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KUVRD Universal Lens Cap protects any lens from dust and water

DP Review Latest news - 1 hour 39 min ago
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KUVRD has launched a one-size-fits-all Universal Lens Cap (ULC) designed to protect lenses from hazardous elements, including dirt and water, as well as minor drops. Simply called the KUVRD Universal Lens Cap, this ULC is made with silicone that can stretch to accommodate various lens shapes and sizes, including both the front and rear of the lens.

Here's a quick intro, not that the concept isn't pretty self-explanatory...

In addition to being water- and dust-proof, KUVRD explains that its ULC "never falls off" and helps absorb shocks.

One cap will absorb a little bit of a drop, but photographers who desire a greater degree of bump/drop protection can layer several KUVRD ULCs, placing one lens cover over another until you have several very snug layers of rubber between your lens and the elements. When not in use, KUVRD can be folded and stored in a compact area, such as a pocket or wallet.

KUVRD is seeking funding for its Universal Lens Cover on Kickstarter, where it has very quickly exceeded its $2,500 funding goal with about $72,000 in pledges. Backers who pledge at least $30 and share the campaign on social media are offered two Universal Lens Covers. Shipments will be available globally and are expected to start in March 2018.

Categories: Photo News

Canada's 'The Camera Store' robbed of $27,200 in high-end camera gear

DP Review Latest news - 2 hours 10 min ago
Photo by The Camera Store

Calgary camera shop The Camera Store—known for their fun YouTube reviews of various camera gear—was robbed over the weekend. In what the owners are calling a "very targeted" break-in, thieves made away with $35,000 CAD (~$27,200 USD) worth of high-end camera kit, including a limited edition Leica M-P Edition Safari.

The owners are offering a $5,000 CAD (~$3,880 USD) reward to anyone who can help catch thieves or recover any of the stolen equipment, which includes:

Hasselblad X1D camera body silver #UQ27014288

Hasselblad XC 30mm F3.5 lens #2WV10784

Hasselblad XC 45mm F3.5 lens #2UVT10447

Hasselblad XC 90mm F3.5 lens #2VVT10265

Leica MP Safari Edition #09008593

It’s thought the thieves forced the stores shutters apart in the early hours of Saturday morning, December 16th, and smashed a window to gain entry. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment was ignored by the thieves, who went directly to display cabinets to take very specific models.

The limited edition Leica stolen in the heist.

Canada’s CBC news service reports that store owner Julian Ferreira said it is the first time he has suffered a break-in during the 21 years The Camera Store has been open. Ferreira has offered a $5,000 shopping spree in the store to anyone who comes forward with information that leads to a conviction.

Please call police at 403-266-1234 or if you wish to remain anonymous call crime stoppers at 1-800-222-8477

Categories: Photo News

CopyTrans brings native HEIC support to Windows with free plugin

DP Review Latest news - 2 hours 39 min ago

CopyTrans has launched a free piece of software that brings High Efficiency Image Format (HEIC / HEIF) image support to Windows, enabling PC owners to view the popular new image format that has replaced JPEGs in iOS 11.

Windows doesn't natively support HEIC images at this time, instead receiving JPEG versions of HEIC images when they're transferred from an iOS 11 device. And while we've seen other programs build HEIC support into their own Windows versions, CopyTrans' program is the first to bring native support.

In other words, as CopyTrans software developer Niki Minkov explained to us over email:

That is, when you browse your files with Windows, HEIC files will display thumbnails just as JPEGs, double clicking will display them full size with Windows Picture Viewer, and the right-click-on-file context menu will now include a "Convert to JPEG" feature.

In fact, our plugin is using the same integration technology that Nikon and Canon used to make Windows compatible with their respective RAW formats.

CopyTrans HEIC for Windows also supports Microsoft Office, and it retains the images' original EXIF data.

The HEIC format allows for much smaller file sizes than their JPEG counterparts, enabling a greater number of photos to be saved to a device's built-in storage. Other advantages of the format include the ability to store burst photos, focal stacks, and exposure stacks in a single file, the ability to store image editing operations, and more. Thanks to CopyTrans HEIC, you don't have to give those advantages up just because you own a PC.

To learn more or download the software for yourself, head over to the CopyTrans website.

Categories: Photo News

Inrigo is a waterproof camera backpack with bluetooth humidity monitor

DP Review Latest news - 3 hours 1 min ago

If you do a lot of your photography in wet or humid conditions, a new crowdfunding project on Kickstarter will definitely pique your interest: The Inrigo is a waterproof camera backpack that comes with an integrated Bluetooth humidity monitor that alerts users via smartphone alert if moisture is detected inside.

