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Equipment

Major Leica SL firmware update brings better AF, new top shutter speed

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 2:45pm

Leica has introduced firmware version 2.0 for its SL (Typ 601) camera that brings a major change to the camera’s focusing as well as a new top shutter speed of 1/16,000sec. The firmware takes the number of AF points available in single point mode from 49 to 529. Leica claims it has also made improvements to the autofocusing system’s speed, accuracy and tracking abilities.

Exposure compensation gets a new access point with the update and can now be controlled via the top dial and the thumb wheel on the camera’s rear, while the longest exposure timed by the camera goes from 60 seconds to 30 minutes. The company says that it has created a new top shutter speed of 1/16,000sec by using the fast-reactions of the aperture in the system’s SL lenses.

General image quality of JPEG files is also said to have been optimized, as has the focus peaking feature, and Raw files can now be magnified in review mode.

For more information see the Leica firmware download page.

Press release:

Leica releases firmware update 2.0 for Leica SL mirrorless camera system

New firmware enhances camera performance, handling and workflow

Leica Camera has released a new firmware update for the mirrorless Leica SL camera system. Firmware version 2.0 can be downloaded by registered Leica SL owners from the Leica Owners’ Area (https://owners.leica-camera.com). Alternatively, customers can bring their camera to any Leica Store or Leica’s Customer Service department in the UK, for a complimentary update service.

The numerous new features included in firmware update 2.0 have been designed to further improve the performance of the Leica SL and enable a faster photographic workflow. For example, the autofocus function has been revised and optimised. Already impressively fast in combination with SL-Lenses, it now offers even faster focusing, increased precision and optimised subject tracking. A further enhancement increases the number of AF focusing points available for the single point AF setting to 529.

Also new in firmware 2.0 is direct exposure compensation controlled by the top dial and the click wheel on the back of the camera, in the three automatic exposure modes, P, T and A. The firmware update also extends the range of shutter speeds. Timed exposures of up to 30 minutes can now be captured automatically without additional support and, thanks to the fast, electronically-controlled aperture of the lenses, exposures can be made with the highest shutter speed of 1/16,000s.

Additional improvements have been introduced with regard to JPG quality, white balance, the video menu, Auto ISO options and the focus peaking function. Pictures taken in DNG format can now be magnified for better image evaluation, and the camera is also now compatible with all Leica flash units. An update to the app to allow the use of the optimised functions, and three noise reduction settings, complete the improvements provided by this latest firmware update.

More information can be found at uk.leica-camera.com.

Categories: Equipment

Meyer-Optik launches Kickstarter campaign for 50mm 'Soap Bubble Bokeh' Trioplan lens

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 2:06pm
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German optical manufacturer Meyer-Optik Gorlitz has begun a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to produce a modern 50mm F2.9 version of its Trioplan lens. The Trioplan design is known for its exaggerated circular bokeh which earned it the nickname 'Soap Bubble Lens' in its original version. The company has recently released a 100mm F2.8 Trioplan after a similar Kickstarter campaign that raised almost $360,000. On this occasion the company is hoping to reach an initial target of $50,000 – which is going swimmingly, as it met that goal within hours of the campaign going live.

The new lens will be an updated version of the company’s original 50mm Trioplan but using glass from the Schott factory and with modern coatings and production standards. The new 50mm Trioplan also has a movable front element that allows much better close focusing and a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:4.

The lens uses a basic Triplet design with three elements in three groups with a 12-bladed iris designed to help produce smooth and circular out-of-focus highlights at all apertures.

Meyer Optik plans to produce the manual focus lens in mounts for:

  • Canon EF
  • Nikon F
  • Sony
  • FujiX
  • Micro Four Thirds
  • M42
  • Leica M (rangefinder not supported/focusing via live view)

The expected price is $1299 though discounts can be had by backing the Kickstarter campaign. For more information visit the Meyer-Optik Gorlitz website.

Press release:

Today Is the Day.
Support the Historic and Innovative Trioplan 50 Now!  

We just launched our Kickstarter for the Trioplan f2.9/50, a special new lens that returns the tradition of a versatile soap bubble bokeh lens to the Meyer Optik line up. Order the art lens that you will always keep attached to your camera body now!  In addition to its regular focus element, the Trioplan f2.9/50 features a second front focus element that opens a whole new horizon of creativity to the world of photography.

These elements and the quality of the glass used takes the legendary Trioplan 50mm soap bubble bokeh lens to a wider variety of creative photographic situations, including events, travel, street, nature, portraits, macro and so many more scenes.  

The new Trioplan f2,9/50 is the one lens you can use for every situation. It is ultra compact and features an innovative front focusing element putting incredible amounts of creative opportunity into the palm of your hand. The movable front lens reduces the minimum focusing distance to less than 30 cm (under 12 inches) and raises the image ratio up to 1:4.

This feature takes the Trioplan 50 into the Macro-Spheres.  Carrying a heavy set of lenses is something that most photographers choose to shed at some point, but they do not want to cut back on their creativity. We give you the best of both worlds in one lens – with only 200 g or about 7 ounces -- it has never felt so light to be this prepared.

The Trioplan 50 produces smaller, finer soap bubbles that turn into a small swirl effect in the corner of the image. Sharpness and contrast are also the highest yet of any Trioplan lens.  

Surprisingly, for a 50 mm lens it is a perfect tool for portraiture especially including awesome landscapes in the image. Moreover the possibilities in street photography are awesome and the macro capabilities are stunning. This is more than just a nostalgic art lens. It is the most modern innovative lens you can imagine.

The lens will be available with mounts for
* Canon EF
* Nikon F
* Sony
* FujiX
* Micro Four Thirds
* M42
* Leica M (rangefinder not supported/focusing via live view)

The most creative historic lens you have ever held in your hands is available to Kickstarter Backers starting at $ 449!

The lens is estimated list price is $1299. Restore 100 Years of Tradition with the Most Versatile Soap Bubble Bokeh Lens.

What better way to bring back the Trioplan lens than with the most versatile version possible, the f2.9/50 with its new innovative front variable element? Innovating upon the classic, modernizing the traditional, extending soap-bubble bokeh creativity to a new modern era. Help us bring back the Trioplan 50. Pledge your support now !  Click the Link to visit our Kickstarter campaign.

Sincerely,
Dr. Stefan Immes and the whole MOG team.

Categories: Equipment

Zeiss unveils super-wide Batis 18mm F2.8

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 10:46am
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Zeiss has added the 2.8/18, a super wide-angle autofocus lens, to its Batis line for Sony E-mount. The full-frame lens joins the current 25mm F2 and 85mm F1.8 offerings. The 18mm lens provides the same dust and weather seals as its siblings, along with an OLED to display focus distance and depth of field information.

The Batis 18mm F2.8 comprises 11 elements in 10 groups, and four of those elements are aspheric on both sides. The lens provides a minimum focus distance of 0.25m/9.8in. Weighing in at 330g/0.74lb it measures 80mm/3.1in in length.

Scheduled to arrive in May, the Zeiss Batis 2.8/18 will cost $1499/€1260. 

 Press release:

New ZEISS Super Wide-Angle Lens with Autofocus

ZEISS Batis 2.8/18 Expands Full-Frame Lenses for Sony Cameras with E-Mount

OBERKOCHEN/Germany, 14/04/2016.

The ZEISS Batis 2.8/18 expands the Batis range of lenses with a super wide-angle lens. For the Sony1) á system with E-mount the new lens, which features a diagonal angular field of 99 degrees, is currently the shortest full-frame fixed focal length with autofocus. The new ZEISS Batis 2.8/18 with innovative OLED display to show focus distance and depth of field is also impressive thanks to its high image quality across the entire image field. The lens will be available from May 2016.

“The ZEISS Batis 2.8/18 follows on from the highly successful first two focal lengths the ZEISS Batis 2/25 and the ZEISS Batis 1.8/85. In spite of the extremely wide angle, we have succeeded in adapting the image quality of the ZEISS Batis 2.8/18 perfectly to the two different lens types,” says Dr. Michael Pollmann, Product Manager of ZEISS Camera Lenses. “With the expansion of the ZEISS Batis range of lenses, we are offering creative and discerning photographers yet another professional tool,” says Pollmann. With the ZEISS Batis 2.8/18 customers can now enjoy the super wide-angle full-frame lens they’ve been waiting for. 

