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iPhone X is the world's best smartphone for photos, second best overall on DxOMark

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 07:24

The past few months have been a ratings-palooza for DxOMark Mobile, as flagship after flagship has come out raised the bar on smartphone sensor quality. From the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and its 100 photo score, to the iPhone 8 Plus' week-long stint at the top of the charts, to the Google Pixel 2's highest ever score of 98, we've had plenty to keep an eye on.

But there was one major flagship phone conspicuously absent from the rankings... until now that is. DxOMark has officially released its Apple iPhone X test results.

As always, you can dive into the detailed results and side-by-side comparisons on DxOMark, but the TL;DR version is this: the iPhone X is the best smartphone DxO has ever tested in the photo category (earning a score of 101) and the second best smartphone camera overall, tying the Huawei Mate 10 Pro with a score of 97. You can see the score and category breakdown below:

More impressive than the numbers is DxO's conclusion, which stresses how well the iPhone X performs in real-world shooting situations:

For portraits, the improved telephoto lens delivers sharp results even indoors, and the bokeh simulation produces a natural and pleasing background blur. Outdoors, exposures are outstanding, with great dynamic range, impressive skies, good fine detail, and punchy color rendering. Add to all that the extra features on the front-facing camera, including a Portrait mode for blurred-background selfies, and the iPhone X delivers one hell of a smartphone camera.

To see the full test results for yourself, head over to the DxOMark website. And keep an eye on DPReview in the next few weeks because we'll be getting our own iPhone X to test very soon!

Categories: Photo News

Leica Thambar-M 90mm F2.2 sample gallery

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 06:00
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The Leica Thambar 90mm F2.2 is an M-mount version of a classic portrait lens known for its unique soft rendering. We had our hands on a loaner unit for a little while, and put it right to work on the subject matter it's designed for. See what this modern take on a vintage design can do.

See our Leica Thambar 90mm F2.2
sample gallery

Categories: Photo News

Nikon will shut down all sales operations in Brazil at the end of 2017

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 12:48

Just last week, we learned that Nikon was shutting down operations in China, including closing a factory responsible for producing some of the company's compact cameras and DSLR lenses. But if you thought that was going to be the only closure in the Nikon portfolio this month, think again.

Announced earlier today, Nikon has decided to cease all e-commerce operations in Brazil, where the company ONLY sells its wares via e-commerce. Translation: Nikon will no longer sell cameras, lenses or accessories in the country. Brazilians' only option will be gray market gear.

The news was announced in a press release that is linked prominently at the top of the Nikon Brazil website. It reads (Google translated and edited for clarity):

As of December 31st, 2017, Nikon do Brasil Ltda. will end the sale of cameras, lenses and photographic accessories in the Brazilian market, currently marketed exclusively through its e-commerce arm, the Nikon Store. The company's other business segments, including customer service and technical assistance, will continue to operate normally.

The change is part of 'global scale restructuring' of the company's R&D, Sales and Manufacturing, and at least appears to be the first step in pulling out of Brazil entirely. For now, products under warranty and those purchased through the Nikon Brazil Store before December 31st will continue to have access to warranty services and customer service.

Owners of out-of-warranty gear will receive service "where possible" and "based on costs approved by the owners."

Press Release

Nikon do Brasil Ltda. announces the closure of e-commerce in Brazil

Nikon Corporation is optimizing R & D, Sales and Manufacturing structures in a global scale restructuring.

As part of this process Nikon do Brasil Ltda.—as of December 31st, 2017—will end the sale of cameras, lenses and photographic accessories in the Brazilian market, currently marketed exclusively through its e-commerce arm, the Nikon Store. The company's other business segments, including customer service and technical assistance, will continue to operate normally.

Products under warranty, including those marketed by Nikon Brazil's e-commerce through December 31st, 2017, will continue to honor the warranty periods. For out-of-warranty products, where possible, technical assistance will be provided based on costs approved by the owners.

São Paulo, November 6, 2017.

Auster Nascimento
President - Nikon do Brasil

Categories: Photo News

Video: Shooting with a $63,000 100MP monochrome medium format camera

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 10:19

Ted Forbes—photographer and inspirational educator behind The Art of Photography—recently got a chance to try out the Phase One IQ3 100MP Achromatic digital back, and man did it ever leave an impression. In his short video overview above, he dives into the images he captured with this bayer filter-free, monochromatic medium format beast, explaining why he feels this camera is a true 'gamechanger.'

If that word triggers your gag reflex, you're not alone, but Forbes isn't one to throw hyperbole around and he gives good reason (and plenty of examples) for why he believes this digital back is something special. Pay particular attention to what Forbes is able to do using filters and the sensor's ability to pick up light outside of the visible spectrum.

