MISSION STATEMENT - This site is dedicated to professional music photographers. Our mission is to advocate sound business practices, warn against predatory client practices, provide helpful and educational resources, and foster a sense of community. All discussions related to capturing, processing, cataloging and licensing music photographs are welcome.

You are here

Equipment

Manfrotto unveils Element Carbon entry-level carbon fibre tripod range

DPReview.com - Latest News - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 10:27am

Popular tripod and accessory maker Manfrotto has just revealed a new range of entry-level carbon fibre tripods that it hopes will attract photographers looking for good quality gear at a slightly more affordable price. The two new Element Carbon tripods are aimed at travel photographers and come in two sizes with payload recommendations of 4kg/8.82lb and 8kg/17.64lb.

The three-position carbon fibre legs feature twist locks, and the larger of the two has a detachable leg that can be fitted to the centre column to form a full-sized monopod. The ball-and-socket heads that come with the legs are made from aluminum and use an Arca-style quick release plate.

The maximum height of the Manfrotto Element Carbon tripods is 143cm/56.3in for the small version and 164cm/64.57in for the large one, and they weigh 1050g/2.3lb and 1400g/3.08lb, respectively. The new tripods will be priced at £175 and £200—US pricing has yet to be released. For more information, visit the Manfrotto website.

Press Release

INTRODUCING THE NEW MANFROTTO ELEMENT CARBON

Fast Setup. Perfect shot.

  • Smart traveller tripods for photographers who want to learn, experiment and travel free
  • Lightweight on your shoulders, stable on the ground.
  • Essential design ensures instant set up for an enjoyable shooting experience

Manfrotto, world leader in the photography, imaging equipment and accessories industry, presents Manfrotto Element Carbon. The Manfrotto Element Carbon tripods are the perfect fit for travel photographers who are just starting out and enthusiasts.

The two new Element Carbon traveller tripods are reliable, lightweight and easy to carry. Both feature a compact and sturdy carbon fibre construction that makes them strong but still very portable. The three leg-angle positions mean they are highly versatile so they are perfect for experimenting with all kinds of creative shots. The twist lock mechanism enables photographers to get into the right position fast, in a few, easy moves, while the aluminum ball head is designed to deliver the fast movement when framing and a firm lock for setting equipment up exactly as you need it. The ball head mounts an Arca-type quick release plate with a 1/4"-20 camera screw on top that ensures equipment is balanced even when using zoom lenses.

In addition, the Element Traveller Carbon Big Tripod features a detachable leg that, when removed and attached to the centre column, becomes a full size lightweight monopod.

The Element Carbon Tripods have a payload of 4kg on the small tripod, and 8kg on the big tripod and feature a branded Manfrotto bag, an additional set of spike feet (big tripod only) and an Allen key to fix and tighten your gear.

The Element Carbon Tripods are available from £174.95.

For more information, please visit www.manfrotto.co.uk

Categories: Equipment

Gudsen Moza Air gimbal review

DPReview.com - Latest News - Sun, 10/08/2017 - 9:00am

Gudsen Moza Air
$599, ($798 for the thumb controller kit)
www.Gudsen.com

There are whole lot of things about shooting video that are difficult, such as getting to grips with the specific terminology, mastering audio, understanding input/output files types and finding your way around new software. All of this stuff can be learnt, but what I struggle with most, and which just wrecks most of the videos I shoot, is just holding the camera steady. This beats me even when I’m standing still, but it destroys every beautiful or dramatic scene I encounter if I have to so much as pan across a view let alone actually move my feet as well. I can achieve smooth motion sometimes, but with such a degree of concentration that everything else goes out of the window. In short, I find this aspect of shooting movies almost impossible to overcome.

The Moza Air is designed for compact system cameras and small to medium sized DSLRs

I guess I’m not entirely alone here, as there are now quite a number of mid-sized gimbals designed to help videographers achieve smooth footage when they are moving with a handheld camera. The Zhiyun Crane has been a popular option for some time, but newer on the scene is the Gudsen Moza Air.

Gudsen had mostly produced gimbals for small devices and mobile phones, but has recently moved into support for larger, heavier cameras. The Moza Air is designed for compact system cameras and small to medium sized DSLRs with a maximum payload of 5.5lbs/2.5kg – a restriction which actually only really excludes top-end professional models.

