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Updated: 17 hours 9 min ago

Google Pixel 2 trumps iPhone as 'best smartphone camera' with highest DxOMark score ever

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 12:14

It's been a couple weeks of amazing camera phone tests over at DxOMark. First the iPhone 8 Plus beat all former phones with a score of 94. Then the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 came in and earned the same overall score, beating the iPhone 8 Plus in the Photo category but falling short in Video. And now... now we have a new proper king.

After testing the brand new Google Pixel 2, DxOMark has awarded the flagship phone its highest ever marks for a smartphone camera with an overall score of 98.

As usual, you can read the full review over on DxOMark's website, where they pit the Pixel 2 against its main rivals in a few head-to-head challenges, but the overall score results can be seen below:

In the Photo category, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is still the best phone out there, besting the Google Pixel 2's score of 99 by a single point. But when it comes to video, the Pixel 2 is totally and completely unmatched. Its Video score of 96 makes Samsung's paltry 84 seem a bit weak, and even Apple's respectable 89 is nowhere close.

Ahead of doing our own tests with these phones, we've been looking closely at the results in the DxOMark tests, and we are very intrigued to say the least. Some of the numbers themselves are rather subjective, and we don't entirely agree with DxO's assessment in every category.

For example, in their outdoor bokeh comparison, the new Pixel 2 fares the worst:

Google Pixel (original) Portrait mode: 5MP sRGB JPEG.

The original Pixel simulated lens blur well (note the circular appearance of out-of-focus highlights), but did so at a resolution cost (you only got 5MP files). You also had to move the camera upward while taking the photo - problematic for moving subjects. There are artifacts present if you look closely.

Google Pixel 2 Portrait Mode: 12MP sRGB JPEG.

The new Pixel 2 fares the worst in this comparison, with multiple aritfacts throughout the image. At least it's instantaneous (no need to move camera) and a full 12MP now though. Hopefully Portrait mode fares better in other situations.

iPhone 8 Plus Portrait Mode: 12MP DCI-P3 HEIF (10-bit).

The iPhone 8 Plus uses dual cameras to create the most artifact-free blur. It's more Gaussian in nature than like a true lens blur (whichthe original Pixel simulated quite well). It's also worth noting Apple is encoding images in higher bit-depth wider color space using the High Efficiency Image Format.

Something else overlooked by the DXO assessment: Apple now saves images in a new image format: HEIF, which allows for a wider color gamut (DCI-P3) and higher bit-depth (10-bit). That means the potential for more vivid images with less posterization compared to the conventional 8-bit sRGB JPEGs even the new Pixel phones (and most phones / cameras) continue to use today. In fact, even some of the colors in the iPhone 8 Plus image above are outside of the sRGB color space. Point: Apple.

Another point of contention we have: the sometimes overly tonemapped (flat) images HDR+ renders may or may not suit your taste. The Pixel 2 vs. HTC U11 high contrast scene demonstration shows the Pixel 2 preserving more overall detail in shadows and highlights, but doing so at the cost of global contrast. With the display capabilities of wide gamut, high brightness/contrast OLED displays that are technically capable of HDR display, that may not always be the optimal result. The iPhone X will likely be first device to show how good photos can look when you pair HDR capture with HDR display. We're a bit disappointed that Google didn't even mention HDR display, despite the devices' displays clearly being capable of it.

Still, DxOMark's conclusion doesn't skimp on the superlatives... except that they're running out of them:

We’re in danger of running out of superlatives when describing the major image quality attributes of the Google Pixel 2. That makes sense for a device that tops our scoring charts —up from the 94 of the Apple iPhone 8 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 to a record-setting 98. So for just about any Photo or Video " href="https://www.dxomark.com/glossary/use-case/">use case, it recommends itself as the phone camera with the best image quality.

To read the full review for yourself, head over to the DxOMark website by clicking here.

Categories: Photo News

Here's Google's impressive OIS + EIS video stabilization demonstrated

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:47

Optical image stabilization is a welcome update in the Google Pixel 2, but what's really impressive is that it can be used in tandem with electronic stabilization in video mode. If Google's demo at its launch event today is any indication, it's pretty darn effective and makes for super smooth clips that look like they were shot with a steadicam. While we've seen this in the traditional camera space in 1"-type compacts from Sony and Canon, as well as ILCs like the Canon M5 and Olympus E-M1 II, it's a first for smartphones.

We got a chance to see this same video in person; it was certainly impressive. We're eager to give it a try ourselves when we get our hands on a review unit.

Categories: Photo News

Google unveils Pixel 2 phones: Adds OIS, Dual Pixel powered Portrait Mode and more

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:32

Ever since the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X were announced, we've been waiting for Google's response. When the original Google Pixel came out, it quickly became one of the most raved about smartphone cameras in the world... would the Pixel 2 follow suit? The short answer, at least according to Google, is yes.

Just this morning, we sat down in the SF Jazz Center and, after an hour of other updates, Google finally unveiled the 5-inch Pixel 2 and 6-inch Pixel 2 XL.

