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Updated: 2 hours 52 min ago

Olympus 45mm F1.2 Pro sample gallery

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 12:00

The Olympus 45mm F1.2 Pro is a 90mm equivalent that just screams to be used for portraiture. So when we found ourselves with a production-ready copy, we got right to work. Head to our full sample gallery to see how Olympus' newest prime fares.

See our Olympus 45mm F1.2 Pro
sample gallery

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Categories: Photo News

Sony to shift focus as demand for automotive image sensors increases

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 09:13

Sony is the largest supplier or CMOS image sensors worldwide, with about half of its production capacity reserved for mobile device image sensors. However, according to a DigiTimes report, the company is now looking to expand its position in the market for automotive image sensors, where rivals On Semiconductor and OmniVision are currently the largest players.

As a consequence Sony is planning to allocate a larger portion of its sensor production capacity for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and other automotive electronics applications.

Self-driving vehicles have been identified by sensor suppliers as a major growth area that will generate elevated demand for image sensors in the near future. According to DigiTimes sources, automotive is expected to overtake mobile devices as the leading application for CMOS sensors and will be first among all auto electronics segments, with major growth kicking in during 2018.

According to Digitimes, increasing demand for CMOS sensors through high-end smartphone and automotive applications could be bad news for consumers as the average unit price of CMOS sensors is expected to rise. The global market volume for CMOS sensors is forecast to increase to nearly US$13.8 billion in 2020, up from US$11.2 billion in 2017.

Categories: Photo News

Demo: Sony a7R III's impressive Eye AF

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 09:11

We've been fans of Sony's Eye AF feature for a while now, and since the company claims it's twice as effective in the a7R III it was one of the first things we wanted to check out. In our brief initial demo it does indeed look impressive, which could be a huge benefit for pro photographers. Take a look.

Categories: Photo News

Demo: Here is the Sony a7R III shooting at 10 fps

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 08:55

News of the Sony a7R III is hot off the press and we've just gotten some hands-on time with the camera at an event in New York. So what's the first thing to try? Why, 10 fps mechanical shutter bursts, with continuous autofocus, of course. It's impressive on paper and sure enough, it's darn impressive in person. Take a look for yourself.

Categories: Photo News

Apple shares two iPhone 8 Plus Portrait Lighting tutorials

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 08:27

Apple has just released two brief video tutorial through its YouTube channel, explaining the operation of the new Portrait Lighting feature on the iPhone 8 Plus. The function, which was introduced with the iPhone 8 generation and the iPhone X, lets the user add a variety of simulated lighting effects to portrait images.

The device uses its dual-camera and machine learning to produce a depth-map of the image and apply lighting and blur effects to the scene. Available effects include Natural Light, Studio Light, Contour Light, Stage Light and Stage Light Monochrome. Portrait Lighting can be activated while shooting or applied in editing at a later stage.

The first of the tutorials focuses on Portrait Lighting in shooting mode, the second shows how to apply the effect when editing through the Photos app.

Categories: Photo News

Watch Sony's a7R III livestream event on DPReview

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 06:54

UPDATE: The livestream is over. We'll update this post if and when Sony posts the recording online. For now, we've replaced the livestream with the Sony a7R III First Impressions video Sony published shortly after the event ended.

Sony dropped a bombshell at 2am Eastern time last night, announcing the 42.4MP mirrorless full-frame Sony a7R III to the world. And this morning, at a special event in New York City, they'll officially 'unveil' this camera (and more) with all of the Apple-esque showmanship we've come to expect from Sony camera launches.

The 'special livestream event' starts in just a few minutes. Click play up top and open up the DPReview Twitter account in another page for live commentary from our lovable nerds at the event.

Categories: Photo News

DxO acquires Nik Collection from Google and will continue to offer it for free... for now

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 06:00

Look alive, Nik Collection fans: the software suite is back from the (mostly) dead. It will change hands from Google to DxO, who will continue to offer it as Photoshop and Lightroom plug-ins, as well as incorporate it into their own software. DxO will offer a new flagship application called PhotoLab, a version of OpticsPro that will incorporate Nik Collection's U Point technology.

We spoke with Aravind Krishnaswamy, a Google Engineering Director, and DxO founder/CEO Jerome Meniere about the acquisition. Krishnaswamy mentioned Google's need to focus on its Photos application, but that they want the Nik community to have a future, and a place to continue using the suite's tools.

That's where DxO picks things up. The Nik Collection in its present state will continue to be offered for free – for now. Meniere hints that this may not always be the case, and DxO plans to develop a new "Nik Collection 2018" for mid-next year. Meniere also mentions that they'd like to work with the Nik community to take the software in a direction that they'd like to see it go.

Not surprisingly, Nik-developed Snapseed is not included in the transaction, and will remain with Google. The company plans to continue actively developing and improving the mobile image editing app.

Head to DxO's dedicated Nik Collection site if you'd like to snag free versions of the plug-ins while you still can.

Press release

DxO acquires Nik Collection assets from Google and plans to set a new bar on Photo editing softwares

PARIS – October 25, 2017 – DxO, one of the most innovative companies in consumer imaging, today announced the acquisition of the Nik Collection assets from Google.

DxO plans to continue development of the Nik Collection. The current version will remain available for free on DxO’s dedicated website, while a new “Nik Collection 2018 Edition” is planned for mid-next year.

“The Nik Collection gives photographers tools to create photos they absolutely love,” said Aravind Krishnaswamy, an Engineering Director with Google. “We’re thrilled to have DxO, a company dedicated to high-quality photography solutions, acquire and continue to develop it.”

“We are very excited to welcome the Nik Collection to the DxO family,” said Jérôme Ménière, CEO and founder of DxO. “DxO revolutionized the image processing market many times over the years with its innovative solutions, and we are convinced that we will continue to do so with Nik’s tools, which offer new creative opportunities for photographers. The latest version of our flagship software DxO PhotoLab, which is available as of now, is the first embodiment of this thrilling acquisition with built-in U point Technology.”

