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Congress is considering a copyright small claims bill you should know about

DPReview.com - Latest News - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 10:12am
Photo by Dennis Skley

A bill has reached Congress that aims to establish a cheaper route for those seeking settlement of small claims in copyright infringement cases. Put forward by a bypartisan group of representatives, the Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement Act of 2017 (CASE) intends to provide a more viable alternative to federal courts for those making relatively small claims in cases where the cost of pursuing compensation deters individual photographers and small to medium sized business owners.

The current system can cost professional photographers wishing to file a claim for unauthorized use of an image almost a year’s earnings, according to a report by Copyright Defence, and copyright lawyers are unwilling to take on a case in which damages would be less than $30,000.

Copyright Defence says that the average claim made by photographers is $3,000 or less, making the pursuit of offenders impractical and letting infringers off scot-free.

The new bill proposes that a small-claims style panel be set up within the Copyright office that would allow these low-value, high-volume disputes to be heard. Such an introduction would benefit not only photographers and artists, but also musicians, film makers and anyone who produces creative work.

Bought to Congress by Hakeem Jeffries of the Democrat Party and Tom Marino, a Republican, the bill is supported by the American Society of Media Photographers, American Photographic Artists, National Press Photographers Association, Professional Photographers of America, North American Nature Photography Association, among others. The bill was first proposed by a collection of visual artists groups in February 2016.

Press release from Hakeem Jeffries:

Reps. Jeffries, Marino Lead Bipartisan Effort to Help Musicians and Artists Protect Their Creative Work

WASHINGTON, DC – A bipartisan solution to help artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, songwriters, authors and other creators protect their life’s work from unauthorized reproduction has been introduced today by two key members of the House Judiciary Committee -- U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), a Democrat, and U.S. Representative Tom Marino (PA-10), a Republican.

The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2017 will create a Copyright Claims Board (“CCB”) in order to provide a simple, quick and less expensive forum for copyright owners to enforce their intellectual property. The majority of the copyright owners that are affected by piracy and theft are independent creators with small copyright infringement claims. The CCB will establish an alternative forum to the Federal District Court for copyright owners to protect their work from infringement.
A broad coalition of legislators have co-sponsored the bill, including Democratic Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-33), Republican Congressman Doug Collins (GA-9), Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33) and Republican Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21).

Rep. Jeffries said: “The establishment of the Copyright Claims Board is critical for the creative middle class who deserve to benefit from the fruits of their labor. Copyright enforcement is essential to ensure that these artists, writers, musicians and other creators are able to commercialize their creative work in order to earn a livelihood. The CASE Act will enable creators to enforce copyright protected content in a fair, timely and affordable manner. This legislation is a strong step in the right direction.”

Representative Marino said: “Creators, solo entrepreneurs, photographers, and artists often struggle to enforce their copyright in a timely and cost efficient manner. This can hinder creativity and prevent these professionals from being able to sustain a profitable livelihood. The CASE Act provides a boost to copyright holders and allows a forum for timely resolutions. This is a positive step in the right direction.”

Representative Collins said: “America’s economic leadership depends on its commitment to protecting intellectual property, and I’m proud to work with my friend Congressman Hakeem Jeffries to provide another tool to make this possible. A copyright small claims system would offer small creators a simple, effective forum for defending their property rights against infringement. We’re working to modernize the Copyright Office to meet the needs of today and tomorrow—including music licensing structures—and this bill is a critical step in strengthening intellectual property protections for creators who find themselves disadvantaged by existing policies.”

Representative Lieu said: “More than 2 million hardworking artists in the United States rely on the U.S. Copyright Office to protect their livelihoods. For too long, our legal system skewed in favor of low-volume, high-value industries. But for many independent artists, whose claims of infringement often total a few thousand dollars, it is far too expensive to sue in federal court – essentially forcing creators to forfeit their rights. The Small Claims Board is an important step toward ensuring that digital photographers, graphic artists, illustrators, and others have a way to resolve disputes quickly and affordably. I commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting this crucial effort.”

Representative Smith said: “Our founders enshrined copyright protection for creators’ works in the Constitution. The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act offers creators an efficient and cost-effective process to protect their creations. I look forward to working with the authors of the bill to protect the intellectual property of all innovators.”

Representative Chu said: “Creators like artists, photographers, and songwriters contribute over a trillion dollars to our economy each year. But intellectual property theft makes it difficult for creators to earn a living. This is especially true for small and individual creators who depend on licensing and copyright, but lack the resources to adequately challenge copyright infringement claims in federal court. I’m proud to support the CASE Act because it proposes a common sense solution that will make it easier for creators to protect their intellectual property and continue to share their works and grow our economy.”

Participation in the CCB will be voluntary, and respondents will have the ability to opt out. The CCB will be housed within the U.S. Copyright Office, and its jurisdiction limited to civil copyright cases with a cap of $30,000 in damages. A panel of three Copyright Claims Officers will be designated to adjudicate and settle copyright claims. The simplified proceedings do not require the parties to appear in-person and will permit them to proceed pro se – i.e., without an attorney.

The bill is supported by the Authors Guild, American Society of Media Photographers, American Photographic Artists, National Press Photographers Association, Professional Photographers of America, North American Nature Photography Association, Songwriters Guild of America, Nashville Songwriters Association International, National Music Publishers Association, Digital Media Licensing Association, Graphic Artists Guild, Creative Future, and the Copyright Alliance.

Categories: Equipment

Sharp and wide: Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G gallery updated

DPReview.com - Latest News - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 9:00am

The Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G was released earlier this year alongside the pricier FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM. While it may not be as fast as it's GM 'big brother,' the 12-24mm F4 is smaller, lighter, and wider, offering a rectilinear 12mm field of view. It's also impressively sharp.