Specification

The Gudsen Moza Air is motorized gimbal platform-on-handle designed to create smooth motion and steadier stationary views for videographers. It is made from aluminum tubing and weighs 2.4lb/1.1kg when it is all put together and the batteries are loaded. The large camera platform offers two cut-out runners and two sizes of threaded screws, as well as plenty of room to shift cameras backwards and forwards to find a balance. There is less side-to-side space than front-to-back though, with the maximum gap between the camera retaining screw and the right hand arm being 3 7/8in/97mm. This isn’t necessarily an issue when it comes to actually fitting a camera in that space, so much as for attaching cables to ports on the right hand side of the camera.

The platform allows continuous 360° yaw, tilt and roll movements, all of which can be controlled via the joy stick on the main handle. Built-in Bluetooth 4.0 allows these actions to be controlled remotely via a separate thumb controller too, and users can take charge of settings and motion via the Moza Air app. Further connections come in the form of a micro USB port for connection to camera remote control sockets.

Three 3.7V lithium ion batteries drop into the handle to power the device and Gudsen claims their 2000mAh capacity will drive the gimbal for between four and eight hours. The dramatic discrepancy between the battery life figures is a function of the range of weights the gimbal can accommodate as well as the differences in power required to hold a camera in the normal position and at some contorted angle.

Handling

The Moza Air comes very nicely packaged in a hard case with a range of accessories. I’m not entirely sure what is in the standard kit, as I received two kits each with different accompaniments. The basic setup includes the main handle with the gimbal as well as the battery compartment and the thumb controller. Also in the box is a set of handlebars is that allow the device to be used with two hands while a second person deals with the head movements via the thumb controller.

A set of cables allows you to connect the handle to certain compatible cameras for stop/start recording controls and there’s a support bracket for heavy lenses. In one package I got a mini-tripod that attaches to the threaded base of the handle. This is very useful for getting the camera balanced and can also be used to extend the handle for an even greater field of motion.

Once the gimbal is assembled you have to balance the camera in the main cradle. It’s important to get the kit as well balanced as possible before switching the gimbal on so that you get the maximum out of the movements possible and so that you don’t use more power than you need to. Getting the balance right can be time consuming especially the first time you have to balance a kit. You have to remember to get the camera exactly was you want to use it first as well, as even taking the lens cap off, or flipping out the camera’s screen, will upset the balance.

Having a tripod, mini or not, with you is a good idea for when the kit needs to be altered.

Switching lenses during a shoot means taking a break to rebalance the gimbal, which is difficult to do in the field if there is nowhere level to position it – so picking a non-extending zoom makes life a bit easier. Having a tripod, mini or not, with you is a good idea for when the kit needs to be altered. Using in-camera levels is handy for ensuring the camera is perfectly balanced, if your camera has them.

The Moza Air makes leveling reasonably easy by having arm-brackets that slide nicely to allow small adjustments. There are three brackets to get in balance so this isn’t a ten-second job – though measured markings on each of the arms makes positions easier to return to when re-attaching a previously used camera and lens combination. Some way of keeping the camera screw in place would be really useful, and in fact a quick release plate even better, so that after moving the camera for a battery change or a card swap you don’t have to rebalance it all over again.

One of the more obvious differences between the Moza Air and the Zhiyun Crane is that the Moza Air features controls that face the user, so they can be operated with the thumb. There are only two control points and each can perform a range of tasks according to how many times it is pressed. It doesn’t take too long to commit these functions to memory, and I appreciated having all the controls in one place while trying to keep an eye on the screen while filming – so I guess it is better than having a collection of dedicated buttons for each task.

The stop/start function is very useful, and the proximity of the thumb rocker is handy for controlling the camera angle without having to change the way your hand is gripping the handle. The rocker controls the left-right/up-down direction of travel of the gimbal, but there’s no way to tilt the camera left-to-right, and it takes some practice to get the motion slow and smooth.

Despite its light weight, in use the Moza Air gets quite heavy

Despite its light weight, in use the Moza Air gets quite heavy. That isn’t an inherent fault of the device so much as the nature of holding a camera on a stick at an angle for a long time.