About the Nik Collection

The Nik Collection is composed of seven desktop plugins for Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop that provide a powerful range of photo editing capabilities — from filter applications that improve color correction, to retouching and creative effects, to image sharpening that brings out hidden details, to the ability to adjust the color and tonality of images. The current lineup of the Nik Collection includes:

  • Analog Efex Pro: Applies film-era camera, lens, and film simulations to digital images
  • Color Efex Pro: A comprehensive set of filters for color correction, retouching, and creative effects
  • Dfine: Noise reduction software for camera-specific digital images
  • HDR Efex Pro: Specialized program for processing HDR pictures
  • Sharpener Pro: Image sharpening for digital images
  • Silver Efex Pro: Black & White conversion of images with darkroom-inspired controls
  • Viveza: Selectively adjusts image color and tonality without complicated masks or selections
Categories: Photo News

Sony a7R III promises faster bursts, better focusing and longer battery life

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 23:30
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Sony has announced the a7R Mark III, a 42.4MP mirrorless camera built around the lessons learned from its flagship a9 sports camera. The result is a high-res full frame camera capable of 10 fps shooting with more tenacious autofocus and many of the improvements existing a7R II users had hoped for.

The camera features essentially the same body as the a7R II, but Sony has found room for a focus point selection joystick, AF-On button, twin SD card slots, flash sync socket and, most importantly, the higher-capacity battery of the a9. The new camera also gets the 3.69M-dot OLED viewfinder from the a9, providing a 1280 x 720 resolution view. This gives you highly detailed images with high contrast and deep blacks through the EVF, particularly during playback.

Speed

The sensor is the same 42.4MP BSI CMOS chip as before, but a series of hardware and processing changes act to get more out of it.

A faster 'Bionz X' processor, along with the front-end LSI processor featured in recent Sony models, allows the camera to process more data, faster. This, in conjunction with a redesigned, low-vibration shutter mechanism, allows the new camera to shoot at 10 frames per second, with full autofocus, in either mechanical or electronic shutter mode. It can also do a6500-style 'live view' continuous shooting at up to 8 fps.

Sony says the faster processing will give "more tenacious" subject tracking and Eye-AF than the existing a7R models

Continuous shooting bursts can last for 87 compressed or 28 uncompressed Raw files.

Sony claims 15 stops of dynamic range and 14-bit Raw capture across more of its shooting modes (including continuous shooting and e-shutter mode, which prompted the previous camera to drop to 12-bit capture), though it still drops to 12-bit when shooting 10 fps uncompressed Raw.

So, although the Mark III doesn't have the super-high throughput stacked CMOS design that we saw in the a9, Sony says the faster processing will give faster shooting speeds and even offer AF benefits: "more tenacious" subject tracking and Eye-AF than the existing a7R models to name a couple, even if not up to a9 standards.

Autofocus

The a7R III retains the 399 point on-sensor phase-detect AF system of its predecessor, ensuring accurate and precise autofocus at the image sensor plane with no calibration whatsoever. Importantly, though, Sony claims twice as good face and eye detection and tenacity. That would be welcome, as we found Eye AF-C to be very jumpy, readily hopping between detected faces in the scene, on the a7R II. The a7R II particularly struggled in continuous drive modes. The a9 remedied this issue quite a bit, more tenaciously sticking to your original intended subject as you can see below, and even functioning jaw-droppingly flawlessly even in 20 fps bursts. We hope the a7R II's algorithms allow for at least somewhat similar behavior:

Like with the a9, Sony has updated its low light AF rating, ensuring focus down to -3 EV with F2 lenses. Indeed, we've found Sony's ratings to be relatively accurate, with a F1.4 lens offering 1 stop faster performance (down to -4 EV), but slower lenses offering worse performance (-1 EV for F4 lenses). The a7R II predecessor focused down to -3 EV with F1.4 lenses, and reliably to -2 EV with F2 lenses.

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As well as the more powerful processors, the a7R Mark III gains some of its capabilities from a completely new shutter mechanism. This is designed to be both fast and low vibration, with a braking mechanism designed to reduce the risk of shutter shock, to maximize image sharpness. Sony says it will offer professional levels of durability, too, though hasn't put a number on its expected lifespan.

The camera's IS mechanism also gets a boost with the 5-axis system upgraded to receive a 5.5 step rating, by CIPA standard testing. The full capabilities of the system remain available in video shooting, too.

Ergonomics

Although the body is essentially that of the a7R II, the Mark II gains some of the ergonomic improvements of the a9. This includes an AF-On button and joystick/multi-controller for positioning the camera's AF point. The camera's 3" touchscreen can also be used as an 'AF touchpad' when the camera is held to your eye.

The touchscreen can also be used to perform a controlled rack focus during video capture.

Video

As with its predecessor, the a7R Mark III can shoot UHD 4K from the full width of its sensor but gets better results in Super 35 (essentially APS-C) crop mode. In crop mode the camera shoots using a 5176 x 2924 pixel region, which it down-samples to produce highly detailed 3840 x 2160 UHD 4K footage. Sony says the image quality of both types of footage is improved but that the quality differential between full frame and Super 35mm modes will remain.

The a7R III gains the Hybrid Log Gamma feature we first saw in the Panasonic GH5, which essentially captures Log footage along with metadata that allows HLG-compatible HDR displays to correctly present the footage, without the need for post-processing. Display Assist, which gives a 'normal,' corrected preview while shooting in Log mode, is available when shooting HLG footage. SLog-3 has also been added to maximize dynamic range for users who do expect to grade their footage.

In crop mode the camera shoots using a 5176 x 2924 pixel region, which it down-samples to produce highly detailed 3840 x 2160 UHD 4K footage

The a7R III also gains the 1080p120 (100 in PAL mode) video capability that Sony has developed since the launch of the Mark II, along with the fast and slow-motion modes that stem from the feature. It also shoots XAVC-S Proxy, with the camera capturing both a high quality and a small, more easily editable proxy stream, simultaneously (a feature we first saw on the RX10 IV).

Multi-shot resolution mode

New to the a7R III is a multi-shot resolution mode that, much like the system in recent Pentax DSLRs, shoots four images and moves the sensor between each shot, so that each pixel position in the final image is captured with a red, a blue and two green pixels. This cancels out the side-effects of the Bayer color filter array, meaning that full color information is captured for every pixel. This has a noise benefit both from capturing multiple shots of the same scene, which helps average out the noise, while also reducing the additional softness and noise that usually comes from the demosaicing process.

However, unlike the system Pentax uses or the earlier, 8-shot process used by Olympus, the a7R III cannot assemble the final images in-camera. Instead four Raw files must be processed using a freely downloadable image processing application for PCs that Sony will offer. The camera must also wait either 0.5, 1, or 2 seconds between shots for the sensor to settle, which is likely to exacerbate the problems of subject movement between the first and last shot.

Other features

As well as all these there are a series of smaller additions. For a start, the a7R III also gains an anti-flicker mode that monitors the strobing of artificial lights and shoots at the peak intensity, to avoid dark or inconsistently exposed photos.

