Microsoft Discusses Digital Photography

While at Photokina, Microsoft’s Kostas Mallios took a moment to discuss the company’s efforts to help photographers solve problems. According to Mallios, Microsoft has been focusing on providing applications that help pros and advanced amateurs, such as Expression Media 2 (a professional asset management tool that comes bundled with Capture One).

Mallios also pointed to the investments Micorsoft is making to new ideas, such as Photosynth. He also discussed the Metadata Working Group:

The Metadata Working Group is dedicated to the preservation and seamless interoperability of digital media metadata and to interoperability and availability to all applications, devices, and services. When we started looking into some of the leading technology problems that digital photographers faced, we realized we needed to address the interoperability issues that still exist with metadata. For example, you may use metadata tags to rate your photos in Expression Media but if you use different applications, devices or services to process or share photos, that information may not be preserved. We knew we couldn’t solve the problem alone, so about a year ago Microsoft assembled leaders in the industry, including Adobe, Apple, Canon and Nikon to form a group with broad expertise. I’m pleased to say that Sony also recently joined us and that the group, led by Chairman Josh Weisberg of Microsoft, has already delivered its first metadata specifications.


Nikon Updates D80 Firmware

Nikon has released version 1.11 of the firmware for the D80. The firmware update resolves an issue with the battery indicator: in certain circumstances, the battery indicator light blinks regardless of the actual battery charge. If you did not update to version 1.10, that firmware update is included in the new version.

You can download the update from the following pages if you are in the U.S:

If you are located in the E.U, updates are available on the following pages:

Shooting Small

(Shirley Owens).jpgNikon’s annual Small World Photomicrography Competition has reached the judging stage. Entrants have been narrowed down to just 20 amazing images. You can vote for the People’s Choice Award on the competition’s site until October 10. Winners will be announced on October 15.

This image was taken by Dr. Shirley Owens and is gladiola pollen under a fluorescent microscope at 2500x magnification. These images are simply stunning. While the photographic equipment necessary to create such images is fairly specialized, the subject matter seems to make the price worth it.

If you’re interested in entering next year’s competition, entries will be accepted up through April 30, 2009.

Tokina Adds AF Motors for Nikon

Tokina has announced that it will adding in-lens autofocus motors to its Nikon-mount versions. This change will enable autofocus for the budget D40, D40x and D60 bodies. Tokina will start by adding the new motors to the AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm F4 (IF) DX wideangle lens — the new lens will have a ‘II’ tacked on the end. Tokina is exhibiting a motorized version of this lens at Photokina and will be updating other lenses in its lineup in the future.

Tokina has also announced that it will be delaying the recently announced AT-X M35 PRO DX for the Canon. The release date has been pushed back to late January because of development difficulties with the focus system. The Nikon version is unaffected and on schedule.

Lensbaby Revamps Line

Lensbaby is changing up its line of bendable lenses, according to an announcement at Photokina. The company is also adding an entirely new lens, the Composer. The Composer relies on ball-and-socket twisting with a focusing ring, rather the bellows bend/focus system of older Lensbaby lenses. It also has an Optic Swap system, allowing you to swap the lenses inside the Composer for different options.

The Lensbaby original is being replaced by the Muse, which is mostly similar but will have the Optic Swap system. The Lensbaby 3G is being replaced by the Control Freak, also with the Optic Swap system.

Nintendo DS Hacked For DSLR Interface

It can get frustrating to have to haul around a laptop if you want to extend the capabilities of your DSLR for stuff like HDR intervalometer-based shot bracketing or remote shots in bulb mode but Steve at PanoCamera has a solution: he’s hacked his Nintendo DS to handle those sorts of little tasks for his Canon DSLR.

He’s been able to get the DS to do all sorts of stuff, including adding a ‘Clapper’ function:

The fun begins when you start to harness the play value of the DS in conjunction with the DSLR. This audio-based camera trigger function, for example, was trivial to add in, because of the DS’ built in microphone. One such device I found on the web sells for $350. As you can see I need to add a few niceties to this function, like the shot duration and an option for delaying the shot after the sound is recognized. I’m still in beta. I’ll be trying baloon-popping-fun photography soon.

Steve mentions that he’s considering converting more DSs for sale.