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Equipment

New gear and impressions: Peak Design's 'Leash' shoulder and 'Cuff' wrist strap

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 9:00am
The new Peak Design Cuff in the 'ash' color (top) and new Peak Design Leash in the 'black on black' color (bottom). The addition of metal hardware to both these products is a major part of the update, though I personal prefer plastic hardware because it won't scratch my camera.

I’ve long admired Peak Design products because they offer an elegant and simple solution to the chore that is removing and replacing one’s camera strap, something I do a lot of working at DPReview.

The ‘secret sauce’ of the Peak Design system is what the company calls ‘Anchor Links,’ which are small loops of incredibly strong cord connected to a circular plastic anchor. The cord threads through a camera’s eyelet and the anchor attaches to a Peak Design shoulder or wrist strap.

The company’s Leash (camera strap) and Cuff (wrist strap) have been available for a while, but this update should offer some nice improvements to two already well-thought-out products.

What’s new

  • Both products have been re-worked for a more low profile design, and feature machine anodized aluminum hardware. The strap portion is still made out of ultra strong seatbelt-style nylon.
  • The Anchor Links have also been redesigned: The cord portion has been reduced to half the thickness for easier threading through narrow eyelets, but still holds up to 200 lbs like the older anchors. The plastic portion of the anchor is now angled for easier connecting.
  • A new aluminum anchor mount (included with leash) can be connected to a tripod socket allowing you to wear your camera more comfortably as a sling.
  • The updated Leash gains a second length adjuster. The hardware for the adjuster is now made of aluminum instead of plastic, and the adjuster has a leather strip for easy access.
  • The Cuff gains a new aluminum adjustment mechanism. There's also a built in magnet in the leather portion of the strap for storing as a bracelet when a camera is not attached.
  • New color options: In addition to 'black on black', there is now an ‘ash’ color option which features tan leather accents and silver aluminum.

Impressions: the Leash

The new and improved Leash, in use. To remove the strap, simply press on the circular portion of the anchor and slide it up.

In my seven or so years writing about cameras, it brings a small tear to my eye to think about the cumulative hours spent fumbling to remove and replace camera straps. If only I'd started using Peak Design accessories sooner.

I've been using the updated version of the Leash for about a month now as my primary camera-reviewing strap and it's largely been a good experience. Peak Design sent several of their new Anchor Links along with the review samples and I've been able to keep them on the different cameras I've been juggling. The Leash ships with four of these little connectors, and an additional 4 will set you back $20.

The old Anchor Links (left) and the newly-designed ones. Both have the same weight limit.

As mentioned above, the Anchor Links have been redesigned to play nice with narrow eyelets. Still, I ran into several occasions in which I struggled to affix them to certain cameras. Ultimately with the help of a push pin, I found success.

Back to the strap itself: I'm quite fond of the width of the Leash. Thick straps tend to get in my way and irritate my neck. And the nylon material of the Leash seems reassuringly strong.

That said, in general I found the strap too slippery. Sometimes I like to bike with a camera slung around my back. I could not do this with the Leash because my camera kept sliding forward. Simply put, the Leash could definitely benefit from some sort of grip or padding.

It's nice to have two points of adjustment though (the previous version had one). However I can't help but feel like the leather strip connected to the buckle – meant for easy adjustments – is over-engineered. Grabbing the buckle alone seems like an adequate method of adjusting. Furthermore, the leather strip makes loosening the strap easy, but tightening the strap is another story.

After a fair trial, I do not think I would purchase a Leash to use on my personal camera. More likely: I will consider Frankenstein-ing my current leather strap to use Peak Design's Anchor Links and Strap Connectors for easy removable.

Impressions: the Cuff

I had less opportunity to try out the Cuff (I've been testing cameras too large to warrant a wrist strap), but I did spend a little time with it on a Ricoh GR as well as a Leica M6. And my impressions of it are almost entirely positive.

The leather portion of the Cuff hides a small magnet that can be moved up around. Why? So that when you are not using the Cuff, you can easily store it out of the way as a bracelet. The Cuff also features a new aluminum adjuster. It simply slides up and down, but works as intended.

When not using the Cuff, it can be folded up and worn like a bracelet. This keeps it out of the way, but at hand, until it is needed again.

One issue I did encounter while testing the Cuff is the nylon loop on the Anchor Links can feel too short, forcing you to grip the Anchor Connector along with the camera (see image below). Peak Design, if you are reading this, pretty please offer an Anchor Link with a longer cord.

I wish the cord on the Anchor Links were longer to avoid getting in the way of gripping the camera.

The Cuff may be a tad overkill for a camera as small and light as the Ricoh GR (shown above) but proved appropriate for shooting with a Leica M6 + 40mm Rokkor combo. It also looked darn nice attached to the latter.

Conclusion

Overall, as far as quick attaching strap systems go, I’ve yet to find one I like better. Both of these products are well-made and seem both reliable and durable. Though there are aspects of the Leash I still feel could be improved upon, the Cuff is one of the best-engineered and nicest-looking wrist straps I've used.

Overall, as far as quick attaching strap systems go, I’ve yet to find one I prefer more. Both these products are well-made and seem both reliable and durable.

The original Leash and Cuff retailed for $20 and $35 respectably. The new versions are $30 and $40. For a decent camera strap, $40 does not strike me as outrageous, but $30 for a wrist strap is certainly on the pricey side. Ultimately, I think I could justify the latter purchase, because there really isn't any wrist strap quite like the updated Leash (especially the magnet bit). And the 'ash' color option sure looks fly. I'll probably skip the Leash though.

What I like about the system:

  • Peak Design’s Anchor Links make it simple to remove and replace a strap
  • The cord portion of the Anchor Links is now narrower than before for cameras with small eyelets
  • New ‘Ash’ colorway is quite sharp-looking

What I didn’t like about the system:

  • Metal hardware on a shoulder/wrist strap can scratch your camera
  • The loop on Anchors Link is too short, gets in the way of gripping some cameras
I am not a fan of the new easy-grip strap adjusters on the Leash. They make it easy to loosen to the strap but difficult to tighten it.

What I like about the Leash:

  • Narrow strap with mostly low-profile design stays out of the way when shooting
  • Two strap adjustments points

What I didn’t like about the Leash:

  • Leash has has no grip to stop it from sliding or padding for shoulder
  • Leash quick adjusters feel over-engineered and have difficult time tightening the strap
The Cuff in 'ash' has a classy look.

What I like about the Cuff:

  • Movable magnet in Cuff is a nice touch, makes it easy to store wrist strap as bracelet when not in use
  • New strap adjuster is simple but effective way to tighten or loosen the Cuff

What I didn’t like about the Cuff:

  • $30 is a tad pricey for a wrist strap
Categories: Equipment

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / EOS 200D Shooting Experience

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 8:00am

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The EOS Rebel SL2 (known as the EOS 200D outside of North America) is Canon's second-generation ultra-compact digital SLR. The SL2 is largely packed with Canon's latest tech, including Dual Pixel AF, a DIGIC 7 processor, Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth, and a new user interface for beginners.

While its small size may lead one to believe that it's an entry-level model, similar to Nikon's D3400, the SL2 actually sits above the bottom-end Rebel T6 (EOS 1300D), which costs $150 less.