A vast range of applications

The new ZEISS Batis 2.8/18 is impressive on account of its high image quality across the entire image field. “By virtue of the large diagonal angular field of 99 degrees, this lens is ideal for capturing unique images in landscape, architectural and astro photography and for impressive interior shots of small spaces,” continues Pollmann.

Features for discerning users

The super wide-angle camera lens has 11 lens elements in ten groups and draws on the ZEISS Distagon optical design. Four of the lens elements are aspheric on both sides and seven are made from special types of glass. The Floating Elements design permits constantly high image performance in the focal plane – from the minimum object distance to infinity.

The new ZEISS Batis 2.8/18 also features an innovative OLED display to show focus distance and depth of field depending on the camera sensor used. “The electronic display is easy to read even in low light,” explains Pollmann. The fast, quiet AF drive with linear motors keeps the subject sharply in focus. In addition to the autofocus, a handy, rubberized focus ring supports precise manual focusing – meaning the photographer has full creative freedom when it comes to image composition. ZEISS Batis lenses are also equipped with dust and weather seals, allowing them to be used in even the harshest weather conditions. All ZEISS Batis lenses support all the operating modes and functions of the current range of E-mount cameras.

The origins of the name Batis

Since 2013, new ZEISS lenses in one series have been given the same family name that conveys a common identity. These family names have been derived from the Latin names for birds. The name Batis is derived from a small bird that is found in the forests and scrub of Africa. These birds are characterized by great speed, excellent reflexes and boast a plumage rich in contrasts. Metaphorically speaking, this also applies to the ZEISS Batis lenses, whose fast autofocus enables photographers to capture stunning shots rich in contrasts.

In addition to the ZEISS Batis range of lenses, there are two further ZEISS ranges for Sony E-mount cameras: the ZEISS Touit and the ZEISS Loxia. 

Available from May 2016

Orders are now being accepted for the ZEISS Batis 2.8/18. The lens will be available from May 2016. The suggested retail price is €1,260 or US$1,499 (excl VAT) 2).

Categories: Equipment

Microsoft Lumia 950 camera review

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 8:00am

In addition to strong camera specifications like a 1/2.4"-type 20MP Sony sensor and Zeiss branded F1.9 lens, the Lumia 950 boasts some tantalizing mobile photography features like Raw capture and extensive manual controls. Unfortunately, its imaging feature set is behind the competition in some notable ways. Read more

Categories: Equipment

Flexible sheet camera concept could lead to bendable capture devices

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 04/13/2016 - 6:10pm

Researchers at Columbia University are working to produce a flexible sheet camera with stretchable lenses. The program aims to create very thin, high resolution cameras that can be wrapped around surfaces like car panels. Currently in concept form, the sheet lens array that such a camera might use has been developed to produce a seamless image on a flexible sensor when it is bent or wrapped around a physical object.

The focus of the research is in creating flexible lenses that are capable of changing shape (and hence the effective focal length) as they are stretched and compressed so that the imaging sensor can record a detailed image whatever the field of view.

With fixed lenses, gaps appear between the coverage of the lenses as the substrate is bent (left), but in the researcher's flexible lens example (right) the lenses bend with the substrate and offer continuous coverage of the subject.

In previous attempts at flexible lens arrays only the substrate has been flexible, and as the sheet of lenses has been bent gaps have appeared in the subject coverage as the angle between the lenses increased beyond their individual field of view. These gaps lead to aliasing artifacts in the final image that can't be corrected in post-processing software. In this new concept the lenses are also flexible and they stretch as the sheet bends, altering their focal length and providing better sampling of the subject.

So far the research has successfully produced a sheet of silicone with lenses molded on one side and a diffuser behind a sheet of apertures on the other. The apertures act as a low pass filter ensuring light from each molded lens reaches only one point on the viewing diffuser.

Images created with the substrate bend by different degrees, showing how the field of view changes

The system hasn’t actually been used with a sensor yet, but the study did use it to project images on to the diffuser screen to determine how effective it would be. Bending the sheet increased and decreased its field of view, or effective focal length, and the images were displayed without missing areas. All that is required now is a flexible sensor to go with it.

An array of lenses was formed by pouring silicone into a metal mold

The intention of the project is to work towards finding a way of making sheets of lenses to work with photosensitive materials that will record images when wrapped around real-world objects. The researchers want ultimately be able to produce these sheet cameras in roll format at a low cost so that the sheets can be cut to size to suit specific uses.

The released information suggests a sheet camera could be wrapped around the panels of a car to give the driver a view from all angles. Alternatively sheet cameras could be used by consumers to take normal pictures but with the user bending the sheet to alter the field of view, or zoom effect, of the system.

For more information see the project’s page on the University of Columbia website.

Press release:

Flexible Sheet Cameras With Elastic Optics

In this project, we pursue a radically different approach to imaging. Rather than seeking to capture the world from a single point in space, our goal is to explore the idea of imaging using a thin, large, flexible sheet. If such cameras can be made at a low cost (ideally, like a roll of plastic sheet), they can be used to image the world in ways that would be difficult to achieve using one or more conventional cameras. In the most general sense, such an imaging system would enable any surface in the real world to capture visual information. While there is significant ongoing work on the development of flexible image sensors, our interest here is in the design of the optics needed to form images on such sensors.

At first glance one might imagine that a simple lens array aligned with a flexible detector array would suffice - its field of view (FOV) can be varied by simply bending it. What is perhaps less apparent is the fact that, in a curved state, the FOV can end up being severely under-sampled. This under-sampling leads to a captured image that is not bandlimited. Thus, the Nyquist sampling criterion is violated and the image will suffer from aliasing artifacts when reconstructed. It is important to note that these artifacts cannot be removed via post-processing since scene information is lost during image formation.

To address the above aliasing problem over an entire range of sheet curvatures, we propose the design of a deformable (elastic) lens array. We show that, if designed carefully, the deformable lenses of the array will change shape (and hence focal length) under bending forces in a way that mitigates aliasing. A remarkable feature of our design is that the lens array can achieve aliasing compensation passively, without the use of any per-pixel actuation or control. Our optics can be combined with a flexible sensor array to obtain a complete sheet camera. This project was supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

Categories: Equipment

Adobe announces updates to Creative Cloud video-oriented applications

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 04/13/2016 - 4:07pm
With Adobe's upcoming version of Premiere Pro CC, users can start editing video files immediately, even while still importing, and can switch between native and proxy formats as well.

Ahead of next week’s NAB Show in Las Vegas, Adobe has announced new features to its Creative Cloud software applications for video editing, motion graphics, and audio, including Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition and Media Encoder.

Of particular interest to video editors, Premiere Pro users will now be able to start editing video files immediately, even while ingesting clips. Additionally, editors can now work natively with high resolution video formats up to 8K. New proxy workflows facilitate quick switching between native video and proxy formats while editing, which should be helpful to those working on older machines or laptops.

Premiere Pro also introduces virtual reality (VR) editing capabilities, making it possible to work with imported stitched video, including the ability to show field-of-view so it's possible to see what the viewer will be seeing in any direction, and tagging of VR files so that VR-capable video players, such as YouTube, will automatically recognize VR footage.

Other noteworthy features enhanced Lumetri Color tools, improved captioning and titling options, and initial support for Apple Metal for improved performance on Apple devices.

The updated applications should be available in 'early summer.'

Press release:

Adobe Unveils Breakthroughs in Video and Film Production

Virtual Reality, Character Animation, Sound Innovation Comes To Creative Cloud

SAN JOSE, Calif. — April 13, 2016 — The way consumers access and view content has undergone sweeping changes. Media and entertainment companies, along with creative professionals, are under increasing pressure to find new ways to create, deliver and monetize content. They must also adapt to rapidly evolving technology advancements, including high resolution capture, new delivery formats and virtual reality to name a few.  Also, enterprises are dealing with an explosion of content demands from constituencies and need to integrate high-impact content types, like video, into their communications strategies. 

