Photography news: Careful, self-driving cars can ruin your camera sensor

Canon EOS R Review
Gannon Burgett/Digital Trends

Afraid of missing out on the latest photo industry news while you’re out, well, actually taking pictures? Photography News of the Week is all the news you might have missed this week, published on the weekends. Alongside the biggest stories of the week, like Nikon’s new budget zooms, the new Fujifilm 100-200mm lens, GoPro Fusion’s firmware update, and the new Sony A6400, find briefs on the latest in accessories and photography news from this week.

Photographers, beware: Self-driving car lasers can wreak havoc on your camera

Some types of direct light — such as a solar eclipse or laser shows — can permanently damage a camera’s digital sensor. But there’s another more “hidden” light source that can ruin a good camera: Self-driving cars. 

According to Ars Technica, autonomous vehicle engineer Jit Ray Chowdhury was photographing a self-driving car by Ridecell with a lidar unit on top, a system that uses lasers to determine distance. Those lasers appeared to burn a spot in the camera’s sensor; subsequent pictures had two purple flare spots in the same location, suggesting the sensor is damaged.

The good news is that the company offered to buy Chowdhury a new camera, but the story serves as a word of caution for photographers as self-driving cars become more prevalent. Another cause for concern? Many self-driving cars also use cameras with the same type of sensors to help spot obstacles, and they may not mix well on the same road with the lidars.

Tamron updates list of lenses compatible with Nikon Z

One of the Nikon Z’s biggest perks is compatibility with existing Nikon lenses, but not all third-party Nikon mount lenses share the same compatibility. This week, Tamron released an updated list of lenses that are compatible with Nikon’s Z6, after releasing a list of compatible Z7 lenses in November. 

Compatibility requires a firmware update and the FTX adapter. The list includes six zoom lenses, including popular options such as the 24-70mm f/2.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8.

Facebook’s image compression algorithms could be coming to more apps

Facebook compresses images for faster load times — and now the algorithms used by the popular social network can be adapted into other apps. This week, Facebook released the Spectrum compression algorithms as open source, which allows other developers to integrate the same technology into other apps. The algorithms could be integrated into iOS and Android apps.

Canon continues pushing out one of the top numbers of patents — again

For the 33rd year in a row, Canon has ranked among the top five companies filing IFI Claims Patents. In 2018, Canon filed for 3,056 patents, which ranks the company third for U.S. patent rankings overall and first among companies based in Japan. Canon says they are the only company in the world to rank in the top five for such a long stretch, making it on the list for 33 consecutive years.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Hi-viz bike reflectors and a tiny flashlight

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

From tables to porches, Ring's Stick Up Cam watches wherever you want

Ring’s latest home security camera offers more versatility than ever before, with the ability to mount it, set it on a table, or put it inside or outside. We got a chance to test it out. Here’s how it went.

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.

From f/1.2 primes to the mysterious DS, here are Canon’s upcoming RF lenses

Canon's EOS R mirrorless series will gain six new lenses this year. Canon just shared a list of six lenses under development, including four zooms and two prime lenses. One has a mysterious new feature called Defocus Smoothing.

Will Apple sell its Touch ID and Face ID technology to automakers?

Recent patent filings suggest Apple wants its Touch ID and Face ID technologies to spread across the automotive industry. The company outlined how motorists could use their finger or their face to unlock their car.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.

Using A.I., Lightroom can now boost the resolution of RAW photos

Need to eek a bit more resolution out of a RAW file? Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw can help with a new feature called Detail Enhance. The tool uses A.I. in the demosaicing process to enhance details and reduce artifacts.

Tight on space? Here’s how to transfer photos from an iPhone to a computer

Never lose any of your cherished selfies or family vacation photos from your iPhone again by learning how to transfer photos from your iPhone to a computer, whether you want to use a cable or wireless transfer.

Corel VideoStudio adds tools for customizing color in simple video edits

VideoStudio is Corel's more consumer-oriented video editor but the software recently gained advanced color correction tools. The update adds custom transitions, along with speeding up performance, and adding new shortcuts.

500px reveals almost 15 million users are caught up in security breach

Almost 15 million members of portfolio website 500px have been caught up in a security breach. The hack occurred in 2018 but was only discovered last week. Users are being told to change their 500px password as soon as possible.

Olympus packs an enormous zoom ability in its latest interchangeable lens

The Olympus Digital ED M.Zuiko 12-200mm F/3.5-6.3 has the widest zoom range of any interchangeable lens with a 16.6x zoom. The lens, which covers a 24-400mm equivalent, is also weather sealed.

Nikon brings a classic workhorse lens to the Z series with new 24-70mm f/2.8 S

The Nikon Z series finally has a bright zoom available without an adapter. The Nikkor Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S offers new coatings and more customizable controls in a smaller, lighter body than the comparable F-mount lens.

Nikon will bring eye-detection autofocus to the Z6 and Z7 in May

An upcoming firmware update will bring Eye AF to the Nikon Z6 and Z7 -- along with improved autofocus performance in low light. The update will also give the cameras support for the CFexpress format.
Product Review

Canon democratizes full-frame with the EOS RP, but keep your expectations low

At just $1,300, the RP is Canon's least expensive full-frame camera yet, but it was born into a world of high-end, high-cost lenses where it doesn't yet feel at home.