Check out the full video above to see the camera in action and dive into some sample images, but don't forget to watch it at the highest possible resolution YouTube and your monitor can handle. You'll need every available pixel at your disposal.

Categories: Photo News

Market report provides interesting insights into camera module industry

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 08:55
Graph: Yole Développement

Market research & strategy consulting company Yole Développement has just released its "Camera Module Industry Market and Technology Trends 2017" report, and the document includes a number of interesting findings and forecasts that photographers, specially those interested in smartphone photography, should pay attention to.

According to the report, the market for cameras in mobile devices is still the main driver of the camera module industry that reached $23.4 Billion in 2016 and is projected to reach $46.8 Billion by 2022.

The researchers at Yole Développement also found the manufacturers of autofocus and optical image stabilization systems had to adapt to the large production volumes and low cost requirements of the smartphone makers. This has resulted in a restructuring effort and a move of production capacity from Japan and Korea to China and Vietnam. Companies like New Shiko and TDK have been able to benefit the most from these developments.

In the sub-markets for image sensors and lens sets, the quasi-monopolies of Sony and Largan are about to end as the competition is quickly catching up in terms of technology. Module makers, like market leaders LG Innotek, are hugely dependent on customer loyalty as the loss of a large customer could potentially result in a collapse of the company.

The report also finds that the average cost for mobile camera modules has remained relatively constant. However, with high-end AF- and stabilization systems and and active alignment now being much more commonplace, complexity has increased disproportionally. The current total cost of camera module per phone is pretty much proportional to the number of cameras installed—two cameras cost the manufacturers $16, three cameras around $24, and those implementing four cameras in their devices have to calculate with a cost of more than $30 per handset.

Categories: Photo News

Peak Design unveils redesigned 'Greatest Hits': All new Clip, Slide and Slide Lite

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 08:07

Peak Design—the makers of top rated and much loved camera accessories that have raised nearly $15 million on Kickstarter since their first got into crowdfunding—have just launched a special 'greatest hits' 5-day Kickstarter campaign to fund their latest products: a totally redesigned Capture Camera Clip and revamped Slide and Slide Lite camera straps.

The campaign launched this morning, and already Peak Design is racing towards its funding goal at record speed—which was, after all, the point.

"We wanted to bring these redesigned products back to Kickstarter because our backer community brought them to life in the first place,” says Adam Saraceno, Peak Design’s Marketing Director. “We also wanted to get gear into folks' hands before the end of the year. These are busy times so we opted to keep our Kickstarter short and sweet.”

Here's the company's Kickstarter video, to give you an overview of the new products:

Capture Camera Clip

First up, the one that started it all: The Peak Design Capture Camera Clip. The first product Peak Design launched on Kickstarter, the Capture clip is a staple in many a photographers' camera bag (or rather ON their camera bag), but the original design needed some love.

Enter former Apple design engineer Max Maloney, who took some time to show us the improvements they've made on the Clip at PhotoPlus this year.

The clip has been totally redesigned to be smaller, sleeker, and more functional all at the same time. It now features an all aluminum built (no plastic parts in sight), a lighter and smaller build that should still fit on almost any belt or backpack strap out there, an embeddable grip on the backplate so you don't have to tighten the thing so much for it to stay in place, and a much sleeker profile that's less likely to snag on clothing or gear.

Here's a closer look at the new Clip, including a side-by-side with the old version:

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The new Capture v3 will cost you a $55 pledge (MSRP $70). Find out more on Kickstarter.

Slide and Slide Lite

The Capture v3 is probably the most exciting 'Greatest Hits' release, but for those of you who love Peak Design's camera straps, the Slide and Slide Lite revamp is definitely worth looking into.

The Slide (meant for DSLRs) and Slide Lite (meant for mirrorless cameras) are some of Peak Design's most popular camera straps, and now they've been upgraded with updated dual adjusters that keep a lower profile, a new anchor mount for 'low-profile connection point to bottom of camera', smooth and durable nylon webbing for easier adjustment, and updated anchor connectors for easier one-handed use.

Here's a closer look:

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The Slide and Slide Lite will MSRP for $65 and $50, respectively, when they hit store shelves, but if you contribute to the Greatest Hits Kickstarter you'll be able to get them for $50 and $35. Click here to learn more.

To see check out either of the new products for yourself or contribute to the campaign—which has already raised nearly $50,000 in funding in just a couple of hours!—click here. Estimated delivery for all of the new products is December of 2017.

