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Shooting an Olympic sailor in action using remote high speed sync

DP Review Latest news - Sun, 11/12/2017 - 07:00

This article was originally published on Luminous Landscapes, and is being republished in full on DPReview with express permission from Terry McDonagh.

In January of last year, I was commissioned to shoot some dramatic action shots of an Olympic sailor; however, I did some image research and wasn’t overly impressed by any images I found, so I decided that a good approach would be to try and light the subject and by doing so I could afford to underexpose the available light.

This would help add to the drama, plus in doing so I would be able to get some light into the water spray coming off the boat. In order to get this shot, I needed to freeze the action using a high shutter speed and combine that with flash, so how was I going to achieve all that?

Obviously, I needed to use flash, but I knew I would be shooting at a high shutter speed, so it had to be high-speed sync (HSS). The beauty of HSS is that it allows you to shoot at a high shutter speed whilst still syncing the flash, which was unheard of a few years ago.

I decided that I would use two flashes, both for the extra power and to avoid any redundancy due to the high risk of this particular situation. I was attaching a flash to a boat which could easily capsize, and I was doing it in January when, due to it being 3°C, the batteries weren’t going to last too long. In other words: I was only getting one chance to nail this job, so I had to minimize the chances of anything going wrong.

Flashes facing Starboard

I had used HSS before, but never remotely and not on the water, which was all a bit daunting.

To prepare, I did a bit of research on trigger systems and decided on a Phottix Laso trigger for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it would trigger my Canon 600EX-RT directly, via the built-in radio on the flash. Second, it came with a separate receiver for my Canon 580 EX-ll, which meant I could control both units remotely from one base unit. And finally, the receiver had a metal hot-shoe mount, which I wanted, as I knew that the gear was going to get bounced around out there so I wasn’t risking any plastic hot-shoe mounts.

Flying along flashes pointing to starboard

The next part of the jigsaw puzzle was the batteries, as HSS is really hard on batteries and the faster the shutter speed, the higher the power drain. I did some more research and came across some ‘Panasonic Eneloop pro rechargeable’s’, apparently the best. I purchased a few sets of them, tested them in the cold, and found they were amazing.

Which brought me to my next major problem: waterproofing the flash units. There was a strong chance that they would be submerged if the boat capsized, and having sailed a Lazer, the boat that I would be shooting, a few times, I knew that these boats flip over very easily. To counter this issue, I developed a triple bagging system using some freezer bags.

When I submerged the flash in a bucket of water to test, it stayed watertight: Happy Days!

The trick was to place one bag over the complete unit and then mount it to the hot-shoe. Then I placed another bag over this, but upside down, and a third one over the spigot so that it was completely sealed.

Flashes bagged up and tethered.

Then it was just a matter of pushing the spigot into the Manfrotto clamp which was attached to the boom of the boat.

Flashes pointing to port.

I headed down to the yacht club to do a technical recce and try to attach the gear to the boat and figure out all my settings.

I settled on mounting the units upside down, firstly so that the sail would not damage them, and also because I was afraid they might rotate with any impacts, plus I reckoned there would be fewer forces on them if they were not top heavy. I used a Manfrotto super clamp as it has a secondary safety lock, so I was able to instruct Annalise how to open the clamp and rotate the speed-lights.—every time she did a tack she rotated the units so they were always facing her, and she was brilliant at doing it. Her sailing wasn’t too shabby either.

Total control

So, I had designed a system that I could remotely fire, adjust exposure and rotate, and it was waterproof... pretty cool! Next thing was to get out there and see how it all worked.

On the day of the shoot, conditions were perfect: overcast, but with some nice contrast. I was getting a light reading of around 1/640 @ F3.2 iso 500. I underexposed by around two stops to try and get some drama into the images but without making it look too much like nighttime.

We headed out to sea about 4 km out as that’s where the wind was and I wanted little or no background buildings etc. in the images. To preserve the batteries I left the units off until we reached our destination, This proved to be a bit of a mistake as the boats were dancing around a lot, so much so that I almost fell in trying to locate the switches on both speed-lights and the receiver, and through the Ziploc bags it proved very tricky.

Luckily my very quick-witted boatman spotted this and grabbed me at the last moment, otherwise I honestly would have gone into the water with a 5DSr and a 70-200mm lens plus my phone etc. Thank god is all I can say.

We shot for approximately an hour, as that was long enough for both Annalise and me, and the batteries were getting very low on energy. I reckoned I had the images I needed in the bag.

Annalise loving the conditions.

I was shooting on a Canon 5DSr with a 70-200mm lens. Final settings were 1/640 @F3.2 and iso160. I had considered using a faster camera but the flash wouldn’t have kept up with it so I just stuck with the higher 50MP camera, which was important as we were using the image on billboards etc. so the higher the quality the better.