The new phones house a 12.2MP sensor with 1.4um pixels, Dual Pixel phase detect autofocus and an F1.8 lens on the back, and an 8MP camera with 1.4um pixels, fixed focus and an F2.7 lens on the front. Video specs for the rear camera max out at 4K 30fps while the front camera can do up to 1080p at 30fps.

As we hoped, the whole phone is encased in an IP67 water and dust resistant aluminum unibody, and is powered by the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor.

More impressive than the base specs are how Google uses its hardware in concert with software and machine learning technology to deliver a better photography and video experience.

Instead of opting for a dual camera on the back of the phone, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL uses just one camera, and combines this with Dual Pixel technology and computational photography to create the now-ubiquitous fake bokeh Portrait Mode effect. And since stabilization is incredibly important, they've worked out how to use both optical and electronic image stabilization at the same time when you're shooting video, which should deliver incredibly smooth footage. (more on that from San Francisco shortly...)

Unfortunately, in our brief time with the cameras so far, we discovered that Portrait mode is still not rendered live on either camera... it seems there are downsides to using a single camera instead of a dual cam setup.

Finally, no modern smartphone is complete until you look at the display your photos and videos will be viewed on.

Unfortunately, Google made no mention of color management or proper display profiles—which caused issues with the previous Pixel smartphones—but the new AMOLED (for the 5-inch model) and pOLED (for the 6-inch model) displays are wide-gamut. The Pixel 2 claims 93% DCI-P3 coverage while the Pixel 2 XL claims full 100% coverage of the same standard.

We bring this up because last year's Pixel phones also offered a wide color gamut and high contrast ratio, thanks to their OLED display technology, but often displayed wildly inaccurate colors due to the lack of color management.

The lack of any talk of HDR display of video or photos was also a disappointment after the announcement of iPhone X's support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision video, and HDR display of photos. The latter should make HDR photos pop on the bright contrasty OLED display of the iPhone X, rather than give them the flat tonemapped look we're often used to. It seems Google has chosen to go the traditional method of compressing a high contrast scene into a flatter image, rather than take advantage of the HDR display capabilities of its OLED display.

We're currently spending some time with the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in person today at the Jazz Center, so stay tuned for our hands-on impressions as the designated photography nerds at this event.

In the meantime, you can find out more about either of these phones on the Google Store, check out our Live Blog to see what we were thinking as the announcements were going up, or argue about your Apple vs Google allegiance in the comments.

Categories: Photo News

Camera+ 10 brings depth editing and HEIF support

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 09:42

Third party camera apps are a great way of customizing operation and expanding the feature set of your smartphone camera. However, with mobile imaging technology advancing at lightning speed app makers are constantly having to catch up with the device makers' latest hard and software developments.

The makers of Camera+, one of the most popular third party apps for the iPhone, have now just done that and released version 10 of their app which brings support for Apple's new HEIF image format and selective depth editing.

The latter makes use of the dual-camera features on the iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus and lets you sharpen, tint and otherwise edit different depth levels in an image that contains depth information.

In addition there are a new “Smile to shoot” trigger mode and a completely overhauled camera interface to incorporate the new features. Camera+10 is available for $2.99 on the Apple App Store.

Categories: Photo News

Sigma to reveal new lens at PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2017

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 08:43

Lens maker Sigma will showcase its full range of Sigma Global Vision lenses, Cine high-speed primes and zooms as well as the Foveon sensor-based sd Quattro and Quattro H cameras at the upcoming PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2017 Expo trade show which will be held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City from 26-28 October 2017.

The company has also announced it will reveal one completely new lens at the show but unfortunately has not yet provided and further information.

In addition a number of photographers and other imaging professionals will take the stage at the Sigma booth and talk about how they use Sigma products in the areas of aviation, editorial, glamour, landscape, travel and wedding photography.

As if those weren't enough reasons to pay a visit PPE 2017 attendees who visit the Sigma booth 837 will also have a chance to enter and win a Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens.

Sigma Reveals its PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2017 Line Up and a Brand New Lens
The breakthrough year for Sigma Global Vision Art, Contemporary and Sport lenses on display; brand new lens addition to be unveiled; Sigma Pros light up stage with new presentations

Ronkonkoma, NY – October 4, 2017 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading still photo and cinema lens, camera, flash and accessory manufacturer, will showcase its full line up of Sigma Global Vision lenses, including a brand-new addition to the line, at the upcoming PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2017 Expo held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City from October 26-28, 2017 (booth 837).

The company will also have on hand its breakthrough optics for the cinema market – the Sigma Cine high-speed Primes and Zooms – as well as the Foveon sensor-based sd Quattro and Quattro H cameras.

“Sigma has had a landmark year with the introduction of seven new lenses across our Global Vision and Cine product lines,” states Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America. “Our research and development team is dedicated to creating superior optics that meet the ever-growing requirements of today’s high resolution cameras, taking advantage of every possible design and element to capture the greatest picture detail for both still and moving images. We look forward to showcasing the culmination of what has been a remarkable year in optical advancements for Sigma at this year’s PPE event.”

Sigma 2017 introductions include the award-winning 14mm F1.4 DG HSM Art, 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Art, 135mm F1.8 DG HSM Art, 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Sigma Global Vision lenses and the new Sigma Cine FF High Speed 14mm T2 and 135mm T2 prime lenses.

