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Updated: 19 min 40 sec ago

Video: How to safely make a 35mm daguerreotype at home

2 hours 22 min ago

In the latest episode of 'Darkroom Magic,'the George Eastman Museum's historic photographic process specialist, Nick Brandreth, teaches viewers how to make a 35mm daguerreotype at home without the use of dangerous or expensive chemicals.

The daguerreotype gets its namesake from its creator, Louis Daguerre. The daguerreotype was introduced to the masses in 1839, becoming the first commercially viable photographic process. Although it fell out of favor about a decade later, the process has distinct characteristics that made it the process of choice for some specialists throughout the 20th century.

Nick Brandreth with some of his 35mm daguerreotypes

As Brandreth says, the at-home daguerreotype process is quite simple. In addition to a 35mm camera, you need a silver plate, or in his case, a piece of copper with silver plating. Orange or red glass is required in lieu of using mercury, which is part of the traditional daguerreotype process. You need iodine fuming materials and a glass vessel. Additionally, polishing materials are required to give your silver plate a mirror-like finish. The full ingredients are shown in the video below.

After you have gathered your materials, you must first buff and polish the silver plate. The first step requires a buff, olive oil, and rottenstone compound. This step removes any big scratches. Be sure to wash the plate with soap and water in between steps. The next stage is to polish the plate using lampblack, bringing the plate to a mirrored finish.

You'll need a variety of materials to do this project, but they're all safe, unlike the mercury used in the traditional daguerreotype process.

With the polished plate ready, the next stage is fuming. Combining silica gel beads and pure elemental iodine in a glass, you create a fuming material and place the polished plate above it, creating a photosensitive surface. The surface is sensitive to ultraviolet, violet and blue light, so you'll want to expose it with natural light or a suitable artificial light source.

Orange or red glass is used to develop the plate. It takes between 30 and 45 minutes to fully develop the plate. It will then require fixing and a finishing stage.

The plate is now ready to be exposed. Place it inside your 35mm camera and the camera's pressure plate should keep it stable. After exposure, it's time for the 'magic to happen,' as Brandreth says. Place your exposed plate under a piece of red or orange glass and hit it with sunlight or a strong work light. You can watch the plate develop over the next 30 to 40 minutes. After this, give it a smooth, consistent fix and then wash the plate. To watch the finishing stage, be sure to watch the video above, as it requires a few steps.

If you're interested in the science and art of photography, you can learn more about workshops at the George Eastman Museum's website. Many more interesting videos can be viewed on its YouTube channel.

Categories: Photo News

The Sony RX100 VII and a7C are the best cameras for travel

4 hours 45 min ago

We've updated our 'best cameras for travel' buying guide for those looking for a camera to bring on their next adventure, once it's safe to do so. The best camera for family trips is the compact Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII, while our choice for travel photography is the Sony a7C.

Categories: Photo News

DPReview TV: The best and worst cameras and lenses of 2020

10 hours 45 min ago

It's the episode you've been waiting for all year! Chris and Jordan reveal their picks for the best and worst camera gear of 2020 while playing their newest drinking game. What could go wrong?

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get new episodes of DPReview TV every week.

Fun trivia about the other camera YouTubers mentioned in this episode

While recording our annual Best and Worst episode for DPReview TV, Chris and I decided to add a twist to our drinking game. We wanted to find out how well we knew some of our YouTuber friends, so we asked them to tell us two facts about themselves: one, a thing plenty of people know, and a second fact that very few people would know. We've compiled them all for your reading pleasure.

Well-known fact: I have a dog named Pixel.

Less-known fact: I play the piano and guitar.

Well-known fact: My favourite brand for shooting video is Panasonic.

Less-known fact: I have failed painfully at Steer Wrestling.

Well-known fact: I did a durability test on an L lens for an episode but couldn’t finish the video because the lens was broken on one of the first tests.

Less-known fact: I once worked in a cafe that only sells tea, and to help clean up RAW sewage which had flooded the basement (and where the kitchen was). I never ate staff meals again while working there.

Well-known fact: I like purple.

Less-known fact: I was in the Canadian army as an engineer for 6+ years.

Well-known fact: I'm obsessed with coffee.

Less-known fact: I'm a JUNO-nominated music producer and recording engineer (and that's been my full-time job for the past 8 years).

Well-known fact: I used to be a professional magician!

Bonus fact: I met Peter McKinnon at a magic conference in vegas 9 years ago. Long before either one of us were YouTubers.

Less-known fact: I won an animation contest for Nickelodeon when I was 16, and the grand prize was they flew my family out to Burbank, California, and we got a tour of the Nick Toons Network studios, and I was on TV!

Well-known fact: I will like and comment on all of your photos along with expressing what a great photographer you are!

Less-known fact: I used to be a professional singer, and I majored in it in college.

Well-known fact: I always travel with an Aeropress hand-grinder and pretentious coffee beans to ensure every cup is a winner. The most unusual brew was 75m below sea level in the Channel Tunnel to the bemusement and envy of fellow Eurostar passengers.

Less-known fact: I once emptied a remote bar in rural Japan of squid fisherman with the opening words of Dean Martin's 'Everybody Loves Somebody' on a Karaoke machine. Driven by pride and embarrassment, the song was completed as a serenade to the lonesome bartender now bereft of customers.

Well-known fact: I'm a mechanical engineer that designs robotic systems along with being a YouTuber.

Less-known fact: My parents are immigrants from Jamaica. I am the first generation born in the States.

Well-known fact: I was on several talk shows and Good Morning America after being dubbed the Sexiest Geek Alive.

Less-known fact: I have no sense of smell. None. Yes, I can taste.

Well-known fact: I drive a Jeep.

Less-known fact: I had absurdly long hair in high school.

Well-known fact: I shoot my videos in 30fps as an act of rebellion.

Less-known fact: I won my junior high school prom's karaoke contest with 'Secret Agent Man'.

Categories: Photo News

Video: Blind smartphone camera test highlights what qualities people value in smartphone photos

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 10:14

Nearly every smartphone manufacturer claims their newest device takes the best photos. They'll cite different qualities, such as resolution, low light performance, autofocus, stabilization, and lens zoom. To help cut through the noise, popular YouTuber Marques Brownlee has published his third annual 'Blind Smartphone Camera Test.'

While the test is not wholly scientific, and it's not aiming to be, it does help shed light on what real-world users care about when it comes to smartphone cameras. The test includes 20 new smartphones. Brownlee and the rest of the MKBHD team seeded each phone and then assigned them a letter for the purposes of a blind bracket.

The first round test image featured Marques as the subject and the scene includes many bright, warm colors and a bright blue sky in the background. It's a strong test for skin tone rendition, dynamic range and saturation levels.

Every phone was used to capture images of the same scene. The team selected scenes that are like what most people capture with their smartphone, including human subjects, bright colors, and challenging lighting.

Using his massive social media following, Brownlee solicited votes from followers on Twitter and Instagram to select which of the two presented images was the best. After more than 10M votes were tallied, the tournament was completed, and a surprising winner was crowned.