The shoot worked out brilliantly. The hardest bit was trying to maintain focus on Annalise, and trying to keep the horizon level; plus, watching all the other elements meant that after an hour of this type of thing you’re pretty burnt out.

When we finished, Annalise nearly fainted when she heard that there was approximately €2k worth of gear attached to her boat. She said had she known she wouldn’t have sailed so hard! I didn’t believe that for one minute.

Wind just died, time for home.

Based in Dublin, Terry works for leading advertising, design and architectural agencies throughout Ireland and often abroad in the areas of industry, architecture, products, people and food.

He provides a fast and reliable digital retouching and manipulation when required, and shoots live action commercials too. Feel free to contact Terry for more information.

Categories: Photo News

Guardzilla 360 review - CNET

CNET Reviews - Sun, 11/12/2017 - 05:00
The $230 Guardzilla 360-degree indoor security camera delivers -- if you want to spy on an entire room.
Categories: Photo News

Photo story of the week: Sunrise in Burren National Park

DP Review Latest news - Sat, 11/11/2017 - 07:00

The warm colors of a sunrise or sunset in a wide open landscape, the foreground gently touched by the orange hues, and the sun throwing a nice aperture star—that is what the romanticizing cliché of landscape photography looks like in the heads of many people these days I reckon. Rightfully so, since it is one of the most atmospheric times of day to shoot: the light is soft, and partial illumination of the foreground is desirable for tonal separation and visual flow.

Almost every landscape photographer has at some point of his or her creative journey chased the intensity that comes with the golden hour. Still, even after all these years of shooting mainly landscapes, going after the elusive sunset and sunrise light is one of my favorite things to do while out in the field. One of the reasons is simply because depending on where you live it can be a rare sight—it is not an everyday sight for most of us.

For all who don't do this already I would highly recommend using satellite and radar data to scout your location ahead of time

Whenever I am out on a road trip or hiking trip I keep a constant eye on the satellite data—if I have cell reception—to check the cloud coverage in order to find spots right at the edge of a field of clouds to get good conditions for a sunrise or sunset shot. To take this shot, I took a look at the radar over the western parts of Ireland—over the Burren National Park to be exact—and monitored the satellite forecast before I was catching some shuteye.

The predictions for the following morning showed the clouds would most likely pass in the next couple of hours, being carried further north, leaving only a field of scattered patches behind. Furthermore, there would be no clouds at the eastern horizon blocking the sunlight. It is not hard to do these sorts of things if you know the sources for reliable weather data in the area you’re in, but it can be the difference between getting a good shot or none at all. So, for all who don’t do this already I would highly recommend using satellite and radar data to scout your location ahead of time.

When I woke up next morning it was still dark as I made my way out to the karst landscape of the national park grounds which are dominated by limestone ground speckled with shrubs and grass. I had scouted the lake before while I was preparing for my trip by looking at hiking maps of the area, and knew the sun was at the right angle to rise next to one of the limestone hills I had hiked to a day before. With this in mind, I was spending much of the blue hour finding different foreground compositions for the moment the clouds would light up and sun would make its way past the horizon line.

It seemed like the country had saved the best light for last

Originally, I intended to include a bigger patch of the lake in my image, but ultimately scrapped the idea for the shrubs and stones for three reasons: A) because the unique feature of the landscape is not the lake but rather the limestone, B) because the clouds were almost entirely gone by the time the sun rose and only covered a narrow strip of the sky, logically much of the reflection would have been just empty sky, and C) the morning light on the shrubs made for a warm and cold color palette with the rocks still in the shade.

I tried to balance out the double sun star in the upper right corner by placing some of the little bushes near the lower left corner of the frame. Due to the perspective, the gaps in between the shrubs appear to becoming shorter the further away they are from the camera, creating a visual flow and implicitly drawing the viewer into the image towards the sun, much like the curvature of the shoreline and the slim layer of mist above the lake. To me the leading lines were appealing in their subtlety, not being too obvious, yet present.

After I walked back to my sleeping bag I was very content, feeling like I did the landscape and the sunrise justice. This was also one of the last shots I took on my two week road trip through Ireland and it seemed like the country had saved the best light for last.

Pure bliss for a landscape photographer

Now I have another cheesy sunset in my portfolio. And sure, for some it may be nothing more than a cliché, but for me it represents a morning alone in Burren National Park, one of the most beautiful areas of Ireland, sitting in the warm morning light and enjoying these sights and taking a couple of shots while eating breakfast—pure bliss for a landscape photographer.

