Google Engineer Raises the Bar On Low Light Smartphone Photography

When Google software engineer Florian Kainz showed his friends on the Gcam team a nightscape he captured using his fancy Canon 1DX, they threw down the gauntlet. Take that same photo, they challenged him, but with a smartphone camera instead. He accepted, and succeeded. The results of his experiment just went up on the Google Research blog, and they have photo lovers everywhere salivating at the low light smartphone possibilities. In essence, Kainz applied the same techniques that Google’s HDR+ camera mode uses to take better low light shots… and kicked them up several notches. HDR+ takes 10 frames
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How Nature Documentaries are Fake: A Filmmaker’s Perspective

When you watch nature documentaries like the BBC’s famous Planet Earth series, do you take for granted that everything you’re seeing is 100% real? We wouldn’t blame you if you did, but as Simon Cade of DSLRguide explains in this video, you’d be wrong. While the amount of “manipulation” that takes place in the cutting room of a nature doc varies with the editor and how far the producer is willing to push the truth, the fact is: every nature documentary is edited to tell a story. This means fake sounds—because you can’t capture the rustling of animal legs through
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Leica M3 vs Game Boy Camera: The Comparison You’ve Been Waiting For

Inspired by a list that I saw some time ago made by “gadget experts” (whatever those are) who chose the Leica M3 as the top gadget of all time and the original Game Boy as one of the top five, I decided to compare them. My first conclusion was that the Game Boy is probably a better videogame than the Leica. The M3 doesn’t run any games, as far as I know. Guess I should compare them as cameras, then. I bought an original translucid Game Boy a few months ago. Lovely thing with its green-and-yellow-ish screen. I then decided
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It Costs a Pro Photog Over $11,000 to Switch from Canon to Sony: Report

The groundbreaking new Sony a9 is one heck of a sports camera, and it’s cheaper than both the Canon 1DX Mark II and the Nikon D5. That must mean it’s financially smart to switch, right? Not so fast… Photographer Dan Bracaglia over at DPReview did an actual cost breakdown that reveals what it would actually cost a pro sports photographer to make the switch from Canon to Sony, and the totals are not encouraging. Bracaglia’s estimate involved a lot of … well … estimating. But it all breaks down to three basic steps. Step 1: Dan compiled the ‘ideal kit’
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My NASA Friend Found a Box of Film from Apollo 15 in His Desk Drawer

I recently had the amazing opportunity to work with some very interesting historical media. A retired NASA engineer friend contacted me having found a box of photographic films in his desk drawer. Turns out the box contained two partial rolls and several cut slides of 70mm film from the 1971 Apollo 15 mission! What a find! According to my engineer friend, these are not unpublished images. They are, however, original films from the customized Hasselblad EDC (Electronic Data Cameras) medium format cameras used on the lunar surface, and include numerous images of the astronauts, the Lunar Module—the “Falcon” (LM-10)—and Lunar
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Photographer Uses ‘Science’ to Find the ‘Perfect’ Portrait Angle

Is there such a thing as the ‘perfect’ portrait and headshot angle? When you’re dealing with something as subjective as photography, probably not. But that didn’t stop Ed Gregory from YouTube channel Photos in Color from applying some ‘science’ to try and find that perfect shot. Gregory decided to try and find this ‘perfect’ portrait angle by applying—in broad terms—the scientific method to a photo shoot. So he lined up a model under clam shell lighting, got out his Nikon D800 and an 85mm f/1.8 lens (set at f/8), and established some basic parameters for shooting 16 portraits from
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Watch the Sony a9 Track and Shoot a Pole Vaulter at 20fps

It’s time for one more Sony a9 demo, because a high-speed sports camera is only as good as its AutoFocus system. Sony Artisan Gary Fong uploaded this pole vaulter demo, showing how well the a9 can keep up with a running athlete while shooting wide open. Just like the 20fps no blackout demo last week, it’s easy to forget that Fong is not shooting video here: he’s taking 20 full-frame photos per second. In his case, it looks like he’s shooting JPEG, but the camera is capable of capturing this same sequence in RAW no problem. Fong was shooting in
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When You’re Taking a Photo Class But Your Only Friend is a Cat…