Bracket-style competition has some shortcomings. For example, a camera that otherwise might have made it far in one seeding scenario could be eliminated in the first round by the eventual winner. Speaking of potential favorites being eliminated early, the iPhone 12 Pro Max was clobbered in the first round by the OnePlus 8T, a mid-range smartphone. The next round saw the OnePlus 8T suffer the biggest defeat in Blind Smartphone Camera Test history, gaining only 5% of the vote against the Note20 Ultra. Including the iPhone SE and 12 Pro Max this year, no iPhone has ever made it out of the first round in the three blind tests.

The second round shot, shown here as captured by the Mate 40 Pro smartphone, includes bright colors and a candle on the table. The candle was the bellwether for this round's winners. If an image retained detail in the candle better than its competitor, voters preferred it.

Crowning a winner is only one thing you can learn from the test. When putting a pair of photos of the same subject side by side, it's interesting to consider which differences make the winners stand out. Time and again, saturation matters. If an image looks paler, a bit less vibrant, it loses. Brownlee thinks this and a cooler white balance is what has undone iPhone competitors each year. More accurate or realistic color rendition doesn’t necessarily translate to the general population considering an image to be better.

White balance also proved important to voters. In the first round, with a human subject and warm colors in the scene, the iPhone 12 Pro Max captured the image with the coolest white balance. Images with cool white balance lost basically across the board.

The third round image, shown here as captured by the Xiaomi MI 10 Ultra, highlighted differences between smartphones with respect to depth of field, white balance and dynamic range.

Dynamic range was an important factor to voters as well. In many matchups, the image with more dynamic range won. That said, different factors took priority in different scenes. When a person is a subject, colors and skin tones mattered a lot, understandably. In a still life scene, such as the second round shot of the plate of food, dynamic range took precedence.

As we can see in this screenshot from Brownlee, Twitter (left) and Instagram (right) depicted the same image files in different ways. The white balance and saturation levels are not even close to identical.

There's also something to be learned about images on Instagram versus Twitter. In the final round, the warmer image won on Instagram but was crushed by its competition on Twitter. As it turns out, the images look very different on the two platforms. It's possible this difference impacted the results in each round.

To view more from Marques Brownlee, check out his YouTube channel. If you want to watch previous Blind Smartphone Camera Test videos, click here for 2019 and here for the 2018 edition.

Categories: Photo News

Viltrox unveils 33mm F1.4, 56mm F1.4 APS-C prime AF lenses for Sony APS-C camera systems

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 08:58

Viltrox has announced the release of its new AF 33mm F1.4 and 56mm F1.4 APS-C prime lenses for Sony E-mount camera systems.

The new 33mm F1.4 (50mm full-frame equivalent) features an all-metal construction and is comprised of 10 elements in 9 groups, including one extra-low dispersion element and one high refractive index element. It features the option to manually or automatically control the aperture, a minimum focusing distance of 40cm (15.75"), offers a built-in micro USB port for updating the firmware and is compatible with Sony’s Eye AF technology thanks to its onboard stepping motor (STM) driving the autofocus.

The lens measures in at 72mm long, 65mm diameter and weighs 270g (9.5oz). Viltrox has a full list of compatible Sony cameras on the 33mm F1.4 product page, where you can also buy the lens today for $259.

Moving onto the 56mm F1.4 (85mm full-frame equivalent), it too features an all-metal construction and is comprised of 10 element in 9 groups, including an extra-low dispersion element and a high fraction index lens. Interestingly, unlike the 33mm F1.4 lens, the 56mm F1.4 lens appears to be identical in optical design and features to the 56mm F1.4 lens Viltrox released for Fujifilm X-mount systems back in September.

The 56mm F1.4 also supports Sony Eye AF technology, has a built-in micro USB port for updating the lens' firmware and uses an STM motor for driving autofocus. The lens measures in at 72mm long, 65mm diameter and weighs 290g (10.2oz).

You can find a full compatibility list on Viltrox’s 56mm F1.4 product page, where you can also pre-order the lens for $299.

Categories: Photo News

China’s Chang’e-5 probe beams high-res color panoramic of the Moon's surface

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 06:35

China’s National Space Administration has released color video footage from its Luna probe approaching and landing on the surface of the Moon. The Chang'e-5 craft filmed its own touch-down at the beginning of a two-day mission to collect samples of rock and soil on and 2m below the surface of the moon before rejoining the a re-entry module that is orbiting 200km above it.

This is the 15,000 pixel wide stitched panoramic taken by the Chang'e-5's on-board camera. Click to enlarge.

As well as the video of the landing the CNSA has released a high-resolution color panoramic stitched image of the Moon’s surface, but like many photographers shooting with a wide angle the probe included its own foot in the frame. The picture measures 15,000x7947 pixels and shows masses of detail.

As the probe approached the Moon it paused at an altitude of 100m to film the potential landing area while looking for obstacles, and then carried on recording as it made its landing. Video released by the agency shows mostly monochromatic footage of the landing, but color recordings of the drill breaking the surface and collected materials being placed into a storage container. If successful this will be the first time samples from the Moon have been brought back to Earth in 44 years. The aim is to recover 2kg of samples and land them back on Earth in the middle of this month.

The probe was launched aboard a heavy-lift rocket called Long March 5 from China’s Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province on November 24th. For more information see the China National Space Administration website.

Categories: Photo News

Film Fridays: The humble, plastic Soviet-era cameras that summited Mount Everest

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 06:00
Russian climber Valentin Ivanov using a Smena Symbol. Photo: Technointorg

In this week's Film Friday, from our pals at Kosmo Foto, we join up with a group of Soviet climbers prepping to summit Mount Everest. The year is 1982 and to document the expedition, the team decides to bring along five plastic Smena Symbol viewfinder cameras. A humble, simple-to-use unit – intended more for family-use than mountaineering – the Symbol proves to be the perfect companion for the trip.

Its lack of electronics, focusing aid or light meter meant fewer possible failure points, compared to other cameras of the era. And a simple weather-based exposure diagram on back made them easy-to-use. Plus, the plastic design cut down on weight, while still proving tough enough to survive slams into rock and ice.

But the team still had to make a few small modifications to these modest cameras, to survive the tough conditions. Read on...

Read: The humble Soviet camera that made it to the top of Mt Everest

About Film Fridays: We recently launched an analog forum and in a continuing effort to promote the fun of the medium, we'll be sharing film-related content on Fridays, including articles from our friends at KosmoFoto and 35mmc.

Categories: Photo News

Wristcam adds a pair of cameras to your Apple Watch

Thu, 12/03/2020 - 12:04

Since its release, users have wondered when the Apple Watch would include a camera. As of the recent Series 6 revisions, the Apple wearable has yet to integrate a camera. However, a new product for Apple Watch adds a pair of cameras to your wrist. Wristcam is an Apple-certified band for your Apple Watch and includes a pair of Sony-made cameras.

A 2MP 'self-facing' camera can record 1080p video, while a second 'world-facing' camera records 8MP still images and 4K video. By using the accompanying Wristcam app on your Watch, you can live stream video, take advantage of a live viewfinder to capture images and video, browse a gallery, and even share your images and videos.