There are also twin USB sockets, a USB 3.1 type C connector and the microUSB port that is found on most cameras. The a7R III can be operated when charging over either of these sockets, meaning the camera can charge over a microUSB cable while also shooting tethered via USB-C.

As per the a9, the a7R Mark III has twin card slots, one of which is UHS-II compatible, while the other is the lower-bandwidth UHS-I standard.

Battery life

Use of the larger NP-FZ100 battery increases the battery life by 2.2x, meaning a CIPA rating of 650 shots per charge when using the rear LCD or 530 shots per charge with the EVF. This can be increased using the optional VG-3EM battery grip, which it shares with the a9.

The a7R Mark III will be available from the last day of November at a recommended selling price of $3199.

Press release

Sony’s New Full-frame α7R III Interchangeable Lens Camera Delivers the Ultimate Combination of Resolution and Speed

Innovative Full-frame Mirrorless Model Offers 42.4 MP High-Resolution, 10 fps Continuous Shooting, Fast and Precise AF Performance in a Compact Body

  • 35mm Full-Frame 42.4 MP1 Back-Illuminated Exmor R™ CMOS Image Sensor with Evolved Image Processing
  • Continuous Shooting at up to 10 fps2 with either Silent Shooting or Mechanical Shutter and full Auto Focus/Auto Exposure tracking
  • 399 phase-detection AF points covering 68%3 of image area, 425 contrast AF points and approximately 2 times more effective Eye AF4
  • 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization with a 5.5 step5shutter speed advantage
  • High Resolution 4K6 Movie Shooting with full pixel readout and no pixel binning7
  • Completely redesigned for professionals, including upgraded Auto Focus, Dual SD Card Slots, Extended Battery Life, SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1 Gen 1) USB Type-C™ Terminal and more
  • Compact, Lightweight body at only 23 oz8

NEW YORK, Oct. 25, 2017 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today introduced an impressive addition to their full-frame mirrorless camera lineup, the α7R III (model ILCE-7RM3).

Thanks to an evolutionary leap in image processing power and efficiency, the new α7R III combines a high-resolution 42.4 MP1 back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor with impressive shooting speeds at up to 10 fps2 with full AF/AE tracking, as well as beautiful image and 4K6 video quality, wide 15-stop9 dynamic range, high sensitivity with noise reduction of almost a full stop4 and more. With these immense capabilities and a compact, lightweight body, it’s an extremely versatile tool for photographers, videographers, multi-media creators and all other types of professionals that demand reliability, flexibility and versatility.

“We’re continuing to raise the bar for innovation in the imaging marketplace, in particular with our full-frame camera lineup,” said Neal Manowitz, Vice President of Digital Imaging for Sony Electronics. “As an industry, we are now entering the true digital age of imaging. The capabilities of the α7R III camera – silent shooting at 10 fps at full 42.4 MP resolution, extreme AF coverage and speed for both video and stills – exceed anything that is physically possible with a DSLR, making it an excellent symbol for this paradigm shift” He added, “It offers a level of customization, speed and stamina that will satisfy even the most demanding professionals, and ensures that they can take full advantage of this impressive tool to capture and create in ways they never could before.”

A New Level of Image Quality
The 42.4MP high-resolution, back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor utilizes a gapless on-chip lens design and AR (anti-reflective) coating on the surface of the sensor’s seal glass to dramatically improve light collection efficiency, resulting in high sensitivity with low-noise performance and wide dynamic range.

Sony’s new α7R III also features a new front-end LSI that effectively doubles4 the readout speed of the image sensor, as well as an updated BIONZ X™ processing-engine that boosts processing speed by approximately 1.8 times compared to the α7R II. These powerful components work together to allow the camera to shoot at faster speeds while also enabling its impressive ISO range of 100 - 32000 (expandable to ISO 50 – 102400 for still images) and massive 15-stop9 dynamic range at low sensitivity settings. This ensures outstanding overall performance at all settings and in all shooting conditions.

This new full-frame model was built without an optical low pass filter to maximize resolution, while also having the ability to output 14 bit RAW format even when shooting in silent or continuous mode. The camera is equipped with an innovative 5-axis optical image stabilization system that has been fine-tuned to support its high-resolution shooting capacity, resulting in a 5.5 step5 shutter speed advantage, the world’s highest10 compensation performance for an image stabilization system. There is also a new low-vibration shutter that reduces vibration and image blur in all modes, including the high speed 10 fps shooting, as well as several advancements in accurate color reproductions of skin tones.

High-Performance AF and AF/AE Tracking at up to 10 fps2
The innovative new α7R III full-frame mirrorless camera is equipped with a refined image processing system that allows it to shoot full 42.4MP images at up to 10 fps with continuous, accurate AF/AE tracking for up to 76 JPEG / RAW images or 28 uncompressed RAW images11. This high speed 10 fps mode is available with either a mechanical shutter or a completely silent shooting12, adding to the immense flexibility of the camera. The camera can also shoot continuously at up to 8 fps13 in live view mode with minimal lag in the viewfinder or LCD screen. These high speed options ensure that fast moving subjects can be captured with extreme accuracy and incredible image detail.

For added convenience, while large groups of burst images are being written to the memory card, many of the cameras key functions are operable, including access to the ‘Fn’ (Function) and ‘Menu’ buttons, image playback and several other menus and parameters14 including image rating and other functions that facilitate on-location image sorting.

Additionally, if there is fluorescent or artificial lighting present in a shooting environment, users can activate the Anti-flicker15 function to allow the α7R III to automatically detect frequency of the lighting and time the shutter to minimize its effect on images being captured. This minimizes any exposure or color anomalies that can sometimes occur at the top and bottom of images shot at high shutter speeds.

The upgraded focusing system of the α7R III is comprised of 399 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 68% of the image area in both the horizontal and vertical directions. There is also 425 contrast AF points, an increase of 400 points compared to the α7R II. This advanced system delivers AF acquisition in about half the time as the α7R II in low-light conditions, with tracking that is approximately 2 times more accurate as well. The acclaimed Eye AF feature is also approximately 2 times more effective, and is available when utilizing Sony’s A-mount lenses with an adapter16.

Additional improvements in focusing flexibility include AF availability in Focus Magnifier mode, focal-plane phase-detection AF support when using A-mount lenses17, an ‘AF On’ button, a multi-selector or ‘joystick’ for moving focusing points quickly, flexible touch focus functionality and much more.