This digital contact sheet is what you get when you’re doing a high school portrait photography project, but your only friend is a cat. “This was a high school photography class I took in 2011,” the photo enthusiast, Cherie, tells PetaPixel. “The assignment was to photograph a subject in different types of light: silhouette, glamour, split light, etc.” Cherie says she didn’t have any friends at the high school she could call upon, so she decided to shoot portraits of her cat Pumpkin. “I used a desk lamp behind a poster board, put the cat on a stool,
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SwellPro’s Waterproof Drones Don’t Just Fly, They Float to Film Underwater

SwellPro’s waterproof “splash drones” were designed primarily for fishermen, but ambitious filmmakers and at least a few clumsy photographers could all benefit from a drone that can shoot above and below the waves. The SwellPro splash drones come in two different versions: Fisherman and Auto. The entry-level Fisherman was designed for “long fishing line delivery and bait dropping,” and comes equipped with an SAR fishing line release mechanism, waterproof camera, video transmitter, and FPV monitor. The more expensive Auto version is a bit more filmmaker friendly, and includes a waterproof GoPro gimbal, a fishing line release rig, a
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Size Comparison: Sony a9 vs a7R II, Canon 5D Mark IV, and 1DX Mark II

One of the biggest selling points of Sony’s mirrorless full-frame cameras is how much smaller and lighter they are than comparable DSLRs, but does the new Sony a9 live up to that promise? Let’s see. The good folks at Camera Size have just added the Sony a9 to their comparison tool, allowing us to place it next to some of its main competitors and see just how much (if any) smaller the a9 is than the a7R II, Canon 5D Mark IV, and its REAL competition, the Canon 1DX Mark II. One thing you’ll notice right away is that the
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Video: This Large Bird is Not a Fan of Wildlife Photographers

Wildlife photography can be tough if your subject insists on making life difficult for you. Here’s a video that shows a recent encounter between a wildlife photographer in Belarus and a western capercaillie, the largest member of the grouse family. The photographer was shooting at a wildlife sanctuary at Vyhanaščanskaje Lake when the capercaillie decided it had seen enough of the picture-taking. It began sitting on the photographer, biting at him, and whacking him with its wings, forcing the photographer to set his DSLR kit down and protect his face instead.

This Incredible Ad Was Shot with a Robot Arm, Paint, and Water… No CGI

Step aside awesome Microsoft Surface Studio commercial, this new paint ad is officially the coolest use of robotic filming techniques and practical effects we have ever seen. As you watch this video, keep in mind: none of this is CGI. The ad was created by the minds at McKinney and PSYOP, and our first time through, we simply couldn’t believe this was all done with paint, water, and standard editing. But it was, as the behind the scenes video they released shows. All it took was a Phantom slow motion camera mounted on a high-speed robot arm called
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These Signed NatGeo Prints are On Sale Until Earth Day

You can deny climate change, but you can’t deny that these are pretty sweet images. In honor of Earth Day, National Geographic Creative is holding a flash print sale of 22 different images by some of their top photographers. Did I mention the prints are signed? They make great gifts for a loved one, or yourself. But hurry—the sale ends on April 22, 2017. Do you like it Skerry? Brian Skerry, that is. Buy it.
An adult Southern Right Whale, (Eubalaena australis) encounters a diver on the sandy sea bottom at a depth of 22-meters off the Auckland Islands, New
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Extreme 4K Footage Puts Your Right Next to a Massive Tornado in Colorado