Click to enlarge

To ensure that you know the Wristcam is recording, there are bright LEDs next to both cameras. When shooting stills, there'll be a single pulse of light. When recording a video, the light will continuously blink. There are dedicated microphones next to each camera and there is a quick capture button located beneath the world-facing camera.

Wristcam promises 'all day' battery life with moderate to heavy use. Wristcam is water-resistant up to 1m for half an hour. It includes 8GB of internal memory to sync photos and videos with your phone while the Wristcam is charging. The internal storage holds about 2,000 images or an hour of video. Wristcam includes built-in Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5 GHz) and Bluetooth (5.0).

Wristcam includes 2MP self-facing and 8MP world-facing cameras, each with accompanying microphones and LED lights. Click to enlarge.

The Wristcam is compatible with Apple Watch Series 1-6 and supports iPhone 6s models and newer. It comes with the Wristcam Core, a small band, large band, charging cable and power adapter.

Much like Apple's own Watch bands, the Wristcam comes in a variety of colors. Further, the design is modular, so you can swap out Wristcam bands without needing to purchase a new Wristcam. The Wristcam is available in 38/40mm and 42/42mm sizes and comes in black, white, gray, rosé (38/40mm only) and sage (42/44mm only) color options. Shipping is expected in March 2021 and both sizes of Wristcam cost $299 USD. Optional additional bands are available in blue, purple and brown and cost $49.

Categories: Photo News

Video: One man's quest to watercool a Canon R5 into an 8K video powerhouse

Thu, 12/03/2020 - 07:04

This July, Canon released a media advisory clarifying the overheating concerns of early Canon EOS R5 and R6 users. After Lensrentals took apart the R5, we better understood the thermal constraints of the design. The camera is very tightly sealed, which is great when you want to keep water out, but not so great when you want heat to escape.

In its media release, Canon stated the approximate recording time for 8K 30p video with the R5 before the camera overheated is about 20 minutes. After letting the camera cool for 10 minutes, users can expect to record another 3 minutes of 8K footage before the camera overheats again. It's a better, albeit similar, situation when recording 4K 60p and 4K 30p (8.2K oversampling) video. The feature set of the R5 and its performance is impressive, but in many settings, overheating is problematic.

Matt from the YouTube channel DIY Perks wanted to prevent his own Canon R5 from overheating, so he dismantled it and modified the camera's internals. Should you feel inspired, it is worth pointing out the obvious. Dismantling your camera and modifying it will void your warranty and comes with significant risks. However, for the adventurous among you, you can see how Matt modified his camera in the video below.

Matt used some standard liquid cooling components you might find in a performance-oriented PC. He also installed thermal paste, which he believes is much better than the thermal pads that the R5 has between the main processors and a metal plate. To try to remove heat from the main processing area, he also installed copper, as it's a good conductor of heat.

Matt used PC liquid cooling components to water cool his Canon R5. As you can see, it's not a compact solution. However, it is remarkably effective, allowing for unlimited 8K recording times.

After making these mods, would the R5 record 8K video for longer than 20 minutes? No. Even though the camera was staying much cooler than it did before it was modified, it still shut down after 20 minutes of recording due to a timer-based heat management solution baked into the camera's firmware.

Matt updated to a recent firmware version, which changes how the camera manages overheating, and tried the test again. This time, with firmware version 1.1.1 installed on the R5, the water-cooled R5 breezed past the 20 minute mark and Matt speculates that the camera should theoretically be able to record indefinitely. It's worth noting that in certain situations, such as Matt's testing area, the firmware update alone can increase 8K recording time limit. In this case, it added about six minutes of 8K recording time before overheating.

With custom-fabricated copper, the R5 becomes a much better high-end video camera.

Of course, the liquid cooling solution is not very practical or elegant. It requires tubing, a water reservoir, a pump, radiator and you must have the back of the R5 remain detached. Matt wanted to devise an improved heatsink solution and reassemble the camera completely.

Using copper, improved thermal paste, and thermal padding, he was able to get nearly 40 minutes of uninterrupted 8K recording, a significant improvement over the production camera. A five minute break allowed an additional half an hour of recording. This is a very impressive passive cooling solution and a big step up over an unmodified R5.

Combining modified internal components with copper heatsinks and an external heatsink results in unlimited recording time. It adds bulk to the camera, but the rear heatsink is removable, allowing the camera to retain its original form factor.

If you require even longer record times, coupling the passive cooling modification with a copper heatsink mounted to the back of the camera does the trick. While a heatsink adds bulk, it is also easily removed when not needed, quickly returning the camera to its original form factor. Matt also designed a 3D-printable base for the camera that includes room for a fan and batteries. The base works in tandem with the internal copper plate modification. The files for the base have not been uploaded yet, but the link will be added to the video's description when available. To view more videos from DIY Perks, click here.

Categories: Photo News

Review: Monogram Creative Console - a refinement of our favorite modular editing hardware

Thu, 12/03/2020 - 07:00
Monogram Creative Console
from $248 | Monogram The Monogram Creative Console includes a series of modular units which attach magnetically to each other in a configuration of your choosing.

The Monogram Creative Console is a new set of modular, customizable controls that magnetically attach to one another. They work nicely with a wide variety of programs and apps, offering direct tactile shortcuts for most-used tasks and operations.

Key specs
  • Modular design
  • Each unit attaches via strong magnets
  • Solid Construction with no-slip base
  • 5 different module categories: Core module (required/provides power), Slider module, Dial module, Keys module, and the new pressure-sensitive Orbiter module
  • 3 different starter kits - Traveler ($399), Studio ($499) and Master ($799)
  • Compatible with any program/app offering keyboard shortcuts
  • Windows and Mac compatible
  • USB-powered

Monogram is formerly known as Palette Gear, and these controls represent an update to the original offering. Backward compatible, they provide greater customization in terms of control sensitivity, a slimmer design and a new control module: the pressure-sensitive 'Orbiter'.

Compared to peers Customizable RGB lighting helps with grouping controls together. Left is the new Orbiter module.

This design of the Creative Console has one key advantage over just about any other product in this category including the Loupdeck CT, Tourbox and Sensel Morph – modularity.

Also, unlike some of its peers, there are no labels or names on individual Creative Console controls. Which is to say, the product seems especially well-suited for a professional user with a dedicated workflow, rather than casual users. However it does feature adjustable and assignable RGB lighting around each key, which can be used as a visual cue when grouping similar functions together.

You can mix and match up to a total of 12 modules

The modular design also means you can choose the exact number controls you need and expand later if necessary. For example, a basic setup with a Core module and a Dials module (with 3 dials) costs $248 (one Core module is needed to run/power the console) . Monogram allows you to mix and match up to a total of 12 modules. It's worth noting, the three available kits offer greater value versus purchasing each piece individually.

Design

The controls are fairly minimalist in design and feel very well-built. The top surface of each control is machined aluminum and the underside of each has a non-slip rubber ring. I was pleased to see the control points don't show fingerprints very easily, despite being matte black.

