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Top Stories 7 things to know before the bell. SoftBank and Toyota want driverless cars to change the world. Why it's time for investors to go on the defense. Consumer Electronics. CVS Corporation. Drugstore chain CVS to launch first-ever disposable video camera in Northeast stores this week. The first-ever disposable video camera weighs under five ounces, holds 20 minutes of video and sound and features a 1.

For this reason, it is possible you might find QV cameras and lenses, or perhaps even an intact kit as there were several that "disappeared" check yard sales By the time I left in the late 90's there was only one kit left, and I'm not sure what became of it. I can relate my own experiences with the QV, and can point out some conspicuous pictures taken with it such as the widely published inauguration photo of George H.

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Bush in Long story short, though it was a uniquely elegant and very forward-thinking, even prescient design, we had a hard time getting acceptance, mostly due to usability issues. The QV was the culmination of everything we knew about building a handheld image processing device that was weather-proof, rugged enough to be abused, and could run for a sufficiently long period on a charge.

So the QV was the culmination of analog imaging, with the addition of storage, the product of Sony's work with CCDs and 2" floppy recording media, and CCD video was a new industry in which they were trendsetting at the time, having won the battle with Ikegami and the videcon that very year. The QV was an effective substitute for BW reportage photography on film, especially when the alternative, processing film in the back seat of a jeep in the Iraqi desert for example, was just not an appealing solution. But this was a real and familiar camera to photojournalists , compared to the other "still video" devices available from Sony and Canon, which were decidedly not designed by camera designers and had far too many flaws to make them more useful than a doorstop, which is what they became.

But, as visionary as it was, it suffered from a tiring viewfinder with a too-small and too-dark viewing screen, and the lenses were very slow, making focusing difficult, and this was long before LCDs and LEDs were integrated into brighter viewing systems with larger sensors, and before they had begun to realize how difficult it was for photographers to adapt to a challenging viewing system. Nikon had decided they needed a few more years to develop the right kind of focusing solution, and they saw a digital alternative to the then-viable analog "still video" system.

So they decided to produce a limited run and test the water Still video technology was dead long before the camera came to market, but that was no reason not to test with willing photographers. And I spent several years shooting at prestigious events such as the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards, etc. However, the QV is very rare, and a true collector's item, and I'm sorry to say I do not have one. I started working with Nikon in My job was to market the new products that Nikon was just starting to roll out as a prelude to a new generation of digital cameras and business imaging products.

I built up the business in the UK and in was given the responsibility for marketing the products across all of Europe, Middle east and Africa. It was first used in the UK to cover the Lockerbie disaster in , although the images taken were never used in print. It can however rightly claim to be the first electronic still camera ever to record an image which was printed in a UK newspaper the Evening Standard.

The picture of Margaret Thatcher opening the Harmsworth Printing plant in Docklands in was taken in Docklands, transmitted via a mobile phone expensively!! As it was based on the analogue NTSC video format, the image resolution was only acceptable for reproduction in newsprint at small sizes. Canon and Kodak both launched similar products around that time which also suffered from similar issues. One prototype QV camera that was used by us in Europe for demonstration, was stolen at an exhibition in Milan, Italy and was never recovered.

We always laughed about the thief going to a camera store and asking for film for it!!

I remember being invited to give a presentation about the future of photography to a group of Norwegian and some Swedish photographers sometime in I brought along a QVC Still Video camera which I think was the first time such a camera had ever been shown in the Nordic countries. I recall I was very busy at the time with no time to prepare a big presentation. In order to get me to fly over, Rolf [Rolf Petterson of Interfoto, the Norwegian Nikon distributor at the time] told me that it was a very informal gathering to just to a select few.

Unfortunately, he forgot to mention that he'd invited about people and it was taking place in a large theatre. I had no slides prepared so just talked and invited the audience to come close and play with the camera. I think it worked just because it was such an important product which everyone wanted to see, so nobody cared too much about what I was saying.

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It was labelled as an "early digital camera". I had to remind one of the guys that it wasn't a digital camera! Electronic yes, but digital no. Another story about the QVC you might be interested in was the time we took the camera to a photographic exhibition in Prague in , I think. I know the Berlin Wall was still very much in place, and Czechoslovakia, as it was then, was a very unwelcoming, austere and authoritarian place. All went well, I had the correct papers and had few problems until I reached a small Czechoslovakian border post at about in the early morning.

In my best German, our only common language, which actually wasn't a good choice for historic reasons!! They saw it was described on the paperwork as a camera and demanded to see the film it used!! Electronic still photography was a very hard concept for them to grasp so in the end to avoid arrest, I had to unpack the system and demonstrate it to them.

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It was and still remains the most bizarre product demonstration I have ever given. At in the morning at a lonely Warsaw Pact border crossing, I was taking pictures of a group of 5 heavy-duty Czech border guards all proudly holding their AKs, lined up outside their post and showing them the pictures on the tiny player screen. In the end, I had to give them a mini-floppy disk each as a 'sweetener' so they would allow me through. I still sometimes think about those border guards with their floppy disks and nothing to see their pictures on.

Alan Bartlett is now running a marketing consultancy agency based in Oxford, England. You'll find his website at www. In , I came in contact with former AP photographer Bob Daugherty, a veteran photojournalist who has covered major news stories for several decades among them, president Richard Nixon's historical visit to China in February Photo used with permission. The only piece missing was the QVT transmitter unit, which was most likely lost over the years luckily, I already had a transmitter.