High Quality 4K for the Video Professionals
The new α7R III is exceptionally capable as a video camera, offering 4K (3840x2160 pixels) video recording across the full width of the full-frame image sensor. When shooting in Super 35mm format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 5K18 of information, oversampling it to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth.

A new HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) 19 is available on the α7R III that supports an Instant HDR workflow, allowing HDR (HLG) compatible TV’s to playback beautiful, true-to-life 4K HDR imagery. Further, both S-Log2 and S-Log3 are available for increased color grading flexibility. The camera can also record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps6, allowing footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow motion20 video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking.

Build, Design and Customization for Professionals
Sony’s newest full-frame camera is equipped with a variety of enhanced capabilities that give it a true professional operational style. These include dual media slots, with support in one slot for UHS-II type SD memory cards. Users have a variety of options for storing their content, including separate JPEG / RAW recording, separate still image / movie recording, relay recording and more. Battery life has been greatly extended as well, as the new camera utilizes Sony’s Z series battery that have approximately 2.2 times the capacity of the W series battery utilized in the α7R II.

The α7R III features an upgraded high-resolution, high-luminance Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder™ with approximately 3,686k dots for extremely accurate, true-to-life detail reproduction. The Tru-Finder, also found in the acclaimed Sony α9 camera, utilizes a ZEISS® T* Coating to greatly reduce reflections, and has a fluorine coating on the outer lens that repels dirt. It also has a customizable frame rate, with options of either 60 fps or 120 fps21 to best match the action. The LCD screen has been upgraded as well, with a resolution of 1.44M dots and WhiteMagic™ technology that improves viewing in bright, outdoor conditions. “Standard” or “High” display quality settings are also available for both the viewfinder and monitor as well. “High” takes advantage of the large amount of data read from the 42.4MP sensor to provide extra fine viewfinder and monitor displays for a more natural view. The new camera also offers a multi-selector joystick that provides a fast, efficient way to shift focus points, as well as an ‘AF ON’ button to activate autofocus when shooting stills or movies.

The new α7R III allows for convenient transfer of files to a smartphone, tablet, computer or FTP server via Wi-Fi®, while also including a sync terminal, enabling external flash units and cables to be connected directly for convenient flash sync. A SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1 Gen 1) USB Type-C™ Terminal is also available for increased flexibility in power supply or connected accessories, as well as a faster image transfer speed when connected to a PC.

New “Imaging Edge” Software Suite and Pixel Shift Multi Shooting Mode
New with the α7R III is a software suite called “Imaging Edge” that extends the creative capabilities of the entire shooting process – from pre-processing to post-processing. “Imaging Edge” provides three PC applications called ‘Remote’, ‘Viewer’ and ‘Edit’, available for free download, which support live-view PC remote shooting and RAW development.

Also making its debut on the versatile α7R III is a new Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode, which takes full advantage of the advanced 5-axis optical in-body stabilization to create beautiful true-to-life, super-high resolution composite images. In this mode, the camera precisely shifts the sensor in 1-pixel increments to capture four separate pixel-shifted images containing a total of approximately 169.6 MP22 of image data. These four images can be composited together and processed utilizing the new “Imaging Edge” software suite. This ultimately results in a still image with overwhelming resolution and an unprecedented level of color accuracy, and is ideal for photographing architecture, art or any other still life photography subject with many intricate details and colors.

Pricing and Availability
The Sony α7R III Full-frame Interchangeable Lens Camera will ship this November for about $3,200 US and $4,000 CA. It will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.

A variety of exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new α7R III camera and other Sony α products can be found at www.alphauniverse.com, a site built to educate and inspire all fans and customers of the Sony α brand.

The new content will also be posted directly at the Sony Photo Gallery and the Sony Camera Channel on YouTube. Detailed information pages within Sony.com for the new products can be found at:
· (US) - α7R III Full-frame Interchangeable Lens Camera
· (CA) - α7R III Full-frame Interchangeable Lens Camera

1. Approximately, effective
2. Up to 10 fps in continuous “Hi+” mode, and up to 8 fps in continuous “Hi” mode. Maximum fps will depend on camera settings
3. Approximately 68% of the image area in both the horizontal and vertical directions
4. Compared to the a7R II, according to Sony testing
5. CIPA standards. Pitch/yaw shake only. Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens. Long exposure NR off
6. A Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card is required for XAVC S format movie recording. UHS speed class 3 or higher is required for 100 Mbps recording
7. In Super 35mm mode.
8. Approximately
9. Sony test conditions for still images
10. Among digital cameras with a full-frame image sensor. As of October 2017 press release, based on Sony research
11. “Hi+” continuous mode with UHS-II compatible SDXC memory card. Sony test conditions.
12. Some distortion may occur with fast-moving subjects of if the camera is moved sideways rapidly
13. “Hi” mode. Maximum fps will depend on camera setting.
14. Not all menu parameters can be edited while data is being written to the memory card
15. Only 100 Hz and 120 Hz flicker is detected. Continuous shooting speed may decrease. Flicker-free shooting is not available during silent shooting, BULB exposure, or movie recording
16. With SSM or SAM lenses only. Eye AF not supported for movie recording. AF-C can only be used when the “Phase detection” AF system is selected, but focus is fixed at the first frame during continuous shooting in any mode other than “Continuous: Lo” (Hi+, Hi, Mid).
17. With SSM or SAM lenses only. With the LA-EA3 mount adapter. Focal plane phase-detection AF not supported for movie recording. AF-C can only be used when the “Phase detection” AF system is selected, but focus is fixed at the first frame during continuous shooting in any mode other than “Continuous: Lo” (Hi+, Hi, Mid).
18. 15-megapixel
19. Connect this product to an HDR (HLG) compatible Sony TV via a USB cable when displaying HDR (HLG) movies
20. Sound not recorded. Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card required
21. In NTSC. 50fps or 100fps in PAL
22. Image size after compositing is approx. 42.4 million (7952 x 5304) pixels.

Categories: Photo News

Sony announces lightweight FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS lens

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 23:30
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Alongside the Sony a7R III, the company also announced an FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS lens, adding a versatile zoom to a growing family of full frame Sony mirrorless glass - now totaling 23 lenses.

It uses a Direct Drive SSM motor, which should mean fast, silent subject acquisition, making it useful for photographers and videographers alike. And Sony claims to have engineered the lens to keep 'focus breathing' to a minimum. There's no 'G Master' lens distinction here, but the MTF charts provided by Sony in the press presentation show it outperforming its Canon and Nikon counterparts. Take that with a grain of salt, but it's clear Sony feels strongly about this lens' capability.