If you record sound from a hotshoe mounted microphone you’ll want to choose a small one that doesn’t restrict your movements too much. When using the gimbal in the upright position there is loads of room for a microphone, but as soon as you begin to tilt the gimbal forward into the flashlight position the brackets of the device will clash with the back of the microphone.

When the camera is slung under the gimbal for low angle shots there is even less space for a microphone, but there are accessory points where a mic can be attached. I used the Rode VideoMic Pro and Pro+ in the hotshoe for most of this test, and attached it to the handle bars when shooting with the camera slung low.

Motion in action

The second version of this gimbal that I received was dramatically improvements over the first very early version I used. Its motor seems much stronger, or better tuned, so it can hold more weight in more difficult positions for longer without suddenly giving up and throwing the camera around – which happened a lot with the early model.

The ability of the gimbal to support and steady the camera at quite a wide range of angles is pretty amazing, and allows the user to perform crane-like sequences with the camera coming from a low angle up to an overhead view in one smooth motion. The side-to-side support is also very good, and though side movements can create clashes with cables and screens sticking out to the side of the camera.

at the extremes, the head can’t hold the camera for long before flipping out

Using the controller on the Moza Air’s handle you can introduce tilt and twist actions. With the handle in the upright position you can rotate the camera 360 degrees about the vertical axis while the tilt motions are more moderate. Although I didn’t expect to be able to get the camera to look directly down I’d rather hoped to for a better range of tilt angles – and at the extremes the head can’t hold the camera for long before flipping out.

The controller on the handle doesn’t really allow fine movements or adjustments during filming as the increments are crude and a bit jerky, so users will be better off using the Bluetooth thumb controller that comes in the kit. With a bigger joystick and a wider range of actions this provides a little more precision. The thumb controller can instruct the head to move at different speeds as well as customize the way it works and to instruct the system which camera is in use. It is important for the system to be informed of the camera brand so that the cabled remote that connects the head and the camera can operate properly.

The new Mimic Motion Control feature makes a massive difference to the finesse with which movements can be communicated to the head. Attaching the thumb-controller to the handle bars and setting it to the appropriate mode allows users to control the head remotely just by moving the handle bars – and the head follows every action. This allows much finer movements as well as complete flexibility in the speed at which the head moves. It makes a huge difference to how the camera angle can be dictated when the rig is mounted on a tripod or being carried by a third party.

recording can be initiated and stopped using either the thumb controller or from the buttons on the gimbal’s handle

Using the cabled remote, which connects the camera’s remote control socket to the gimbal via USB, recording can be initiated and stopped using either the thumb controller or from the buttons on the gimbal’s handle. Canon users’ cameras compatible with the system can be made to focus from the remote buttons as well. The stop/start feature is particularly useful as it means you don’t have to alter your grip on the handle to kick off the recording – and suffer a few seconds of wobbly footage at the beginning and end of each clip. This can save time in editing and quite a lot of memory card capacity during a long shoot with a number of scenes.

The App

I used the smartphone app with my iPhone 5s and found early versions of it slightly prone to hanging and displays lagging behind what the head was doing. The app offers a virtual joystick for controlling the head, but I found the lag such that accurate instructions proved hard to communicate.

The app also allows you to program the speed of the head as well as to calibrate the motors and determine the angles of movement in each of the controllable axes. The early version was not especially easy to use, but the more recent update has made a big difference.

The head’s timelapse feature is also controlled via the app, and gives filmmakers the opportunity to determine start and end points for motion in the sequence as well as three other points for the head to cover during the action. Thus the head doesn’t just move from side to side or up and down – it can move in all directions across the four shooting segments of the timelapse. Initially the head moved continuously during the sequence, which wasn’t ideal for those wanting to use long shutter speeds. Consequently many of my first timelapse sequences are a bit jerky.

The recent firmware update allows the head and camera shutter to synchronize and offer a move-stop-shoot-move routine that holds the camera still while the shutter is open – with cameras that are compatible with the head’s cabled remote. The timelapse feature of the app now offers plenty of control over the end result, and with cameras that plug into the head it will start and stop the shooting too.

