Photokina 2014 highlights

Lenses

The IC Safety System consists of outer protective glasses, and an inner foil that incorpor...

Those of us who need to wear glasses face a bit of a quandary when it comes to protective eyewear. We can put big safety glasses on over top of our prescription glasses, although these can be bulky, uncomfortable, and a little funny-looking. Those drawbacks can be avoided by getting safety glasses with prescription lenses, but given the conditions under which such glasses are typically worn, it’s entirely possible that their custom lenses will get scratched. This leaves users on the hook for an expensive new pair, which they will have to wait several days for. Australian inventor Andreas Mehringer, however, has created what could be a better alternative, in the form of his IC Safety System.  Read More

The Lensbaby Composer Pro - drop in an optic and tilt away to your creative heart's conten...

Lensbaby is an odd company making distinctly analogue products to suit modern digital SLR cameras. The Composer Pro is a lens body that features a tilting head which bends light and distorts the focal plane of whatever lens optic you drop into it, giving you a bunch of ways to creatively mess with your photography in-camera for some pretty striking and evocative effects. It feels like a strange thing to do, putting such low-fi and distorted lenses on your ultra-sharp DSLR – but then again, hey, if it feels good, do it! Click through to see some example photos.  Read More

The Mini Microscope for iPhone allows the camera of an iPhone 4 to get close-up images of ...

It's all very well and good that iPhones can give you directions, let you surf the web, and do about a thousand other things, but what if you want to get a close look at something really tiny? Well, the phone can't help you with that on its own, but it can if you equip it with the Mini Microscope for iPhone. Like the University of California, Davis' more clinical CellScope, it mounts over the lens of the phone's camera. Once in place, you can use it to inspect your thumb, get to know the insects in your neighborhood, or even to detect counterfeit currency.  Read More

Engineers have created a single fixed lens that allows microscopes to capture three-dimens...

Engineers from Ohio State University have developed what they say is the world’s first microscope lens capable of obtaining three-dimensional images. While 3D microscopy has already been achieved, it has previously required the use of multiple lenses, or of a single camera that moves around the object being imaged. The new device, however, is just a single lens that sits in place on an existing microscope.  Read More

A mock-up of Ricoh's new GXR Lens Mount Unit on display at the CP Camera and Photo Imaging...

Since introducing its modular GXR camera system towards the end of 2009, Ricoh has kept its promise of regularly adding new interchangeable units to the setup. The line now includes four units which between them offer a broad range of different lens and sensor configurations. Now, the company is branching out a bit with the announcement of an expansion unit that will give users the freedom to use different lenses.  Read More

The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER 1.4x lens with built-in 1.4x focal length exte...

Fiddling with lenses and focal length extenders to get the effects we want is an annoying necessity for photographers – but the latest announcement from Canon has the potential to make all the company's lenses at least twice as useful. The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER 1.4x is the first lens Canon has made with a built-in focal length extender. At the flick of a switch, it goes from 200-400mm to 280-560mm while maintaining its presumably stellar L series optics through the whole zoom range. That's one less fiddly lens change for wildlife and sports photographers, and one heck of a great idea!  Read More

PixelOptics' emPower! electronic focusing glasses

We have previously reported on the development of prototype adaptive focus glasses at the University of Arizona (UA) that were able to switch focus electronically. Unlike manually adjustable focus glasses, such as TruFocals, that place a flexible liquid lens between two rigid lenses, the lenses of the prototype glasses consisted of a layer of liquid crystals sandwiched between two pieces of glass. By applying an electric charge, the orientation of the liquid crystals – and therefore the optical path length through the lens – was able to be changed, resulting in glasses that changed focus electronically. This technology is now on its way to consumers with PixelOptics showing its emPower! glasses at CES 2011.  Read More

The liquid pistons are comprised of droplets of nanoparticle-infused ferrofluids (Image: R...

Researchers at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute have developed "liquid pistons" that could be suited to a variety of applications. Using electromagnets the liquid pistons, which are highly tunable, scalable and have no solid moving parts, can function as pumps for lab-on-a-chip systems or could be used for adaptive lenses in future mobile phone cameras and implantable lenses.  Read More

The Eye Scope is an 8x optical zoom lens for use with iPhone cameras (Photo: Firebox)

We’ve already seen lenses for mobile phone cameras that allow users to take macro or wide-angle photographs. Now, iPhone 3G/3GS owners can extend the capabilities of their camera phones even further, by adding on an Eye Scope 8x optical zoom lens. Given the way every little shake of the hands would show up when zoomed in that far, it even comes with its own mini tripod.  Read More

A new technique makes the production of precision glass microlens arrays possible, using a...

When it comes to lenses for digital pico projectors, there’s currently something of a trade-off. Traditional lenses, where multiple glass magnifiers are placed one in front of the other, are long and bulky. Microlens arrays, in which many tiny lenses are assembled together on one flat surface, are a much more compact, lightweight alternative. However, so far such arrays have mostly been made out of plastic, which the bulbs in some projectors are capable of melting. Now, researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology have come up with what they say is a solution: microlens arrays made from glass, using a hot embossing technique.  Read More

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