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Updated: 23 min 49 sec ago

Leica announces plans for 'peeling' CCDs in M9 and Monochrom

8 hours 15 sec ago

Owners of Leica M cameras that suffer from 'peeling' CCDs will be able to claim a free repair in the future so long as the camera was purchased within five years of the fault becoming apparent, the company has announced. The plan has been set out to address what happens after the 16th August this year when the 'regardless of camera age' offer is due to expire.

After this date Leica will still replace faulty sensors in affected models that have been in use for more than five years but will ask owners for €982 towards the cost. Alternatively, owners may wish to take advantage of ‘even more attractive terms’ on a trade-in for a new Typ 240 class model. Quite what those attractive terms are though remains unclear.

Cameras that have an issue with a peeling layer on the CCD sensor are some M9, M9-P, M Monochrom and M-E cameras. The issue was recognised and acknowledged by Leica in 2014, and this announcement intends to begin to put a close to the free repair program.

Cameras that need to have their sensor replaced will also get a free 7-point service and overhaul as a good-will measure, which includes cleaning of numerous mechanisms and some repairs to the viewfinder and the multi-function wheel.

For more information see the Leica website.

Press Release

Latest information concerning the CCD sensors of the Leica M9 / M9-P / M Monochrom and M-E camera models

Following the successfully begun and largely completed replacement programme for corroded sensors that affected M9, M9-P, M Monochrom and M-E camera models, we would now like to inform you about how this programme will be handled in the future.

Until 15 August 2017, we will continue to offer free replacement of sensors for these camera models if they are affected by the corrosion problem. This will also apply after 16 August 2017 for the models listed above, but only in cases where the cameras have been purchased as new products within the last five years.

From 16 August 2017, and until further notice, we will offer our customers the following new programme for all camera models mentioned above that were purchased longer than five years ago. Here, the customer pays a share of the replacement costs for the affected CCD sensor amounting to 982 euros (825 euros plus 19% VAT). Included in this programme is a free general overhaul of your Leica M camera and a one year warranty on the same terms as for new products. This offer expresses our commitment to conserving the value of your camera.

We have also revised our upgrade offers with more attractive terms for our customers. Instead of a sensor replacement, we offer our customers the alternative option of sending us their camera affected by sensor corrosion in part payment for the purchase of selected Leica M camera models of the Type 240 generation at even more attractive terms. Leica Customer Care will be pleased to inform and advise interested customers about the terms and conditions of the upgraded offer.

With regard to the above, we would like to remind you that the replacement of CCD sensors and the upgrade offers apply only to cameras affected by this concrete problem, and only to the models of the Leica M-System we have listed above. Preventive replacement of sensors is not included in this programme.

The general overhaul of the Leica M camera includes the following items:
• Cleaning and overhaul of the shutter cocking mechanisms
• Cleaning and maintenance/repair of the multifunction wheel
• Cleaning of the main switch and shutter speed dial
• Adjustment of the baseplate locking system
• Refurbishment of engravings
• Renewal of the protective film on the baseplate
• Maintenance/repair of viewfinder displays

How can I find out whether my Leica M is more than five years old?
The date on which you purchased your camera as a new product applies. The sales receipt serves as proof of the date of purchase. If you no longer have your sales receipt, the age of the camera will be determined from its serial number. In this case, the date on which it was supplied to the dealer applies.

Which point in time is used for determining whether my camera is within the period designated for the full goodwill arrangement?
The date on which the defect was reported to Leica Camera AG applies. In each concrete case, a check of the camera by Leica Customer Care is required to prove that the problem is due to the corresponding sensor defect. This check can be made by sending the camera or a suitable test exposure to Leica Customer Care and subsequent checking of the camera by specialist personnel at Leica.

What can I expect to pay if I decide to take advantage of the upgrade option instead of having my camera repaired?
Leica Customer Care can provide concrete prices for your upgrade wishes on request.

Can I also upgrade to a Leica M10?
Due to the extremely high demand for the new Leica M10, this model is excluded from the upgrade programme. Only the direct successors of the Leica M9 listed below are available as options in the upgrade programme:
• Leica M (Typ 240)
• Leica M-P (Typ 240)
• Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246)

Categories: Photo News

Photo Gear News shows you how to make a DIY lapel mic

8 hours 12 min ago

Professional microphones for video are expensive, and even if you have the means, some cameras don't offer the correct inputs. In this video, for Photo Gear News, Daniel Peters shows you how to make a DIY lapel microphone using a smartphone and a pair of earbuds.

Check out PGN's YouTube channel for more

Categories: Photo News

MIT previews autonomous tracking drone

10 hours 29 min ago

Despite camera drones becoming more and more intelligent, high-quality aerial tracking shots normally still require a large degree of human input. A research project at the MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is aiming to change that. The team has developed a drone that does not require any human control for recording tracking shots. 

Users can specify a viewing angle as well as the position and size of the target’s face on the screen and the drone will remain locked onto its target while also avoiding any obstacles in its flight path. Tracking parameters can be changed in-flight and the drone will adjust its position accordingly. Users can also attach a weighting to parameters, so the drone can prioritize in situations when it's impossible to maintain all specified parameters. 

The MIT drone and tracking system will be presented at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Singapore at the end of the month. You can see the MIT drone in action in the video below and find more information on the MIT website.

Categories: Photo News

Video: Journalist survives ISIS sniper attack, his GoPro does not

10 hours 57 min ago

In the terrifying video above, Iraqi journalist Ammar Alwaely narrowly escapes a sniper's bullet, which takes out his chest-mounted GoPro. From the YouTube description:

Journalist Ammar Alwaely, was working in Mosul Iraq, when a sniper's bullet hit his GoPro camera. The camera, which was a gift from one of his co-workers, almost certainly saved Mr. Alwaely's life. Ammar received treatment for minor cuts, but was otherwise unharmed

Ammar and his companions seem to be setting up for a shot and in good spirits right before the bullet rips across the screen. The sniper's fire clearly catches the group off guard. At about the 0:33 point in the clip, the English-speaking individual filming asks where the bullet came from (caution, strong language).

Fortunately Ammar lived to tell the tale (we wonder if his micro SD card survived as well). The attack took place on May 13th and the video was post on the 17th - at the time of publishing it has been viewed nearly three quarters of a million times.

Categories: Photo News

Global action camera market expected to grow 15% by 2021

11 hours 8 min ago

Research company Technavio has released its new Global Action Camera Market 2017-2021 industry research report detailing the state of the action camera market and expected trends over coming years. According to the report, Technavio expects action camera growth to increase about 15% by 2021, with Ultra HD cameras driving demand. HD action camera growth, meanwhile, is expected to decrease by more than 3%.

Numerous factors are driving action camera growth, according to Technavio, including a 'growing fascination of individuals to capture adventurous activities on camera,' as well as increased adventure sports popularity and certain social sharing platforms like YouTube and Instagram. Per the report, the global action camera market is currently dominated by Drift, Garmin, GoPro, iON and Rollei.

By the year 2021, Technavio expects the Ultra HD category of the action camera market to reach $3.3 billion, with one 'major factor' behind the growth being the broadcast industry's 'demand for better viewing angles.' The Full HD category, meanwhile, is expected to reach $2.2 billion, with the surveillance/security industry driving growth.

The HD action camera market has already reached its peak, according to the report, at least based on shipments which show the largest demand having been achieved last year. Developing markets in places like India and China helped drive the demand for HD cameras, though growth is expected to fall over the next four years.

In 2016, Ultra HD cameras saw the most demand, holding 46.99% of the market share. Technavio expects UHD action camera demand to grow 18.74% over the next four years, eclipsing the anticipated 16.63% anticipated growth for Full HD cameras (which held 34.72% market share last year). The research estimates that HD action camera growth will be absent, meanwhile, decreasing 3.45% by 2021 below last year's 14.06% market share.