At 663 grams it is among the lightest full-frame 24-105mm F4 lenses on the market, as well as the smallest. It is constructed of 17 elements, arranged into 14 groups with 4 aspherical and 3 ED elements. The lens is both dust and moisture resistant and should ship the last week of November. Pricing is set at $1299.

Press release

Sony Expands Full-Frame Lens Lineup with New Compact, Lightweight FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Standard Zoom Covering Wide-angle to Mid-telephoto range

New E-mount FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Standard Zoom Delivers Serious Still and Video Performance with Compact Design

NEW YORK, Oct. 25, 2017 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today introduced the latest addition to their expanding full-frame E-mount lens lineup, the FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Standard Zoom (model SEL24105G).

The new full-frame lens covers the commonly used 24 to 105mm focal length range, delivering outstanding G Lens™ imaging performance with the most lightweight design in its class1, maximizing its versatility and usability. Therefore, the FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS can be used for versatile shooting such as landscape, portrait, wedding and so on. This lens also features fast, precise and quiet autofocus capabilities in both still and video shooting, making it an ideal complement for Sony’s extensive lineup of E-mount cameras.

High Optical Performance and Outstanding Resolution
Sony’s new FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS lens delivers excellent corner-to-corner sharpness throughout the entirety of its zoom range, while also producing beautifully rendered ‘bokeh’ or background defocus at all focal lengths.

This high image quality is made possible thanks to its advanced optical design featuring four aspherical lens elements, two of which are high precision AA (advanced aspherical) lenses. There are also three strategically located ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements that work in combination with the aforementioned aspherical lens elements to minimize chromatic aberration and ensure the ultimate resolution is captured.

The lens also has Sony’s original Nano AR coating to minimize flare and ghosting, and utilizes a circular aperture to ensure it delivers high quality bokeh that is consistent for all Sony’s G series.

Compact, Lightweight Design and Shooting Flexibility
The new FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS lens weighs in at approximately 663 grams (23.4 oz), making it the lightest lens in its class1. When combined with one of Sony’s compact E-mount bodies, it gives photographers and videographers a far more mobile, manageable camera system that greatly increases their shooting flexibility.

In addition to the compact design and versatile 24-105mm focal length, the new lens has a minimum focus distance of 1.25ft, allowing for impressive close up detail. It also includes built-in optical image stabilization to make it easier to produce sharp, blur-free images when shooting handheld.

Highly Advanced and Accurate AutoFocus
In order to keep up with fast-moving subjects, the new standard zoom lens features a DDSSM (Direct Drive SSM) system that is capable of rapid positioning of the lens’ focus groups with high accuracy and very minimal noise. This advanced system combined with a constant F4 aperture at all focal lengths makes the SEL24105G an excellent choice for both still and video shooting.

Further adding to its versatility, the new standard zoom lens also features a customizable focus hold button, a dust and moisture resistant design2 and a fluorine coating on the front element to help minimize dust, water, oil and other contaminants.

Pricing and Availability
The new FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Standard Zoom Lens will ship this November for about $1,300 US and $1,700 CA.

1. Compared to currently available full-frame 24-105mm F4 standard zoom lenses (October 25th, 2017, Sony research)
2. Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and moisture proof     

Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS specifications Principal specificationsLens typeZoom lensMax Format size35mm FFFocal length24–105 mmImage stabilizationYesLens mountSony FEApertureMaximum apertureF4Minimum apertureF22Aperture ringNoNumber of diaphragm blades9OpticsElements17Groups14Special elements / coatings4 aspherical + 3 ED + Nano AR coatingFocusMinimum focus0.38 m (14.96″)Maximum magnification0.31×AutofocusYesMotor typeLinear MotorFull time manualYesFocus methodInternalDistance scaleNoDoF scaleNoFocus distance limiterNoPhysicalWeight663 g (1.46 lb)Diameter83 mm (3.27″)Length113 mm (4.45″)SealingYesColourBlackZoom methodRotary (extending)Zoom lockNoFilter thread77.0 mmHood suppliedYesHood product codeALC-SH152
Categories: Photo News

Sony developing a 400mm F2.8 G Master lens

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 23:30

The just-announced a7R III is pretty cool, but if you are a serious sports or wildlife shooter, the development announcement of a Sony 400mm F2.8 G Master lens is a way bigger deal. Not only does this lens receive the brand's top mark of quality, by being a part of the 'G Master' series, but it rounds out Sony's overall commitment to photographers, by providing a seriously long pro-level prime.

It won't be available until Summer 2018, which is conveniently right before some sort of major worldwide sporting event. And we just can't wait to get our hands on it.

Press release

Sony Announces Development of New G Master™ 400mm F2.8 Super-Telephoto Full-Frame E-mount Lens

Launching in Summer 2018

NEW YORK, Oct. 25, 2017 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today announced the development of the long-awaited FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS Super-Telephoto lens, with a target launch date in Summer 2018.

The new lens will feature the incredible high-resolution and spectacularly beautiful bokeh of Sony’s acclaimed line of flagship G Master™ series lenses, while also offering a far-reaching 400mm focal length and F2.8 large aperture. This combination will deliver a new elevated shooting experience for all professional sports, news and wildlife photographers looking to capture all of the decisive moments with higher image quality.

Sony will continue to evolve their lens lineup in order to meet the demands of all types of photographers, videographers and multi-media creators, with many different offerings to maximize the power of the innovative α™ camera lineup.

Additional details and specifications on the new FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS Super-Telephoto Lens will be released at a later date.

Categories: Photo News

Fujifilm announces square-format Instax Share SP-3 SQ photo printer

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 19:00

Fujifilm has announced its first square-format standalone printer, the Instax Share SP-3 SQ. The SP-3 can crank out a 318 dpi photo in just 13 seconds and has a battery that will last for about 160 prints. The updated Share app includes templates for creating collages, magazine covers and CD jackets. Users can also search for hashtags on Instagram to select photos they wish to print. In addition to the Share app, photos can also be printed directly from Fujifilm's X-series cameras.

You can pick up the Instax Share SP-3 SQ next month, in your choice of white or black, for $199.

NEXT GENERATION INSTAX SHARE™ SP-3 SQ PRINTER ARRIVES IN SQUARE FORMAT

Newly designed smartphone printer provides high quality images in square format; improved app offers new features for greater artistic expression

Valhalla, N.Y., October 24, 2017FUJIFILM North America Corporation is excited to announce the new INSTAX SHARE™ SP-3 SQ printer, the latest line in the instax SHARE series of printers that can print photos taken with a smartphone on INSTAX SQUARE film. The SP-3 is an expansion of the INSTAX product line to give users even more ways to get creative with their instant pictures that can be shared in an instant, both in-person and online with #myinstax.

