Receive our FREE photo newsletter:
   

2017 will be the year of user-generated 3D and VR content thanks to new capture devices

CES 2017 was chock full of new 180-degree, 360-degree, and 3D/VR capture devices, priced from $150 to many thousands of dollars. No matter what your budget there was one being shown that would work. Of course, you need to pay more to get more, but there are even pro-quality devices around the $1,000 mark – a fraction of what they have been previously. I’ve rounded up some of my favorites, and also provided some definitions of the terms used by exhibitors to describe their devices in .

Looking for a Photoshop alternative: $40 for Affinity Photo is your best option

For photographers looking for an alternative to Photoshop, that want all the power it provides and aren’t satisfied with the more limited processing capabilities of or , there haven’t been too many alternatives. The best options to date have been , Gimp, or perhaps Cyberlink’s PhotoDirector. Now though, Affinity has dramatically-improved the capabilities of its Photo product, and has also made it available on both Mac and Windows. For the value price of $40, you can have a product that does almost all of what Photoshop does, and many things it doesn’t. I’ve taken it for a spin, and enjoyed using it. You can read my .

Samsung Gear 360: Excellent image quality in an awkward package

Samsung Gear 360 Spherical VR CameraThis year has seen the first consumer-friendly 360-degree cameras capable of 4K video capture. 4K or better resolution is much more important for 360-degree cameras than for traditional models, because those 4,000 x 2,000 pixels have to cover a full 360-degrees of the scene. The best known of these cameras is Samsung's Gear 360, so we took one out for a spin to see if it is indeed a worthy upgrade to the Ricoh Theta S that we reviewed earlier in the year. In short, it is a solid step up in output quality, but at the cost of a somewhat-awkward form factor. Keep in mind that to use the full features of the you need to pair it with a Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S7, S7 Edge, or Note 5. It’s bundled software is also Windows-only.

Lightroom adds a Reference View -- not that having multiple windows is a new thing

There is no doubt that Lightroom’s new Reference View is a useful addition to the product. It is a fancy name for allowing you to have a static image displayed on part of the screen while you work on another. This is helpful for looking through a variety of shots, comparing them, checking for stable white balance, etc. However, it does make me laugh a little bit, since if Lightroom supported any type of windowing or multi-document interface – like Photoshop and nearly every other full-blown desktop application, we could already do that, and much more.

Datacolor offers slick new Plus package for the Spyder5

SpyderLENSCALI hope most of you are already using a hardware-calibrated, color-managed, workflow for your photography. As you know, my favorite solution is the from Datacolor. Now Datacolor is offering a slick upgrade for users that includes some really impressive features. It’s new “+” Pack adds 1-click calibration, automatic room-light-level brightness switching, and improved profile management. The Elite version of “+” also adds support for soft proofing, and an improved version of StudioMatch.

Our Holiday Travel and Tech Gift Guide

We're entering holiday gift season, and if you're like me, there are always a couple people that are hard to shop for. So we wanted to pass along my top travel and photo accessories, in case one of them would help fill the bill. Some are awesome for just about anyone who travels, and others are especially useful for photographers.

Adobe shows off its new 2017 version of Creative Cloud at Max, plus teases lots of new products and features

I was lucky enough to be able to attend Adobe Max last week. It is one of the largest gatherings of creative professionals in the world, with over 10,000 attendees this year. In literally hundreds of sessions participants learned about the latest and greatest Adobe products, got teasers of Adobe’s future directions, and had the opportunity to get hands-on training with experts. Interspersed were some inspirational keynotes from leading creatives including Quentin Tarantino, Simpsons Director David Silverman, and veteran war photographer Linsey Addario. There was a lot to cover, so I’ve split my coverage of the event into two. First is my . Then, here are what I thought were .

Podcast with David Cardinal on building a photo business--by Skip Cohen University

PictureI had a lot of fun earlier this week recording a podcast for Skip Cohen University on my career in photography, and some thoughts for those who are looking to make a living in the photo business.