The SL2's main competitor is the aforementioned Nikon D3400, which is just a tad larger and heavier. The SL2s' other peers are all mirrorless and include (in our opinion) the Canon EOS M5, Panasonic DMC-GX85 and the Sony a6000 which, after 3+ years on the market, is still competitive.

Key Features

  • 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Dual Pixel autofocus (for live view and video)
  • 9-point autofocus (through the viewfinder)
  • DIGIC 7 processor
  • 3" fully articulating touchscreen LCD
  • 5 fps burst shooting
  • 1080/60p video
  • External mic input
  • Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth
  • Available 'Feature Assistant' user interface

Just about everything in that list is Canon's latest and greatest, and the external microphone input is a nice extra. The one feature that's not new is the 9-point autofocus system that you'll use when shooting through the viewfinder – it's identical to what's found the original SL1, which is over four years old. You'll get a much better focusing experience by shooting in live view, which uses Canon's excellent Dual Pixel AF technology.

Compared to...

Now let's take a look at how the specs compare between the the SL2 and the peers mentioned a few paragraphs earlier.

Canon SL2 Nikon D3400 Canon M5 Panasonic GX85 Sony a6000
Resolution 24MP 24MP 24MP 16MP 24MP
Sensor size APS-C APS-C APS-C Four Thirds APS-C
Lens mount EF F EF-M Micro 4/3 E
Image stab. Lens-based Lens-based Lens-based In-camera Lens-based
AF system (live view) Dual Pixel Contrast-detect Hybrid
(Dual Pixel)
Contrast-detect Hybrid
AF system (viewfinder) 9-point 11-point N/A N/A N/A
LCD 3" fully articulating 3" fixed 3.2" tilting 3" tilting 3" tilting
Touchscreen Yes No Yes Yes No
Viewfinder type/mag. OVF / 0.54x OVF / 0.57x EVF / N/A EVF / 0.7x EVF / 0.7x
# control dials 1 1 2 2 2
Video 1080/60p 1080/60p 1080/60p UHD 4K/30p 1080/60p
Wireless1 Wi-Fi + NFC + BT BT Wi-Fi + NFC + BT Wi-Fi + NFC Wi-Fi + NFC
Battery life2 650 (OVF)
260 (LV)
1200 (OVF)
N/A (LV)
295 (LV) 290 (LV) 360 (LV)
Dimensions (mm) 122x93x70 124x98x76 116x89x61 122x71x44 120x67x45
Weight 453 g 445 g 427 g 426 g 344 g

Strictly comparing the SL2 and D3400 you'll see that they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. While there are 'little things' like the type of LCD, viewfinder size and wireless functionality, live view autofocus is the main differentiator. It's simply no contest there, with the SL2's AF system blowing away the D3400 in live view and movie mode.

With the exception of the Sony a6000, the SL2 is close in weight, and not far of in size, to the three mirrorless cameras in the group. All three of the mirrorless cameras have an additional control dial, making exposure adjustment quick, and their EVFs are larger than the optical viewfinders on both dSLRs. None of the mirrorless models can compare to the DSLRs in terms of battery life, but only when you're using the latter with their optical viewfinder.

Categories: Equipment

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 sample gallery

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 8:00am
Photo by Barney Britton

The Canon EOS Rebel SL2's diminutive size makes it very easy to carry around, despite some impressive tech under its skin. With the same sensor and processor as the more expensive Rebel T7i and EOS 77D, we've had high hopes that this small camera would put out big image quality for its price point, and we weren't disappointed. From the zoo to the islands and even to a very dim pinball joint, take a look through our gallery to see what the EOS Rebel SL2 can do with a variety of both prime and zoom lenses.

See our Canon EOS Rebel SL2 sample gallery

Categories: Equipment

Throwback Thursday: the iPhone 4S

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 6:00am
Credit: Gabriele Barni

Late 2011 was a period of big changes for me. I had just finished up college, an internship, and landed my first 'big boy' job at Puget Sound Energy doing photo and video for their communications department. It was also around this time that I got my very first smartphone, an act which would forever change my perspectives on photography.

Okay, well, it was my second smartphone that did that. My first was a Blackberry Bold, which was a Puget Sound Energy company phone, and I very briefly thought that it was amazing. I was wrong. You see, wanting to keep my work and personal life somewhat separate, I figured I should purchase my own smartphone for personal use. So I picked up a just-released iPhone 4S, and the Blackberry felt prehistoric in comparison.

With a decent camera in my pocket at all times, I of course started an Instagram account and promptly put a photo of a bagel sandwich up for all the world to see. Yes, this is literally the first image on my Instagram profile, and it's probably damaging my credibility to this day.

A lot of people credit cell phone cameras with the death of the compact camera, but I think the iPhone 4S was one of the first cell phones with quality that could really rival the PowerShots and Coolpix's of the day. In high school, VGA camera phones were all the rage, but a lot of us still carried around a dedicated compact camera for 'real' photos.*

But with the iPhone 4S, you got an 8MP sensor, a reasonably fast F2.4 lens, 1080p HD video recording and a Retina high-density display that was probably the best display I'd ever seen up until that point. Suddenly, for an average consumer to get appreciably better image quality, you had to step up to a reasonably high-end camera, and that's why I think the iPhone 4S was the final nail in the compact camera's coffin.**

Of course the Sony RX100 came out the following summer and, though it did inspire eventual competition and somewhat stemmed the hemorrhaging sales of compact cameras, the $650 MSRP was a sign that dedicated photography tools capable of truly better output than a phone were going to be pushing ever further up-market. In other words, further out of the reach of average consumers, reinforcing for those consumers that a camera someone already has on his or her phone is going to be good enough.***

For the benefit of mankind and my personal friendships, I got over my strange obsession with posting images of my meals, and started taking pictures of other things. Cropped to taste.

In any case, I was lucky enough to have a DSLR at the time for more serious work, but whenever I didn't want to lug that around, the iPhone 4S was there. I even ended up preferring the phone to an original Olympus Pen Mini for casual photography because of its speed, overall image quality and the ability to quickly share images to the web. Without Google Drive or Wi-Fi pairing, it was an ordeal to get images onto the iPhone from any source other than the internal camera.

In fact, looking back on my own photos from early on with the 4S, I'm struck by how often I thought that an Instagram filter was an improvement, when really, some more careful framing and more conservative editing would have been better advised. But maybe there's more to it. I can see now that the iPhone 4S's camera was good enough that it wasn't the limiting factor for me at the time, it was just my own skill and taste (or in this case, a lack thereof).

This is one of the less egregious crooked horizons and 'filter jobs' I could find on the early days of my Instagram account, but it still looks darn overcooked to me these days.

Something about how most of the images I can find from this camera are uploaded and super compressed and all that.

As I grew in my career and as a photographer, I ended up getting a cheap Moto G when the iPhone 4S started to feel a little dated. I should have known better. I had become absolutely addicted to having at least a decent camera in my pocket at all times, and images from the Moto G just looked washout out and 'cheap' in comparison to the iPhone, despite having the same 8MP resolution.

That 'addiction' to a decent camera is something that has reached epidemic proportions throughout the world. For better or for worse, photography has been democratized and commoditized, and there just isn't any going back – and while yes, we can thank smartphones in general for that, the iPhone 4S was one of the more influential players in changing the way that we view smartphone cameras and smartphone photography.

