Just a couple of days after someone figured how to record videos using any Canon Liveview capable DSLR cameras, a Nikon hacker did the same with his D700 and the SDK available for free from Nikon.

The video quality isn’t great: ~30% less than 480P (the DVD standard). It also requires a computer tethered to the camera using the USB port. Things may be interesting if there is a way to grab the frames via the HDMI port.

There is not software to download it yet. The blogger, Olivier Giroux, hinted that it is coming at the end of the post. If you are good at programing, you may want to download the SDK and code up something interesting. A free version of the Nikon Camera Control Pro would be nice.

Posted in DIY Photography on January 28th, 2009. No Comments.

You can now record video using any Liveview Canon EOS DSLR cameras according to this blog post at Engadget. The catch is that you will need to tether your camera to a computer using USB cable. It really isn’t too bad considering the slight inconvenience saves you hundreds of dollars in the scaring economy. The only extra you need is a piece of free software from a Russian website. Read this for success stories and limitations.

Posted in DIY Photography on January 26th, 2009. No Comments.

Shooting tethered means that you connect the camera to a computer, then adjust the camera settings and trigger the shutter release from a software program on the computer. With each shutter release, the image gets downloaded immediately so you can instantly review the photo to make sure it is captured properly. 

For lucky Canon users, they have the free EOS Utility to work with. For Nikon users, you will need open your wallet to Nikon to get the Camera Control Pro 2, which is quite expensive in comparison. Camera Control Pro is definitely a nice piece of software. You may be able to justify the price if you are a professional photographer or perfectionists who always want the best. If you are a hobbyist photographer like me, or many other readers of this blog, a free piece of software that does pretty much the same thing is certainly nice.

So, check out DIYPhotobits and the Camera Control software that is available for free. The user interface is definitely crude. However it offers quite complete control of the camera and provides time lapse function for Cameras (e.g. D40, D60, D80, D90, etc) that do not have it built-in.

The program is Windows only. It works great on Windows XP. You can shoot RAW (NEF) or JPG by toggling a radio button on the software. It downloads the image instantly if you want it to do so. On Windows Vista, it only seems to work when you shoot JPG, or RAW+JPG (set it on the camera). The software cannot toggle between JPG and RAW. It cannot download RAW either, only JPG. If you set the camera to RAW only, the software (currently V3.1) will freeze up. You will then need to kill process “mshta.exe” from Task Manager. Raymond Lowe, the programmer, is aware of this issue. A fix is hopefully coming soon for the freezing issue. However the RAW support may never come to Windows Vista due to the lack of RAW support in the Windows Image Acquisition API on Vista. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue though. The JPG file is good enough for review purpose. If you shoot RAW+JPG, you could still download the RAW files from the memory card using conventional method later.

Posted in Other on January 23rd, 2009. No Comments.

Ben Long’s book, Real World Nikon Capture NX 2, is now available as an ebook from the publisher Peachpit Press directly. The print version has collected mostly positive reviews on Amazon so far. The advantage of an ebook over print version is that it makes it possible to read on the screens of computers or portable ebook readers. It may be more convenient for some depending on particular situation. Another excellent Capture NX 2 book, The Photographer’s Guide to Capture NX2 by Jason Odell has been available as ebook only.

Posted in Photography Deals on January 22nd, 2009. No Comments.

The Nikon GP-1 Geotagging GPS has been in the market for a while now even though it is still difficult to find one from reputable places. In case you are still debating if you want one, the Nikon GP-1 user manual may help answer some of your questions. Just a friendly warning if you are on a slow connection: the file is >10MB in size. It is not because the GP-1 is complicated, but because the manual contains translations of 20 different languages.

