Japan Photo Industry Affected by Earthquake and Tsunami

Thanks to Mason Resnick at Adorama Camera for compiling the following information:

Epson announced that the Color Imaging Exhibition trade show, which was planned for March 19-21 in Tokyo, has been cancelled due to the crisis. Epson reports that while no casualties were reported at its facilities, one of its factories was hit by a one-meter tsunami, while three other facilities have been temporarily shut due to rolling blackouts as a result of the quake. Two buildings that are within 16km from the Fukushima nuclear plant have sustained some damage and are being shut for now.

Sony was hardest hit. Japan’s biggest exporter of consumer electronics, and a growing player in the still photography world, was forced to stop operations at ten factories and two research centers due to quake-related damage and power outages caused by emergencies at nuclear power plants. 1,000 Sony employees reportedly took shelter on the second floor of a nearby chemical products factory.

Nikon has confirmed light injuries to some of its employees but no serious or fatal injuries. Nikon’s Sendai factory, which manufactures the D3S, D3X, D700 and F6, has been forced to close due to damage to equipment and buildings. Work at at least three other facilities has been temporarily suspended so the company can assess damage.

Canon has suspended operations at eight factories located in Northern Japan, and reports at least 15 employees were injured. The company said it may move some production to other factories that weren’t damaged.

Olympus‘s photographic division was not affected by the quake, but some emplyees at other locations sustained minor injuries, possibly in the company’s endoscopy-related business. Japanese-language press releases indicate that a repair facility is expected to resume operations in 2-4 weeks.

A Sigma employee tweeted that there has been some damage to machinery and the building at Sigma’s Aizu factory, but no injuries. Due to the rolling blackouts, Sigma has decided to suspend operations in two of its facilities.

Ricoh reports no injuries. Five of its facilities have stopped operations and four have no set plan to reopen.

Fujifilm reports that its Taiwa-Cho factory, which is located 20 miles from Sendai, was damaged by the quake, but fortunately none of the workers were reported injured. Production of the FinePix X100, which was being done at that factory, has been temporarily stopped and delays can be expected for this highly-anticipated camera. The company says the rest of its operation is not affected.

Hoya Corporation, which owns Pentax, reports that several employees were slightly injured but none seriously. Some production facilities were damaged, although the company is still trying to assess. It isn’t known how the camera and lens facilities have been effeccted but due to traffic problems and blackouts, production has been disrupted.

Casio reports no major injuries, and the company is currently trying to ascertain the condition of its facilities. In the meantime, business activities are expected to be disrupted due to rolling blackouts.

In a statement, Tamron reports no structural damage or injuries, but the rolling blackouts and severely curtailed train service have caused the company to close its facilities for at least the next few days.

Panasonic reports minor injuries in one of its northern Japan factories, in Fukushima, where production of Lumix digital cameras has been suspended. The company is evaluating damage and says the long-term effect is still being determined.

Sandisk, whose facilities are 500 miles from the epicenter, appears to have escaped unharmed. The factories were shut immediately after the quake, but resumed opearations by Friday morning.

A Simple Collage

I received a note from subscriber Pam who asks the following question:

I have an Etsy shop and have been trying to figure out how to put together my photos in a way that shows multiple images in one photo.  Is this something you could shed some light on?

It turns out Pam was in luck, since she uses Google’s free photo organizing, editing and sharing software — Picasa.  It so happens that Picasa has a nice “Collage” feature, perfect for what she was trying to do.  After a quick look at the instructions, Pam was able to create her first collage, shown here:

Picasa isn’t the only software that has this feature.  Just take a look at the help section of whatever software you happen to use and you might be surprised how easy this technique can be.

Until next time … Happy Shooting!

Jumping on the dSLR Bandwagon

Christmas is coming, and you’re thinking about that new camera you’ve been wanting, right?  And maybe, just maybe, it’s time to get a dSLR so you don’t have to deal with those crappy compacts anymore, right?  Yep, no more excuses — it’s time for great photos.  Whoa, not so fast!

I’m not going to repeat what’s already been written hundreds of times about the pros and cons of point-and-shoots versus SLRs (do a quick search and you’ll find a pretty nice selection of helpful articles).  What I am going to do, however, is make one irrefutable statement for all you jewelry (and other small item) sellers out there:

Don’t spend your hard-earned money on a dSLR unless you have even more hard-earned money to invest in a good macro lens.

Yes, it’s that simple.  Compacts have some pretty nice macro features built-in.  SLRs do not (sorry, that little flower on your EOS Rebel is worthless).  Here’s one new term you need to learn:

Reproduction Ratio – The ratio of the size of an image projected on the camera sensor (or film) to the size of the subject itself.

So if you want to shoot something at “life size,” then you need a lens that gives you a reproduction ratio of 1.0 (sometimes denoted 1:1).  60 mm and 105 mm macro lenses from Canon and Nikon have reproduction ratios of 1:1.  If you buy a dSLR kit, it’ll probably come with a nice, all-purpose 18-55 mm lens.  Great lenses, they are, but with reproduction ratios in the 0.3 to 0.35 range (about 1/3 life-size).  What that means is that the full-size image of your 15 mm beads is only going to be about 5 mm.

Make sense?  Good.  Now you know what to ask your camera salesperson when you go shopping for that well-deserved gift for yourself.

Until next time … Happy Shooting!

Q and A Time

Up until now, I’ve been deciding what to write about based on both my own interests and what I think would be most useful to all of you.  But maybe I’m neglecting issues that need to be addressed.  So here’s your chance to speak up!

Ask your questions, any questions.  No guarantees, but I’ll do my best to answer them in a future post.  And not only will you get your question answered, but I’ll also feature your shop, blog or website!  Here’s all you have to do:

  • Send me your question either by email at “greenpixmail@gmail.com” or by using the “Contact Me” form on this page.
  • Even if your question is general, be as specific as you can so I don’t miss your point.  In other words … “Why do all the people in my photos look pale?” is a better question than “What’s wrong with the colors in my photos?”.
  • If you’re asking a question specific to your photographs, please include samples or provide me with a link to those images.  And tell me as much as you can about how you took the shots.
  • If you’re asking a question specific to your camera, don’t forget to let me know what kind of camera it is (and if it’s an SLR, tell me what lens you used, too).
  • If you’re going to ask me about beer, or politics, my thoughts about Tiger Woods or anything else of a personal nature, be forewarned that you might be offended by my answers.

I’m looking forward to this already.  Until next time … Happy Shooting!