Categories: Photo News

Canon EOS M100 review

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 07:04

The EOS M100 is Canon's newest entry-level mirrorless ILC model. Despite being appreciably smaller (and cheaper) than its higher-end M5 and M6 siblings, it comes with the same 24MP APS-C sensor equipped with excellent Dual Pixel autofocus. It also has Canon's latest DIGIC 7 processor, as well as Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth for connectivity.

The M100 is aimed squarely at smartphone photographers looking to get their first 'real' camera, and its polished touch-centric control scheme reflects this. It's small, it's light, and because of the large APS-C sensor, is almost always capable of better photos than any smartphone.

Appropriately given the target audience, there's even a dedicated 'Wireless' button to make it as easy as possible to get your images from the M100 to the wilds of Facebook and Instagram.

Key Features:
  • 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Dual Pixel autofocus for stills and video
  • DIGIC 7 processor
  • 3" tilting LCD
  • 6fps burst shooting (4fps with continuous AF)
  • 1080/60p video with digital IS
  • Wi-Fi and NFC with Bluetooth
  • 295 shot-per-charge battery live (via CIPA)

Although smartphones have largely decimated the compact camera segment, the EOS M100 is not without competition from other interchangeable lens cameras, all of which offer image quality above and beyond the typical smartphone camera. Users shopping based on price are likely to also consider the Panasonic Lumix GX850, Olympus PEN E-PL8, Fujifilm X-A3 and even the venerable Sony a6000.

Canon's color output is a perennial crowd pleaser at the DPR offices. Out-of-camera JPEG. Canon EF 50mm F1.8 STM.
ISO 200 | F5.6 | 1/800 sec

The EOS M100 is among the least intimidating cameras in this group, for new users. It's got the fewest physical controls, and tapping to focus and manipulate settings on-screen in Auto mode is likely to come naturally to just about anyone who hasn't been under a rock since the first iPhone came out.

Compared to... Canon M100 Panasonic GX850 Olympus
E-PL8 Sony a6000 Fujifilm X-A3 Resolution 24MP 16MP 16MP 24MP 24MP Sensor size APS-C Four Thirds Four Thirds APS-C APS-C Image stab. Lens-based Lens-based In-camera Lens-based Lens-based AF system (live view) Dual Pixel Contrast-detect Contrast-detect Hybrid Contrast-detect LCD 3" tilting 3" tilting 3" tilting 3" tilting 3" tilting Touchscreen Yes Yes Yes No Yes Burst speed (AF locked) 6.1 fps 10 fps 8 fps 11 fps 6 fps Video 1080/60p 4K/30p 1080/30p 1080/60p 1080/60p Wireless Wi-Fi + NFC + BT Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi + NFC Wi-Fi Battery life 295 shots 210 shots 350 shots 360 shots 410 shots Dimensions (mm) 108x67x35 107x65x33 115x67x38 120x67x45 117x67x40 Weight 302 g 269 g 357 g 344 g 339g Typical price w/lens
(11/2017) $599 $549 $649 $548 $549

Based on the above table, it's clear that in the mirrorless interchangeable lens market, this price bracket is getting pretty crowded. There are several different philosophies represented in here. The Sony a6000 has been around for a while but it continues to be a great value proposition. The GX850 is the only camera here to shoot 4K, and is slightly smaller than the M100, but comes with a smaller M43 sensor, which has an impact on still image quality at medium and high ISO sensitivity settings.

Overall, then, is the image quality and user experience of Canon's most compact ILC enough to make it stand out in this crowd? Let's find out.

Categories: Photo News

Canon EF-M 22mm F2 STM sample gallery

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 06:00
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The Canon EF-M 22mm F2 is by no means a new lens. But it's a lens we find ourselves returning to again and again as we test Canon's mirrorless cameras. It's matched perfectly to small, mirrorless camera bodies; put it on an M100 and you've got an extremely compact and lightweight combination that's ideal for everyday situations.

We've collected some of our sample images with this handy little lens from years past into a single gallery – take a look.

See our Canon EF-M 22mm F2 STM
sample gallery

Categories: Photo News

Photo story of the week: Fire and Ice

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 07:00
​A striking 2 a.m. sunrise in Disko Bay, Greenland

This photograph was taken at 2AM on Disko Bay in Greenland. I had been sailing for several hours between immense icebergs, and the clouds were building in such a way that it was becoming clear that the sunrise was going to be something special.

Upon approaching a patterned iceberg floating between smaller pieces of ice, the light struck it from the side in a way that accentuated its texture. The smaller ice pieces provided the foreground, and it all really came together wonderfully.

The image won a gold medal on the 2015 Arctic Awards.

Photo taken with a Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS.