Incredible… and terrifying. Last year, extreme storm chaser Reed Timmer got up close and personal with an EF-2 tornado outside of Wray, CO, and captured 4K footage of the twister that will leave you slack-jawed. The video was published back in May of 2016, around the same time Timmer uploaded the 360 footage we featured here, but we somehow missed the ultra-high definition 4K footage until yesterday when it blew up again on Reddit. To say the resulting footage is jaw-dropping might actually be an understatement. This screenshot, for example, isn’t even the closest they got to the tornado,
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Dad Poses for Hilarious Maternity Shoot Parody, Nails It

This photo shoot is a year old, but we are so happy we stumbled across it today. After shooting too many maternity shoots in a row, photographer Martyn Wilkes decided to break the monotony with a bit of fun. He asked his friend Francisco Pérez to pose for his own “maternity” shoot. The resulting … paternity? … shoot turned into a spot-on parody of countless maternity shoot tropes. Flowing skirt and flower crown on, thin cloth wrapped around his ample bosom, and belly exposed with flowers and the baby name “Noelia” painted on, Pérez (nickname Paco) put on an appropriately
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Watch the Inside of a Model Rocket Engine Ignite in Slow Motion

Cutting stuff in half and capturing things in slow motion both tend to turn the mundane into something really interesting, so YouTube channel Warped Perception decided to do both to a model rocket engine. Do NOT try this at home. Warped Perception’s Matt Mikka has been shooting off model rockets since he was a kid, and he’s always wondered what actually goes on inside there. Now an adult in possession of a high-speed camera and a popular YouTube channel, he decided to satisfy that curiosity. He cut a model rocket engine in half, taped it to a clear piece of
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Olympus Sliced an E-M1 Mark II in Half to Show You the Insides

You probably never thought you’d get to see a brand-new top-of-the-line mirrorless camera sliced cleanly in half. Well… think again, because Olympus Europe is giving us a peek inside a brand new OM-D E-M1 Mark II. This picture was published late last month on the Olympus Europe Facebook, alongside the caption:
Yes, we did it! We sliced our OM-D E-M1 Mark II to show you all the insides…
By all accounts, the Olympus E-M1 Mark II is going a formidable force in the Micro Four Thirds world. With ungodly stabilization and high-speed shooting capabilities, the camera has received very positive
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How to Get a 35mm f/0.9 Lens for Just $350: Speed Boosters Explained

You would think the physics of lenses and light are pretty set in stone—and yet, somehow, people still get really twisted around when it comes to things like crop factor, depth of field, and speed boosters. Hoping to end (or at least quiet) this debate, photographer Jimmi Kai created this very informative, easy-to-understand video. The video specifically focuses on so-called Speed Boosters, and how these focal reducers can, in fact, turn a 50mm f/1.2 lens into a 35mm f/0.9 lens. It all comes down to a basic understanding of f-stop, how it’s calculated, and how it’s different than
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These Creative Photos Use Optical Illusions to Promote Pet Adoption

Photographer Amol Jadhav and art director/retoucher Pranav Bhide recently created something awesome for World For All Animal Care And Adoptions in Mumbai. Using creative lighting and framing, they created a set of optical illusion portraits that each contain two images in one. The ads are part of a campaign promoting pet adoption, with the tagline: “There’s always room for more. Adopt.” Jadhav and Bhide—working for McCann Worldgroup India, Mumbai—created a brilliant interpretation of that tagline by arranging their subjects to create an animal shape in the negative space between them. Then, using a very bright backlight and just enough
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This Web App Creates Random Camera Company Marketing Jargon

When camera companies announce new cameras or lenses, the press releases are often filled with generic statements about the wonderful qualities of the product. Now the marketing teams behind those words have a new shortcut: the Random Photo Marketing Generator. The humorous tongue-in-cheek web app is the creation of Lens Rentals founder Roger Cicala and software developer Seb Pearce. It all started when Cicala realized that camera corp press releases were all so similar that they might as well have been automatically generated. “Today’s photography marketing blurbs were so boring they might as well be generated by a computer,” Cicala
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