The most unique aspect of the products' design is the fact that you can re-arrange the layout of the controls to suit your individual preference

The most unique aspect of the products' design is the fact that you can rearrange the layout of the controls to suit your individual preference. There are some physical limitations, down to fact that the modules connect via pins and pads. But the modularity of the Creative Console is still a huge advantage over other products in this arena.

In use There are 5 different modules. Upper left is (Screen+ 2 buttons) is the Core module, which connects and powers the rest. The other modules include a set of 3 dials, a set of 3 buttons, a set of 3 sliders (not shown) and a pressure-sensitive 'orbiter' with outer click wheel.

Note: I reviewed the 'Studio Kit' which includes everything shown above. The unit was pre-production and the software was in an alpha state of development at the time (now released).

The Monogram Creative Console takes some time to set up, not only to decide what functions to assign where, but also to find out ergonomically what works. It took me about 6 different layout iterations to work out what suited me best. It took a matter of 5 minutes each time to realize that a certain physical layout could be improved and seconds to reorganize the controls (which you can do without powering them off). You can save different configurations for different programs/apps, but will obviously have to physically reorient the modules when switching.

It took me about 6 different layout iterations to work out what suited me best

One small thing that made me smile was the inclusion of a 2 meter USB-C cable in the box, which provides power as well as a data connection. All too often the included cables in these sort of products are a little too short for those of us who have their desktop computer on the floor.

The included software can be setup to suit multiple tools and workflows

Monogram was specifically developed for the following Creative Cloud apps:

  • Lightroom Classic
  • Lightroom 6
  • Photoshop CC
  • Premiere Pro CC
  • After Effects CC
  • Audition CC
  • Illustrator CC
  • InDesign CC

These can be used as supplied or they can adapted to your preferred workflow. It can also be used with any other app that uses keyboard shortcuts, MIDI or even joystick functions. And I was pleased to find that there is a good tactile response to all of the controls.

I was pleased to find that there is a good tactile response to all of the controls

The new Orbiter is particularly cool: The inner surface can be tilted in the X and Y axis and you can assign different functions to each. One example of this, when working in Lightroom, is to have one axis assigned to color temperature and the other, tint. The Orbiter also has an outer ring that can be assigned to control a different function.

And perhaps most important: the sensitivity and range of the Orbiter, as well as the Slider modules, can be adjusted individually.

The new 'orbiter' (right), consists of a pressure-sensitive center disk that tilts in the 'X' and 'Y' axis, surrounded by an outer click wheel.

The dials themselves do not have detents – which I actually preferred – and there are no hard stops. The buttons press inward offering nice tactile response. However I did have some trouble remembering which buttons I assigned to which functions.

I'd like to see a way of splitting the controls for left and right hands, possibly via two core modules

There are a couple of things I think could Monogram could offer that would add great workflow improvement. One is an additional module with a touchpad, so that I could do away with my mouse. I'd also like to see a way of splitting the controls for left and right hands, possibly via two core modules. This could also open up more options for those with different mobility needs. That said, it's refreshing to see a product that doesn't disadvantage people using either hand (or both).

The small screen only shows which program/app and which profile is currently selected. Conclusion

Monogram clearly learned some key lessons from their initial Palette Gear offering and the latest iteration provides more creative potential and more precision, along with a smaller footprint on one's desk. The new Orbiter module is particularly cool/useful, especially for tasks like color and exposure adjustments in Lightroom.

Of course, these modules aren't cheap, and there's a definitely a learning curve. But like similar products, the up-front time investment can pay big productivity dividends in the long run.

What we like
  • Modularity
  • Build quality
  • Overall design
  • Detachable USB Type-C to Type-A Cable
  • Wide Range of compatibility
What we don’t like
  • Pricey
  • Currently Adobe Camera Raw preset has to be manually configured
  • Takes some time to setup and successfully integrate into workflow

Categories: Photo News

Nikon adds CFexpress Type B card support to its D500, D850 and D5 DSLR camera systems

Thu, 12/03/2020 - 06:35

Ten months after originally announcing its intentions to do so, Nikon has released a trio of firmware updates for its D5, D850 and D500 cameras that, amongst other updates, brings CFExpress Type B support for to all three DSLRs.

This new support means Nikon D5, D850 and D500 DSLRs, like the Z6, Z6 II, Z7 and Z7 II mirrorless cameras, can now use CFExpress Type B cards, which are now more readily accessible and come in higher capacities than their similarly-designed XQD counterparts.

One of SanDisk's Extreme Pro CFexpress Type B cards, with max read and write speeds of 1700MB/s and 1200MB/s, respectively.

In addition to the CFExpress Type B support, the firmware updates also address a few other issues for each of the cameras, which you can find in the (machine translated) changelogs below.

Currently, the firmware updates are only available to download on the Nikon Japan website. While the firmware itself should be identical to that released on other Nikon sites, we will update this with the Nikon USA links once we notice them go live. In the meantime, you can find each of the firmware downloads using the (translated) links below:

Firmware version 1.30 for the Nikon D500

Firmware version 1.20 for the Nikon D850

Firmware version 1.40 for the Nikon D5

Changelogs:

Nikon D500 (version 1.30:
  • Supports CFexpress card (Type B).
    • For details, please refer to the support page of each region / country of Nikon.
  • The following phenomena have been fixed.
    • When shooting with a flash, the same shooting result as [Correct overall] is obtained regardless of whether [Correct overall] or [Correct background only] is set in [Custom menu]> e3 [Exposure compensation when using flash].
Nikon D850:
  • Supports CFexpress card (Type B).
    • * For details, please refer to the support page of each region / country of Nikon.
  • The initial value of b6 [Center-weighted metering range] in the custom menu has been changed from φ8 mm to φ12 mm.
  • The following phenomena have been fixed.
    • ▹ [Still image shooting menu]> [Silent shooting (still image Lv)]> [Yes (mode 1)]
    • ▹ Release mode: Low-speed continuous shooting (CL)
    • ▹ [Custom Menu]> d1 [Low-speed continuous shooting speed]> [2 frames / sec]
    • ▹ Still image live view shooting
    • ▹ Shutter speed: 1.3 seconds or more
    • ▹ [Still image shooting menu]> [Long-time noise reduction]> [Yes]
    • ▹ [Still image shooting menu]> [HDR (High Dynamic Range)]> [HDR mode]> [Yes (continuous)] or [Yes (once)]
    • ▹ Lens VR (camera shake correction) switch: ON
    • --Attach a non-CPU lens, register the focal length and open aperture value in [Lens Information Manual Setting] in [Setup Menu], and select [Silent Shooting (Still Image Lv)] in [Still Image Shooting Menu]. When [Yes (Mode 2)] is selected, the F-number display on the image monitor and the F-number of the captured Exif information are not displayed correctly depending on the type of lens, even if the aperture ring of the lens is set to the maximum aperture value.
    • --When HDMI is output to an external recorder during live video view, the R and L displays of the audio level indicator on the camera's image monitor and the audio level indicator on the external recorder are reversed.
    • --During silent shooting, part of the screen may become dark when all of the following conditions are met.
    • --When the VR lens is attached, the camera does not work when all of the following conditions are met.
Nikon D5:

• Supports CFexpress card (Type B).

