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Apple’s Periscope Lens Plans Stymied by Samsung Patent: Report

Apple is reportedly hoping to integrate a periscope camera lens system into its iPhones as soon as 2023, but a new report out of Korea alleg...

Apple’s Periscope Lens Plans Stymied by Samsung Patent: Report

Apple’s Periscope Lens Plans Stymied by Samsung Patent: Report


Apple is reportedly hoping to integrate a periscope camera lens system into its iPhones as soon as 2023, but a new report out of Korea alleges that the Silicon Valley giant may have run up against a problem: a Samsung patent.

As some background, “periscope” is the term used to describe a “folded” lens system that can squeeze greater zoom capabilities into the tiny camera arrays found in smartphones by redirecting light sideways through the body of the device via a sequence of lenses and mirrors or prisms. The design is deemed “periscope” because it mimics how a submarine periscope looks and works.

As Reporter has reported in the past, such technology is behind the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra’s 10x optical zoom, which is considerably more than the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s 2.5x zoom.

Apple has filed multiple patents for “folded” lens type periscope camera designs in the past, including one that was granted as recently as July and another from August that integrates optical image stabilization.

There are varying ways to construct a periscope lens especially when it comes to how a company moves the lens’s barrel. According to a report from The Elec, Apple wants to use a ball actuator to move the lens barrel, which is in contrast to the spring actuator that it currently uses on its iPhones. Unfortunately for Apple, Samsung — who has a technical lead on the technology over Apple — holds that patent.

Samsung Electro-Mechanics



The Elec explains that Apple was planning to supply folded zoom camera modules from a long-time supplier for the company, LG InnoTek, which procured the ball actuators from Samsung Electro-Mechanics.

If Cupertino have chosen this route, it would have replaced its actuator partners Alps Electric and Mitsumi Electric with Samsung Electro-Mechanics.

Meanwhile, Apple reviewed Jahwa Electronics’ optical image stabilization module factory during the first half of the year.

OIS are conventionally integrated with autofocus actuator to form one module. The integrated module is Jahwa’s main product. Combining it with an image sensor and a board completes a camera module.

However, Jahwa co-developed the OIS technology with Samsung and Samsung Electro-Mechanics, raising concerns that it may not be able to supply them to Apple.

Faced with this issue, Apple will either have to change its entire design to avoid using the patented technology or will have to pay Samsung a fee to license the rights to the patent. Both are of course options for the tech giant, but it is likely not a choice the company was expecting to have to make.


Image credits: Header image via Oppo
One Month, 5,000 Miles, 150 Photos: Capturing Autumn in Large Format

One Month, 5,000 Miles, 150 Photos: Capturing Autumn in Large Format

Autumn is something I never miss when it comes to photography. I may be working on other projects or other ideas, but when the leaves start to turn it’s hard to resist the urge to get out there and capture the vibrant colors.



This is the transition season when I shift from summer backpacking adventure to a month on the road in my van. It’s the last chance of the year to experience landscape photography without a heavy winter jacket so the warm afternoons, crisp mornings, and generally delightful weather are enjoyed as much as possible. After having all my film developed and the majority of it scanned in, it turned out this autumn was exceptionally productive, so it’s time to share the results.

Earth’s shadow over a mix of aspen and red sumac. Colorado – September 2019 / Chamonix 45F-2, Kodak Portra 160, 300mm Nikkor Lens, 1 minute at f45, 1 stop soft GND filter.



As usual, I started off my autumn in the Colorado Rockies. It was off to a late start this year which made for an extended backpacking season above the treeline. No complaints from me! Timing the annual fall trip is always a challenge as peak color can vary up to two weeks from year to year. My typical method is to keep that time of year flexible with no rigid plans. A lot of loose goals are set, but the dates and locations need to stay open so that plans can be changed as the season progresses.

Twilight glow makes for soft light and vibrant colors, a good option when skies are clear for days on end. Colorado – October 2019 / Chamonix 45F-2, Fuji Provia 100F, 210mm Caltar Lens, 1 minute at f32, 1 stop soft GND and warming filters.



Colorado never ceases to amaze me. In some ways, it seems I know all the best spots to see aspen turn color, but in reality, I know that is far from the truth. Just beyond every ridge is another valley full of surprises so my typical plan is to revisit old locations but always set aside some time for finding new ones. An entire lifetime could be spent in this state without seeing it all as once you get past the roads, travel is on foot and there’s a lot of ground to cover. It’s also hard not to revisit favorite locations as there’s always new light and conditions to create images each autumn.