EXIF: Nikon D800 - Nikkor AF-S 20 mm 1:1,8 G ED | FLM CB-48FTR & CP30-M4S | 20mm | 4 Exposures for DRI | f/13 | ISO 100

Nicolas Alexander Otto is a semi-professional landscape photographer based out of North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany. He writes for different online and print media, teaches workshops for several agencies, sells prints and calendars and offers post processing sessions. You can find more of his work on his website, Facebook and Instagram.

Categories: Photo News

Real-world test: Long exposures with Panasonic G9's high-res mode

DP Review Latest news - Sat, 11/11/2017 - 06:00
Out-of-camera 80MP JPEG using the Panasonic G9's high-resolution mode. Lots of detail, and some strange-looking pedestrians.
Panasonic Leica DG 12-60mm F2.8-4 | ISO 200 | 1/500 sec | F4

New to Panasonic's G9 flagship is a high-resolution mode, which shifts the sensor by half-pixel increments eight times, and generates an 80MP final image. As with similar technologies from Ricoh and Olympus, it's not necessarily recommended for scenes with moving subjects in them. But we thought we'd see if we couldn't make it work.

You'll notice in the above image, the pedestrians are sharply 'ghosted' in the foreground; this is due (obviously) to the eight exposures being taken, but also partially the 1/500 sec shutter speed. What if we purposely chose a slower speed, so that they would blur more naturally into each other?

These are only initial findings on a gray Seattle day, but we've got some interesting results.

Panasonic Leica DG 8-18mm F2.8-4 | ISO 200 | 1/30 sec | F8

For this situation, in order to get a proper exposure without either an ND filter or stopping down to diffraction-inducing levels, I figured I'd give 1/30 of a second a try. As you can see, there's a little 'repetition' around portions of the pedestrians in the foreground and across the street, and while there's lots of detail in the scene, you may want to just use the normal 20MP file for this one.

What if we go with a little longer of a shutter speed, though?

Panasonic Leica DG 8-18mm F2.8-4 | ISO 200 | 1/8 sec | F8

This looks to our eyes to exhibit some improvement. We overall found that a shutter speed between 1/4 sec and 1/8 sec gave a reasonably natural look to the average pedestrian in motion - of course, for faster and slower moving objects, you'll have to adjust accordingly. Do take note, though, that there are some interesting colorful streaks in our moving subjects, and a reduction of resolution in static objects that can be seen behind them.

If you're thinking about an even slower shutter speed, once you get down to 1/2 sec or so, pedestrians largely just disappear from your frame, leaving barely a shadow for you to notice. Of course, this could be an advantage if you're wanting to eliminate people from your photos, without necessarily needing an ND filter and a 30-second exposure.

There were some people on these stairs, I promise.
Panasonic Leica DG 8-18mm F2.8-4 | ISO 200 | 1/2 sec | F8

We tried an even longer exposure to see if we could get the motion artifacts to 'disappear' with subjects moving fast enough across the scene, but we still could see some - check out the car taillights and the ground surrounding them in the below image. The rest of the image, predictably, shows good detail, but once you start inspecting the areas of motion too closely, the image starts to look a little strange. That said - you'd probably have to have someone point it out to you to really notice it in real life.

Panasonic Leica DG 12-60mm F2.8-4 | ISO 200 | 1.3 sec | F4

In any case, the high res mode on the G9 is something we want to continue to look into as we progress with our review. Raw support is coming shortly, and we're looking forward to examining the Raw files from both real-world shooting as well as our test scene.

For now, we've added these images and their corresponding 'normal' 20MP equivalents onto the end of our existing image gallery for you to inspect.

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Categories: Photo News

iHome iAVS16 Alarm Clock with Amazon Alexa review - CNET

CNET Reviews - Sat, 11/11/2017 - 05:00
It's an interesting alternative to the upcoming Echo Spot, but we're pressing snooze on this $150 smart gadget.
Categories: Photo News

Jibo review - CNET

CNET Reviews - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 12:39
Jibo got his start three years ago as an Indiegogo project. The social bot is now available for purchase, but he's more beauty than brains.
Categories: Photo News

Bokeh Market site tracks used camera market value, offers alerts on price changes

DP Review Latest news - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 11:27

A new website called Bokeh Market aims to take some of the work out of buying and selling used camera gear by providing users with real-time market value info. The website, which is free to use, provides a graph showing an item's value over time, its individual seller rating and, when possible, its trusted seller value. The site also culls active listings for the item from various online destinations, including eBay and B&H Photo.

The website is search-based, meaning users search for the gear they're interested in. Though an account isn't necessary to use the Bokeh Market, registering one allows users to create their own gear list, making it easier to see its value. Additionally, accounts can be used to get price alerts for specific items and to create bundles of items, the value of which is provided based on Bokeh Market's data.