Performance

I have been very pleasantly surprised by how well this gimbal performs. I had expected it to be of some assistance in keeping the camera stable during walking shots, but didn't expect the degree of correction that it provides when running. When kept within the perimeters of the angles it can handle the gimbal works really very well, so it is a question of finding where those extremes are. Inevitably I wanted it to be able to cope with angles it could not manage, but in the course of normal shooting I suspect the more difficult poses I demanded in testing would not be required. I found that the more I got used to what it can do the more I was able to compensate with my own movements so that the gimbal didn't have to work so hard.

There were a number of occasions on which the humming of the motor rose to a level that would be noticed in the audio. These occasions were not limited to handheld and demanding shooting with heavy equipment, but also occurred while the Moza Air was mounted on a tripod. Usually the whirring could be solved by rebalancing the camera, but sometimes that wasn't enough - but it would go away by itself.

Battery life isn't too bad, and I found a set of three could keep the Moza powered for at least four hours. I also found though that removing the batteries from the handle in between shoots was a surer way of there being power in them the next time of shooting.

In general, I thought the Moza Air behaved rather well throughout the test, and it allowed me to get plenty of shots I wouldn't have managed otherwise, and the updated timelapse feature is actually really useful.

Conclusion

The Gudsen Moza Air is slightly less than perfect in some respects, such as the complications of getting the camera balanced to begin with and in the arms clashing with each other when in certain positions. However, the company doesn’t appear to be sitting on its laurels – there have been really quite significant updates even during the period of this test. It is an excellent solution though for holding a recording camera steady for 80% of the shots any videographer is going to want to shoot. It can’t do angled up or down shots very well, but for everything else I found it a great assistance.

In the world of video, where everything seems to cost a small fortune this device is relatively affordable

Critically, the Moza Air has allowed me to create a video that doesn’t look like it was shot by a monkey even though this is pretty much the first time I have shot more than two clips that were intended to be stuck together, and my videography experience is slim to say the least. In the world of video, where everything seems to cost a small fortune this device is relatively affordable and actually presents very good value for money considering the difference it will make to your footage.

Yes, some of the mechanical design is in need of refinement, but for the most part I can live with that for now - although when the motors give up when holding the camera during a difficult angle it can be frustrating. More powerful motors would allow it to hold better and would reduce the whine and wobble that can be produced in the extremities of the head’s operating envelope, but I suppose that would cost more money. If you don’t push it too hard, and don’t expect too much you will be very happy indeed with the Moza Air – as I have been.

This little movie was made for a bit of fun - but primarily to demonstrate what the Moza Air can do in a range of situations. It was shot with the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 in VLogL and edited in Davinci Resolve. I used two Moza Airs - one to support the camera for the whole of the shoot and the other in the box that we could film being assembled. It's neat that Gudsen supplies a hard case for the kit, but it struck me as something you might see in a gangster movie - hence the theme we went with for this clip.
Pros:
  • Relatively good value
  • Supports most DSLRs
  • Nice button controls
  • Good stabilization
  • Mimic Control is excellent
Cons:
  • Build quality could be refined
  • Could be made lighter with different materials
  • Hard to balance the camera quickly

For more information see the Gudsen website.

Categories: Equipment

Photo of the week: A heartbreaking photo of a bear in a landfill

DPReview.com - Latest News - Sat, 10/07/2017 - 10:00am

I was in the region on an assignment unrelated to bears, but a friend in the area said we could check out the landfill as there may be bears there, so we went for a drive. When we arrived at the landfill there were bears everywhere, I believe 7 total. I was speechless, in complete shock of what I was seeing and I actually didn't shoot any photographs.

That night I couldn't shake the feeling about the bears in the landfill, and so the next day I asked my friend if we could go back. When we arrived the smokey pit was on fire with flames coming up taller than the bear. I immediately knew that, this time, I had to shoot.

When I finished making the photograph, the bear turned slowly and walked down into the smoking pit, disappearing from my sight. He never came back up during the rest of my time there.

It took me a very long time to process this photograph after, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. All I know is that it’s the only photograph I’ve ever made that has made me tear up on multiple occasions. And I’m sure still has more to teach me.