Autumn colors reflect in the perfectly calm waters of a small lake. Colorado – October 2019 / Chamonix 45F-2, Fuji Velvia 50, 135mm Fuji Lens, 8 seconds at f32, 1 stop soft GND filter. Velvia 50 4×5, 135mm lens 8 seconds at f22, 1 stop soft GND filter



This autumn was generally light on clouds and the first dusting of snow was running even later than the changing of the leaves. Mixed skies of blue and clouds along with fresh snow on the peaks always make for my favorite grand scenic autumn images, but sometimes you have to take what you can get. What this year did have going for it was incredible color in the forest. Aspens did their normal change to gold, but this year was of a particularly brilliant hue and mixed with bright oranges and near reds. There’s always something to photograph in the autumn so this time I spent most of the season shooting without any sky in the frame; just intimate views of the aspen forest. Days were spent wandering around backroads as well as taking long hikes to see different patches of forest.

A lone pine stands among the golden aspen. Colorado – October 2019 / Chamonix 45F-2, Fuji Velvia 50, 90mm Caltar Lens, 1 second at f32, no filters.



I’ve always felt that one of the best ways to bring the feeling of the aspen forest into a two-dimensional media is by making large panoramic prints that give you a view of just the trunks and perhaps some of the ground. There’s something about standing in front of a six-foot long print that takes you there into the moment. Leaving out the sky accomplishes two things: it removes the tricky part of the image that can’t be exposed deep within the forest and it creates a touch of mystery that lets the viewer fill in the scene with their imagination. It inspires you to think that it is just endless aspen forest no matter where you look.

The 4 x 5 film ends up being a great format for creating panoramas; with the massive amount of resolution available, a pano can simply be cropped out of the middle of the frame. Some people may prefer to use 6 x 12 cm or 6 x 17cm backs and use roll film, but I’ve found that using the whole sheet makes for the most flexible image afterwards. When it comes to printing, you never know if a customer might want a little extra height to fill a wall. There have been countless times when I was glad I had the whole sheet to work with. Even when making panoramas, it’s nice to have the rise and tilt available with a view camera to ensure proper perspective control over the aspen forest and maintain those perfect verticals.

A medley of autumn colors shown in a small puddle full of fallen leaves. Finger Lakes, New York – October 2019 / Chamonix 45F-2, Fuji Velvia 50, 210mm Caltar Lens, 8 seconds at f32, no filters.



Autumn in Colorado ended much more quickly than it came. A winter storm arrived with high winds and blew off most of the leaves while covering the peaks with snow. Part of the fun of fall is how fleeting it is. I took a few days at home to recover and resupply before heading out east for round two.

The lower elevations and warmer nights put the changing of the leaves quite a bit later in both the Great Lakes region and Appalachia. Out there you can find much more in the way of fiery oranges and bright reds in the foliage combined with the special look of a hardwood forest that you don’t find in the Rockies. The colors are deeper, the forest darker, the weather more often moody and wet. A completely new feeling fills my body and mind and changes the way I look for images.

A single red maple in a foggy forest. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia – October 2019 / Chamonix 45F-2, Fuji Provia 100F, 135mm Fuji Lens, 2 seconds at f32, no filters.



Another difference in this region is that I’m no longer in my backyard so the landscape is unfamiliar. In some ways I’ve become quite relaxed about location research over the years as I have more time to travel than I used to. I get ideas for regions I’d like to see but often don’t find exact spots before I get there. The goal is to get my feet on the ground and feel it out for myself, which results in varying levels of success.

I travel many more miles each day than when I’m close to home and I take fewer images as I have to find them differently, but in the end I still enjoy the process and the attempt to stay away from the popular landscape icons. The forests of the east are a place where this method works particularly well. It’s not as though you need to have exact locations planned out to photograph intimate forest scenes and it’s hard to know where the best color would be ahead of time anyway.

Hay Bales in a green field with autumn hills in the distance. Finger Lakes, New York – October 2019 / Chamonix 45F-2, Fuji Velvia 50, 135mm Fuji Lens, 4 seconds at f32, 2 stop soft GND filter.



From the Finger Lakes region of New York down through Pennsylvania and Virginia, I was repeatedly treated to moody weather that gave the forests an extra dimension. The mountains of Shenandoah were in the clouds almost all the time I was there, obscuring the distant ridges in varying thicknesses of fog and pulling me into close-up views of the chaotic forest. It’s a challenge making images that pull a viewer in, given such messy forests, but as photographers we have to organize the scene and make some sense of it. I try to find a grab: a lone tree of color in a monotone forest or an opening that makes you want to walk into the image.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the image that came out of my two long autumn trips. A full month of wandering and about 5,000 miles on the road resulted in 150 exposed sheets of 4 x 5 film. I hope you have enjoyed this selection of my favorites.