Via: PetaPixel

Categories: Photo News

VNTG8 turns old 8mm film canisters into SD card holders

DP Review Latest news - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 09:40

A new Kickstarter project wants to provide photographers with a retro storage solution for their SD and microSD cards. Called VNTG8, this project takes old 8mm film canisters and transforms them into SD card holders via a foam insert. This foam insert features six large pockets for full-size SD cards and six small pockets for microSD cards.

The foam insert has a somewhat clever radial design clearly inspired by the film spool it replaces. VNTG8 comes in two varieties, one that features a new Goldberg Brothers canister from remaining stock produced in the 1970s, the other featuring used canisters sourced from various places throughout the US.

In addition, the polyethylene foam insert will be offered as a standalone option for buyers who have their own 8mm film canisters, but only if the Kickstarter campaign reaches its $7,000 stretch goal. A Goldberg canister VNTG8 with foam insert is offered to backers who pledge at least $19. Delivery is estimated to start in February 2018 if the campaign is successful.

Via: Kickstarter

Categories: Photo News

2017 Acura NSX review - Roadshow

CNET Reviews - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 08:32
Acura's second-generation NSX supercar pushes the performance envelope with a hybrid powertrain, all-wheel drive and dual-clutch transmission.
Categories: Photo News

Sharp's new 8K camera is $77,000

DP Review Latest news - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 06:54

With 4K recording available on many smartphones and 4K resolution pretty much a standard specification on TV sets, it looks like the industry is now pushing to move into 8K territory faster. Sharp's contribution comes in the shape of the new 8C-B60A 8K camcorder which is aimed at broadcasters and will undoubtedly be deployed at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The camera comes with a Super 35mm sensor that's approximately the same size as the one on the Red Helium Weapon 8K and is capable of recording 10-bit 60 fps footage. Grass Valley's HQX codec helps keeping file sizes at a manageable level but the camera comes with a custom 2TB SSD pack that was developed in collaboration with Astrodesign and can hold approximately 40 minutes of 8K video.

A PL lens mount can take Zeiss and Leica lenses among others, which should give filmmakers plenty of options for creating a specific look and make the camera an option far beyond the fields of news and sports.

In addition, the 8C-B60A comes with a number of features aimed at broadcast users, such as an integrated top-handle and viewfinder, as well as simultaneous recording and output and a shoulder pad.

All those features don't come cheap, though. With a price tag of $77,000 the 8C-B60A will be out of reach for enthusiasts and prosumers but it will help big broadcasters and producers drive 8K and help manufacturers, such as Sharp, push the sales figures for 8K displays.

Categories: Photo News

Gear of the Year 2017 - Barney's choice (part 1): Leica M10

DP Review Latest news - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 06:00

My choice for Gear of the Year is a pricey camera with niche appeal. The Leica M10 is not a camera that many people are likely to buy, when compared to other major DSLRs and mirrorless products released in 2017. Leica knows that, and trust me – Leica is fine with it. The M10 probably isn't a camera that will suit the majority of photographers, either – even those with the funds required to purchase one.

The M10 is a curious beast: a highly evolved throwback, which combines some very old technology with a modern 24MP full-frame sensor to offer a unique user experience with some unique quirks. It's awkward, tricky to master, and lacks a lot of the bells and whistles common even in much cheaper competitors, but I love it all the same.

I could have taken this picture with pretty well any camera. But I took it with the Leica M10, because that's what I had with me. (I didn't promise you an exciting story).

There is a certain magic to Leica rangefinders, which is hard to properly explain. A lot of their appeal comes down to the quality of construction, which is obvious the moment you pick one up. While other brands have thrown their efforts behind high-tech mass-production (with admittedly impressive results), Leica has never aspired to market saturation and still makes its M-series cameras in much the same way as it always has done; relying heavily on manual processes, and the accumulated years of experience of its small workforce in Wetzlar, Germany (with a little help from electronics suppliers in Asia and a facility in Portugal).

A lot of Leica rangefinders' appeal comes down to the quality of construction

I've been pretty cynical about some of Leica's digital imaging products in the past (I still can't get excited about the TL-series, for instance, despite the considerable improvements that have been made to that system since its introduction) and I make no secret of it. In the days of hybrid autofocus and 4K video, the M10 is clearly an anachronism.

But...

The M10 and current 35mm F1.4 Asph., makes a powerful and unobtrusive combination. Many DSLRs and ILCs are technically more versatile, but few are as discreet while still offering a full-frame sensor.

Ironically, the M10 has won a place in my heart (and my camera bag) precisely because it isn't trying too hard to be something that it isn't. In contrast to the slightly bloated Typ. 240, the stills-only M10 is stripped back to the essentials. Presenting almost the same form-factor as the M6 TTL and M7, and an identical footprint to the original M3, the M10 is noticeably slimmer than previous digital M-series rangefinders while offering a simpler digital interface and tweaked image quality. In fact, with the M10 I can comfortably shoot at ISO 12,800 and higher without worrying about banding, or any particular image quality gremlins. The sensor isn't quite up there with the best 24MP sensors on the market, but it's more than good enough.