Erez Marom is a professional nature photographer, photography guide and traveler based in Israel. You can follow Erez's work on Instagram, Facebook and 500px, and subscribe to his mailing list for updates. Erez offers photo workshops worldwide.

Categories: Photo News

Positano, Italy will start charging $1,150 fee for commercial photography, $2,300 for video

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 13:24
Photo by JeCCo (CC-BY-4.0)

The picturesque seaside Italian city of Positano will soon begin charging photographers a substantial €1,000 (~$1,150 USD) fee if they plan to shoot photos for commercial purposes. Videographers, meanwhile, will have to pay €2,000 (~$2,300 USD) for commercial work, and Positano authorities are also banning drone use in the city, eliminating aerial projects altogether.

Due to its unique position, Positano attracts a large number of photographers, some working for brands or otherwise capturing content for commercial reasons. According to city mayor Michele De Lucia, per the Italian publication Repubblica, Positano isn't enacting this fee as a way to make money, but instead to deter the photography sets that can disrupt pedestrians and result in "discomforts and bickering."

It also lends the city an element of control over who gets to shoot there—"not everyone must be able to tie their own brand to Positano," explains De Lucia.

Anyone taking photos or recording video for non-commercial purposes is exempt from the fee. The city will also allow photographers and videographers to work in certain circumstances without paying the fee, including for documentaries, TV shows, newspapers, and magazines.

The regulation states that anyone planning to photograph or record will need to submit a request at least 30 days ahead of time to get permission. Requests submitted late will require a 50% surcharge. As far as photography goes, the regulation uses the phrase 'advertising shooting,' indicating the fee in primarily targeted at brands and advertising agencies.

Categories: Photo News

Outex launches clear, universal underwater camera housing

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:51

Outex has launched a clear version of its rubber underwater camera 'housing' via Kickstarter, where it is seeking $35k in funding to bring the product to market and help even more people get into underwater photography without breaking the bank.

This clear version joins the company's original rubber sleeve, which features a solid blueish color with the exception of the lens cover. The clear design, according to Outex, makes it easier to adjust camera settings after putting the camera in the sleeve. And while the Kickstarter doesn't mention it explicitly, we assume this version features the same IP08 rated waterproof design as the blue version, which can withstand depths up to 10 meters or about 33 feet.

Unlike most camera housings, which are made of rigid materials and designed to fit a specific camera, Outex's rubber sleeve stretches to accommodate a variety of camera and lens shapes and sizes. Additionally, Outex says its new model has an "improved material composition" that makes both installation and removal easier by offering increased malleability and elasticity.

Finally, Outex says the housing covers also have better longevity thanks to a reformulated compound design and better manufacturing process.

As of this writing, Outex is about $10,000 of the way to its $35K goal with 31 days to go, but if the Kickstarter campaign brings in enough funds to meet certain stretch goals, Outex will also launch covers for mirrorless and compact cameras ($75k goal), large-body cameras ($150k goal), and even covers that can accommodate pistol grips and tripods ($175k goal).

The Kickstarter campaign is offering backers one clear cover for pledges of at least $100. Assuming the funding goal is met and everything goes according to plan (NEVER a guarantee), backers will receive their products in January 2018.

Categories: Photo News

Halide 1.5 camera app is designed specifically for the iPhone X

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:37

Lucky owners of the new iPhone X have a tempting new camera app option. The newest update to Halide (v1.5) features a new interface designed from scratch for the iPhone X—one that positions all of the controls near the bottom where they're within thumb's reach. Additionally, Halide leverages the iPhone X display's 'ears' on either side of the top notch, using that space to display a histogram and exposure values.

Halide 1.5 is designed to optimally use the phone's long OLED display, as well as its rear cameras, offering support for depth capture as well as a clean interface that provides an unobstructed viewfinder. The new interface is designed to be used with one hand on the iPhone X, though the update does bring 'a more ergonomic experience' to older iPhones as well.

Existing Halide users can download the 1.5 update for free, while new users can buy the app for a discounted $3 rate through the iPhone X launch weekend, after which the price will revert to the usual $5.

Categories: Photo News

GoPro Q3 2017 financial results reveal return to profitability

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:27

GoPro has reported its Q3 2017 financial results, detailing revenue that highlights a return to profitability. The company has undergone extensive business restructuring over past months in an effort to reverse its fortunes while decreasing non-GAAP expenses. According to its latest quarterly results, GoPro saw a 37% year-on-year revenue increase, raking in $47 million in cash with a 40% gross margin.

GoPro achieved both GAAP and non-GAAP profitability during its third fiscal quarter, with company CEO Nicholas Woodman saying, "GoPro has turned a corner, restoring growth and profitability to our business." In addition to growing revenue, GoPro saw "dramatically reduced operating costs," though the lower costs won't affect its product roadmap, according to Woodman.