Photo by Scott Everett

* 'Real' photos usually included my 1980 Datsun 210, or trying to perfectly time the shooting of an unopened soda can with a bow and arrow. You know. High school kid stuff.

** The advent of 1080p video capture in phones is also probably why Flip and other pocket camcorders disappeared seemingly overnight.

*** After having gotten used to the iPhone 4S, I still thought for a while I had a need for a cheap, carry-everywhere camera, maybe with an optical zoom. So I got a Canon PowerShot A1200 at Costco, and the photos were absolutely horrible in comparison to the phone. For a long while, I swore off ever having a camera that lay somewhere between my iPhone and my D80.

Categories: Equipment

NPPA says LA public park photography ban is unconstitutional

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 4:56pm
LA instituted a blanket ban on photography in Pershing Square during the Downtown Stage summer concerts, but the NPPA, ACLU, and others say the ban is unconstitutional. Photo: Visitor7

A photography ban that is being 'strictly enforced' in a Los Angeles public park during a series free concerts has been branded ‘unconstitutional’ by city and national media and public liberties groups.

The picture-taking ban was put in place by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks at the request of the performers of the Pershing Square Downtown Stage summer concerts that are being held in the Pershing Square public park. However, freedom groups including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have complained the ban is at odds with the First Amendment of the American Constitution.

As the park is a public space, the City is acting unlawfully by restricting the rights of citizens and the media to record the events, and it doesn’t have the power to overrule constitutional rights, according to lawyers working for a group of bodies fighting the ban.

The National Press Photographers Association, Society of Professional Journalists/Los Angeles Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists/National, California Broadcasters Association, Electronic Frontier Foundation, American Photographic Artists, American Society of Media Photographers, Digital Media Licensing Association, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Professional Photographers of America, Radio and Television Digital News Association, and Reporters Without Borders have got together with the ACLU to prepare a letter that was sent to the City department in which the collective protests the ban and states why it is unlawful.

The group specifically objects to a clause in the terms and conditions of the concerts that states that even photography and videography made on iPads will not be allowed:

(1) Cameras/Photography: At the request of the artist/performer, video, photo and audio devices are prohibited at Pershing Square’s Downtown Stage Saturday concerts. This includes Pro cameras, monopods, tripods, selfie sticks, iPads or professional photography/video equipment of any type. This policy will be strictly enforced due to contractual agreement.

"There should be no restrictions on photography and videography in Pershing Square during the Summer Concert Series or at any other time," reads the letter. "Even assuming the photography ban is being applied in a content-neutral manner, the rule is still unconstitutional."

“Unfortunately, the NPPA sees these type of onerous restrictions far too often nationwide," Mickey Osterreicher, the general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, said in a statement. "It is still extremely difficult to understand how the City of Los Angeles and its attorneys could believe they had the authority to contractually agree to a request barring photography and recording along with audio-visual devices from a traditionally public forum such as Pershing Square during certain events.”

The restrictions at the events also cover the ability of attendees to record audio and to distribute leaflets, which are also considered to be unconstitutional considering the freedoms that are inherent in public forums.

For more information see the NPPA and ACLU websites.

You can read the full letter, which the NPPA helped to draft, sent from the ACLU to the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks below:

August 3, 2017

Via E-Mail
Mr. Mike Feuer
Los Angeles City Attorney
James K Hahn City Hall East, Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Mr. Michael A. Shull
Los Angeles Dept. of Rec. and Parks, General Manager
221 N Figueroa St., 3rd Floor, Suite 350
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Dear Messrs. Feuer and Shull:

I am writing on behalf of the National Press Photographers Association, Society of Professional Journalists/Los Angeles Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists/National, California Broadcasters Association, Electronic Frontier Foundation, American Photographic Artists, American Society of Media Photographers, Digital Media Licensing Association, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Professional Photographers of America, Radio and Television Digital News Association, and Reporters Without Borders about City rules and policies that apply to Pershing Square, particularly to the Summer Concert series, that violate the First Amendment. Because Pershing Square is a public forum, any restrictions on First Amendment activities there must be content-neutral, reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions. The existing policies providing for a total ban on photography/videography and an arbitrary permitting scheme for circulating pamphlets at the Downtown Stage Summer Concert Series are facially unconstitutional, as will be shown below.

Accordingly, I request that these policies be modified to comport with the United States Constitution. Namely, there should be no restrictions on photography and videography in Pershing Square during the Summer Concert Series or at any other time. Additionally, distribution of pamphlets, flyers, or other printed, non-commercial materials is a protected First Amendment right and should not be limited either.

The Summer Concert Series Policies at Issue
The ACLU’s First Amendment concerns relate to the stated policies of the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks listed on the department’s website1. The specific policies at issue are as follows:

(1) Cameras/Photography: At the request of the artist/performer, video, photo and audio devices are prohibited at Pershing Square’s Downtown Stage Saturday concerts. This includes Pro cameras, monopods, tripods, selfie sticks, iPads or professional photography/video equipment of any type. This policy will be strictly enforced due to contractual agreement.

(2) Flyers/Handouts/Product Samples: The distribution of promotional items, flyers or printed materials is not permitted without written permission of Pershing Square. The sampling and distribution of products is prohibited without a venue permit.

When contacted about the specifics of the second policy, the Department of Recreation and Parks redirected the ACLU to the Pershing Square office to answer questions regarding permitting criteria. An employee of the park later informed the ACLU that “in general” distribution of expressive materials is not allowed at Pershing Square at any time. When asked what authority governed this rule, that same employee vaguely referred the ACLU to a “post order” issued by the local police department. The ACLU has since contacted the Central Community Police Station and requested the “post order” but has yet to receive a response.

Legal Standard
Governmental restrictions on expressive activity like photography and leafletting are subject to the most searching scrutiny when they apply in public fora. See Perry Education Assn. v. Perry Local Educators’ Assn., 460 U.S. 37, 45 (1983) (“[In the public forum,] the rights of the state to limit expressive activity are sharply circumscribed.”) Courts engage in “forum analysis” to determine the validity of speech restrictions applied to a given piece of government owned or controlled property. See Walker v. Texas Div., Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 2239, 2250 (2015) (recognizing that “‘forum analysis’ [is applied] to evaluate government restricts on purely private speech that occurs on government property.”) Federal courts classify government-owned property into three categories for purposes of forum analysis(1) traditional public forums; (2) public forums by government designation (areas opened for limited expressive use; and (3) nonpublic forums (which, by tradition or design are not appropriate platforms for unrestrained communications; e.g., military installations and federal workplaces). See Perry, 460 U.S. 37 at 43–47.

Public parks have long been deemed public forums by the United States Supreme Court. See Perry, 460 U.S. 37 at 45 (“[A]t one end of the spectrum are streets and parks which ‘have immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public.”). Governmental actors may only restrict expressive activity in a public forum through reasonable time, place, and manner regulations. Id. However, when the government seeks to enforce a content-based prohibition in these spaces, its regulations must be narrowly-tailored to further a compelling state interest. Id. Pershing Square is a public forum, and remains one during the Summer Concert Series. The Park does not suddenly become a non-public forum even if the City in some way yields control of the park to a concert promoter or other private party during the concerts, contrary to the City’s belief and practice. See Rule 1 on Cameras/Photography (“This policy will be strictly enforced due to contractual agreement”).

