7 Halloween Costumes With High-Tech Appeal

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Nikon Costume

Halloween isn’t just for kids in knockoff Disney costumes. The holiday has become ground zero for geek-themed cosplay, and allows more DIY-oriented tech nerds to explore wardrobe hacking of the highest order. LEDs, iPads, green pigs and angry feathered fowl — they’re all present and accounted for in this year’s Halloween opus.

Here are a few of our favorite tech-themed costumes. If you’ve got some winners of your own, shoot me an e-mail or share in the comments section of this article.

Above is Tyler Card’s fully functioning Nikon DSLR costume, quite possibly the most impressive outfit of the bunch (but let’s be honest, it’s pretty much impossible to choose favorites).

Card mounted a DSLR on the inside of the costume’s lens using a small, modified tripod. The shutter is triggered using a remote shutter release that’s mounted under the shutter release button on the costume camera — so, when the costume button is pressed, it actually snaps a picture. Card used a hot-shoe flash extension to situate an external flash above his head as the “pop-up flash,” and a USB cable connects the camera to a laptop mounted inside the back of the costume. As photos are taken, they’re played as a slideshow on the laptop’s LCD screen, which he unscrewed and flipped backwards.

Card told Wired.com that the costume is primarily made of cardboard, duct tape and spray paint. The lens is made from a 5-gallon paint bucket, whose lid acts as the lens cap. The lens is made of Plexiglas, and the flash diffuser is Plexiglas covered with window-frosting spray. Excluding the cost of the actual camera and computer, the costume only cost about $35 to make — but it took about 40 hours to create.

The toughest part?

“Believe it or not, the most challenging part was cutting a circular piece of Plexiglas without having the proper tools,” Card says. “It was very tedious getting it to fit snug, without having to tape it up.” Another challenge: getting the costume on and off, which requires “a little help too.”

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Nikon D300s travels to the edge of space, survives to share the results

If you’re going to go to the trouble of sending a camera to the edge of space, you might as well send one capable of doing the trip justice, right? That hasn’t always been the case with similar DIY attempts (for obvious reasons), but the team behind the so-called Cygnus “spacecraft” decided to go all out when they sent their weather balloon / beer cooler contraption aloft this month to photograph the curvature of the Earth. In this case, going all out meant sending a Nikon D300s DSLR equipped with Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens, which managed to capture some stunning pictures like the one you see above — although some got a bit obscured by ice build-up. There’s more where that came from at the Flickr link below, and you can check out a video of the launch after the break.

[Thanks, Udi]

Continue reading Nikon D300s travels to the edge of space, survives to share the results

Nikon D300s travels to the edge of space, survives to share the results originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 23 Oct 2011 14:49:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink DIY Photography  |  sourceErich Leeth (Flickr)  | Email this | Comments

Nikon J1 and V1 compacts now available for mirror haters everywhere

You heard that Nikon is releasing a couple of mirrorless compacts, right? Well, the ten megapixel J1 and V1 models are both on sale from today, sticking to their schedule despite the terrible flooding in Thailand that has already impacted heavily on Sony’s camera production. The metal V1 is priced at $900 including a 10-30mm, f/3.5 max aperture kit lens. Meanwhile, the plastic J1 is going for $650 with the same glass and we’ve already subjected it to some full review scrutiny.

Nikon J1 and V1 compacts now available for mirror haters everywhere originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 20 Oct 2011 07:57:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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BlueSLR dongle arrives for BlackBerry and (some) Android phones

Offering to play matchmaker between your high-end camera and smartphone, XEquals has extended support for its BlueSLR remote control beyond iOS. Yes, Blackberry and Android users can now download their respective app and pair this Bluetooth dongle to their (still Nikon-only) DSLR. The compatible dongle and free app will land later this month, but before you lay down the requisite $149, it’s worth checking that both your camera and phone models are supported. As it stands, compatible Android phones are limited to some HTC or Samsung models. While Android support is likely to expand in the future, there’s no word on a Pre 3 version.