We've had some more time, collectively as a staff, to shoot with this ultra wide zoom since initially publishing our sample gallery in the summer. Take a look through and see how it holds up in the hands of several photographers and in a variety of shooting scenarios.

See our updated Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G sample gallery

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Categories: Equipment

Aputure launches 2K watt Light Storm 300D LED light, its brightest light yet

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 3:28pm

Aputure has launched the Light Storm 300D, a 4.6lbs / 2.1kg LED light measuring 13.5in / 34.29cm long with up to 142,000 lux and an output equivalent to a 2,000 watts tungsten. The light can be powered with batteries or through AC power, and can be wirelessly controlled from distances up to 150m / 492ft. Control is also possible through what Aputure calls an intuitive control box.

The light's low temperature coupled with its Bowens mount enables users to attach nearly any Bowens mount accessory (if you can find them...), according to Aputure. Additionally, an integrated ultra-silent fan works alongside internal thermometers to intelligently adjust its speed based on the light's temperature.

Color accuracy is exceptional with a CRI rating of ≥95 and TCLI rating of ≥96 alongside a 5500K±200K color temperature.

The Light Storm 300D is currently listed on Amazon with an in-stock date of November 15th and a $1,100 USD price tag.

Categories: Equipment

Seagate's 12TB BarraCuda Pro is the fastest, highest capacity desktop drive on the market

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 3:13pm

As storage needs grow with the rise of VR content and ubiquity of 4K video, it looks like more and more hard drive options are becoming available that boast better reliability and performance at even bigger capacities. Case in point: Seagate has just announced new 12TB versions of its IronWolf, IronWolf Pro, and BarraCuda Pro hard drives, following hot on the heels of Western Digital's recent 12TB drive launch.

These new Seagate drives come in a 3.5-inch form factor, with the BarraCuda Pro drive designed for desktop use, while both IronWolf drives are designed for Network-attached Storage (NAS) devices.

According to Seagate, the new 7200rpm 12TB BarraCuda Pro is "the fastest, highest-capacity and most reliable hard drive for desktop computing available on the market today." The inclusion of Intel Optane non-volatile memory offers responsiveness and performance akin to that of an SSD, as well as twice the load and boot speeds compared to standard drives. This tech allows the drive to offer sustained data transfer rates of 250MB/s and burst data speeds up to 6Gb/s.

The IronWolf drives, meanwhile, are designed for creative professionals and others who prefer centralizing data onto a NAS unit. Both of the new 12TB drives support Seagate's IronWolf Health Management software, which is designed for use with the Asustor NAS, Synology DiskStation NAS, and QNAP NAS units and helps to protect data with 'prevention, intervention, and recovery' solutions.

The IronWolf 12TB drive has a sustained data transfer rate of 210MB/s and the IronWolf Pro 12TB has a sustained transfer rate of 250MB/s. Both the IronWolf and IronWolf Pro 12TB HDDs are listed on Newegg for $470 and $540, respectively. Unfortunately, the 'world's fastest' of the bunch, the BarraCuda Pro 12TB drive, isn't currently listed, but you can probably expect a price north of $600.

Press Release

Seagate Expands Guardian Series Portfolio With 12TB Drives For NAS And Desktop Computing

12TB IronWolf™, IronWolf™ Pro and BarraCuda® Pro deliver highest capacity, reliability and performance available on the market

CUPERTINO, CA - Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ: STX) announced today its IronWolf™, IronWolf™ Pro and BarraCuda® Pro hard drives are now available at capacities up to 12TB. Offering the highest capacity, reliability and performance in the industry among network-attached storage (NAS) and desktop HDDs, Seagate’s 12TB IronWolf and BarraCuda Pro drives further extend the capabilities of the leading Seagate Guardian Series to meet the growing data needs of large enterprise business, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), and creative professionals.

Across the globe, we are experiencing a massive increase in the volume of data created, with a recent study by IDC and Seagate finding that data creation will swell to a total of 163 zettabytes (ZB) by 2025, 10x more than today. Seagate’s latest portfolio of 12TB drives are designed for today’s media storage needs – including augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), 4K resolution and 360-degree videos – and offer scalability for the future with increased space and speed.

“Our storage hungry customers and partners continue to ask for our latest and greatest technology along with increased capacity and performance in our purpose built products,” said Matt Rutledge, senior vice president of Business Marketing at Seagate Technology. “With the 12TB Pro products, Seagate buyers are overcoming capacity constraints in their systems and can access vast amounts of digital data anytime, from anywhere.”

12TB BarraCuda Pro Desktop Drive
Seagate’s 12TB BarraCuda Pro HDD is the fastest, highest-capacity and most reliable hard drive for desktop computing available on the market today. With 12TB of capacity – double the space of its closest competitor – the BarraCuda Pro can meet any number of demanding data management needs from creative editing workflows to gaming to desktop computing. The drive’s high speed means that data-intensive activities like large file transfers and photo-editing are faster when using BarraCuda Pro.

12TB IronWolf and IronWolf Pro for NAS
Offering the highest capacity, reliability, performance and system scalability in the industry, Seagate’s 12TB IronWolf and IronWolf Pro HDDs empower customers to centralize their data onto NAS systems to ensure round-the-clock access for multiple users. At 12TB and in only a 3.5 inch form factor, IronWolf and IronWolf Pro offer more capacity in less space, meeting the needs for file-sharing, remote access and backup for SMBs, enterprises and creative professionals.

“Whether it’s storing your family photos, collaborating on important documents at work, or protecting your home with our video surveillance solutions, Synology NAS enthusiasts will be excited by the addition of Seagate’s 12TB IronWolf drives,” said Alex Wang, CEO of Synology America Corp. “By working together, Seagate and Synology are providing great ways for people to safeguard their digital lives and get the most out of their private cloud.”