Via: BusinessWire

Categories: Photo News

What gear do filmmakers rent most often?

14 hours 10 min ago

Filmmaking can be expensive, so it's fairly common to rent some of the equipment you need instead of buying it. Thanks to today's sharing economy, that often means renting your equipment from other filmmakers instead of established rental houses.

Just what equipment are people renting? Brent from ShareGrid rounds up the 10 most common products rented through the service in 2016, including the prices people are charging to rent each item. Some of the top products may surprise you, and it's entirely possible that you already own some of the tools others are looking to rent. 

What do you think? Would you rent your equipment to others to help subsidize the purchase cost?

Categories: Photo News

Electronic shutter, rolling shutter and flash: what you need to know

19 hours 10 min ago
The rolling shutter effect is usually seen as a damaging defect but even this can be used creatively, with enough imagination.
Photo by Jim Kasson, Fujifilm GFX 50S

Click! goes the camera and in that fraction of a second the shutter races to end the exposure. But, although it's quick, that process isn't instantaneous. Whether you're syncing a flash, wondering why banding is appearing in your image or deciding whether to use your camera's silent shutter mode, the way your shutter works has a role to play. This article looks at the different types of shutter and what effect they have.

At their most basic, cameras capture light that represents a fragment of time, so it shouldn't be surprising that the mechanism that defines this period of time can play a role in the final outcome. It's not nearly as significant as the exposure duration (usually known as shutter speed or time value), or the size of the aperture but, despite great effort and ingenuity being expended on minimizing it, the shutter behavior has an effect.

Mechanical Shutters

There are two main mechanical shutter technologies: focal plane curtain shutters and leaf shutters. The majority of large sensor cameras and nearly all ILCs use focal plane shutters while the majority of compacts use leaf shutters.

Focal plain shutters

Focal plan curtain shutters are what you probably think of when you think about shutters. At the start of the exposure a series of horizontal blades rises like a Venetian blind and, to end the exposure, a second series of blades rises up to cover the sensor again.

The first curtain lifts to start the exposure, then a second curtain ends the exposure. The shutter's movement is shown as the blue lines on the graph. The time taken to open and close the curtains (red) is defined by the shutter rate, the exposure time is shown in green. 

These blades move quickly but not instantly. We'll call the amount of time it takes the shutter to move across the sensor the shutter rate. This is not the same thing as shutter speed, which is the amount of time that elapses between the bottom of the first curtain lifting and the top of the second curtain passing that same point.

Leaf shutters

Leaf shutters work slightly differently. These are built into the lens, right next to the aperture, and usually feature a series of blades that open out from the center, then snap shut again to end the exposure. Because each blade doesn't have to travel so far, these shutter rate can be much faster.

Leaf shutter still take a small amount time to open and close but they're very fast. And, because they're mounted so close to the aperture, they progressively increase or decrease illumination to the whole sensor, so there's no difference between the slice of time seen by the top and bottom of the sensor.

However, since the same blades that start the exposure also end it, the maximum possible shutter speed is more closely linked to the shutter rate (because you can't end the exposure until the shutter is fully open).

In addition, the distance the shutter blades need to travel depends on the aperture you're shooting at (on some cameras, the shutter acts as the aperture). Consequently, it's not unusual to encounter cameras that can't offer their maximum shutter speed at their widest aperture value.

Electronic shutter

But why do we need mechanical shutters at all? Unlike film, digital sensors can be switched on and off. This reduces the number of moving parts (which both lowers cost and obviates the risk of shutter shock) and means you get a totally silent exposure, so why not use that?

The answer is that you can. However, there is a restriction: while you can start the exposure to the whole sensor simultaneously, you can't end it for the whole sensor at the same time. This is because with CMOS sensors, you end the exposure by reading-out the sensor but, in most designs, this is has to be done one row after another. This means it takes a while to end the exposure.

Fully electronic shutter

This need to read out one row at a time has a knock-on effect: if you have to end your exposure one row at a time, then you have to start the exposure in a similarly staggered manner (otherwise the last row of your sensor would get more exposure than the first).

Electronic shutter tend to be comparatively slow in terms of shutter rate (red), leading to rolling shutter (note that exposure for the top of the sensor has already finished even before the bottom of the sensor has started. This is despite the use of a faster shutter speed (green)

This means that your shutter rate is determined by your sensor's readout speed. Lower pixel count sensors have an advantage in terms of readout: they have fewer rows and each of those rows has fewer pixels in it, both meaning they can be read out faster.

Smaller sensors also have an advantage in this respect: less physical distance to travel means rows can be read-out quicker. This is why we saw 4K video in smartphones, then compacts, then larger sensor cameras and why cameras such as the Canon EOS 5D IV struggle with rolling shutter, even when only using the central region of their sensor. However, newer sensor designs are constantly striving to reduce the read-out time (and consequently increase the shutter rate).

Note from the diagram that even an exaggeratedly slow shutter rate doesn't stop you using fast shutter speeds. In fact, the beginning and end of the exposure can be controlled very precisely, allowing super-high shutter speeds.

However, although each part of the image is only made up from, say, 1/16,000th of a second, the slow shutter rate means each part of the image is made up from different 16,000ths of a second. Essentially, you're capturing the very short slices of time that your shutter speed dictates, but you're capturing many different slices of time. And, if your camera or subject have moved during that time then that distinction becomes apparent. This effect, where the final image is made up from different slices of time as you scan down it is known as the 'rolling shutter' effect.

The same thing happens with any shutter that isn't immediate, which includes focal plane mechanical shutters. However, these tend to be fast enough that the rolling shutter effect isn't usually noticeable.

Electronic first curtain

Electronic first curtain shutter is an increasingly common way for cameras to work. As the name suggests, these work by using the fast mechanical shutter to end the exposure and then syncing the start of the electronic shutter to match its rate.

An electronic first curtain shutter avoids the risk of shake from the first curtain's movement but avoids the downsides of fully electronic shutter.

This requires a mechanical shutter where the second curtain and be operated independently of the first curtain. But, in those circumstances, you get many of the anti-shock benefits of electronic shutter while retaining the speed benefits of a mechanical shutter.

Global electronic shutter

Sensors do exist that can read-out all their rows of pixels simultaneously to give what's called a 'global shutter.' However, while these are great for video, the more complex technologies used to achieve this add both noise and cost. The added sensor noise limits dynamic range, so they are not yet common for those video or stills applications where image quality is critical. 

Find out about flash sync and working under artificial lights

Categories: Photo News

'It's about being prepared for whatever is thrown at you': Q & A with William Vazquez

Sun, 05/21/2017 - 03:00

NYC based photographer William Vazquez on one of his earlier assignments.

New York City based photographer William Vazquez, travels about 30-50% of the year. From Cuba to the mountains of Nepal, Vazquez has worked in more than 54 countries on more than five continents, often arriving first on the scene of a humanitarian crisis to document recovery operations for NGO’s and the companies that provide support to the areas affected by natural disasters.

While his documentary humanitarian work may be the most dramatic in context, Vazquez’s portraiture brings us closer to other cultures, whether it’s a flamenco dancer outfitted in a brilliantly colored red dress in Cuba or a black and white portrait of a woman cloaked in a burka in a clinic Afghanistan captured with a Speed Graphic on Type 55 Polaroid film.

You may find him trekking in the mountains of Nepal, wandering the streets of Cuba, or watching a baby being born after a devastating a typhoon in the Philippines. But, no matter where he is, Vazquez’s images bring life to the stories of the people and places he’s been.

You can see more of Vazquez’s work at his website and on Instagram.

