Jon Stern

Jon Stern

Lives in United States Mountain View, CA, United States
Works as a Electronics Engineer
Joined on Apr 21, 2003

Comments

Total: 81, showing: 21 – 40
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Apple updates the firmware on my obsolete iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S all the time.

Unfortunately they make them worse each time, but it's the thought that counts. Isn't it?

Direct link | Posted on Oct 19, 2013 at 00:42 UTC as 53rd comment
In reply to:

Najinsky: Well, I'm (genuinely) happy for you guys who can make use of this but unfortunately my X100 is an ornament.

It's an ornament because it developed Sticky Aperture Blades and I can't get it fixed.

I can't get it fixed because Fuji won't publicly acknowledge the problem and insists it goes via warranty repair.

It can't go via warranty repair because the required warranty card and receipt were in a document wallet that got stolen in Thailand (all it had was receipts so the thief got nothing but deprived me of a fix).

They were being carried in the wallet in the vain hope of finding a repair centre while travelling, who spoke enough English to understand the problem in the absence of any public acknowledgement I could show them.

I know some of you get annoyed with me for beating down on Fuji for this, but you know what a great camera it is and I bet you'd feel the same if YOU lost the ability to use yours because of an unacknowledged manufacturing defect and bureaucracy.

Mr grumpy

I have never needed the receipt for repair of my X100. They just did it and sent it back to me. All three times!

Direct link | Posted on Oct 19, 2013 at 00:40 UTC
In reply to:

Jon Stern: This is built by SEMCO. Samsung's camera module integrator (CMI) division. They are a major CMI selling modules on the open market.

Them offering this does not necessarily mean that it will be used in any Samsung mobile products.

Oh, it might. I just wanted to point out that there's not a direct connection.

They might go for something quite different from a 13MP 1/3.2-inch for the S5.

Direct link | Posted on Oct 8, 2013 at 02:09 UTC

This is built by SEMCO. Samsung's camera module integrator (CMI) division. They are a major CMI selling modules on the open market.

Them offering this does not necessarily mean that it will be used in any Samsung mobile products.

Direct link | Posted on Oct 7, 2013 at 17:31 UTC as 15th comment | 2 replies
On article Sony A3000 First Impressions Review (681 comments in total)

The photo accompanying this article has really bad chroma noise. I presume it was taken with a cellphone in low light!

Direct link | Posted on Aug 27, 2013 at 15:47 UTC as 136th comment
In reply to:

Frank Dernie: I have a Leica DMR which works brilliantly on my R8 but results in a heavy camera.

I always thought the digital film idea was wishful thinking. Until all the electronics and battery of a digital SLR can be packaged to fit inside the cylindrical space enclosed by a 135 cassette it will be impossible. Why didn't anybody seem to think of that before throwing away so much money?
Blindingly obvious, from an engineering perspective, I would have thought.

Joesph, I actually agree with you that it was impossible in 1999! At that point, we couldn't get everything to fit in the film can in a way that was manufacturable at low cost, in high volume. The FPGA was too big and the Flash memories took up too much space to get enough shots.

However, Actel (supplier of our FPGA) brought forward the development of their smaller BGA package by something like 9 months in order to reduce the footprint of the FPGA. Before that, we were looking to buy bare die and to use chip-on-board. That was technically feasible, but would have been a major pain.

More importantly, the flash memory doubled in capacity from 128Mb to 256Mb, meaning that we could go from 4 parts to just two.

Those two changes were enough to make it possible using 2001 technology.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 23, 2013 at 07:18 UTC
In reply to:

Frank Dernie: I have a Leica DMR which works brilliantly on my R8 but results in a heavy camera.

I always thought the digital film idea was wishful thinking. Until all the electronics and battery of a digital SLR can be packaged to fit inside the cylindrical space enclosed by a 135 cassette it will be impossible. Why didn't anybody seem to think of that before throwing away so much money?
Blindingly obvious, from an engineering perspective, I would have thought.