Sigma Special PPE Presentation – Sigma Pro Phenom Jen Rozenbaum
Sigma Pro Jen Rozenbaum will take the PPE stage on Wednesday, October 25, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM to deliver a PPE Master Class on “How to make every woman look amazing.”Jen will share with attendees her vast experience in boudoir photography, providing top tips and secret tricks - from wardrobe to posing - that flatter all women. Jen’s presentation will help attendees understand how to best dress and pose any woman of any size and shape as well as gain confidence behind the camera whether they are shooting boudoir, wedding or seniors!

Master Photographers Take the Sigma Stage
Showcasing the very best in photography craft, the expanded Sigma Pro family will headline the Sigma stage and offer attendees a behind the lens look at the techniques and technology that captured some of the year’s most outstanding photographs in the areas of aviation, editorial, glamour, landscapes, travel and weddings.

This year’s prestigious Sigma Pro PPE stage line-up includes outdoor sports and adventure travel photographer Liam Doran, aviation photo expert Jim Koepnick, renowned bird and travel photographer Roman Kurywczak, fearless woman photographer Jen Rozenbaum, and glamour and wedding photographer Jim Schmelzer.

The exciting topics include (listed by Sigma Pro) and showcase lenses from Sigma Global Vision Art, Contemporary and Sport lines:

For the Sigma Pro presentation schedule days and times, please visit:https://blog.sigmaphoto.com/event/photoplus-2017/

Sigma Super Giveaways at PPE 2017
PPE 2017 attendees who visit Sigma at booth 837 will have a chance to enter and win a Sigma grand giveaway – a 24-70mm F2.8 Art – an MSRP value of $1299.00 USD!

Re-engineered and introduced in 2017, the newly updated 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens is Sigma’s workhorse zoom lens. It touts a brand new Optical Stabilizer (OS), Hypersonic Motor (HSM) for highly efficient and fast autofocus, as well as a dust- and splash-proof mount with rubber sealing.

The 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens embodies all the technical qualities and finesse that define the high-performance Sigma Global Vision Art series. A popular industry focal range covering a wide array of shooting scenarios, the 24-70mm’s optical design also includes three SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements and four aspherical elements to ensure image accuracy and sharpness. The 24-70mm F2.8 Art aspherical elements use Sigma’s thicker center glass design and highly precise polishing process, delivering stunning images and bokeh effects. The lens’ purpose-built structure boasts a new metal barrel for optimal durability with TSC composite internal moving components designed to resist thermal contraction and expansion. Available for Canon, Nikon and Sigma camera mounts.

Categories: Photo News

Live coverage of the Google Pixel 2 launch on DPReview

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 08:24

This story is developing...

10:38am PT

One more photography update, having to do with candid photography that lets you be part of the moment as the photographer.

Meet Google Clips: a new lifelogging camera designed with parents and pet owners in mind.

10:37am PT

Here's something they did NOT mention when talking about the new screen: the new Pixel 2 wide gamut display claims to offer "100% DCI-P3 coverage." Our Technology Editor Rishi Sanyal is a bit skeptical of this spec.

Plus, we're still waiting to find out if the Pixel 2 phones offer proper color management to provide accurate color on these wide gamut displays.

10:30am PT

Worth noting about that DxOMark score of 98: that's an aggregate of Photo and Video scores.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 still beats the Google Pixel 2 in the Photo category, scoring 100 to the Google Pixel's 99. The Pixel's insane Video score of 96 is what gives it that high overall score. In Video, the iPhone 8 Plus scored an 89 and the Note 8 only scored an 84.

Here's DxOMark's full review.

10:27am PT

Feature breakdown:

  • Ultra Vivid OLED Display
  • Super Fast Charging
  • Water Resistant
  • The Fastest Fingerprint Sensor
  • Smartest Assistant
  • First Phone with Google Lens
  • Exclusive AR Stickers
  • World's Highest-Rated Camera

Pre-orders start today.

10:23am PT

12MP F1.8 rear camera with OIS. HDR+ still takes a burst of shots to reduce noise, essentially simulating the effect of a larger sensor.

Portrait mode in the Pixel 2 uses Google's computational photography tech. No second camera required. Just machine learning. This allows both the front and back camera to use Portrait Mode.

The phone creates a depth map using Dual Pixel technology. Or, as our Tech Editor explains it, "The pixels are split just like on Canon Dual Pixel sensors. And the Samsung Galaxy. It's used for phase-detect AF as well as to create a rudimentary depth map, kind of like Canon Dual Pixel Raw."

Oh, and the Video mode uses OIS and EIS at the same time. This should lead to incredibly smooth video!

10:20am PT

Pixel camera now!

"With Pixel 2, we have reimagined smartphone photography. DxOMark has issued Pixel 2 an unprecedented score of 98."

That trounces the iPhone 8 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 which both scored 94.

10:18am PT

Augmented reality updates now. Very similar to the AR updates we saw with Apple and the new iPhones—inserting furniture or games into the real world through augmented reality.

Something 'exclusive' to Pixel 2 are AR stickers that interact with the world and with each other... because Google needed something to compete with Apple's Animojis.

