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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.


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

Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.

Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution. Because our review images are now hosted on the 'galleries' section of dpreview.com, you can enjoy all of the new galleries functionality when browsing these 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

Vixari is the world's most portable tripod, but it can still handle DSLRs

DP Review Latest news - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:21

A new tripod called Vixari is attempting to launch on Kickstarter, where it is billed as "the world's most portable tripod." Vixari has an ultra-portable foldable design that's only a little bigger than a smartphone, but despite its ultra-compact size, Vixari is still able to handle large cameras, including DSLRs that weigh up to 2kg / 4.4lbs.

Vixari isn't the first portable tripod, but the team behind it claims that it is the most compact. The tripod features extendable legs that fold into the unit's body, which itself doubles as a folding case. Each of the three legs have a maximum length of 105cm / 41in, while the body has three mounting options: a slot for smartphones between 6mm and 9mm in thickness, a mount screw, and GoPro tripod mount adapter. And since it can be used to trigger smartphones, it includes a Bluetooth remote shutter that supports Android and iOS.

The tripod body is made from polycarbonate, while the legs are made from aluminum alloy, the combination of which makes it durable and lightweight. The tripod will be offered in black, white, and dark blue colors, assuming it successfully makes it to market. Overall, Vixari measures 19cm x 6.5cm x 3.4cm / 7.4in x 2.5in x 1.33in and weighs 600g / 1.32lbs.

Kickstarter backers are offered the tripod, plus mount screw, mount adapter, remote shutter, and charging cable for pledges of at least £49 / $65. Shipping to these early bird backers is expected to start in February 2018.

To learn more or put down a pledge, head over to the Kickstarter campaign.

Categories: Photo News

Vivo V7+ Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET

CNET Reviews - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 07:01
This midrange phone from China will let you take selfies that can smooth out your pores.
Categories: Photo News

Nest Secure review - CNET

CNET Reviews - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 06:24
I wouldn't mind getting Nest Secure as a gift, but $499 is a lot for a home security starter kit.
Categories: Photo News

Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 first impressions

DP Review Latest news - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 06:00

The Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 is the company's newest mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (ILC), and in many ways, the first Lumix camera ever to be aimed squarely at professional and advanced amateur stills photographers – and it shows.

But that doesn't mean the G9 is light on video specs; Panasonic has long been a leader in 'hybrid' stills and video cameras with the impressive GH-series, but just as the GH-series leans slightly more to the video side of things, the G9 leans the other way.

Even though we've had only a few days with our G9, we've already seen improvements to the JPEG engine (color in particular), and been able to play around with some of its new features like the 80MP high-resolution mode, and been blown away by its incredibly large electronic viewfinder. Some of its capabilities – like impressive-looking 20 fps burst shooting with continuous autofocus – will need more in-depth testing.

But for now, we've put together some of our first impressions and takeaways – let's get started.

Key specifications
Design sketch of the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9.

The Lumix G9 is overflowing with refinements and improvements both inside and out. There's a lot to digest in this camera, but here are what we believe to be the G9's most important qualities:

  • 20.3MP Live MOS sensor with no AA filter (same as GH5)
  • 6.5-stop 5-axis Dual I.S. 2
  • 0.83x (35mm equivalent) high-res, 120 fps electronic viewfinder
  • 80MP high-resolution mode
  • 20 fps bursts with continuous autofocus (60fps with focus locked)
  • Dual UHS-II SD card slots supporting new high-speed V-rated cards
  • Assortment of 4K and 6K Photo modes, in-camera focus stacking
  • Refined ergonomics and controls
  • USB charge and USB power capability, 400 shots per charge battery life (CIPA)

But for established photographers, particularly those Panasonic is targeting, equally important in addition to this list of objective specifications are the intangibles; how does the G9 feel in the hand, and how does it respond to your inputs?

Let's get started with that first consideration, and look at the G9's body and design.