Here's an intro to this 'intelligent' backpack and everything it can do for you and your gear:

The pack features double-sided TPU material and a re-sealable-bag style zipper which allows for an IP78 rating, keeping your equipment dry in heavy rain or even with the pack floating on water. According to the makers of the Inrigo, the zipper design allows for very quick opening in less than a second through a hard yank, giving the Inrigo a distinct advantage over roll-top bags or other waterproof zipper systems that typically take considerably longer to open.

But even if humidity somehow makes it inside the bag, at least you'll get a warning on your smartphone, thanks to a Bluetooth humidity monitor. This should give you enough time to deal with the problem before any equipment is damaged. Plus, that same monitor will let you know if you walk too far away from your equipment (or your bag decides to do the walking...) so there's some added security benefits.

On Kickstarter, you can currently pledge for two different packages: the Inrigo Litepak is available for $160 and targeted at photographers who want to insert their favorite carrying case in the Inrigo. The Inrigo Propack includes camera bags that are specially designed to fit the Inrigo pack, and will set you back $180. There is also an early-bird offer that saves you a few bucks.

Press Release:

The Inrigo: Intelligently Waterproof

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Humidity alerts to your phone and a re-sealable-style ‘zipper’ combine to make the ultimate waterproof camera backpack.

Main points

  • Kickstarter-project Inrigo is a waterproof camera backpack with a Bluetooth humidity monitor
  • Users receive smartphone alerts if moisture is detected
  • The re-sealable-bag style zipper opens in less than a second with a hard yank
  • Inrigo launched on Kickstarter in December

Overview

Moisture kills lenses and camera gear. To battle moisture and humidity, photographers turn to dry boxes – often large, safe-like containers – but storing and removing camera gear for each trip is a hassle. That’s why we invented Inrigo, a mobile dry box with novel features not on the market yet.

Double-sided TPU and a watertight zipping system (think a resealable bag on steroids) push Inrigo up to IP78, almost the highest waterproof rating. Through the rain or even floating on water, Inrigo will protect your gear.

The better ‘zipper’

Let’s look at the Dryzone 200. It sports a waterproof zipper, which is, according to multiple reviews, very hard to open. In the time spent opening the bag you might miss a shot.

Inrigo avoids that with a seal similar to a re-sealable bag, closing in about a second and opening immediately when folded and given a hard yank.

Other brands have you roll the top of the bag to create an airtight seal – yes, it works, but it’s also time consuming.

Humidity monitor

But simply closing your camera bag isn’t the end of the battle against moisture. Even the top watertight camera bags on the market struggle with internal humidity. Inrigo avoids this problem by keeping you informed.

Inrigo’s Bluetooth monitor sends alerts to your phone before your gear is exposed to high levels of humidity. This warning allows you to air out the bag or adjust your moisture absorber.

Categories: Photo News

Amazon Echo Spot review - CNET

CNET Reviews - 3 hours 19 min ago
The Echo Spot is basically an Echo Dot with a touchscreen -- and the combination is less compelling than you might have guessed.
Categories: Photo News

Rumor: Canon to unveil 7D Mark III 'before Summer 2018'. Here's our wishlist

DP Review Latest news - 3 hours 53 min ago
The 7D Mark II has been Canon's flagship APS-C DSLR for three years. Rumors suggest that it might be about to be replaced, in early 2018.

If you're starved for news from the Canon camp, we've got a little something from you courtesy of the rumor mill. CanonWatch is reporting from a "known" and "trusted" source that the Canon 7D Mark II will be replaced "before Summer 2018" with a planned ship date in July or August at the latest.

The 7D Mark II, Canon's APS-C flagship, was released in 2014, making it ripe for an upgrade in 2018. CW speculates that the announcement might come at NAB in April of next year. Another potential stage for the 7D Mark III release is CP+ in Japan at the beginning of March.

This 'trusted' report, of course, got our staff thinking about what they'd like to see in a new Canon 7D. It's been over three years since the Mark II was unveiled; what does Canon need to put inside the Mark III to make it competitive in today's camera landscape? The way we see it, there are several important features Canon should definitely include.

DPReview's Canon 7D Mark III Wishlist:

1. Better AF tracking. Canon's iTR technology has lagged behind competitors the past few years, and a 7D III needs to significantly improve in this area to remain competitive. Our ideal situation: the same AF system as 1DX Mark II, giving wide-frame coverage, like the Nikon D500.

2. Improved video. The 7D II's video was only a marginal improvement over the original 7D, which was several years older. A 7D III is almost guaranteed to have 4K video.

3. Improved base ISO raw dynamic range. Given that most Canon cameras introduced since the 7D II have offered improved Raw dynamic range, we think it's pretty likely to be part of a 7D III.

