Twitpic and Twitter Agreement Keeps Links Alive

Twitpic LogoRecently, Twitpic announced that it would be shutting down on October 25, 2014. That’s not exactly what happened, though. Instead, it appears that Twitpic and Twitter have managed to form an agreement that will keep the links to Twitpic photos active. That being said, Twitpic isn’t accepting any new users.

Twitpic posted a blog on October 25, 2014, called “Twitpic’s Future”. It says that although they weren’t able to find a way to keep Twitpic independent they did reach an agreement with Twitter. The agreement keeps the Twitpic photo and links alive “for the time being”.

Twitpic’s blog also says: Twitter shares our goal of protecting our users and this data. Also, since Twitpic’s user base consists of Twitter users, it makes sense to keep this data with Twitter.

What does this change mean for people who use Twitpic? It means that Twitpic will no longer be taking on new photos or data. In other words, you can’t add anything else to it, and the stuff that is already there will be in read-only format. Twitpic has removed their iOS and Android apps from the app stores. If you are using it, be aware that it is no longer being supported.

People who are already using Twitpic can still login to their profiles and delete content or delete their Twitpic account. The same group will still be able to export and download their Twitpic data / photo archive on Twitpic.com.

This appears to be the end of the “Is Twitpic shutting down?” saga. But, I could be wrong about that. The Twitpic blog said that Twitter will keep photos and links alive “for the time being”. There has been no further clarification of how long “the time being” will actually be.

Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens for Samsung Galaxy Review

Olloclip LogoFor the “point’n’shoot” photographer, smartphones and their built-in cameras have almost completely replaced the compact camera which has seen a huge drop in sales over the past few years. Despite the handiness of the smartphone camera and the myriad of post-processing effects beloved by Instagram, there are times where the problem is getting the right image in the first place. Smartphones with macro or wide-angle lenses aren’t common.

This is where Olloclip saw a gap in the market and via a Kickstarter campaign back in 2011, developed a selection of clip-on lenses for the iPhone and iPad, including macro, fisheye and wide-angle lenses. These have become fairly well-known and I’ve even seen a few people using Olloclips on their iPhone in real life. Not content with Apple owners having all the fun, Olloclip have launched a version of the 4-in-1 lens for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5. Let’s take a look.

The 4-in-1 lens system for the Galaxy S4 consists of a mounting bracket that holds two macro lenses and two additional feature lenses that screw in on top of the macro lenses. One of the lenses is a fisheye and the other wide-angle. The bracket is well-made, with metal inserts to hold the screw-in lenses and the lenses are glass; by using different threads on the bracket, it’s not possible screw in the wrong lens. The bracket can be attached from the left or the right to get the correct lens in front of the phones camera. Take a look at the pictures of the Olloclip below to see how it all works.

Olloclip with Lenses

Olloclip with Lenses Removed

Samsung with Olloclip

In use, the Olloclip is straightforward – clip on the bracket with the lens you want to use in front of the camera and then start taking pictures using your favourite camera app. Simples!

To test out the Olloclip 4-in-1, I used a Samsung Galaxy S4 borrowed from a colleague and got snapping. Here are a few macro pictures that I took of a coin and the detail is impressive.

Olloclip Macro

Olloclip Macro

Olloclip Macro

And here are a few photos of a local landmark using the normal S4 camera, the wide-angle lens and the fisheye lens. I’m no Ansel Adams, that’s for sure.

Native S4 Camera

Olloclip Wide-Angle

Olloclip Fisheye

I was impressed with the Olloclip and with more interesting subject matter, I could have a lot of fun. I particularly liked the macro capabilities and the fisheye was fun too; I was quite surprised at the width of the field of view. Overall, the 4-in-1 was easy to use, clipping on and off in seconds, and significantly increased the photographic possibilities of the Galaxy S4. . On the downside, you do have to remember to bring the Olloclip with you, and the on/off and volume buttons are obstructed by the bracket when in use. The other problem can be with Samsung cases, which often replace the smartphone’s back. If you have one of these cases, you’ll find that the Olloclip won’t clip on and you’ll need to revert to the original case.