I used a Nikon D810 and 35mm F1.8 lens. Exposure was F11 and 1/400 second, as I wanted as much detail as possible and didn't expect the bear to be so still, so I chose a high shutter speed to ensure clarity in case the bear moved around. I got pretty lucky with the smoke and position of the sun—just one of those moments I believe come to us photographers, when everything aligns just right.

Troy Moth is an award-winning photographer based out of Sooke, British Columbia, Canada. His photography has been exhibited worldwide, and his work has appeared in Rolling Stone and Vogue among others. You can see more of his photos by visiting his website, or following him on Facebook.

Categories: Equipment

Taking the Canon 28mm F2.8 IS USM to Big Sur, California

DPReview.com - Latest News - Sat, 10/07/2017 - 9:00am

Big Sur, little lens

Standing alongside the Bixby Creek Bridge in Big Sur, California. Processed to taste from Raw.
ISO 125 | 1/160 sec | F11

By virtue of a considerable quantity of dumb luck, we had timed it perfectly.

Our belongings shifted gently to and fro in our rented cherry-red Hyundai Sonata as we zig-zagged freely along Highway 1 in California's Big Sur region, a stretch of road that has been described as the 'longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States.'*

We were visiting Big Sur just into the off-season, with Highway 1 subdivided by a massive landslide to the south and a bridge closure to the north. As a result, the road was remarkably unoccupied, devoid of the typically ubiquitous caravans of gawking tourists.

Although the extensive closures tacked on about six hours of additional driving onto our trip, the journey along the famous Nacimiento-Fergusson Road – the only way in and out of the region cut-off by the closures – was unforgettable. Unfortunately, thanks to the rampant switchbacks, it was also literally nauseating. Can't have it all, I guess.

It was into this scenario that I brought Canon's diminutive 28mm F2.8 IS USM lens attached to an EOS 5D Mark IV; my only photographic tools for the duration of our time in central California.

Fitting into the lineup

Photograph courtesy Jordan Stead

The Canon 28mm F2.8 IS USM is not a new lens by any means. So why write about it now? Well, for starters, we didn't yet have a gallery on it here at DPReview. It also happens to be among the smallest and lightest full-frame Canon lenses around, and so a great way to (attempt to) minimize the bulk of bringing a full-frame DSLR on my vacation.

Announced back in early 2012 alongside its 24mm cousin, the 28mm IS is very straightforward. You get a rubberized focus ring with a fairly long throw, an AF/MF switch and a stabilizer on/off switch. And that's about it.

Alongside Canon's EF 40mm F2.8 Pancake and two 'nifty fifties,' it's among the the lightest full-frame lenses that the company currently offers, though it is by far the most expensive of this group with a current MSRP of $499. Despite its price, the 28mm IS does not come with any claims of weather-sealing, which is a disappointment.

I'm happy to report that, despite the lack of weather sealing, the EF 28mm F2.8 IS USM survived a few drops of salt water. Processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw.
ISO 100 | 1/200 sec | F8

Regardless, the build seems very good. The outer barrel is polycarbonate, and the mount is metal. Due to the stabilizer, there's a very slight rattle if the camera is jostled while the power is off, but the 28mm has an overall dense feel of quality to it.

For use on 30MP (and even higher pixel count) cameras, the 28mm is good, if not mind-blowing in terms of sharpness. There are also noticeable amounts of green and purple fringing if you leave those corrections off, but both the camera's JPEG engine and Adobe Camera Raw tame those handily, so it's rarely an issue.

Corrections off Corrections on
I actually quite like some vignetting, and in certain situations, I think it can add to a certain 'mood.' It certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea, though.

The biggest issue you're likely to run into comes in terms of vignetting, which is readily noticeable with this lens. In particular, if you have the corrections turned on within Adobe Camera Raw, the corner exposure will be lifted enough as to perhaps introduce unwanted noise, especially if your image was already taken at a higher ISO value.

Recommendations

I'll freely admit that I haven't been much of a 28mm guy until this past year and half. That changed after I was tasked with reviewing the Leica Q, and subsequently purchased a secondhand Nikon Coolpix A as a casual carry-everywhere camera.

