Connected Objects Imaging News

Smartphone cameras rise up to conquer the DSLR with the Light L16

editors-choiceThe power of high-quality photography has never been in the hands of so many. But for all the incredible progress that smartphone cameras have made, there’s still a wide gulf between the tools pros use and those in most people’s pockets. Indeed, even if DSLRs were cheap and simple, their size would make carrying around most places prohibitive.

Light is seeking to take on some of those issues with its first camera dubbed the L16. It is so-named for the 16 smartphone-class imaging  modules in its Swiss cheese-like frame. When the Android device’s shutter is pressed, the camera uses 10 of those lenses to capture images up to an amazing 52 megapixels at a range of zoom levels. By taking photos at different exposures, The L16 takes exceptional low light photos according to the company. It can also perform some of the same tricks at the Lytro cameras, notably adjusting the focus after the photo is taken.


New Petzval 58 lens is out to ring in more bokeh fans

The company Lomography ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013 for a modern, 85mm version of the old Petzval camera lens that was known for its swirly blur effect known as bokeh. Lomography reinvented the lens as the New Petzval 85 Portrait Lens for Nikon F and Canon EF Mount analog and DSLR cameras.

patent-claimedLomography has now created the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens that it says offers more control over the bokeh effect and a more standard, 58mm focal length. The lens features a new bokeh control ring that allows the user to determine how pronounced the bokeh effect will be in each photo. The lens will start shipping to early bird backers in December and will cost non-early-bird backers $750 for a brass lens and $850 for a black lens when they ship in early 2016. Lomography set a Kickstarter goal of raising $100,000 by June 26.

The lens should appeal to the very niche photographer audience it’s aimed at. Minor drawbacks include the fact that the lens can’t be used with both Canon EF and Nikon F cameras because each lens is equipped with either a Canon or Nikon mount and will only work directly with one.

Cell Phone Accessories

EVOL sees no evil in creating a modular phone case

They may be called smartphones, but — unlike we humans — they can’t really improve based on what they’ve learned. The capabilities they’re born with are the capabilities with which they’re discarded, at least when it comes to their hardware.

That said, the iPhone may soon be able to tap into a range of performance-enhancing modules thanks to the design of EVOL, a case that can accommodate up to four rectangular add-ons. This resulting design looks somewhat like a metallic Hershey bar. EVOL modules include the expected battery and flash memory as well as a more powerful camera flash and some specialty lens modules such as fisheye and wide-angle. EVOL touts its slim form factor and integrated charging with the iPhone. As such, it’s come out with a dock that can charge both the modules an phones as well as the Apple Watch. Money is the root of all EVOL. The company seeks $50,000 by June 23rd,  A standard bundle available in black or white is $69 with an expected delivery of July.

As the world waits for the likes of Project Ara, crowdfunding campaigns are attempting to bring the benefits of the modular phone to existing popular models. EVOL is notable for its relatively slim profile that attempts to preserve the iPhone’s form factor even with modules attached. However, as with Nexpaq, it faces many obstacles in trying to build out a third-party selection of modules.



LensPacks help photographers change lenses in a flash

Changing between lenses when using an interchangeable-lens camera can be a time-consuming process, especially when making multiple changes within the span of a few minutes. In part, that’s because camera users must be sure to close their cases each time to make sure the lenses still in the bag don’t fall out and break.

patent-claimedLensPacks is a patent-pending, quick-change camera lens storage system that eliminates the need to change rear lens caps. The storage system uses Velcro to keep lens caps securely fastened to the insides of nearly any camera cases, so that the user can quickly attach a lens to each cap in the bag. Then, even if the bag is left open and turned upside down, the lenses won’t fall out. For about $25, consumers can get two LensPacks Velcro lens holders, and they ship in December. Its maker set a Kickstarter goal of raising $9,869 by May 28.

The product holds great promise, although its market is limited for now because the initial LensPacks only support Nikon F-Mount, Canon EF, Sony E Mount, and Micro Four Thirds interchangeable-lens systems. But compatibility for more lens systems is planned for the future.


Apparel Safety

Not your father’s clip-ons, PRO allows changing of eyewear lenses in a blink

PROExtreme sports enthusiasts, bikers of all types, and military personnel all depend on their eyewear to offer crisp and clear vision. Not doing so at the wrong moment can lead to injury or even worse, death. NewBreed’s PRO eyewear system boasts the almost instantaneous switching of lenses for any situation, a step above current eyewear systems that take quite a bit of time to do the same job. It’s impressive, but ultimately the market for the $150 product is small. NewBreed is looking to raise a substantial $350,000 sum to finalize prototyping and take the PRO into production.