Numerous courts have rejected the argument that private contracting over traditional public forums abrogates the government’s First Amendment obligations. The Second Circuit, for instance, has held that a publicly-funded stadium managed by a private company under a long-term lease was still a public forum. See Paulsen v. County of Nassau, 925 F.2d 65, 69–70 (2d Cir. 1991) (pointing to the intent of the government in creating the forum, the fact that the private contractor was to "operate[] [the stadium] in the interests of the County," and the history of consistent practice of allowing the enjoyment of First Amendment rights, parades, political rallies, speeches, etc., as objective evidence that stadium was a public forum by government designation). The Tenth Circuit has similarly held that a public sidewalk sold by Salt Lake City to a church organization was still considered a public forum, even while technically owned by the church. First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City v. Salt Lake City Corp., 308 F. 3d 1114, 1123-24 (10th Cir. 2002).

Because the City retained an easement on the sidewalk and because of the property’s objective characteristics, the Tenth Circuit rejected the argument that the sale of the land transformed the sidewalk into a non-public forum where First Amendment activities could be absolutely restricted. Id. at 1124–25. The objective characteristics the court looked to in determining whether the sidewalk was a public forum were (1) whether the property shares “physical similarities” with more traditional public forums; (2) whether the government has permitted broad public access to the property; (3) whether expressive activity would “tend to interfere in a significant way with the uses to which the government has as a factual matter dedicated the property”; and (4) whether the property has traditionally been open to the public. Id. at 1125 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Here, factor one is met because even during the concert series – the park maintains its typical physical characteristics, mirroring other public parks across the City.

Factor two is met; indeed, the concert series is free and open to the public. Factor three is met as well; the concert itself is actually devoted to expressive activity, the playing of music, the sharing of ideas through sound. Therefore, the activity that the government seeks to restrict here would not interfere with the temporary use that the park is devoted to, it is instead part-and-parcel with that use. Lastly, factor four is met; Pershing Square has been open to the public for more than one-hundred years and according to the park’s website, its role as a location for expressive activity dates back to 1918.2 Thus, Pershing Square is a public forum during the Summer Concert Series.

Analysis
Because the park is a public forum, the question becomes whether the rules at issue, enforced by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks are reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions.

Video/Photo/Audio Device Prohibition
Private citizens have a First Amendment right to record film/audio and take photographs in public. See Turner v. Driver, 848 F.3d 678, 689 (5th Cir. 2017) (recognizing that the First Amendment’s protects “the right to film”.); Am. Civil Liberties Union of Illinois v. Alvarez, 679 F.3d 583, 595 (7th Cir. 2012) (“The act of making an audio or audiovisual recording is necessarily included within the First Amendment's guarantee of speech and press rights as a corollary of the right to disseminate the resulting recording. The right to publish or broadcast an audio or audiovisual recording would be insecure, or largely ineffective, if the antecedent act of making the recording is wholly unprotected, as the State's Attorney insists.”); Fordyce v. City of Seattle, 55 F.3d 436, 439 (9th Cir. 1995); Crago v. Leonard, 2014 WL 3849954 at *3 (E.D. Cal. 2014) (“As early as 1995, the Ninth Circuit has recognized a ‘First Amendment right to film matters of public interest.’”); see also Fields v. City of Phila., 2017 WL 2884391 (3d Cir. 2017) (clarifying that the First, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals have recognized a First Amendment right to record police activity in public)’

Thus, the government may only regulate photography and recording at the Summer Concert Series via reasonable time, manner, and place restrictions. To sustain a time, place, and manner restriction on First Amendment activities, the government must show that the restriction (a) is content-neutral, (b) is narrowly tailored to serve a significant government purpose, and (c) leaves open ample alternative channels of communication. See Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 491 U.S. 781, 789 (1989).

Even assuming the photography ban is being applied in a content-neutral manner, the rule is still unconstitutional. For one, the government does not have a clear, significant interest in a blanket ban on photography and videography at free, public concerts. Perhaps the City believes that the ban serves to protect the copyright interests of performers. If so, the ban is unconstitutionally overbroad because it prohibits a large range of activities that do not violate copyright law. First, many people will use their cameras, iPhones, etc. to take selfies, or to share video clips with friends on Facebook, with no intent to use them for commercial purposes. These uses are generally lawful “fair uses” Similarly, freelance and media photographers or critics may

take photographs or video for inclusion in media outlets. Journalistic and critical uses do not violate copyright law either, even if the freelance photographer is paid by a media outlet, or the media outlet publishes them in a newspaper that is sold. In the event that an individual goes beyond the bounds of "fair use" and violates the rights of a performer, copyright law provides a more than adequate remedy. See, e.g., CAL. CIV. CODE. § 3344(a) (West 1984). Thus, a blanket ban on recording is not narrowly tailored to satisfy this – or any other – important interest.


Flyer/Handout/Product Sample Prohibition

The distribution of expressive materials in public is also protected by the First Amendment. See Hague v. Comm. For Indus. Org., 307 U.S. 496 (1939) (deeming facially unconstitutional a municipal ordinance that prohibited leafletting on “any street or public place” without a permit); Klein v. City of San Clemente, 584 F.3d 1196 (9th Cir. 2009) (affirming preliminary injunction against law banning leafletting on parked cars); Foti v. City of Menlo Park, 146 F.3d 629 (9th Cir. 1998) (deeming facially unconstitutional a municipal ordinance in California that banned signs placed on vehicles parked in public roadways designed to “attract the attention of the public”). Therefore, the same standard used to analyze the validity of the video/photo/audio device prohibition applies here: any regulation must be reasonable as to time, place, and manner and comport with the standard established under Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 491 U.S. at 789.


As is the case for the photography/videography ban, the City will be unable to demonstrate that the ban on leafletting without permission is consistent with the First Amendment for two reasons. First, the permitting system in place is so arbitrary that it invites discrimination and thus, is facially unconstitutional. The current rule, as written on the Pershing Square website3, contains no criteria whereby officials decide whether to allow or reject a permit application. Nor does that website provide a link to download or submit a permit application. Officials at the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks also report that there is “no uniform department policy on how permits are issued” and that “case-by-case permitting decisions are made on site [at the Summer Concert Series].” The lack of a permitting policy from the Department results in a “standardless discretion” possessed by the government, which is clearly inconsistent with the First Amendment. See Forsyth County, Ga. v. Nationalist Movement, 505 U.S. 123, 140 (1992).


Second, if the City were to simply ban leafletting without effectuating its arbitrary permitting system, that ban is overbroad, even if the City were to assert valid interests it is trying to further through the ban. See generally Klein v. City of San Clemente, 584 F.3d 1196, 1202 (9th Cir. 2009) (“As both this court and the Supreme Court have repeatedly emphasized, ‘merely invoking interests ... is insufficient. The government must also show that the proposed communicative activity endangers those interests.’”) (citation omitted).