  • For details, please refer to the support page of each region / country of Nikon.
  • When wearing the WT-6 and WT-5 wireless transmitters to connect wirelessly to a network, you can now select the frequency band (2.4GHz or 5GHz) of the SSID to connect to. In addition, the frequency band of the SSID can now be confirmed on the selection screen for the wireless connection destination to be connected and the [Network] screen after the connection is completed in the connection wizard.
  • When shooting with still image live view, the phenomenon that the release cannot be performed normally and an error occurs when all of the following conditions are met has been corrected.
    • Equipped with an E-type lens and a speedlight such as SB-5000.
    • Set the shutter speed to 1/500 second or higher with FP emission.
    • Set the release mode to [1 frame shooting]. Alternatively, use self_time (Self-timer shooting) to set the number of shooting frames for c3 [Self-timer] to one.
  • For the license applied to the open source software included in the NVM Express control part of this camera, refer to “BSD License (NVM Express Driver)”.
Categories: Photo News

Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN sample gallery

Thu, 12/03/2020 - 06:00
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The 35mm F2 DG DN is the 'standard prime' in the group of new Sigma I-series lenses. We threw one onto the Sony a7R IV and went out shooting. Take a look.

Categories: Photo News

Tamron announces 17-70mm F2.8 for Sony APS-C cameras

Wed, 12/02/2020 - 20:13
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Tamron has introduced the 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD lens for Sony APS-C bodies. The lens has a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 25.5-105mm and uses the company's 'Vibration Compensation' image stabilizer (no word on its performance).

The 17-70 F2.8 has a total of 16 elements, including one hybrid aspherical and two glass-molded aspherical elements. The focus unit is driving by a 'Rapid eXtra-silent stepping drive' (RXD) stepper motor.

The minimum focus distance is 19cm (7.5") and the maximum magnification is 0.21x. The lens is 12cm (4.7") long and weighs in at 524g (1.2lbs). It's weather-sealed, and its front element has a fluorine coating to repel water and oil.

The 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD will be available in mid-January for $799.

Press release

Tamron Announces World’s First[1] 17-70mm F2.8 Wide Range 4.1x Standard Zoom Lens with VC For APS-C Mirrorless Cameras

17-70mm F/2.8 Di III-A[2] VC RXD (Model B070)

December 2, 2020, Commack, NY – Tamron announces the launch of the 17-70mm F/2.8 Di III-A VC RXD (Model B070), a high-speed standard zoom lens for Sony E-mount APS-C mirrorless cameras on January 14, 2021 at approximately $799. Due to the current global health crisis, the release date or product supply schedule could change.

The new 17-70mm F2.8 is Tamron's first high-speed zoom lens for mirrorless cameras with APS-C size sensors. It features a maximum aperture of F2.8 across the entire 4.1x zoom ratio covering a focal length of 17-70mm (a full-frame equivalent of 25.5-105mm) ideal for everyday use, and superb optical performance. It is a small, lightweight lens that is also equipped with Tamron's VC (Vibration Compensation) mechanism to minimize camera shake. This VC mechanism leverages AI technology when shooting video.

[1] Among interchangeable F2.8 standard zoom lenses for APS-C mirrorless cameras (As of November 2020: Tamron)

2 Di III-A: For APS-C format mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras

The lens features Moisture-Resistant Construction, Fluorine Coating and a Ø67mm filter size – the same as the Tamron series of lenses for full-frame mirrorless cameras. Compatible with many of the features that Sony builds into its cameras, including Fast Hybrid AF and Eye AF, the lens is the ideal everyday zoom for a multitude of situations. It is a highly practical lens that enables photographers to attain high image quality while enjoying the benefits of the large F2.8 aperture.

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

World’s first high-speed standard zoom lens for APS-C cameras with the focal length range of 17-70mm 4.1x zoom ratio

The Model B070 has a focal length range of 17-70mm, equivalent to 25.5-105mm on full-frame cameras. It is the first F2.8 high-speed zoom lens in the world for APS-C mirrorless cameras to achieve a 4.1x zoom ratio.

Outstanding optical performance

The optical construction of the new 17-70mm F2.8 features 16 elements in 12 groups. Two GM (Glass Molded Aspherical) lens elements and one hybrid aspherical lens element are precisely arranged to maintain high-resolution performance from edge to edge.

Upgraded VC effective in combination with Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras, leveraging AI for video shooting

The 17-70mm F2.8 features Tamron's proprietary VC mechanism. Additional sophisticated algorithms optimized for this model and a dedicated, independently operating MPU all combine to superbly compensate for vibration. This feature is available when the lens is used with cameras with or without in-body image stabilization. When shooting video, by leveraging AI technology, image stabilization performance improves compared to conventional models.

Close focusing−MOD is just 7.5” at the wide-angle end

The 17-70mm F2.8 zoom focuses close, down to 7.5” MOD (Minimum Object Distance). This is far superior to the performance achieved by conventional high-speed zoom lenses for APS-C cameras. In addition, the 15.4” MOD at the 70mm telephoto end ensures good close-range shooting performance allowing photographers to enjoy compelling close-up shots.

A highly portable compact design

The 17-70mm F2.8 zoom measures a scant 4.7” in length and 74.6mm in maximum diameter and weighs only 18.5 oz. The lens also maintains the same small Ø67mm filter size of each lens in the Tamron mirrorless lens line-up. This is remarkable for a lens with built-in VC image stabilization. When used with Sony's APS-C mirrorless cameras, this zoom is nicely balanced and provides a comfortable user experience.

The RXD (Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive) stepping motor unit is exceptionally quiet and perfect for video use

Moisture-Resistant Construction and Fluorine Coating provide extra protection

Compatible with many camera-specific features and functions, including Fast Hybrid AF and Eye AF

SPECIFICATIONS

Model

B070

Focal Length

17-70mm (for APS-C frame mirrorless format)
(25.5-105mm full-frame equivalent field-of-view)

Maximum Aperture

F2.8

Angle of View (diagonal)

79° 55'-23° 00' (for APS-C frame mirrorless format)

Optical Construction

16 elements in 12 groups

Minimum Object Distance

7.5“ (WIDE), 15.4“ (TELE)

Maximum Magnification Ratio

1:4.8 (WIDE) / 1:5.2 (TELE)

Filter Size

Ø67mm

Maximum Diameter

Ø74.6mm

Length*

4.7“

Weight

18.5 oz

Aperture Blades

9 (circular diaphragm)**

Minimum Aperture

F22

Standard Accessories

Flower-shaped hood, Lens caps

Compatible Mounts

Sony E-mount

* Length is the distance from the front tip of the lens to the lens mount face.

** The circular diaphragm stays almost perfectly circular up to two stops down from maximum aperture.

Specifications, appearance, functionality, etc. are subject to change without prior notice.

