editors’ note: This is an expanded and updated version of a story first posted in December 2011.

You’ve opened the box, charged the battery, and oohed and aahed over your shiny new toy. Now what?

Scan your manual No, you don’t have to read the whole thing, just the important stuff. In the beginning somewhere there will be a diagram showing you the parts of the camera. That’s the really important stuff. Then turn to the index, providing the manual has one (there are some utterly heinous examples of manualcraft that don’t include an index); if there isn’t, use the table of contents instead. Run down the index or TOC, and look at the page in the manual for every term you don’t understand.

Learn your camera’s quirks You don’t want to discover that all your low-light photos look like Seurat or Monet paintings after you’ve photographed your kid’s first birthday. To do that, you need “test” the camera somewhat methodically. For instance, set up a little still life in typical living room light, and (presuming your camera supports it), try it in various automatic and manual modes, changing settings like white balance… [Read more]

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Google rebuilds Android camera foundation for better photos

The Nexus 5 can take a burst of photographs and combine them into a single shot with better tonal range with its HDR+ feature. It also can take several shots a pick the sharpest. Both features use the new burst mode at the heart of Android's new camera-handling software.

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

Want a better camera on your Android device? Google does, too.

For that reason, the company has overhauled the mobile OS’s plumbing. Google has built deep into Android support for two higher-end photography features, raw image formats and burst mode, and could expose those features so programmers could tap into them, the company said.

Evidence of raw and burst-mode photos in the Android source code earlier in November, but Google has now commented on the technology. Specifically, spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said the support is now present in Android’s hardware abstraction layer (HAL), the part of the operating system that handles communications with a mobile device’s actual hardware.

“Android’s latest camera HAL (hardware abstraction layer) and framework supports raw and burst-mode photography,” Scigliano said. “We will expose a developer API [application programming interface] in a future release to expose more of the HAL functionality.”

[Read more]

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Mod gives Nexus 5 camera a performance boost

The Nexus 5's camera is already being reworked by the Android faithful.

(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

Fans of Google’s Nexus series of smartphones often have lots of positive things to say about the devices, but glowing praise for the included camera usually isn’t included.

While the recently released Nexus 5 makes some improvements on the lackluster shooter of its predecessor, the Nexus 4, a hacker over at the XDA developers forum has taken it a step further with a mod that’s like digital steroids for its 8-megapixel camera.

LG fanatic and India-based developer Jishnu Sur has been continuously refining his modification, which basically boost’s the camera’s video, audio, and image quality to maximum levels and also speeds up focusing, turns on edge enhancement, and makes a few other tweaks.

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Since the Nexus 5 currently staying in my house doesn’t actually belong to me, I’ve decided not to ro… [Read more]

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For true panoramic images, toss this camera in the air. Seriously

A Panono image taken high above Hong Kong.

(Credit: Panono)

Making a panoramic image by taking one photo after another is so 2013.

On Tuesday, Panono, a startup based in Berlin, launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to develop its throwable camera, a small, ball-shaped device built with 36 integrated lenses that is designed to capture a high-quality 360×360-degree image all at once.

The idea is simple: A user tosses a Panono in the air, and just at the moment it reaches its peak height, all 36 lenses fire simultaneously. Immediately, a low-res version of the image is viewable on a smartphone app, and within a couple of minutes, the full 72-megapixel image is available.

The Panono camera, which features 36 2-megapixel lenses.

(Credit: Panono)

According to Panono co-founder Jonas Pfeil, the camera is ideal for taking shots in dynamic situations. Family outings at the beach are an example, he said. But he also showed that the camera is perfect for capturing the broad vista high above Hong Kong, or the chaos in Tokyo’s famous Shibuya crossing.

Panoramas taken with the Panono can be viewed in a number of ways. The best may well be on a tablet, which allows the user to move around the photo simply by tilting the device. But… [Read more]

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Skully demonstrates GPS, rear-view camera in motorcycle helmet

The Skully P1 looks to be the most high-tech motorcycle helmet around.

(Credit: Skully Helmets)

Using GPS on a motorcycle usually involves looking down at a portable navigation device on the handlebars, but Skully Helmets wants to update that experience. The company developed the Skully P1 motorcycle helmet, which gives riders a heads-up display and integrates not only GPS, but a rear-view camera, hands-free phone system, and voice command.

According to Skully’s press materials, the display is not in the rider’s primary field of vision, and appears as if it were floating 6 meters ahead.

The helmet runs a modified version of the Android operating system, which comes loaded with navigation and Bluetooth connectivity. With the helmet paired to a smartphone through Bluetooth, the rider can use voice command to make phone calls and start music playback.

The heads-up display can also show the image from an integrated rear-view camera. Skully notes that this camera has a 180 degree field of vision, so the rider can also see when it is safe to change lanes.

Skully will show off the P1 helmet this week at the Demo 2013 conference in Santa Clara, Calif. The company did not say when the helmet would become available, or list a retail price.

A heads-up display shows the rider turn-by-turn direct… [Read more]

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Security camera catches USPS worker’s amazingly lazy delivery


(Credit: Sorikan/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

There will never come a day when you have truly seen it all.

As living proof of this belief, might I offer you this footage from the security camera owned by Mark Anderson of LaGrange, Ga.

Anderson had set up his home technology primarily to monitor his disabled mother. He linked it to a private YouTube account.

However, when he took a quick look at what was going on at home from his desk at work, you might imagine his incredulity.

For there was a USPS delivery woman bringing a package to his door.

There was one small issue with her method of delivery. In order, it seemed, to make it easier to get to Anderson’s front door, the USPS driver had maneuvered her truck straight across his lawn.

Anderson made the footage public to only 10 people. But then it appeared on Reddit and soon, on YouTube, where it was noted: “The package was not heavy in any way, and yet this woman made the decision to do this.”

He said he recorded this footage using open-source iSpyconnect software with a Panasonic camera.

He told … [Read more]

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In new ad, Nokia admits its new phone is really a camera

Will it put Nokia in the frame?

(Credit: Nokia/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

When someone is finally honest with you, it’s refreshing.

All these years, Apple and Samsung have been selling us phones that really aren’t phones at all.

We don’t make calls on them. We fiddle about on them like mini-computers.

Finally, Nokia has taken steps to admit that its new phone isn’t a phone. It’s a camera. A really, really good camera, at that.

In the launch ad for its new Lumia 1020, the company explains that Finns aren’t what they used to be.

No one does any phoning or texting or surfing the Web. The sole reason to buy this (hopefully) wonderful gadget is the camera.

In this ad, Nokia is trying to adopt the familiar pose of film directors when they’re trying to frame a shot with their fingers.

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