How did you get your start in photography?

Vazquez’s warm personality and genuine interest in people elicits wonderful reactions in the portraits he makes around the world, including the photo of this woman in rural India.

Photography started as a hobby when I was a teenager. My first camera was a used Rollei 35 S, which I still have. But I had never considered photography a profession and didn’t know anything about professional photography until 1985 when I met a New York City based still life photographer named Jeff Glancz. He hired me one Christmas season to deliver gifts to his clients. At the time, I was studying electrical engineering at New York Institute of Technology but when Jeff started calling me to assist him on jobs at his NYC studio, I would cut class to work for him.

Summer break came, and he was looking for a full-time assistant. I agreed to work the summer and then go back to school when fall came around. But I never went back. I had found my calling: shooting 4x5, processing black and white film, and printing. This is where I wanted to be. I worked for Jeff for about a year when he told me I need to finish my education. I got a scholarship to Parsons (School of Design in NYC) in1986 and returned to school.

During and after Parsons I worked for a wide range of photographers in advertising, catalog, fashion, location, portrait and travel. I did it all, and travelled the world on assisting gigs. I learned things during this time that I still use in my work. It was an amazing experience! I learned how people worked business wise as well as photographically. I think that assisting pros is where I got my real education in photography.

I assisted for about 5 years with a 3-year transition period. Then my first big job came in. I did the 1995 Pfizer annual report. It was a global book with locations spanning the globe including Milan, London, Johannesburg, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong, Tokyo and a number of locations in the U.S.

When I first started as a pro, I did product photography for magazines like Martha Stewart Living, This Old House, GQ, and others. After a while I realized that I was not cut out for product photography. I am too impatient, and I liked being out of the studio. So I started doing more portraiture, and chasing down portraiture work.

Tell us about your current work.

The circle of life continues with the birth of babies despite the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Right now my work is a blend of commercial, and humanitarian projects. I create photo libraries for my corporate clients such as Abbott, Pfizer, and Samsung, just to name a few. These assignments can be anything from lifestyle, portraits or industrial shoots. For example, one day I might be making pictures to illustrate middle class lifestyle in India; another day, I’ll photograph people working in a production plant.

An important part of my work is photography that illustrates CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) efforts of large corporations around the world. This is how I got started in humanitarian work. Companies want to document the support they give to NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) so they hire me to work with these non-profit groups. Once I connect with the NGO, we develop a relationship, which allows me to work for them directly.

'It’s tough work... But that’s just a minor inconvenience compared to what the people who lived through the disaster have endured.'

The work I do for organizations like Americares, Direct Relief, and Project Hope, for example, varies from in-depth still or video stories on their humanitarian projects or documenting emergency relief operations such as those after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, or the earthquake in Nepal. When documenting relief operations, I’ll fly in with the first people on the ground. It’s tough work—rough sleeping, bathing out of a bucket, low quality food, no electricity, etc. But that’s just a minor inconvenience compared to what the people who lived through the disaster have endured.

I also work with much smaller organizations as personal projects. These small organizations need quality images and video in order to help with fundraising, so it’s a good thing to do. Sometimes my expenses are paid or I tack it on to a paid project in the same country or close by. It’s one of my ways of giving back.

What equipment do you usually bring with you? Any tips for traveling overseas?

On his way to the day’s location in rural Shirdi India, this young man swinging from the vines of a banyan tree caught Vazquez’s eye. Captured with a Sony a7R II and a 24-70mm F4 lens.

If I have to just do still photos, and I don’t have to be dragging my gear through a jungle, I bring my Canon 5D Mark III with a variety of lenses, and accessories. I like working with the Canon 5D Mark III – it’s responsive and tough.

If I have to keep a low profile or do a combo of stills and video, I use my Sony A7R with a variety of lenses. The Sonys are great for keeping a low profile – they are small, lightweight, and less obtrusive. People get relaxed faster when you don’t have a huge machine with you. I also like the Sony a7S and the Sony a7R II for video because of the features and the dedicated accessories that help make the process easier for a one-man show, particularly for sound.

One of the things I am in love with at the moment is the DJI Osmo RAW. One of my biggest problems is getting usable video when working handheld, and when things are moving fast. The DJI is great for following people, shooting from a car and for grab shots. I end up with much more, and better, footage with the DJI and it still allows me to shoot loose.

I work alone in most of my projects, so I try to travel light. Sometimes I am able to get a local person to help carry gear but most of the time I’m on my own. Also, what I bring depends on the nature of what I need to accomplish. I usually try to keep it to one bag of gear with some additional items such as tripods, etc. that I carry in my suitcase. If I am working in an urban environment, I use a rollercase. If I’m going to be out in the countryside, I use a backpack. I have a mix of Thinktank and Tenba bags. Sometimes I use belt packs from Thinktank and leave the backpack in the car. When I start photographing, I’ll put my bag down and walk away from it when the action moves on, so I need to keep my gear attached to me.

'There is always something new
to make life difficult.'

One of the issues I am facing these days is that airlines are really cracking down on the size and the weight of carry-ons, particularly on short hops within a country like India. So I use a photo vest that I pack full of gear to make sure the bag weighs as little as possible. I’ll sometimes use the photo vest when I’m forced to check in bags or I’ll use a backpack that fits in a Pelican case, and check that in.

I’m really excited about my upcoming trip to Nepal. However, I’m am not excited about what I have to do to deal with that electronics ban when traveling through the UAE. There is always something new to make life difficult.

I tend to fly though one of the UAE countries on most trips east, to Asia and Africa. They have the best fights to those places and good prices. I always carry my gear with me on the plane. But now with the restrictions banning electronics larger than the size of a cellphone on the way back, I have to pack my cameras in a Pelican 1510 case to carry on board, take a backpack in my suitcase to carry the gear when I work, then pack it back in the Pelican and check it in.

As for backup drives I invested in Samsung 1TB T3 SSD drives that are half the size of an iPhone so I can carry them on the plane with me. I’ll bring a smaller Macbook so I can pack more essential equipment. I usually don’t need a powerful laptop on the road – just something to copy files. If I have to process a few files, I can do that, too. At the end of the day, I just need is to make sure my images stay with me. Cameras can be replaced.

At this point, though, the bigger issue is the uncertainty of it all. What about batteries? Can I take them? Which ones? The list goes on and on. It’s about being prepared for whatever is thrown at you but, at this point, there’s little real information out there.

One of your favorite assignments in 2015 was documenting the rebuilding efforts after the earthquake in Nepal. Tell us a little about that experience.

Crammed into a tiny hut without electricity in Nepal waiting for a storm to pass, people turned on the lights on their cell phones so Vazquez had enough light to take pictures.

Nepal is one of my favorite places to visit. It’s stunningly beautiful and the people are very friendly and open. I have traveled there many times on assignment and for personal projects and I have a deep love for the place, and its people.

I went there right after the devastating earthquake in 2015. Seeing how the Nepalis were able to overcome something really traumatic, and still take the time to stop what they were doing to offer me hospitality, is something that will stay with me forever. I remember traveling with Americares up in the mountains to visit some people who were hurt and a freak storm rolled in. We had to take cover in the patients’ home. It was five of us and what felt like half the village crammed into their tiny hut.

It was pitch black in the hut and as I contemplated how I was going to photograph in the dark, someone turned on their cell phone light, then another, and another. I had lighting! Tea was served as we sat together waiting out the storm. Despite the hardships the people endured, they still thought of me. It was a magical moment.

How do you prepare for overseas humanitarian assignments?

“In the mountains of Nepal,” says Vazquez, “you are always climbing up or climbing down.” When he offered his hand to help the woman behind him—one of a group of social workers for Americares—she laughed and reminded him, “we are mountain women.” After thinking about it for a minute, Vazquez realizes “She could probably carry me up and down that hill—in sandals, no less!”