10:14am PT

Talking about Google Lens now. Using pictures, machine learning technology, and Google Assistant to pull information out of images and tell you all about them. Like pulling phone numbers off a flyer, or... telling the difference between muffins and chihuahuas (their example, not ours).

Google Lens talk now. Grab a phone number from a picture of a flyer. pic.twitter.com/LKKLjJDu3h

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017

Muffin or Chihuahua? Recognition is still tough but their tech is 95% accurate. pic.twitter.com/hTuD4ARbqw

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 10:10am PT

Squeezing the phone triggers Google Assistant, so you can ask it to take a selfie. And it uses Machine Learning to tell if that squeeze was "intentional."

Still waiting on more comprehensive updates about the camera. Hopefully it's not all software and AI-based improvements. We're really hoping for some hardware updates like OIS and maybe a bigger sensor or better processor.

*fingers crossed*

10:05am PT

Pixel 2: Full HD OLED display on the smaller 5-inch model. 100,000:1 contrast ratio. More than twice the contrast ratio of phones in its class. Comes in three colors: Kinda Blue, Just Black, and Clearly White.

Pixel 2 XL: Less bezel, 'gently curved' screen, wide color gamut display, integrated circular polarizer, 538 ppi (up from 534 ppi in the first Pixel XL). Comes in two colors: Just Black and 'stylishly simple' Black and White.

"We don't set aside better features for the larger device." OOOO sick burn on Apple.

And yes, they are both IP67 dust and water resistant! On par with the iPhone, but a bit short of Samsung's IP68.

Here they are. “Bolder” look, sturdy. pic.twitter.com/LkEWR3q31u

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 10:00am PT

Google VP Mario Queiroz on stage, getting ready to talk about a 'smarter' and 'simpler' smartphone.

The Google Pixel 2, designed "with the best of Google built in." Comes in 2 sizes, 5-inch and 6-inch XL. More Google Assistant capabilities and will "continue to offer the best photography."

9:58am PT

One hour later, we're FINALLY about to hear about Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL!!!

9:55am PT

The 12.3-inch Quad HD touchscreen is nice, it's the first laptop with Google Assistant built in, and the laptop comes with the new Google Pen that can be used in concert with Google Assistant. 2,000 levels of pressure sensitivity... wonder how well photo editing in Lightroom on the Pixelbook works with the pen?

Google Pixelbook: part tablet, part laptop. 10mm thin, 1kg weight. 12.3" Quad HD touch display. pic.twitter.com/wUIItdospQ

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 9:49am PT


Still waiting on the Google Pixel 2 launch. Moving on to Pixelbook from Google Home. It's like they're TRYING to torture the photo nerds. Let's see if there's any photo-centric reasons to be excited about the Pixelbook...

9:35am PT

We're getting a bunch of Google Home updates/announcements. There's a small one now... something about fabric... they needed 100+ tries to find an appropriately grey grey... cool stuff... clearly we're very interested in this part.

*insert Jeopardy waiting music here*

Google Home announcements now. It’s small. We’re patiently waiting for the main event... pic.twitter.com/G1acMPdZrx

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 9:21am PT

Next generation of Google devices are "fast" and "easy to use" and "anticipate your needs." Products that get faster and more helpful over time thanks to machine learning.

Rick Osterloh on stage now underscoring the AI/hardware/software combo approach the company has been taking to its new products. pic.twitter.com/aVm97qCGbW

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 9:19am PT

Rick Osterloh: "Pixel had the best and top rated smartphone camera. We're really proud with how well the Pixel did as our first generation smartphone."

He's not wrong. But there's a lot of room to improve...

Rick is talking about the challenges facing hardware development. So Google is going to take a "different approach" to smartphone [photography] advances by living at "the intersection of AI, software and hardware."

9:12am PT

Pichai is confident that Google is at the forefront of driving the shift to this AI-first future.

One of the major leaps forward Google has made, is in Object Detection, which he says is now at 45% accuracy! The company is using this tech in Google Lens and, says Pichai, in the Google Pixel smartphones.

Pichai talks of advances in AI object detection and its applications. Mentions that we’ll hear more about Google Lens in a bit. pic.twitter.com/Zd3lOb4nTm

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 9:05am PT

Google CEO Sundar Pichai on stage. Started with a somber note about the horrifying tragedy in Las Vegas, and the natural disasters around the world.

Now talking about how Google is using machine learning technology to improve everything from Google Maps, to parking difficulty prediction, to Google Translate. Pichai is "excited about a shift from a Mobile-first to an AI-first world."

This shift will no doubt have a major impact on the future of mobile photography.

Here we go. CEO Sundar Pichai on stage opening with comments on recent tragedies, moving on to discussion of power of machine learning. pic.twitter.com/TFvUMm1sXD

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 8:59am PT

Are you ready? The Google DJs are winding down the music.

T minus 5 minutes to new Pixel phones. In the meantime, it’s kind of a clubby breakfast scene here, complete with DJ. pic.twitter.com/nqDyMmqvmD

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 8:45am PT

We're officially inside the SF Jazz Center waiting for the presentation to start! A few things we're hoping for: optical image stabilization, better depth of field simulation with live preview, and a much more durable Pixel 2/XL on par with the iPhones (IP67 rating) or even Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 (IP68 rating).