Without a super fast aperture or a telephoto lens to fully isolate subjects and blur backgrounds into oblivion, the 28mm F2.8 IS USM made me slow down and focus on my compositions more. Processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw.
ISO 160 | 1/125 sec | F4

What I find most intriguing about the 28mm focal length this Canon offers is that it forces me to think more holistically about the images I'm making. Without telephoto compression or a faster aperture to more easily isolate my subject, the context becomes nearly as important as the subject itself.

When I pick up a 35mm, 50mm or 85mm lens, I know that I'm likely going to get a faster aperture, and more background compression, making the scene look a little more 'interpreted.' When I pick up a 24mm-and-wider lens, I'm often doing my very best to exaggerate the perspective between objects that are both near to me and far away for a more interesting look.

But with 28mm, I feel almost as though I'm simply documenting what's happening in front of me without letting the optics of wider or more telephoto focal lengths influence the look of the scene.

Processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw.
ISO 100 | 1/250 sec | F8

In other words, it's a fun challenge if you're used to those other options. As with many photographers, I'll admit I sometimes find myself relying on fancy gear as a crutch to make a photograph more 'interesting.' On the other hand, this 28mm lens just got out of the way and recorded what I put in front of the camera; it was up to me to make the most of my subjects and compositions.

If you haven't given 28mm a try, I'd certainly recommend it, and if you happen to be a Canon shooter, the EF 28mm F2.8 IS USM represents a solid, lightweight and affordable option.

Samples

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

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

$(document).ready(function() { SampleGalleryV2({"containerId":"embeddedSampleGallery_6264240715","galleryId":"6264240715","isEmbeddedWidget":true,"standalone":false,"selectedImageIndex":0,"startInCommentsView":false,"isMobile":false}) });

* Per Wikipedia: Marvinney, Craig A. (1984). "Land Use Policy Along the Big Sur Coast of California; What Role for the Federal Government?". UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy. Regents of the University of California. Accessed 22 August 2016.

Categories: Equipment

Billingham introduces the tiny ‘72’ for premium compacts and small mirrorless kits

DPReview.com - Latest News - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 3:30pm


Premium British bag manufacturer Billingham has launched a new small shoulder bag called the Billingham 72, aimed at users of fixed lens premium cameras and those with small mirrorless bodies. The Billingham 72 features a new padding design that puts a double layer of high-density foam all around the body of the bag in a continuous form that leaves no spaces between the sides and the base.

Traditional Billingham canvas or FibreNyte finishes are available, both of which are weather, water and heat resistant for the entire life of the bag. All fittings are made from leather and brass, and a quick release catch allows easy access to the cover whether the bag is over the shoulder or attached to your belt.

The bag is available in a choice of five color combinations that will go on sale in the UK tomorrow for £100. Sales in the USA are expected to begin after Christmas.

For more information visit the Billingham website.

Press Release

Small and perfectly formed. Billingham announces the ‘72’

High quality, lightweight, compact bag with dense foam padding offers outstanding protection for fixed prime lens and small system cameras

Designed for owners of fixed prime lens cameras and the growing range of small mirrorless and compact systems, Billingham has today announced the Billingham 72. The new, high quality, lightweight bag will be available to view and order for the first time at the Digital Splash 17 exhibition in Liverpool, 7-8 October.

The Billingham 72 will come in five colour combinations and will cost £100 inc. VAT:

  • Sage FibreNyte & Chocolate Leather
  • Khaki Canvas & Tan Leather
  • Burgundy Canvas & Chocolate Leather
  • Black Canvas & Tan Leather
  • Black FibreNyte & Black Leather

At 150 x 130 x 190mm (WxDxH), the Billingham 72 is the ideal size for premium fixed lens cameras such as the Leica Q, Fujifilm X100 range or Sony DSC-RX1R series, and many small mirrorless system cameras with one standard lens, such as the Fujifilm X-T2, Olympus OMD E-M series, Leica M rangefinders or Canon EOS M kits. The bag itself, with shoulder sling attached, weighs just 0.46kg.

Made in England at the Billingham factory, the 72 offers extensive protection thanks to a newly-designed arrangement of structured, highly dense foam in a continuous double layer around the whole body of the bag. This special fortified padding safeguards the entire camera and lens, keeping all edges and corners fully protected.