Ahead of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show next week, Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) has revealed new features across its Creative Cloud tools for video editing, motion graphics, audio and collaboration. Media and entertainment companies are combining these advanced content creation capabilities with Adobe Primetime to help deliver TV and video content across screens. With Adobe’s digital marketing tools TV networks and pay-TV providers can drive viewer acquisition, engagement and monetization as audiences embrace “over the top” (OTT) content via connected devices such as Apple TV, Sony PlayStation, Roku and Microsoft Xbox. At NAB, Adobe will demonstrate the updated tools and new workflows at booth #SL3910, South Hall (lower) in the Las Vegas Convention Center and at over 120 partner booths from April 18-21.

Adobe Creative Cloud video tools are becoming the go-to source for film editors of both award-winning Hollywood and indie films. The most recent example is Deadpool, the 20th Century FOX blockbuster which shattered box office records. The post-production team from Deadpool will discuss their state-of-the-art workflows and why they chose Adobe Premiere Pro CC in a Creative Master Series panel at NAB on April 19 from 4:15–5 p.m. PT. 

Upcoming productions using Premiere Pro CC include Mindhunter, David Fincher’s new series for Netflix, and 6 Below directed by Scott Waugh and starring Josh Hartnett, which is currently shooting in 6K RED and will be edited natively in Premiere Pro.

Creative Cloud video tools are also powering a new generation of content delivered via social channels like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

"The videos we make at RocketJump are pure entertainment,” said Freddie Wong, Founder of RocketJump, the hybrid studio/production company behind the popular RocketJump YouTube channel with nearly 8 million subscribers and 1.3 billion views. “We've been users of Adobe's Creative Cloud for years and love the new features coming soon. In addition to editing native footage in Premiere Pro and creating awesome visual effects in After Effects, we use Photoshop for graphics, Audition to sweeten audio, Media Encoder to export content, and now Creative Cloud Libraries to share assets.” 

Immerse Yourself In Creativity 

Adobe continues to deliver technology that opens unimagined creative opportunities for video and film production, and now, immersive experiences. In the next release of Creative Cloud –- available in early summer -- Premiere Pro CC will add new virtual reality capabilities, including “field of view” mode for spherical stitched media.  In addition, thanks to Adobe Stock integration into CC apps, customers are already experiencing productivity increases of 10 times, when adding stock content into creative projects, including video*. In the upcoming release, Adobe Stock will have enhanced connections with CC apps and new workflows will enable Adobe Bridge and Lightroom users to contribute to the Adobe Stock marketplace directly from within the application.

Other feature highlights coming soon to Creative Cloud include:

  • Edit immediately during ingest allows Premiere Pro CC users to get straight to work, while importing their video and audio files in the background.
  • Powerful proxy workflows in Premiere Pro CC and Adobe Media Encoder CC enable users to easily work with heavy 8K, HDR and HFR media, so editors can switch between native and proxy formats freely – even on lightweight machines. 
  • Enhanced Lumetri™ Color tools within Premiere Pro CC adds HSL Secondaries to expand the editor’s toolkit for making color correction and adjustment easier for all filmmakers. 
  • New video and audio preview engine in After Effects CC delivers superior playback of cached frames for a smooth experience. 
  • Easier and more efficient Character Animator includes a simplified puppet creation process that enables users to easily tag puppet layers easily and record multiple takes of a character’s movement. Users can animate puppets to respond to motion and trigger animation accordingly. 
  • New Essential Sound panel in Audition CC enables anyone to mix audio content with professional results. 
  • Quickly find Adobe Stock assets with new filtered search in Creative Cloud Libraries. Licensed assets in your library are now badged for easy identification, videos are displayed with duration and format information, and saved videos are linked to video previews on the Adobe Stock site. 

“There’s rapid change happening in the digital landscape with video now the fastest growing media type across social media platforms and OTT shaking up broadcast and film,” said Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president and general manager, Digital Media at Adobe. “Adobe is transforming the industry with Creative Cloud and Primetime by helping customers create beautiful content to engage viewers and technologies that monetize content that audiences care about.”

Pricing and Availability

At NAB, Adobe is previewing the next major updates to Creative Cloud. These updates are expected to ship in the coming months. The company is offering Adobe Creative Cloud for US $49.99 a month. For more information, visit http://www.adobe.com/go/video.

Categories: Equipment

Meizu reveals PRO 6 with 21MP camera and 10-LED flash

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 04/13/2016 - 1:51pm

Chinese mobile device manufacturer Meizu has launched the PRO 6. It will be sold alongside the PRO 5 with the same 21MP 1/2.4-inch sensor and F2.2 aperture, but updates its dual-tone flash with 10 LEDs arranged in a circular pattern on the back plate. Read more

Categories: Equipment

Frame by frame: 'live view' continuous shooting with the Sony a6300

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 04/13/2016 - 9:01am

One of the features we were excited by when the a6300 was announced was the promise of 'live view' while shooting continuous bursts of shots. Now we've used and tested it, what do we think?

What's the big deal?

Autofocus systems on mirrorless cameras have been getting better and better with each generation of cameras, to the point that the best of them match (and in some circumstances, exceed) the performance we expect from similarly priced DSLRs.

However, many models still lag behind DSLRs in their ability to show you what's going on while in continuous shooting mode. The common trick of showing a playback of the last captured image makes it hard to keep up with a moving subject, especially if it moves unpredictably, so that you can't just compensate for the lag.

The a6300 isn't the first mirrorless camera to try to offer a live view while continuous shooting (several Nikon 1 models, which use comparatively small sensors to allow fast read-out, even manage to give an uninterrupted feed), but it's still a rare enough feature to make it worth investigating.

What did we find?

We shot the a6300 side-by-side with the Canon EOS 7D (a DSLR that offers the same 8 fps frame rate as the Sony) and found something interesting. The a6300 has a shorter blackout period than the Canon but turns out to only be showing a single updated frame between each capture. At lower, 5 fps shooting rate, we saw two or three frames on display between captures.

That sounds terrible. It sounds like cheating. but it's not quite the end of the story. Watch the beginning of the video again - the real-time playback - it looks pretty convincing, doesn't it?

The fact that it looks so convincing left us wondering: why does the screen ever black out? Why doesn't the camera just continue to show the 'live' image until the next one is available? We think we know the answer.

Note the way that the image doesn't just cut to black - it fades to black then abruptly cuts to the next update. We believe this is trying to achieve something like the 'black frame insertion' technology used in some modern TVs: inserting a black frame prompts your brain to imagine what's happened between the two frames it's seen, rather than being distracted by the contradiction between perceiving a sense of movement but seeing static images.

Does it work?

In real-world shooting this is pretty convincing: we only discovered the camera was just showing single images when we recorded it at 240 fps, and even then it took us a while to convince ourselves that we weren't looking at an error stemming from a clash in display and capture frequencies (temporal aliasing).

So, while the display is only showing you eight frames per second (one between each capture), it's doing so in a way that gives your brain a convincing sense of motion. The question we wanted to answer was: 'if the blackout between frames is short enough, and the motion looks fairly convincing, is it as easy to follow action as with a DSLR?'

We spent some time trying to shoot rugby with the a6300 to see how easy it was to follow the game's fast and unpredictable action. The results were mixed - the camera gave enough information for you to be able to follow the action to a reasonable degree, but not as much as you might want.

The a6300's live view provided enough information to let us follow the action, but not as much as a high-end DSLR, which meant we reacted more slowly to anything unexpected.

Alongside the a6300 we were also shooting with the Nikon D5, not as direct comparison but because we also need to shoot sports with it. As you might expect, the $1000 mass-market a6300 wasn't as good as Nikon's $6500 professional sports-oriented camera, but it's the way that it fell short that was interesting.

Although the video further up the page shows that the a6300's live view looks a lot like real motion and its blackout is shorter than the EOS 7D's, in use it becomes clear that your brain actually can make use of the extra information the 7D gives you about the subject's movement.

For example, at the rugby we found that we could keep pace with the action when shooting with the Sony but it would take us longer to react if we made the mistake of believing a player's dummy-pass and started moving in the wrong direction. With the DSLR we'd spot our mistake sooner and turn back to the real action faster. 

At set pieces, where you have a good idea of what's going to happen next, the a6300 could shoot with confidence.

Having looked at what the camera's doing and then put to real-world use, we'd conclude that the a6300's continuous shooting live view more successful than its single frame update makes it sound. It's convincing enough to let you keep up with fast action, but there's still room for improvement as soon as anything unexpected happens.