Body, design and handling
The G9 isn't a small camera, but with a suitably compact lens, it isn't too intimidating. Out-of-camera JPEG, processed in-camera with increased exposure compensation. Panasonic Leica DG 25mm F1.4.
ISO 3200 | 1/500 sec | F1.4

The G9 comes with splash, freeze and dust proof construction, and feels in the hand as though you're holding a chunk of solid magnesium alloy, as opposed to a hollow one filled with Panasonic's most advanced photographic technology to date.

Battery life from the G9 is good if not downright impressive, at a CIPA rated 400 shots; it's compatible with the same battery as the GH5, and will easily last you many hours of serious shooting. As always, exploring menus and rocketing through images in playback will shorten the battery's stamina.

Speaking of playback, the rear jog dial does a good job of moving through your images quickly, handy for when you start firing off those 20 fps bursts. The new top-plate LCD allows you to check your settings at a glance, even if the rear screen is folded away, and the combined Mode + Drive dials on the left shoulder work surprisingly well; some competitors that have attempted this end up feeling kind of 'fiddly.'

The top plate on the G9 is one of its key physical differentiators versus the GH5.

The AF joystick has been tweaked, with a new textured finish and a click-in option to toggle between your chosen AF point and the center. Unfortunately, we think it could still be faster to move your AF area when you tap it to the side, and if you're holding it to the side, your moving AF area won't respond to a change in your desired direction unless you release the joystick, and push in that new direction. Compounding this is that you can't move the point diagonally; only horizontally and vertically.

As always, having an AF joystick is always better than not having one, and we're hopeful to see these issues addressed in a future firmware update.

Body, design and handling
An abundance of controls and overall responsive performance helped me get this grab image of a low-flying plane in South Seattle. Out-of-camera JPEG, cropped to taste. Panasonic Leica DG 12-60mm F2.8-4.
ISO 200 | 1/640 sec | F4.5

The G9 has tons of controls, and tons of customization options. It can take a while for you to find your way around the camera, but that's nothing out of the ordinary for a flagship. One thing we've noticed is that, likely on purpose, the shutter button on the G9 is very sensitive, so that could be something users may need to adjust to.

What shouldn't require much adjustment to is the all-new 0.83x (equivalent) optical viewfinder. It's among the largest electronic viewfinders ever built into a digital camera, providing an immersive shooting experience that's enhanced by the use of an OLED display, which gives great contrast.

As someone who's just officially griped about the necessity of USB charging, it's nice to see it make an appearance on the G9 in addition to the ability to run off of USB power. The batteries by now are commonplace, but it'll be great to power the camera with a USB power pack for longer shoots like timelapses, or when you need to top-up a battery off the grid.

The G9 has among the largest electronic viewfinders ever built into a digital camera.

And finally, let's address the issue of size. There's also no doubt that the G9 is fairly 'chunky,' especially given the Four Thirds sensor inside. Despite this, we think it's likely to be a good fit for its intended audience.

After all, a comfortable grip, extensive external controls, decent battery life, robust weather sealing and a crazy stabilization system all come with size and weight penalties; but even so, the G9 is lighter than the GH5. Indeed, couple the G9 with the appreciably small size of many Micro Four Thirds lenses, and you have the potential to make for a lightweight yet comprehensive kit that doesn't skimp on ergonomic comfort.

New and notable features
In this image, you can see how possible motion in your scene might impact your ability to use this mode - but you can also see just how much detail is there in the static portions of the scene. Panasonic Leica DG 12-60mm F2.8-4.
ISO 200 | 1/500 sec | F4

The new 80MP high resolution mode on the G9 works similarly to competitors' offerings, and takes eight shots in quick succession, moving the sensor by a half-pixel for each image. In practice, it's one of the faster implementations of a pixel-shift high res mode that we've seen, and predictably comes with a serious increase in image quality. Usually.

What you gain in detail and noise characteristics, you lose out depending on how much motion is in your scene. The above image is a good example of both the detail benefit you can get from this mode, as well as how it copes with moving subjects – and for the record, this is not necessarily the setting Panasonic would recommend for this feature, but we figured you, dear reader, might be curious about it.