In its third quarter last year, GoPro saw a GAAP net loss of $104 million. Compare that to this year's Q3 GAAP net income of about $15 million, and you'll get a sense of the drastic improvement the company just posted. The turnaround has been largely driven by GoPro's average sales price (up 22% year-on-year) and the cat that its quarterly operating expenses were the lowest they've been in 3 years.

Categories: Photo News

Hasselblad unveils 135mm F2.8 for X1D, promises 80mm with fastest aperture yet

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 09:05

Medium format camera and lens maker Hasselblad has released its XCD lens roadmap for 2018, revealing the nine total lenses that will be available for X1D-50c shooters by the end of next year. Mainly, the company has added two new models to the system in the shape of a 135mm F2.8 with a built-in teleconverter, and what it is describing as an 80mm with the widest aperture Hasselblad has ever produced.

In addition, Hasselblad has altered the spec of its already announced 22mm wide lens. It will now come to market as a 21mm F4 after a slight change of plan in what Hasselblad says is a response to feedback from customers.

The new XCD 135mm F2.8 is due to arrive in the first half of 2018, and will come with a built-in 1.7x converter that will transform the lens into a 230mm F4.8. With the sensor of the X1D, this lens will deliver the same sort of angle of view we’d expect from a 110mm lens on a full-frame system, while with the converter that becomes just over 180mm.

The maximum aperture of the promised 80mm hasn’t been disclosed, but if it is to be the widest aperture Hasselblad has ever produced it will need to be wider than the F2 of the 110mm Planar T*. The company has said more will be revealed closer to the launch date at the end of 2018.

Aperture details of the forthcoming XCD 35-75mm zoom and the XCD 65mm have also been released, with the zoom varying between F3.5 and F4.5, and the 50mm-equivalent focal length coming in at F2.8. Prices are also to be released at a later date.

For more information, visit the Hasselblad website.

Press Release

Hasselblad expands the XCD lens range to a total of nine lenses in 2018

Hasselblad updates the XCD lens roadmap for the award-winning X1D-50c with the XCD 135mm and the 80mm lenses, rapidly expanding the XCD lens range to a total of nine dedicated lenses. By end of 2018 X1D users will have a wide range of lens options to maximize their creative vision.

The XCD 135mm f/2.8 lens comes with a dedicated 1,7x converter that extends the tele lens to 230mm f/4.8, while the XCD 80mm is set to become the highest aperture lens that Hasselblad has ever introduced.

In addition to these two new lenses, the previously announced XCD 22mm ultra-wide-angle lens has been updated to 21mm to meet the Hasselblad users’ demand for a better wide-angle lens experience.

Like the other XCD lenses, all new XCD lenses have an integral central shutter offering a wide range of shutter speeds and full flash synchronisation up to 1/2000th second.

Hasselblad is also releasing aperture details for previously announced XCD lenses: the XCD 21 ultra-wide-angle lens will feature f/4.0, the XCD 35-75mm zoom lens will have f/3.5-4.5, and the XCD 65mm lens will have f/2.8.

All new XCD lenses, besides XCD 80mm, are expected to be available during the first half of 2018, while the XCD 80mm high aperture featuring lens is planned for the second half of 2018.

The demand for the previously announced XCD 120mm macro lens and the XH lens adapter exceeded Hasselblad’s expectations, but the production is now being ramped up and orders are being fulfilled globally.

In addition to the nine dedicated XCD lenses, the XH lens adapter allows the X1D owners to use all twelve HC/HCD lenses.

Pricing and additional technical specifications will be provided closer to the availability of each lens. Specifications are subject to change.

Categories: Photo News

Affinity Photo 1.6 released: faster processing, new features, and free stuff

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 08:26

Serif has updated its image editing software Affinity Photo with ‘a huge performance boost’ to make it faster to use and more capable with large files. The step to v1.6 also brings a new ‘light’ user interface option for those new to the program or those who don’t need the full range of features.