It's been a long, strange year but as 2017 draws to a close, the M10 is probably the camera I've used most. While undoubtedly not as versatile as (say) a Nikon D850, the M10 does have the advantage of being considerably more convenient to travel with.

I still get a bit uncomfortable carrying what amounts to almost a year's rent around my neck

I've done a lot of traveling this year, and the M10 has been with me almost everywhere I've gone. I love that I can fit a full-frame camera and lens outfit covering 28-90mm into a small Domke F6 shoulder bag without feeling like I'm going to pull my arm out of its socket. I still get a bit uncomfortable carrying what amounts to almost a year's rent around my neck, but – touch wood (or rather, hand-laquered wood soft shutter release) – nothing bad has happened yet.

This started out as an attempt to quickly 'de-bling' a chrome M10 for my recent trip to the jungles of central Mexico. I might have got a bit carried away. Watch out for the 'Britton Special Edition Jungle M10' and remember – you saw it here first.

Partly that's because I'm careful about who I point my camera at (and where I do it) but partly it's because a black M10 in a black half-case, accessorized with some carefully applied black electrical tape, doesn't actually draw much attention. The eye-catching chrome version looks absolutely beautiful by comparison, but it's the kind of beautiful that makes me nervous.

The whole process of taking someone's picture is less confrontational than it might be with a larger and louder camera

I'm not a huge proponent of candid portraiture, but the subtle click of the M10's shutter means that even for casual snapshots of friends and family, the whole process of taking someone's picture is less confrontational than it might be with a larger and louder camera.

The flip-side is that it's also harder to use. For all of the smug chin-stroking of whiskery old salts who cut their teeth on M3s and M2s back in the Good Old Days, the suggestion that M-series rangefinders are as functional – or as practical – as SLRs "just as long as you know what you're doing" is nonsense. I still shoot film occasionally and I love it, but compared to a 24MP full-frame sensor, even the finest-grained film is a pretty low-resolution medium. I'm much more prepared to let minor focus errors or even camera-shake slide when I'm flipping through scans from my film cameras than I am when examining digital files at 100% in Lightroom.

One of my favorite lenses on the M10 is actually one of the oldest that I own: the tiny 1950s-vintage Nikkor 2.8cm F3.5, attached via an LTM-M adapter. At F4, the center is sharp enough for this kind of (slightly) off-center composition, with just enough out of focus blur fore and aft for some subject separation. Newer Leica and 3rd party 28mm lenses are unequivocally sharper, but they're also much bigger. This portrait was taken using Live View to ensure off-center sharpness using this vintage lens.

The M10 can turn out excellent results, but truly accurate focusing and composition can be extremely challenging – even for those with long experience of shooting with rangefinders. Yes, there's always Live View, but on this point I tend to agree with the whiskery old salts: you don't buy a rangefinder to use Live View (which doesn't mean that I never do, because like every good whiskery old salt, I am also a hypocrite).

Perversely though, its inherent trickiness is one of the reasons I enjoy shooting with the M10 so much. Compared to an auto-everything DSLR or mirrorless camera, it's very challenging. When I capture an image that I really like, I appreciate it more because I feel like I've worked harder to get there.

Leica M10 real-world samples

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Categories: Photo News

Taro uses infrared technology and AI for improved subject tracking

DP Review Latest news - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 05:00

Conventional tracking systems tend to struggle when the tracked subject briefly exits the frame or disappears behind another object. The new Taro auto-tracker and stabilizer tackles this problem with infrared technology.

Users connect their smartphones, DSLR cameras or existing Bluetooth stabilizers to Taro and select the target they want to track. Taro will then follow the target using an AI-based infrared tracking algorithm that performs 30 calculations per second. According to the Taro team, this allows for tracking of objects that are moving as fast as 50 MPH.

“In developing Taro, we’ve essentially designed a robot that operates your camera just like a real cameraman could,” said Taro founder, Hao Qian. “Taro can instantaneously establish the intended object's approximate location,” he said. “Taro also has a powerful learning algorithm that immediately eliminates sub-optimal positioning, precisely pinpointing the object’s exact location – which results in the perfect balance between efficiency and accuracy.”

The Taro robot looks like an interesting solution for anyone wanting to film themselves during sports and action activities or for filming while moving. The Taro is available on Kickstarter now in three versions, a kit for smartphones, a kit for DSLRs or just a tracking module that can be used with existing Bluetooth stabilizers.

The smartphone kit will set you back $200 while the DSLR kit is $600. The tracking module on its own is available at $100. Early-bird offers are available as well. For more information watch the video below and have a look at the project's Kickstarter page.