4. Touchscreen. The 7D II added dual-pixel AF, which was a really significant addition, especially for video, but it was hobbled by the fact that you had to use hardware controls for doing things like initiating subject tracking. Given that most newer Canons do this as well, it's pretty likely to be included in a hypothetical 7D III.

5. AF Auto Fine Tuning for Canon lenses with the ability to save multiple focal length adjustment values.

6. Built-in WiFi. There's no excuse not to have wireless connectivity built-in in 2018. Bluetooth and NFC would be the cherry on top.

CanonWatch also published some rumored specs for the Canon 7D Mark III, but they're too speculative and unreliable to report on as of right now.

We reached out to Canon when we saw the rumors start to swirl, but the representative we spoke to would not comment, telling DPReview: "we don't comment on rumors or reports of rumors."

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

Categories: Photo News

Electrolux EFLW317TIW review - CNET

CNET Reviews - 5 hours 31 min ago
Electrolux's $879 EFLW317TIW only has a few features, but it performs better than most washers we've tested.
Categories: Photo News

DPReview Instagram takeover: Barney's photos from Mexico

DP Review Latest news - 7 hours 4 min ago

Have you followed us on Instagram yet? Now's a great time to, since over the next three days we'll be turning our account over to Barney, where he'll be sharing photos from a recent trip to central Mexico. It's the trip that cemented the Leica M10 as his Gear of the Year, and provided plenty of opportunities to photograph the beauty of the region – from the captivating architecture of Queretaro to the jungle of San Luis Potosi and points in between.

Give us a follow and stay tuned!

Categories: Photo News

2017 Buying Guide: Best cameras for parents

DP Review Latest news - 10 hours 19 min ago

Quick. Unpredictable. Unwilling to sit still. Kids really are the ultimate test for a camera's autofocus system. We've compiled a short list of what we think are the best options for parents trying to keep up with young kids, and narrowed it down to one best all-rounder.

Categories: Photo News

Behind the scenes of Joe McNally's 'High Fashion Heist'

DP Review Latest news - 13 hours 18 min ago
Joe McNally created this shot in the Museum of Ethnography in Budapest, Hungary using the Nikon D850, a 14-24mm F2.8 zoom lens, and strobes. A lot of strobes.

Nikon D850 | AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8 @ 14mm | ISO 160 | 1/20 sec | F5.6

Joe McNally is one of the most recognizable names in photography. As one of the foremost fashion and portrait photographers in the world, his work has been published internationally in books, magazines and newspapers for decades.

In his role as a Nikon Ambassador, McNally had early access to the new Nikon D850. We spoke to him recently to talk through the process of creating one of the most arresting images of Nikon's D850 launch campaign.

How did the idea for this image come together?

I think the bottom line here is that I’ve seen way too many James Bond movies! I wrote up three separate potential treatments, and this one I titled ‘The High Fashion Heist'. So imagine an elegant lady sweeping down a grand staircase, gown flowing behind her, clutching stolen gems, racing past the sleeping security guard. And the wrinkle is her gown inadvertently is toppling a priceless statue. It’s a heist gone wrong, that type of thing. I also wanted to include the feeling of motion or speed.

The museum was willing to work with us, it was affordable, and it’s Budapest, which is an amazing place Did the concept evolve during the process of putting the shoot together?

The original treatment did not include the toppling statue. I was driving the sense of motion from the flowing gown, and we wanted to emphasize a little more tension, so when I re-wrote the concept I threw in the idea that she’s knocking over a statue.

Where did you shoot?

We had to work outside the U.S., and we came up with a number of locations – one of which was in Edinburgh, Scotland, and one was in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. And one was the Museum of Ethnography in Budapest, Hungary. They sent me scouting photographs of it, and it had that feel. The old elegance. The big staircase.

The museum was willing to work with us, it was affordable, and it’s Budapest, which is just an amazing place. So after the idea was approved, we moved forward on the location pretty quickly.

$(document).ready(function() { SampleGalleryV2({"containerId":"embeddedSampleGallery_2777146075","galleryId":"2777146075","isEmbeddedWidget":true,"selectedImageIndex":0,"isMobile":false}) }); The bust tipping over in the foreground - was that manipulated in post?

The column and the head are supported by metal braces. We couldn’t buy a bunch of busts and have them smash on the floor, so we took the column and put a brace against it, and the head, and then touched out the braces in post.

I’d say there were probably about 20 large power packs and heads, and about 10-15 Speedlights How did you light this shot? Was it all strobes?