8:30am PT

Hot on the heels of Apple's own smartphone announcement, Google is taking on the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X with its own release. In T-minus 30 minutes, Google is set to unveil the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL (among a few other things) and we'll be covering the launch live from San Francisco on Twitter and on this page.

Watch the livestream with us, and keep refreshing this page for up-to-the-minute takes on all things photography related from the Google event.

We're on the scene at the SF Jazz Center! Stay tuned here for live updates from Google's launch event. pic.twitter.com/I3FaZDXjqp

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017
Categories: Photo News

Adobe unveils Photoshop Elements 2018: Can open closed eyes, find your best photos and more

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 07:44

A before and after of Photoshop Elements' new Open Closed Eyes featured at work.

While the professional photography market waits with bated breath to see what Adobe has in store for us at AdobeMAX, the company behind Lightroom and Photoshop unveiled something that appeals to a bit broader of an audience today: Photoshop Elements 2018 and Premiere Elements 2018.

The new, user-friendly versions of Adobe's photo and video editors come with some really creative and easy-to-use features that the company says are aimed at "memory keepers." The idea was to create two programs that make finding, enhancing and sharing the precious memories hidden away inside random memory cards, hard drives and (most likely) smartphones almost totally automatic.

Photoshop Elements 2018

Photoshop Elements 2018 tackles the same problem that everyone—Google's Photos App, Apple Photos, etc.—is trying to tackle: how do you help the typical shutterbug find their best images out of the thousands they take every week on their smartphone, and enhance those images so they look 'professional' and worth sharing on social media?

As with everybody else, Adobe is leaning heavily on machine learning and computer vision (different types of 'AI') for this trick.

It starts with an easy-to-use Organizer view and something called Auto Curation, which uses computer vision and some nifty algorithms to guess (because it can't REALLY know, can it?) which of your images are the best. So if you have a group of 200 images, you can ask Photoshop Elements to cull those down automatically to just 15.

Once you've selected your shots, you can use the program's new Guided Edits and a new feature called Automatic Selection to do things like drop in a new background, create a double exposure effect using two of your images, or add 'artistic' overlays.

The coolest feature, though, has to be Open Closed Eyes, which allows you to select two frames, and replace the closed eyes in one with the open eyes from another. The results are incredibly lifelike given that whole thing can be done in a matter of seconds.

Premiere Elements 2018

Like Photoshop Elements, Premiere Elements 2018 also leans heavily on AI-powered features to make video editing as automatic and pain-free as possible.

Smart Trim does for videos what Auto Curate does for photos, namely: it asks you what 'style' of video you want to create, tries to intelligently find the best clips that match this style, and tosses out the rest to create a coherent clip.

Another interesting addition is a feature called Candid Moments, which tries to find the best candid 'photo' hidden within a video clip and pull it out for you. With new smartphones like the iPhone 8 Plus shooting gorgeous 4K 60p, we could see this feature being a huge hit with those 'memory keepers' Adobe is all trying to target.

Admittedly, neither Photoshop Elements 2018 nor Premiere Elements 2018 are really targetted at more professional photographers out there (read: many of the people who enjoy reading DPReview). But as these beginner-focused programs get more and more powerful, amateur photographers who are allergic to the subscription model and don't like to do much post-processing anyhow might actually enjoy using Photoshop and Premiere Elements 2018.

Of course, that's not to say we won't be keeping a very close eye on AdobeMAX this year.

To learn more about Photoshop Elements 2018 and Premiere Elements 2018, head over to the Adobe blog by clicking here, or visit their dedicated landing pages by clicking on the program names above. Both programs are available now for $100 new or $80 as an upgrade. You can also buy them together for $150 new or upgrade both programs at once for $120.

Categories: Photo News

On1 Photo RAW 2018 announced: Adds HDR processing, advanced masking and more

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 16:32
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On1 just released the newest version of its stand-alone RAW photo manager and non-destructive editor: On1 Photo RAW 2018. Put another way, there's now yet another alternative to Lightroom out there, and with this new update the program is more capable than ever, adding features like HDR merge and panorama stitching, advanced masking capabilities, and more.

You can get a decent overview of the new features in the 2018 version in the video below:

The main additions to this version of On1 Photo RAW are On1 HDR, panorama stitching, new advanced masking options like Feather and Density that allow you to alter a mask globally, Color range masking, versioning, selective noise reduction, and an updated UI that On1 characterizes as "clean and modern." There's also a new "Paint with Color Brush" that allows you to either paint with a solid color or leave the luminosity of the underlying layer intact to change things like eye or hair color.

You can get a full breakdown of these and other new features on the On1 blog.

The app is being released as a free Beta on Friday, with an official release slated for the end of October. The full app—which promises 'much more' when it arrives after the beta period—will cost $120 for new users, while current On1 users will have the option to upgrade for a discounted price of just $80 (usually $100). Both the full version and upgrade package are already available for pre-order.

To learn more about the app or pre-order your copy, head over to the On1 blog by clicking here.