Square Format Provides More Artistic Potential

The square format has been widely popular among smartphone users. With a 1:1 aspect ratio, this format is an effective artistic style and a long-standing favorite among photography lovers. Recent years have seen a rise in the sharing of square photos on social media platforms, such as Instagram, with users putting great care into every step of the process, from composition to editing and processing. With the SP-3, users can print beautiful, high quality square images in just 13 seconds to be used in DIY crafts, to decorate with or to give as a gift.

Updated SHARE App Allows for Greater Creativity

The new and improved SHARE app comes with additional features, making every step easier and more fun. Users can print up to 9 photos on one sheet using the “Collage Template”, a feature enabled by the square format of the SP-3, or use “My Template” to add text to printed photos. “My Template” comes with 11 templates ranging from magazine covers to CD jackets. Users can also adjust the color and size of text. The end result is a stylish print that users will be proud to display and share. Additionally, the app’s display screens have been designed to make the entire process easy for novice users. The app can be downloaded from Google Play on Android devices or from the App Store on iPhones free of charge.

“Hashtag Print” Feature

In addition to Instagram and Facebook, the app is compatible with Dropbox, Google Photos and Flickr. Through the “Hashtag Print” option, users can access Instagram directly through the app and select images under a chosen hashtag. This function makes it easy for users to find the photos they want and print them with ease, perfect for printing a collection of photos from any event where guests use a hashtag, like a wedding or party.

Sleek Design

The SP-3 comes in white or black with a sleek, sophisticated look. The printer is also compact and lightweight with a sharp, multi-sided structure. The SP-3 is suitable in a wide range of situations.

This product is the latest in Fujifilm's ongoing plan to share the inherent joy of taking, printing, displaying and sharing photos to expand the world of the instax instant photo system, allowing users to enjoy instant photos by printing photos that they have taken with their smartphone.

Instax SHARE SP-3 Key Features:

  • Available in White and Black body colors.
  • Create instax photos by printing images from iPhones and Android phones via the instax SHARE app.
  • Printing is also compatible directly from X Series digital cameras to the SP-3.
  • High-resolution images with print pixels of 800 x 800 dots and 318 dpi to show detailed gradations and facial expressions of a full-length portrait, character or objects clearly.
  • Printing time of just 13 seconds.
  • Printing capacity of up to 160 prints per battery charge.
  • Comes with image Intelligence, proprietary image processing technology that automatically sets the optimum brightness during printing.
  • New Templates added to the instax SHARE app:
    1. My Template - A template function where users can add text as desired and adjust the text color, size and darkness by moving sliders left and right, broadening the range of photo styles available to them.
    2. Collage Template - A template function allowing users to print 2-9 photos together on one sheet to print a collection of memories from a special day or to tie together photos with a particular theme.
    3. Split Template - Transform one picture into multiple instax photos. This allows all kinds of unique photo styles, such as dividing a beautiful landscape across two instax photos to make one big print.
    4. SNS Template - Template for printing images that were uploaded to a social networking service (SNS). This social media-linked printing feature allows users to include their profile photo or number of likes in the photo.
    5. Real Time Template - When the “Real Time Template” is selected and a photo is taken, the date, place, weather, temperature, and humidity are indicated in the frame, making it great for travel photos or watching your child grow.

Availability and Pricing

The new INSTAX SHARE SP-3 SQ will be available in November 2017 for USD $199.95 and CAD $249.99. Instax SQUARE film is sold separately for USD $16.99 and CAD $15.99.

Categories: Photo News

Hasselblad X1D and H6D firmware update adds Touchpad AF and more

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 10:34

Hasselblad has released firmware update 1.19 for the X1D and H6D, adding new support and settings to the systems, as well as custom buttons and the ability to create a new folder. Notably, the firmware update brings support for V System lenses via the CF Adapter for the H6D, and it makes the X1D overall "more user friendly and customizable" by adding features like Touch-pad selection of the AF point.

You can read the changelogs for both firmware updates below.

X1D Firmware Update

The update for the X1D-50c includes the following new features:

  • Touch-pad selection of AF point
  • New setting: Live view in EVF only
  • Custom buttons
  • New setting: Max aperture (Lens bokeh)
  • Create new folder
  • Toggle overlay in Video Live View with display button

H6D-Firmware Update

The update for the H6D-50c & H6D-100c includes the following new features:

  • Support for CF adapter
  • Grip button lock
  • Custom buttons (more functions)
  • Create new folder
  • Toggle overlay in Video Live View with display button
Categories: Photo News

The Phottix Juno is a fully-manual transceiver flash that works with all major brands

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 10:22

Phottix has announced a new fully-manual speedlight that is compatible with all major camera brands, and also features the company’s radio control system so it can operate as commander or slave in a group of other flashes.

The Juno has a maximum guide number of 58m/190ft at the longest end of its zoom head and offers power settings of 1/128th to full power in 1/3EV steps across eight stops. As the gun is fully-manual, it only needs a basic connection to the camera to trigger, so it is compatible with almost all camera models that feature a hotshoe.

In addition, Phottix has built its 2.4GHz Ares ll system into the Juno flash unit so it can work with up to four groups of flashes across 16 channels, and can be triggered by both Ares and Strato wireless controllers, as well as by other flashes and certain Sekonic light meters. Juno also features optical slave sensors to ensure it works with older and non-radio systems, and offers a thread on its side for mounting it in the horizontal position.

Phottix says its radio system operates over 100m and full power recycling takes about five seconds.

The Phottix Juno is powered by four AA batteries or an external battery pack, and costs $130. For more information, visit the Phottix website or watch the introductory video below:

Categories: Photo News

Adobe Scribbler uses AI to colorize black-and-white portraits and sketches

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 09:50

At the Adobe MAX 2017 conference last week, the engineers at Adobe Research showed off a deep learning system called Project Scribbler that can transform a line sketch or black-and-white portrait into a fully colorized and realistic image. The technology utilizes Adobe Sensei artificial intelligence technology to generate a realistic color image based on a partially-colored sketch created by the user.

As with all of their "Sneaks" at Adobe MAX, Adobe describes this as an early technology, teasing that it "may or may not" become a future product or feature in an existing product like Photoshop.

In a description posted on the Adobe Research website, researchers explain that existing deep convolutional networks are able to generate realistic images, but that users have little control over what the final images look like. This makes the technology "of limited utility," according to the researchers, a reality not shared by their Scribbler network.