Anytime I am going anywhere I always do research on who I am working with, and where I need to go. It is important to have a sense of the geography I will be traveling through so I can gauge how far out in the woods I will be, travel times, etc. Plus it’s important to get to know who I’ll be working with on the ground.

I also look into the types of places I will be staying at so I know if I need to bring any specialized gear. Things like battery packs, solar battery chargers, a hammock, sleep sack, satellite phone, GPS tracker, water purifier, lighting, mosquito netting, what type of footwear, medicines – the list goes on and on.

I am my own best travel agent. I have a good grasp of geography, I know the airlines I like to travel on, and the places I don’t want to get stuck in. I organize my travel to and from places and take care of some hotel reservations. If I am going to be way out in the field, the local NGO I am working with handles the local logistics, like accommodations, and transport or I may hire a fixer to help me with translation and getting around.

'If all else fails… Google Translate!'

When working with the NGOs they have people on the ground who know where things are, as well as speak the local language. But speaking even a few words of the local language goes a long way. I speak Spanish so when I was in the Dominican Republic after Hurricane Matthew, I was treated like family. In Nepal, many of the younger generation speak English, so you can always find someone to communicate with. Once you have done lots of traveling, it gets easier figuring out what people are trying to say. If all else fails… Google Translate!

I do use a travel agent when it comes to booking multiple cities and airlines. It makes it easier and if you run into problems, you have someone to reach out to. All I have to do is email my travel agent and she takes care of it. Try doing that with Expedia.

What’s a typical day like when covering a humanitarian assignment?

One of the first people on the ground after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Vazquez photographed these massive ships that were forced ashore during the storm.

Working on humanitarian assignments usually means really long days. Get up early and go for a long ride in a beat up car, in the heat with no air conditioning on a bad road. I get up early, eat whatever there is for breakfast, and get on the road. I always make sure I bring plenty of water and something to eat for the day. Most undeveloped places or places in crisis won’t have any food or water to buy.

'...I sometimes have to put my camera down and lend a hand'

Then you make your stops at whatever the story is about. In my case it’s usually clinics or temporary places set up to distribute food and medicine with lots of people needing help—whether it’s food, or medical care. It’s amazing how overwhelming it can be. So much so that I sometimes have to put my camera down and lend a hand in unloading a truck, opening boxes, and handing out food. Then you get back to wherever you’re staying, clean up, eat, download cards, back images up, check out the day’s work, upload to my social media channels (if there’s an internet connection), then plan for the next day.

I have stayed in everything from a tent, to a home with a tarp over it, slept in a truck, slept in a communal room with lots of beds, and snoring people—again, minor inconveniences compared to those who have lived through a disaster. In the course of day I can see a baby being born in a tent, ride in an ambulance with someone in distress, witness an operation, and everything in between.

You meet a lot of people on your assignments. Do you stay in touch with some of the locals that you meet?

These schoolboys were more than happy to smile for Vazquez’s camera when he was on assignment in India.

One of the best things about what I do is meeting people. I do my best to stay in touch with them. Facebook makes it much easier, in some cases. There are many times I end up coming back to a country for a different assignment, and I make it a point to see the people I’ve met before.

When on assignment I usually spend a lot of days with the same people. We are together 24/7, eating together, traveling together, drinking together, laughing together and hanging out together. Much of what is experienced on some of these assignments is very emotionally charged, so we often form a tight bond.

I photographed a young woman in India, and her photo was used for the cover of the publication I was working for. The next year I returned and I saw her again, and I had some copies of the publication. She was so amazed she was speechless. She was so thrilled that she showed the magazine to everyone in sight. That’s one of the reasons I do what I do. That my work can perhaps inspire that type of response.

Also, I make it my business to get to know the people I am working with, which also helps for future opportunities in working together.

What are some of the challenges when working in remote locations? How do you overcome those challenges?

Ongoing humanitarian missions include the donation and distribution of medicine. Here, horsemen prepare to escort dignitaries celebrating the 100 millionth dose of antibiotics to reach the population of Ethiopia’s Amhara Region to combat malaria and trachoma (a disease that leads to blindness).

Working in remote locations is tough for many reasons. If you forgot something or a piece of critical gear breaks, you can't get a replacement. You’d better be a flexible eater, too, because bush meat stew can be all there is to eat for days. If you get sick, you should be prepared with any medications you may need, because there is no medicine.

'...with a multitool and duct tape you can fix
almost anything'

There will probably be no internet or even cell phone service. I have a satellite phone that I use for emergencies, and a satellite GPS tracker that I can send messages with so my wife knows where I am. Be prepared for no electricity too, but I have battery packs that I can charge with the sun or in a car. And, with a multitool and duct tape you can fix almost anything.

At the end of the day research where you are going, think of what the challenges will be, ask anyone you know for firsthand advice, invest in having the right gear, make sure you have all the insurances you need like evacuation insurance, and think carefully about what you are taking. If you take too much, getting around is a problem. If you don’t bring enough, you may not have what you need to get the job done. It’s all about bringing the right stuff.

You taught yourself how to shoot and edit video about 4-5 years ago. How often do you add video to your assignments?

Whether he’s shooting stills or video, Vazquez will put his cameras down to help distribute supplies when needed.

Almost all my assignments right now include B-roll in addition to stills, and sometimes more involved video work. I have tried different cameras, and setups but I prefer the Sony A7 series cameras because they do great video, are great still cameras, have advanced features, and have accessories that can make things work together instead of having to Frankenstein them together. I work by myself with lots of distractions going on, so I need to just have one button to push to make everything work.

Last year you did the Rickshaw Run to raise money for orphanages in India and Nepal. What’s your fundraising project for this year?

To raise money for orphanages in India and Nepal, Vazquez and fellow photographer Greg Kinch did a “Rickshaw Run” for more than 2500 miles through India in this colorful but cramped auto rickshaw. Getting stuck in the mud, dealing with burned out pistons and a carburetor that needed regular disassembly and cleaning were part of the adventure.

In my assignment work, I see so many great organizations and people that need support. I always want to do more. So besides providing free photography and communications advice I fundraise. I found the best way to fundraise is to do something that people will pay attention to. It's been working. I also couple it with personal challenges that I want to do, and to inspire me.

My life revolves around my photography work so I have to constantly feed it with investment and inspiration. I feel that is what keeps my work relevant these days. Being able to combine my adventures to help people less fortunate makes it perfect.

Last year I did the Rickshaw Run. Fellow photographer Greg Kinch and I decided to drive an auto rickshaw (also known in some countries as a Tuk Tuk), 2500 miles through India to fundraise for an orphanage in India and an orphanage in Nepal, including Kids of Kathmandu. It was an amazing thing to do. It was tough, but a great personal achievement, and we raised about $5,000 – money that goes a very long way in that part of the world.

This year I am trekking to Everest Base Camp and taking a group of people who will also fundraise for the education fund of Kids of Kathmandu. The organization does amazing work in Nepal—they support an orphanage and rebuild schools up in the mountains that were damaged by the earthquake. All donations go straight to the organization and are tax deductible.

We’ll also be stopping at schools along the route to deliver solar powered lights donated to Kids of Kathmandu by Mpowerd. Electricity is scarce in this part of the world and kids often can’t read or study after the sun goes down, so these lights will help tremendously.

Categories: Photo News

Analog gems: 10 excellent, affordable film cameras

Sat, 05/20/2017 - 03:00
Affordable analog

Battles rage over whether digital or analog is the better medium. But those shouting on both sides are missing out on the simple truth that the two compliment each other beautifully.