A single pop of color shows through the mysterious woods. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia – October 2019 / Chamonix 45F-2, Fuji Velvia 50, 300mm Nikkor Lens, 2 seconds at f45, no filters.



Header image: The West Elk Mountains bathed in morning light make a great backdrop for vibrant autumn aspen. Colorado – October 2019 / Chamonix 45F-2, Fuji Velvia 50, 135mm Fuji Lens, 4 seconds at f32, 2 stop soft GND filter.
COVID Kiss: The Story Behind a Pulitzer-Winning Photo Series

COVID Kiss: The Story Behind a Pulitzer-Winning Photo Series

Last week, Associated Press photographer Emilio Morenatti delivered to a Spanish couple a framed copy of perhaps the most iconic photo of how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the elderly. In the photo, the two are seen embracing through a plastic sheet after 100 days of not seeing each other.

Morenatti won this year’s Putlizer Prize for Feature Photography for his series that documented the lives of the elderly in Spain who were struggling during the Coronavirus pandemic. The series includes the iconic photo of Agustina Cañamero, 82, and Pascual Pérez, 85 as they kissed and embraced through a plastic film screen (above) to avoid contracting or spreading the virus in a nursing home in Barcelona last year.




Cañamero and Pérez have been married for nearly six decades and the embrace was not only emotional for them, but for all those who witnessed it, including Morenatti.

It was one of many photos he would capture over the time he spent with the elderly. He originally took on the assignment around the end of February, 2020. He tells PetaPixel that press access to hospitals, morgues, and cemeteries was prohibited by the authorities, which limited his ability to document the effects of the disease in his country. But he endeavored to still find a way to put the experience of the pandemic into photos.



“I decided to act by my account, carried by my own instinct, as I did so many times covering conflict zones,” he says. “My challenge as a photojournalist has always been a call to reflection through my photographs. This time I wanted to focus on the most vulnerable, those older people who, as a metaphor, had already been excluded outside the society in which we live. The pandemic has exposed many things and one of them is how this society treats the most vulnerable — our elders.”

That instinct led him to reach out to a friend of his who is a nurse and who was taking care of sick people in their own homes. Her cases were mainly those elderly who lacked mobility and could not go to a hospital because they were too old. Additionally, at the time the public hospitals were saturated with COVID patients. He worked together with this nurse and other health care workers to gain access to the homes of these vulnerable elderly people.

“I decided to act by my account, carried by my own instinct, as I did so many times covering conflict zones,” he says. “My challenge as a photojournalist has always been a call to reflection through my photographs. This time I wanted to focus on the most vulnerable, those older people who, as a metaphor, had already been excluded outside the society in which we live. The pandemic has exposed many things and one of them is how this society treats the most vulnerable — our elders.”

That instinct led him to reach out to a friend of his who is a nurse and who was taking care of sick people in their own homes. Her cases were mainly those elderly who lacked mobility and could not go to a hospital because they were too old. Additionally, at the time the public hospitals were saturated with COVID patients. He worked together with this nurse and other health care workers to gain access to the homes of these vulnerable elderly people.

He tells Reporter that it was not only challenging because of the subject matter, but because of the length of time and the inherent danger of exposure. Morenatti says that the work for this series lasted the entire time the pandemic raged in Spain — almost a year.

A patient infected with Coronavirus rests in a chair inside an isolated room at the COVID-19 ward of a public hospital in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 18, 2020. The image was part of a series by Associated Press photographer Emilio Morenatti that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. | AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti



“At first, we were unaware of the properties of the virus and I remember that we were all very afraid when we entered the home of those elderly people, some of whom were infected with the disease,” Morenetti recalls. “Neither the nurses nor I had adequate protective suits, so we used large garbage plastic bags to make our own PPE suits. We worked with great uncertainty and fear, I remember.”

Morenatti says the idea of bringing the virus home terrified him daily.

“Every day, when I returned from photographing the sick and dead from COVID, I underwent a total disinfection plan and confined myself to my own home without having any contact with my children and my wife. The house was divided for months into the ‘clean part’ where they lived and the ‘dirty area’ where I lived for that period,” he says.

Residents look at the street through a window at the Icaria nursing home in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 25, 2020. The image was part of a series by Associated Press photographer Emilio Morenatti that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. | AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti



“I remember in the past, when I was really risking my life to get my photographs, I still didn’t know what being a father meant — I didn’t even think that one day I would have children. But when you have your first baby in your arms, then something changes inside of you forever. I think my children have made me a better person and also more vulnerable, because I want to see them grow up, that makes me a more conservative photographer. This pandemic has further marked that vulnerability due to the fear of infecting my kids through some of my coverage — that took my sleep away from the months I was covering this pandemic.”