Joseph, Quest was our biggest creditor. They took over the company by BUYING the assets from the creditor. The debt to them wasn't sufficient to allow them to just take the company as you claim.

The reason they bought the company is because the owner of Quest really believed in the idea. My personal view is he made a series of bad business decisions because he was so blinded by his love of the idea. But that's a different story.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 23, 2013 at 07:09 UTC
In reply to:

Frank Dernie: I have a Leica DMR which works brilliantly on my R8 but results in a heavy camera.

I always thought the digital film idea was wishful thinking. Until all the electronics and battery of a digital SLR can be packaged to fit inside the cylindrical space enclosed by a 135 cassette it will be impossible. Why didn't anybody seem to think of that before throwing away so much money?
Blindingly obvious, from an engineering perspective, I would have thought.

Joseph, we had our own electronics designers and had layout done by a company in San Diego (I forget their name).

We went through several companies before finding one who could build our rigid-flex PCBs correctly. I can't remember who we ended up with.

Our chip packaging was being done in San Diego by an IC packaging company called MeltroniX. We were buying wafers from VVL (and then FillFactory for the next gen 4M sensor).

At our peak we had 31 employees. Most of those were engineers. Matt Whalen was our senior color scientist. He set up ACS after the collapse of SFT.

Our industrial design and plastics were designed by IDE in Scotts Valley. I just looked and you can even find (e)film on their website. Like many of our subcons, including Quest, they came to us via our engineers who had worked on the original Palm Pilot.

Maybe you'll find yourself in the Bay Area some time and we could meet up so I can show you the box full of old electronics.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 23, 2013 at 07:05 UTC
In reply to:

photoholiko: Didn't Leica have something like this for their R-System?

Whoops, I meant Sept 2001, not 2011!

I must be getting old when I start getting the decade wrong.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 22, 2013 at 22:03 UTC
In reply to:

photoholiko: Didn't Leica have something like this for their R-System?

Yes, and that came out a collaboration with Silicon Film. After Silicon Film closed its door in Sept 2011, Leica continued development with Imacon.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 22, 2013 at 15:53 UTC
In reply to:

markg26: It's a great concept, but they missed the boat by a few years. Most photographers from the film era have probably thrown away their film bodies by now, or they are so out-of-date with regard to autofocus and other features there's no point in using them.

This is a historical perspective. Silicon Film closed its doors in Sept 2001. There was a subsequent attempt to revive it, but that's the footnote.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 21, 2013 at 23:38 UTC
In reply to:

Roland Karlsson: For Jon Stern.

You have a long list of misunderstandings you want to put right in the posts below. Interesting to read maybe.

But, was not the biggest misunderstanding that this idea had any bearing at all? How come that you even tried it?

To me it was obvious the first time I heard about it that it was not a brilliant idea. Making a camera is much easier than making the digital film insert.

Making a full camera would have been easier, but when we started a DSLR cost around $40,000. What's more, those early DSLRs really weren't very good cameras. Certainly they were inferior to the film SLRs that many people already owed and loved.

It's easy in 2013 to sit here and throw stones at an idea whose time has largely passed, but try to look at it through turn of the century eyes.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 21, 2013 at 15:45 UTC
In reply to:

Jon Stern: Re: 7) several key employees on the EFS-1 project left SFI further hampering the development process

We were struggling towards the end. As mentioned above, the dot com bubble bursting had it close to impossible to get VC funding for tech companies (how ironic given that just a few years earlier we were being asked if we could see a way of putting a dot com angle on the business by some investors who would then have been interested). We had to downsize to preserve cash in Sping of 2001 (or thereabout). None of the people let go were deemed essential for the development process.

forpetessake, no. We actually struggled to get funding in the early days because we were NOT a dot com company. Everyone had jumped on the dot com bandwagon and few traditional VCs were interested in funding a hardware company. They were too busy chasing pretty internet baubles!

