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  • Samsung NX300

    Samsung logoSamsung Electronics Co.,announces the launch of the NX300, the new flagship model in its successful NX series. Samsung NX300The NX300 once again raises the bar for compact system cameras (CSC), delivering an outstanding combination of features, functionality and style for perfect shooting in every moment. Samsung also announced the new NX 45mm F1.8 2D/3D lens, the first one-lens 3D system capable of capturing both still images and full HD movies in perfect 3D quality.

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  • Polaroid Fotobar stores

    Polaroid Fotobar logoPolaroid plans to open at least ten Polaroid Fotobar locations in 2013, the first of which will be a 2,000 SF store in Delray Beach, Florida. Polaroid Fotobar storeThat store, which is slated to open in February of 2013 and will serve as a model for all Polaroid Fotobar locations, has been in design and development for the past 12 months. Every Polaroid Fotobar store will be explicitly designed around the consumer experience, with the goal of helping people release their “trapped” photos and display their cherished memories in the form of premium quality art. Future store locations in 2013 include New York, Las Vegas and Boston among others.

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Heard Over Lunch
Observations and Thoughts About Photography

Go into plumbing not photography

Yesterday, i had lunch with two of my friends who are former newspaper staff photographers. They both left their paper when offered buyouts a few years back. One of our topics was how their old paper was trying to reduce their budget for freelance photography work. The paper still has a small staff of photographers.

We noted that when big scheduled events take place you seldom seem to see names in the paper you recognize.  Instead most of the shots are credited as "special" to the paper, which means a freelancer, was assigned to attend, or someone offered photos they'd taken.

We concluded we were all glad we weren't part of the newspaper business any more.

Today, the news is that the Chicago Sun-Times is eliminating their 20 member photography staff and will rely totally on freelancers and staff writers with iPhones.

How sad.

Two weeks ago my wife and I were in Washington, DC for a family wedding. A photographer friend urged me to go to the Newseum and check out the video of his wife explaining how she earned her Pulitzer in photography. I did and was awed once again by her work and dedication.  I also toured the rest of the museum and was pleased to see work by a dozen or so photographers I've known over the years represented. It’s a fitting tribute to their dedication to capturing the world around them and sharing it through images for future generations.

I was truly inspired by my visit to the Newseum.

It was also graduation time around the nation’s capital. I was reminded how over 40 years ago when I was about to graduate from college my head was full of idealism and plans of my own to capture and share the world around me through photography as I headed out to search for my first real job in photojournalism.

One of my first stops was the UPI photography bureau in Los Angeles. I remember that day well and the odd message I received.  Before the chief photographer had even looked at my work (which included a photo of mine on a major weekly news magazine) his advice was simple, "go into plumbing". That struck me as “are you kidding” I’m going to save the world through images.

Of course I totally ignored his advice, but he was entirely right looking back over the changes in the business.

Technology has produced many changes that have done a great deal to kill off the newspaper business and many quality photojournalism jobs.

A lot will point to Craig’s list or eBay as culprits because they undermined the newspaper classified advertising model that supported many papers. Add in the effect of instantaneous delivery of news events by outlets like the Drudge Report, 24 hour a day cable TV news, Twitter and even Facebook and it’s obvious why printed papers can’t keep up and young people aren’t apt to become subscribers these days.

As I’ve said before, just how can young budding photographers afford all the expensive equipment that’s actually needed to the do the job, pay for their car and live on with what freelancers are paid. I was speaking to a wire service staffer in DC who told me that his service paid just $250 a day to its freelancers. 

In the old days you were happy to start out as a freelancer or stringer biding your time until a good paying staff position opened up. Today’s action by the Chicago Sun-Times should worry anybody who still thinks that route to a career is possible.

That’s one more reason I’ll regretfully continue to tell young people I run into these days who are considering careers in journalism, especially photojournalism, what I learned 40 years ago...consider plumbing.

How heavy a camera do you need?