The new 12TB drives also support Seagate’s leading IronWolf Health Management (IHM) software. Designed to operate on enabled Synology DiskStation NAS, Asustor NAS, and QNAP NAS, populated with Seagate IronWolf or IronWolf Pro drives, IHM improves the overall system reliability by displaying actionable prevention, intervention or recovery options for the user and will be available within the next quarter with NAS partners.

“We are excited with Seagate’s launch of the industry’s largest capacity NAS drive – the 12TB IronWolf and IronWolf Pro,” said Meiji Chang, general manager of QNAP, adding, “QNAP has collaborated with Seagate for many years on product and technology enhancements, working with them to create the best hard drives for NAS users. We believe that Seagate’s new IronWolf family provides the performance, reliability, and capacity needed to dependably store the vast data generated by virtualization, high-resolution media workflows, the Internet of Things, and other applications driven by modern QNAP NAS solutions.”

The 12TB versions of IronWolf, IronWolf Pro and BarraCuda Pro are now shipping to customers worldwide. For more information on the Seagate Guardian Series, please visit www.seagate.com/internal-hard-drives.

Categories: Equipment

Pixelstick creators unveil the Colorspike: An incredibly versatile LED lighting strip

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 12:24pm

The inventors of pixelstick have launched a new Kickstarter campaign to fund their latest creation: a strip of LEDs they're calling the 'colorspike.' Like the pixelstick, it can be controlled via an app to produce a range of effects; unlike the pixelstick, the colorspike panel is more about lighting and color than it is about fun effects or light painting.

At about two feet long, the colorspike consists of a strip of LED lights that the user can program to produce a massive range of different colors and pulsating lighting effects. The results, when used in concert with, say, portrait photography, can be striking:

The idea is that stills and video photographers can use these to add easily controlled color to their shoots, while videographers can also include flashing lights to emulate emergency vehicles, fire, lightning and any interrupted lighting.

The colorspike panels are controlled via a smartphone app that allows colors and effects to be selected from an existing menu or to be custom mixed for the occasion (and saved for later use). Finally, groups of color spikes can be controlled together from the app to create more complex set-ups, and users can determine brightness, color and pulsation patterns via the app or the interface on the panel itself.

For on-location shooting, a battery is supplied that the company claims will last at least 45 minutes; and for those working near a mains power supply, a DC adapter also comes included the kit.

The colorspike is being launched on Kickstarter with a price of $270, and kits of four can be had for the discounted price of $1,000. The company, Bitbanger, expects delivery to begin in March next year if the target of $120,000 is reached—and given they've already reached over half of that goal with a full 42 days left in the campaign, chances are good the colorspike will become a reality

For more information on this nifty new lighting accessory, visit the colorspike Kickstarter page or Bitbanger’s website.

Categories: Equipment

Fujifilm releases firmware updates for X-T2, X-Pro2 and two lenses

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 12:05pm

Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its X-T2 and X-Pro2 camera bodies. The update to version 2.12 on the X-T2 and version 3.12 on the X-Pro2 fixes an issue that could occasionally cause the cameras to lock up when shooting in continuous high speed mode.

The X-T2 and X-Pro2 firmware updates are available to download at the links below:

Additionally, the company released updates for its XF 18-55 and XF 10-24 lenses. The new versions of the lens firmware fix an issue that could cause the focal length to be displayed incorrectly, and/or cause shaking in peripheral parts of images, even with focal length focus fixed.

You can download those updates by clicking on the links below.

Categories: Equipment

From the sidelines to the driver's seat: A photographer's evolution

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 11:31am

I have worked as a race photographer, a wedding photographer, landscape photographer; I photographed architecture, food, portraits and hot air balloons.

One of the most incredible things about a photography career is how it has this magical ability to open doors—how my camera has, time and again, taken me from a spectator on the sideline and put me right in the middle of the action.

In my own career, I've experienced this many times. Here are just three of those stories (and some shooting tips along the way).

A teenager at the race track

I was fortunate as a teenager when a race car driver threw me a rag and told me to get under his race car and clean it from the tire rubber that was stuck to the underside. I had gone to the racetrack after spending earlier years building models of these very race cars. I wanted to see the real deal.

From that relationship, I grew to become a professional photographer, since I was lucky enough to sell all of the images from my first roll of film to the drivers at that same racetrack. I always had a desire to drive one of those 200mph “funny cars.”

This wonderful eye-opening experience led me to create work for the NHRA, AP and many racing magazines creating story-telling images of these now 300mph plus vehicles across the country.

Shooting Tips

What is most important to me when capturing cars in the drag racing world is to isolate the car from the distractions near the racecar. Generally, I let the car move down the track, away from the starting line crowds, creating a soft, dimensional background in order to allow the car to stand out.

By using a telephoto lens like my EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x on my Canon 1DX Mark II, I can create a background made of the heat and exhaust, totally drawing the viewers attention to the razor sharp car. Compression is a wonderful tool to use in order to maintain a story-telling image, but first and foremost seeing every detail of the subject: the race car.

Another technique that I use commonly in my motorsports imagery is panning with the moving car as it goes by. Panning emphasizes speed by keeping the camera moving at the same speed as the race car. This then blurs the background, making the car look as if it is moving very quickly.

A slow shutter speed helps illustrate the movement. I may select shutter speeds of 1/30 – 1/500 sec depending upon the speed of the car that I am photographing. For this effect I am choosing to use the TV or shutter priority setting in order to allow me to maintain that certain amount of motion blur. I still try to include some of the race signage to continue that story-telling aspect of your imagery. This image was created with my workhorse EF 70-200mm 2.8L II IS lens.

While capturing the cars on the racetrack is a wonderful way to spend the day, I do look to see what I can do to add some personal element by visiting the drivers as they are strapped in to their cockpits or as they sit peacefully, contemplating their upcoming run.

