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Lenses

— Digital Cameras

Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens promises ethereal portraits and macro images

The Velvet 56 is a new lens from Lensbaby which promises to deliver dreamlike, glowing portrait images when shot wide open. The 56-mm F1.6 lens, which will come in a variety of mounts for DSLR and mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, is said to feature the build and look of classic mid-20th century portrait lenses. With a minimum focusing distance of just 13 cm (5 in) the Velvet 56 can also be used to capture macro images. Read More
— Space

Astronomers see supernova explosion using galaxies as lenses

A team of astronomers led by the Australian National University (ANU) has discovered a lens of galactic proportions. Using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the scientists saw a supernova not once, but four times by using the gravity of a distant cluster of galaxies to act as a natural lens that magnified and quadrupled the image of the exploding star. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Researchers advance ultra-thin flat lens to capture perfect colors

Ultra-thin flat lenses suitable for photography are one step closer after a team of researchers at Harvard University made a major leap forward with its prototype wafer-thin flat lens. The new lens builds on the original prototype, which we first heard about in 2012, by using an achromatic metasurface to focus different wavelengths of light at the same point. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Nikon finally adds a touchscreen to a DSLR with the D5500

Nikon has revealed its first DSLR to feature touchscreen capabilities, the entry-level D5500. While its predecessor, the D5300, was the first Nikon DSLR to boast built-in Wi-Fi, it's the D5500 which finally adds the option of touchscreen operation to the firm's DSLR line-up. A couple of new lenses were also announced, the affordable 55-200-mm F4.5-F5.6G ED VR II, and the surprisingly compact 300-mm F4E PF ED VR. Read More
— Military

RAZAR riflescope brings push-button zoom to the battlefied

In combat, seconds count and a moment’s hesitation or distraction can mean the difference between life and death. So it's no small problem that modern riflescopes often require soldiers to look away from their targets or take their hands off their rifles in order to change magnification. Sandia National Laboratories’ Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles (RAZAR) riflescope is capable of switching between high and low zoom magnifications at the touch of a button, allowing soldiers to concentrate on the battle rather than their scopes. Read More
— Science

Smartphone microscope can be made for under a dollar

Suppose you were a first responder, who got called out to investigate a suspicious substance found in a public place. Instead of having to transport that material back to the lab, wouldn't it be better if you could just take a microscope image of it with your smartphone, email that image off to a remote lab, then receive the analysis within just a few minutes while you were still on location? Thanks to a very inexpensive new phone attachment developed at the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), that could soon be possible. Read More
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