January 2011 Archives

Very randomly, I was checking a link of someone who wrote me, they had this link on their blog: The Manic Thrift Store Shopper.

An easy way to spend hours of your life that you'll never get baack.

Over on Pixiq.com there's a great article on the mechanics of the human optic system and analyzes the eye as if it were a high-end camera system, including an answer to the age old question: What is the ISO (aka ASA) of the human eye?

Optics of the eyeball

[Via Gizmodo]

I was giving a friend some advice on digital recorders and came across a mention of the RedHead windscreen in one of the reviews for the Samson Zoom H1. Judging from the video, it seems to do a pretty amazing and incredible job. The windscreen is available for other digital recorders too and in other colors as well.


Co-blogger Jason recently queried why I had written off using a DSLR as both my still photo camera and video camcorder in fieldwork. My pat answer up to now has been while there are some strong pros, there are some definite cons:


  1. Beautiful video. The sensors are much larger, much better bokeh, brighter lenses.
  2. Interchangeable lenses.
  3. One less device to carry or forget to bring batteries or memory cards.


  1. Audio: Most DSLRs have really atrocious onboard mics, low digitization rates, and no option for external audio (such as XLR jacks or even plug-in-power). They rarely have adequate mic monitoring (onboard displays or live monitoring via headphones) and usually only offer automatic gain, no manual gain option .
  2. Form factor: The SLR form factor is really designed for one form of eye-level shooting and not for live action.
  3. Autofocus: Some DSLRs cannot autofocus while video recording.
  4. Auto-Aperture: Some DSLRs cannot adjust the aperture while video recording, this makes lighting changes in a single clip difficult. Others cannot adjust the aperture in a stepless fashion, causing visible artifacts during adjustments.
  5. Zooming: OK, power zooming is generally evil, but everyone does a slow zoom once in a while, and not having a power zoom is a (major) pain.
  6. Sensor: Because almost all SLRs are single-sensor, you get color mosaicing from the Bayer filter.
  7. Shutter: Most DSLRs use an electronic rolling shutter when shooting video, unlike the mechanical shutters on dedicated video cameras. This can cause strange "jellyroll" effects on tall objects that move quickly across the screen -- or during fast pans.


Audio was one of the killers for me, since I do my own camera and audio. I usually have an external mic or two in interviews, feeding back into my camera. I've done dual sound using a flash recorder, and it isn't ideal. I prefer having a strong onboard sound option.

Interestingly, some DSLRs are now getting external audio options. The Olympus Pen E-PL2 (micro 4/3) has external audio through the SEMA-1 option, it provides for a 3.5mm plug-in-power jack. The higher end of the Lumix series such as the GH2 have 2.5mm audio mic jacks. And the higher end of the Canon EOS series also have 3.5mm audio jacks. Still, no real-time headphone monitoring (I think).

After the jump, I look at some specific cameras from the Canon EOS and Panasonic Lumix (micro 4/3) series. I'm interested in those two as I own older models in those series and can swap lenses.

I have to say, I'm not 100% convinced -- but like many things he has asked about before, Jason has gotten me thinking seriously about this.

One of my buddies wanted to know how much it cost to make a 35mm exhibition print from his hi-def digital video files. He had just finished an ethnographic film and wanted to submit it to some film festivals that could take 35mm prints.

One of the major transfer houses charges $350/minute for video+sound to 35mm; $250 a minute if you're willing to go with 16mm.

So for his 45 minute film, it would be $15,750 for a 35mm print and $11,250 for 16mm.

VivianMaier3468.jpgFrequent contributor Nate sent me a link about Vivian Maier - a Chicago nanny who took over 100,000 photographs over her lifetime. Her material is breathtaking. Her photos were discovered in an abandoned storage unit by John Maloof, who is now curating her material. His blog is here: http://vivianmaier.blogspot.com/ A nice newsclip from WTTW is here: http://fstoppers.com/street-photographer-discovered-a-few-days-after-her-death/

Yes, this is just another chapter in my obsession with time-lapse photography, among other things. But seeing these videos together - time-lapse, mirror vision, and slow motion - made me think about the superhuman way in which they augment our senses. It's a little sad that these mysterious visions have become so banal to us, but I suppose that some things have to lose their magic for us to be able to move on and get by.

Via @jtzl.

Via Reddit.

Via Reddit.

Just when I thought I had seen it all (aka bamboo bikes), Nate sends me a link to a craftsman in Japan who makes wooden bicycles out of mahogany. Cute, you think. Toy wood bikes..... only these are high-end, custom racing bikes. Real bikes.

The maker, Suehiro Sano, is a 9th generation craftsman. Apparently he made high end wooden boats before going into bicycles.

Sano's website is here: http://sanomagic.world.coocan.jp/englishindex.html

My home network is based around Windows 7. Shocking, yes, I know -- but Win7 media center has a much better 10 foot interface than FrontRow and I can build each HTPC for around $300.... as compared to $600 for a MacMini which isn't expandable.

In any case, my Win7 machines were having a problem forgetting their login credentials for file sharing. Found the fix here: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itpronetworking/thread/ef9b42b2-5695-4ac4-8aea-745aa532b981

My pal Nate sent me this short clip about blackberries and technology from the BBC...

Another doc film recommended to me by Ana Lara:

The Aggressives. Can't find much info about the distributor - looks like it might have gone out of business. Amazon sells used copies of it, though.

Of Men and Gods (des hommes et dieux) is a film about sexuality in Haiti. Sold by DER. A preview is on Youtube.

Video recommendation by Ana Lara.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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