Examples of possible legitimate interests for a restriction on distribution of expressive materials are relieving overcrowding, expediting traffic flow, and maintaining the privacy and quiet enjoyment of civilians. See Saieg v. City of Dearborn, 641 F.3d 727, 736 (6th Cir. 2011); City of Watseka, 796 F.2d 1547, 1550 (1986). But courts are highly unlikely to conclude that a leafletting ban is narrowly tailored to those asserted interests. Concerts are inherently noisy and crowded; thus, the government cannot claim to have a legitimate interest in maintaining privacy, relieving overcrowding, or expediting traffic flow because such an interest would cut against the natural and foreseeable results of the government’s own actions here, putting on the Summer Concert Series. Nor can the City justify its ban by asserting a desire to prevent littering because there are obvious, far less restrictive means to solve the problem, e.g., enforcing the city’s littering laws, which undercut the government’s position. See e.g., Schneider v. State of New Jersey, Town of Irvington, 308 U.S. 147, 163 (1939) (“There are obvious methods of preventing littering. Amongst these is the punishment of those who actually throw papers on the streets.”). Moreover, the City does not ban people attending the concert series from bringing food, coffee, newspapers, and other materials to the Summer Concert series, and it is hard to believe that leafletting would add significantly to the amount of litter the City is already prepared to deal with. See Klein, 584 F.3d at 120-2-03.

Conclusion
In sum, neither the photography/videography ban nor the arbitrary permitting scheme for distribution of expressive materials will be upheld in court as valid time, place, and manner restrictions on the First Amendment. In fact, the City of Los Angeles has already lost at the Ninth Circuit on one of these issues. See Gerritsen v. City of Los Angeles, 994 F.2d 570, 575–77 (9th Cir. 1993) (holding a similarly restrictive “handbill-distribution scheme” in El Pueblo Park unconstitutional). Though the United States Constitution and the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence are clear on this issue, the decision from the Ninth Circuit in Gerritsen sent a striking message to the City of Los Angeles: local government may not arbitrarily infringe upon its citizens’ First Amendment rights in public parks. The fact that the City has chosen to promulgate and enforce rules that violate these rights for the second time in just over twenty years makes it likely that a court would deny qualified immunity if anyone who was prohibited from leafletting or taking pictures were to bring a suit for damages. Accordingly, the ACLU urges the City to eliminate its rules restricting First Amendment activity in Pershing Square or, at the very least, modify them to comport with the United States Constitution.


Please contact me within the next 10 days to ensure that steps are being taken to solve these problems. If the City intends to stand by these restrictions, the ACLU will consider all appropriate action to address these constitutional violations.

Sincerely,

Peter J. Eliasberg
Chief Counsel/
Manheim Family Attorney
For First Amendment Rights

Categories: Equipment

Capturing the 'Cape': A beautiful piece of Iceland you probably haven't seen

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 3:49pm
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In 2013 I was accepted for a one month artist in residence at the Baer Art Center in northern Iceland. After a wonderful month the other four artists and myself were taken on a boat trip up the coast, right past where we were staying, to the see “Cape” just north of Hofsos, a large land mass of mostly stone with a huge cliff at one end. I don’t know that I’ve been the same since.

Although I’d been told to bring what gear I had I was totally unprepared for what we saw that day. The geological phenomena of these rock columns of basalt being thrust up in ancient times from a violent volcano was just unbelievable, both beautiful and horrific at the same time.

I am writing this for DPReview while back in Iceland, as I was asked back by Baer to teach a photo workshop. Last week we repeated the boat trip up the coast of the fjord and I found myself again in front of the remarkable cliff face of the “Cape”. It was magic once again.

The job was, vey simply, not to screw up. Working to hold the camera steady on a rocking boat, to keep shutter settings fast enough, to make sure I was focused best for my subject and aperture setting and to “get everything”, as there was no going back that day.

To get to the Cape you’ll need to hire an excursion boat in the harbor in Hofsos, in northern Iceland.

Not to be missed.

Neal Rantoul is a career artist and educator. After 10 years teaching at Harvard and 30 years as head of the Photo Program at Northeastern University in Boston, he retired from teaching in 2012. You can find out more about him and see more of his work by visiting his website.

Categories: Equipment

Instagram and Snapchat expected to hit $10B and $3B in revenue by 2019

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 3:03pm

Instagram and Snap Inc., the company behind Snapchat, are expected to see massive revenue growth over the next couple years, according to a research note released by Citi Research. If Citi's predictions pan out, Instagram will reach almost $10 billion in revenue by 2019, while the smaller but highly popular Snapchat may hit the $3 billion mark. The reasons for each apps' growth differ, however.

As far as Instagram goes, the company enjoys a massive user base of about 500 million, which is largely behind the anticipated growth. Snapchat, by comparison, boasts a much smaller user base of about 170 million, but those users spend much more time on the app than Instagram's users. According to Citi, Snapchat users are spending more than 30 minutes on the app per day on average.

Both companies are facing an increasing number of competitors, Snapchat in the form of cloned features like Facebook and Instagram Stories, whereas Instagram is competing with the likes of VSCO, EyeEm, and similar platforms. Still, for now it doesn't look like either of these photo sharing behemoths have anything to fear but... well... each other.

Categories: Equipment

Lonely Planet unveils Instagram-like Trips app for sharing travel photos and tips

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 1:43pm

Lonely Planet, the world's largest travel guide book publisher, has just launched an Instagram-like mobile app called Trips that allows anyone to share their travel photos and create their own travel guides. The app, which is only available for iOS at the moment, serves as a platform for users to catalog trips they've taken and publish guides for the places they've visited. The guides include text, photos and captions, though the app's main focus is ultimately on sharing photos.

Lonely Planet describes its new app as "a beautiful, simple and intuitive way to share travel experiences." Each user has their own timeline, and their content can be shared with both other travelers using the app as well as family and friends.

Speaking to Engadget, Lonely Planet CEO Daniel Houghton explained, "We don't expect people to abandon other photo-sharing apps." Underscoring that there is an option in Trips for users to link to their Instagram account and show off the photos they have shared on that platform.

For travelers, though, Trips offers a way to share content that is more trip-focused than what's possible on photo sharing services like Instagram. In addition to being able to arrange photos chronologically in trip reports, users can also add a map to their report, better enabling viewers to see exactly where the adventure took place. Plus, Trips can be used in conjunction with Lonely Planet's popular Guides app, which offers travel guides from experts for regions around the world.

Trips is currently only available on iOS. An Android version of the app will arrive later this fall.

Categories: Equipment

Inspiration: All the reasons why you shouldn't be a photographer

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 11:38am

If you've ever felt down, defeated, unmotivated, uncertain and unsure whether you should go on being a photographer, then this video is for you. And since all of us, at one time or another, have felt this way; this video is for all of us. Put together by visual artist Simon Cade of DSLRguide, it tackles the most common insecurities and uncertainties that make any artist, photographers included, want to just give up and quit.

There's real power in voicing these insecurities, in letting other photographers and creatives know that they're not alone. And over the course of two and a half minutes Cade hits just about all of them.

  • "I don't have the money to make what I want to make."
  • "I don't have the time to make what I want to make."
  • "I don't have the talent."
  • "I don't have the work ethic."
  • "I don't have the creativity."
  • "I'll never be as good as the greats."

How many times have thoughts like this run through your head? If you're a creative in any respect—be it an amateur with dreams of shooting professionally, or a successful professional experiencing one of those periodic ruts we all find ourselves in from time to time—chances are good the answer is "all the freaking time."

