Sigma has announced a new version of the popular 50-150mm f/2.8 HSM lens. This large aperture telephoto zoom lens is designed exclusively for digital SLR cameras with APS-C size sensors and its compact, lightweight body provides freedom of movement and versatility. [Read more…]
This is a pretty big dang deal – something that digg users have been wanting for some time now.
Photobucket, which I wrote a few things about earlier today, will be adding Digg buttons to photos on its site.
See the details over the the Digg Blog.
Update @ 9:19 p.m. ET: Digg Images is now up and they’re Digging away at it.
[tags]digg, photos, image section, photobucket[/tags]
Before we talk about what the alternatives to Flickr are, let’s first consider what flickr does for us. Flickr is great for sharing photos for free. It’s definately the biggest photo sharing community on the web.
The community features on Flickr are very deep and part of what makes Flickr so successful. Groups are one of the easy ways to get involved in the Flickr community. Groups revolve around a general topic that’s usually related to the kind of photos that users take or the kind of gear that they use. You can share your photos in the groups’ pools or engage in discussion in forums with the groups.
Still, there are some limitations to Fickr’s free accounts that detract from its usefulness. When you have a free Flickr account, you can upload 100MB worth of photos each calendar month. This is a bandwidth limit, and not an amount of space that you have on Flickr servers.
Flickr also allows you to create sets for photos from a particular event or just photos that you want grouped together. I’ve put together sets for things like the 2007 Tour de Georgia and 2007 NORBA Showdown at Sugar. With a free Flickr account you’re limited to only 3 sets.
If you spring for the pro account at $24.95 per year, you get a whole lot more:
- Unlimited uploads (10MB per photo)
- Unlimited storage
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited photosets
- Archiving of high-resolution original images
- The ability to replace a photo
- Post any of your photos in up to 60 group pools
- Ad-free browsing and sharing
Considering what you get, this is quite a bargain. For some reason, I’ve never upgraded. Perhaps it’s because Smugmug is my service of choice. Before we get into that though, let’s take a look at the other alternatives to Flickr.
DeviantART is probably less like Flickr than any of the other alternatives listed here. Check out what’s been popular lately at DeviantART.
As you can see, DeviantART is more of an art community than a photo sharing site. And it is a very active community with tons of chat rooms and forums to chime in on. You’ll even find a forum dedicated to reports of other’s who ripoff an artist’s work.
Part of DeviantART’s mission:
Most importantly we intend to take our time to do it right. For the first time in history there is connection and communication between artists and fans on a massive scale. deviantART represents a breakthrough for the promotion and exposure of otherwise stranded artists in all corners of the globe. Our job is to make sense of the possibility, and craft it in a responsible manner.
DeviantART offers both free and Choice memberships. The Choice membership is $29.95 per year and offers a number of upgrades:
- Get up to 120 Deviations per page when browsing
- Browse with No Ads
- Browse Way Back all the way to 2000
- Customize 20 slots on your front page
- Download art to your Mobile Phone with deviantMOBILE
- Make journals with Polls, Forum, Shoutbox, and even CSS
Zooomr reminds me a lot of Flickr. It has many of the same photo sharing features, like SmartSets (think Flickr sets, but smarter) and Groups. Additionally, with Zooomr you get unlimited bandwidth, file storage and uploading and . . . it’s all free. One thing Zooomr does that Flickr doesn’t is the Zipline. Basically, Zipline allows you to keep in touch with what your contacts are doing, as they’re doing it. Uploading is also simpler with Zooomr. The interface is as intuitive as a Mac and you get great and simple visual feedback on your uploads, file by file.
You can also get a pro account with Zooomr. While you can’t do any better than unlimited for your photo sharing options, you’ll get some increased functionality from Zooomr’s social aspects.
Zooomr also has a more liberal stance on censorship issues than we’ve seen in the past at Flickr:
- Data that can identify individual users should not be hosted in Internet restricting countries, where political speech can be treated as a crime by the legal system.
- The company will not engage in pro-active censorship.
- The company will use all legal means to resist demands for censorship. The company will only comply with such demands if required to do so through legally binding procedures.
- Users will be clearly informed when the company has acceded to legally binding government requests to filter or otherwise censor content that the user is trying to access.
- Users should be informed about the company’s data retention practices, and the ways in which their data is shared with third parties.
- The company will document all cases where legally-binding censorship requests have been complied with, and that information will be publicly available.