It’s virtually all strobes. We were allowed to come into the museum at around 6 o’clock at night when it was closed, and we worked until 6 o’clock in the morning. So there was no natural light. So if you look at the windows up top, camera left, those are strobes on a crane truck outside. I’d say there were probably about 20 large power packs and heads, and about 10-15 SB-5000 Speedlights.

Were you shooting in TTL mode, or was it all manual flash exposure?

I shot all manual for this. The D850's touchscreen is fantastic, because now, if I’m doing something complex with six groups of Speedlights for example, I can just tap on the screen and alter their values.

How did the D850's particular feature set help you in putting this shoot together?

First off, there's the resolution. When you shoot in an ornate place like this, you really want to be able to capture all of the detail, and the camera handled that really well. The D850's sensor has great dynamic range, so I didn’t have to over-light. In the cavernous spaces, I could hint at lighting, and I knew that the shadow detail would be alright. The autofocus is hyper-accurate, which is essential, because you don’t want to get THE expression and THE particular arrangement of the gown absolutely perfect and have any sort of focus issues afterwards.

I was able to effectively control two fields of flash, with the Speedlights being controlled from the camera

I was shooting the flashes in manual exposure mode, but I was controlling all of the Speedlights using the WR-10 radio trigger from the camera. So I had a big strobe system on a different radio system, but I also had the Nikon Speedlight system. I was able to effectively control two fields of flash, with the Speedlights being controlled from the camera.

We had a big crew, plus a video crew, the clients were there, we had a props person, hair, makeup, fashion, styling, and a very elegant wonderful model. I had a crew of five assistants! So the convenience of the new technology really helped.

Are there other features of the camera that you’re excited to try out?

So far, I’ve used the D850 strictly as a stills camera. I’ve been using it a lot just for simple portraiture and for beauty portraiture, but I’m very much looking forward to going into video mode with this camera. Again, the detail is really pretty luscious and pretty wonderful. I have a small stills and video project I’m going to be shooting in February, and I'm looking forward to it.

I shot the Rio Olympics with my D5, because it’s tough and it’s fast, and I’ve always used my D810’s when I needed resolution. But the D810 doesn’t have the radio controls that I’ve come to be so fond of with the SB-5000 flashes. And the D810 didn't have things like the tilting LCD from the D500, which I've found to be very convenient. With the D850, I can have all of that in one camera. Speed, resolution and convenience.

This is sponsored content, supported by Nikon. What does this mean?

Categories: Photo News

Rokinon AF 50mm F1.4 FE: sample gallery and impressions

DP Review Latest news - Sun, 12/17/2017 - 14:27
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The Rokinon/Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE ($500) and AF 35mm F1.4 FE ($800) represent the South Korean manufacturer's first foray into the autofocus lens market. The 50mm F1.4 is a steal compared to Sony's own Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA ($1400). So what do you sacrifice, and is it worth the savings? In short, it's enough to say this lens is no gem in a bargain's disguise. But it's not a bad piece of glass either.

The housing is made of metal like the Planar T* and the build quality is reassuringly dense – nothing rattles around when you shake it (a very scientific test indeed). It's a little bit smaller than the Planar T* (the filter ring is 67mm vs 72mm), as well as lighter (645g / 1.4lb vs 778g / 1.7lb). But the Planar T* is by all accounts a large, heavy prime, meaning the Rokinon too feels hefty to lug around. It left this reviewer yearning for the comparably tiny/light-weight Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA instead.

The Rokinon/Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE, shot wide open. ISO 100 | F1.4 | 1/5000 sec

Photographers considering the Rokinon AF 50mm are likely doing so because of its F1.4 maximum aperture. Wide open, it's not terribly sharp, but photos shot at F1.4 are certainly usable, especially if you add more sharpening in ACR or Photoshop. As you'd expect, sharpness improves as you stop down (until you hit diffraction territory). For a full stop aperture progression, head to the end of our gallery.

There's a considerable amount of longitudinal chromatic aberration (purple and green fringing), and it can be really distracting around high contrast edges – see the second image in the gallery. While this can often be removed - to an extent anyway - in ACR or Lightroom, it's often difficult or very time consuming, and comes with the risk of desaturation of other areas of your photo. Lateral CA corrections were left off for images in this gallery, and while you can turn it on in-camera or in Raw processing software, lateral CA seems to be well-controlled in this lens.

The AF motor is very noisy, not unlike a distant submarine distress call

The other significant reason photographers are likely to consider this lens over the cheaper manual focus Rokinon 50/1.4 is its autofocus. Unfortunately, we don't have a whole lot of good news in this department. In use, the AF motor is very noisy, not unlike a distant submarine distress call. That, or a very near dental tool. Trying to use it paired with the Sony a7R III in AF-C is a nightmare. Focus speeds are slow, loud, and AF is easily confused, sending the lens into a painfully long hunt. Performance and focus accuracy are far more reliable in AF-S. Eye AF, one of our favorite Sony features thanks to its uncanny ability to grab a subject's eye and lock focus is sadly inaccurate and unreliable when used with this lens.