Hearing about a photographer friend's bad back reminded me of a lesson that was being taught in Panasonic's booth this year at CES 2013. That lesson was simple, even professionals don't have to lug around heavy equipment any more to produce high-end results. Compact Camera System versus standard sized DSLR equipment

Full sized systems vs. Micro Four Thirds Systems

What this display showed was a Panasonic Lumix Compact System Camera built around their professional grade Lumix GH3 body and four Lumix digital interchangeable lenses covering 14-600mm in 35mm equivalent on the top shelf above and a generic full sized DSLR system below covering a similar range of 17-600mm.

The punch line for this display was the full sized system weighted 7.3 kg while the Panasonic system came in at only 2 kg.

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  • Fujifilm Instax Mini 8

    Fujifilm logoFUJIFILM North America Corporation today announced that it will launch an all-new INSTAX™ Mini 8 instantFujifilm Instax Mini 8 instant film camera film camera as an addition to the popular INSTAX™ line beginning in early 2013. In addition to offering the user-friendly control functions, fun style, and fantastic image quality of existing INSTAX™ Mini models, the new fun and compact INSTAX™ Mini 8 line-up will feature up to five different and exciting colors: pink, blue, yellow, white and black!

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  • Fujifilm XF1

    Fujifilm logo FUJIFILM North America Corporation announces a new, distinctive premium digital camera that Fujifilm XF1blends advanced technology with an unforgettable design to its flagship X-Series line, the FUJIFILM XF1. The FUJIFILM XF1 combines an amazingly fast and newly developed FUJINON F1.8 wide angle lens with 4x manual zoom with a large 2/3-inch 12 Megapixel EXR CMOS sensor that delivers extraordinary image quality, all in a remarkable design that is unlike any other camera.

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  • Canon EOS 6D

    Canon logoCanon U.S.A., Inc. introduces the EOS 6D Digital SLR Camera, a versatile Canon EOS 6Dmid-range full-frame camera with the durability and performance professionals require and the creative imaging options serious photographers crave. Canon has coupled the incredible image quality of a newly designed 20.2-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5+ Image Processor with the creative potential of built-in Wireless and GPS features. The camera also includes an 11-point AF array and 63-zone dual-layer iFCL metering sensor together with 1080p Full HD video capabilities, in an affordable camera body.

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  • FUJIFILM X-E1

    Fujifilm logoFUJIFILM North America Corporation Fujifilm X-E1 compact digital cameraintroduces its second compact system camera of this year - the FUJIFILM X-E1 - a premium interchangeable lens camera system that truly exemplifies the high quality and extraordinary image resolution that the X-Series is known for among professional photographers. The FUJIFILM X-E1 utilizes the proprietary 16.3 Megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensorTM and the same X-Mount for use with FUJINON XF lenses, all in a body that is 30% smaller than the FUJIFILM X-Pro1.

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  • Sony Nex-5R

    Sony logoCombining a stylish, lightweight design and the freedom of interchangeable lenses with large-sensor Sony NEX-5Rimage quality, speedy AF and the introduction of Wi-Fi capability, the new Sony α NEX-5R compact system camera offers all the benefits of DSLR-style imaging in a more convenient, portable package with added connectivity. The NEX-5R camera features a newly-developed 16.1 effective megapixel Exmor® APS HD CMOS sensor - identical in size to sensors found in traditional DSLR cameras - combined with a powerful BIONZ® processor to assure richly detailed still images and crisp Full HD videos in all types of lighting conditions.

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  • Kodak heads for the exit

    Kodak logoEastman Kodak Company outlined its next steps toward a successful emergence from Chapter 11 reorganization as a company primarily focused on commercial, packaging and functional printing solutions and enterprise services. Accordingly, the company has initiated sale processes for its market-leading Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses. The company believes that the sale of these assets, as well as continued cost-reduction initiatives, curtailment of its legacy liabilities, and the monetization of the company’s digital imaging patent portfolio, will be significant milestones toward completing the company’s reorganization and emergence from Chapter 11 during 2013.