Categories: Equipment

Canon announces firmware updates for XC10 and Cinema EOS cameras

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 04/13/2016 - 9:00am

With the annual NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show just around the corner, Canon has announced numerous firmware updates for its video-oriented cameras and display systems.

A new firmware update for the XC10 camcorder adds MP4 recording capability for HD video, improved AF speed and shutter speed options to reduce flicker. You can read our recent review of the XC10 camera here.

Additional products receiving firmware updates include the Cinema EOS C100 Mark II camera, the Cinema EOS C300 Mark II camera (including Canon Log3), the XA30/35 and XF300/305 series of professional camcorders, the VIXIA HF G40 camcorder, the CINE-SERVO 17-120mm lens, and two reference displays.

Press release:

Canon U.S.A. announces a host of product firmware updates at NAB 2016

New Updates Include Canon Log3 for the EOS C300 Mark II Camera and Support of ARRI Log C and Metadata for Canon’s DP-V2410 4K Reference Display 

MELVILLE, N.Y., April 13, 2016 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced firmware updates to several products being showcased at NAB 2016. These firmware updates support a number of feature updates for users including improvement of workflow, ease of use, focusing and lens corrections, color space, and creative flexibility for products in the Cinema EOS, HD Video, and 4K Reference Display lines. 

Firmware updates are as follows: 

  • The EOS C300 Mark II Digital Cinema Camera updates will allow various functions such as shooting in new Canon Log3, viewfinder magnification during recording, focus guide with EF Cinema Prime lenses, Push Auto Iris and Zoom function on the grip joystick with New COMPACT-SERVO and CINE-SERVO series lenses, Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF (DAF) with COMPACT-SERVO 18-80mm and CINE-SERVO 17-120mm lenses, ACES 1.0 output, peripheral illumination correction updates and overall image improvements such as noise level reduction in low-light for Canon Log2.
  • The EOS C100 Mark II Digital Cinema Camera update will allow various functions such as Push Auto Iris and Zoom function on the grip joystick with the new COMPACT-SERVO and CINE-SERVO series lenses,  Canon DAF with COMPACT-SERVO 18-80mm and CINE-SERVO 17-120mm lenses, and peripheral illumination correction updates and selectable disabling of the microphone.
  • The DP-V2410 4K Reference Display firmware will be updated to support ARRI Log C and ARRI metadata; improve display contrast and dynamic range; add support for Canon Log3 and Hybrid Log Gamma; and display of SMPTE 2084 input signal on the waveform monitor.
  • The DP-V3010 4K Reference Display firmware will be updated to improve display contrast and dynamic range; add support for Canon Log3 and Hybrid Log Gamma; and display of SMPTE 2084 input signal on the waveform monitor.
  • The CINE-SERVO 17-120mm Lens will be updated to be compatible with Canon’s DAF function in the EOS C300 Mark II and EOS C100 Mark II Cameras.
  • The update for the ME20F-SH Camera will include lens support for an additional 19 EF and CINE lenses allowing for more creative choices in a wider variety of shooting applications including television and film production.
  • The XA35 and XA30 Professional Camcorders and VIXIA HF G40 Camcorder updates include a new file format making it easier to integrate into third party software systems that are used for athletic coaching applications.
  • The firmware updates for the XF305 and XF300 Professional Camcorders include new shooting modes allowing for greater creative flexibility, Wide DR Gamma (600 percent) Mode, Highlight Priority Mode, and Signal/Noise priority mode.   
  • The XC10 4K Camcorder firmware will be updated to include a new file format MP4 in HD mode (35 Mbps only), improved AF speed, and shutter speed options for flicker reduction. 

To see these products mentioned above at NAB 2016, visit Canon U.S.A., Inc. in the Central Hall, Booth C4325. Follow Canon throughout the show on Instagram at @CanonUSA and Twitter at @CanonUSApro. To learn more about the firmware updates and their availability, please visit www.usa.canon.com/NAB2016Firmware. 

Categories: Equipment

Facebook's open source Surround 360 captures 3D-360 video at up to 8K

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 04/12/2016 - 9:34pm
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Facebook has introduced the Surround 360, which captures 3D, 360 degree video using a total of 17 cameras and can output resolutions of up to 8K per eye. Unusually, Facebook will be making both the camera and processing software open source to give developers the opportunity to improve both.

The Surround 360 itself features 17 synchronized cameras: 14 horizontal, a fisheye on top and two more on the bottom. Each camera has a global shutter (which eliminates rolling shutter) and has been designed for long periods of operation without overheating. Raw Bayer data is captured, which is later processed in the stitching software. All 17 cameras are bolted onto an aluminum chassis so everything stays in place.

Facebook says it has used Point Grey industrial cameras in the Surround 360, which hints at the use of Sony 2nd generation Pregius CMOS sensors with global shutters. The lenses used are 7mm F2.4 lenses designed for up to 1"-type sensors, which could even mean the use of the latest Sony IMX253 or IMX255 chips. If that's the case, then these lenses are roughly equivalent to 19mm.

With incredible amounts of data coming from all of those cameras Facebook uses a Linux-based PC with a RAID 5 SSD array that shares the writing out across eight drives simultaneously. The company has made controlling the camera rig easy, via a web-based interface that allows users to adjust shutter speed, exposure, frame rate and gain.

The stitching software uses the concept of optical flow to resolve disparities between what pairs of cameras can see. The company says this method is 'mathematically trickier' than traditional systems, but yields better results. The end results are 3D/360 videos which can be output at 4K, 6K or 8K per eye. Videos can be viewed on Oculus Rift and Gear VR headsets using Facebook's Dynamic Streaming codec. Videos can also be output and shared on Facebook and other websites.

A big part of the Surround 360's story is that Facebook is opening up both the camera blueprints and processing software to developers, stating that 'we know there are ideas we haven't explored' and 'we know from experience that a broader community can move things forward faster than we can.' The company says that the design and code will be on GitHub this summer.

More technical information can be found on Facebook's developer site, while consumer-friendly info about the camera can be found here.

Categories: Equipment

Student takes 2016 Zeiss Photography Award top prize

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 04/12/2016 - 8:08pm
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A 25-year-old photojournalism student beat a host of professionals to Zeiss's €15,000 top prize in its first Zeiss Photography Awards. Tamina-Florentine Zuch's project about train travel in India took her six weeks to shoot, and explores how the nation behaves on the world’s most extensive railway network. Zuch wins Zeiss lenses to the value of €15,000, and will receive her prize during the Sony World Photography Award ceremony in London this month.

Zeiss says its inaugural competition, with the theme 'Meaningful Places', attracted 22,000 images from 3139 photographers across 116 countries and was successful enough that the company will repeat the exercise next year.

Runners up in the competition included Melanie Hübner (Germany), Francisco Salgueiro (Portugal), Patricia Ackerman (Argentina), Helen Mountaniol (Ukraine), Jorge Lopez Munoz (Spain), Erez Beatus (Australia), Lasse Lecklin (Finland) and each of them will have their work shown at the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition.

For more information on the awards, and to see the entries of all of those shortlisted, visit the Zeiss Photography Award website.

Press release:

ZEISS award for new perspectives

The winner of the first-ever ZEISS Photography Award has been chosen. The prize goes to Tamina-Florentine Zuch from Hannover with her photo series documenting a train journey through India.

“Meaningful Places” was the theme of the first-ever ZEISS Photography Award “Seeing Beyond,” which invited professional photographers and ambitious amateurs to showcase for the first time their talent to a renowned jury and to the broader public. The contest attracted 3,139 photographers from 116 countries – from Albania to Zimbabwe. A total of 22,000 images were submitted. “The results are superb – we were really excited by the breadth and quality of the applications,” praised Scott Gray, CEO of the World Photography Organisation, which organizes the ZEISS Photography Award.

In Tamina-Florentine Zuch, 25, the ZEISS Photography Award has found a worthy winner. Zuch, a student of photojournalism and documentary photography in Hannover, traveled through India by train last year for a period of six weeks. Her pictures show children sleeping in hammocks in stuffy train carriages, men risking their lives as they ‘surf’ railway cars, and exotic landscapes as they pass by. Her “Indian Train Journey” brings this journey to life. Some of the images, which are very intimate, demonstrate Zuch’s photographic mastery at such a young age, her patience, and her sensitivity and tact in dealing with subjects from a completely different culture. “Tamina Zuch has an incredible eye for composition, light and a feel for the right moment. She combines these characteristics again and again in her pictures,” said Steve Bloom, one of the three jurors, enthusiastically. “‘Indian Train Journey’ is a very personal and poetic journey that is told by a fresh, young voice,” added Hans-Peter Junker, juror and editor-in-chief of the reportage magazine View.