One of the last tips that I would like to share with you about capturing image of powerful race cars is about the launch. I prefer to stand down track and create interesting edges to frame the main part of the composition. A drag race uses a “Christmas tree” of lights to indicate when to go. Many cars have perfected the weight transfer of the start of the race which lifts the front wheels high in the air.

The fun of flying and photography

Not too long after that amazing career-carving experience of photographing race cars, I drove to Norwalk, Connecticut in order to see and photograph a small hot air balloon festival. A few weeks later, I needed another balloon festival fix and drove north to Glens Falls, NY where I would buy my first hot air balloon ride.

All I can say is "Wow." The hook was in. I would soon become a hot air balloon pilot.

Fast forward to today: I will soon head out to New Mexico for AIBF happening October 7th-15th, 2017. I will be there to both fly and photograph this magnificent spectacle.

5 a.m. comes early in the chilly desert air. My team and I need to be at the launch field for a 6:15 am pilot briefing in order for me and nearly 600 other pilots to take to the air filling the New Mexican blue skies with our colorful fabrics. I will be photographing right up until the time that I need to begin my inflation.

We are treated to “Dawn Patrol” when eight to twelve hot air balloons will go aloft into the dark sky about 1 hour before the rest of us do, showing what the winds are doing that day.

Shooting Tips

As most balloon events happen in the still of the early morning, we are treated to the rising sun illuminating the rich, colorful, flowing fabric that can be backlit showing leading lines and the abstract beauty that surrounds them. Wide angle lenses as well as longer telephotos are often used here to create diversely different dimensional images.

As a pilot, I so enjoy the ability to capture images from the air looking down to see so many unique compositions. This image of the “Mass Ascension” shows how you can create gorgeous landscape images as we fly over and into the river for a “splash and dash.” Pilots descend to gently float along in the rivers current.

I choose to fly with the EF 28-300mm 3.5-5.6 IS L lens so I can create images that are either wide angle or zoom in to make a tight composition while carrying only one camera body. My best tip to you when you go aloft in a balloon is to be ready to react with lightning reflexes: images come and disappear quickly as everything is moving in many different directions all at once.

I prefer to use TV or shutter priority in order to use a pre-determined shutter speed that should guarantee sharp images while moving along.

My final tip as you walk amongst the bags of fabric that will soon grow to be a balloon as tall as a 10 story building is to search out a very pretty, colorful foreground that could nicely balance a floating balloon slowly flying past, creating a multidimensional look like the above image captured through the EF 28-300mm IS L lens.

I can create images of hot air balloon events with hundreds of other balloons around me or I can fly in the desert at sunrise or sunset to have a unique perch in order to take some beautiful landscape images. It certainly puts a smile on my face whenever I get to fly, either in a balloon or even a small fixed-wing aircraft, all to enjoy being off the ground as well as seeing images from a different perspective.

Taking to the skies... again

My last story of coming from the sidelines into the driver's seat (or in this case cockpit) would be when I furthered my flying abilities and accomplished my fixed-wing license that would carry me to locations that driving just would not allow in a relatively short time.

My first flight after successfully adding to my airmen’s license was to head to the beautiful island off the Massachusetts coast called Martha’s Vineyard. From my home on Long Island, it would take me 5-6 hours to reach the ferry that would bring you over to the island. I could fly the same route in 45 minutes.

I would do this a few times a year to go have lunch and shoot on the island before heading home for the day, very content. Photographing the beauty, flying and navigating and enjoying some remarkable culinary delights makes for a wonderful day!

Shooting Tips

Whether I'm in a fixed wing plane or a helicopter, I need to select the best lens that will be able to reach out beyond the boundaries of the aircraft to capture what I am looking for.

I will then make sure to remove my lens hood and anything else that could come off the camera while flying along at over 100 mph, and set my ISO high enough to give me a shutter speed of at least 1/1000 sec for the sharpest images.

Personally, I enjoy flying with the EF 100-400 mm f/4 IS L lens because it's both compact and provides a great range of focal lengths. I find it important to crop my photographs in the camera, taking advantage of each and every mega-pixel my Canon gives me. Zoom lenses like this allow me to be exact in my cropping.

I always consider the lighting as a part of the planning of the flight time. I want to be able to fly in the most dimensional light possible. That lighting will provide shadows that will define the landscape below. What a great way to see and create images of iconic locations but from a different perspective.

Shape, shadow and color are very important tools that I make use of as often as possible. It may be the warm light of a sunset on the red rocks of the desert southwest or the cool morning flight over the lava fields of Hawaii. You can reserve any aircraft for the time that you would like to fly, so, select that right time for the image that you see in your mind’s eye.

In order to create the best images of any subject, you need to be intimately familiar with that subject. Throughout my photographic career, I have been able to succeed at photographing anything as long as I had some knowledge of what I was photographing.

Having knowledge of the race cars that I was learning about working on gave me the edge to be able to create story-telling imagery. I then took that and ran in order to be the best that I could be. The same followed when I chose to be a hot air and fixed wing pilot—photography opened the door to be more than a spectator, but then the experience provided me the knowledge and platform to succeed.

So much of being a successful photographer comes down to being knowledgeable of the subject and the relationships that you make along the way. From there, it's up to you to continue to drive to be the best that you can—you are only as good as your most recent project.

I hope that, at least, will be an incentive for you to continue to grow and improve your skills. It certainly worked for me!

Ken Sklute is a multi-talented photographer and Canon Explorer of Light with over 42 years of professional photography experience. Over the course of his career, he's photographed people, professional sports, architecture, weddings and landscapes (among other things).

To see more of his work, be sure to visit his website, or by following him on Facebook and Instagram.

Categories: Equipment

Throwback Thursday: Google Nexus One

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 9:00am

On October 4th Google introduced two new smartphones: the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. These phones pack the latest 8-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processors and large displays, along with the impressive AI systems that make these devices stand out from many of their peers.