Additional feature enhancements include a stroke stabilization mode for brushes and pencils, as well as better support for its Photoshop plug-in. Here's a full list of the new features you'll find in Affinity Photo 1.6:

  • New light user interface option
  • New stroke stabiliser for all pencil and brush tools
  • New "Edit In" integration with Apple Photos
  • Metal 2 accelerated view optimised for macOS High Sierra
  • Improved view pan/zoom performance and
  • Improved performance with large documents
  • New font chooser dropdown with recents, used fonts and favourites
  • New Glyph browser
  • Align to key items
  • Text frame vertical alignment options
  • Fit frame to text
  • Custom brush wet edges
  • Outlier stacking mode
  • Improved Photoshop Plugin support
  • Improved Live Filters performance
  • Many PDF export improvements including vector export of multi-stop gradients
  • Numerous bug fixes and other improvements

Additionally, the update gives new and existing users what the company describes as 'bonus content' worth around £120, including:

  • Dirk Wüstenhagen Fine Art Texture Collection: 99 beautifully crafted, high-resolution textures
  • Uplift Epic Skies Overlay: A versatile collection of 50 striking cloud overlays
  • Macro Pack: A stunning set of image styles, light leaks and distortions

Affinity Photo costs £49 / $50 / €55 and can be downloaded directly from the Affinity website.

Press Release


Affinity 1.6 updates and free bonus content available now

We are thrilled to announce that both Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer have just received a fantastic new update. And to celebrate for the next two weeks we are giving away a huge bundle of creative content free with every purchase!

Our apps continue to push the boundaries of professional creative software and this latest update raises the bar once again with a huge performance boost making them faster, smoother and more powerful than ever.

We’ve added valuable new features including a light UI mode, brush stabilisation and tons of useful performance improvements and enhancements. For more details check out our brand-new product pages and the 1.6 feature video below, all created using artwork submitted by our very talented users.

Affinity apps are all about enabling you to work faster – whether it’s a quick design draft or photo edit, or a painstaking, complex document involving hundreds of layers or stacked images.

Our apps are already a trusted part of the workflow for creative professionals around the world. The latest versions build on those proven capabilities to deliver lightning speed, pinpoint accuracy and incredible processing power like never before.
Along-side the v1.6 update you will also receive:

Affinity Photo bonus content worth around £105

  • Dirk Wüstenhagen Fine Art Texture Collection - 99 beautifully crafted, high-resolution textures
  • Uplift Epic Skies Overlay - A versatile collection of 50 striking cloud overlays
  • Macro Pack - A stunning set of image styles, light leaks and distortions

Affinity Designer bonus content worth around £60

  • Frankentoon Texturizer Pro Brush Pack - Over 70 brushes created exclusively for Affinity Designer
  • Tom Chalky Handcrafted Fonts & Textures – A huge bundle of stylish fonts and over 80 textures
  • Grade UI Kit – More than 1000 fully-customisable elements, icons, panels and buttons

If you already own Affinity Photo or Affinity Designer this update is completely free, and to thank you for your support we’ve also made the free content available to existing users until 16 November when the special offer ends.

Mac customers can download the update right now from the Mac App Store and Windows customers will be prompted to update the next time they open their app. Once installed a link to the free content will appear on the app welcome screen (go to Help and select Welcome if it does not appear at start up).

If you don’t own them yet now is the perfect time to buy. The apps are available priced at £48.99 / $49.99 / 54,99€ each, which we think is great value for money ? the free content alone would cost more than the app, if bought separately. And remember there’s no subscription and future updates like this one are also included in the price!

It’s also worth noting our free trials have now been reset, so if you downloaded a trial in the early days and would like to see how far our apps have come, you can now download the trial from our website for a second time.


Categories: Photo News

iFixis tears down the iPhone X

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 07:44
Image: Ifixit The brand new Apple iPhone X got a complete teardown from iFixit.com, which rates the device a 6 out of 10 on its repairability scale, putting it on the same level as the iPhone 8 Plus and Google Pixel 2 XL. It's easier to repair than a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 though which scored only 4 points. The iFixit team were particularly impressed with the repairability of battery and display. The latter can be replaced without removing the biometric Face ID hardware for example. On the downside, the analysis found that unrelated components are tied together by cables, turning them into complex assemblies that are difficult and expensive to replace. The teardown also gets us a good look at the iPhone X Dual 12 MP cameras (wide-angle and telephoto) with F1.8 and F2.4 apertures and OIS and the 7 MP TrueDepth front camera with F2.2 aperture, 1080p HD video recording, and Face ID. Head over the ifixit.com for the full report and lots of detail images.
Categories: Photo News

Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM sample gallery updated

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 06:00
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The 70-200mm F2.8 is a staple piece of kit for a lot of professional and advanced shooters. Sony's full-frame E-mount version happens to carry the 'GM' logo, designating it one of the brand's highest quality pieces of glass.

We carried it along while exploring the areas in and around Jackson, Wyoming and found it capable of excellent image quality. This is especially true when you stop it down a bit. You can also take a look at our previously-published Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM roller derby gallery.