Heavier camera bodies with small lenses fit perfectly into the Billingham 72 interior with the grip facing upwards. A padded inner lid over the main compartment completely covers the top end of the camera, but allows the photographer quick access to their equipment when required. Ideal for travelling, or when working in large crowds, the equipment is shielded on all sides from any knocks or bumps.

With an outer body constructed of either Billingham canvas or FibreNyte, the Billingham 72 offers the ultimate in water resistance and provides full defence against inclement weather conditions. Both materials are hard-wearing yet lightweight and never require reproofing, remaining moisture- and heat-resistant for their entire life. FibreNyte is an extra-rugged material that is colour-fast, and delivers exceptional durability and protection against wear and tear.

The bag’s Quick Release System comprises a strong leather tab and brass ClogBall, enabling fast opening with one hand to retrieve the camera, while securing the equipment in transit. Each model is reinforced with the finest top-grain leather, and all fittings are made from solid brass.

For maximum versatility, the Billingham 72 comes with a comfortable, detachable shoulder sling made of extra strong, shuttle-woven spun polyester, which is long enough to be worn across the body. It also incorporates a wide belt loop for those who prefer to keep their camera a little closer.

A precisely-formed removable foam base and a vertical padded divider attached with Velcro® are included with the Billingham 72, enabling the photographer to configure the bag and adjust it to fit their individual requirements. A small pocket on the front provides storage for a spare battery, lens cap or memory cards.

As with all Billingham bags, the 72 is manufactured with extreme precision, meeting meticulous technical standards. Once it has passed Billingham’s strict quality controls, each bag is adorned with a laser-engraved woven label containing an individual 10-digit barcoded serial number as part of the company’s Unique Identifier (UI) system, allowing the bag to be registered, identified and tracked throughout its life.

Harry Billingham, director at M. Billingham & Co, said, “The idea for the Billingham 72 was conceived by our newly formed in-house design team, following extensive research into the market. They identified a need for a secure but lightweight bag to protect smaller systems or fixed lens cameras, particularly those with heavier bodies, that also gives photographers immediate access to their equipment. It makes a perfect addition to our range, providing owners of small premium cameras with a smart, reliable and robust way of protecting their valuable kit from the elements and daily wear and tear.”

The Billingham 72 comes with a 5 year manufacturer’s guarantee.

A collection of leather accessories is available for all Billingham bags, including fine leather luggage tallies and shoulder pads, to complement the colour and style of each model.
More information on the Billingham range can be found at www.billingham.co.uk.

Billingham 72 technical specifications:

  • External dimensions: 150 x 130 x 190mm (WxDxH)
  • Internal dimensions: 110 x 90 x 140mm (WxDxH)
  • Capacity: 1.38 litres
  • Weight: 0.33 kgs (without shoulder sling) / 0.46 kgs (with shoulder sling)
  • Sling: Adjustable between 99cm and 172cm in length
  • Front pocket: 110 x nominal x 120mm (WxDxH)

Availability

The Billingham 72 is available to order now from Billingham stockists in the UK.

Categories: Equipment

RED unveils Monstro 8K VV full-frame sensor with 17+ stops of dynamic range

DPReview.com - Latest News - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 3:04pm

RED has just announced its new Monstro 8K VV full-frame sensor for Weapon cameras. The device features a 35.4MP 40.96mm x 21.60mm sensor and is able to record at a full 8K/60fps resolution. RED explains that the Monstro 8K VV replaces its existing DRAGON 8K VV sensor, and that anyone who has ordered the DRAGON 8K VV will be offered the Monstro as of October 5th.

The Monstro 8K VV sensor has full support for RED's IPP2 image processing pipeline, as well as an "unprecedented dynamic range [of 17+ stops] and breathtaking color accuracy," according to RED President Jarred Land. When coupled with the Weapon 8K VV, the device can simultaneously record Redcode RAW and either Avid DNxHD/HR or Apple ProRes, likewise offering data speeds up to 300MB/s. The sensor's full technical spec sheet is insane, and available for your viewing pleasure here.