Categories: Photo News

CIPA's October report shows camera market has mostly recovered from its COVID-19 downturn

Wed, 12/02/2020 - 15:20
Top: Panasonic S1 (left) Canon EOS R (right) Bottom: Sony a7 III (left), Nikon Z6 (right)

It’s been a rather tumultuous year for camera sales atop a market already in decline, but the latest report from Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) shows the market is back in business and nearly recovered from the COVID-19 downturn.

CIPA, an industry association that aggregates shipment and sales information from the leading camera manufacturers, has shared its October numbers, which show the September recovery of shipments wasn’t a fluke. According to the October report, total digital camera sales – which include both fixed-lens cameras and interchangeable lens cameras – saw a total of 1.13 million units shipped. That’s still 22.8% fewer units shipped compared to October 2019, but that’s a far better shipment rate than the past six months, which have seen shipments hover around 50% of what they were in 2019 in the same months.

A line graph showing the month-by-month shipment numbers of digital cameras — including compact, fixed-lens, DSLR and mirrorless — for the past three years. Click to enlarge.

And the numbers look even better for interchangeable lens cameras. CIPA’s report says a total of 754K units were shipped, a decrease of just 13.6% compared to October 2019. Despite shipping fewer units, the monetary value of those shipments is up half a percentage point year-over-year (YoY) as well, showing the cameras being sold are more expensive models.

Interestingly, the increase in value from those shipments can be attributed only to mirrorless cameras. Globally, the monetary value of DSLR sales is down 22% YoY for October, aligned with overall unit shipments, while the monetary value of mirrorless shipments is up 11.9% YoY for October. In other words, the average revenue from global DSLR sales has more or less stayed the same while increasing for mirrorless camera sales. This backs up statements from multiple manufacturers – most notably Canon and Nikon in their investor reports – that higher-end, full-frame mirrorless models are selling better and will be the focus of their product lines.

A line graph showing the month-by-month shipment numbers of interchangeable lens cameras for the past three years. Click to enlarge.

The October report also confirms DSLR camera sales are on a far faster decline than mirrorless cameras, at least in most regions. Global DSLR shipments were at 338K units, down 21% YoY for October, while mirrorless camera shipments were 416K units, down just 6.4% YoY for October.

Where it gets interesting is when you look at shipments by region. The increase in monetary value of mirrorless camera shipments comes almost entirely down to China, which saw a 53.8% increase in value YoY for October. Also, Europe stands as an outlier in the DSLR market; according to CIPA's report, while DSLR sales are down in volume and value to the United States, they're only slightly down in volume and up substantially (30.5% YoY for October) in Europe. This could simply be due to the stock being sent to the respective regions (budget DSLRs vs higher-end DSLRs), but it's an interesting discrepancy nonetheless.

A full breakdown of production and shipments of cameras aggregated by CIPA. Click to enlarge and click here for the PDF version.

The ratio between DSLR and mirrorless shipments to different region varies quite a bit as well. In Europe, DSLR and mirrorless shipments in terms of volume are roughly even, but in terms of value, mirrorless is nearly double. The United States, on the other hand, saw roughly 35K more DSLRs shipped to its shores compared to mirrorless cameras, but mirrorless still has double the value of those DSLRs.

It remains to be seen if volume and value return to their 2019 numbers over the holiday seasons, but things are looking up for an industry that's seen a devastating decline.

Categories: Photo News

Apple releases Pro Display XDR Calibrator for its $5,000-plus monitor

Wed, 12/02/2020 - 11:38

Apple Pro Display XDR users can now perform in-field recalibration of their monitors. Apple has released the Pro Display XDR Calibrator, allowing users to recalibrate their displays for the first time since the display's release last December.

Every Pro Display XDR comes calibrated from the factory; however, the new free-to-download Calibrator software allows for in-field recalibration for specific workflows 'that may require custom calibration'.

To perform calibration, you must use one of the following spectroradiometers: Photo Research SpectraScan PR-740, PR-745 or PR-788 or the Colorimetry Research CR-300. Additionally, users must be using macOS 10.15.6 or later and their Pro Display XDR must have display firmware v.4.2.30 installed. This firmware version was released alongside the Calibrator software download and includes minor stability improvements.

The Pro Display XDR includes incredible technology and performance. Granted, you'd expect an incredible display given its starting price of $5,000 USD ($1,000 Pro Stand not included). Nonetheless, the reference-quality display offers a peak brightness of 1600 nits, a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and 6K resolution. The 32-inch display has a P3 wide color gamut and 10-bit color depth.

The display ships with industry-standard reference mode presets, including HDR, HDTV, NTSC video, digital cinema and more. Per Apple, the Pro Display XDR can display over a billion colors at a per-pixel level. Further, compared to a typical LCD display, the display's compensation polarizer reduces off-axis light leakage by 25x, resulting in an accurate image even from off-axis viewing angles.

Click to enlarge

According to an Apple technology white paper about the display, 'Every Pro Display XDR undergoes a state-of-the-art factory display calibration process on the assembly line to ensure accuracy of individual backlight LEDs and tight calibration control relative to key industry specifications.' Further, 'In addition, the factory calibration process enables Pro Display XDR to accurately reproduce a variety of color spaces used by media today, including BT.709, BT. 601, and even sRGB.' You can view detailed specifications for each of the available reference modes in the paper as well.

Click to enlarge

While the Apple Pro Display XDR is itself expensive, and the compatible spectroradiometers required to calibrate the display are also expensive, it's an undeniably good move for Apple to provide its customers more ways to use an Apple product and take full advantage of the display's performance.

Of course, the jury is still out when it comes to the Apple Pro Display XDR besting other, much more expensive, reference monitors. Some have loved the display while others are not convinced that the Pro Display XDR lives up to Apple's lofty promises. If you'd like to learn more about the Apple Pro Display XDR, visit Apple.

Categories: Photo News

Slideshow: People's Choice Award finalists for Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Wed, 12/02/2020 - 11:16
People's Choice Award finalists for Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has selected 25 finalist photos for its People's Choice Award. Now it's up to the public to vote for the overall winner. Anyone can participate in the process until February 2nd at 14:00 GMT.

Over 49,000 images were submitted to this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. 100 images were chosen as winners or finalists by the panel of judges. An additional 25 photos have been set aside for this latest shortlist. Make sure you view the gallery, read the rules, and cast a vote for your favorite image before the deadline.

The winner and top 4 highly commended images will be revealed on February 9th. An exhibit of all shortlisted images across the entire Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition will be on display through July 4th.

Shortlisted Photograph: 'The Alpha' by Mogens Trolle

About this Photo: Of all the different primate species Mogens has photographed, the mandrill has proved the most difficult to reach, preferring to hide in tropical forests in remote parts of Central Africa.

This made the experience of sitting next to this impressive alpha, as he observed his troop above, even more special. When a male becomes alpha, he undergoes physical changes that accompany a rise in testosterone levels, and this results in the colors on his snout becoming much brighter. With the loss of status, the colors fade. Mogens used a flash to enhance the vivid colors and textures against the dark forest background.