See our Sony FE 70-200 F2.8 GM sample image gallery

Categories: Photo News

HTC U11+ combines U11 camera specs with large 6-inch display

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 10:00

HTC has launched the HTC U11+ which shares many characteristics with its smaller cousin U11. Both phones are powered by a Snapdragon 835 chipset and come with, depending on region, 4 or 6GB of RAM. They also share the same camera specifications that made the U11 one of the best camera phones in 2017.

On the back, you'll find a 12MP sensor with large 1.4µm pixels that is combined with optical image stabilization and a fast F1.7 aperture. In video mode the U11+ can record 1080p footage at 120fps, and 4K clips with Hi-Res audio. At 8MP, the front camera pixel count has been reduced compared to the U11's 16MP sensor. The front module also offers an 85-degree field-of-view, an F2.0 aperture and 1080p video recording.

The big difference between U11 and U11+ is the latter's almost bezel-less LCD display with 18:9 format and a 1440x2880 pixel resolution. It means there are now no physical controls on the front and the fingerprint reader was moved to the back. The body is IP68-certified and comes in Ceramic Black, Amazing Silver and Translucent color options. There's also a microSD card slot and the 3,930mAh battery offers support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0.

In Europe, the HTC U11+ will be available for €800 (approximately $930). For now a launch in North America is not planned.

Categories: Photo News

This animation shows the chaos a drone caused at a London airport

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 07:51

The sequence of diversions and re-routing caused when a drone was sighted close to one of London’s busiest airports has been turned into an amazing animated map by the UK’s National Air Traffic Service (NATS), to demonstrate the level of disruption even short airport closures can create.

The video map shows what happens to normal air traffic at Gatwick airport when the runway was closed in response to a drone in the vicinity. The closure lasted only nine minutes, but in that time two holding areas away from the airport became congested and some aircraft had to divert to alternative airports over fuel concerns.

The incident happened on a Sunday during the summer when the airport was particularly busy with summer holiday traffic. A drone was spotted close to the runway, but seemed to disappear before returning when the runway reopened, causing it to be closed again for another five minutes. In total, the runway was only closed for 14 minutes, but the level of disruption is easy to see on the map as aircraft circle and shift into safer holding areas with other planes waiting to use the airport.

In all, four holding areas had to be used, and four planes needed to land at different airports because it wasn’t clear how long the closure would last.

"The disruption was significant and took hours to clear; it was around midnight before everything was fully ‘back to normal’ and even then, hundreds of passengers had ended up away from their intended airport and thousands of passengers had been delayed," reports the NATS blog. "All as a result of one drone pilot flouting the rules. "

NATS encourages all drone pilots to read the Civil Aviation Authorities’ Drone Code and to download the Drone Assist app to ensure they fly safely.

You can find out more about the incident and air traffic control on the NATS website.

Categories: Photo News

Shooting the Presidents Cup with the Sony a9

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 07:49

Believe it or not, sports and live music photography have a lot in common – your reaction time as a photographer is crucial. The money shot moments happen in a split second and if you are too early or too late on your shutter release you will have missed the shot. Most of the time when I’m out on a shoot I’m working with a DSLR that shoots 6 frames per second or a mirrorless that can shoot 11 frames per second. I’m used to waiting for that perfect moment to fire the shutter and usually do just fine with 6 fps – but I won’t lie, the chance to try out the Sony a9's 20 fps had me intrigued.

For starters, I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to test out this camera. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky for the first day of The Presidents Cup golf tournament at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey, giving pristine views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty from certain holes on the course.

Although I typically photograph live music, I’ve spent time photographing action sports and college games, and had a feeling that the insane burst shooting speeds would be a huge asset while photographing some of the world’s premiere golfers.

The totally silent shutter and the full-frame sensor in the a9 has created a camera that essentially allows a photographer to capture viewpoints that in the past simply weren’t allowed

I was also pretty excited to use the completely silent shutter on the a9. During a golf tournament there are key moments that most photographers aren’t allowed to shoot unless they are a substantial distance from the golfers—tee off for example, as a loud shutter clunk going off behind a golfer would be a huge distraction. The totally silent electronic shutter and the full-frame sensor in the a9 has created a camera that essentially allows a photographer to capture viewpoints that in the past simply weren’t allowed.

I own an a6500 and regularly shoot video for one of my clients using an a7, so I’m familiar with the menu organization and the autofocus systems on these cameras. The day before the event I went through and customized the settings on the a9 in a way that is similar to how I shoot with my a6500. I spent the bulk of my day shooting with the 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 G Master lens, with the camera switched to Shutter Priority mode (to catch the fleeting moment of the golf ball in frame) and swapping between two of the continuous autofocus area modes: Wide and Flexible Spot.