Continue reading BlueSLR dongle arrives for BlackBerry and (some) Android phones

BlueSLR dongle arrives for BlackBerry and (some) Android phones originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 17 Oct 2011 15:07:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nikon iPhone App Streams Photos, Documents to COOLPIX Projector

The only way to make Nikon’s app uglier is to view it pixel-doubled in an iPad screen

Nikon has released a handy little app, although its audience will likely be pretty limited — you need to own an iOS device and also the projector-equipped Nikon COOLPIX S1200pj camera. And even then you may want to hold off this free app, thanks to its horrible design.

iP-PJ Transfer — which sounds like something copyright lawyers might do at a sleepover — lets you use the camera’s projector to show content stored on your iPhone. Use it to project slideshows and documents, and also browse to any site using the built-in web browser.

The camera is connected to the iPhone using the Dock Connector cable that came with the camera (and if you don’t have one, then tough — Nikon doesn’t sell them separately). Once this is done, you have to transfer content into the app via iTunes file sharing (or via your computer’s browser). You can also access content from your iPhone’s camera roll (although the Nikon app calls it the “Camera Role”).

The oddest thing about this app, though (apart from the shoddy production values) is that you don’t really need it. Take a look at the instruction page for connecting the camera to an iOS device and you’ll see the camera works as a movie and slideshow projector out of the box. Better still, it works with the photos and videos already stored and organized on your device.

Still, the app is free, and if you hate yourself (and own the above devices) you owe it to yourself to download it and try to navigate its tortuous controls, if only to inflict PowerPoint presentations on other people. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

iP-PJ Transfer [iTunes via Photography Bay]

See Also:

Nikon 1 J1 review (video)

So, Nikon finally has a mirrorless camera, after what was quite possibly the most dramatic launch event the company has ever conducted. Sure, competing models from Panasonic, Olympus and Sony have already reached the second, or even third generation before Nikon lifted the veil on its J1, but did last month’s long-awaited announcement bring us the ILC to rule all ILCs? Well, no, not at all. Nikon isn’t targeting pros or even advanced amateur shooters with its latest addition to the interchangeable lens camera family. Instead, the company is marketing its J1 to soccer moms (and dads), fashion-conscious young folk, and casual shooters who want some of the versatility of a DSLR, but are willing to sacrifice excellent image quality for a more compact design. But what about the rest of us? Will Nikon one day reward our patience with a true class competitor? Perhaps, but that’s definitely not what we have here.

Nikon built the $650 J1 “from the ground up” — a reference to its 10.1 megapixel, CX-size sensor with a 2.7x crop factor, along with a handful of quirky features that we probably won’t use, but that some of you (or perhaps your family members) may love. Jump past the break to see what we really liked about the camera, and what left us rather unimpressed. And it you’re dying to judge its performance for yourself, you can check out a handful of untouched images at the coverage link below the conclusion, along with a variety of sample videos spattered throughout.

Continue reading Nikon 1 J1 review (video)

Nikon 1 J1 review (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 03 Oct 2011 12:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Red Nikon D3100 now available exclusively at Best Buy

Nikon may be generous with the paint colors for its more compact cameras, but it’s been a decidedly different story for its DSLRs (unlike some other camera makers). There is one new non-DIY option available courtesy of Best Buy, however, which is now offering an exclusive red version of the Nikon D3100. Unfortunately, while it has the same $650 list price as the regular D3100 (including an 18-55mm VR kit lens), it doesn’t have the same $100 discount that Best Buy’s currently offering on the standard black model.

Red Nikon D3100 now available exclusively at Best Buy originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 30 Sep 2011 13:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nikon Goes Mirrorless with the ‘1′ System

With their tiny sensors and slow lenses, it’s hard to see the appeal of Nikon’s new ‘1’ range

Nikon has at last gotten in on the mirrorless camera game with the launch of the “Nikon 1″ range. Currently consisting of two bodies and three lenses, the system will soon include an adapter to allow the use of Nikon F-mount SLR lenses.