As the winner, Zuch will receive ZEISS lenses of her choice for a total value of EUR 15,000, as well as an offer to cooperate further with ZEISS. Seven other photographers – Melanie Hübner (Germany), Francisco Salgueiro (Portugal), Patricia Ackerman (Argentina), Helen Mountaniol (Ukraine), Jorge Lopez Munoz (Spain), Erez Beatus (Australia), Lasse Lecklin (Finland) – made it to the shortlist, which gives them the opportunity to present their work at the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House in London from April 22 to May 8, 2016.

In 2017 the ZEISS Photography Award will enter a new round, with a different theme. “We want to create a platform for photographers to show their art and their idea of creation to an interested public, and to pay tribute to that,” said Dr. Winfried Scherle, Executive Vice President Consumer Optics Business Group of Carl Zeiss AG. And Scott Gray praises: “The ZEISS Photography Award provides photographers with an exciting opportunity to expand their creative boundaries. We look forward to working with ZEISS on more contests in the coming years.”

Categories: Equipment

HTC 10 is the first smartphone with OIS in front and rear cameras

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 04/12/2016 - 3:58pm

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC has today launched its latest flagship model, the HTC 10. While the predecessors we tested were frankly disappointing in the camera department, looking at its specs it seems like the 10 has the potential to turn things around for HTC. Read more

Categories: Equipment

Beastgrip expands into UK and Japanese markets, announces plans for high quality lenses from Kenko Tokina

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 04/12/2016 - 3:26pm
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US mobile phone rig and lens mount manufacturer Beastgrip has started distribution of its Beastgrip Pro smartphone grip in the UK and Japan, and announced it is working on new 'high quality' lenses with Kenko Tokina. The Beastgrip Pro is an adaptable smartphone housing that uses adjustable clamps and a sliding lens mount assembly to fit conversion lenses over the camera of any model – Beastgrip claims.

The system uses a 37mm threaded lens mount that accepts conversion lenses from Beastgrip's own collection as well as those from independent manufacturers. The company also offers what is calls a DOF (depth-of-field) adapter that allows Canon EF-mount lenses to be used on the rig in front of the smartphone lens to achieve a shallow depth of field.

The rig also features a cold shoe and tripod thread for attaching accessories such as microphones and lights, as well as a number of mounting threads.

While the company offers its own wide, ultra-wide and fisheye conversion lenses the partnership with Kenko Tokina promises lenses from the Kenko line of smartphone conversion lenses that includes a 7x telephoto lens that would convert most smartphone focal lengths to 196mm.

The system will be distributed by Kenko Tokina in Japan and Intro2020 in the UK. The price of the rig on its own is $139.99/£139.99, and kits are available that include wide and fisheye conversion lenses. For more information visit the Beastgrip website.

Press release:

Beastgrip Pro – the world’s first universal lens adapter and camera rig for smartphones

With immediate effect, Intro 2020 has been appointed sole UK distributor of BEASTGRIP PRO.

Beastgrip Pro is the world's first universal lens adapter and camera rig system for smartphones. It is the ultimate tool for photographers, videographers and the rapidly growing live streaming market.

The Beastgrip Rig features an adjustable lens mount with spring loaded clamps to ensure a secure grip and perfect fit with virtually any smartphone on the market. It is a modular rig system with a removable lens mount assembly and handle that allows the user to modify the Beastgrip Pro to their own personal preference. It comes with industry-standard photography mounts and an ergonomic grip, allowing you to attach all kinds of photography gear and take a better shot.

There are 3 kits in the product range, including 2 with lenses, as follows:

Beastgrip Pro Rig
Universal/adjustable and works with virtually any camera phone on the market. It is simple and convenient to use and works with or without a protective phone case. It features a standard 37mm threaded lens/filter mount and is compatible with wide variety of conversion lenses and filters. It also features a cold shoe mount for attaching LED lights, microphones, and other accessories plus comes with five standard ¼”-20 threaded mounts for attaching to supportive photo/video gear such as tripods, stabilizers, sliders and other accessories.

Beastgrip Pro Rig plus Wide Angle Lens
This set includes a 37mm 0.43x Extreme Wide-Angle lens, which nearly doubles the field-of-view in your photo/video, letting the user see much more in the frame than a standard phone camera. It’s perfect for shooting large scenes like landscapes, concerts, sports, family photos etc.

Beastgrip Pro rig plus Wide Angle and Fish-eye lenses
Includes the Beastgrip 37mm 0.43x Extreme Wide-Angle lens and an ultra wide-angle lens that produces strong visual distortion, i.e. the classic “fisheye” circle, and an immersive 180° field-of-view. It’s perfect for action sports like skateboarding, biking, snowboarding/skis, etc.

SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICES:
•    Beastgrip Pro Rig £139.99 including VAT
•    Beastgrip Pro Rig plus Wide Angle Lens £169.99 including VAT
•    Beastgrip Pro Rig plus Wide Angle & Fisheye Lenses £199.99 including VAT

All units are available immediately.

Categories: Equipment

Impossible Project unveils I-1 instant camera for 600-type film

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 04/12/2016 - 3:19pm

The Impossible Project has unveiled the I-1 instant camera, a revival of an analog classic. The I-1 prints photos using Impossible Project 600-type film, which was reverse-engineered from Polaroid's now-discontinued 600-type offering. The camera includes digital control not found in the original Polaroid camera. Using a related iOS app, photographers can adjust shutter speed, aperture, flash and select one of several presets.

The Impossible Project’s CEO Oskar Smolokowski showcased the camera at Bloomberg’s design conference on Monday, revealing that the I-1 will be available starting May 10 for $299. The model is simple in design, but robust in overall features; the physical camera features an exposure dial, shutter button, focus selector, LED flash ring and square viewfinder. Power is delivered via an integrated battery that recharges with USB.

When paired with a related mobile app over Bluetooth, users can remotely capture images, creature multi-exposure photos, adjust capture settings, and creature 'open-shutter' pictures. The Impossible Project only lists an iOS app on its website at this time; it is unclear whether an Android app will be made available, as well. Interested photographers can sign up for updates on the Impossible Project's I-1 web page.

Via: Bloomberg

Categories: Equipment

Swirly bokeh: Lensbaby announces Twist 60 lens

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 04/12/2016 - 9:00am

Lensbaby has announced the Twist 60, a new lens for creative photography. From what we can see, the Twist 60 is all about bokeh. The 12 aperture blades and a maximum aperture of f/2.5 should give a soft, well-rounded bokeh with good separation of the subject from the background, but the real 'twist' is just that - the twist. Specifically the twisty, swirly bokeh. Lensbaby claims the lens is modeled after Joseph Petzval's Classic 19th-century design, giving photographers the ability to introduce and control that distinctive circular bokeh that is unique to Petzval-type lenses.  

We are interested to see how this lens performs, as it is almost half the price of similar lenses recently announced and it is available (via the Lensbaby Optic Swap System) in a wide variety of mounts.

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The Twist 60 is available for pre-order starting April 12, 2016 and is currently offered in Canon, Nikon, and Sony E mounts. It is priced at $279.95/£196 for the full lens or $179.95/£126 for the Twist 60 Optic (for use with other Lensbaby Optic Swap System lenses).

Press release:

Lensbaby's New Twist 60 Lens Exudes Pure Magic of Vintage Photography

Company’s love of old lenses inspires new creativity with classic image elements optimized for full frame photographers
 
Portland, OR – April 12th, 2016 – Lensbaby, makers of award-winning creative effects lenses, optics and accessories, today announced the availability of the Twist 60 lens. Twist 60 helps creative photographers find their visual voice by seeing the world differently.
 
This metal-bodied 60mm f/2.5 lens with gold anodized accents creates powerful portraits, spotlighting subjects by freeing them from their background and surrounding them with swirly blur and enhanced vignette. The brighter the aperture, the greater the swirl and the greater the vignette.
 
