Top Stories from over the holiday period.
Canon Discontinues 5D MKII
For me this was a sneaky announcement on Christmas Eve but not unpredictable. Cannon have discontinued the 5D MkII one of the most popular cameras in Canon’s range.
Originally released in November 2008 the camera made video more accessible to photographers and became one of Canons flagship cameras.
The camera has been used to film popular movies and TV shows. The 5D MKII had a huge impact leading to a rise in multimedia productions and for photography competitions to add multimedia awards.
When this camera came out I pined for it. It was for me a step forward for photography and showed a distinct difference in the level of cameras.
The discontinuation of the camera is not surprising since Canon did launch an upgrade to the camera this year when releasing the Canon 5D MkIII. Although this was a minor upgrade having more advanced video and audio controls. I can imagine the second hand market for the 5D MkII will become massive as those who can’t afford the new model will try and get their hands on the MKII.
Instagram back tracking (or clarifying)
Several weeks ago on the back of the “Instagram panic buble bursting” the blogosphere (including me) and twitter and eventually news agencies cried foul of the possibility of their users copyright being hijacked and even more an apparent infringement of privacy. The second part I found hard to understand as when you post an image on Instagram all can see it unless you set your account to private, which most people don’t do.
In the fall out there were lots of people protesting with threats of users leaving the service like @natgeo, possibly to the glee of other apps like Hipstamatic or even twitter who launched their own filters that can be used when people share pictures through their social network.
I took the position that I would wait and see what happens when the dust starts to settle. And as it is in the internet age the bubble grew and burst quickly. On the evening of the bubble bursting, Kevin Systrom ( Instagram CEO) posted a blog entry on the Instagram blog. Kevin tries to clarify what the changes actually mean and also to admit that the language was confusing.
“You hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the content that you post on or through the service.”
“a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos, and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”
Kevin Systrom says, that this is not for the purpose of selling peoples images but to enable Instagram to experiment with advertising on the site and app. The fact is that this is a free app and they are a business and that is what Kevin says Instagram was started as. He says he sees a future where brands and users can promote themselves to make a more meaningful following. If a business wants to promote themselves it could be that your profile picture is used to show that you are follow this brand to your friends. This is not dissimilar to Facebook, where they show you that your friends like a brand or are subscribed to a brand. Kevin also clarified that user’s images would not be sold to advertising companies and this part of the clause will be amended with clearer language.
Instagram has also now stated that the users own their images and these are their images not Instgrams. Kevin stated;
“I always want you to feel comfortable sharing your photos on Instagram and we will always work hard to foster and respect our community and go out of our way to support its rights.”
In the final part of the blog post he mentions that the reason that these changes would happen in 30 days is to get feedback from users and for users to raise concerns.
It is good that Kevin Systorm has come out and clarified Instgrams position but is it a little too late. Are people now losing some trust? I feel that yes.
When this all came to the front on 18th of December people started claiming that these were Facebook changes to Instagram. The bad feeling felt by many towards Facebook tainted Instagram.
“It is hard to evaluate the damage this may cause to the company at this early stage, but any social network risks losing the trust of its users. And social networks depend on users being willing to share information, on users seeing them in good terms.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a US pressure group
I know a few people have said to me that they will leave Instgram if it becomes clear 100% they will sell their images, so maybe this quick PR message may have saved many accounts from being deleted.
In the digital age though this will hang around Instagrams neck like an albatross. Every time they make a change to anything in the future this will be pulled out as an endnote to an article. People will not forget this.
For me there are two separate issues that have been raised, one about how people are not naive enough to throw away their ownership of their pictures and secondly that companies need to be more aware of how quickly news can now travel. If Instagram had posted a blog post first before making the changes, explaining the changes this panic would have been controlled or even quelled altogether. People also are not as fliverous with their ownership of images as public perception thinks. Yes we share our images on the internet, but we want to know when and how they are going to be used as well as what we get out of this. In sharing a picture we know that we get the ability for others to see and maybe showcase a talent
Iphone app to add watermarks
John D McHugh a photojournalist best known for his photographic work in Afghanistan has created a new Iphone app (which I hope will come to Android). The app enables a photographer to shoot with their Iphone and add a water mark to the image.
Water marking is not new and has been used since the time of film as a way to stop people stealing images. John D McHugh created the app “Marksta” because he was fed up of people stealing his images from the web.
“I often work in incredibly dangerous situations to show the world the stark realities of war and revolution. I can’t describe how frustrating it is to find my images online without any credit or byline.”
Instead of fighting the piracy of his images John D McHugh decided to change his way of thinking. He knew that the minute that images are available on the net they can/will be copied and shared. He says that if he wants people to know that the images are his then he would need to put his name on them.
Of course there is always Photoshop where you can quite quickly add a watermark to an image, but John D McHugh says that to do this he would need his laptop and a way to download the images to the laptop. He wanted a way to do this with his phone, take a picture and report what is happening quickly in real time.
John D McHugh says that this is not about protecting the monetary value of the image but about protecting his moral rights.
For me watermarking is a good way to protect your image though I personally don’t watermark my images at the moment, because I find them distracting when I am looking at the image. I use other methods which may not be as secure but they work for me. Sharing images online means a little bit of trust is needed with the world and the people in the world.
For a working photojournalist that uses his or her Iphone then this may be a solution but then would a media outlet want a watermark on the image? I don’t know.
The app is available on the apple app store for £1.49 or your regional equivalent.
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