Cade's hope, what he's trying to inspire us all to do with this short, poignant video, he expresses at the end of the video:

"One day, I hope to ignore my insecurities, set aside my doubts of fine art, have the backbone to push through all of those reasons why not. But most of all, one day I'd like to be as carefree as a child painting a page with delight. Because kids don't worry themselves with the reasons why not. They throw paint at the page just to see what the colors do... cause, why not?"

Categories: Equipment

Corel launches PaintShop Pro 2018 with improved editing tools and faster performance

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 10:47am

Corel just released PaintShop Pro 2018, the latest version of its image editing and graphic design software suite. For this latest version, the Corel engineers have managed to reduce launch times and create a simplified graphical user interface with a new Dual Workspace Environment. There are also customizable tool bars and a number of improved editing tools, including Crop, Text, Selection, Clone Brush, Gradient Fill, Eraser and the Dropper tool.

In addition PaintShop Pro 2018 gets you ten new color palettes, thirty new brushes, thirty new gradients, thirty new textures and fifteen new patterns. If you decide to opt for the Ultimate edition you'll also have access to a collection of add-ons including Painter Essentials 5, Perfectly Clear 3 SE and After Shot 3.

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Corel's new Photo Video Bundle combines PaintShop Pro 2018 and VideoStudio Pro X10 for a complete photo, design, and video editing package. All software options are available in several languages. PaintShop Pro 2018 will set you back $80 while the Ultimate edition is $100. For the Photo Video bundle you'll have to invest $160.

Press Release

PaintShop Pro 2018 Makes Advanced Photo Editing More Accessible and Affordable Than Ever

Dramatically redesigned interface, accelerated performance, enhanced tools, and loads of all-new creative content jump-start your creative projects

Ottowa, Ontario – Aug. 9, 2017

Corel introduces PaintShop® Pro 2018, the complete photo editing and graphic design suite that offers more speed, flexibility, and creativity than ever before. Enhance your editing experience with a redesigned and customizable user interface that's now friendlier with high-resolution displays and pen and touch devices. Start and finish your next project faster thanks to improved performance under the hood -- and express your creativity with more than 125 pieces of exciting new content including brushes, gradients, textures, and patterns.

"Whether you're looking for professional photo editing power or just getting started, you need software that lets you jump in and be productive right away. PaintShop Pro now lets you choose from two unique interfaces, plus it gives you the ability to customize them to build an editing and design environment that's uniquely your own," said Chris Pierce, Product Manager for Corel Photo. "With PaintShop Pro 2018, we're delivering a dramatically faster, easier, and highly creative experience that's even more accessible and of course, still subscription free."

The new PaintShop Pro 2018 and PaintShop Pro 2018 Ultimate boost productivity with user-requested enhancements and spark creativity with all-new content, including:

  • NEW! Dual Workspace Environment: Introducing two new workspaces designed to match the way you work! New to photo editing or looking to focus on a core set of tools? Try the new Essentials workspace for an easy-to-use, streamlined look. Or, if you're a PaintShop Pro expert, switch to the Complete workspace for a more traditional experience that offers access to the software's complete editing and design capabilities.
  • NEW! Simplified, Touch & Pen-Friendly Interface: Now get more control over features, functionality, and customization. Node size not right? Change it. Scroll bar too small? Make it bigger. New larger icons now make it easy to work on touchscreens, 2-in-1 devices, and high-DPI monitors.
  • ENHANCED! Faster Launch Time & Performance: Time is precious and whether you're launching a program or performing a specific action, no one likes to wait around. PaintShop Pro 2018 launches more than 50% faster than the previous version (X9), while the software's most popular tools now respond with near-instant results. Text Wrapping is faster and Depth of Field adjustments can be achieved 4 times quicker than before.
  • NEW! Customizable Toolbars: Be more productive with larger, easier-to-see icons and use the new Quick Customize feature to update your toolbars with the tools you want at your fingertips.
  • NEW! Color Palettes, Brushes & More Creative Content: Choose from a selection of complementary hues with 10 new Color Palettes, apply artistic strokes with 30 new Brushes, and get creative with 30 new Gradients, 30 new Textures, and 15 new Patterns.

Choose PaintShop Pro 2018 Ultimate, the comprehensive editing kit for photographers, and also receive a collection of add-ons worth more than $250 including:

  • NEW! Painter® Essentials™ 5: Get photo-painting tools that easily transform your pictures into impressive art right before your eyes. Or start sketching, drawing, and painting from scratch using Natural-Media® brushes.
  • NEW! Perfectly Clear 3 SE: Restore details, color, and other elements lost by your camera with the proven, patented corrections. Create a custom look with robust, time-saving presets that let you control multiple adjustments with just one click -- all without leaving PaintShop Pro.
  • AfterShot™ 3: With the addition of AfterShot, get a one-two punch to rival Adobe's Creative Cloud photography subscription, only without the monthly fee -- including, digital asset management, RAW conversion, and adjustment. Take advantage of non-destructive editing that preserves your original, whether you edit one version of your photo or 100.

Photo Video Bundle Delivers a Complete Editing Package

Also introduced today, the Photo Video Bundle brings together PaintShop Pro 2018 and VideoStudio® Pro X10 for a complete photo, design, and video editing package to help tell your story. For more information on the Corel Photo Video Bundle, visit us at www.paintshoppro.com/photo-video-bundle.

Pricing and Availability

PaintShop Pro 2018 and PaintShop Pro 2018 Ultimate are available now in English, German, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Traditional Chinese, and Japanese. Suggested retail pricing (SRP) for PaintShop Pro 2018 is $79.99 (USD/CAN) / EUR 69.99 / £69.99 / $99 AUD. SRP for PaintShop Pro 2018 Ultimate is $99.99 (USD/CAN) / EUR 89.99 / £89.99/ $129 AUD. SRP for PaintShop Pro 2018 and Video Studio X10 bundle is $159.99 (USD/CAN) / EUR 139.99 / £139.99/ $199 AUD. All European pricing includes VAT. Upgrade pricing is available to registered users of all previous versions of PaintShop Pro. For more information or to download a free 30-day trial, please visit www.paintshoppro.com.

To discover how you can bring the power of PaintShop Pro to your business and learn more about volume licensing for commercial or education-based organizations, please visit www.paintshoppro.com/business.

Categories: Equipment

Binded offers one-click US copyright registration for free

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 10:39am

Copyright platform Binded (formely Blockai) has launched a simplified copyright registration tool that allows photographers to register their images with the U.S. Copyright Office for free. That doesn't mean, of course, that the U.S. Copyright Office's registration fee is waived, but rather that Binded doesn't tack its own fee on top of the government's registration cost, making it far and away the cheapest and easiest option for registering photo copyrights.

According to Binded's website, this tool will be 'free forever.' The registration process itself is simple, requiring photographers to first upload the image[s] they want copyrighted with the USCO. A payment of either $35 for a single image or $55 for multiple images is paid to cover the USCO's application fee. The user gets an email receipt once the payment is made, and later on a status notification about the application.

The big benefit here is that the registration process on Binded is far simpler than the U.S. Copyright Office's own online system, which can take a newbie hours to figure out. Plus, it doesn't cost anything unlike alternatives such as LegalZoom, which offers a similar service starting at $114 USD.