Categories: Photo News

2018 Subaru Crosstrek review - Roadshow

CNET Reviews - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 15:21
The compact SUV gains dramatically improved StarLink tech to go with its standard all-wheel drive and exceptional ground clearance.
Categories: Photo News

Cinematic 4K footage shot with the Apple iPhone X

DP Review Latest news - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 12:28

Matteo Bertoli, a California-based cinematographer, got a chance to try out the iPhone X's video capabilities in Kauai and has just published the results. And before you ask – Bertoli states that it was all shot handheld.

"I DID NOT use any lenses, accessories, tripods or sliders. Everything was shot handheld, the only thing I had on the phone was the silicon case, that's it. Also I DID NOT use Filmic Pro. Everything was done with the native camera app. Shot in 4K at 24fps," he states on YouTube.

Bertoli did grade the footage in Davinci Resolve 14. He also stays that, impressively, most of the video was shot using the telephoto camera. The secondary camera module's inclusion of OIS and a brighter F2.4 aperture means it's more useful for these kinds of applications.

Take a look at the footage above and let us know what you think in the comments.

Categories: Photo News

Lifx Mini Wi-Fi Smart Bulb review - CNET

CNET Reviews - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 11:27
The Lifx Mini is a terrific smart bulb that works with Alexa, Siri, IFTTT, and the Google Assistant. We just wish it cost less.
Categories: Photo News

Google rolls out 'Saturated' mode to address Pixel 2 XL display issues

DP Review Latest news - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 10:50

The Google Pixel 2 might sport one of the best smartphone cameras around, but when it comes to the display—particularly on the larger XL—model, Google has had nothing but trouble. Reports of everything from burn-in, to blue tint off-axis, to 'dull' colors have left the tech giant playing catch up, and today it finally ... well... caught up. Or at least it tried.

A promised software update released on Tuesday (and rolling out to all users by the end of the week) addresses the issue of burn-in with some minor tweaks, and adds three total color saturation modes under the phone's Display settings to hopefully quiet down the complaints about 'dull' colors.

Here's a quick summary of the update in Google's own words:

This update includes some of the enhancements we posted about on October 26, such as the new Saturated color mode for Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, a fix for the faint clicking noise heard in some Pixel 2s, and other bug and security updates. As we mentioned in our deeper dive, this update also brings planned UI changes which extend the life of the OLED display, including a fade out of the navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen and an update to maximum brightness.

According to Android Central, the updated saturation settings come in three flavors: Natural, Boosted, and Saturated. Natural should provide the most accurate color reproduction; Boosted takes the place of the "Vivid Colors" setting previously available, which boosted saturation by 10%; and, finally, Saturated will put the display in an "unmanaged configuration" that will make colors "more saturated and vibrant, but less accurate," according to Google's deep dive on the topic.

Unfortunately, this mode throws away one of the most important things about Android Oreo: color management. In 'Saturated' mode, all apps, images and video will first render to sRGB (for now) and then be stretched to the display's wider color gamut.

This will make for inaccurate colors across the two devices, but there is hope for us color nerds. As Seang Chau, VP of Engineering at Google, says in his blog post: due to color management under the hood in the new OS, "an Android app developer can now make use of the wider Display P3 color gamut precisely for a wider range of colors. Google apps will take advantage of wide colors in the future." We're hoping this means that future apps will render either to P3 or straight to a display profile provided by Google, which would allow for saturated colors when appropriate, but not at the cost of accuracy.

Finally, no comment was made on the poor viewing angle of the XL model that introduces a strong blue-tint off-axis (see picture above of the Pixel 2 XL vs the original XL). This can make photos with warmer tones look even more desaturated by shifting toward blue. But while Google was able to address some of its display complaints this week, this seems like a hardware problem that will be difficult to fix via software.

Categories: Photo News

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 takes on Lightroom with more features and improved Raw processing

DP Review Latest news - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 10:05

After releasing it in beta last month, ON1 has officially announced the latest version of its image editing and organization software: ON1 Photo RAW 2018. With this newest version, ON1 wants to establish its application as a viable alternative to Adobe's Lightroom, and says most of the improvements to the new version are a direct result of community input.

The new app comes with an updated raw processing engine and a new HDR function that merges a bracket of photos for increased dynamic range. Pano Stitching combines multiple photos into a single panoramic image and a host of new masking tools allow for precise selection of image areas and background masking.

ON1 has also updated the UI for a cleaner and more modern look, and has added support for the Nikon D850, Olympus EM-10 III, Panasonic DMC-G85, preliminary support for Sony a7R III, and a range of new lenses.

Other features include: re-editable adjustments for exposure, contrast, color, shadows, highlights, lens correction, and transform tools, as well as hundreds of customizable photo effects.

