Container stacks and “only” a 5x zoom: The photo news of the week (week 38/2023)
While we sit down here on Earth enjoying the remaining warm days of the year, NASA is sending its Parker Solar probe through baptism of fire and not just any. At a distance of “just” nine million kilometers from the sun’s surface, it flew through a real solar storm, or to put it more technically, a coronal mass ejection (CME). And no, that’s not a typo. The waves sometimes hit a little higher on the sun’s surface, sometimes a few million kilometers. Just for comparison, the Earth is around 150 million kilometers from the Sun. If the solar storm had not occurred on the side of the sun facing away from Earth, it could have caused problems with communications satellites or even power outages on Earth.
But what does this actually have to do with photography? The car-sized probe filmed the burst of charged particles. If you want to feel right in the middle of it all, you can watch the NASA video on YouTube.
From the sun to Berlin, to Hamburg
The German Photo Council has also been very close this week. Not in the sun, however, but at the German Cultural Council in Berlin. At the general meeting on September 21st, photography was unanimously accepted as the ninth section. This means that photography should also receive more political attention and be more involved in overarching cultural issues.
If you want to get up close and personal with photography, you can use the rest of the weekend and go to Hamburg, because Photopia is taking place there until September 24, 2023. Promoted with great advertising effort, the photo fair festival was well attended on the first day. This made the exhibitors optimistic. Although the area of the two exhibition halls is manageable, what is on offer is worth a look.
On the one hand, there are the stacked containers, which are intended to be reminiscent of the port of Hamburg, with oversized golden busts in between, such as those of Udo Lindenberg and Nefertiti. Exhibitions, for example from Leica or the Association of German Professional Photographers, can be found everywhere and, last but not least, the various photo boxes for your own photo creations with different effects in the containers. It’s worth bringing your camera.
Even if the camera manufacturers have not rented entire halls, as they once did at Photokina, they are all on site and offer cameras and optics for you to touch and try out. They have packed some funny backdrops for this.
Visitors can listen to lectures and discussions all day long on two large and one smaller stages. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to chat with exhibitors and other guests. If you don’t have any plans for this September weekend, you can see for yourself in Hamburg.
A round of Reeperbahn and the AI
AI is of course also a huge topic at Photopia, but others are also dealing with it. The Reeperbahn Festival with re:publica is taking place at the same time – also in Hamburg. There the media world discusses challenges and concerns and about AI. Anyone who is on site can hear the lecture “AI between infinite possibilities, legal uncertainty and disruption” from Legal Counsel Joerg Heidrich from heise.
And legal certainty often first has to be created for AI-generated topics. AI-generated nude photos of various students are currently circulating in some schools in Spain, as netzpolitik.org reports. The parents of those affected have now organized themselves to take action against it. But the perpetrators, currently around ten identified people, are themselves still minors. The website for generative image AI with the possibility of pornographic output is openly accessible on the Internet. In the long term, politicians will have to find and set limits here in order to protect minors in particular.
And back to the ground of technical facts
Three cameras are the focus this week, let’s start with the biggest chunk. This is the Nikon Z f, about which there was already a lot of rumblings in advance. It’s actually not particularly huge, but it’s pretty retro because it comes in a design based on the FM2 from the 1970s. The carefully designed housing houses a full-format sensor with 24 megapixels. The big thing, however, is that the Nikon Z f, as a cute little retro camera, has an image processing processor that only the professional models Z 9 and Z 8 have. If you don’t know the Z 9, it’s this monster of a camera that has so much body around the lens that it could pass for a square brick, just in black.
The additional image stabilization in the Z f is completely new, which is based on the focus point and is intended to achieve up to an additional aperture for the photographer. We are excited to see what our upcoming test shows. And what all other camera manufacturers already had, Nikon now also has – a pixel shift function. Hello high resolution images, here comes the 24 megapixel sensor. You will then be charged for up to 32 recordings, so it is definitely worth it. Not like the recently introduced Fujifilm GFX 102, which offers 400 megapixel pixel shift recordings, but already has 100 of them on the sensor without any technical gadgets.
The new iPhone 15 Pro Max also has many pixels on the sensor. It’s at least 48 megapixels, but that doesn’t surprise anyone anymore. A topic of discussion, however, was the model’s telephoto zoom, as it can “only” magnify five times. Apple itself justifies this in an interview with the French online magazine Numerama on two points: image stabilization and aperture. The image stabilizer makes it possible to take hand-held shots with a five-fold zoom, but with a ten-fold zoom the user would need a tripod. In addition, aperture openings of up to f/2.8 would be possible with the fivex zoom, while the tenx zoom would require a smaller aperture opening of f/4.9. This means that significantly less light would hit the sensor. Therefore, Apple decided to use the smaller magnification.
The Fujifilm Instax Pal is a mini camera with 4.9 megapixels and app control.
And now it’s getting really small with Fujifilm’s latest Instax camera called Pal. It looks more like a Tamagotchi than an instant camera, and that’s not what it is. Not even the Instax mini films fit into the tiny device, but a micro SD card that expands the internal image storage. The Pal is controlled via the Instax Pal app from the smartphone, to which the images can also be transferred. From here, if desired, they end up on an Instax smartphone printer and the small chemistry pictures. It sounds complicated at first, but anyone who is familiar with Instax products knows that the picture is just the beginning. The apps usually offer fun features such as stickers, frames or similar. Then the recording becomes a joint “art” project.
Since the Instax Pal is actually just a mini camera with just under five megapixels, it also allows continuous shooting. The app then puts together a flip book from this. Depending on the color, the tiny camera, which also specializes in cute background noises and funny visual effects, costs between 100 and 120 euros.
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