Darktable has just released its 3.4.0 version. As always, it’s completely free and available for Windows, iOS, and Linux. The open-source alternative to Lightroom has been more and more popular among photographers, and the new version brings a bunch of improvements. Some of them are improved tethering and live histogram, as well as color calibration. So let’s dive in and see what you get when you install Darktable 3.4.0.
A must have tool when shooting the night sky is a remote release trigger for your camera. Triggers range from very simple cable releases over phone apps that connect to your camera’s Wifi to very specialized Intervalometers. I tried the phone apps for my cameras and they miss a very basic feature: bulb mode timing. Meaning, when you set the camera to bulb mode and start the exposure, most apps do not display how long the shutter is open already. It also eats battery life from the camera as Wifi or bluetooth needs to be on on the camera. In the mid range there are Intervalometers that can be programmed through a small display and some buttons and usually work quite well.
3D printed cameras are a lot of fun, and something I was planning to make a bunch of this year before we were told we weren’t allowed to go out and play. But despite most of us not being able to get out to shoot our cameras right now, it hasn’t stopped people developing new ones.
Now that digital imaging sensors are starting to become more freely available to the masses, all kinds of open source projects have been popping up that use them. Most of them are typically fairly limited to things like the Raspberry Pi or development boards like the Arduino and ESP32.
But now, there is a new and pretty serious looking open source camera out there. It’s called the Octopus, it has interchangeable sensors that go up to 5K full frame, it’s fully programmable and runs on the open source operating system, Linux.
When it was announced that Triggertrap would be winding down its business, many users expressed concern. What would happen to the apps? Will they be updated? Or will the hardware they’ve bought and paid for suddenly become useless? The common suggestion was to make it open source.
A couple of weeks ago we reported that the Triggertrap Mobile dongle had indeed been made open source hardware. Now, they’ve followed along with the software. The Triggertrap apps for both iOS and Android have now been released. They’re completely open source and available on Github (iOS / Android).
Over the course of its life, Triggertrap has had a pretty eventful journey. Triggertrap started life as an Open Source universal camera trigger backed through Kickstarter in 2011. It tripled its goal, and was very successful. Fast forward to 2013, and along came the Triggertrap Ada, also backed through Kickstarter. It smashed its goal, of £50K, raising almost £300K (around $500K at the time).
But then various problems ensued which eventually led to the demise of the company at the beginning of this year. Triggertrap has been winding down ever since. Despite this, they’re still receiving plenty of requests from people who want to buy a Triggertrap Mobile Dongle. With no stock left, and no ability to sell even if they had, they’ve now made the Mobile dongle hardware Open Source.
Facebook has announced that it is releasing three of its main image identification algorithms to the public. It’s not the first time Facebook has opened its research to the public, and it likely won’t be the last. In this particular instance, Facebook say that they hope the work will “rapidly advance the field of machine vision”.
Such technology has already come a long way in just the last few years. It’s a bit like what you see on Google when you search by uploading a image. It makes an attempt to identify the person, place, or object in the image, and offer similar or related results. It’s also similar to the technology coming in the iOS 10 update to automatically categorise your photos.
Whether hardware or software, Open Source is a wonderful thing. Open Source doesn’t always mean free, though, especially when it comes to hardware.
While not necessarily cheap, the DIY solution presented in this video from Bent-Tronics does fall in line with other such overhead camera projects. The simple fact of the matter is that it’s not easy to do something like this ultra cheap unless you happen to have the perfect components just laying around doing nothing already.
With Adobe’s long standing global domination and the current buzz around Affinity’s recent announcement of impending Windows versions of their software, it’s easy to forget that there is another application out there that can satisfy the needs of a good number of photographers, especially those who run Linux.
That application is GIMP. One of the struggles with GIMP, however, is the shortcut keys, especially if you’re already used to working with Photoshop or another application that has a similar default shortcut key setup.