Categories: Photo News

On1 Photo RAW 2018 announced: Adds HRD processing, advanced masking and more

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 16:32
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On1 just released the newest version of its stand-alone RAW photo manager and non-destructive editor: On1 Photo RAW 2018. Put another way, there's now yet another alternative to Lightroom out there, and with this new update the program is more capable than ever, adding features like HDR merge and panorama stitching, advanced masking capabilities, and more.

You can get a decent overview of the new features in the 2018 version in the video below:

The main additions to this version of On1 Photo RAW are On1 HDR, panorama stitching, new advanced masking options like Feather and Density that allow you to alter a mask globally, Color range masking, versioning, selective noise reduction, and an updated UI that On1 characterizes as "clean and modern." There's also a new "Paint with Color Brush" that allows you to either paint with a solid color or leave the luminosity of the underlying layer intact to change things like eye or hair color.

You can get a full breakdown of these and other new features on the On1 blog.

The app is being released as a free Beta on Friday, with an official release slated for the end of October. The full app—which promises 'much more' when it arrives after the beta period—will cost $120 for new users, while current On1 users will have the option to upgrade for a discounted price of just $80 (usually $100). Both the full version and upgrade package are already available for pre-order.

To learn more about the app or pre-order your copy, head over to the On1 blog by clicking here.

Categories: Photo News

Cravar unveils new Rana Series of leather messenger bags for photographers

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 15:50

Leather goods company Cravar has launched a new range of Rana Series messenger bags, and its attempting to crowdfund the release through Kickstarter. The new series is comprised of four leather messenger bags designed for photographers to use as either a camera bag or an everyday carry. All four bags feature solid brass hardware, a full grain veg-tanned leather exterior, closed-cell foam padding, and an interior made with linen and Sunbrella fabrics.

The Cravar Rana Series is comprised of the Rana 7, Rana 10, Rana 13, and Rana 15 leather messenger bags—each number approximates the bag's width.

The Rana 15 is the largest of the bunch, and is able to accommodate most 15" laptops as well as a full-frame DSLR and three lenses or more, depending on the size of said lenses. The bag has an aluminum-reinforced top flap, three vertical and two stack dividers, a luggage handle slot, two front pockets, and one rear pocket.

Similar, but slightly smaller, is the Rana 13 which is also able to fit a full-frame DSLR and three or more lenses, in addition to a smaller 13" laptop. The Rana 10, meanwhile, can fit a full-frame DSLR, two or more lenses, and a 9.7 - 10.5" tablet. Finally, Rana 7 can accommodate a full-frame DSLR and one or more lenses, depending on size, plus an iPad mini or other small tablet.

Cravar is offering the Rana Series bags at the following Kickstarter pledge prices ahead of the higher planned retail costs (assuming the bags are successfully funded and brought to market):

  • Rana 7: $165 or more
  • Rana 10: $195 or more
  • Rana 13: $245 or more
  • Rana 15: $275 or more

To learn more about these bags or order your own, head over to Kickstarter. Shipping to backers is expected to start in February 2018.

Categories: Photo News

DxOMark: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 ties iPhone 8 Plus as best ever smartphone camera

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 15:34

News that Apple's new iPhone 8 Plus had suddenly taken the top spot on DxOMark's smartphone camera rankings was met with the expected range of praise and critique—everything from "of course, iPhone's are awesome cameras" to "how much did Apple pay DxOMark for this result!?" But it turns out the iPhone 8 Plus' ranking as the best smartphone camera DxOMark had ever tested didn't last very long.

As of today, the iPhone 8 Plus has been tied by the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which significantly bested its Photo score and only tied the iPhone 8 Plus overall because Apple's smartphone does so much better in the video category.

The full breakdown of the results can be found on DxOMark, but this comparison between the two phones' scores speaks volumes:

The Photo categories where the Note 8 really outperformed the iPhone include Autofocus (94 vs 74) and Zoom, where the Note 8 got a score of 66 to the iPhone's 51. DxOMark's conclusion is appropriately praiseworthy:

When all the tests are verified, the scores calculated, and the perceptual analyses discussed, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 comes out as an outstanding choice for the smartphone photography enthusiast, matching the top overall score of 94 points of the iPhone 8 Plus. Dual-cam setups offering a second telephoto zoom for portraits are a real step forward for high-end smartphone photography, and the implementation on the Note 8 is exceptional, making it the best smartphone for zoom shots we’ve tested.

Read DxO's full thoughts and see all of their sample and test photos at this link. And if you're an Android user in need of some serious photography power from you smartphone, the Galaxy Note 8 should definitely make it to the top of your list.

Categories: Photo News

The Insta360 Pro 8K is certified to capture Google Street View photos while you drive

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 15:12

In May, Google unveiled the 'Street View ready' program that will certify a total of twenty 360-degree cameras for capturing Street View footage, and the first was just named. The Insta360 Pro, an 8K 360-degree camera available to consumers, was given Google's official stamp of approval yesterday; this means that anyone who purchases this $3,500 camera can use it to capture their own 360-degree footage for inclusion in Google's Street View product.