This would not be my first choice for a normal Sony FE lens with AF, but it's still capable of lovely results. ISO 100 | F2.5 | 1/1000 sec

The lens also has some issues with bokeh. Take a look at the onion rings in the out-of-focus highlights here, and if you search around the image above at 1:1, you'll see slightly out-of-focus highlights having distracting holes in their center.

The takeaway: If you're on a budget and want an FE 50mm F1.4 lens with autofocus, well, you don't have a lot of options. Seeing as you can get some nice, usable images wide open, I wouldn't steer you away from pulling the trigger on the Rokinon. But I would probably try to convince you to settle for F1.8 and save up for the Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA ($900) instead (quality-wise it is far superior to the Sony FE 50mm F1.8 - $200).

That said, optically this lens actually performed better than I expected a first-generation AF lens to. And I'm pretty excited to see Rokinon stepping into new territory.

Categories: Photo News

Vive Tracker review - CNET

CNET Reviews - Sun, 12/17/2017 - 05:00
I played VR soccer, ping-pong, and shot virtual ducks with the Vive Tracker and its accessories. It's a lot of hassle.
Categories: Photo News

Razer Cynosa Chroma Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET

CNET Reviews - Sun, 12/17/2017 - 04:00
Razer's Cynosa Chroma keyboards are all about style over substance -- and I mean that in the best way possible.
Categories: Photo News

Have your say: Best high-end ILC of 2017

DP Review Latest news - Sun, 12/17/2017 - 04:00

Time is running out to vote for your favorite cameras and lenses in our year-end Readers' Choice Awards! In this category, we've rounded up the seven of the best high-end interchangeable lens cameras for enthusiasts and pros.

Categories: Photo News

Top 5 news stories of the week on DPReview

DP Review Latest news - Sat, 12/16/2017 - 09:25
Top 5 Photography News Stories of the Week

The world of photography news moves fast, with tens of interesting, tragic, educational, and inspirational stories breaking sometimes daily. To help parse through the noise and focus on the signal, each week, we're going to recap the 5 top photography news stories from the previous seven days.

This week, the tragic story of a young photographer's death was the most popular—and controversial—of the news stories we covered on DPReview. This was followed by a shocking story of a musician kicking a photographer in the face, an inspirational round up of the best Nature photos of 2017 and, finally, a pricey announcement from Apple and a Leica sensor test rounded out our list.

Scroll through the slideshow for a quick recap of each story, and then follow any of the big blue buttons to dive deeper.

Famed Chinese rooftopper falls to his death from 62-story skyscraper

In November, 26-year-old Chinese rooftopper Wu Yongning fell to his death from atop the 62-story Huayuan Hua Centre skyscraper when a photo stunt for an unnamed sponsor went horribly wrong. The story—and a video of his fall—only came to light this week, shining a tragic light on the dangerous lengths some photographers will go to for an exciting shot.

Read the Full Story

Photo: Weibo

Musician kicks photographer in the face during rock concert, sending her to the ER

Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme found himself the subject of heated criticism and disgust this week, after a video and photos seem to show him purposely kicking photographer Chelsea Lauren in the face during a performance.

His apologies—first over Twitter, and later over Instagram video— have not gone over well.

Read the Full Story

Photo: Screenshot from YouTube video

These are the winners of National Geographic's Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

Moving from tragedy and anger to inspiration, National Geographic revealed the winners of its annual Nature Photographer of the Year contest. And as you might have expected, every shot from the Grand Prize winner down to the Honorable Mentions and People's Choice awards were fantastic.

The Grand Prize went to photographer Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan of Singapore, who beat out 11,000 other entries with his intense wildlife portrait of an orangutan crossing a river in Indonesia’s Tanjung Puting National Park.

Read the Full Story

Photos courtesy of National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

A fully loaded iMac Pro will cost you $13,200

On December 14th, Apple finally put the "most powerful Mac ever," its new iMac Pro, up for sale. And now that the powerhouse of an all-in-one is live on the Apple Store online, we were able to check how much a fully loaded version would cost you.

No surprise here: an 18-core iMac Pro with 128GB of RAM, a 4TB SSD and Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics card costs about as much as a modest sedan!

Read the Full Story

Photo: Apple

DxOMark: The full-frame Leica M10 is 'on par' with the best APS-C sensors

DxOMark finished their review of the Leica M10 sensor this week, giving the sensor an overall score of 86.