Morenatti has been working as a photojournalist since 1989 and has extensive experience as a war zone photographer and worked with the Associated Press in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, and Palestinian territories. In 2009, he was injured in a bomb blast.

Despite that experience, Morenatti says that his time documenting the effects of the pandemic was the source of fear wholly different than what he experienced in war.

“During all those years I have learned to deal with emotion and avoid the dangers of each delicate situation,” he says. “This coverage was different. We had a lethal enemy that was not shaped like a bullet or a bomb but could sneak into you and infect you, and I was very worried about going home and infecting my wife and two children, who are four and seven years old.”

He says that he sees many parallels between how he covered war zones and the precautions he had to take in order to safely carry out his coverage of the pandemic.

Wearing protective suits to prevent infection, mortuary workers move the body of an elderly person who died of COVID-19 from an elevator after removing it from a nursing home in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 13, 2020. The image was part of a series by Associated Press photographer Emilio Morenatti that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. | AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti



“We traded bulletproof vests and helmets used in covering wars for the PPE protective suit and hydro alcohol. And for me, the virus-related curfew imposed in a city like Barcelona — with its completely deserted streets – felt like the trenches on the frontline. Also, the fear transmitted by the eyes of the people I photographed and the uncertainty in the face of an unknown enemy were also common elements like in a classic war.”

To him, the elderly were the great victims of the pandemic. Much like was the case in other countries, when the virus infiltrated a nursing home, it had a disastrous impact on its residents.

“When an outbreak penetrated the residence it was devastating,” he says. “In Spain, there were nursing homes where almost half of its residents died from COVID. That bothered me a lot and I was obsessed with being able to cover all that but it was not easy for me to get access there. It took me months to be able to enter one of those residences to photograph those deaths in solitude, elderly people who died in isolated rooms away from the rest of the patients and the service personnel, far from receiving a last hug or a last goodbye.”

Morenatti says that the emotions of the experience greatly affected him.

The body of an elderly person is prepared inside a coffin for her funeral at a morgue in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 5, 2020. The image was part of a series by Associated Press photographer Emilio Morenatti that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. | AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti



“I have to admit that I have cried behind the camera with some scenes, and that thanks to that emotion of that moment I have managed to fine-tune the degree of expression to be able to transmit as much as possible and get the most out of the moment. Perhaps the most moving image of all was the kiss between Agustina and Pascual who, between a large plastic sheet, give an infinite kiss, thus sealing an infinite love in time of the pandemic.”

Not every photo he captured he chose to share. While in the moment, he focused on capturing excellent images, he says that when he looked back at them after he concluded a session, he would use his common sense and personal ethics to determine if the photo needed to be shared.

“I have a few photos that, to preserve the dignity of the person I photographed, I decided to put them into the recycle bin.”




Amidst the exigent circumstances of his assignment, Morenatti said that it was critical for him as a photographer to keep a low profile. He explains that for him, his gear must be low profile above all else and allow him to photograph events without invading the personal space of his subjects. “Maintaining an empathic distance with the subject I am photographing is something that is absolutely important,” he says.

“I remember that first assignment with AP based in Kabul for a year in 2004. Those Nikon D1h [cameras] were a real frustration because the batteries only lasted a few dozen shots. At that time I used 128-megabytes memory cards to record 1.5-megabytes photos that I could barely crop.

Nurse Marta Fernandez holds up a tablet computer over the chest of 94-year-old Maria Teresa Argullos Bove so that she can speak to her sister, children and grandchildren from her hospital bed at the COVID-19 ward at the hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 18, 2020. The image was part of a series by Associated Press photographer Emilio Morenatti that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. | AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti



“Everything has changed a lot. In the last 15 years, I have been using Canon equipment, my penultimate cameras were the 5D Mark II, always mounting a 35mm and 50mm. The results obtained with these cameras have been spectacular, both in color and in reliability,” he recalls.

But at the onset of the pandemic, he started testing the Sony Alpha 9 II and says he experienced a substantial change to his photography because of it.

“Thanks to this camera’s silent shooting mode and its discretion, I have managed to take some of the photos that won the Pulitzer. Now my gear is set by two new Sony Alpha 1 units, a 35mm, 50mm, and a 135mm,” he says. “I think, [this is] the most competitive team I have ever had. I don’t think the camera makes the photographer but being technologically up-to-date is an essential part of being competitive.”




When asked if there were notable highs and lows to his time documenting the pandemic, Morenatti explains that he doesn’t quite think of experiences like that.