The Olloclip 4-in-1 for the Samsung Galaxy S4 or S5 is available direct from the website or through other on-line retailers. Priced at a penny under US$70 or GB£60, it’s more than an impulse purchase but if you are photographer or want to get more from your camera, it’s worth forking out for. Hopefully enough Galaxy owners will purchase to persuade Olloclip to look at other popular Android smartphones as well.

Thanks to Olloclip for the review 4-in-1 lens and to Jacinta for the loan of the Galaxy S4.

Twitpic is Shutting Down

Twitpic LogoIt turns out that Twitpic really is shutting down. You may have heard this before, but that time it was a “false alarm”. This time, it seems certain that Twitpic will soon be gone.

Not long ago, Twitpic posted on its own blog that it would be shutting down by September 25, 2014. Obviously, that didn’t end up happening. When that blog was posted, Twitpic pointed a finger at Twitter as the reason why. That blog stated:

A few weeks ago, Twitter contacted our legal demanding that we abandon our trademark application or risk losing access to their API. This came as a shock to us since Twitpic has been around since early 2008, and our trademark application has been in the USPTO since 2009.

This was later followed by: Unfortunately we do not have the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter to maintain our mark which we believe whole heartedly is rightfully ours. Therefore, we have decided to shut down Twitpic.

However, Twitpic did not shut down at that time. Today, the original blog has been updated. It states that Twitpic will be shutting down on October 25, 2014. From the Twitpic blog update:

It is with heavy heart that I announce that Twitpic will be shutting down on October 25th. We worked through a handful of potential acquirers and exhausted all potential options. We were almost certain we had found a new home for Twitpic (hence our previous tweet), but agreeable terms could not be met.

Those of you who want to can export your data, photos, and videos from Twitpic before it shuts down. Visit the Twitpic blog for a link that will get you started. Yes, this time, it certainly appears that Twitpic really is shutting down.

Turn Photos of Your Lunch Into Real Meals

Virgin Mobile logoHave you ever taken a photo of your lunch, or dinner, and posted it to your favorite form of social media? Some of your friends might like your photo, but that’s about all that can happen with it. Virgin Mobile is giving people in Australia a way to turn their food pics into real meals. This may influence people to post food photos more frequently than usual – but that isn’t a bad thing!

You can turn a photo of food into a real meal for someone else. It is very easy to do. First, take a photo of delicious food. Next, share it on Twitter with the hashtag #mealforameal. OzHarvest will feed someone who is in need every time a person shares a food photo with that hashtag attached to it. The entire thing is being run by Virgin Mobile. You must be in Australia in order to participate in this interesting and helpful campaign.

OzHarvest is the only food rescue organization in Australia. They collect surplus food from fruit and vegetable markets, supermarkets, hotels, wholesalers, farmers, stadiums, corporate events, restaurants, delis, cafes, film and TV shoots, and more. They deliver that food directly to 500 charities in Australia (free of charge). The charities can use it to feed people who are in need.

There is some “fine print” to be aware of. First, as I mentioned, you cannot participate if you aren’t in Australia. You cannot submit more than 3 food photos, with the hashtag, per day. (Well, you could, but they won’t accept more than 3 per day). Participating gives Virgin Mobile permission to re-share any content in your submission “including a perpetual, royalty-free and worldwide license to use any works under the Copyright Act”.

The campaign began on July 9, 2014, and will continue through November 3, 2014 (unless they decide to end it sooner). Their goal is to share 400,000 meals. I am looking forward to seeing the food photos that my Australian friends post to Twitter with #mealforameal. I like that this campaign is free to participate in and that it makes it easy for people to help others.

Apple Discontinues Aperture

Aperture appApple has announced that it is ceasing development of its Aperture and iPhoto apps. Instead, Apple will be replacing them with its new Photos app (that was announced during its Worldwide Developers Conference).

Jim Dalrymple, at The Loop was given the following statement from Apple:

With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture. When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS X.

The Aperture Blog notes that Apple has said they will provide an update so that Aperture will still work with OS X Yosemite. This will give Aperture users some time to make a decision about where to move their photos to.