“Twist 60 embodies our love of old lenses and their unique ways of helping photographers discover creative possibilities,” said Craig Strong, Lensbaby Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer. “True to an 1840 design by Joseph Petzval, this lens reveals striking separation between subjects and their background, a quality that modern lens designs lack.”
 
Twist 60 Lens specs:
● 12 blade f/2.5-22 aperture
● 60mm focal length
● Twisty, swirly blur
● Recommended for use on full frame cameras
● Available in Canon EF, Nikon F, and Sony E mounts
● 4 elements in 3 groups
● Filter threads: 46mm
● Black anodized body with gold anodized aperture ring
● Minimum focus distance - 18”
 
Availability
Twist 60 lens retails for $279.95 and is available via pre-order beginning April 12, 2016 (shipping May 5th, 2016). Twist 60 Optic will also be sold separately for use with other Lensbaby Optic Swap System-compatible lenses. It retails for $179.95. For best results, when using it in a tilting Lensbaby such as the Composer Pro, photographers should shoot with Twist 60 pointed straight ahead. Lensbaby products are available at lensbaby.com, B&H, Adorama, and from select specialty photo stores worldwide.
 
About Lensbaby
For over a decade, photographers have relied on Portland, Oregon based Lensbaby to help them break free of routine, tinker, and open themselves up to unexpected results – dancing, playing and delighting in what’s possible with a creative lens and their imagination.

Lensbaby makes award-winning creative effects lenses, optics and accessories that follow this philosophy, including the Velvet 56, a versatile portrait and macro lens; their unique Optic Swap System, which lets photographers swap their optic and tilt their lens for limitless effects; and mobile lenses that transform everyday smartphone photography. Lensbaby products are sold and distributed worldwide. For more information, visit www.lensbaby.com

Lensbaby Twist 60 specifications

Categories: Equipment

Hands on with the Hasselblad H6D 50c/100c

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 04/12/2016 - 8:00am

Hands-on with the Hasselblad H6D

Hasselblad claims that its new H6D is a completely new camera and is redesigned 'from the ground up' on a completely different platform. The new platform is one of electronics compared to the mechanical bias of its previous models, and consequently there is a good deal more communication between the back and the body – and the new HC lenses.

The general thrust is one of modernization with a mass of upgraded specification that brings the company’s flagship camera into line with the new Phase One XF body. And now of course there is the 100 million pixel sensor to match. One of the areas in which Hasselblad differentiates itself from its main competitor is in the provision of video – and 4K video at that.

The orange dot on the lens here indicates that it is part of the new HC series. The top shutter speed for the new body is 1/1000 sec, but with the new HC lens range that decreases to 1/2000 sec as the sensor and lens work together to cut the exposure time in half. As the shutter is in the lens, users can synchronize flash at all speeds. The lenses have a new shutter mechanism that is able to return to the open position more quickly after closing which helps to enable the shorter exposures. The blades have new coatings to reduce friction to allow a smoother motion, and the durability of the system has been increased to the extent that the company guarantees you’ll get at least a million actuations. Hasselblad has also tripled the duration of the camera’s warranty to 36 months (if you register before September 30th - otherwise it's 24 months).

Other key developments include:

  • A choice of 50 and 100 Megapixel backs
  • New top shutter speeds
  • Much-improved rear screen
  • A host of new connection ports
  • HD and 4K video
  • A new range of HC lenses

There are two different versions of the H6D. The H6D 50c sports a 50MP sensor and retails for $25995. The 100c has, as you probably guessed, a 100MP sensor and has an MSRP of $32995.

Hands-on with the Hasselblad H6D

The rear screens used on the 50c and 100c backs are a great improvement over those used on the previous models. They are sharp and crisp, and colors seem much more realistic than before. The resolution is 920k dots, but the improvement is as much about contrast and color as it is about the fine detail.

The touch function works very well and offers a great response, and dual touch allows pinch zooming in live view and in review modes.

Live view shooting is also offered, and while at the moment focus is manual-only with the mirror up, we're told that Hasselblad hopes to have introduced touch AF by the time the camera comes to market at the end of the month.

Hands-on with the Hasselblad H6D

The top plate features a new screen that is a bit bigger than before and which uses slightly larger and clearer icons. The display is slightly sunken into the top plate and sits under glass which makes its low-resolution a little less user-friendly, but it is an improvement on the screen of the H5D. The button layout is almost exactly the same as before, though the orange shutter release of the H6D makes it instantly recognizable. 

Hands-on with the Hasselblad H6D

Hasselblad is quite proud of the fact that the body of the H6D is very much the same as that of the H5D, claiming that the designers got it so right last time that nothing needed to change. The advantage, of course, is that anyone upgrading will be immediately at home with the new body and, in fairness, the H5D is very comfortable to hold and to use. Metering is still in the body though, so when you switch to a waist-level finder you lose metering and the semi-automatic exposure modes.

The in-body shutter and mirror mechanisms are the same as those used in the H5D.

Hands-on with the Hasselblad H6D

The H6D comes in two options – with the 50MP back as the H6D 50c or with the 100MP back as the H6D 100c. While the obvious difference is the resolution, it is worth noting that the 50MP sensor is 43.8 x 32.9mm and the 100MP model measures 53.4 x 40mm – almost full frame for the 6 x 4.5cm format. Clearly the difference in physical size of the sensors has an impact on the crop-factor of the lens range.

While both sensors offer video recording the 100MP sensor is capable of 4K output and uses the whole sensor area for capture – which should produce some interesting shallow depth-of-field footage. The 50c back records in HD only.

The sensors also differ in their dynamic range, with the newer 100MP sensor offering 15 stops versus the 14 stops of the 50c, as well as an ISO range of 64-12800 against ISO 100-6400.

Hands-on with the Hasselblad H6D

Below the main output ports compartment is a USB 3.0 port for shooting tethered to a computer. The USB 3.0 socket is Type-C so photographers can connect quickly even in the dark (since the slot is symmetrical), and the data rate of the socket is up to 5x that of FireWire, which previous models used.

The socket can also be used to power the camera, so portable battery packs that offer USB-out sockets can be used to supplement the camera’s own battery.

Hasselblad says that it has dramatically reduced the power consumption of the camera by managing downtime better, and users should expect over 550 shots per battery and less drain when not actually shooting.

Hands-on with the Hasselblad H6D

The ports compartment offers audio input and output so sound can be recorded via an external microphone (the camera doesn’t have its own) and so audio levels can be monitored through headphones. An HDMI socket is also provided so external field monitors can be used and so video can be streamed to an external recorder. The use of an external monitor is useful when the back is attached to a technical camera. We are told that the labeling in this example doesn’t reflect how the sockets will be marked in the production models.

Hands-on with the Hasselblad H6D

The H6D offers dual card slots, with Hasselblad choosing the CFast and SD formats. The company says that the SD slot is only suitable for shooting stills, while the potential 400MB/s data rate of the CFast slot makes it ideal for shooting 4K video. As usual, the slots can be assigned to duplicate or divide tasks, so images can be stored to both simultaneously or arranged so that JPEG files go to one and raw files to the other. 

Streaming to an external recorder via the HDMI socket will only be necessary if a large amount of storage is required, as the 100c can record raw video in 4K directly to the memory card. It only records in Raw in fact, and users take the footage to the company's Phocus software where it can be converted to the Apple ProRes format.

Considering Hasselblad went to great lengths to emphasize that video is very much a secondary feature of the H6D the company has gone to a great deal of trouble to accommodate it. Of course, the CFast slot allows longer bursts at the maximum 3.2 fps in stills mode too.

Hands-on with the Hasselblad H6D

The main menu gives users access to all the principle settings of the camera in a clear and icon-centric display. The larger icons at the bottom of the screen switch between stills and video, as well as providing access to the detailed settings, while the smaller icons take us directly to oft-used features and functions. This menu can be customized to suit the photographer’s way of working, favorite features or to the needs of a particular job.

The Hasselbad engineers' debugging 'Develop' tool icon is shown here because the camera is a prototype.

Hands-on with the Hasselblad H6D

Swiping down from the top of the main menu, iPhone-style, brings us to the main shooting interface. The display shows all the principle modes for normal shooting each of which can be accessed by directly touching the icon. A row of four physical buttons below the screen help navigation and when using the touch screen isn’t practical.