Bush's inauguration on January 20, The camera's serial number is Edmond's photo was transmitted to more than newspapers seconds after it was captured - the Associated Press' first "live transmission" of an electronic news photo. This is like the start of a whole new era in photojournalism.

Now we feel confident it will be used for selected events," he said. It dramatically demonstrated the advantage - speed - of electronic photography over silver-based photography, the year old process requiring chemical processing. AP has tested other electronic cameras, usually in color, but the Nikon Inc. They don't have the quality of pictures from silver film, but they're good. When you're on a deadline, they're great," said Hal Buell, assistant general manager for newsphotos in AP. George Bush is sworn in as the 41st US president.

Photo captured with a Nikon QVC still video camera and transmitted to AP's network only seconds after it was taken. Shortly after the Presidential inauguration, Bob Daugherty used the camera for the president's State of the Union speech before Congress. Sunlight gave it problems.

Archive for June, 2005

An overcast day or flat lighting worked well. The camera was used only on about 3 or 4 occasions when deadline mattered. Remember, we were still wed to film in those days. The QV allowed us to get off a bulletin image needing only a phone - no transporting film to a lab and processing film. Once the 1 or 2 bulletin pix were transmitted, film images would follow. There are three persons that I credit for bringing 'digital' to the newsrooms. They were all three visionaries and bright minds who were able to think outside the box. The AP was the prime mover in bringing newspapers and other mediums into the digital age.

Looking at the big picture, the QVC obviously played a very small part in AP's transition to digital. Some key factors according to former AP photo editor Hal Buell:.

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Each of these steps was labor intensive and required considerable talking, educating and refining of the many separate technologies involved. All this preceded the camera and its role to picture journalism. And finally: "There was a large team that made all this come together, including AP President Lou Boccardi who said yes to the multi-million dollar budget that was required," says Buell. No post-processing, except for overlay text and save as jpeg. The QVC is a fun camera to play with, but there's no longer any reason to shoot one for real.

In addition to the lousy image quality, you're constantly worried about breaking something.

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It's a robust professional camera, but you'll no longer find any spare parts, let alone a trained repairman. The still frames of analog composite video are stored on an obsolete two inch magnetic video floppy disk. To read these disks, you'll need a vintage video floppy player. Unlike a modern memory card, you can't simply copy the image files to your computer in fact, there are no files. This is an analog device, remember?

Since there's no practical way to receive the images sent from the transmitter like you would normally do some twenty years ago , you'll instead need to grab the video signal using a video capture card on your pc.


This is achieved by connecting a regular composite video cable to the transmitter's video out port. The author's two QVC cameras. Perhaps the only pair found anywhere in the World. The QVC is as responsive as any modern camera. There's no noticeable shutter lag and the camera is way faster than most current models. All controls are where you expect to find them. Any old Nikon shooter will feel right at home.

Here pictured with a manual focus 85mm lens. Being announced at the same time as the Nikon F4 which I used professionally for many years , there are many similarities between the two bodies shutter release button, shutter speed dial, exposure compensation dial, exposure mode selector, flash mount, etc. But there's one major F4 feature missing in the QVC: autofocus. This is probably the main problem from a user perspective. The camera has a plain matte forcusing screen, making critical focusing difficult. Such a focusing screen would have made focusing much easier, but could not be used in the QVC due to blackout problems making the split screen unusable.

Needless to say, the camera had its issues. John Harcourt explains: "Every design has flaws, and the flaw in this case was optics designed for the small format with too-small apertures.

The designers did not have off-the-shelf solutions for that projection circle and long back focus. They chose not to match the back focus and mirror box of the F-mount, and they did not want to use relay lenses which they did in the E1-E3 which proved to be a very challenging choice. What eventually became an advantage in DX lens design look at the DX for example was problematic because they did not have the design programs in place to quickly produce the short focal length and focus range zooms at higher speed without prohibitive increase in size, cost and weight.

This was the traditional mirror-box, long back focus, reverse telephoto design, so a slower lens with a darker image was the Achilles heel, if you will. Remember also that there was nothing to compare it with at the time, and it was assumed that photographers would somehow live with certain constraints to gain the advantage in productivity. In retrospect they chose the wrong constraint, believing that high sensor sensitivity gave them the leeway to work with smaller apertures and thus more realizable lens designs, and they somehow did not emphasize usability.

From a pure mechanical perspective, the QVC is a great camera. It's very well built, like most Nikon cameras from this period.

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Everything feels solid. During this time, looking for a new direction, Davis stopped painting and photographing. He held a number of different jobs in the technology industry, and wrote the first of what were to become many books. In Davis picked up a camera again and was delighted to find that he could combine his love of painting with his love of photography by starting with digital captures and using digital painting techniques to enhance his imagery.

He delights in experimentation while using original, cutting edge technologies. My years of contemplation opened my eyes and my heart, and taught me to see more deeply.

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I use this alchemy of wonder to combine the traditions of painting and photography with new technology. From beginning to end, the techniques that Harold Davis uses are unique. Trained as a classical photographer and painter, his photographic images are made using special HDR High Dynamic Range capture techniques that extend the range of visual information beyond what the eye can normally see. Davis creates and processes his images using wide-gamut and alternative digital methods that he has invented.