Wondercon 2014

Wondercon 2014 at the Anaheim Convention Center, April 18-20, 2014.
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Soloshot Robot Cameraman Enables Awesome “Selfies”

SOLOSHOT logoSoloshot is the leader in personal robotic cameraman devices. At NAB 2014, they announced their SOLOSHOT2 Camera Controller accessory. It is a robotic arm that can control your camera and track you from a distance. In other words, it lets you take some really awesome “selfies” in photo or video format.

The SOLOSHOT2 Camera Controller accessory has an automated pan/tilt/zoom platform. It lets you take 4K action content of yourself, by yourself, from up to 2,000 feet away without the aid of an assistant cameraman. To do this, the SOLOSHOT2 tracks the user who is wearing a lightweight, waterproof and shockproof transmitter.

You can pair the SOLOSHOT2 Camera Controller accessory with cameras like the new SONY AX-100 camcorder and their VG line of interchangeable lens camcorders. It can also be used with some other types of camcorders, DSLR’s and smartphones. It is possible to link together a network of multiple SOLOSHOT2 Camera Controller accessories and transmitters to create an entire robotic production crew.

Samsung Reveals New Cameras for CES

Ahead of Samsung’s CES event on Monday, the Korean company has announced two new cameras to get the show on the road, the NX30 and the Galaxy Camera 2.

Aimed at the prosumer, the NX30 compact system camera extends Samsung’s NX range, though my guess is that it will replace the current NX20 model. The heart of the camera is a 20.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and combined with Samsung’s NX AF System II, should provide fast and accurate auto-focussing. The shutter speed can be cranked up (down?) to 1/8000 sec and in continuous shooting mode takes 9 frames per second. NX30 has a 3″ Super AMOLED touch screen for a viewfinder which can swivel out and rotate so that it stays in view from difficult angles. Hopefully the AMOLED screen won’t wash out in bright sunlight.

There’s also Remote Viewfinder Pro function that lets the photographer control several functions of the NX30 from a smartphone, including zoom, shutter speed, aperture and taking the photograph. That’s neat and as you might expect in this day and age, the NX30 has advanced sharing capabilities and can transfer images using both wifi and NFC to smartphones and beyond.

Samsung NX30

The NX30 continues the evolution of our award-winning NX series of cameras, bringing with it new and improved features such as a better imaging processor and our advanced SMART Camera offering. Not only does this camera deliver the performance users demand, it is also easy-to-use so that moments are never missed,” said Myoung Sup Han, Executive VP and Head of the Imaging Business Team at Samsung Electronics. “The NX30 allows photographers to shoot with confidence, providing a seamless ability to capture moments and share them immediately, delivering exceptionally beautiful photographs while creating an unmatched photo-sharing experience.

The NX range also saw the introduction of a new premium S Lens, the 16-50 mm F2 – 2.8 S ED OIS and a zoom lens, the 16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 Power Zoom. Both have a focal length of 16 – 50 mm (equivalent to 24.6-77 mm in 35 mm format) but I’m not an expert in photography so I’ll point you in the direction of the press release if you want to know more.

Moving onto the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2, this is an update of the previous Android-powered Galaxy Camera. As you might expect, the focus (sorry) is on the ease of picture-taking followed by easy uploading and sharing of the photos. The camera itself has a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor with a 21x optical zoom and is paired with a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor and 2 GB of RAM. As with the NX30, the Galaxy Camera 2 has wifi and NFC transfer capabilities and 50 GB of cloud storage is provided via the pre-loaded Dropbox app.

For Instagram generation, the Camera 2 comes with Smart Mode, which lets photographers choose from 28 different pre-set modes all designed to address different shooting scenarios and for those unsure which mode they want to select, the Smart Mode Suggest analyses the scene at hand and then recommends the best Smart Mode for a perfect shot. New Smart Mode “Selfie Alarm” takes five consecutive, high resolution images so that narcissists hipsters can select their best view and share immediately on their favourite social media site.

 

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2

From the press shots, it looks like it will be available in both black and white finishes as per the current model. More info on the Galaxy Camera 2 in the press release.

“Consumers love the GALAXY Camera, and this next-generation version was designed to improve on the successful predecessor, with upgraded and new features that will enhance the photography experience,” said Myoung Sup Han, “The result is a more powerful and portable device which continues to embrace the public’s passion for the social features of smartphones, yet also provides superior image control and quality. We are dedicated to making it easier for more people to achieve great results and with the GALAXY Camera 2’s host of creative features, anyone can capture stand out images.