Unlike the aforementioned deep convolutional networks, Scribbler gives users a great deal of control over the final image it generates. This is made possible by feeding Scribbler a sketch where the lines serve as boundaries for the final image. As well, users are able to control how Scribbler colorizes the image by applying "sparse color strokes" to the sketch. These color strokes serve as a guideline so that Scribbler knows what colors to use for each part of the sketch.

Scribbler is capable of realistically coloring sketches and black-and-white photos without the aid of user-created color strokes, though, as demonstrated by Adobe researcher Jingwan Lu in the video above.

Scribbler was also demonstrated as capable of realistically applying existing textures to a sketch. To do this, the user places a texture over the part of the sketch where the desired texture should be applied. And, of course, Scribbler can apply more than one texture to different parts of the same sketch.

A product or feature based on Project Scribbler could prove useful in a variety of ways. Photographers, for example, could use this technology to rapidly colorize a black-and-white photo. Similarly, an artist could use Scribbler to flesh out a quick sketch of a planned art piece, enabling the artist or their client to see a representation of the final artwork before time is invested in creating it.

The full paper detailing the Scribbler colorizing technology is available here, the paper about Scribbler's texture control technology is available here, and, of course, you should definitely check out the demo at the top.

Categories: Photo News

This 'pancake lens' is a wireless charger for your phone

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 09:23

Pancake lenses are small and inconspicuous, making them ideal for street photography and similar applications. However, the LightPix Labs Power Lens 40mm F2.8 lens we are looking at here won't be of much help when out shooting in the street. That's because it is a wireless smartphone charger that has been designed to look like a pancake lens.

That said, it still looks like a useful accessory, especially if you like charging your phone in style.

The Power Lens works with all devices supporting the Qi wireless charging standard and that's most of them, including the iPhone 8 / 8 Plus, iPhone X, Galaxy S8 / S8+ / Note 8, and many other high-end devices. The makers of the gadget say the Power Lens can also charge your smartphone up to 1.5 times faster than a standard wireless charger if used in combination with a QC 2.0 / 3.0 compatible wall adapter.

The lens makes a shutter sound when charging starts but can be muted if you prefer peace and quiet.

The Power Lens will start shipping November 28th and comes with an introductory price tag of $30 for the first 200 units—the regular price is $40. More information is available on the LightPix Labs website.

Categories: Photo News

Sigma developing 'world's first' 16mm F1.4 lens for crop sensor E-Mount and MFT

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 09:00

Sigma was teasing a lens announcement for PhotoPlus 2017, and today they (sort of) delivered. The company has announced development of the upcoming Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN | Contemporary—a compact, high-speed, wide-angle lens designed for Micro Four Thirds (MFT) and Sony APS-C E-Mount cameras. (Note: this lens is designed for crop sensors, and will produce vignetting on full-frame cameras.)

The company is calling this, "the large-diameter wide-angle lens for which mirrorless camera users have been waiting," and also claiming it's the world's first lens for Sony APS-C E-Mount to pair a 24mm (equivalent) focal length with a bright F1.4 aperture.

The lens follows in the footsteps of Sigma's 30mm F1.4 DC DN | Contemporary, which was released in 2016 and attempted to marry "F1.4 brightness with top-level optical performance" for APS-C and MFT shooters. The goal was to create a lens for crop sensor (DC) mirrorless cameras (DN) that combined a fast aperture with "top-notch optical performance."

In the upcoming 16mm lens, Sigma will achieve this by using an optical design featuring 16 lens elements in 13 groups, a stepping motor for smooth autofocus performance, and a dust- and splash-proof mount.

No word yet on when this lens will be released or how much it will cost when it is, but Sigma did reveal that the 16mm is the second of three lenses it intends to release as part of the DC DN | Contemporary line. The first was the 30mm F1.4, the second the 16mm F1.4, and the third will be an as yet unspecified "telephoto lens" that some believe will be a 50mm F1.4 DC DN | Contemporary, although that's still just speculation at this point.

To learn more about this lens, check out the brief press release below or visit the Sigma website.

Press Release

Development of SIGMA 16mm F1.4 DC DN | Contemporary

The SIGMA Corporation is pleased to announce the development of a new high-performance, large-diameter wide-angle lens, SIGMA 16mm F1.4 DC DN | Contemporary.

This is the world’s first interchangeable lens for mirrorless Sony E-mount cameras in the APS-C format to offer a 24mm focal length (35mm equivalent) and F1.4 brightness. This is the large-diameter wide-angle lens for which mirrorless camera users have been waiting.

With an optical system that rivals that of interchangeable lenses for full-size SLRs, the lens features a wide variety of high-tech optical elements. SIGMA has crafted a lens that leverages optical aberration minimization via the in-camera digital correction. This lens effectively minimizes optical aberrations and offers superb resolution at wide-open aperture and throughout the aperture range. The optical design and stepping motor deliver smooth autofocus during video shooting, while the mount features special sealing creating a dust- and splash-proof design.

Release date and price: TBD
Accessory: Petal type lens hood (LH716-01)
Corresponding AF mounts: Sony E-mount and Micro Four Thirds

Categories: Photo News

InMotion is a fully-automated slider for smartphones and small cameras

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 08:04

The InMotion slider is a new compact and affordable digital automated camera slider aimed at smartphone users and filmmakers who also use other lightweight cameras such as GoPros or small mirrorless cameras. Its makers are currently looking for funding for mass production on Kickstarter.

Here's a quick video intro from the Kickstarter campaign:

The InMotion slider comes with a universal mount for smartphones, mirrorless cameras and GoPros, and a panning mechanism that, according to its makers, provides a 36 degrees wider field of view than typical sliders. You can also mount it on a tripod, attach lamps, microphones or other accessories, and charge your smartphone at the same time via the USB charging port.

The Slider is controlled via a dedicated mobile app that offers advanced features such as face-following, motion trigger, time-lapses, parallax mode and live-streaming. The built-in 12V battery allows for 5 hours of filming on any device, and optional extension rails can be added for up to 30 inches of track.

You can currently pre-order an InMobile Slider by pledging $247 on the project's Kickstarter page, where you'll also find more information. Delivery is planned for January 2018.

Categories: Photo News

Fujifilm X-E3 Review

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 06:58

The Fujifilm X-E3 is a 24MP mid-level APS-C mirrorless camera, designed as a smaller, more touchscreen-driven sister model to the SLR-like X-T20.