Hands-on with the Hasselblad H6D

Once an item is selected a rolling tab appears that allows that function to be adjusted. Here the aperture is being controlled, but the main screen also gives us fast access to exposure modes, drive modes, exposure compensation, white balance, ISO and focus modes. When the scrolling tab is in operation selections can be made either by using a finger on the screen or via the thumb wheel on the main grip.

Hands-on with the Hasselblad H6D

The H6D uses the same Sony sensors that are already in circulation with the Pentax and Phase One cameras – as well as in the H5D 50c. Hasselblad says that although it is using the same sensors as other brands, the 50c and 100c will produce Hasselblad-unique characteristics as it applies its own calibration to the sensors.

While the Phocus software plays a large part in the way raw files appear on the computer screen the camera’s processing will have already applied its own ‘look’ to raw files between them leaving the sensor and being stored on the memory card.

A Hasselblad R&D engineer explained that it has control of fixed pattern noise, how data is dealt with in different temperatures, the way data is dealt with after different exposure durations, tonal gradients and the way color is represented. He said that this allowed Hasselblad to have a significant impact on the look and feel of the image. 

Categories: Equipment

Change of focus: 755 MP Lytro Cinema camera enables 300 fps light field video

DPReview.com - Latest News - Mon, 04/11/2016 - 3:19pm

Lytro is bringing its Light Field technology to the world of cinema and visual effects, shortly after its CEO announced in a blog post Lytro's intention of abandoning the consumer stills camera space. Lytro Cinema turns every frame of live action into a 3D model, capturing intensity, color, and angular information of light rays. Coupling light field with a 755 MP sensor capable of capturing images at 300 fps, Lytro Cinema promises extensive post-production freedom, including adjustment of focus, depth-of-field, shutter speed and frame rate, as well as the elimination of green screens.

Although Lytro experienced some difficulty in adoption of light field technology in stills, the technology had, and continues to have, immense potential for imaging. Saving creative decisions for post-processing allows for more creative freedom, and allows a photographer or DP to focus on other elements during capture. Nowhere will this be more appreciated than in cinema, where the realities of production mean that any technology aimed at saving certain creative decisions, like focus, for post-capture are welcome.

Focus and aperture sliders in post-production. In video. No joke. I wish my Raw converter had this (Lytro's Raw converter already does). Photo credit: Lytro

And that's exactly what Lytro Cinema aims to do. By capturing directional information about light rays and essentially sampling multiple perspectives behind the aperture, Lytro Cinema allows for adjustment of focus placement, depth-of-field (via aperture adjustment), perspective, and more in post-processing. And since a depth map is rendered for every frame of video, Lytro claims Cinema will make it easier to combine CGI with live footage, no longer requiring green screens to extract elements or subjects from a scene. You'll be able to just extract a subject based on its depth, which Lytro shows in a convincing example below:

As Lead Engineer for Light Field Video Brendan Bevensee explains: "You have a virtual camera that can be controlled in post-production." That means there's also nothing stopping one from simulating short dolly motion or perspective shifts in post, with nothing but a static camera at the time of capture. "You can shift the camera to the left... [or] to the right, as if you had made that exact decision on set. It can even move your camera in and out" says Head of Light Field Video, Jon Karafin.

Imagine small, smooth, meditative camera movements that don't even require a complicated motion rig to set up.

Furthermore, by precisely recording X, Y, Z, pitch, roll, and yaw, Lytro Cinema even offers automated camera tracking, which makes it easier to composite and mat CGI elements. And just as the Illum paired with Lytro Desktop software allowed one to select various objects and depths to throw them in and out of focus for selective depth-of-field and background blur, one can do the same in video with the Cinema, choosing, for example, to marry live footage from minimum focus to, say, 10m with different footage, or CGI, for everything beyond those distances. In other words, control over not just single planes, but ranges of planes.

Beyond just light field benefits, Lytro is also addressing another common headache: the selection of shutter angle (or shutter speed). Often, this is a decision made at the time of capture, dictating the level of blur or stuttering (a la action scenes in 'Saving Private Ryan' or 'Gladiator') in your footage. At high frame rates of capture, though, high shutter angles are required, removing some of the flexibility of how much motion blur you can or can't have (e.g. 300 fps cannot be shot with shutter speeds longer than 1/300s, which inevitably freezes action). By decoupling the shutter angle of capture from the shutter angle required for artistic effect, a DP can creatively use motion blur, or lack thereof, to suit the story. The technology, which undoubtedly uses some form of interpolation and averaging in conjunction with the temporal oversampling, also means that you can extract stills with a desired level of motion blur. 

Lytro claims that by capturing at 300 fps, they can computationally allow for any of a number of shutter angles in post-production, allowing a cinematographer to decouple shutter angle required for capture from that required for artistic intent. Photo credit: Lytro

With every development over at Lytro, we've been excited by the implications for both stills and video. The implications for the latter, in particular, have always been compelling. Along with the announcement of the Lytro Immerge 360º virtual reality light field rig, we're extremely excited to see light field video becoming a reality, and look forward to what creatives can produce with what is poised to be an unimaginably powerful filmmaking platform. Filmmakers can sign up for a demonstration and a personalized production package on Lytro's site. For now, Lytro Cinema will be available on a subscription basis, understandable given the complexities involved (the immense data capture rates require servers on-set).

Head over to the Lytro Cinema page for more in-depth information. Lytro will be demo-ing "Life", a short film shot using Lytro Cinema at NAB 2016.

Lytro Brings Revolutionary Light Field Technology to Film and TV Production with Lytro Cinema

  • World’s First Light Field Solution for Cinema Allows Breakthrough Creative Capabilities and Unparalleled Flexibility on Set and in Post-Production

  • First Short Produced with Academy Award Winners Robert Stromberg, DGA and David Stump, ASC in Association with The Virtual Reality Company (VRC) Will Premiere at NAB on April 19

Lytro unlocks a new level of creative freedom and flexibility for filmmakers with the introduction of Lytro Cinema, the world’s first Light Field solution for film and television. The breakthrough capture system enables the complete virtualization of the live action camera -- transforming creative camera controls from fixed on set decisions to computational post-production processes -- and allows for historically impossible shots.

“We are in the early innings of a generational shift from a legacy 2D video world to a 3D volumetric Light Field world,” said Jason Rosenthal, CEO of Lytro. “Lytro Cinema represents an important step in that evolution. We are excited to help usher in a new era of cinema technology that allows for a broader creative palette than has ever existed before.”

Designed for cutting edge visual effects (VFX), Lytro Cinema represents a complete paradigm shift in the integration of live action footage and computer generated (CG) visual effects. The rich dataset captured by the system produces a Light Field master that can be rendered in any format in post-production and enables a whole range of creative possibilities that have never before existed.

“Lytro Cinema defies traditional physics of on-set capture allowing filmmakers to capture shots that have been impossible up until now,” said Jon Karafin, Head of Light Field Video at Lytro. “Because of the rich data set and depth information, we’re able to virtualize creative camera controls, meaning that decisions that have traditionally been made on set, like focus position and depth of field, can now be made computationally. We’re on the cutting edge of what’s possible in film production.”

With Lytro Cinema, every frame of a live action scene becomes a 3D model: every pixel has color and directional and depth properties bringing the control and creative flexibility of computer generated VFX to real world capture. The system opens up new creative avenues for the integration of live action footage and visual effects with capabilities like Light Field Camera Tracking and Lytro Depth Screen -- the ability to accurately key green screens for every object and space in the scene without the need for a green screen.

“Lytro has always been a company thinking about what the future of imaging will be,” said Ted Schilowitz, Futurist at FOX Studios. “There are a lot of companies that have been applying new technologies and finding better ways to create cinematic content, and they are all looking for better ways and better tools to achieve live action highly immersive content. Lytro is focusing on getting a much bigger, better and more sophisticated cinematography-level dataset that can then flow through the VFX pipeline and modernize that world.”

Lytro Cinema represents a step function increase in terms of raw data capture and optical performance:

  • The highest resolution video sensor ever designed, 755 RAW megapixels at up to 300 FPS
  • Up to 16 stops of dynamic range and wide color gamut
  • Integrated high resolution active scanning

By capturing the entire high resolution Light Field, Lytro Cinema is the first system able to produce a Light Field Master. The richest dataset in the history of the medium, the Light Field Master enables creators to render content in multiple formats -- including IMAX®, RealD® and traditional cinema and broadcast at variable frame rates and shutter angles.