“I once heard a veteran photojournalist say that every photojournalist is just a unit of production. And I feel like that, I produce every day for the AP. I go out there and come back with my photos after a search, like an ancient hunter. There are days when I go out and I return with nothing, not even a single photo, after hours,” he says. “However, another day unexpectedly, I come back with images that define that day, and that is the most beautiful part of this job. I consider myself a person who brings out the positive from what could be negative, therefore it is very difficult for me to answer this question since I only keep the most edifying of each day, I discard the other. It’s pure emotional survival, I think.”

A mortuary worker collects the ashes of a COVID-19 victim from an oven after the remains where cremated at Memora mortuary in Girona, Spain, Nov. 19, 2020. The image was part of a series by Associated Press photographer Emilio Morenatti that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. | AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti



While he has spent so much of his career in dangerous environments, something about the closeness of this pandemic to his home made it particularly challenging for him, even with years of war experience behind him.

“Covering the conflict in the backyard of my house has been something that I never thought I would have to do,” he says. “All those photos were taken no more than five kilometers from my house, which makes a great difference with other conflicts I previously covered. This also happened in my own environment, my own neighborhood, my own city.

“It makes me even more empathic with the situation.”




Image credits: All photos copyright AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti and used with permission.

Header Photo: Agustina Cañamero, 81, hugs and kisses her husband Pascual Pérez, 84, through a plastic film screen to avoid contracting the coronavirus at a nursing home in Barcelona, Spain, June 22, 2020. Even when it comes wrapped in plastic, a hug can convey tenderness and relief, love and devotion. The fear that gripped Agustina Cañamero during the 102 days she and her 84-year-old husband spent physically separated during Spain’s coronavirus outbreak dissolved the moment the couple embraced through a screen of plastic film. | AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
Pulitzer-Winning Reuters Photographer Was Killed After Being Left Behind

Pulitzer-Winning Reuters Photographer Was Killed After Being Left Behind

Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer-prize-winning photographer for Reuters from India, was killed on assignment in Afghanistan in July. His death was originally attributed to crossfire, but a new report has determined he was killed after he was abandoned in the confusion of a retreat.

In a detailed story from Reuters, four journalists cite additional reporting and Siddiqui’s last images that cast new light on his final hours and highlight the chaos that came as the result of the collapse of the Afghan military.

Siddiqui had covered wars, mob violence, and refugee crises and after posting photos and a video on Twitter, reassured a friend that Reuters had performed a comprehensive risk assessment and he knew when to pull out, if he needed to.

Don’t worry,” Siddiqui wrote. “I know when to pull the plug.



Three days later, Siddiqui and two Afghan commandos were killed in a Taliban attack. First reports indicated that the acclaimed photographer had died in crossfire while trying to take photos in the bazaar at Spin Boldak, which was a hotly contested Afghan border crossing with Pakistan.



Reuters now reports that thanks to an examination of Siddiqui’s communications and accounts from an Afghan Special Forces Commander, the photographer was initially injured by shrapnel from a rocket, evacuated to a mosque for treatment, and abandoned there with two soldiers in the confusion of the retreat.

Major-General Haibatullah Alizai, who was the commander of the Afghanistan Special Operations Corps who hosted Siddiqui in Kandahar told Reuters that his soldiers withdrew from Spin Boldak and left Siddiqui and the two other soldiers behind, believing that they had joined the retreating convoy.

“They were left there,” Alizai said.

When Siddiqui’s body was later recovered, forensics experts determined that he had been shot many more times after he was killed.

The Reuters report, which is absolutely worth a read and can be found here, explains that Siddiqui’s death underlines the dangers and risks faced by photojournalists when they choose to cover conflict and political strife.

Before heading to what would be his final mission, Siddiqui told his boss that he wanted to help cover the story, citing its importance.

If we don’t go, who will?
Canon Appears to be Making its Camera Hot Shoes A Lot More Useful

Canon Appears to be Making its Camera Hot Shoes A Lot More Useful

As part of development announcements, Canon has revealed that its forthcoming EOS R3 camera will have a more advanced hot shoe than previous cameras, and the company’s latest camcorder announcement shows that it might be a lot more useful.

Canon originally noted that photographers could expect more out of its EOS R3 hot shoe as part of its second development announcement. The company said that the new accessory shoe will provide further options for data communication and power while also supporting new accessories. In addition, the use of Canon Speedlite products will still be possible when the EOS R3’s electronic shutter is active.

At the time, this sounded a lot like what Sony implemented with what it calls the Multi Interface Shoe in its more recent mirrorless cameras. While Sony only added the Multi Interface Shoe into mirrorless cameras in the last few years, the company actually started using it in camcorders starting as far back as 2012.