If you want to know more and you are at CES, you’ll find Samsung at booth #12004 in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Pricing was not announced but I imagine it will be inline with the current models.

Sony NEX F3 Camera Review

Sony NEX-F3 I purchased the Sony NEX-F3K/B camera through Amazon recently and have been using it for a couple of weeks now. The camera comes with a removable 18–55 F3.5–5.6 OSS Zoom lens kit, a battery along with a charging cable, charger and a camera strap. The Sony NEX-F3 is a mirrorless camera with an exchangeable lens. It is small and without the lens it can easily fit into a purse or even a large pocket.

It is easy to hold with a grip on the right hand side. When you hold the camera by the grip you can easily reach the trigger with your first finger. The viewing screen is about 3 inches across and 2 1/2 inches high. It can be tilted up to 180 degrees, making it perfect for taking self portraits. There are two buttons and one wheel to change the controls on the camera to the right of the viewing screen. The top button is the menu button which allows you to make changes to how the camera will work, you can decided whether to use automatic or manual mode, control the aperture, flash, track objects, use face detection, do initial setup and much more. The bottom button seems to let you go in and out of digital Zoom mode. The wheel lets you move through the choices that are available on the screen. I have to admit that there are a lot of controls and possibilities, many which I will probably never use such as a toy filter. I think that sometimes companies try to please everyone and end up just making things confusing. It has a sensor resolution up to 16.2 megapixels. The camera can also be used to record video with a resolution up to 1920 X 1080. On the top of the camera is the built-in flash, next to that is the play button which allows you to play through the pictures you’ve taken. Next to the play button is the record button. I did find how the record button work a little confusing. When you hit it, there is a slight beep and then the recording starts, when you hit the button again the word Recording pops up and the recording stops. I found that very confusing at first I kept on thinking I was recording when I was not and vice a versa. In front of the record button is the power switch. On the left hand side of the camera is the USB dock. The cover for the USB dock feels a little flimsy to me and I can easily see it getting broken over time. There are clips on both sides to connect a camera strap to. As I said before a strap does come with the camera, but I found that strap fairly flimsy and ended up buying a more substantial one. On the bottom of the camera is a tripod connection point. Next to that is the covered slot for an SD card. Right next to that is the battery compartment. The battery is removable and can be replaced. This is not an internet connected camera, so if that is something you are looking for this camera is not for you.  You can find a full review  of the camera specs. at Digital Photography Review

Overall I am very happy with this camera. The camera feels good in my hand, the grip makes it easy to hold on to while you take a picture.  I have included some pictures I took with it just to show some examples. I do this strictly as a hobby but I hope these pictures show the camera off at its best. The camera is available through Amazon for $499.00, I actually purchased it through the Amazon Warehouse for $378.17. If you are not ready for a DSLR but are looking for a camera that has a removable lens and that is above a point and shoot, than I recommend taking a look at the Sony NEX F3.

Showcase Your Summer Photos on RebelMouse

RebelMouseRebelMouse is an aggregator that organizes your online presence into one place, to make it easier for other people to find the things you post. It can be used for free by individuals (or companies or websites) who want to have it showcase certain things that you have posted on Facebook, Google +, Instagram, or Twitter.

I use it as an individual. As such, I receive their newsletter. The most recent one was sent today, and it suggests that people use RebelMouse to showcase their summer photos.

To do it, you will need to create a new sub-page in RebelMouse for your photos. Next, connect your Instagram, Flickr, or a photo RSS feed to it (through the Content & Feeds tab). There is also a way to add other photos to your RebelMouse by dragging them in.

I thought this was interesting for a couple of reasons. One, it appears that RebelMouse wants to get people thinking about using it as their primary way to show other people the photos that they took for a specific event. (Instead of Flickr, Instagram, your Facebook page, or your personal blog). I had not considered this possibility before I read their newsletter.

Two, it looks as though you can add things to your RebelMouse page that are not from the website that you sign into RebelMouse with. For example, you can sign in via Facebook, Twitter, or Google +. You can’t sign in through Flickr, but you can have RebelMouse put your Flickr photos onto your RebelMouse page.