You have to be a real phone aficionado to remember the Nexus One - Google's first smartphone (codeveloped with HTC) - which debuted in 2010. In 2017 terms the One's specs are almost laughable, with its single-core processor, half gigabyte of RAM, 5MP rear camera and whopping 3.7" display. The Nexus One actually had two different displays. It initially shipped with a PenTile AMOLED display but later switched to a Super LCD that promised better power efficiency and color accuracy (though saturation and deep blacks got worse as a result). It also had a trackball reminiscent of Blackberry phones of that era.

The phone launched with Android 2.1 (Eclair) preinstalled and supported voice-guided navigation and voice-to-text transcription. Not long after the One got upgraded to Android 2.2 (Froyo), which added support for Adobe Flash (which was short-lived), a new home screen and Wi-Fi tethering. The final update the Nexus One received was to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), as its hardware couldn't keep up with subsequent versions.

Were you one of the lucky few who owned a Google Nexus One? Let us know in the comments.

View our Google Pixel 2 launch coverage

Product mockup by Zach Vega.

Categories: Equipment

Google Clips is an AI-enabled hands-free camera that costs $250

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:21pm

Meet Google Clips

After some expected hardware update announcements, Google's "one more thing" turned out to be Clips, a tiny, hands-free camera designed to automatically capture everyday moments.

Meet Google Clips

Small and lightweight, Clips is sold with a case that, uh, clips to things. Demo objects included toys and books. Point it at you and your loved ones, and Clips will do its thing without you ever needing to push the shutter button (although you can still push the shutter button if you want).

Meet Google Clips

Clips uses AI to identify and remember frequent subjects. When it detects a familiar subject smiling, for example, it will capture a burst of images. What's more, Google says that it gets smarter over time, capturing more of the moments you want and fewer moments you'll ultimately throw away.

Meet Google Clips

Clips works with the Pixel 2, naturally, but a rep we talked to said it will also work with an iOS app. It captures bursts of images from which videos (without audio) or stills can be extracted. Clips can be trimmed in the accompanying app, and they can be exported as GIFs as well.

Meet Google Clips

Clips will sell for $250, and eager customers can join a pre-order 'waitlist' now.

Categories: Equipment

Google Pixel 2 earns highest ever DxOMark score of 98, bests Apple

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:14pm

It's been a couple weeks of amazing camera phone tests over at DxOMark. First the iPhone 8 Plus beat all former phones with a score of 94. Then the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 came in and earned the same overall score, beating the iPhone 8 Plus in the Photo category but falling short in Video. And now... now we have a new proper king.

After testing the brand new Google Pixel 2, DxOMark has awarded the flagship phone its highest ever marks for a smartphone camera with an overall score of 98.

As usual, you can read the full review over on DxOMark's website, where they pit the Pixel 2 against its main rivals in a few head-to-head challenges, but the overall score results can be seen below:

In the Photo category, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is still the best phone out there, besting the Google Pixel 2's score of 99 by a single point. But when it comes to video, the Pixel 2 is totally and completely unmatched. Its Video score of 96 makes Samsung's paltry 84 seem a bit weak, and even Apple's respectable 89 is nowhere close.

Ahead of doing our own tests with these phones, we've been looking closely at the results in the DxOMark tests, and we are very intrigued to say the least. Some of the numbers themselves are rather subjective, and we don't entirely agree with DxO's assessment in every category.

For example, in their outdoor bokeh comparison, the Pixel 2 fares the worst. And the sometimes overly tonemapped (flat) images HDR+ renders may or may not suit your taste: the Pixel 2 vs. HTC U11 high contrast scene demonstration shows the Pixel 2 preserving more overall detail in shadows and highlights, but doing so at the cost of global contrast. With the display capabilities of wide gamut, high brightness/contrast OLED displays, that may not always be the optimal result.

Still, DxOMark's conclusion doesn't skimp on the superlatives... except that they're running out of them:

We’re in danger of running out of superlatives when describing the major image quality attributes of the Google Pixel 2. That makes sense for a device that tops our scoring charts —up from the 94 of the Apple iPhone 8 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 to a record-setting 98. So for just about any Photo or Video " href="https://www.dxomark.com/glossary/use-case/">use case, it recommends itself as the phone camera with the best image quality.

To read the full review for yourself, head over to the DxOMark website by clicking here.

Categories: Equipment

Here's Google's impressive OIS + EIS video stabilization demonstrated

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 2:47pm

Optical image stabilization is a welcome update in the Google Pixel 2, but what's really impressive is that it can be used in tandem with electronic stabilization in video mode. If Google's demo at its launch event today is any indication, it's pretty darn effective and makes for super smooth clips that look like they were shot with a steadicam. While we've seen this in the traditional camera space in 1"-type compacts from Sony and Canon, as well as ILCs like the Canon M5 and Olympus E-M1 II, it's a first for smartphones.

We got a chance to see this same video in person; it was certainly impressive. We're eager to give it a try ourselves when we get our hands on a review unit.

Categories: Equipment

Google unveils Pixel 2 phones: Adds OIS, Dual Pixel powered Portrait Mode and more

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 2:32pm

Ever since the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X were announced, we've been waiting for Google's response. When the original Google Pixel came out, it quickly became one of the most raved about smartphone cameras in the world... would the Pixel 2 follow suit? The short answer, at least according to Google, is yes.

Just this morning, we sat down in the SF Jazz Center and, after an hour of other updates, Google finally unveiled the 5-inch Pixel 2 and 6-inch Pixel 2 XL.

The new phones house a 12.2MP sensor with 1.4um pixels, Dual Pixel phase detect autofocus and an F1.8 lens on the back, and an 8MP camera with 1.4um pixels, fixed focus and an F2.7 lens on the front. Video specs for the rear camera max out at 4K 30fps while the front camera can do up to 1080p at 30fps.