The Insta360 Pro falls under Google's "Street View auto ready" category, which means it is certified for use in capturing Street View footage from a vehicle—camera owners can actually attach the Insta360 Pro to their car and record 360-degree images while driving. The resulting footage is then processed by the camera's Stitcher desktop software and uploaded to Google using the Street View app. Google can then use the imagery in the Street View app, on Google Earth, and/or on Google Maps with credit going to the individual who captured the images.

This is done on an entirely voluntary basis, meaning there's no compensation for capturing the content. Content shared by users may help Google fill any voids in its existing Street View library.

Another three cameras will be certified under the 'auto' category in the Street View ready program, while the other cameras will fall under mobile, VR, and workflow categories. These categories certify cameras for uploading Street View imagery directly from mobile, from publishing tools, and for VR systems.

Categories: Photo News

Hasselblad's 100MP H6D-100c digital back is now available to buy on its own

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 15:00

Hasselblad has announced that its 100MP medium format H6D-100c digital back is now available as a standalone product. The H6D-100c, which was first announced in April 2016, offers a 100MP 53.4 x 40mm CMOS sensor capable of shooting up to 3840 x 2160p 4K/UHD footage with an ISO range from 64 to 12800. Joining that large sensor is a 3in 920k touch display, USB-C connector, mini HDMI, and both SD and CFast card slots.

Talking about the new launch, Hasselblad Product Manager Ove Bengtson said, "The launch of the H6D-100c digital back is an answer to photographers wanting to use the power of the 100c on third party technical cameras." According to Hasselblad, the unit features an interface capable of working seamlessly with both large format and technical camera systems.

Other features include raw capture, 16-bit color, 15 stops of dynamic range, and support for both Windows (7 or higher) and macOS (10.11 and higher). The digital back is available now for EUR 22,000 / USD $26,495 / GBP 19,900 (not including VAT).

Via: Hasselblad

Categories: Photo News

Behind the scenes: Ben Von Wong dangled everyday athletes off a skyscraper for Nike

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 10:00

Spend enough time building your brand as the photographer du jour for crazy and interesting stunts, and your next assignment might come in form of a challenge. That's what happened to Benjamin Von Wong when Nike sent him a pair of shoes and a personalized note:

What would you do if you could walk on air?

A little clichéd? Sure. But we'll forgive the Nike marketing department because it gave Von Wong license to come up with a crazy idea, with a community impact twist.

So he chose 'everyday athletes' who were making a difference in their communities, came up with a harness system that would let him dangle them off of a building (a 7-story building for the ones who were scared of heights, or a 30-story skyscraper for those who said they weren't), and set to work turning this idea into photo-reality.

You can watch the adventure unfold in the video below:

As you can probably imagine, there were a ton of challenges to overcome between idea and execution. What kind of harness system would be safe, effective, and comfortable enough to use for long periods of time? How would non-professional models cope with the stresses of this unusual photo shoot? Would the photos even turn out?

In short: yes. The photos did indeed turn out:

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The final images are polished and fun, making it all seem easy and effortless (the whole "walking on air" theme). But more revealing are the behind the scenes photos Ben shared with us. They reveal the struggle behind creating effortless looking images while dangling off a skyscraper:

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To learn more about this shoot, the purpose behind it, the community activists featured in it, or the photographer taking the shots, head over to Von Wong's blog post where he dives a bit deeper.

All photos by Benjamin Von Wong and used with permission.

Categories: Photo News

Video: $6,000 full-frame vs $2,000 crop sensor portrait shootout

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 08:21

Photographer Manny Ortiz must be a glutton for punishment, because he's taking on one of the most heated, ongoing, oh-my-god-will-this-ever-stop debates in the photo industry: full-frame vs crop-sensor.

You can read our more technical take on sensor size here

As usual, Manny's take is a bit more down to earth and less tech-focused than we tend to go. He simply went out shooting with his wife/model Diana and two different Sony cameras—the full-frame Sony a9 and the crop sensor Sony a6500, both 24MP—to see if he could tell a significant quality difference between the two after a portrait shoot.

A few things we will not get into here:

  • Every comparison is a 'real world' comparison. Test charts and studio scenes do not exist in some alternate dimension where the laws of physics are suspended—they, too, are 'real world' tests.
  • Full-frame has been arbitrarily defined as 'a sensor the same size as a frame of 35mm film'. Most people agree on this definition and that's good enough for our purposes, but by all means feel free to gripe about it.

Now that these two things are out of the way, click play up top to watch Ortiz' "real-world comparison" between the full-frame A9 with an 85mm F1.4 G Master lens, and the APS-C sensor A6500 with a Zeiss 55mm F1.8. To try and match depth of field, Manny shot the A9 photos at F2.8, and the A6500 photos were taken wide open at F1.8, at least for the daytime photos.

When it came time to shoot at night, Manny had to change tactics a bit and shot the A9 photos with the G Master almost wide-open at F1.8 to avoid having to crank the ISO too high.

Here are the final photos, sans YouTube compression and in a higher resolution so you can compare for yourself:

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This is not a highly technical, control for every variable style comparison, and that's good. The point Manny is trying to make with the video (and many other such videos) is that, while sensor size certainly makes a difference in various respects, other factors like lighting, composition, a good lens and more play a bigger role in the photos your client ultimately sees.