At first glance, Sony’s implementation of the shoe looks no different than the typical hot shoe found on any camera made for the last several years, but it actually has an additional middle contact point and more hidden contact points under the front of the shoe. This allows the shoe to be compatible with older accessories like flashes, but also work to capture true digital audio when paired with something like the ECM-B1M digital shotgun microphone.



On August 17, Canon introduced a new 4K camcorder called the XF605 which boasts a hot shoe interface that sounds extremely similar to the one that is coming to the R3. Canon says that the XF605 features a Multi-Function Shoe that is compatible with a new XLR microphone adapter (developed by TEAC Corporation) for increasing the total number of XLR inputs to four, which provides “a flexible audio recording workflow.”



Canon was unable to confirm to PetaPixel if the two hot shoes on both the new XF605 and the upcoming R3 are the same — this makes sense, as the R3 is still technically an unannounced product. But while the two sound similar, they are not necessarily the same shoe. It is possible that Canon has developed multiple interface shoes for different products. This wouldn’t be unusual, as Sony also has multiple interface shoes that it has used throughout its product lines.



A major indicator that the two shoes will at least have similar features, if they are not outright the same interface, is that Tascam announced that it would be releasing an XLR microphone adapter that would work on both the upcoming R3 and the new XF605. In a report from DPReview, Tascam says that it will be able to directly transmit audio and receive power from the camera via a “cable free system,” which echoes the language seen in the R3 development announcement.

DPReview also noticed that Tascam says that it will be developing a similar adapter for the Fujifilm X-T4 and X-S10, which is only notable because the ability to transfer data and power through the hot shoe on those cameras was not something that was previously made known.

It’s not clear if there will be any new benefits to strictly photographers from these hot shoe improvements. To this point, Sony’s biggest marketing examples have all been for products strictly related to video capture, and Canon hasn’t said specifically what can be expected of its R3 other than the vague notes from its development announcement. In any case, it’s clear that very soon Sony will not have a monopoly on useful hot shoe technology, as both Canon and presumably Fujifilm have already started to implement it as well.

Snapchat Hopes ‘Scan’ Can Transform it into a Visual Search Engine

Snapchat Hopes ‘Scan’ Can Transform it into a Visual Search Engine

Snapchat has historically been a messaging and fun communications app, but the company appears interested in shifting that narrative through Scan, a feature that lets the app identify a host of objects in the real world, from clothes to dog breeds.

Scan isn’t new and has been a part of the app since 2019. But as reported by The Verge, Snapchat Scan started appearing more prominently in the app this week. That placement means the company wants its users to gravitate towards it and use Snapchat as a visual search engine and not just as a way to send silly messages to friends.

Additionally, The Verge notes that the app can also use Scan to suggest different augmented reality (AR) effects, called Lenses, based on what the camera is looking at, which is a way to address what is seen as a growing problem for the app: how to find the right Lens in the giant pile of the millions that are made by the Snap community.

Snapchat is fighting an uphill battle with this feature. Google launched its Lens visual scanning feature in 2017 and is integrated by default into Google Pixel phones and some other Android devices. Pinterest also has a visual search feature.



Apple will roll out its version of visual search with iOS 15 in the fall. Called Visual Lookup, the Photos app will be able to identify objects, landmarks, books, plants, works of art, and more and link those findings with more information that is pulled from the internet. This feature will come in addition to the iPhone’s ability to recognize text in photos as well.

That’s a lot of competition, and that does not count the several other apps that are highly specialized, for example, Picture This and its plant recognition system that gardeners and botany hobbyists use to identify plants in a matter of seconds with startling accuracy.

Thanks to its nearly 300 million daily active users, Snap believes that it is well-positioned to fight that battle, however. The company told The Verge that more than 170 million people already use Scan at least once a month, and that was prior to changing its location to prime placement.

The real test for Scan will be how good it is at identifying objects compared to the existing and forthcoming competition. The Verge reports that right now, the feature is “hit or miss,” but Snap promises that its ability to recognize objects will get better over time. Since Scan doesn’t seem to offer more than competitors and may not be better, it’s hard to say if this pivot from messaging to visual search is a winning strategy quite yet.


Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.
Camera+ 2 Mobile App Maker Launches Camera+ Studio for Mac

Camera+ 2 Mobile App Maker Launches Camera+ Studio for Mac

Mobile photo editing app developer LateNiteSoft — known for the mobile app Camera+ 2 — has launched the Camera+ Studio application for Apple computers.

The company says that the desktop version brings many of the more popular tools from the mobile app to the Mac along with a full suite of standard photo editing tools so creatives can do quick or full edits to their images.