With digital photography, there is an ability and sometimes a desire to achieve something precise, while happy surprises can be a big part of the analog draw. Keen photographers realize that shooting with both mediums keeps one creatively-focused and balanced: aware that perfection exists, but open to creative serendipity. Moreover, film gives the user a chance to slow down and be decisive, and digital allows the user to quickly see results and learn.

Of course, many of the readers of our site are digital diehards. But let's pretend for a moment that we've convinced you to dabble a bit in analog. What would be a good camera to run a roll through? What follows is a list of 10 cameras, all of which are easy to find, technically capable, and reasonably priced. These are cameras known for holding up mechanically and don't require obscure or discontinued batteries, like mercury cells.

Of course, this list is far from complete – there are many excellent film cameras available that fit our criteria. Which is why we'll be looking to add more periodically. So if there are any you feel particularly strongly about, let us know in the comments. Happy shooting!

Canon AE-1

History: The Canon AE-1 was produced from 1976-1984 and in that time more than a million units were sold. One of the first affordable SLRs on the market to feature TTL auto exposure metering, the AE-1 was also the first SLR to use a microprocessor. It is constructed mostly of injection molded plastic to keep costs down. However, this leads to a comparably lighter body than most metal SLRs of the day.

'From 1976-1984...more than a million units were sold.'

Why we like it: This camera is a solid choice for beginners, offering both a shutter priority and a manual mode (though sadly no aperture priority mode). Metering tends to be accurate and the camera can be powered by a variety of common drugstore batteries. Canon FD lenses are cheap and readily available for the system.

Buy one: These cameras are extremely easy to come across in working order for under $100. If buying on eBay, you can often pick up an AE-1 with a bunch of FD lenses and other accessories for about the same price as the body.

Also consider: The Canon AE-1 Program (shown above). The Program was released in 1981 is the follow up to the original AE-1. It is largely the same camera, except for the inclusion of a Program auto exposure mode that sets both shutter speed and aperture.

Pentax K1000

History: The Pentax K1000 first debuted in 1976 (same year as the Canon AE-1) and was manufactured continuously for just over two decades. The body is made mostly of metal and the camera is fully mechanical in operation (there is no auto mode). The K1000 has a built-in light meter that runs on generic drugstore camera batteries. Just remember to put the lens cap on to avoid draining the charge!

Why we like it: The K1000 represents a very different approach to the amateur SLR market than the Canon AE-1. Both are great cameras with redeeming qualities, but we really appreciate the Pentax's mechanical design, which means it can be operated without batteries (unlike the Canon). And due to its metal build, K1000's tend to stand the test of time quite well. In short, these cameras have a reputation for being simple, but reliable – great for beginners or purists. And there is also a ton of great glass to be had for the system.

'We really appreciate the Pentax's mechanical design, which means it can be operated without batteries.'

Buy one: Not only are these cameras built to last, they were made non-stop for 21 years! So it comes as no surprise that they are easy to find used. Expect to pay between $50-$175 for one on eBay, depending on the condition. Snagging a deal that includes the body and some Pentax glass is not super likely, but also not impossible. Some collectors claim the bodies with "Asahi" on the prism are more reliable - as they are older and supposedly use fewer plastic components internally - something to keep in mind.

Photo credit: John Kratz

Olympus XA

History:  The Olympus XA is one of the smallest 35mm rangefinder cameras ever made. Sold from 1979 to 1985, this camera manages to tuck a very sharp Zuiko 35mm F2.8 lens (with a 4-blade aperture) behind a protective sliding door. The camera is aperture priority-only, however there is a +1.5 Exp. comp. lever on the bottom of the body. The camera itself is built mostly of plastic, but still feels dense in hand.

Why we like it: There's a lot to like about this tiny rangefinder: It's incredibly quiet, the lens is sharp and the metering is good. It also represents one of the most unusual camera designs of its time. The focusing lever is admittedly a bit small and fiddly, but the focus depth scale makes things a bit easier.

'The Olympus XA is one of the smallest 35mm rangefinder cameras ever made.'

Buy one: It's pretty easy to find this camera sold alongside its original accessory flash (which mounts on the side of the body). Expect to pay between $50-150 for one in working order, with or without the flash. A note of caution: sometimes these turn up in seemingly working order, but with a dead light meter (bad news for an aperture priority-only camera).

Also consider: The Olympus XA2. It is essentially a simplified version of the XA, but with a 35mm F3.5 lens and zone focusing. Some people find the XA2 easier for casual pointing and shooting.

Mamiya M645

History: The Mamiya M645 was the company's first 6 x 4.5 format SLR-style camera and was manufactured from 1975-1987. It uses an electronic focal plane shutter and features an interchangeable finder and focus screen, but not interchangeable film backs. The camera uses a generic 6 volt camera battery. There are several different versions available including the M645 1000 and the budget-friendly M645J.

Why we like it: These are beautiful cameras both to hold and to operate. Not only that, they are also mechanically reliable. And while there are more feature-packed 6 x 4.5 cameras on the market (including many from Mamiya), few are as affordable as the original M645.

'There are more feature-packed 6 x 4.5 cameras on the market, but few are as affordable or reliable as the original M645.'

Buy one: These cameras are easy to find in working order. You can expect to pick one up on eBay, with a lens, for between $250-350. Note: the M645J model (shown in the image above) is a stripped down version of the M645 for slightly less cash (it has a limited shutter speed range, no mirror lock-up, and one shutter release as opposed to two).

Nikon L35AF

History: Introduced in 1983, the L35AF was Nikon's first compact with autofocus capability. Its sharp 35mm F2.8 lens and simple design led it to become a marketplace hit. The camera is fully automatic, but does have a +2EV exposure compensation lever on the front of the body. The metering cell is located directly below the lens and the camera can accept filters. It also has a built-in pop-up flash.

Why we like it: At first glance, the L35AF looks like a cheap, plastic camera. But looks are deceiving. This camera is in fact a gem (the body is actually metal with a plastic shell). As mentioned, the lens is sharp, and metering is accurate. AF is also surprisingly accurate. Plus, the camera is powered by two generic AA batteries. Technically-speaking, this is an outstanding film point and shoot. The only down side is the camera is a tad chunky.

'The L35AF looks like a cheap, plastic camera. But looks are deceiving because this camera is in fact a gem.'

Buy one: You can expect to pay between $60-150 for one of these cameras, in working order, on eBay. However the L35AF often turns up in thrift store bins and at rummage sales. Spend a little time hunting and you might find one for under $10. There is also the Nikon L35AD, which is the same camera as the L35AF, but with an autodate function.

Minolta Hi-Matic AF2

History: The Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 first debuted in 1981 and is a fully-automatic fixed lens compact, with the exception of its manual film advanced/rewind (weird, we know). The camera has a fairly sharp 38mm F2.8 lens. And like the Nikon L35AF, the camera's meter is located directly below the front element, which also accepts filters. The camera runs on two AA batteries and offers a pop-up flash.

Why we like it: There are affordable film cameras, and there is the Hi-Matic AF2. In terms of lens sharpness-to-price ratio, this camera is hard to beat. And while there is no exposure compensation lever as you'll find on other fixed lens compacts of its time, the camera will warn you if there is not enough light or if a subject is too close. It does this by emitting an irritating beep. It's plasticky, light weight and a lot of fun to shoot with.

'There are affordable film cameras, and there is the Hi-Matic AF2. In terms of lens sharpness to price ratio, this camera is hard to beat.'

Buy one: These camera can be purchased in working order for between $10-35 on eBay. And if you are really turned off by the manual film advanced, consider the Minolta Hi-Matic AF2-M instead. It's the same camera, but with a motorized film advanced.