First, the most important part: The sensor. Nikon has put a small 10.1MP one-inch sensor into the cameras. It is half the size of a Micro Four Thirds sensor, and roughly four times the size of a regular compact camera sensor. And this is where things start to go wrong. One of the best features of large sensors is that they allow photos with a shallow depth of field — pictures where the subject is sharp and the background blurred, for example. Coupled with the rather slow new lenses, you’re not going to be able to get much separation.

There are two bodies, the smaller J1 and the fancier V1. The J1 is a tiny thing, barely bigger than a decent compact, and shoots stills at 10fps, video at 1080p, and has a maximum ISO of 3,200.

The V1 is a lot more interesting. It adds a 1.4 million dot viewfinder, an accessory shoe which works with an optional flash, microphone or GPS unit. The V1 also has a hybrid AF mode which uses both phase and contrast detection for high speed and good low-light accuracy.

The V1 will also shoot a still photo while you record video, which leads to the rather gimmicky Motion Snapshot feature, which I like to call the Harry Potter mode. This “unites a frozen still image with a slow-motion movement set to a built-in audio soundtrack.” Tacky, right?

On to those lenses. The lineup consist of a 10mm (27mm equivalent) ƒ2.8 pancake, a 10-30mm (27-81mm equivalent) ƒ3.5-5.6 and a 30-100mm (81-297mm equivalent) ƒ3.8-5.6. These are sloooow. Even when the F-mount adapter arrives, you might not want to use your super-fast SLR lenses — with a crop factor of 2.7x, that nifty 50mm ƒ1.4 lens you own will turn into an almost useless 135mm ƒ1.4.

Lastly, prices. With the 10-30mm lens the J1 will cost $650 and the V1 $900.

Who will buy these cameras? I would seem to be the perfect target. I own a Nikon SLR and a clutch of great Nikon lenses, and I already use a Micro Four Thirds Panasonic GF1. But these Nikon 1 cameras don’t interest me at all. My lenses already work great on the GF1, and would be useless on these small-sensor bodies (the 85mm ƒ1.8 particularly so, turning into a 255mm monster), especially as the shake reduction is in the lenses, not the bodies.

Sure, these are a step up from the Nikon P7100, the Canon G12 and the Lumix LX5, but if you have to buy a whole new range of lenses anyway, why not go for the already established Micro Four Thirds system, or the giant APS-C sensor Sony NEX cameras? I think Nikon may have screwed this one up.

Available end of October.

Nikon J1 product page [Nikon]

Nikon V1 product page [Nikon]

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Nikon unveils V1 and J1 mirrorless cameras: 10.1MP CMOS, 1080p video, ships in October for $650+ (video)

Rumors of a Nikon mirrorless camera have been floating around the web since the middle of last year, and recent leaks have made us wonder not if the company would release a compact ILC — only when such an announcement would be made. Well, we finally have our answer. We journeyed to a secret location in midtown Manhattan tonight, with nary a peep from Nikon about what to expect until just before the clock struck midnight — and only after more than two hours of laptop-free house arrest and live Counting Crows. Only the rumored mirrorless cam seemed worthy of such unusual precautions, so we were relieved to discover that Nikon had managed to justify this late night adventure. The company has finally announced not one, but a pair of compact “1 System” mirrorless cameras, and it seems totally fine with putting the focus speed up against the self-proclaimed champ. Head on past the break for more details!

Continue reading Nikon unveils V1 and J1 mirrorless cameras: 10.1MP CMOS, 1080p video, ships in October for $650+ (video)

Nikon unveils V1 and J1 mirrorless cameras: 10.1MP CMOS, 1080p video, ships in October for $650+ (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 21 Sep 2011 00:01:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nikon 1: A Tiny Camera With Interchangeable Lenses That’s Crazy Fast (or Crazy Slow)

Tiny cameras with big sensors and swappable lenses are like, a big deal. How big? Nikon just built their first brand new camera system for the first time in practically 50 years. It’s the Nikon 1. And yeah, it’s kind of awesome. More »