Shortlisted Photograph: 'Life Saver' by Sergio Marijuán Campuzano

About this Photo: As urban areas grow, like Jaen in Spain, threats to wildlife increase, and Iberian lynx have become a casualty of traffic accidents as they too seek to expand their own territories.

In 2019, over 34 lynx were run over, and three days before Sergio took this photo a two-year-old female lost her life not far from this spot. To combat mortality on the roads, improvements in the fencing and the construction of under-road tunnels are two proven solutions, and they are a lifeline for many other creatures as well as lynx.

Shortlisted Photograph: 'Shut the Front Door' by Sam Sloss

About this Photo: This coconut octopus was spotted walking around the black sand of the Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi carrying its house made of shells.

Remarkably, this small octopus constructs its own protective shelter using clam shells, coconuts, and even glass bottles! These intelligent creatures are very picky when it comes to choosing the perfect tools. They know that certain types and sizes of shell have their advantages, whether they be for shelter, camouflage, or concealing themselves from both prey and predator alike. It is safe to say that the coconut octopus is certainly one of the most scrappy, resourceful, and brainy creatures in the ocean.

Shortlisted Photograph: 'Backstage at the Circus' by Kirsten Luce

About this Photo: At the Saint Petersburg State Circus, bear trainer Grant Ibragimov performs his daily act with three Siberian brown bears.

The animals rehearse and then perform under the lights each evening. In order to train a bear to walk on two feet, Kirsten was told that they are chained by the neck to the wall when they are young to strengthen their leg muscles. Russia and Eastern Europe have a long history of training bears to dance or perform, and hundreds of bears continue to do so as part of the circus industry in this part of the world.

Shortlisted Photograph: 'Drawn and Quartered' by Laurent Ballesta

About this Photo: Scraps of grouper flesh fall from the jaws of two grey reef sharks as they tear the fish apart.

The sharks of Fakarava Atoll, French Polynesia, hunt in packs, but do not share their prey. A single shark is too clumsy to catch even a drowsy grouper. After hunting together to roust the grouper from its hiding place in the reef, the sharks encircle it, but then compete for the spoils – only a few sharks will have a part of the catch and most of them will remain unfed for several nights.

Shortlisted Photograph: 'Coexistence' by Pallavi Prasad Laveti

About this Photo: A cheeky Asian palm civet kitten peeps from a bag in a small remote village in India, curiosity and playfulness shining in its eyes.

This baby was orphaned and has lived its short life in the village backyard – comfortable in the company of locals, who have adopted the philosophy of ‘live and let live.’ Pallavi sees the image as one of hope, for in other parts of the world the civets are trapped for Kopi Luwak coffee production (coffee made from coffee beans that are partially digested and then pooped out by the civet) – where they are contained in tiny, unsanitary battery cages and force fed a restricted diet of coffee beans. She feels this image portrays a true essence of cohabitation.

Shortlisted Photograph: 'Border Refuge' by Joseph Dominic Anthony

About this Photo: Joseph formed the idea for this photograph in 2016 on a visit to Mai Po Nature Reserve in Hong Kong.

Taken within the Frontier Closed Area on the Chinese border, strictly timed access rules meant years of studying tide tables and waiting for the perfect weather. Joseph wanted to convey the story and mood of Mai Po in a single balanced photograph, combining individuals and the behavior of multiple species in the context of their wider environment, particularly to juxtapose the proximity of the ever encroaching urban development.

Shortlisted Photograph: 'White Danger' by Petri Pietiläinen

About this Photo: While on a photography trip to the Norwegian archipelago, Svalbard, Petri had hoped to spot polar bears.

When one was sighted in the distance on a glacier, he switched from the main ship to a smaller rubber boat to get a closer look. The bear was making its way towards a steep cliff and the birds that were nesting there. It tried and failed several routes to reach them, but perseverance, and probably hunger, paid off as it found its way to a barnacle goose nest. Panic ensued as the adults and some of the chicks jumped off the cliff, leaving the bear to feed on what remained.

Shortlisted Photograph: 'Resting Dragon' by Gary Meredith

About this Photo: The Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia is home to a wide variety of wildlife, which exists alongside man-made mining operations.

The wildlife found in this environment needs to adapt to the harsh, hostile living conditions. When the opportunity arises, the long-nosed dragon makes use of human structures. This individual positioned itself on a piece of wire mesh outside a workshop, waiting for the sun’s rays. The artificial light source outside the building attracts moths and insects, easy prey for a hungry lizard.

Shortlisted Photograph: 'Close Encounter' by Guillermo Esteves

About this Photo: The worried looking expression on this dog’s face speaks volumes and is a reminder that moose are large, unpredictable, wild animals.

Guillermo was photographing moose on the side of the road at Antelope Flats in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA, when this large bull took an interest in the furry visitor – the driver of the car unable to move it before the moose made its approach. Luckily, the moose lost interest and went on its way after a few moments.

Shortlisted Photograph: 'Licence to Kill' by Britta Jaschinski

About this Photo: Britta’s photographs of items seized at airports and borders across the globe are a quest to understand why some individuals continue to demand wildlife products, even if this causes suffering and, in some cases, pushes species to the brink of extinction.

This zebra head was confiscated at a border point in the USA. Most likely, the hunter was not able to show proof that the zebra was killed with a license. Britta found the use of a shopping trolley to move the confiscated item ironic, posing the question: wildlife or commodity?

Shortlisted Photograph: 'Turtle Time Machine' by Thomas Peschak

About this Photo: During Christopher Columbus’s Caribbean voyage of 1494, green sea turtles were said to be so numerous that his ships almost ran aground on them.

Today the species is classified as endangered. However, at locations like Little Farmer’s Cay in the Bahamas, green turtles can be observed with ease. An ecotourism project run by fishermen (some who used to hunt turtles) uses shellfish scraps to attract the turtles to the dock. Without a time machine it is impossible to see the pristine turtle population, but Thomas hopes that this image provides just a glimpse of the bounty our seas once held.

Shortlisted Photograph: 'Bushfire' by Robert Irwin

About this Photo: A fire line leaves a trail of destruction through woodland near the border of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in Cape York, Queensland, Australia.

The area is of high conservation significance, with over 30 different ecosystems found there, and is home to many endangered species. The fires are one of the biggest threats to this precious habitat. Although natural fires or managed burns can be quite important in an ecosystem, when they are lit deliberately and without consideration, often to flush out feral pigs to hunt, they can rage out of control and have the potential to devastate huge areas.

Categories: Photo News

Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN sample gallery (DPReview TV)

Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:50
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Earlier this week we published our samples from the new Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN when mounted on a Sony body. Chris and Jordan from DPReview TV also shot a gallery with the lens, but on Panasonic bodies. Have a look.

Categories: Photo News

Qualcomm unveils new Snapdragon 888 SoC with 3 ISPs capable of 8K video, 120fps still shooting, 960fps slo-mo and more

Wed, 12/02/2020 - 08:08

Today, Qualcomm revealed details of the Snapdragon 888, its next-generation flagship mobile chipset, showing what kind of features, functionality and performance we can expect to see in flagship Android mobile devices in the coming year.