If Zooomr looks like your thing, add me as a contact when you join.
Fotki seems like it’s really trying to outdo Flickr, and may be succeeding in some areas. While Fotki is easy to use, it has a lot of different options that can be overwhelming at first. One rather popular feature that’s prominent on the front page is free unlimited photo hosting for websites, blogs, emails and auctions.
For sharing, the free account is a little limited with only 50MB of storage space. Move up to the $30 pro account and you get unlimited storage space for your shared photos. Additionally, premium users can use Fotki as a selling platform, and Fotki only takes a 15% cut from prices that you set. Also, it’s one of the few photo hosting sites to offer its members FTP access.
You can order your own photos from Fotki for as little as $.09 for a 4×6 print. And there’s always an abundance of photo contests going on for members to participate in. Every premium user also gets a Journal, which is essentially a Fotki user’s blog.
PBase does not offer a free account option. You get 500MB of storage for $23 per year and you can get 1500MB for $60 per year. Additional storage can be added at any time in increments of 500MB. You can create an unlimited number of galleries from your photos stored on PBase’s servers.
PBase offers StatCounter, Google Analytics and Extreme Tracking capabilities for each of your galleries. There is also a PBase forum community that users can participate in. PBase users also publish a professional looking magazine, aptly named PBase Magazine, that has a pretty cool history.
I’ve never used PBase, but I see a number of users in photography forums that are PBase zealots. It strikes me as a cult-ish (in a good, “Apple” kind of way) community that you’ve got to be in to understand. If you’ve got more input on it, please feel free to drop in a comment.
Photobucket is a media management site for photos and video. It allows one click publishing to sites like MySpace, Facebook, Friendster and Xanga. It is clearly geared toward the social media user. You can use Photobucket to create slideshows of photos and video mashups.
There’s a 1GB space limit for images and video clips in free accounts. That’s not much when you consider file sizes of photos these days. Additionally, free accounts are limited to 25GB of monthly bandwidth. That’s quite a lot bandwidth for photos; however, I’m not sure how long that would hold up if you’ve got a lot of video clips on there.
Gotcha’s for free accounts:
Uploaded Image files must be 1 MB or less. Images with a display size up to 17 screen (1024 x 768 pixels) can also be uploaded without a file size limit. Image files will be resized to meet the Photobucket constraints.
Uploaded Videos must be 5 minutes or less in play length and 100 MB or less in file size. Videos longer than 5 minutes will be truncated to meet the Photobucket time constraints.
For the Photobucket strip, show, and collage Slideshows, only 10 images may be loaded at a time per Slideshow. For Photobucket stamps, users may have between 4 and 16 images depending on selected size.
That’s some pretty harsh limitations for anyone serious about photography. However, you can go pro for $25 per year, which gives you 5GB of storage space and “unmetered” bandwidth (presumably, that means unlimited). Pro users also get FTP uploading capabilities. Image size is capped at 5MB for pro users. Canon 5D users need not apply here (Converted RAW images from my Rebel XT frequently exceed 5MB).
In sum, Photobucket is a great site if you’re into posting low-res images on your social media pages or personal blog; however, serious photographers would be better served by paying their annual dues to Flickr or one of the other alternatives.
Photo.net is very different from Flickr. Where Flickr is very much a one-size-fits-all service, Photo.net will likely only appeal to serious photographers. It is a huge community of amateur and professional photographers with a variety of skill levels and photographic experiences.
You can upload your photos and submit them for comment and critique. Likewise, you can comment and critique fellow photographers’ submissions. You get your own gallery to post photos into. You get a few more features by making a $20 donation each year.
Additionally, you can participate in the very active (and moderated) forums. I’ve learned a lot from photo.net over the past couple of years. I still find myself reading the forums and asking the occasional question when I need some advice on a particular matter. If you’re new to photography or you simply want to learn more, photo.net is probably one of the better online resources out there.
SmugMug is my personal favorite for sharing and hosting images on the web. There’s no free plan to choose from; however, it is well worth the price of admission for me. The basic user plan is $39.95 per year. Power user accounts are $59.95 per year. Pro accounts are $149.95 per year. You can see the differences in the features here.
SmugMug keeps 4 backup copies of each photo in 3 states. You get unlimited storage in all plans. Your can see your photos without registering, and without spam. The handful of times that I’ve needed to contact support, they’ve gotten back to me with a real answer within minutes.