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No more Cameras from Kodak...so what

Today, Kodak essentially stated that their "dedicated capture devices business" was no longer a "valuable business line" and thus Kodak cameras will cease to exist within the next six months. That leaves the latest batch of Kodak Easyshare cameras, the Z5120, M750, M565, M215, C135 and Playfull Zi12 to fight it out to be the last new Kodak built camera sitting on the shelf.

But does it really matter? Probably less than you might think. Old Kodak camerasConsider that Kodak was built on the business model of putting affordable cameras into the public's hands so they'd buy Kodak film, take photos, have them processed with Kodak chemicals and then printed on Kodak paper. That business started to die years ago when Kodak started to build digital cameras and ditch film.

It was a beautiful business model, one that would land Eastman Kodak among the elite Dow Jones Industrial 30 stocks in 1930. It's said that the stock market is a predictor of things to come and the removal of Eastman Kodak from the Dow Jones Industrial average in 2004 might have served as a signal of what lay ahead for the company.

Astute Kodak watchers could see the changes. We wrote Here about what we saw at the Photo Marketing Association's annual trade show in 2010 and how little photography seemed to matter to the company. 

While the end of Kodak produced cameras has come, don't be surprised to see the Kodak brand on cameras of some sort in the future when licenses are sold to other companies to produce them. We've seen this with Polaroid and Agfa after the original companies went through the bankruptcy process. 

Last year Kodak acknowledged in a press release that they were "ranked among the Top 20 ‘most reputable’ American companies by the Reputation Institute, an independent consulting company". A brand like that will go on for years in some form or another. We're just not sure how George Eastman might feel about seeing Kodak toasters or electric blankets, but it could happen.

It's actually hard to believe that Kodak still makes film in the United States. Everyone remembers when they announced the death of Kodachrome, but classc film like Tri-X, Plus-X, Ektachrome, Tmax and the rest of their "professional" line of products still live on. They're the real legacy of George Eastman who founded Kodak in the 1880's.

The day that really will mean something, is the day Kodak announces that they've ceased to produce what the company has really been all about, film and sensitzed photographic paper. 

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  • Custom SLR C-Loop

    Custom SLR logoCustom SLR announces the return availability of the black C-Loop Camera Strap Mount Solution, Custom SLRa mounting solution that allows a DSLR camera to hang safely and comfortably from virtually any strap or sling. Currently available only in its silver finish, this anodized black version of the C-Loop blends easily with the black form factor of most DSLRs.  Through a partnership with photography daily deal site PhotoWhoa.com, the black C-Loop will be available exclusively on the site until September 6, 2012 for $35.00, after which it will be sold through the Custom SLR website or its distribution partners for $39.95.

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  • Fotodiox WonderPana Filter Systems

    Fotodiox logoFotodiox introduces the WonderPana 145 and WonderPana 66 Filter Systems. Fotodiox WonderPana 145 filter systemDesigned to work flawlessly with the WonderPana Systems and compatible with others on the market, Fotodiox also introduces its new PRO line of ten neutral density filters. These ingenious lens filter systems represent the first products in the new “Wonder” line of original products planned for release by Fotodiox in the coming year. Fotodiox’s WonderPana Systems are ideal for panorama, nature, architectural, fashion and event photographers, as well as analog and digital filmmakers who are looking to better manage lighting balance.

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  • Olympus Stylus SP-820UZ iHS

    Olympus logoOlympus proudly unveils the new STYLUS SP-820UZ iHS, its flagship Ultra Zoom Olympus Stylus SP-820UZ iHScompact camera, and most powerful optical zoom ever! The Olympus SP-820UZ iHS magnifies subjects up to 40x to capture a level of detail and emotion normally possible only with an interchangeable telephoto lens. With Super-Resolution Zoom, the focus distance is doubled, enabling up to 80x zoom magnification. Beyond its incredible zoom power, bringing the action closer from hundreds of feet away without swapping lenses, the camera’s impressive 22.4mm (equivalent to 22.4- 896mm on a 35mm camera) super wide-angle lens takes in sweeping panoramas, group portraits and up-close macro images, so sports fans, travelers and outdoor enthusiasts alike will enjoy maximum performance wherever they go.