In other words: if you know what you're doing, the portraits coming from the less expensive camera will look darn near identical to the portraits coming from the other... except if you post them in the DPReview forums where your reputation lives and dies at 100% magnification.

Check out the full video up top, and skip to around the 2:15 mark to hear Manny's thoughts on this particular debate.

Categories: Photo News

6 things we want to see in the Google Pixel 2

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 06:00
6 things we want to see in the Google Pixel 2

It was true a year ago and it's still true now: the Google Pixel and Pixel XL offer one of the best smartphone cameras on the market. But the competition hasn't been standing still for the last year – Apple has gained ground with its dual focal length dual-camera devices, and the 8/8 Plus have overtaken the Pixel in DxoMark's mobile rankings.

With the announcement of the Pixel 2 imminent, here's what we think Google needs to add to keep its flagship phone competitive – with special attention to camera specs, of course.

Dual camera

All signs are pointing to no on this one, but we're stubborn so we'll ask for it anyway: Google, please put a dual camera on the Pixel.

The first generation offered just one rear-facing imaging module and if the rumors are true, so will the Pixel 2. And let's reiterate it: the Pixel may have only one main camera, but it's a really, really good one. However, it'll be difficult for Google to overcome the two major advantages that Apple's dual cam offers: optical zoom and a superior shallow depth-of-field simulation mode.

Maybe they've found software solutions to mitigate these issues in the Pixel 2. Rumors are pointing to a mode more like Apple and Samsung's offerings, with a sharp subject and blurred background, all rendered live rather than post-processed. But given what Google has already done with one camera and sophisticated software, just imagine what it could do with two!

Better durability

Our plea for dual cameras is probably in vain, but we feel better about this wish being fulfilled. The iPhone X offers a rating of IP67 rating, meaning it's dust-proof and water-resistant up to 30 minutes up to a depth of 1m. Samsung's Note 8 is an IP68 – equally dust-resistant and can swim in up to 1.5m for up to 30 minutes. The Pixel is a weaker IP53 – not quite dust-proof, and splash-resistant only. Upgraded durability would keep the Pixel competitive with current flagships and is a win all around.

A fix for lens flare

It wasn't long after the Pixel made its way into users' hands that some of them reported some drastic lens flare creeping into their photos, and it wasn't the good kind – see our example above. Google implemented a software 'fix' in HDR+ mode, but frankly it barely helped. When you've got uncoated glass sitting far in front of your main lens, there's not much you can do in software. All rumors point to a lens that protrudes from the body above the back glass - much like most other phones. We've got our fingers crossed that this fixes the original phones' issue.

Proper color management and HDR

Android Oreo (finally) supports color management, but like Windows, the OS leaves it up to apps to do the work. iOS color manages everything – down to the app icons. When it comes to wide gamut displays like OLED, it becomes increasingly important to properly color manage everything, else you risk over-saturated, wrong colors (read 'saturation accuracy' here to understand why). Just check out app icons on a Pixel or Samsung phone.

With Android Oreo, it's basically up to device manufacturers to provide proper display profiles, and app developers to take advantage of them. We're hoping that Google takes an extra step and provides a layer on top of its OS to color manage everything – much like Microsoft's Surface Studio and its DCI-P3 and sRGB modes.

Sound like too much to ask for?

Apple profiles all its device displays, offering properly calibrated wide gamut P3 and standard gamut sRGB modes, switching as necessary based on content. The iPhone X is likely to be the world's first, out-of-the-box, properly color-managed DCI-P3 OLED device. That means the potential for very saturated colors if the photographer or videographer intended so, but not at the cost of inaccurate ones. We'd like to see the Pixel 2 follow suit.

Bonus points for proper HDR display support like the iPhone X's HDR10 and Dolby Vision modes, as well as HDR display of photos using the new High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF).

Optical image stabilization

If Google's launch event teaser is any indication, it looks like we'll get this one. The original Pixel offered some impressive digital video stabilization, and adding optical stabilization into the mix for stills would keep the Pixel on par with the competition. And if you're going to offer just one camera, you might as well put a stabilized lens in front of it.

Google Lens

At the Google I/O developer conference in 2017, CEO Sundar Pichai introduced a new technology that marries machine vision and AI: Google Lens. While not strictly photography related (as far as we know), it is very much camera related. Google's machine vision algorithms can analyze what the camera sees, and use AI to help you take action. Pichai demoed a number of cool features: point your phone at a flower and the Google Assistant will automatically analyze it and tell you which flower it is. Point it at restaurant down the street and Assistant will automatically pick up the restaurant's name, ratings and reviews.

This sort of intelligence is applicable to photography as well though: Google demoed the automatic removal of a fence in a photograph taken of a child playing baseball through a fence. The camera can do this by understanding what a fence is. Object recognition also drives automatic tagging and searching of images: the Photos app can already pull up pictures of planes, birthdays, food and most importantly: beer. Just by searching for these terms.

We look forward to the official inclusion of Google Lens and the integration of evolved machine learning in the camera and Photos apps on the new Pixel devices.

Do you own a Pixel or Pixel XL? What do you want in the next generation? Let us know in the comments, and tune in here for live updates from Google's launch event tomorrow.

Categories: Photo News