As we hoped, the whole phone is encased in an IP67 water and dust resistant aluminum unibody, and is powered by the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor.

More impressive than the base specs are how Google uses its hardware in concert with software and machine learning technology to deliver a better photography and video experience.

Instead of opting for a dual camera on the back of the phone, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL uses just one camera, and combines this with Dual Pixel technology and computational photography to create the now-ubiquitous fake bokeh Portrait Mode effect. And since stabilization is incredibly important, they've worked out how to use both optical and electronic image stabilization at the same time when you're shooting video, which should deliver incredibly smooth footage. (more on that from San Francisco shortly...)

Unfortunately, in our brief time with the cameras so far, we discovered that Portrait mode is still not rendered live on either camera... it seems there are downsides to using a single camera instead of a dual cam setup.

Finally, no modern smartphone is complete until you look at the display your photos and videos will be viewed on.

Unfortunately, Google made no mention of color management or proper display profiles—which caused issues with the previous Pixel smartphones—but the new AMOLED (for the 5-inch model) and pOLED (for the 6-inch model) displays are wide-gamut. The Pixel 2 claims 93% DCI-P3 coverage while the Pixel 2 XL claims full 100% coverage of the same standard.

We bring this up because last year's Pixel phones also offered a wide color gamut and high contrast ratio, thanks to their OLED display technology, but often displayed wildly inaccurate colors due to the lack of color management.

The lack of any talk of HDR display of video or photos was also a disappointment after the announcement of iPhone X's support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision video, and HDR display of photos. The latter should make HDR photos pop on the bright contrasty OLED display of the iPhone X, rather than give them the flat tonemapped look we're often used to. It seems Google has chosen to go the traditional method of compressing a high contrast scene into a flatter image, rather than take advantage of the HDR display capabilities of its OLED display.

We're currently spending some time with the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in person today at the Jazz Center, so stay tuned for our hands-on impressions as the designated photography nerds at this event.

In the meantime, you can find out more about either of these phones on the Google Store, check out our Live Blog to see what we were thinking as the announcements were going up, or argue about your Apple vs Google allegiance in the comments.

Categories: Equipment

Camera+ 10 brings depth editing and HEIF support

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 12:42pm

Third party camera apps are a great way of customizing operation and expanding the feature set of your smartphone camera. However, with mobile imaging technology advancing at lightning speed app makers are constantly having to catch up with the device makers' latest hard and software developments.

The makers of Camera+, one of the most popular third party apps for the iPhone, have now just done that and released version 10 of their app which brings support for Apple's new HEIF image format and selective depth editing.

The latter makes use of the dual-camera features on the iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus and lets you sharpen, tint and otherwise edit different depth levels in an image that contains depth information.

In addition there are a new “Smile to shoot” trigger mode and a completely overhauled camera interface to incorporate the new features. Camera+10 is available for $2.99 on the Apple App Store.

Categories: Equipment

Sigma to reveal new lens at PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2017

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:43am

Lens maker Sigma will showcase its full range of Sigma Global Vision lenses, Cine high-speed primes and zooms as well as the Foveon sensor-based sd Quattro and Quattro H cameras at the upcoming PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2017 Expo trade show which will be held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City from 26-28 October 2017.

The company has also announced it will reveal one completely new lens at the show but unfortunately has not yet provided and further information.

In addition a number of photographers and other imaging professionals will take the stage at the Sigma booth and talk about how they use Sigma products in the areas of aviation, editorial, glamour, landscape, travel and wedding photography.

As if those weren't enough reasons to pay a visit PPE 2017 attendees who visit the Sigma booth 837 will also have a chance to enter and win a Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens.

Sigma Reveals its PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2017 Line Up and a Brand New Lens

The breakthrough year for Sigma Global Vision Art, Contemporary and Sport lenses on display; brand new lens addition to be unveiled; Sigma Pros light up stage with new presentations

Ronkonkoma, NY – October 4, 2017 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading still photo and cinema lens, camera, flash and accessory manufacturer, will showcase its full line up of Sigma Global Vision lenses, including a brand-new addition to the line, at the upcoming PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2017 Expo held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City from October 26-28, 2017 (booth 837).

The company will also have on hand its breakthrough optics for the cinema market – the Sigma Cine high-speed Primes and Zooms – as well as the Foveon sensor-based sd Quattro and Quattro H cameras.

“Sigma has had a landmark year with the introduction of seven new lenses across our Global Vision and Cine product lines,” states Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America. “Our research and development team is dedicated to creating superior optics that meet the ever-growing requirements of today’s high resolution cameras, taking advantage of every possible design and element to capture the greatest picture detail for both still and moving images. We look forward to showcasing the culmination of what has been a remarkable year in optical advancements for Sigma at this year’s PPE event.”

Sigma 2017 introductions include the award-winning 14mm F1.4 DG HSM Art, 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Art, 135mm F1.8 DG HSM Art, 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Sigma Global Vision lenses and the new Sigma Cine FF High Speed 14mm T2 and 135mm T2 prime lenses.

Sigma Special PPE Presentation – Sigma Pro Phenom Jen Rozenbaum
Sigma Pro Jen Rozenbaum will take the PPE stage on Wednesday, October 25, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM to deliver a PPE Master Class on “How to make every woman look amazing.”Jen will share with attendees her vast experience in boudoir photography, providing top tips and secret tricks - from wardrobe to posing - that flatter all women. Jen’s presentation will help attendees understand how to best dress and pose any woman of any size and shape as well as gain confidence behind the camera whether they are shooting boudoir, wedding or seniors!