Despite being accustomed to Sony cameras the AF system still has its quirks—especially when dealing with a busy frame. As The Presidents Cup kicked off I was shooting in Wide AF mode and found the a9 occasionally having trouble locking onto the subjects I wanted it to. My images of former President Bill Clinton and George Bush in conversation behind the first tee are all slightly soft as the Wide focus mode wanted to grab focus on either the photographer in front of them or the white wall behind them. It was difficult to tell that this was happening while I was shooting (it looked so sharp through the EVF) and a real disappointment once I had a chance to download my cards after the event.

It may have missed the mark on the former Presidents, but Wide AF mode worked great for capturing the throngs of American-flag dressed fans in the stands though. The new design of the AF joystick was a dream while shooting in Flexible Spot mode though – it’s similar to the one on my DSLR making it quite fast to move the AF spot as the golfers maneuvered around the green during play.

The totally silent shutter on the camera took some getting used to. Early in the day there were a number of times that, as I was framing my shots, I found I was actually shooting frames without realizing it. However, as I grew accustomed to shooting without a shutter clunk I found the shutter noise from other photographers on the green quite distracting. Overall, I think this feature (especially when paired with the fact that the a9 has no optical blackout while shooting) is a huge benefit.

While the ability to shoot silently was particularly helpful on the golf course I can think of a number of other scenarios where this would be useful—weddings, on the set of film shoots, inside the studio with musicians and even photojournalism. The ability to silence the shutter makes it that much easier to become invisible as a photographer and capture your moments. The Sony a9 essentially makes it easy to follow the action and capture the exact frame that you want.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the features that I was most excited to check out was the a9's ridiculously fast burst speeds. Although 20 fps is impressive, for shooting a sport like golf you probably won’t need quite that much speed. I spent the bulk of my day shooting at a lower frame rate out of fear of filling my cards before the day was over—I’d shot just over 2,000 frames when our day of ended. I’d love to see what those 20 fps could do during a faster moving sport though.

Unfortunately, there isn’t currently a way to rate the frames you like. This makes editing in a program like Photo Mechanic a bit more cumbersome. Another quirk is that although the a9 has two card slots, if one memory card hits capacity it won’t automatically switch to the second card. This is obviously going to be a drawback for professional level sports photographers documenting clutch moments of a sporting event.

The playback feature also isn’t intuitive. At one point during our day of shooting I thought I had lost a few hundred images. Thankfully it turned out that they were just recording to my second card and I was seeing playback from the first card. Sony says they are aware of all of these drawbacks though, and are working on solutions for them through future firmware updates and upcoming models.

I likely could have photographed the entire event with a single battery, which was an
unexpected surprise

As someone who occasionally shoots with Sony gear my expectations for this camera’s battery life in the field were low – the Sony system just isn’t known for having the longevity that a DSLR does. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the stamina of the new Z battery. I only swapped my battery once towards the end of the day and even then, it still had roughly a 20% charge on it. I likely could have photographed the entire event with a single battery, which was an unexpected surprise.

It’s not unusual for sports photographers to travel with multiple bodies and lenses, and the after shooting with the a9 for the day I certainly didn't envy the folks rolling around with multiple Canon EOS-1D X's. Even with a 100-400mm lens and an extra battery grip the Sony a9 remains relatively lightweight. For the most part the ergonomics of the camera are quite nice – it’s easy to switch between drive modes and shooting modes, and the movie record button has been moved to an area where you won’t accidentally press it.

My one complaint about the layout of knobs and buttons is the placement of the exposure compensation knob. Multiple times throughout the day I’d look at my camera and see that this knob had unexpectedly clicked off the "0" position. Apparently some photographers have taken to taping this down to prevent it from moving—I think on future shoots with the a9 I would do the same.

Obviously no camera is perfect, and although the a9 has its quirks, shooting during The Presidents Cup with it was an incredible experience. The burst speeds allowed me to photograph fleeting moments that I don’t think would be possible with my normal setup.

There was a bit of a learning curve at first, but as the day moved on I found myself quickly adapting to the a9. That completely silent shutter and the lack of blackout are the real gems of this camera though, and are features that I think a variety of photographers would find to be game changers in their work.

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Jeanette D. Moses is New York City based photographer and videographer specializing in music, events and portraiture. Her work has been published by The New York Times Magazine, SPIN, PASTE, Billboard, Breakthrough Radio, Popular Photography, American Photo Mag, Brooklyn Vegan, Flavorwire, Impose and PopGun. She currently runs Blood Sweat and Beers, a photo site dedicated to documenting New York City's vibrant DIY music scene.

Categories: Photo News