The Snapdragon 888 is a System on a Chip (SoC) that consists of multiple processors atop a single substrate. These include multiple CPU and GPU cores, as well as additional mobile and AI components for powering all of the features we’ve come to expect from flagship mobile devices.

At the heart of the Snapdragon 888 is Qualcomm’s Kryo 680 CPU, which is the first to use ARM’s new Cortex-X1 architecture for its 2.84GHz core, alongside three Cortex A78 performance cores (2.4GHz) and four A55 efficiency cores (1.8GHz). Qualcomm claims the Snapdragon 888 performs 25% better while using 25% less power, compared to its predecessor, the Snapdragon 865.

For the GPU, Qualcomm is using its new Adreno 660 GPU, which it says offers 35% faster graphics rendering performance while using 20% less power. This new chip is said to be the best increase in year-over-year performance and should pave the way for better display technology, including better support for 120Hz screens and improved OLED display uniformity.

On the photography front, Qualcommm has made drastic improvements to the image signal processors (ISPs) seen onboard previous Snapdragon chips. The Snapdragon 888 will feature three separate Spectra 580 ISPs. Now, with these three individual ISPs, Android smartphones that offer three cameras — most often a standard, ultra-wide and telephoto — will be able to capture full-resolution photos and video (up to 28MP per camera for stills and 4K HDR video per camera for video), with a maximum bandwidth of 2.7 Gigapixels per second.

Beyond using up to three cameras at the same time, this triple-ISP array also allows for a number of firsts in Android smartphones. If not limited by onboard storage and caching, the Snapdragon 888 technically enables 12MP photo capture at up to 120 fps, as well as a maximum single-image capture of up to 200MP.

The chip can also be able to capture 10-bit HEIF stills, capture 4K HDR10 video (while simultaneously capturing 64MP stills), support 8K video capture and feature no-limit slow-mo video capture at up to 960 fps. 4K video will also be able to be captured and played back at 120 fps on the same device.

Moving onto connectivity, the Snapdragon 888 will feature Wi-Fi 6 speeds up to 3.6Gbps, Bluetooth 5.2 (dual antennas), and Qualcomm’s new X60 5G MOdem-RF system. This new 5G modem supports both sub-6Ghz 5G with carrier aggregation as well as mmWave 5G with speeds up to 7.5Gbps. Battery performance while using its 5G capabilities should also be improved thanks to its new integrated design.

Other features include a new Hexagon 780 processor for AI and computational performance, as well an on-device Qualcomm Secure Processing unit. In addition to improved security within the operating system, this new Secure Processing unit also creates cryptographically sealed photos making it the first Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) compliant smartphone camera for ensuring image integrity in a world of increasing misinformation and deepfakes. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Qualcomm is working with Truepic, who is a CAI partner alongside Adobe, Twitter The New York Times and others.

You can watch the full Snapdragon 888 unveil on Qualcomm’s Day 2 Keynote from its Snapdragon Tech Summit, below:

Qualcomm hasn’t set a specific date for when the Snapdragon 888 will be available, but it expects the first devices with it at their core to be released in Q1 2021, with commitments from Oppo, Motorola and others having already been made.

As we’ve seen with past Snapdragon SoCs and the smartphones that use them, it’s possible not all of these features will be seen in a single device. Some flagship smartphones that use the new Snapdragon 888 might choose to make the most of certain photo and video features, based on the accompanying hardware they put inside their device. While Snapdragon is offering plenty of computational functionality, it’s ultimately up to the smartphone manufacturers to extract the most from it with equally-capable storage, camera systems and more.

Categories: Photo News

Bronine Volkit can change four different battery models at the same time

Wed, 12/02/2020 - 06:31

South Korean battery charger manufacturer Lycan has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help it introduce a single device that can simultaneously charge and manage up to four different types of camera battery. The idea of the proposed Bronine Volkit is that users will be able to save space, reduce waste and save money by using a single charger and a series of battery holders to deal with multiple batteries from most popular camera brands.

Up to four individual battery holders connect directly to the main charging station and the station’s screen displays information about the amount of charge in the battery, the voltage of the battery and a graphic that shows how much more power is needed. The station is able to determine the voltage required by each battery and is able to tailor its supply between 1 and 20V through each of the four ports. The charger itself can be powered via a QC or PD high-speed USB charging adapter indoors, via the cigar lighter in a car or when outside by a USB power bank.

Along with the charging unit Lycan has introduced what it calls Camera Kits which are holders for specific batteries. The company says it will have holders for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm and GoPro cameras as well as the ability to charge batteries from DJI drones and the sort of cylindrical lithium-ion batteries used in some gimbals. It is recommended that those thinking of backing the campaign check to ensure batteries from their camera are compatible, as not all models from all manufacturers are covered.

The Bronine Volkit chargers will come in two or four battery capacity options and will cost from $69 including two battery holders. The company says it already has working prototypes and it aims to begin shipping in March 2021. For more information see the Bronine Volkit Kickstarter page, or visit the Lycan website.

Disclaimer: Remember to do your research with any crowdfunding project. DPReview does its best to share only the projects that look legitimate and come from reliable creators, but as with any crowdfunded campaign, there’s always the risk of the product or service never coming to fruition.

Categories: Photo News

(Select) Android smartphones now work with Profoto's professional lights via Profoto Camera app beta

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 10:50

One of the most-asked questions Profoto received after releasing its Profoto Camera app for iOS was: ‘when will it be available for Android devices?’ Now, four months after releasing the Profoto Camera app for iOS alongside the release of its B10/B10 Plus strobes, an Android version is here, albeit in beta and limited to a select number of Samsung devices, for now.

As with its iOS counterpart, the Profoto Camera app for Android beta makes it possible for Android users to trigger a number of its strobes, speedlights and compact LED lights using the company’s AirX Smart-TTL technology. Specifically, the app will work with Profoto’s A10, B10, B10 Plus, C1 and C1 Plus flashes, bringing full flash tube sync support.

Click to enlarge.

Getting this support wasn’t easy, says Profoto in its announcement post:

‘One difference in synchronizing external flash to a mobile device compared to traditional capturing devices like DSLR or MILC is that smartphone cameras require a much more flexible flash-length on different shutter speeds. This makes it more difficult to fire the flash at the exact time and duration to light the image. Up until now, attempts to synchronize the two have fallen short, making Profoto the world’s first company to successfully bring the full power of professional flashes to smartphones with their proprietary Profoto AirX technology’

The Profoto Camera app for Android is available for free in the Google Play Store as an ‘early access’ beta starting today for the following Samsung smartphones running Android OS 8 or later:

  • Galaxy S8 line
  • Galaxy S9 line
  • Galaxy S10 line
  • Galaxy S20 line
  • Galaxy Note 9 line
  • Galaxy Note 10 line
  • Galaxy Note 20 line

Profoto doesn’t specify when the app will likely be out of beta, nor when we can expect to see support for other phones. It’s likely going to be a slow-going process, as Profoto needs to create specific algorithms for each device to ensure compatibility with the onboard camera systems—no small feat considering the fragmentation of devices running Android OS.

Categories: Photo News

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