Master Photographers Take the Sigma Stage
Showcasing the very best in photography craft, the expanded Sigma Pro family will headline the Sigma stage and offer attendees a behind the lens look at the techniques and technology that captured some of the year’s most outstanding photographs in the areas of aviation, editorial, glamour, landscapes, travel and weddings.

This year’s prestigious Sigma Pro PPE stage line-up includes outdoor sports and adventure travel photographer Liam Doran, aviation photo expert Jim Koepnick, renowned bird and travel photographer Roman Kurywczak, fearless woman photographer Jen Rozenbaum, and glamour and wedding photographer Jim Schmelzer.

The exciting topics include (listed by Sigma Pro) and showcase lenses from Sigma Global Vision Art, Contemporary and Sport lines:

For the Sigma Pro presentation schedule days and times, please visit:https://blog.sigmaphoto.com/event/photoplus-2017/

Sigma Super Giveaways at PPE 2017
PPE 2017 attendees who visit Sigma at booth 837 will have a chance to enter and win a Sigma grand giveaway – a 24-70mm F2.8 Art – an MSRP value of $1299.00 USD!

Re-engineered and introduced in 2017, the newly updated 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens is Sigma’s workhorse zoom lens. It touts a brand new Optical Stabilizer (OS), Hypersonic Motor (HSM) for highly efficient and fast autofocus, as well as a dust- and splash-proof mount with rubber sealing.

The 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens embodies all the technical qualities and finesse that define the high-performance Sigma Global Vision Art series. A popular industry focal range covering a wide array of shooting scenarios, the 24-70mm’s optical design also includes three SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements and four aspherical elements to ensure image accuracy and sharpness. The 24-70mm F2.8 Art aspherical elements use Sigma’s thicker center glass design and highly precise polishing process, delivering stunning images and bokeh effects. The lens’ purpose-built structure boasts a new metal barrel for optimal durability with TSC composite internal moving components designed to resist thermal contraction and expansion. Available for Canon, Nikon and Sigma camera mounts.

Categories: Equipment

Live coverage of the Google Pixel 2 launch on DPReview

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:24am

Hot on the heels of Apple's own smartphone announcement, Google is taking on the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X with its own release. In T-minus 30 minutes, Google is set to unveil the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL (among a few other things) and we'll be covering the launch live from San Francisco on Twitter and on this page.

Watch the livestream with us, and keep refreshing this page for up-to-the-minute takes on all things photography related from the Google event.

We're on the scene at the SF Jazz Center! Stay tuned here for live updates from Google's launch event. pic.twitter.com/I3FaZDXjqp

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017

This story is developing...

Categories: Equipment

Adobe unveils Photoshop Elements 2018: Can open closed eyes, find your best photos and more

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 10:44am

A before and after of Photoshop Elements' new Open Closed Eyes featured at work.

While the professional photography market waits with bated breath to see what Adobe has in store for us at AdobeMAX, the company behind Lightroom and Photoshop unveiled something that appeals to a bit broader of an audience today: Photoshop Elements 2018 and Premiere Elements 2018.

The new, user-friendly versions of Adobe's photo and video editors come with some really creative and easy-to-use features that the company says are aimed at "memory keepers." The idea was to create two programs that make finding, enhancing and sharing the precious memories hidden away inside random memory cards, hard drives and (most likely) smartphones almost totally automatic.

Photoshop Elements 2018

Photoshop Elements 2018 tackles the same problem that everyone—Google's Photos App, Apple Photos, etc.—is trying to tackle: how do you help the typical shutterbug find their best images out of the thousands they take every week on their smartphone, and enhance those images so they look 'professional' and worth sharing on social media?

As with everybody else, Adobe is leaning heavily on machine learning and computer vision (different types of 'AI') for this trick.

It starts with an easy-to-use Organizer view and something called Auto Curation, which uses computer vision and some nifty algorithms to guess (because it can't REALLY know, can it?) which of your images are the best. So if you have a group of 200 images, you can ask Photoshop Elements to cull those down automatically to just 15.

Once you've selected your shots, you can use the program's new Guided Edits and a new feature called Automatic Selection to do things like drop in a new background, create a double exposure effect using two of your images, or add 'artistic' overlays.

The coolest feature, though, has to be Open Closed Eyes, which allows you to select two frames, and replace the closed eyes in one with the open eyes from another. The results are incredibly lifelike given that whole thing can be done in a matter of seconds.

Premiere Elements 2018

Like Photoshop Elements, Premiere Elements 2018 also leans heavily on AI-powered features to make video editing as automatic and pain-free as possible.

Smart Trim does for videos what Auto Curate does for photos, namely: it asks you what 'style' of video you want to create, tries to intelligently find the best clips that match this style, and tosses out the rest to create a coherent clip.

Another interesting addition is a feature called Candid Moments, which tries to find the best candid 'photo' hidden within a video clip and pull it out for you. With new smartphones like the iPhone 8 Plus shooting gorgeous 4K 60p, we could see this feature being a huge hit with those 'memory keepers' Adobe is all trying to target.

Admittedly, neither Photoshop Elements 2018 nor Premiere Elements 2018 are really targetted at more professional photographers out there (read: many of the people who enjoy reading DPReview). But as these beginner-focused programs get more and more powerful, amateur photographers who are allergic to the subscription model and don't like to do much post-processing anyhow might actually enjoy using Photoshop and Premiere Elements 2018.

Of course, that's not to say we won't be keeping a very close eye on AdobeMAX this year.

To learn more about Photoshop Elements 2018 and Premiere Elements 2018, head over to the Adobe blog by clicking here, or visit their dedicated landing pages by clicking on the program names above. Both programs are available now for $100 new or $80 as an upgrade. You can also buy them together for $150 new or upgrade both programs at once for $120.