Pro users (I’m one) get the ability to sell photos and set their own prices. I don’t sell a lot of photos; however, I share tons. I use SmugMug to share photos on this blog and with friends and family. I can make galleries private or password protected and even limit the size of photos that are viewable by others. SmugMug also allows you to employ right-click protection to keep the pervasive use of downloading curbed. I know there are ways around it, but it’s not as easy to do as Flickr.
The print quality that you get from SmugMug is surprisingly good. Printing is outsourced through EZ Prints and you get the option to use auto-enhancing or your own true color adjustments. It’s not on par with the likes of MyPhotopipe.com, but it beats the heck out of Wal-Mart.
If you think more polished look of SmugMug is your cup of tea, you can use this link to save 20% on whatever account you sign up for. (Disclosure: I get a credit as well.)
This post isn’t meant to draw Flickr users away, but to share some sites that have a little different take on things. I love Flickr. I’ve had a Flickr account longer than other web-based photo account/membership. That said, I hope this post has opened your eyes to some useful alternatives to Flickr. This is by no means an exhaustive listing of all the photo sharing sites out there. If you’ve got other sites that you use, feel free to drop in a comment and give the rest of us an overview of what makes your site a good alternative to Flickr.
Originally uploaded by danidantje
If you’ve been looking for the latest info on the Canon 5D Mark II, chances are you’ve see (or will see) this photo. Sorry, but it’s a fake. The rumors have been stirring over the past couple of weeks, but there’s nothing really floating around (except for this post, which is from a new poster that has no history of reliability).
If the 5D appears anytime soon, we won’t know anything until Canon’s 2008 PMA press conference. I expect that Canon will introduce either the Canon 450D (Rebel XTi successor) or the Canon 5D Mark II (or even both of them). Both the Rebel XTi and 5D are due for replacement.
If you’re looking to make a purchase, perhaps you should consider the crazy prices that you can get the Canon 5D at now. Once the 5D Mark II comes out, I expect the 5D will be discontinued and it may be tough to find new.
[tags]canon, 5d, mark ii, successor, replacement, 6d, rebel xti, 450d[/tags]
The Eye-Fi SD Card is a wireless memory card. It automatically uploads pictures from your digital camera to your PC or Mac and to your favorite photo sharing, printing, blogging or social networking site.
How It Works
Basically, you plug the Eye-Fi card into a special reader, set it up on your computer and sharing websites and then start shooting. If you’re in range of your wireless network, the Eye-Fi card automatically uploads the images to your computer and photo sharing websites. It’s got 2GB of storage, so if you’re not in range, it can hold on to plenty of photos until you get back within range of your network.
Who It’s For
For some, this card could come in quite handy. I see a lot of potential in this technology for studio shooters. It’s not quite there yet, as you’ll see from reading some of the reviews below. However, some users will benefit from this technology right away. Think about the photographers that you see at theme parks or special events. If they’re in range of the network (install a few access points if needed), images can go straight to the computer or, say, Smugmug and they’re selling photos faster and more efficiently. No more running cards back and forth.
I think the people that will appreciate this device are the MySpace and Facebook users that like to share photos with their friends. It takes a lot out of their work flow, which they don’t want to have a work flow anyway. It’ll get their party pictures on Photobucket or flickr with less effort than the traditional method. As such, expect to see the Eye-Fi card more in high school and college students’ point & shoot cameras than in serious photographers’ DSLRs.
For now, Eye-Fi only works with JPEG images. That’s enough to keep me from getting one, as I only shoot in RAW. The minimal convenience that I could gain from this card is nowhere near enough reason to shoot JPEG over RAW. Additionally, I wouldn’t use it for the sharing feature anyway, as I always tweak photos before sending them anywhere.
Once configured and in a ‘home’ environment it is arguably easier getting images from your camera back to your computer, but you really wouldn’t want to use it as a mass transfer alternative to a card reader.
Sure, the Eye-Fi is basically a cradle replacement. But snapping photos and automatically uploading them in real time to share is truly fantastic, especially when the images can be better than one’s camera phone. And the entire product experience is built with simplicity. If you can get over the price and are sick of cords, we strongly recommend the purchase.
For $99 I would definitely recommend the Eye-Fi. At that price you get 2GB and wireless functionality – that’s a steal. I’m going to set this up on my mom’s camera so she can put family pictures on her neglected Flickr account. The Eye-Fi receives 9 out of 10 Stammys.