Photo credit: Jonathan Mauer

Olympus Stylus Epic

History: The Stylus Epic or Mju II, as it was called in European and Asian markets, is a fully automatic, weatherproof compact camera that debuted in 1997. Like the Olympus XA, the Stylus Epic features a sliding door to protect the lens – it also doubles as an on/off switch. These cameras are revered for their sharp 35mm F2.8 lens, good autofocus and compact design. Plus the camera is powered by a long-lasting and easily obtainable lithium battery.

Why we like it: There's a lot to like about the Olympus Stylus Epic. While not everyone is a fan of the camera's odd, rounded design, this writer finds it fits perfectly in a back pocket. This, plus its weather-sealing make it a great take-everywhere-camera. Also, the flash starts charging as soon as the cover is opened, meaning it should be ready to go when it comes time to photograph a decisive moment.

'These cameras are revered for their sharp 35mm F2.8 lens, good autofocus and compact design.'

Buy one: These cameras are a cult classic and can be a tad tricky to acquire. This is partly due to the fact that Olympus made numerous compacts under the 'Stylus' and 'mju' names. However the Stylus Epic/Mju II is optically the best and therefore the most coveted. You can generally find one for between $150 and $250 on eBay - not bad for a camera originally marketed as a budget compact.

Nikon N90s

History: The N90s, also know as the Nikon F90x in Europe, first debuted in 1994 and was manufactured until 2001. Geared toward advanced amateurs, this camera sounds quite advanced on paper, for a film SLR. Features like 3D Matrix metering, a top plate LCD, 4.1 fps continuous shooting in AF-C and a 1/8000 sec max shutter speed sound like digital camera specs. But don't get too ahead of yourself, it has only a single AF point and AF performance does not compare to that of modern DSLRs. Still the camera is quite capable. And it runs on four ubiquitous AA batteries, which is a plus.

Why we like it: The turn of the century was an interesting time for camera makers: as consumers slowly began to shift from film to digital, a lot of advanced film cameras debuted at a time when the market was drying up. In a sense, the N90s offers nearly the same feel and handling of a modern Nikon DSLR in a film SLR body. If you're a Nikon digital shooter, there's simply no reason not to pick one of these up just to try. They are fantastic. 

'The N90s offers nearly the same feel and handling of a modern Nikon DSLR, in a film SLR body.'

Buy one: It's kind of crazy how cheap these cameras can be had. On eBay, expect to pay between $40-$120. Plus, they are easy to find in working order because of how recently they were manufactured. Just don't expect to find a sweet deal on one with with a lens included. Oh and be aware, the rubberized coating on the body can become unpleasantly sticky with age, especially if the camera was stored in a warm environment.

Photo credit: Amydet at English Wikipedia

Minolta X-700

History: At the time of its release in 1981, the X700 was Minolta's top tier manual focus camera. A market success, it was manufactured continually until 1999 and was also the final manual focus SLR the company made.  Stand-out features include TTL flash metering, a bright viewfinder and multiple auto exposure modes. Like the Canon AE-1, the body is made mostly of plastic, which keeps the weight (and manufacturing cost) down. It uses generic drugstore camera batteries.

Why we like it: The X-700 offers both Program auto exposure and Aperture Priority modes as well as full manual mode, making it a good choice for those learning. Plus, Minolta glass is fairly easy to come by on the cheap for this system.

'The X-700 offers both Program auto exposure...as well as full manual mode, making it a good choice for those learning.'

Buy one: You can expect to pay between $75 - $150 on eBay for one of these cameras with a lens. And like the Canon AE-1, it's pretty easy to come across a bundle with camera, extra glass and accessories for around the same price as a single camera and lens. 

Photo credit: Retired Electrician

Canon EOS 5

History: The Canon EOS 5, also sold as the EOS A2 in some markets, is a semi-professional SLR manufactured starting in 1992 and discontinued around the turn of the century. It uses Canon's latest EF mount, first introduced in 1987. The camera features 16 zone evaluative metering and offers a top burst rate with AF, of 3 fps (5 fps in one shot mode). Other standout features include 5 selectable autofocus points as well as the very first iteration of Canon's infamous eye-controlled focus. The body is powered by a single 2CR5 lithium battery. These batteries can be a tad pricey, but they're easy enough to find online. 

Why we like it: High and mid-range SLRs from the 90's are strange beasts: retro in format, while offering some modern-DSLR features. The EOS 5 is a great example of this: it's highly capable despite its lack of a sensor. Canon diehards can learn a lot about of the lineage of their modern DSLRs by spending some time with the EOS 5.

'Canon diehards can learn a lot about of the lineage of their modern DSLRs by spending some time with the EOS 5.'

Buy one: No need to break the bank. You can pick up one of these cameras body-only for between $30 - $100 on eBay. But because they use the modern Canon EF mount, picking one up with a decent lens is going to set you back considerably more.

What cameras should we add?

Is there a camera you feel strongly should be added to this list? Is it affordable, readily available and technically capable? Let us know in the comments!

Categories: Photo News

2017 Roundup: Semi-Pro Interchangeable Lens Cameras

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 14:52
What do we mean by Semi-Pro?

Within this category, you'll find some of the most capable cameras the industry has to offer. The Semi-Pro name doesn't indicate that they're below the consideration of professionals, though. Quite the opposite: it means that their price and performance makes them attractive to a range of enthusiasts, photographers who make some money from their shoots and professionals who earn their livelihood with their camera.

Due to the fuzzy line between semi-pro and pro, we've made the decision to not include very high-end full-frame (e.g. Nikon D5, Canon 1D X Mark II, Sony a9) and medium format (e.g. Pentax 645Z and Fujifilm GFX 50S) cameras in this roundup.

All of the cameras in this price range use full-frame sensors. And while most of them are DSLRs, there are also several mirrorless options as well. Simply put, there is something here to satisfy just about everyone who is willing to pony up the requisite funds. Read through to see what makes this segment so cut-throat, and what innovations are driving this tier forwards at a remarkable pace.

The models covered in this roundup are:

Read on to see which cameras we chose as best-in-class!

Categories: Photo News

Canon EOS 7D Mark II firmware 1.1.1 removed over communication bug

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 11:39

Canon has revoked firmware version 1.1.1 for the EOS 7D Mark II, citing a communication bug that appears when using Wi-Fi Adapter W-E1. The firmware was released on April 27 and brought with it a couple of enhancements and bug fixes, including improved communications reliability with the Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7 B. Unfortunately, 7D cameras updated with the latest firmware from v1.0.5 or earlier aren't able to shoot remotely with the related Camera Connect App.

According to Canon, there are two exceptions to the issue, with the first being that cameras updated from firmware 1.1.0 to 1.1.1 won't experience the bug, nor will cameras that were sold with firmware 1.1.1 already installed. Other cameras, however, must be rolled back to firmware 1.1.0 to remove the bug until a corrected update is released in early June. Canon has re-released firmware 1.1.0 for download.

Via: CanonRumors

Categories: Photo News

Impossible Project launches special edition Two-Tone B&W Polaroid 600 camera

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 11:16

Impossible Project has announced the launch of a 'strictly limited edition' Two-Tone Black and White Polaroid 600 camera. This camera is a refurbished original Polaroid 600 redesigned with a custom two-tone paint job, according to the company, and it is exclusively available via the Impossible Project website.

In describing its new Polaroid 600 special edition camera, Impossible Project explains, 'The new camera celebrates the work of the photographers and artists who have perfected the monochrome palettes - names like Robert Longo, Ansel Adams and Eva Rothschild.' The new model is priced at $179; it isn't clear how many units are available.