As Binded explained to PetaPixel, the company's online registration system can complete the entire application process in as little as one click and as quickly at 9 seconds. This, compared to the USCO's own online system which, based on Binded's testing, can take more than 100 clicks and 20 minutes... if you know what you're doing.

The US Copyright Office still takes between 6 and 8 months to process an application, but at least you'll save yourself a headache at the beginning of the process.

Categories: Equipment

Cascable remote control app adds support for new cameras and geotagging

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 9:59am

Cascable, the iPhone app for remote-controlling DSLRs and mirrorless system cameras has released its latest update. Version 3.0 comes with support for many newer cameras and for the first time also works with models from Fuji and Panasonic. You can find a full compatibility list on the Cascable website.

It's not only support for new cameras, though. The update also includes a new set of geotagging tools. Geotagged images can be viewed on a map and you can tag manually by selecting one or more images and drag-and-dropping them onto the map. Automatic tagging is available as well. The app records your location history while you're out shooting and then syncs your images in a second step.

Additionally, a number of improvements have been made to existing features. For example, a “Zebra Stripes” overlay on the viewfinder image helps detect clipping, with Nikon and Canon cameras you can now zoom the preview image and when editing in the Quick Proof editor, you can now flip and rotate images.

With version 3.0 Cascable has also announced a switch to a more frequent update schedule, scrapping its "feature pack" pricing model. Instead users can now pick between the free Cascable or the Cascable Pro version which is $29.99 as a one-off purchase or $2.99 per month as a subscription. More information is available on the Cascable blog. You can download the app from the Apple App Store.

Categories: Equipment

Why you should consider adding a drone to your photography toolkit

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 9:00am
The Seattle skyline at sunset, photographed from a drone.

Adding a drone to my photography toolkit has been one of the best decisions I've made in my creative career, allowing me to take pictures and videos that I would not have been able to take otherwise. After three years of flying drones for both recreation and commercial projects, I've come to the realization that adding a drone to a photography kit may be essential for remaining relevant.

In this article, I'll give you some examples of how drones have given me the ability to create new and unique perspectives, allowed me to tell more complete stories than I was able to in the past, and how I've been able to offer new products and services that keep me relevant in today's competitive market. This year, in fact, I've delivered a wide range of aerial media projects, including aerial flights for five weddings, two automotive commercials, and a 360 degree aerial panorama. My first drone was the DJI Phantom 3 Pro, and I currently fly with the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, and the newly released DJI Spark.

A big factor in the growth of my wedding photography business has been the ability to differentiate my work through the use of unique compositions that only a drone can provide. Here's one example of an image I took at a wedding last summer.

This aerial photo allowed me to create a sense of place for the wedding, and would have been impossible without a drone.

For this wedding, the couple had specifically requested that I capture a sweeping image of the wedding party as they left the ceremony. I set my drone up for the shot, then sent it up in the sky for the composition that you see below. I captured the moment from a unique perspective, and gave the couple an unforgettable image that they will enjoy for a lifetime. It's pretty cool that it was all made possible by my trusty drone, a tool that has opened up new and exciting opportunities for my photography.

The bride and groom asked me to capture an image of the entire wedding party as they left the ceremony, which was easy to accomplish with a drone.

Drones have also opened up new categories of products that I can offer to my commercial clients. For example, I was recently contacted by a real estate firm looking to showcase a large parcel of land for development. They wanted something really unique to show the mayor of the city, high level banking executives, and other brokers that were coming to watch the presentation.

By using a drone I was able to create the video below, which made it possible to envision the project and how it fit into the surrounding area. Adding a few motion graphics made it even easier for viewers to understand what they were looking at in any particular clip. Quite simply, I could not have created this asset for my client by shooting at ground level.

Additionally, I had recently been researching the use of drones to create 360-degree aerial panoramas, which are basically VR images that can be viewed while wearing a VR headset, such as a Samsung GearVR or Google Cardboard. I decided to make one of these as well in order to provide my client with a more interactive view of the proposed project.

To create the VR image below, I shot 27 Raw images covering a 360-degree sphere using my Phantom 4 Pro, then stitched them together to create a single VR image. My client was able to see all the pertinent information about the surrounding environment, the amenities, and the specifics of the property itself, all in virtual reality from a bird's eye view.

After three years of flying drones, I still get excited about the creative images I can capture by taking my camera into the sky. I always look forward to scouting locations, and really enjoy creating unique compositions that tell a bigger picture than anything I can capture from the ground. Take the picture below of Vancouver, BC, for example.

I decided to go out on a cold and chilly day to visit Granville Island in Vancouver. There was so much to capture when I arrived that I was somewhat overwhelmed. The city was nestled by a gorgeous mountain range, skyscrapers hugging the coastline, and boats made their way under the bridge.

Trying to incorporate all those elements into a single image from the ground would not have been an easy task, but sending the Phantom up 300 feet allowed me to do just that; I captured a sweeping panorama that showcased all those elements in one scene. My drone was the perfect tool to fill in the big picture of what was happening on the ground. For me, this is a prime example of big picture storytelling with a drone.

I was able to create this panorama of Vancouver, BC, by shooting from 300 feet in the air.

Whether you fly your drone for fun or for business, the benefits you gain from adding a drone to your ensemble of photo gear can be creatively and professionally rewarding. I've shared just a couple examples of how I've been able to create unique perspectives for my wedding couples, offer cutting edge new products to my commercial clients, and am able to tell a bigger, and more complete story through the use of my drone, but the possibilities are endless.

As a photographer, one big issue that I still encounter every day is the general public's mixed feelings towards drones. It seems that drones are still viewed as toys, or rather, dangerous flying objects that aren't for serious photographers. If you really set aside those misconceptions, and look beyond the motors and remote controllers, you begin to see your drone as just another tool in your bag. A tool that opens up a whole new world of possibilities for your photography.

"As a photographer, one big issue that I still encounter every day is people's the general public's mixed feelings towards drones."

Drones can be beneficial to a wide range of photographers, including commercial, wedding, automotive, sports, racing, and beyond. Media is evolving every day, and adding a drone to your kit can keep you competitive, creative, and relevant in today's evolving media landscape. I’ve made the decision to treat my drone as I would any other part of my photography toolkit, and it's paid off in many ways, including financial gain, professional advancement, and expanded artistic growth.

Consider adding a drone to your photography kit as well. Doing so has the potential to open your eyes to new horizons, take your art to new heights, and open your business to new opportunities.

Categories: Equipment

Video: How to pose male models (and friends) for better photos

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 4:24pm

There are tons of posing tutorials out there for portrait photographers, but almost all of them are directed at how to pose women. So if you've been looking for a few solid tips on how to pose male models—or male friends helping you out with a photo shoot—check out this video by Daniel and Rachel of Mango Street.

The duo released a popular posing tutorial a few months back, but that one used a female non-model and, ever since, their audience has been asking for a similar tutorial for posing men.

As with all of Mango Street's videos, this one is short, to-the-point and useful, particularly if you're a beginner or work with male friends for your photography and not professional models. The three tips below will definitely help add some drama to bland portrait poses.

  1. Define the Jawline: Use a harsher light source and/or ask your subject to tilt their head so that their jawline is nice and sharp.
  2. Do Something with those Hands: Give your subject something to do with his hands—whether he's scratching the back of his neck or stroking a killer hipster beard, it'll keep things looking more natural and less awkward.
  3. Pay Attention to Posture: Have your subject aim for either a relaxed posture, or create sharp angles with his limbs and (if possible) a harsher light source.