Lytro Cinema comprises a camera, server array for storage and processing, which can also be done in the cloud, and software to edit Light Field data. The entire system integrates into existing production and post-production workflows, working in tandem with popular industry standard tools. Watch a video about Lytro Cinema at www.lytro.com/cinema#video.

“Life” the first short produced with Lytro Cinema in association with The Virtual Reality Company (VRC) will premiere at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference on Tuesday, April 19 at 4 p.m. PT at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Room S222. “Life” was directed by Academy Award winner Robert Stromberg, Chief Creative Officer at VRC and shot by David Stump, Chief Imaging Scientist at VRC.

Learn more about Lytro Cinema activities during the 2016 NAB Show and get a behind-the-scenes look on the set of “Life” at www.lytro.com/nab2016.

Lytro Cinema will be available for production in Q3 2016 to exclusive partners on a subscription basis. For more information on Lytro Cinema, visit www.lytro.com/cinema.

Categories: Equipment

Field Test: Claire Bangser and the Olympus PEN-F hit the Mississippi Blues Trail

DPReview.com - Latest News - Mon, 04/11/2016 - 8:00am

DPReview's Wenmei Hill and New Orleans-based photographer Claire Bangser recently hit the road with the Olympus PEN-F, visiting historic spots along the Mississippi Blues Trail. If you love the blues or want to learn more about the folks living in the small towns that dot the route, then you'll enjoy our latest field test. 

This is sponsored content, created with the support of Olympus. What does this mean?

Categories: Equipment

Readers' Showcase: Phil Garcia

DPReview.com - Latest News - Sun, 04/10/2016 - 8:00am

Readers' Showcase: Phil Garcia

Arctic fox, Iceland 2014. A young white morph Arctic Fox sunbathing in front of his den. After spending a week camping close to that place, the family just accepted me as one of them. Probably because of the smell! Photo and caption by Phil Garcia

Phil Garcia made a career of shooting mountain sports, but found his hobby photographing wildlife becoming more than a side project. Now he maintains a home in Iceland, studying and capturing the country's native Arctic Fox. Garcia is about to publish a book of his Arctic Fox photographs, and shares with us his views on photographing wildlife, respecting the natural world and what it takes to weather Iceland's rain.

You can see more of his work at his website, and reserve a copy of his forthcoming book by contributing to his crowdfunding campaign. Interested in having your work featured in an upcoming Readers' Showcase? Let us know! Include your DPR user name a link to your online portfolio.

Readers' Showcase: Phil Garcia

Common Vulture, Pyrénées mountains, Spain 2016. Vultures are quite common in my area and they are my winter favorite. I spend loads of time every year at the top of this cliff in the biting wind to catch this kind of shot. Photo and caption by Phil Garcia

Tell us where you're from and your history with photography.

I'm a French photographer – I was born in the Pyrenees mountains, close to the Spanish border. It's a mountain area with lots of wildlife, such as eagles, vultures, capercaillie, foxes, mountain goats, deers, etc. I bought my first camera when I was 15, that was 30 years ago. Then I became a full time photographer in the sports business, specifically mountain sports such as skiing and mountain biking. I shot for big brands like Oakley and Redbull and also for many magazines, while shooting wildlife and nature photography as a hobby.

Readers' Showcase: Phil Garcia

Atlantic puffin, Iceland, 2015. Some years ago, I made my first trip to Iceland. That was the time before I went completely mad about that country and decided to buy a house there and spend lots of time photographing its nature. This puffin was shot in the midnight light on the westernmost point of Iceland, facing Greenland. Photo and caption by Phil Garcia

What do you shoot with now?

I'm a Canon guy, and at the moment I shoot with the EOS 5D Mark III and 7D II. I don't use the 1D series anymore, mainly for weight reasons. Because I travel lots I like to take advantage of the APS-C format with smaller and lighter lenses. My lens kit include the 300mm F2.8, 70-200mm F2.8, 100mm macro, TS-E 90mm, 50mm and 16-35mm F4, all L-series.

Readers' Showcase: Phil Garcia

Eurasian Nuthatch, Pyrénées Mountains, France 2013. Snow is also one of my favorites subjects, but this picture was made from a comfortable shelter in my garden! Photo and caption by Phil Garcia

What kind of subjects do you specialize in photographing?

In my wildlife and nature photography, I like mountain mammals and birds of prey. But I shoot any kind of animal if it makes an aesthetic picture. I'm more after the good light and scene than after some particular or rare species. There are lots of animals I've never photographed properly but I don't really mind, I'm not ticking boxes. I prefer a good shot of a sparrow than 50 average shots of eagles.

Readers' Showcase: Phil Garcia

Arctic Fox, Iceland 2016. In winter, the arctic foxes of the white morph turn completely white. That’s a picture that took me a long time to get, as most of their areas are so remote that it’s quite impossible to get there in the middle of the winter, as the roads are often closed and the boats can’t sail. Photo and caption by Phil Garcia

You're preparing a book featuring the Arctic Fox for publication. What draws you to this subject in particular?

I've spent a lot of time in Iceland over the last five years, as I bought a house there. Iceland is full of birds but there is only one proper mammal to photograph: the Arctic Fox. And it's a hard one, it took me two years to get my first proper shot of an Arctic Fox. I spent lots of time in the field, and I got to know Ester, an Icelandic biologist specialized in Arctic Foxes. With my wife, we participate in local studies for its protection, spending weeks taking notes in front of a den in the cold and rain. In the end, it has become a full time passion, even when I'm not in Iceland!

Readers' Showcase: Phil Garcia

Arctic fox, Iceland 2014. July is the time for the young foxes to learn many things from their parents. Although the animal is a canid, the cubs love to play in a very kitten-like way. Photo and caption by Phil Garcia

Iceland is an important photographic subject to you as well. What is it that makes it such a unique destination for photographers?

Like in many Arctic countries, I think the light makes all the difference. It has amazing light and a very wild nature. I can spend a week in the field and hardly meet a couple of people. I photograph animals that may see a man twice a year. And many places are not hunted, meaning the animals are not extremely afraid of man, like in many other places in the world. 

Readers' Showcase: Phil Garcia

Arctic fox, Iceland 2014. After spending a week around them, the mother of this cub was so confident in me that she very often left me at her den with her cubs around while she went hunting guillemots for them. During that time, the male kept on checking the territory from a distance. He never got that friendly. Photo and caption by Phil Garcia

What advice would you give a photographer visiting Iceland for the first time?

Any photographer I've met who has traveled to Iceland for the first time has one thing to say: 'When will I be able to go back there?!' It's amazing but it's a hard country too: it's cold at any time of the year, and you always need a good rain outfit. I mean a real rain outfit, not just Goretex, thick rubber like sailors wear! If you visit Iceland, you must also take a lot of care to not disturb the natural environment – don't break any plants, don't walk on moss. It took the moss three hundreds of years to grow some centimeters thick and can be ruined instantly.

Readers' Showcase: Phil Garcia

Stilt, Mediterranean area, France, 2015. I love to play with lights and water, especially when I use my floating hide. This stilt was playing with the light too. Photo and caption by Phil Garcia

What's the experience of publishing a photo book been like so far?

It's been going pretty well so far as I decided to publish it myself, so I'm the boss of everything! It's a subject that is hard to sell for a publisher so I didn't even bother to propose it. It's really a lot of work to promote the book, but the crowdfunding went pretty well, it's almost done. Now comes the fun part of checking the files, the paper orders and the printing. I've done that already in a previous job, so it should be fine and the book will be beautiful!

Readers' Showcase: Phil Garcia

Arctic fox, Iceland 2014. This was certainly the first time that this blue-morph Arctic Fox met a man in a short distance. He was not scared at all, just very curious. Photo and caption by Phil Garcia

What advice would you give to new wildlife photographers?

That's an easy one, as I have guided workshops in Iceland for the last three years. I'll tell you what I tell my people: First, learn everything about the animal, from books or the internet. Second, learn about its habitat. Then you can open your camera bag and hopefully shoot something. Let the animal determine the distance, never follow it when it leaves and most importantly, as my friend Ester would say: 'Don't feed the foxes!' What that generally means is 'Don't interfere in the animal's life, just look at it.'

Categories: Equipment

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