Via: PhotographyBLOG

Categories: Photo News

Nikon reshuffles management structure

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 11:01

Nikon Corporation announced today the reorganization of its corporate structure. Nikon's Core Technology Division will be closed and replaced by Research & Development Division and Production Technology divisions. As you'd expect, the former is dedicated to research and development, the latter integrates the functions of group production strategy planning and production technology development. The objective of this move is to clarify functions and responsibilities and enhance the efficiency of the production system.

In addition Nikon is integrating its Medical Business Development Division and Microscope Solutions Business Unit to form a new Healthcare Business Unit with the goal to create business synergies. 

The Japanese company has also decided to close its Business Support Division and distribute its functions across other divisions. By doing so, Nikon is hoping to optimize functions such as procurement, engineering and logistics, as well as quality- and environmental-management.

New organization: Nikon announces reorganization of corporate structure

May 19, 2017

Nikon Corporation (Kazuo Ushida, President, Tokyo) announced today the reorganization of its corporate structure as outlined below, scheduled for June 29, 2017.

The Core Technology Division is to be closed, establishing the Research & Development Division and the Production Technology Division

Nikon has decided to close the Core Technology Division and establish the Research & Development Division which dedicates to research and development, and the Production Technology Division which integrates the functions of group production strategy planning and production technology development, etc.
With this change, Nikon reorganizes the corporate structure in a way that clarifies functions and responsibilities in order to revitalize the group-wide research and development structure and enhance the efficiency of the production system.

Establishing the Healthcare Business Unit

Nikon is integrating the Medical Business Development Division and Microscope Solutions Business Unit, to establish a new Healthcare Business Unit. This will enable the company to integrate/optimize organizations and functions rapidly, creating business synergy.
Nikon will boost existing businesses and accelerate creation/nurturing of new businesses in the healthcare, medical and biological fields, which are anticipated to grow in the future.

Closing the Business Support Division

To optimize group-common functions regarding procurement, engineering and logistics, as well as quality- and environmental-management, Nikon has decided to close the Business Support Division and relocate each function formerly handled by it.

Categories: Photo News

Olympus cleans up at Camera Grand Prix 2017

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 09:55

The Japanese Camera Journal Press Club has awarded Olympus three out of its four annual prizes after voting by photographic magazine editors and readers. The Olympus OM-D E-M1 ll came away with both the Camera of the Year award and the Readers award, while the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO won Lens of the Year.

The club, which was established in 1963, has ten member magazines and websites that each test and review camera equipment. The members come together with affiliated magazines to determine the best products released during the period between April and March each year. This year the OM-D E-M 1 ll attracted attention for its high speed AF system and frame rates that exceed those achievable by even top-end DSLR cameras.

Olympus didn’t wipe the board entirely though, as the Editor’s Award went to the Nikon D500 for its professional AF system and modest price, and the Fujifilm GFX 50S for its resolution and handling as well as for popularizing medium-format again.

For more information and to read why each of the products was awarded see the Camera Journal Press Club of Japan website.

Camera GP Japan information

Camera Grand Prix 2017 / CJPC

Camera Grand Prix is held by Camera Journal Press Club (CJPC, Japan), a group of representatives from magazines or websites specializing in photos and cameras. CJPC, established in September 1963, has 10 members from the media as of April 2017. The selection committee, organized under the auspices of CJPC’s Camera Grand Prix Executive Committee, deliberates and selects the best products to give the four awards from among those introduced into the market during the previous fiscal year (from April 1 to March 31).

Camera Grand Prix “Camera of the Year” is granted to a still camera recognized as the best of all released during the period. “Lens of the Year” is awarded to the best lens launched in the Japanese market, while “Readers Award” is determined by general camera users’ vote on a dedicated website. (The voting period in 2017 was from March 18 to April 9.) In addition, CJPC members give “Editors Award” to a camera or another form of photography-related product, excluding the one awarded “Camera of the Year”, in consideration for the product’s popularity, topicality, and innovativeness.

Camera of The Year
The award went to the OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 Mark II
(production company : Olympus Corporation.)

Lens of The Year
The award went to the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO
(production company : Olympus Corporation.)

Readers Award
The Readers Award went to the OM-D E-M1 Mark II (production company : Olympus Corporation.). The award was stablished in 2008, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Camera Grand Prix. The winner is selected by general readers' votes.

Editors Award
As the result of a conference of C.J.P.C. members, the D500 (production company : Nikon Corporation,) and the GFX 50S(production company : Fujifilm Corporation.) were selected for Editors Award.

Categories: Photo News

Video: is the Canon EOS M6 good for vlogging?

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 01:00
  The Canon EOS M6 features 1080/60p video capture, Dual Pixel AF, a selfie screen and lens-based IS. All of this adds up to what seems like an appealing package for vloggers. But is it? To find out for sure – and as part of our Canon EOS M6 review - DPReview's Carey Rose put the camera's vlogging chops to the test in a vlog about vlogging with the M6. Have a watch!    
Categories: Photo News

Video: first person view of a spacewalk, shot by an action cam

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 00:01
  There's literally nothing cooler than outer space. And getting to see a first-person view of a spacewalk, shot by an action camera, is both fascinating and exciting. The above video was taken on March 24th by ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet. It also shows NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough.

The two are shown preparing a dock and making repairs to components at the International Space Station. From the Youtube post: "The primary task was to prepare the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) for installation of the second International Docking Adapter, which will accommodate commercial crew vehicle dockings. The PMA-3 provides the pressurized interface between the station modules and the docking adapter. The pair disconnected cables and electrical connections on PMA-3 to prepare for its robotic move, which took place on Sunday, March 26. PMA-3 was be moved from the port side of the Tranquility module to the space-facing side of the Harmony module, where it will become home for the docking adapter, which will be delivered on a future flight of a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft. The spacewalkers also installed on the starboard zero truss a new computer relay box equipped with advanced software for the adapter.

The two spacewalkers lubricated the latching end effector on the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator “extension” for the Canadarm2 robotic arm, inspected a radiator valve suspected of a small ammonia leak and replaced cameras on the Japanese segment of the outpost. Radiators are used to shed excess heat that builds up through normal space station operation."
Categories: Photo News

Canon warns of defective focusing in some EF 24-105mm F4L IS II lenses

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 12:47

Canon has issued a service notice for a collection of lenses with specific serial numbers that need to be checked for faulty focusing systems. The lens affected is the EF 24-105mm F4L IS II USM standard zoom, but users are advised that only particular production batches have the problem.

Canon says that some units with serial numbers beginning with 48, 49, 50 or 51 suffer from poor focusing when used with an AF point close to the edges of the host camera’s focusing array. The fault is only apparent when the lens is used at wide-angle focal lengths.

All defective lenses will be taken back for testing and repair at no cost to the owner, the company says. The Canon website carries a service section that allows owners of the lens to type in the serial number of their lens to check whether it will need to be returned.
For more information see the Canon USA, Europe or Asia service pages, or those for your local area.

Manufacturer's information

Service Notice: EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Thank you for using Canon products.

We have determined that some EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lenses exhibit an AF operation-related malfunction. The details of the phenomenon and Canon’s service policy are described below.

We would like to offer our sincere apologies to users who have been inconvenienced by this issue. Going forward, we will spare no effort in our quality management to make sure our customers can use our products with confidence.

At the wide-angle end, focus is not achieved properly when a peripheral AF points are selected, regardless of the AF area selection mode.

Affected Lenses
If the first two digits in the serial number (see the image below) of your lens are ”48”, ”49”, ”50” or ”51”, then your lens MAY POSSIBLY be affected.

How to check if your lens is affected:
1. Click the search button below to display the serial number input screen.
2. Input your lens’ serial number (10 digits) and then click the [Submit] button.
* Please double check the serial number you entered before you click the [Submit] button.
3. One of the following three messages will be displayed.
“Your lens is NOT an affected product”?
“Your lens is an affected product”
“Invalid number”

As soon as preparations have been completed, we will inform users about the start date for accepting support requests for lenses affected by this issue.