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Travel Tip- Take along a plug strip and adapters

With all of the electronics we seem to be carrying these days we find our selves with a bunch of recharges and other plug-ins that often need to be used every day on our trips. Just as often we find hotel rooms with a minimum of electrical outlets to plug everything into. I've learned by experience that bringing along a basic plug strip makes things a lot easier. Just set it up and plug everything that needs to charged or powered up for the next day.

Simple plug strip for your trip

It certainly makes sense for domestic trips, but it's actually a must when you're traveling abroad. Most countries call for adapters to simply be able to plug our US devices in. If you remember to buy them at home in advance they might be as light as $5 each, but if you forget to bring them along don't be surprised that the gift shop in your hotel might like to sell them to you for $20 a piece if you're not lucky enough to sweet talk the front desk into loaning you one for your stay.

When you bring along a plug strip all you'll probably need is just a single adapter for the power strip instead of a handful for all the things you need to plug in.

Wondering what to bring along? A good resource is Electrical Outlet.Org . As for the plug strip, you probably don't need anything too fancy or too heavy. I got my nice green one on the close-out shelf after Christmas one year.

Dave Dornlas

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  • Nikon COOLPIX S01

    Nikon logoNikon Inc. announces the new COOLPIX S01, an ultra-compact camera that combines Nikon imaging Nikon COOLPIX S01technology, style and affordability into an ultra-mini camera body that’s easy to use. Its compact size makes the camera small enough to fit into a user’s pocket, so they can take it with them anywhere, whether spending a day on-the-go or a night out on the town. The COOLPIX S01 packs great image quality into an ultra-compact and stylish camera body, allowing users to be ready for fun and spontaneous shooting. Weighing approximately 3.4 ounces with an extremely small form factor (3.1 x 2.1 x 0.7 in.), the S01 is a versatile point-and-shoot that easily slips right into any user’s pocket.

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  • Nikon COOLPIX P7700

    Nikon logoNikon Inc. introduces its new flagship COOLPIX camera, the P7700. Nikon COOLPIX P7700This powerful and versatile point-and-shoot camera features a sharp 7.1x zoom NIKKOR ED glass lens with a maximum aperture of f/2 and a 12.2-megapixel CMOS sensor. Conveniently compact and loaded with innovative features and manual controls, the COOLPIX P7700 will capture still images and Full HD 1080p video with stunning sharpness and vivid color, whether used as the ultimate go-to travel camera or D-SLR companion.

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  • Nikon COOLPIX S800c

    Nikon logoNikon Inc. announces the innovative COOLPIX S800c,  Nikon Coolpix S800cNikon’s first Wi-Fi compact digital camera to incorporate Nikon’s powerful camera imaging technologies and the boundless capabilities of an Android Operating System (OS). Designed for the always connected individual, the S800c delivers the high picture quality and superior performance expected from a Nikon camera coupled with communication functions and app-based versatility of a smartphone or tablet.

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  • Canon SX500 and SX160

    Canon logoCanon U.S.A., Inc., announced two new additions to the Canon PowerShot digital camera lineup designed for Canon PowerShot SX160the on-the-go photographer looking for large extended zoom in compact easy-to-use cameras. For all those times when the action is just out of reach, Canon offers two new super-zoom solutions, the new PowerShot SX500 IS and PowerShot SX160 IS digital cameras featuring an impressive 30x and 16x optical zoom, respectively. Both cameras are equipped with Canon's latest advancements in AF technology enhancing auto focus (AF) speeds over previous SX-series camerasi to capture the excitement in brilliant clarity and quality.

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