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The DxO ONE goes to Alaska

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I had so much fun with my DxO ONE in Africa, that I brought it half-way around the world with me to Alaska to use as my “grabshot” camera on my Brown Bear photo safaris. We had a cooperative mother bear with two cubs in a beautiful setting, that my big telephoto was never going to capture all in the same frame. So I quickly snapped this image, using only the DxO ONE. It was processed using my default “travel photo” preset and cropped & rotated to square up the horizon, and then downsized to 1920 pixels so I could upload it over our satellite link:

3 Legged Thing travel tripod: As well-designed as they come

3 Legged Thing X2.1 Eddie Evolution 2 CF Tripod System w/AirHed 2 Ball Head (Black)UK tripod maker 3 Legged Thing (3LT) has been around for awhile, but hasn’t attracted as much attention as some of its high-end competitors like Gitzo. I’ve been using 3LT’s Eddie Evolution Carbon Fiber model for a few weeks, including on safari in Africa, and have been very impressed. Not only is the build quality as good or better than any Gitzo I have used, but the feature set is remarkable. A single device can be a tripod or monopod, and the reversible center column make the Eddie very versatile. As with most travel tripods, the small carrying size relies on having a head that can fit between the legs of the tripod when they are folded back on themselves. My Eddie came with 3LT’s own AirHed 2 in a bundle. The head was as solid and usable as you can expect from such a small unit…

Panasonic Lumix ZS50 Superzoom compact camera passes its field test

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 Digital Camera (Black)No segment of the camera market has improved as quickly as the superzoom point and shoots. Originally more of a gimmick than a real tool, these tiny models are now quite capable of producing very usable images. However, to get their massive zoom ranges crammed into a few-ounce body means using a fairly small sensor. Likewise, electronics are limted by their weight and low price, so exposure, focus, and the EVF also suffer. To see what the new models are capable of, I brought along the new Lumix ZS50 with me to Africa on safari to field test (in addition to my primary Nikon D810 DSLR of course). For the most part I was pleasantly surprised with the results, but it certainly had some drawbacks as well…

New Nikon 500mm and 600mm lenses will lighten your load and your wallet

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR LensAfter the successful launch of the new, lighter Nikon 300mm f/4E lens, Nikon has continued its drive to lighten up its long prime lenses with advanced technology. It has introduced weight-reduced versions of two of its most popular long lenses. The new Nikon 500mm f/4E is 2 lbs. lighter than its predecessor at 6.5 lbs., and the new Nikon 600mm f/4E is a remarkable 3 lbs. lighter than the previous version, at 8.2 pounds….

Capturing an African safari memory with the DxO ONE

Shot with DXO ONE Camera

Clearly telephotos dominate when we think of safari lenses. But sometimes the most compelling images are the ones that show both ourselves and the animals. Having a small, quick, camera that can record the moment is a huge win. I took a number of such shots with the DxO ONE on our just-finishing safari to Botswana and Zimbabwe, but this was one of my favorites:

Images from Johannesburg with the DxO ONE

DXO_0064_DxOThe Melrose Arch mall and environs in Johannesburg provided some good locations to capture images for the new DxO ONE. To make sure the camera was doing as much of the work as possible, I left it on Auto mode for all but a couple of the shots. Here’s a gallery of some of my favorites (NOTE: This is a pre-production camera, so final image quality will be different when the unit ships to customers) – Images are all copyrighted, so ask for permission before using them)…

DxO ONE: Introducing a new kind of mobile camera

DxO-ONE-camera-for-smartphonesI’ve been working with a very exciting new camera that I’m happy to be able to tell you about now that it has been announced. It is called simply the ONE, from image processing software vendor DxO. DxO has used its industry-leading expertise in evaluating cameras and lenses, and creating image processing pipelines, to create a camera that works seamlessly with your iPhone, but produces much better images. The ONE is built around a 1-inch sensor – far larger than the ones found in mobile devices, including the one in the iPhone. It’s the same size sensor that’s found in much larger, high-end, compact cameras like the Sony RX100 III – that are also more expensive.

Adobe Photoshop 2015: Comparing the new Dehaze filter with DxO's ClearView

Pl_Serengeti_0036_CV26Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of using the ClearView filter in DxO’s Optics Pro to reduce various kinds of contrast-lowering issues in i

Quick tip on when your next point and shoot should be a superzoom

While smartphones have put a large dent in the compact camera market, tens of millions are still sold, and I often get asked about what features to look for when purchasing one. Headline numbers in ads often include not just resolution, but zoom range. Some models, like the Lumix DMC-ZS50 I'm currently testing, offer ranges up to 30:1 (effectively a 720mm telephoto lens at the long end). It is really tempting to think, "Wow! Why not get one that does that?" However, there are tradeoffs...

Travel photography lesson 1: Learning your camera

imageBefore you go on a trip – whether it is a family vacation, adventure travel, or one focused on photography – it is important to know how to use your camera before you go. While reading the manual is always helpful – if you can make it through the hundreds of pages – it doesn’t let you focus on the key features you’re likely to need most. We’ve picked out ten of the most important sets of skills you should try to learn before you go. Some may not apply to you, so feel free to pick and choose, but the list will at least give you a starting point:

New value-price wildlife lens champion: Tamron 150-600mm zoom field-tested

Wildlife photographers have some amazing, and amazingly expensive, lens options from Canon and Nikon, but for many the huge price tags – not to mention large size and weight -- make them impractical. Instead, they have needed to compromise image quality to meet their budget. Fortunately, modern manufacturing techniques and lens design software improvements have continued to improve the quality of third-party value-priced lenses. The first of this new breed is the Tamron 150-600mm lens that I field tested in Texas during my workshops this month...

A magic trick you can hold in your hand: Celluon PicoPro portable projector field-tested

pico_02Every once in a while I review a product that seems like a magic trick. Right now that is the Celluon Pico Pro projector.

How startup Light plans to put a DSLR replacement in your smartphone

I was able to spend the morning recently with one of the most innovative startups in the camera market – Light. It is using an array of small sensors to mimic the performance and image quality you’d typically find in a much larger and more expensive package – like a DSLR. The technology spans optics, industrial design, electronics, and computer science. Here’s my take on how they plan on making it happen.

 

Sony RX100 III Field-tested: Is it still the best overall point and shoot on the market?

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100When Sony introduced the original RX100, it was a ground-breaking use of a 1-inch sensor in a point and shoot. I hesitate to call it a compact camera, as it is pretty beefy for most pockets. But for those who wanted excellent image quality without needing an interchangeable lens, it was a breath of fresh air. Sony has continued to beef up the RX100 product family, with the Mark III version adding some important features like an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF). However, image quality has hardly changed over the intervening years, moving up only 1 point – from 66 to 67 in DxOMark’s rankings. After we field-tested the newer, and higher-rated Canon G7 X last month, I thought we should catch up with the Sony RX100 III and give readers more information about how the two cameras compare…

 

Adobe ships Lightroom 6: Adds facial recognition, HDR, Panorama, performance

Overview of new features in Adobe Lightroom 6 for ET featured imageAdobe continues to add value for Adobe Creative Cloud Photo Plan subcribers, and for those who buy Lightroom “a la carte.” The new version of Lightroom is a solid performance upgrade, but also adds some cool new features.

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