The Good News: this means that the sensor inside the M10 outperforms almost every other digital Leica ever made, coming in second only to the Leica SL with its overall score of 88.

The Bad News: the expensive camera still falls significantly short of the top-of-the-line full-frame sensors out there, performing "more on par" with the best APS-C sensors DxOMark has tested.

Read the Full Story

Photo: DPReview hands-on photo by Barney Britton

Categories: Photo News

Shooting Kīlauea Volcano, Part 2: Grounded

DP Review Latest news - Sat, 12/16/2017 - 09:00

In the first part of this series, I talked about shooting Kilauea's lava surface-flows using a drone. Now, I'd like to take a step back and talk about shooting the lava in a more traditional method: using a DSLR on the ground.

If you're inside the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and can't fly a drone, this is the only affordable way of shooting the surface flows. But even if a drone is an option, shooting from the ground is different and will give you unique opportunities and some challenges.

Shooting with a DSLR might be the least technically challenging way of shooting the lava in Kilauea, but it's not as easy as you might think.

First of all, there's the challenge of traversing the lava on foot. You're basically walking on very hard, sometimes jagged terrain, and moving from point to point searching for compositions can be strenuous. As I've mentioned before, it's a 7-8 km hike to get to the surface flow area, but there's much more hiking on location to get the actual shots.

When shooting, you often want to get as close as possible to the lava, in order to get more detail and/or a desired perspective. This might be a problem in some cases, as the lava is about 1100 degrees Centigrade, and this temperature can be felt very well even from several meters away.

In some of the shots, I felt like I was inside an oven. I had to find my composition quickly, take a few images, and run away, since staying there would become unbearable after several seconds.

This particular shot has a slightly narrower depth of field than I'd like it to have. The reason is that lava was flowing underground very close to where I was standing, and because of the intense heat, I didn't have the time to set the tripod. I had to shoot hand held and run for my life!

Protective gear is very important. The bare minimum would be a long-sleeve shirt, sturdy, ankle-high hiking boots, long pants and, of course, gloves. The latter are needed both because the skin on your hands is struck by radiating heat from the lava, and because the tripod can get very hot after staying near the lava for some time. I would also recommend a beanie to protect your forehead and ears from the heat.

Don't neglect listening to your body—if you ignore the heat and the pain, you might find yourself with second-degree burns. I've mentioned it before, but a good guide is very important when hiking to dangerous surroundings, and can keep you in the safe zone (if you so wish).

Last but not least, there's the heat-haze problem. The heat creates this well-known blur, which means some shots cannot turn out sharp, no matter how well-focused they are.

A decent solution can be waiting for the wind to blow the hot air and supply a short relief from the haze, but the wind doesn't always cooperate. You're left with the option of talking multiple shots in hope that some turn out relatively sharp. Another approach is using the haze to your benefit in an artistic way. It surely conveys the feeling of heat to the viewer.

The Hawaiian sunset is brief, which means the really good light is short-lived, and after that's gone you're going to need a tripod to keep stable. This naturally makes shooting much more cumbersome, and prevents the shoot-and-run-away technique mentioned above. The upside is that there's beautiful contrasty details to be shot, which makes for good abstracts.

Regarding photographic equipment, I mostly used the telephoto end of my focal-length range. One lens I didn't use was my 11-24mm, since it was way too wide, and the 16-35 was also left in the bag most of the time. The lenses I used the most were my 24-70mm and especially my 70-300mm.

The latter enabled me to get the intimate details of the lava from a safe (or rather possible) distance.

Next time I'll talk about shooting the lava from a boat.

Erez Marom is a professional nature photographer, photography guide and traveler based in Israel. You can follow Erez's work on Instagram and Facebook, and subscribe to his mailing list for updates.

If you'd like to experience and shoot some of the most fascinating landscapes on earth with Erez as your guide, take a look at his unique photography workshops in locations such as southern Iceland, Northern Iceland, The Lofoten Islands, Patagonia, Greenland, Namibia and the Faroe Islands.

More in The Kīlauea Series:

Part 1: How to Melt a Drone

Selected Articles by Erez Marom:
Categories: Photo News

The Olympus TG-5 and Nikon Coolpix W300 go to Puerto Rico

DP Review Latest news - Sat, 12/16/2017 - 06:00

José Francisco Salgado is an astronomer, science photographer, and visual artist. His series of Science & Symphony films that have been presented in more than 200 concerts in 15 countries. He is a native of Puerto Rico.

Editor's note: The events described in this article took place several weeks prior to the arrival of Hurricane Maria, which caused catastrophic damage to Puerto Rico and other islands in the Caribbean.