According to the company, the new desktop version has many of the standard editing tools creatives are used to seeing in processing engines with what it describes as easy-to-use sliders and a colorful design with an interface the company says makes it easy to make photos look just right.

The new software also features several of the tools made popular in the mobile app such as Clarity Pro, touted by the company as a tool that quickly and easily makes images “pop.” The company says that the tool is a fan favorite in the mobile version so the engineers prioritized adding it to the desktop solution. The tool is said to help get clearer and more vibrant images using two sliders to control the clarity and vibrancy of the image.



Also featured in the new Camear+ 2 Studio is the Magic ML tool which uses machine learning (a form of artificial intelligence) to “single-click” edit an image. LateNiteSoft says the neural network was trained using thousands of images to learn the best way to edit a user’s image by instantly analyzing a photo and picking the right amount of color, exposure, brightness, and contrast levels. This also includes tweaking the highlight and shadow details.

After testing Camera + Studio on a few images, PetaPixel can confirm that it does give a very good starting point for pretty much any image, and lets users then get experimental and creative if desired, or also works for exporting images as-is. RAW files appear to be supported by the mobile app, but PetaPixel did not have a seamless experience with traditional camera RAWS and was unable to confirm if all (or any) will work flawlessly on the desktop experience.



The company says that while the launch has many editing tools included, it is planning to add many more features from the mobile app as well as entirely new ones down the line. Camera+ Studio is free to try now on the Apple App Store but users will not be able to save their edits until they “upgrade” for a one-time purchase of $18.99, or as a subscription for $0.99 per month or $7.99 per year.
Canon’s ‘Subject Blur Correction’ Dips Toe into Computational Photography

Canon’s ‘Subject Blur Correction’ Dips Toe into Computational Photography

Canon has applied for a patent that would use an in-camera algorithm in tandem with the camera’s image stabilization system to intelligently determine the difference between blur caused by motion and blur caused by a moving subject, and correct it.

First spotted by Asobinet and reported by CanonWatch, the patent describes a way to suppress blur of a subject in a photo by using the image stabilization system in the camera (on sensor) and in the lens.

In the patent, Canon says that the problem is that blur correction in current cameras isn’t able to differentiate between “camera shake” and “subject shake” and correct for both at the same time. To get around this, Canon’s Subject Blur Correction would be able to correct for “subject shake” when a face is detected and “camera shake” when a face is not detected.



“‘Camera shake’ and ‘subject shake’ should be corrected depending on the intention of the user (target of interest) in the shooting scene,” the patent says. “For example, when the user pays attention to the background, it is desirable that the ‘camera shake,’ which is the shake of the entire screen, is corrected. On the other hand, when the user is paying attention to the main subject, it is desirable that the ‘subject shake’ is corrected. Therefore, it is necessary to appropriately control the shake correction target according to the user’s intention that changes with the shooting scene.”

The patent was originally applied for by Canon in September of 2020, but was published on June 24.



While technically this process does not fall into the pure definition of computational photography according to Wikipedia — that is to say, the process of using digital computation instead of the optical process — it does get close and more falls into expanded definitions of the term. For example, the idea of computational photography now expands into computer vision, graphics, and applied optics. Since the tech would need to use some kind of algorithm to intelligently determine how to use its stabilization system, it could be argued that Canon’s Subject Blur Correction is a type of computational photography.

To date, outside of some HDR and panoramic capabilities, full-size cameras have done very little as far as advancing image processing to the degree that is seen in mobile devices and have mostly relied on physical corrections in camera or in lenses to achieve quality results. It could be argued that the hesitancy from dedicated camera manufacturers to adopt computational photography techniques that have led to vast improvements to image quality on mobile devices is a detriment to the advancement of the medium overall, and Canon’s patent here shows what could be possible if camera makers begin to do so more readily.
Microsoft is bringing Android app support to Windows 11

Microsoft is bringing Android app support to Windows 11


Today, Microsoft has officially unveiled the new version of Windows: Windows 11. At the event, Microsoft detailed a number of visual and productivity changes coming to the desktop operating system. Towards the end of the event, Microsoft had a surprise announcement in store: the company is bringing Android apps to Windows 11, accessible through the Microsoft Store via a partnership with the Amazon Appstore.

Few technical details were shared during the initial keynote regarding the Android app integration feature, but in a follow-up developer keynote, Microsoft says they developed a “Windows Subsystem for Android” (WSA) that’s similar to the “Windows Subsystem for Linux” already present in Windows. Apps show up in a top-level window where it can be pinned to the start menu, resized, snapped, and generally managed like any native Windows app. Microsoft says that, behind the scenes, Windows 11 creates a proxy native app that handle the bridge between the Android app model and the Windows app model. To make the code run, Microsoft took the advancements they made when developing WSL — and bringing the Linux kernel to Windows — to build the WSA. Android apps run in a virtual machine which provides compatibility with the AOSP framework, and devices like keyboards, mice, touch, pen, and Bluetooth headsets for audio are compatible.