Check out the video to see all three tips demonstrated. And if you found this short video useful, you'll probably like the rest of what Mango Street has to offer on YouTube.

Categories: Equipment

Amazon sells an AmazonBasics flash for Canon and Nikon DSLRs for just $28

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 3:58pm
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If you're looking to get into artificial lighting for dirt cheap, there's a new 'most affordable' option in town. It turns out Amazon sells what looks to be a clone of the already cheap (~$70) Godox VT560 for the rock bottom price of just 28 bucks through the AmazonBasics brand.

PetaPixel spotted the speedlight earlier today, and the response has been pretty positive so far. Sure, the "AmazonBasics Electronic Flash for DSLR Cameras" can't be radio triggered and doesn't feature useful options like TTL metering, but at $28 nobody in their right mind would expect it to.

Instead, what you're getting is a Canon and Nikon compatible speedlight with three modes (Manual, Slave 1, Slave 2), PC sync port for firing your flash off-camera without a master, 8 levels of power control, and a guide number of 33. Reviews so far are decent at an average of 3.9 our of 5 stars, with some calling the flash "unbeatable for the money," although at least one reviewer said the flash failed on-location after working fine at home.

To find out more about the ultra-affordable speedlight, or if you want to pick it up for yourself, click here.

*FULL DISCLOSURE: dpreview.com is a wholly-owned but editorially independent subsidiary of Amazon.

Categories: Equipment

PETA is close to settling that ridiculous monkey selfie lawsuit

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 2:49pm
Photo: David Slater

PETA may be close to settling its lawsuit involving 'Naruto' the macaque monkey and a selfie it allegedly took using photographer David Slater's camera. Per PETA's 2015 legal claim, Naruto (the monkey) owns the copyright to the image, not Slater, because the animal took the selfie on its own—that lawsuit, which has dragged on for the better part of two years, has left Slater broke.

Slater's troubles began shortly after the photo went viral, as multiple entities refused to remove the image from their publications on claims that Slater wasn't the copyright owner. That boiled over into an official guidance issued by the U.S. Copyright Office, which stated that, under U.S. law, a copyright can only be issued on work created by a human. This effectively left the image without a copyright.

Joining the bandwagon soon after that guidance was issued was PETA, with its 2015 legal claim on behalf of the monkey. PETA argues that the monkey itself owns the copyright because it took the image; all the while, Slater continued to assert his own copyright claim over the image. The matter ultimately ended up in court.

Last month during oral arguments, PETA's attorney was grilled by judges on several topics, including whether the company has a suitable relationship with 'Naruto' the monkey to bring a lawsuit on its behalf, as well as whether a non-human animal has the legal standing to bring a copyright lawsuit. This itself followed a case dismissal by a federal court in California, which found that a monkey isn't legally able to hold the image's copyright under the U.S. Copyright Act.

All signs point toward the courts siding against PETA in this lawsuit, and so it perhaps isn't surprising that PETA is moving toward a settlement of the case. The most recent developments in the legal matter is that PETA and Slater have entered into settlement talks following the aforementioned oral arguments. Per a joint motion filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit:

The parties have agreed on a general framework for a settlement subject to the negotiation and resolution of specific terms. The parties are optimistic that they will be able to reach an agreement that will resolve all claims in this matter.

The terms of this potential settlement weren't detailed.

Categories: Equipment

Pentagon gives military bases approval to shoot down wayward camera drones

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 11:40am

Federal UAV regulations prohibit drone operators from flying drones near or over airports or military bases, but that hasn't stopped some individuals from doing it anyway. But if you've been bold (read: stupid) enough to break those rules, be warned: military bases are now authorized to shoot down or seize your drone.

The directive comes straight from the Pentagon, who gave military bases the authority to shoot down any drones, whether commercial or private, that fly into their airspace and are believed to be a threat starting last month.

Confirmation of the new policy was announced yesterday by Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, according to Military Times. "The new guidance does afford of the ability to take action to stop these [drone] threats," said Davis, "and that includes disabling, destroying and tracking." As part of the authorization, a military base could seize a drone.

Overall, the new policy covers 135 military installations, though there are some questions remaining about whether drones will be deemed threats if operated on lands used by both the military and private citizens. One example is the land around Minot Air Force Base, which is leased to both private and commercial farmers; under the land are silos containing ballistic missiles, making it unclear whether those farmers are free to survey their crops and livestock using drones.

The FAA had a role in the formation of this new policy, which leaves some room for military bases to make determinations about how to handle any given drone that operates in its space. However, the criteria that a military base might use to determine whether or not it will seize, disable and/or destroy a wayward drone wasn't revealed.

Categories: Equipment

Vintage lens shootout: three lenses, one model

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 11:21am

Vintage lens enthusiast Mathieu Stern took a break from coughing up fake blood in the name of dispelling lens myths this week to compare some of his favorite vintage lenses in a shootout. Stern went out for a single photo shoot with one model and three vintage lenses: the Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C., the Soligor 21mm f/3.8, and the Helios 103 53mm f/1.8 (modified for tilt focusing).

The video is the first in a new video series that will help highlight the unique qualities of vintage glass by comparing three lenses at a time.

Definitely don't expect ultra-sharp photos that'll compare with the best (technically speaking) glass of today. But you should expect unique and interesting looking photos that might just inspire you to pick up some of these cheap old lenses on eBay and have some fun. Here's a sample photo captured with each lens:

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If you're into the vintage look, the nice thing about these lenses is that they usually don't cost you much to try out for yourself. Just do a quick eBay search and you'll see that you can grab a Helios 103 53mm f/1.8 for less than $40, a Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C. for about $80, and the most expensive of the bunch, the Soligor 21mm f/3.8, for $275.

For more vintage lens reviews and other oddball videos, check out Mathieu's YouTube Channel.

Categories: Equipment

Photographer travels around the globe to photograph all her Facebook friends

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 11:13am
Ahna Anomaly, San Francisco, California

Social networks have changed the meaning of friendship. They might be called Facebook 'friends,' but we might not have seen some of these people in a long time, or even met them in person. With this paradigm in mind, photographer Tanja Alexia Hollander decided to take friendship back out of the virtual and into the real world, by visiting and photographing all of her 626 Facebook friends.

Since 2011 she has been traveling around the USA and to countries as far as the UK, Belgium, France, Greece, and Malaysia to meet her friends in their homes, take their portrait and share real-life experiences with them.

Shannon Lam and Maury Browning, Sungai Long, Malaysia

According to MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA, where Hollander's Are you really my friend? is currently on display, the project turned from a personal documentary on friendship into,

"...an exploration of contemporary culture, relationships, generosity and compassion, family structure, community-building, storytelling, meal-sharing, the economy and class, the relationship between technology and travel in the 21st century, social networking, memory, and the history of the portrait.”

Mary Bok with Surely and Honey the dogs, Camden, Maine

You can see all the images and learn more about Are you really my friend? on the project website. You can also follow Tanja Alexia Hollander on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to find out about her ongoing work.

All images courtesy of Tanja Hollander and MASS MoCA, used with permission

Categories: Equipment

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