Where to Buy
First off, consider going to your local camera store (and I don’t necessarily mean Wolf Camera at the mall). By going to your local camera store, you’re supporting your community and you just might build a lasting relationship with people you can rely on when you need some help or answers. If you’re buying online, I recommend sticking with Amazon, B&H Photo or Adorama. These three vendors are reliable, trustworthy and generally have the best (legitimate) prices. Additionally, purchasing your gear through these links helps support this site.
[tags]eye-fi, sd, card, wireless[/tags]
The Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens is an ultra wide-angle lens compatible with Canon APS-sized sensor DSLRs, like the Rebel XTi and 40D. The lens is equivalent to a 16-35mm zoom on a 35mm format camera. The consensus among reviewers is that it offers excellent performance and optics. Three aspherical lens elements, plus a Super-UD element, assure image quality. It also has a ring-type USM, which means fast and silent AF along with full-time manual focus. [Read more…]
For those of you in need of a new gear bag (*raising my hand*), Lowepro has released a sweet new camera bag. The Fastpack line is a new series of backpacks specially designed for today’s on-the-go technology enthusiast. Whether the task is photographing family travels, or taking a day trip around town, or capturing that special event, the Fastpack backpacks’ triple compartment design provide a durable, lightweight and comfortable carrying solution that holds a digital SLR camera, extra lenses or flash units, a notebook computer, and contains generous storage for accessories and personal gear.
Outfitted for work, travel or play, the 180-degree access panel in the Fastpack makes loading and retrieving camera equipment quick and easy, while adjustable dividers enable its compartment to be fully customized to fit different combinations of gear. With its security flap snapped closed over the camera compartment, Fastpack offers an additional layer of security for valuable photography equipment while maintaining fast access through the side entry compartment – even while the pack is being worn. The top compartment provides ample capacity and puts personal accessories at the photographer’s fingertips. Two of the Fastpack series’ four models, Fastpack 250 and 350, provide an additional compartment with side access to a notebook computer.
All models in the Fastpack line of backpacks feature outer accessory pockets which provide quick access to larger items, and a harness pocket perfect for an MP3 player or mobile phone. With the compatible pouches, Sliplock accessory loops add even more external storage capacity and the mesh side pocket holds a water bottle, car keys or other essentials. Each model is available in red, blue or black.
The compact Fastpack 100 (8.7 x 7.3 x 16.1″) lets you carry a DSLR with a zoom lens mounted, as well as an additional body or lens and a flash unit. Also, there’s room for an MP3 player and a few other miscellaneous items. This is the minimalist’s bag that will come in handy on those hikes and other outings where you’re not going just to shoot but still want to have your camera with you. Here’s the links to trusted retailers for the Fastpack 100 (in the $55-60 range): Amazon, B&H Photo & Adorama.
The Lowepro Fastpack 200 (12.4 x 8.1 x 18.1″), allows you to carry a DSLR with a zoom lens attached, in addition to a couple of extra lenses (or another body) and a flash. You also get more gadget space for an MP3 player, phone, keys, memory cards and more. Here’s the links to trusted retailers for the Fastpack 200 (in the $75 range): Amazon, B&H Photo & Adorama.
The Lowepro Fastpack 250 (12.4 x 8.1 x 18.1″) steps it up a notch and allows you to carry all the gear the 200 holds with some extra wiggle room. The big bonus for stepping up to the Fastpack 250 is the ability to carry up to a 15.4″ laptop (MacBook anyone?) with the same side loading access you get for your camera gear. Here’s the links to trusted retailers for the Fastpack 250 (in the $90 range): Amazon, B&H Photo & Adorama.
The Lowepro Fastpack 350 is made to carry a digital SLR camera, lenses, flash, accessories and a laptop computer with a screen up to 17″. With a side entry camera compartment, you get easy access to your camera, laptop and accessories. Here’s the links to trusted retailers for the Fastpack 350 (in the $115 range): Amazon, B&H Photo & Adorama.
[tags]lowepro, fastpack, camera bag, laptop, 100, 200, 250, 350, review, photos, availability, price[/tags]
Per Rob Galbraith:
Canon USA is shipping the EOS-1Ds Mark III in the U.S. starting this week. The first units of the 21.03 million image pixel digital SLR are expected to land on dealer loading docks in the next few days, says Chuck Westfall, Director of Media and Customer Relationship at Canon USA.
Watch Amazon’s listing for the availability. I’ll keep you posted.
[tags]canon, 1ds mark iii, availability, shipping[/tags]