Some interesting information

  • The package contains both GP1-CA10 cable for cameras with 10-pin remote terminals (D3, D700, D300, D2X, D2XS, D2HS, D200), and GP1-CA90 for cameras with accessory terminals (D90). It also has GP1-CL1 strap adapter for attaching the GPS to camera strap instead of the hot-shoe.
  • If you want to use remote shutter release when the GPS is attached, you will need to get the MC-DC2 remote cord.
  • GP-1 does not have a on/off switch. It continues to receive GPS data even when the camera is turned-off. You need to unplug the cable connecting it to the camera to turn it off. Otherwise it will shut off after three hours of idle.
  • When GP-1 is connected, the exposure meter on 2-series cameras (D2X, D2XS, D2HS, or D200) will not turn off unless you turn the camera off! D3, D700, D300, or D90 have a custom setting to turn the meter off (GPS>Auto meter off). Somehow the power to the GPS is linked to the metering circuit. Keeping meter on will make sure the GPS data is ready when the shutter is pressed. The GP-1 will still periodically acquires GPS data even when camera or exposure meters are off as mentioned previously.
  • If no GPS information is received for two seconds, no GPS data will be recorded.
  • The recorded GPS data include latitude, longitude, altitude, and coordinated universal time (UTC). The UTC time is recorded independent of camera time. There is no heading information.
  • You can connect GP-1 to a computer for use with mapping software and other applications using the USB cable supplied with your digital camera. 

Still want one?

  • Amazon has it from 3rd party merchants
  • J&R seems to have it in-stock
  • Roberts Imaging has the lowest price of $199.97 but out of stock
  • Adorama is currently out of stock
  • B&H doesn’t even have a listing for it
Posted in Accessories, Photography Gadgets on January 20th, 2009. No Comments.

If for any reason you want to download large number of photos from your Flickr account, you don’t have to do it one by one on Flickr website. Downloadr is a free Windows application that can make your life a whole lot easier. It can not only download your own photos, but also it can search Flickr for public or Creative Commons photos and download them as well. Please note you need to have a Flickr Pro account in order to be able to download original photos. Otherwise, you can only download scaled down versions.

Found via AppScount.

Posted in Tips and Techniques on January 18th, 2009. No Comments.

The moment is January 20, 12:00 PM ET, when the 44th President Obama takes the presidential oath of office. CNN is asking people who will be attending the inauguration to help document the historical moment with a special photography assignment. Specifically, CNN wants you to:

1. Take one photo of the moment when Obama takes the oath. If you have a digital camera with a zoom lens, take three photos (wide-angle, mid-zoom, full-zoom)
2. E-mail each photo as soon as possible to themoment@cnn.com (one photo per message, 10MB size limit). Don’t forget to include your name in the message if you’d like to appear in the list of the contributors. Please only send in photos you took yourself.
3. Go to cnn.com/themoment to see all of the photos in our photosynth

If you are not familiar with Photosynth, it is a technology developed in Microsoft’s research labs. The technology can construct a 3D scene using a collections of 2D photos of the scene taken at different angles and zoom levels. It may sound complicated but it is very easy to create your own synth. To learn more on how to create your own synth, please visit http://photosynth.net/.

Updated on January 20, 2009: Check out the synth here. It is pretty cool.

Posted in Digital photography, News on January 18th, 2009. No Comments.

How do you view your digital photos? I guess the most popular answer would be on the computer monitors. Some get stored and displayed on digital photo frames. Some are stored in portable media player devices. All of these seem to have something lacking compared to viewing the photos on a large screen HDTV.

Since computer monitors are mostly designed for personal use at close distance, the screens are rarely as large as the popular HDTV. I have a 24″ wide-screen monitor I considered it pretty good. However it pales when compared to the 47″ HDTV sitting in the next room. The TV just seem to have better pictures: brightness, contrast, color saturation. When I want to show photos to a few people, it gets boring soon on a computer monitor because people are in awkward position. However the fun can certainly last longer when people sit comfortably in sofa watching a large screen TV.

So how exactly can people view photos on high definition TV? There are many options. Read More…

Posted in Tips and Techniques on January 18th, 2009. 4 Comments.
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