I specifically remember our first CEO in early '99 asking me if I could think of a dot com spin on what we were doing because he'd just got off the phone with an investor who had said, "I'd be interested in you can come up with a dot com angle", or words to that effect.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 21, 2013 at 01:45 UTC
In reply to:

Biowizard: The funny thing is, with today's technology (which of course has come a LONG way since then), this might be doable. Using low-energy WiFi or BlueTooth to connect/control the device while in-camera, for example. And of course, a full frame sensor. I'd love to get some more life out of my OM-1 and Contax S2 and film is such an expensive way to go these days ...

Brian

ET2, it's a pity that most of those criticisms are incorrect.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 20, 2013 at 22:34 UTC
In reply to:

(unknown member): The article states..."the lack of battery space, the need to open the camera to change ISO, White Balance or any other image setting, and the need to indicate a crop in the viewfinder if anything less than a full frame sensor is used, are all difficult to get around"..

Really, in 2013? One could not design the device to accept NFC inputs from a smartphone to adjust ISO,WB etc., and use the smartphone as a "review screen" via wi-fi? As for indicating crop factors, easy fix, since many of our film cameras have removable focus screens like the Nikon F1, etc.

It is a curse being smart and good looking, unfortunately, I am mostly broke financially...as MeaLoaf says..."Two outta three ain't bad....".

EFS-1 was to ship with a custom transfer made be Letraset than allowed crop marks to be added to the focusing screen. We even had a special holder that would correctly align the two.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 20, 2013 at 22:27 UTC
In reply to:

forpetessake: It was clear to even the most dimwitted individual with a science degree that this was an absolutely unworkable and stupid idea. The only reason for the existence of that project was to fleece the investors. Investing in such projects usually summarized as 3F: family, friends, and fools. Amazing how many investors are in the third category.

I have both a science degree and a Ph.D. in electronics and I can tell you that you don't know what you are talking about.

The approach was very workable thanks to the efforts of a team of very smart individuals. One of these individuals kept one of the prototypes and used it regularly for several years until he bought a DSLR to replace it.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 20, 2013 at 22:19 UTC
In reply to:

sigala1: The cheapest entry-level DSLR is going to be a lot more practical than the most expensive "professional" film DSLR with this insert.

That is true today, but it wasn't back then. When Silicon Film started, a DSLR was about US$40,000!

Direct link | Posted on Aug 20, 2013 at 22:17 UTC
In reply to:

Uitwaaien13: A good friend of mine spoke with the developper of this idea on the Photokina long long ago. When he returned he was flabbergasted about the idea and over the problems that had to be solved.
The biggest problem that had to be tackled was money. May be Lomography could pick this up with a fund raisong project?

Which year was that? In '98 there were two people on the "Imagek" booth. I was one of them.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 20, 2013 at 22:15 UTC

The "6 models" were all the same until the very final step of the assembly process, when the distance between the "film can" and the sensor was locked down. It was all achieved by simply cutting the sensor flex cable to the length required for a particular model, sticking it down and applying the top metal "flag" cover. Oh, we also had a different-colored vinyl label that was applied to the "film can" for each of the six variants. Interestingly, most of the major SLRs were covered by just three of these configurations.

This approach allowed close to complete production and inventorying of the EFS-1. When orders for different models came in we would have been quickly able to configure them (in a few minutes); perform final test; package; and then ship.

I won't say much about "Silicon Film EFS10-SF", as I had little involvement after the closure on 9/14/2001. I don't really consider that to be part of the real Silicon Film history.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 20, 2013 at 22:06 UTC as 41st comment

Re: 8) William Patton never accepted the position of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SFI. In a nutshell it was not going to work for the time. Plus Silicon Film saw that they needed to create 6 different models to cover most of the cameras available. Everything was looking bad for the EFS-1.

The William Patton ("General" Patton, as we called him) incident was a funny one. The staff was introduced to him and never saw him again. This was not long before we finally ran out of cash and closed our doors (the week of the 9/11 attacks). I don't think this affected the outcome, it's just a strange footnote in the history.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 20, 2013 at 22:06 UTC as 42nd comment
Total: 81, showing: 21 – 40
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