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 for Mac and Windows is available now for download as a free 30-day trial from the ON1 website. Previous owners of any ON1 app (or ON1 plug-in) can upgrade to the new version for $100, while new users will have to pay $120. However, a single license can be activated on up to five computers.

For more information and a full list of updates, check out the video below and read the full press release below that.

Press Release

Portland, OR – November 9, 2017 ­– Today, ON1, Inc. announced ON1 Photo RAW 2018 is officially available. Along with the essential tools and features needed in a photography workflow, ON1 Photo RAW 2018 includes key updates to the fast, non-destructive raw processing engine. Photographers now have an integrated tool with accelerated photo management, precise photo development, hundreds of customizable photo effects, fast and beautiful HDR, pano stitching, masking and blending adjustments, layers, and much more – in one app.

From the beginning the ON1 community has driven the development of ON1 Photo RAW based on what's most important to them. Almost every feature and improvement made to the app in version 2018 is a direct result of community input through the ON1 Photo RAW Project.

This type of transparency is what customers can continue to expect from the ON1 team. This process has solidified ON1 Photo RAW as the app designed by photographers for photographers and a great alternative to Adobe® Lightroom®.

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 includes major updates and enhancements in many areas. Key new features include the following.

  • ON1 HDR – Create stunning HDR photos that merge all tonality from a bracket of photos in a fraction of the time (test results have shown up to seven times faster than other HDR apps). Automatically aligns photos and removes ghosting from motion between exposures. Includes full non-destructive editing with natural results and can be turned up to 11 for a surreal look.
  • Pano Stitching – Combine multiple photos into a single panoramic or matrix photo. Automatically aligns photos, even if they are not shot on a tripod, and blends them together seamlessly. An option to embed panoramic metadata for Facebook panning is also available.
  • Global Mask Editing Tools – These include new mask Density and Feather sliders to allow for changing the density or opacity of masks as well as blur masks for softening.
  • Luminosity Mask Updates – Adjust the levels of a mask to increase the contrast or brightness as well as set a tonal window to only affect a certain zone. These updates allow users to target just the area they want, based on the photo.
  • Color Range Masks – Create a mask from a color range selection.
  • Blur and Chisel Mask Tools – In ON1 Effects, the Blur and Chisel mask tools are now included. The blur tool is perfect for softening or feathering a mask selectively. The Chisel tool lets the user push or pull the edge selectively, to remove halos. All of these new masking options are re-editable and non-destructive.
  • Versions — Versions are virtual copies of the same photo. Each version created can include non-destructive settings, including crop, retouching and adjustments. Versions work just like any other photo without taking up more space on your computer.
  • Updated UI — Clean and modern UI where your photo is the center of attention. Custom name filters and layers to easier keep track of work. Also select your own UI accent color.
  • Paint with Color Brush — Painting with color can be a solid color, perfect for skin smoothing and making annotation layers, or paint with just the color and leave the underlying luminosity in place to change the color of objects like eyes.
  • Selectively Add or Remove Noise — Brush away noise in areas like skies or add noise for an artistic effect.
  • Improved Highlight Recovery –– The algorithms for highlight recovery have been improved.
  • ON1 Photo for Mobile — Take the best shots with you on the go with the free ON1 Photo for Mobile app. It’s a great way to share portfolios. It can also sync new photos taken on phones back to the desktop so those photos are ready for editing.
  • Additional Camera & Lens Support — Added support for the Nikon D850, Olympus EM-10 III, Panasonic DMC-G85, preliminary support for Sony a7R III, plus a ton of new lenses.

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 differentiates itself from other apps by allowing photographers to both browse and catalog their photos from the very beginning of their workflow. This hybrid system provides one of the fastest digital asset management tools available today. The ultra fast photo browser is perfect for quickly viewing and culling through photos without having to wait on an import process. Once the culling process is complete, the ability to create and catalog those photos is the next step in common workflows.

There is plenty more available within the app's non-destructive photo development. These features include re-editable adjustments such as exposure, contrast, color, shadows, highlights, lens correction, and transform tools. The hundreds of unique photo effects are also perfect for finishing off your photos to add that extra punch. Photographers have complete control of how each effect is applied using masking brushes, gradients masks, and local adjustments. Each effect is also completely customizable to save any look as a custom preset.

Photo editing technologies such as live blending options, apply to, smart layers, smart photos, and mask refinement tools also make ON1 Photo RAW 2018 a more advanced pixel editor without having to launch a separate app. The ability to combine photos together with layers, masks, and selectively apply filters and effects to raw photos gives users a big advantage.