Potentially affected products will be inspected and repaired free of charge. If you own one of the potentially affected products please contact our Customer Support Center

Categories: Photo News

A Taste of New York is a stunning Big Apple time-lapse

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 11:55

A Taste of New York is the third installment of the popular "A Taste of..." series of time-lapses by Film Spektakel. To produce this breathtaking video the team around Peter Jablonowski, Thomas Pöcksteiner, and Lorenz Pritz spent 10 days in New York in 2016, shooting 65,000 photos and accumulating 2.6TB of image data on their hard drives.

'In September 2016 we visited this awesome city to try out some new time-lapse stuff.
It took us 10 days, a lot of burgers and one helicopter ride to produce this video. 10 days is very little time to discover this city of endless opportunities, so we hardly slept anything and shot day and night for this time lapse film. The city that never sleeps indeed!'

The team used a variety of equipment including a Sony a7R II, Sony a6300 and two Canon 6Ds. The final three minute long video took 36 hours to render on a high-end Apple iMac. The stunning imagery is perfectly complemented by Alex Clement's sound design. 

Categories: Photo News

Google demos technology that scrubs objects from photographs

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 11:45

During its I/O 2017 conference yesterday, Google demonstrated a new algorithm-based technology that can remove unwanted objects from existing photographs. The demonstration showed the technology removing a chainlink fence from the foreground of an image, with the final result offering no discernible indications that the fence had ever existed (around 10:45 in the video below).

The technology was demonstrated on stage by Google's CEO Sundar Pichai during a conversation about the company's expanding visual technology. 'Coming very soon,' Pichai explained, 'if you take a picture of your daughter at a baseball game and there's something obstructing it, we can do the hard work and remove that structure and have the picture of what matters to you in front of you.'

It looks to be an evolution of the research Google and MIT have been collaborating on for some time – in fact, their demonstration from 2015 includes a very similar chain-link fence demo. This method takes advantage of the parallax effect to identify and remove obstructions from photos. 

Unfortunately, Pichai didn't elaborate on when this technology will be made available aside from 'very soon,' nor did he specify where the technology will be available. Given the company's Google Photos announcements, however, it seems likely the technology will be implemented within that product.

Via: Google

Categories: Photo News

Sony a9: all that speed appears to have dynamic range cost

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 04:00

The Sony a9 is a powerhouse of technology, particularly when it comes to speed and autofocus. But does its image quality stack up? We've taken an initial look at Raw and JPEG image quality and have come away impressed, but how does the a9 stack up in terms of dynamic range?

At the recent launch in New York City, I had a chance to shoot our standard ISO-invariance test but on a real-world scene (our studio scene isn't so portable...). Have a look at the performance below.

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It's immediately obvious the a9 is not ISO-invariant (what is 'ISO-invariance'?). This means the camera is adding a fair amount of read noise that results in noisy shadows, limiting dynamic range at base ISO. That's why, for the same focal plane exposure, performing analog amplification by increasing ISO in-camera gets you a cleaner image than performing that amplification (or brightening) in post-processing.

It's not the typical performance we've come to expect from Sony sensors and we suspect the higher readout speed is leading to greater noise. In other words, it appears this sensor was likely optimized for speed at the expense of low ISO dynamic range.

This sensor was likely optimized for speed at the expense of dynamic range

Ultimately, this limits the exposure latitude of a9 Raws so, much like with older Canon DSLRs, you'll have limited ability to expose high contrast scenes for the highlights, then tonemap* (raise) shadows in post. You can check the effect of changing the Drive mode in the widget (EFCS = electronic first curtain, S = single, C = continuous), but there's not much difference between them.

Effect of Drive mode There is little to no difference in base ISO dynamic range in different drive modes. So the good news is that the drop to 12-bit in continuous drive comes at no cost. The bad news is that the 14-bit Raws aren't any better than the 12-bit ones. Click here to load the above as a widget.

As we mentioned above, there's no difference in shadow noise as you change Drive mode. This is particularly interesting because all Single drive modes, including fully electronic, support full 14-bit Raw (we shot uncompressed). The Continuous drive modes, however, switch the sensor into a 12-bit** readout mode which, by definition, means files with no more than 12 stops of dynamic range.

This indicates that even the 14-bit Raws have at most 12 EV of dynamic range at the pixel level, placing our estimates of base ISO dynamic range almost a full stop behind the a7, and likely further behind the a7R II at equivalent viewing size (normalized).

'Dual Gain' helps improve high ISO dynamic range

In our widget up top, you may have noticed that noise suddenly starts increasing once you fall below ISO 640 (how's that for sounding completely back-to-front?). Below you'll see this more clearly: shadow noise dramatically clears up as you go from an ISO 500 image (with a 3.7 EV push) to an ISO 640 image (with 3.3 EV push):

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Things clean up at ISO 640 (as with the a7R II) because of the sensor's 'dual gain' architecture, where the camera increases the conversion gain (effectively amplification) at the pixel-level during readout, helping overcome the camera's relatively high (for a Sony design) read noise.

Above ISO 640, the camera is fairly ISO-invariant, since it's overcome most of its downstream read noise, but there's still some benefit to increasing ISO to keep noise levels low if your scene demands it. Below ISO 640, the lower conversion gain means that you'll start to see read noise if you push shadows.

Take home

The good news is that those worried about the camera dropping to 12-bit readout in continuous shooting needn't worry: there's no decrease in quality, since a 12 bit file can contain all its dynamic range. The bad news is that this is because the a9 doesn't appear to have more than 12 EV pixel-level dynamic range to begin with, putting its base ISO dynamic range well behind that of the a7R II. By high ISO, general image quality catches up as the higher downstream read noise is overcome by the sensor's (similar to the a7R II) dual gain architecture. Take a look at this ISO 51,200 comparison with the a7R II:

ISO 51,200 comparison of a7R II vs a9. Not much difference at all. In fact, normalized signal:noise ratio (SNR) measurements place the two neck-to-neck: 1.82 vs. 1.48 for the a7R II and a9 at the dark patches here, respectively. At ISO 25,600, the normalized SNR is exactly the same.

This means that if you're shooting in conditions demanding high ISO, for any given focal plane exposure you may wish to at least increase in-camera amplification to ISO 640 to get most tones above the noise floor, if your scene demands the extra amplification to get a usable image. Dropping below ISO 640 to preserve highlights, and then raising shadows afterwards, will come at a greater noise cost than, say, Sony's own a7R II.

Interestingly, this means there's little advantage to those large (47MB) uncompressed 14-bit Raw files, save for the lack of compression artifacts. In a perfect world, Sony would have offered a 12-bit Raw mode with a lossless compression curve (without that second stage of localized compression that leads to edge artifacts) for smaller file sizes with minimal loss in quality.


* There's a very specific reason I like to use the word 'tonemap' instead of 'raise the shadows'. We're forced to raise shadows of high contrast Raw files exposed for the highlights today because of the limited brightness of most current displays. Future displays capable of far higher brightnesses (perhaps even ten-fold) will need less shadow pushing, or tone-mapping, to make visible what you currently see as 'shadows' in such traditionally underexposed Raw files. For example, shadows you currently push +4 EV will likely be visible without any pushing at all on a 4,000 nit-capable display. 

** We confirmed that continuous modes were in fact 12-bit, while single modes were in fact 14-bit, by comparing histograms of respective Raw files. The 14-bit single drive files do, in fact, have 14-bits of data compared to the 12-bit files (the histogram shows the latter missing levels 1, 2, and 3, in between 0 and 4, but the 14-bit files do have pixels with these values).

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