Since most Android apps are built for ARM processors, Microsoft worked with Intel to use the latter’s Intel Bridge technology to run ARM binaries on Intel and AMD PCs. In a separate blog post, Intel describes Intel Bridge as a “a runtime post-compiler that enables applications to run natively on x86-based devices.” It hasn’t been explicitly confirmed yet which Intel-powered processors will support Android apps, though Intel’s blog post mentions that the company “expects to deliver the broadest range of computing experiences for Windows 11 this year and beyond, with 10th Gen, 11th Gen and future generations of Intel Core processor-based platforms for consumers, businesses, education, enthusiasts and more.” As for ARM-based Windows PCs, they’ll also be supported, though Microsoft isn’t ready to share any details yet, according to The Verge.

Beyond hardware compatibility, our other concern with this news is that the number of apps available through Amazon’s Appstore pales in comparison to the number available through Google’s Play Store. Furthermore, it’s unlikely that Windows 11 will ship with Google Mobile Services on board, so we don’t know if certain apps will misbehave on the OS owing to the lack of Google Play Services. Seeing as Amazon’s Fire devices ship without GMS and hence many apps submitted to the Amazon Appstore are made with that in mind, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

According to the WSJ‘s Joanna Stern, you’ll have to first download and sign into the Amazon Appstore app before you can download Android apps from the Microsoft Store. It’s a bit clunky, but hopefully Microsoft improves the process later.



The arrival of Android apps on Windows 11 is clearly aimed at taking on Apple’s recent integration of iOS and iPadOS apps in macOS. Apple’s integration was made possible thanks to the new Macs switching to an ARM-based processor — Apple’s M1 silicon — while the former is happening thanks to a partnership with Intel. Google’s Chrome OS also supports running Android apps, and there are also ways to run Android apps on GNU/Linux distributions.

We’re excited by this announcement and will be digging into the Android apps integration whenever Microsoft releases the first builds of Windows 11 next week. We’re especially interested in learning if it’s possible to sideload Android apps onto Windows 11.

Ng
Instagram Tests ‘Suggested Posts’ That Can Appear Ahead of Friends

Instagram Tests ‘Suggested Posts’ That Can Appear Ahead of Friends

Instagram is reportedly testing a feature with a “small number” of users where its “suggested posts” feature will expand beyond just when you’ve reached the end of your feed and will be mixed throughout a browsing experience, possibly coming ahead of posts from those users follow.

In a confirmation to The Verge, Instagram says that reception to the “suggested posts” feature was so positive that the company decided to try and mix those suggestions in with the average viewing experience, sometimes ahead of photos and videos from people a user explicitly follows.



Additionally, Instagram is testing new controls that will allow users to add a specific topic of interest for suggested posts as well as the ability to “snooze” the recommendations for 30 days or hide them from a feed entirely. “Suggested posts” is a feature that Instagram added last year, but prior to this small test was only ever seen after a user saw everything from all people they followed that was shared.

This shift would make Instagram theoretically function similarly to how YouTube manages its “home” page, which highlights content that is a mix of videos made by those a user is subscribed to as well as videos that YouTube’s algorithm thinks are of interest. YouTube leans so heavily on this analytics-forward approach that subscriptions have fallen in importance over the years.

If Instagram were to adopt placing suggested posts for all users, it may have a dramatic impact on how the social network functions. Instagram has a vested interest in keeping users on the platform for as long as possible, and keep them coming back. As such, the social network should not necessarily need to put as much value on showing a user content from people they follow as opposed to delivering photos and videos that keep them engaged. As YouTube has shown, just because a person subscribes to a Channel doesn’t mean that the user necessarily wants to see all content that Channel produces.



That’s the theory, anyway, and it might have ramifications in the long term for content creators who rely on Instagram to reach an audience, especially if suggested posts become more popular and show higher engagement than that of specifically followed accounts.

Algorithm-focused approaches have generally superseded ones that focus on giving users complete control over what they see. Facebook and Instagram both ditched a timeline-based approach years ago, and Twitter defaults users to the “Home” view instead of “Latest Tweets” which uses an algorithm to determine the most interesting content. At least in Twitter’s case, switching back to Latest Tweets is an option.

Instagram did not specify how many people its “suggested posts” test would affect nor how long it intended to test the feature.