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 isn’t just for raw files. Supported file formats include JPEG, TIF, PSD, PSB, PNG, and DNG are supported and benefit from the speed, performance, and abundance of editing tools in the app. Photo RAW 2018 also continues to work seamlessly within current photography workflows. The app integrates as a plug-in for Adobe® Lightroom® Classic CC and Photoshop® and further builds its case as a complete standalone photo editor or alternative to the Adobe Photography Plan. Version 2018 also integrates with the major cloud services to allow for uploading, managing and editing photos across multiple computers. This also allows users to sync photos and their edits across multiple computers or in a studio setting.

Price and Availability

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 is available for download as a free 30-day trial from the ON1 website. Previous owners of any ON1 app (or ON1 plug-in) can upgrade for $99.99. Those who don’t own an ON1 app can order for $119.99. ON1 Photo RAW 2018 is also bundled with some excellent bonus materials which include: Three ON1 Photo RAW 2018 Courses by Product Director Dan Harlacher, and all of their 2017 and 2018 Loyalty Rewards. ON1 Photo RAW 2018 works with both Mac and Windows and includes activation on up to five computers.

Categories: Photo News

DxOMark: DJI Zenmuse X7 outperforms GH5, on par with top-notch APS-C DSLRs

DP Review Latest news - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 09:36

Remember when the DJI Zenmuse X7 drone camera was released, and we said DJI had become a camera company without anybody noticing? You might consider the latest scores out of DxOMark proof of that assertion. The sensor testing company just released its review of the X7, ranking it above the popular Panasonic GH5 and on part with top-scoring APS-C sensors like the Nikon D7500.

Sporting the largest sensor yet for a DJI camera module, the X7 boasts a Super 35/APS-C sized chip that DxO discovered will hold its own against the leaders in that category. In fact, going through the rankings, you'll find that only two APS-C sensors have ever scored higher than 86. And when you compare it to one of the top-scoring APS-C cameras (the Nikon D7500) and the often-drone-mounted Panasonic GH5, you see that DJI is not playing around:

As DxOMark points out in their conclusion, this is an impressive showing for the drone maker:

Thanks to an increase in its size as much as to technological advancements, the DJI Zenmuse X7’s sensor takes a significant step up in performance from the Zenmuse X5S sensor. In fact, it delivers results that compete closely with those from a high-scoring APS-C format DSLR, despite being housed in a camera that’s mounted in a stabilized gimbal and specifically designed for aerial photography.

Be sure to head over to DxOMark to read their full DJI Zenmuse X7 review. And then check out our own opinion piece about DJI's transformation from a drone maker, into a full fledged camera company.

Categories: Photo News

Sigma's new 16mm F1.4 will cost $450, ships this month

DP Review Latest news - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:47
We got to see the 16mm F1.4 DC DN |Contemporary lens in person at the PhotoPlus Expo last month.

Just before the PhotoPlus Expo in October, Sigma teased crop-sensor Sony E-Mount and M43 shooters with a new lens: the 16mm F1.4 DC DN | Contemporary. We got to see this "in development" lens for ourselves at the expo, and were left very impressed by its build quality, but had no idea how much it would cost or when it would arrive on the market.

Until now.

Announced earlier today, the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN | Contemporary will cost $450 and is scheduled to ship at the end of November. For Sony users, this lens represents a 'world's first': "the first lens offered for Sony E-mount systems to feature a 24mm F1.4 focal length (35mm equivalent) and aperture." On Micro Four Thirds systems, it provides a 32mm equivalent focal length.

To learn more about this lens, check out our hands on first impressions or head over to the Sigma website.

Press Release

Sigma Announces Pricing and Availability for the 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens

Shipping at the end of November for a retail price of $449.00 USD

Ronkonkoma, NY – November 9, 2017 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading still photo and cinema lens, camera, flash and accessory manufacturer, today announced that its brand new Global Vision 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for APS-C mirrorless Sony E-mount and Micro Four Thirds camera systems will be available at the end of Novem-ber for $449.00 USD through authorized US retailers. The fast aperture, wide-angle 16mm prime lens is the first lens offered for Sony E-mount systems to feature a 24mm F1.4 focal length (35mm equivalent) and aperture. On Micro Four Thirds systems, it offers a 32mm focal length.

Lightweight and compact, the 16mm F1.4 is equipped with a stepping motor designed for fast, ultra-smooth, and accurate autofo-cus performance for both still and video capture. Key features include a dust- and splash-proof mount, nine rounded aperture blades, advanced lens coatings to minimize flare and ghosting, and a reversible and removable petal-type hood. Full technical specifications can be found on the Sigma website at: www.sigmaphoto.com/16mm-f1-4-dc-dn-c.

Categories: Photo News

2018 Land Rover Discovery Release Date, Price and Specs - Roadshow

CNET Reviews - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:34
The updates to the new Disco largely focus on its tech.
Categories: Photo News

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