Last summer I traveled to Puerto Rico to do some night photography for a new Science & Symphony film I'm producing. I was planning to photograph the Milky Way and the ocean at the same time, though it's difficult to visit tropical beaches and limit yourself to work.

I shoot my time-lapse sequences with Nikon DSLRs, but decided to bring along two 'rugged' cameras, the Nikon Coolpix W300 and Olympus TG-5, for casual shooting. These point-and-shoot cameras are shockproof (rated to resist drops from at least 2.1m / 7ft) and waterproof (to depths of at least 15.2m / 50ft), so my motivation was to use them while snorkeling with my fiancée, Paula.

She was more than happy to try these cameras, and since she's not a professional photographer I thought it would be good to get her impressions of them as well. I wanted to find out how intuitive the controls were myself, so I decided to consult the manuals only when needed.

Olympus TG-5 sample gallery $(document).ready(function() { SampleGalleryV2({"containerId":"embeddedSampleGallery_8708008253","galleryId":"8708008253","isEmbeddedWidget":true,"selectedImageIndex":0,"isMobile":false}) });

One big difference between the cameras that's worth calling out is Raw support: the TG-5 allows you to capture Raw images, but the W300 shoots only in JPEG. I found myself processing the images from both cameras quite a bit in Adobe Lightroom to get pleasing results, though with the Nikon I was limited to editing out-of-camera JPEGs.

I really like the fact that both cameras have built-in GPS for geotagging photos. (You can read the metadata in the sample galleries if you want to know exactly where these photos were taken.) Unfortunately, after returning from the trip I noticed that the cameras, especially the TG-5, didn't geotag consistently.

Nikon W300 sample gallery $(document).ready(function() { SampleGalleryV2({"containerId":"embeddedSampleGallery_9166972522","galleryId":"9166972522","isEmbeddedWidget":true,"selectedImageIndex":0,"isMobile":false}) }); Since the W300 doesn't save Raw files, I've included both out-of-camera JPEGs and my edited JPEGs in this sample gallery.

After landing in San Juan, we headed eastward toward our base in Playa Azul in Luquillo. Playa Azul, aka the Costa Azul, is a beach with golden sand and turquoise water. We took some photos along the surf and started to familiarize ourselves with the cameras. Paula noticed how much easier it was to operate the zoom lever on the TG-5, which is sideways and closer to the shutter, than on the W300, which moves up and down. Nevertheless, the optical zoom itself worked well in both cameras. Paula also preferred the grip on the TG-5.

We then headed to Cabo Rojo in the southwest corner of the island to photograph the disk of our Galaxy setting in the Caribbean Sea in the context of the rugged coastline and promontory of Los Morrillos. We returned to the site during the day with our point-and-shoot cameras to photograph the coastline and the popular stone bridge.

Puerto Rico's Playa Azul has golden sand and turquoise water.
Olympus TG-5
ISO 100 | 1/400 sec. | F8
Photo by Paula Bressman

After Cabo Rojo, we spent a night at the Punta Tuna Wetlands Nature Reserve in Maunabo in order to photograph The Milky Way and the Punta Tuna Lighthouse. We did some scouting around the wetland and Playa Larga, where we appreciated the advantage of shooting in Raw on the TG-5. In the split-screen image below, you can see how much more information I was able to extract by processing the Raw file in Lightroom.

Olympus TG-5 (SOOC) Olympus TG-5 (Processed in Lightroom)

Our next site was Culebra, an island-municipality east of Puerto Rico, which is quickly reached by plane. During the 15-minute flight, Paula captured a nice photo of a young boy transfixed by the view from the small plane using the W300. I was able to pull a bit more shadow detail from the JPEG file, but decided not to so the viewer could focus on the boy's attentive face.

Then it was finally time to take the cameras underwater, so we took them to a couple of beaches in Culebra, Playa Melones and Playa Tamarindo. (We preferred Playa Melones due to its abundance of coral reefs and marine life.)

To use the cameras underwater all you need to do is secure a lock (or two, in the case of the TG-5) and enjoy! Considering that these cameras don't float, I recommend using the included straps to avoid accidental loss in deep water. Regardless of how much underwater photography you're interested in doing, it's good to know that you can bring these cameras into the water instead of leaving them unattended on the beach.

My fiancée, Paula, captured this photo during our flight to Culebra.
Nikon W300
ISO 400 | 1/1000 sec. | F2.8
Photo by Paula Bressman

The color rendition on the TG-5's underwater photos was much better, so I decided to shoot more with it while snorkeling. Underwater, colors change based on lighting conditions, depth, water transparency, and amount of sunlight, so I was also intrigued to see how the TG-5's flash would perform underwater. I found that many of the images came out overexposed or washed out, so I stuck to using the best natural light possible (read waiting for passing clouds).