Categories: Equipment

On1 Photo RAW 2018 announced: Adds HDR processing, advanced masking and more

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 7:32pm
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On1 just released the newest version of its stand-alone RAW photo manager and non-destructive editor: On1 Photo RAW 2018. Put another way, there's now yet another alternative to Lightroom out there, and with this new update the program is more capable than ever, adding features like HDR merge and panorama stitching, advanced masking capabilities, and more.

You can get a decent overview of the new features in the 2018 version in the video below:

The main additions to this version of On1 Photo RAW are On1 HDR, panorama stitching, new advanced masking options like Feather and Density that allow you to alter a mask globally, Color range masking, versioning, selective noise reduction, and an updated UI that On1 characterizes as "clean and modern." There's also a new "Paint with Color Brush" that allows you to either paint with a solid color or leave the luminosity of the underlying layer intact to change things like eye or hair color.

You can get a full breakdown of these and other new features on the On1 blog.

The app is being released as a free Beta on Friday, with an official release slated for the end of October. The full app—which promises 'much more' when it arrives after the beta period—will cost $120 for new users, while current On1 users will have the option to upgrade for a discounted price of just $80 (usually $100). Both the full version and upgrade package are already available for pre-order.

To learn more about the app or pre-order your copy, head over to the On1 blog by clicking here.

Categories: Equipment

On1 Photo RAW 2018 announced: Adds HRD processing, advanced masking and more

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 7:32pm
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On1 just released the newest version of its stand-alone RAW photo manager and non-destructive editor: On1 Photo RAW 2018. Put another way, there's now yet another alternative to Lightroom out there, and with this new update the program is more capable than ever, adding features like HDR merge and panorama stitching, advanced masking capabilities, and more.

You can get a decent overview of the new features in the 2018 version in the video below:

The main additions to this version of On1 Photo RAW are On1 HDR, panorama stitching, new advanced masking options like Feather and Density that allow you to alter a mask globally, Color range masking, versioning, selective noise reduction, and an updated UI that On1 characterizes as "clean and modern." There's also a new "Paint with Color Brush" that allows you to either paint with a solid color or leave the luminosity of the underlying layer intact to change things like eye or hair color.

You can get a full breakdown of these and other new features on the On1 blog.

The app is being released as a free Beta on Friday, with an official release slated for the end of October. The full app—which promises 'much more' when it arrives after the beta period—will cost $120 for new users, while current On1 users will have the option to upgrade for a discounted price of just $80 (usually $100). Both the full version and upgrade package are already available for pre-order.

To learn more about the app or pre-order your copy, head over to the On1 blog by clicking here.

Categories: Equipment

Cravar unveils new Rana Series of leather messenger bags for photographers

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 6:50pm

Leather goods company Cravar has launched a new range of Rana Series messenger bags, and its attempting to crowdfund the release through Kickstarter. The new series is comprised of four leather messenger bags designed for photographers to use as either a camera bag or an everyday carry. All four bags feature solid brass hardware, a full grain veg-tanned leather exterior, closed-cell foam padding, and an interior made with linen and Sunbrella fabrics.

The Cravar Rana Series is comprised of the Rana 7, Rana 10, Rana 13, and Rana 15 leather messenger bags—each number approximates the bag's width.

The Rana 15 is the largest of the bunch, and is able to accommodate most 15" laptops as well as a full-frame DSLR and three lenses or more, depending on the size of said lenses. The bag has an aluminum-reinforced top flap, three vertical and two stack dividers, a luggage handle slot, two front pockets, and one rear pocket.

Similar, but slightly smaller, is the Rana 13 which is also able to fit a full-frame DSLR and three or more lenses, in addition to a smaller 13" laptop. The Rana 10, meanwhile, can fit a full-frame DSLR, two or more lenses, and a 9.7 - 10.5" tablet. Finally, Rana 7 can accommodate a full-frame DSLR and one or more lenses, depending on size, plus an iPad mini or other small tablet.

Cravar is offering the Rana Series bags at the following Kickstarter pledge prices ahead of the higher planned retail costs (assuming the bags are successfully funded and brought to market):

  • Rana 7: $165 or more
  • Rana 10: $195 or more
  • Rana 13: $245 or more
  • Rana 15: $275 or more

To learn more about these bags or order your own, head over to Kickstarter. Shipping to backers is expected to start in February 2018.

Categories: Equipment

DxOMark: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 ties iPhone 8 Plus as best ever smartphone camera

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 6:34pm

News that Apple's new iPhone 8 Plus had suddenly taken the top spot on DxOMark's smartphone camera rankings was met with the expected range of praise and critique—everything from "of course, iPhone's are awesome cameras" to "how much did Apple pay DxOMark for this result!?" But it turns out the iPhone 8 Plus' ranking as the best smartphone camera DxOMark had ever tested didn't last very long.

As of today, the iPhone 8 Plus has been tied by the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which significantly bested its Photo score and only tied the iPhone 8 Plus overall because Apple's smartphone does so much better in the video category.

The full breakdown of the results can be found on DxOMark, but this comparison between the two phones' scores speaks volumes:

The Photo categories where the Note 8 really outperformed the iPhone include Autofocus (94 vs 74) and Zoom, where the Note 8 got a score of 66 to the iPhone's 51. DxOMark's conclusion is appropriately praiseworthy:

When all the tests are verified, the scores calculated, and the perceptual analyses discussed, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 comes out as an outstanding choice for the smartphone photography enthusiast, matching the top overall score of 94 points of the iPhone 8 Plus. Dual-cam setups offering a second telephoto zoom for portraits are a real step forward for high-end smartphone photography, and the implementation on the Note 8 is exceptional, making it the best smartphone for zoom shots we’ve tested.

Read DxO's full thoughts and see all of their sample and test photos at this link. And if you're an Android user in need of some serious photography power from you smartphone, the Galaxy Note 8 should definitely make it to the top of your list.

Categories: Equipment