Image stabilization on the G9 is a claimed 6.5 stops, which is basically magic.

As an added bonus, if you did attempt an 80MP image and were bothered by unintended motion artifacts, the G9 has an option to capture an additional 'normal' 20MP Raw and JPEG image simultaneously.

Image stabilization on the G9 is a claimed 6.5 stops - which is basically magic. With shorter lens, you'll have an almost glidecam experience (even if you're only using the in-body stabilization), and even with the new Panasonic Leica 200mm F2.8 lens and 2.0x teleconverter, you can easily frame your subjects shake-free through the viewfinder, even hand-held.

Image and video quality impressions
Panasonic told us that, for their latest JPEG engine, they've been working hard on the G9's rendition of yellows and blues, particularly for blue skies. We think they look pretty darn good.

While we don't yet have Raw support for the G9, the early JPEGs coming out of our camera look good. We've been critical of Panasonic's JPEG color and noise reduction in the past, and our early sample shots seem to show noticeable improvements.

First, the automatic white balance seems to handle a variety of settings with much greater reliability – warm evening light is represented as such, without going over-the-top orange, colors are nicely saturated and exhibit far less 'green-shifted yellows' than before. We'll wait until we can perform our studio testing to make a definitive call on noise reduction, but it looks to this reviewer that there's less smearing of areas of fine detail, which was historically a problem even at lower ISO values.

Panasonic is claiming more sophisticated sharpening and noise reduction on the G9, but we're waiting for our studio scene analysis before we can claim anything definitive in this regard.

In terms of video, the G9 offers 4K UHD capture at up to 60 fps, as well as an array of slow-motion modes in both 4K and Full HD. While you lose out on some more advanced features of the GH5, such as ultra-high bitrate recording, higher color depth capture and unlimited clip length (the G9 tops out at 10 minutes and 30 minutes for 4K/60p and 4K/30p respectively), video capture is still taken from the full width of the sensor and downscaled, and so should provide great detail. Lastly, our initial impressions show DFD autofocus to be more decisive and less prone to 'wobble' when shooting video, making run-and-gun capture more feasible.

Overall impressions and sample gallery
Out of camera JPEG. Panasonic Leica DG 12-60mm F2.8-4.
ISO 200 | 1/4000 sec | F4

Credit where credit is due, Panasonic has a long history of bringing cameras to market that bear impressive technical capabilities; from the lineage that gave us the first-ever mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, to the first mirrorless camera that could capture 4K video comes the stills-focused G9. With this new model, Panasonic has taken advantage of that greater emphasis on stills to pack some advanced and innovative features into a camera that is meant to be rugged and reliable for professional use.

Starting with ruggedness, we have to admit the G9 feels great in the hand. It's all-metal, with a redesigned (and really comfy) grip. It's far from compact, but it doesn't feel heavy for a professional-level camera; its overall size allows room for an enormous viewfinder, good-sized battery and abundant external controls.

We've only had the G9 for a few days, and so we've not had time to fully evaluate all of the G9's new features in-depth. For now, we remain impressed with overall JPEG image quality, video autofocus performance looks to be improved and the image stabilizer is really something you have to see to believe.

The G9 continues to use the same Four Thirds 20.3MP sensor as the GH5.

With the same mechanical shutter as the GH5, it offers 9 fps burst shooting with what should be similar (read: very good) autofocus performance at 9 fps, but we're really looking forward to doing some sports testing at the full 20 fps with electronic shutter. We have to admit we're also curious how the new V-rated SD cards holds up to the CFast and XQD slots in high-end sports DSLRs.

There will always be folks that will have a hard time seeing past the Four Thirds sensor in the G9, relative to APS-C and full-frame offerings. But the G9 nonetheless comes with incredible image stabilization, high shooting speed, high quality 4K video and compact-yet-high-quality lens offerings (all of which are made possible, or at least easier, with the smaller Four Thirds sensor). For this, we think the G9 represents a compelling option for professional photographers needing all of the capability, customizability and resilience they can get in a smaller package than many competitors are able to offer.

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