The TG-5 has an Underwater Mode that, according to the manual, is optimized for underwater photography using natural light, so I decided to use it. According to the manual it should automatically set the ISO sensitivity with a priority on image quality. That is, the camera starts with a low ISO value and sets the corresponding exposure parameters (speed and aperture), then increases the ISO value as needed.

Snorkeling near Playa Tamarindo.
Olympus TG-5
ISO 100 | 1/320 sec. | F2.8
Photo by Jose Francisco Salgado

As sunlight started to diminish, it surprised me that the TG-5 would lower the speed all the way down to 1/60 second while maintaining ISO 100 instead of increasing the ISO! I understand that auto-ISO increases the ISO as a last recourse, but I was shooting in Underwater Mode. This mode should consider that sea currents are moving the photographer, who is often trying to capture moving fish or other animals. A speed of 1/60 second won't cut it.

I decided to manually change the ISO to a higher value, but alas, it was impossible to figure out how to change this setting without reading the manual, and therein lies my frustration. I can deal with a program mode not giving the results that I expect, however I do expect to be able to look at the buttons and quickly figure out how to change the parameters that I need to change. The problem wasn't pressing small buttons underwater, but not having an intuitive way to change values. As a result, some of the sea creatures I photographed are motion-blurred. Nevertheless, I'm content the photos I got of the carey de concha (Hawksbill sea turtle).

Throughout a day of snorkeling I got the impression that battery life on the W300 was underwhelming compared to the TG-5.

Shooting underwater with the Olympus TG-5.

On our last day in Culebra, stormy weather moved into the Caribbean. Conditions were windy, but safe, so we hopped into our rented golf cart and ventured out to enjoy two beaches which have been rated among the most beautiful in the world, Playa Flamenco and Playa Zoní.

Upon arrival at the Playa Zoní, it took us sixty seconds to make new friends, Magdamarys, Michelle, and Javier. Michelle, an awesome salsa dance instructor, proceeded to teach Paula how to salsa as seen in the video below, shot with the W300. It was the perfect way to end our stay in Culebra.

I captured this salsa dancing at Playa Zoní, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, using the Nikon W300.

Back on the main island, we used the cameras one last time in El Yunque Rainforest, where Paula enjoyed the cool and refreshing water of the Juan Diego Waterfall.

Video of the Juan Diego Waterfall in El Yunque Rainforest, captured by the Olympus TG-5. Final Thoughts

Although we didn't drop or mishandle these cameras, they appear to be very rugged. They're definitely waterproof, and it was easy to operate them underwater, however the user interfaces could be much simpler. I have apps on my iPhone than can control the camera in a simpler and more intuitive way than either of these cameras. Then there's image quality. Lack of Raw support on the W300, and the poor image quality of the resulting JPEG files, disqualifies the camera for me.

Although I appreciated having more processing latitude with the TG-5's Raw files, that doesn't mean I'm very impressed with the image quality either. Nevertheless, it's definitely superior to the image quality produced by the W300, even when comparing out-of-camera JPEGs. When processing images from the TG-5 be ready to correct for chromatic aberration, because it can be severe (this wasn't an issue with the W300).

Although I appreciated having more processing latitude with the TG-5's Raw files, that doesn't mean I'm very impressed with the image quality either.

The TG-5 also failed to focus several times under normal indoor lighting conditions, including once outside right after sunset. I didn't encounter any focusing issues with the W300. I was also happy to see that the TG-5 has a panorama feature, but it completely failed several times and produced horribly stitched images.

These cameras are a great option for you if you're looking for a rugged point-and-shoot camera that works underwater, which is their main strength. If you're just looking for a camera that's more compact than a DSLR, or that has a better zoom range than your smartphone, they'll work for that as well. However, considering the prices, you might also want to consider other compact cameras or even stick with your smartphone.

Readers wishing to contribute to ongoing hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico are encouraged to visit United for Puerto Rico.

José Francisco Salgado, PhD is an Emmy-nominated astronomer, science photographer, visual artist, and public speaker who creates multimedia works that communicate science in engaging ways. His Science & Symphony films with KV 265 have been presented in more than 200 concerts and lectures in 15 countries.

José Francisco is a seasoned night sky and aurora photographer and filmmaker. If you would like to view, photograph, and learn about the Northern Lights then you can inquire about his Borealis Science & Photo Tours in Yellowknife, Canada.

You can follow him on: Flickr, Instagram, 500px, Facebook, and Twitter

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