MindShift Moose Pack MP-3 v2 field-tested: A winner for wildlife and action shooters

Moose Peterson MP-3 V2.0It’s no secret that I loved my original MP-3, and made it my “go to” camera bag when I had to bring my wildlife photo gear somewhere and needed to make efficient use of space – particularly for trips involving small planes or a bit of hiking. So it was great news for me when Moose Peterson teamed up with Think Tank’s MindShift brand to produce a new, improved, version. I’ve been using it for a while now, and am very impressed. It retains the flexible design of the original, but offers improved shoulder straps, an even more-rugged build quality, and a few other nice touches.

Upgraded Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 and new Nikon PC 19mm lenses announced

Photo of  AF-S NIKKOR<br/> 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VRThe Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (in all its incarnations) may be one of the most popular pro lenses ever. Now, Nikon has improved on an already great lens with the new . It features a closer MFD (Minimum Focusing Distance), new coatings for yet lower distortion, improved VR, all at about the same size and weight (actually a touch lighter according to the specs). The only downside is the by now familiar price increase. The current is selling for about $2100, while the .

Lumix ZS100: A Goldilocks camera for image lovers who need more zoom from their point and shoot

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 Digital Camera (Black)A common theme in compact cameras is the tradeoff between zoom range and image quality. The very top rated () has the best image quality, but a small zoom range of 24-70mm. The () stretches that to 24-100mm, but that’s not much of a gain. On the other extreme, the () provides both an amazing zoom and great image quality, but is much larger and more expensive. Enter the . It is larger than the RX100 or Canon G series, but not by a huge amount. In exchange it offers a larger, 25-250mm, zoom range but doesn’t trade off much in image quality.

Sony RX100 V: Solid upgrades keep it ahead of the pack

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V Digital CameraSony has set the standard for high-end point-and-shoot cameras since it first introduced the Sony RX100 Mark I. Each year has brought additional features in the form of a new model, and this year is no exception. The adds the increasingly-popular Phase Detect AF, and a startlingly fast 24fps burst mode. 

Adobe Elements 15 is the cheapest and easiest way to get started with Photoshop or Premiere

Without question, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Pro are two of the most feature-packed applications for editing images and videos. However, they are also two of the most complex. Initially little more than toys, the “Elements” versions of each of them have improved steadily. Now in their 15th version, they provide more than enough capability for most photographers and videographers who don’t already know how to use, and are willing to pay for, their Pro siblings. You can read , but in short, since about version 13, Elements has packed plenty of punch for most editing tasks, and 15 ups the ante with some cool new quick edits and some potentially-interesting AI-assisted object recognition. With this latest update Adobe's Photoshop and Premiere Elements have become the best way to get all the editing tools you're likely to need, in a package you can learn to use right out of the box. As always, the products are competitively priced, with , and . Purchasing both in a bundle saves you some money as .

Adobe makes selling stock simpler with contributor site and Lightroom plugin

As the economics of selling stock continue to deteriorate, the time required to process, keyword, and submit images can easily cost you more than you’ll earn in royalties. Adobe has made itself a major player in selling stock images and videos since its acquisition of Fotolia, but now it has finally provided some love for photographers who are looking to license their images. It’s new contributor website allows you to easily upload suitable images, will suggest keywords for you, and let you submit them with a few clicks. Better yet, for Lightroom users, there is now an integrated Adobe Stock Publishing Service. The process isn’t perfect, but we’ll take you through how it works in case you want to give it a try:

Speed up Lightroom by using Smart Previews

Unless you have a monster computer, editing high-resolution images (or photos with lots of edits) can be slow and tiresome, whatever tool you are using. Fortunately, Adobe has just provided a simple fix for Lightroom users – editing the Smart Preview of an image instead of the full-resolution version. This was already what happened in Lightroom Mobile, or when you didn’t have the original image, but now you can easily enable the feature for all of your editing.

Pages