In terms of their internal hardware and specifications, the two cameras are very similar, but the X-E3 relies more heavily on its touch panel for moment-to-moment operation, as well as retaining a more rangefinder-like form factor.

It's slightly smaller than the previous X-E models, with the removal of the four-way controller and built-in flash allowing the body to be made a little lighter and more compact. A clip-on flash is included in the box, but it's a simple affair with no tilt or swivel capability to compensate for the decision to make it a separate component.

Key Features
  • 24MP APS-C sensor with X-Trans color filter
  • Improved AF tracking
  • Wi-Fi with Bluetooth for constant connection to a smartphone
  • Shutter speed and exposure comp dials
  • Twin clickable command dials
  • AF Joystick
  • 4K (UHD) video at 30, 25, 24 and 23.97p
  • USB Charging

The more advanced use of the touchscreen, with directional swipes of the finger replacing the role of the four-way controller, pinch to zoom in playback and the option to use the screen as an AF touchpad when the camera's to your eye doesn't come at the expense of physical controls for all the main exposure settings.

The X-E3 also becomes the first Fujifilm model to gain Bluetooth, which establishes a full-time connection between the camera and a smartphone, allowing instant transfer of images as you shoot them. [or faster re-connection of Wi-Fi if you're just choosing to send selected images]

The company also says it has improved its AF Tracking algorithm so that it can track smaller and faster subjects. Fujifilm say this improved algorithm will also come to the X-T2, X-T20, X100F and X-Pro2 in fimrware updates in November and December 2017.

Fujifilm X-E3 Fujifilm X-T20 Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm X-E2S Pixel Count 24MP 24MP 24MP 16MP Auto mode switch Yes Yes No Yes AF Joystick Yes No Yes No Touchscreen Yes Yes No No AF Touchpad Yes Pending f/w No No AF points 91 or 325 91 or 325 91 or 325 49 Rear screen Fixed Tilt up/down 2-axis hinge Fixed Exposure comp. range ± 5EV ± 5EV ± 5EV ± 3EV Viewfinder Magnification 0.62x 0.62x 0.77x 0.62x EVF Eyepoint 17.5mm 17.5mm 23mm 23mm Max frame rate
(mech/e-shutter) 8/14 fps 8/14 fps 8/14 fps (11/14 with grip) 7 fps Built-in flash No Yes No Yes Flash sync speed 1/180th 1/180th 1/250th 1/180th Video Full width 4K
(by Pixel Binning) Full width 4K
(by Pixel Binning) 1.17x crop 4K
(by oversampling) 1080p Log Video No No Yes (over HDMI) No Weather sealing No No Yes No Card slots 1 (UHS-I) 1 (UHS-I) 2 (UHS-II) 1 (UHS-I) Connectivity Wi-Fi with Bluetooth Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Kit options:

Fujifilm will offer the X-E3 in two kits, one with the excellent 18-55mm F2.8-4.0 OIS, the other with the 35mm-equivalent 23mm F2 lens. We're particularly interested to see this second kit, as it's a combination we particularly like. It's also a useful option for anyone who already has an earlier generation X series camera and already owns the 18-55mm.

The camera will be available, body only, for around $899, with the 18-55mm kit costing $1299 and the 23mm kit weighing in around $1149, both of which represent a considerable cost saving over the cost of buying the lenses separately.

Review History Sept 7th 2017 First Impression Review published October 24th 2017 Image quality and dynamic range analysis, real world use cases and conclusion added. Operations and controls page updated, samples gallery published.
Categories: Photo News

Google may address 'dull' colors of Pixel 2 XL display, is investigating burn-in reports

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 09:24

Google's newly launched Pixel 2 XL smartphone has received some criticism from buyers who claim the POLED display appears 'dull' when compared to the vivid OLED displays used by some of Pixel 2 XL's competition. Google recently commented on the criticism, telling 9to5Google that it will consider releasing a software update that adds more display color options.

"One of our design intents was to achieve a more natural and accurate rendition of colors," Google said in its statement. For users who want more vivid colors, Google says it has provided an optional setting to increase the saturation by 10%. However, should that prove inadequate, Google says it will, "consider adding more display color options through software if that makes the product better."

But a 'dull' screen isn't the worst of Google's Pixel 2 XL display troubles—this week's news is just getting worse and worse for the handset. Some early adopters claim they are already experiencing burn-in, others claim there are 'blue tint' issues, and some reviewers have noticed a 'graininess' issue.

Regarding the burn-in issue, Google told The Verge it is "actively investigating" the reports. After all, while muted colors aren't a concern for some users, rapid burn-in—a problem that causes a potentially permanent 'ghosting' image to appear on the screen—could be enough to deter consumers from buying the phone altogether.

Early Pixel 2 XL users are also reporting a distinct blue tint that is visible when looking at the display from an angle. This blue tint issue is said to be most visible when the display's background is light; a similar problem has been observed with the previously launched LG V30, a handset that features the same panel used in the Pixel 2 XL.

Finally, reviewers have noted that the Pixel 2 XL's POLED display has an underlying graininess not shared by the Samsung OLED panel used in the smaller Pixel 2 phone. Ars Technica posted a side-by-side comparison photo of the two phones that highlights the XL's graininess issue.

It's safe to say it's been a rough weekend for Google. We'll keep you updated as Google addresses each of these issues in turn, and keep an eye out for our own Pixel 2 XL review coming soon!

Categories: Photo News

WiBotic PowerPad brings wireless charging to drones

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 09:12

Drones are getting more sophisticated with each generation, but even the most advanced models still have one major limitation: battery life. All of those intelligent sensors and camera tech consume power, while at the same time battery capacity and weight have to be well-balanced, resulting in typical flight times of around 20 minutes.

If that's not enough for your application you have to land the drone, swap the battery and take off again. But while that might be doable (if annoying) when using the drone for filming, in other applications, such as surveying, security or construction it can be even more of a cost factor than in photography.

That's where the WiBotic PowerPad wireless charging pad for drones comes in.

The PowerPad is a three-foot by three-foot landing pad with integrated wireless charging equipment that, according to its makers, is capable of charging almost any drone. The platform is also weather-resistant, making it suitable for permanent installation and use with drones that run automated flights on a regular basis.

The most basic use is simply as a landing pad that charges your personal drone, but for industrial use it can be use in other, more creative ways. For example, the PowerPad doubles as a waypoint on long-distance flights, allowing drones to land and recharge at intermediate points on their path.

No information on pricing and availability has been released just yet, but we're sure frequent drone operators would love a a closer look at this one.

Categories: Photo News

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