Existing carbon fiber Weapon customers have the option of upgrading for $29,500, while the new Weapon with the full-frame Monstro sensor is priced at $79,500. New orders for the device will start shipping to customers in early 2018.

Press Release

RED ANNOUNCES THE NEW MONSTRO 8K VV

Today RED announced a new cinematic Full Frame sensor for WEAPON cameras, MONSTRO™ 8K VV. MONSTRO is an evolutionary step beyond the RED DRAGON 8K VV sensor with improvements in image quality, including dynamic range and shadow detail.

This new camera and sensor combination, WEAPON 8K VV, offers Full Frame lens coverage, captures 8K full format motion at up to 60 fps, produces ultra-detailed 35.4 megapixel stills, and delivers incredibly fast data speeds of up to 300 MB/s. Like all of RED’s DSMC2 cameras, WEAPON shoots simultaneous REDCODE RAWand Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD/HR recording and adheres to RED’s dedication to OBSOLESCENCEOBSOLETE—a core operating principle that allows current RED owners to upgrade their technology as innovations are unveiled as well as move between camera systems without having to purchase all new gear.

“RED’s internal sensor program continues to push the boundaries of pixel design and MONSTRO is the materialization of our relentless pursuit to make the absolute best image sensors on the planet,” says Jarred Land, President of RED Digital Cinema. “The Full Frame 8K VV MONSTRO provides unprecedented dynamic range and breathtaking color accuracy with full support for our IPP2 pipeline.”

The new WEAPON will be priced at $79,500 (for the camera BRAIN) with upgrades for carbon fiber WEAPONcustomers available for $29,500. MONSTRO 8K VV will replace the current RED DRAGON 8K VV sensor in RED’s lineup, and customers that had previously placed an order for a RED DRAGON 8K VV sensor will be offered this new sensor beginning today. New orders will start being fulfilled in early 2018.

RED has also announced a comprehensive service offering for WEAPON carbon fiber camera owners called REDARMOR-W. RED ARMOR-W offers enhanced and extended protection beyond basic RED ARMOR, and also includes one sensor swap each year.

“‘Good’ has never been ‘good enough’ for RED,” says Land. “We put ourselves in the shoes of our customers and see how we can improve how we can support them. RED ARMOR-W builds upon the foundation of our original extended warranty program and includes giving customers the ability to move between sensors based upon their shooting needs.”

Additionally, RED’s enhanced image processing pipeline (IPP2) is now available in-camera for all cameras with HELIUM and MONSTRO sensors through today’s v7.0 release firmware update. IPP2 offers a completely overhauled workflow experience, featuring enhancements such as smoother highlight roll-off, better management of challenging colors, an improved demosaicing algorithm, and more.

Categories: Equipment

Nine things you should know about the Google Pixel 2

DPReview.com - Latest News - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 1:17pm

Nine things you should know about the Google Pixel 2

With all the hype surrounding the release of the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL and their "world's highest rated smartphone camera," it's easy to lose the forest for the trees. What's important about this new phone? Where did Google leave us wanting more? How is this phone's camera better than its predecessor? And why should photographers care about the technology baked into Google's new flagship?

After covering the launch in detail and spending some time with the Pixel 2 in San Francisco, we're setting out to answer those questions (and a few others) for you.

Dual Pixel AF

The new Pixel phones sport a very clever feature found on higher-end Canon cameras: split left- and right-looking pixels behind each microlens on the camera sensor. This allows the camera to sample left and right perspectives behind the lens, which can then be used to focus the camera faster on the subject (it's essentially a form of phase-detect AF).

It's officially called dual pixel autofocus, and it has the potential to offer a number of advantages over the 'focus pixels' Apple phones use: every pixel can be dedicated to focus without any impact to image quality (see this illustration). We've been impressed with its implementation on the Samsung Galaxy S7 and on Canon cameras. So we're expecting fast autofocus for stills, even in low light, as well as very smooth autofocus in video with little to no hunting. Given how good the Pixel 2's stabilized 4K video is, you might even make some professional-looking clips from these new phones.

We're also happy to see the laser autofocus on the original pixels go: it would often force the camera to focus on the glass if shooting through windows.

Dual pixel + machine learning driven portraits

The split pixels have another function: the left-looking and right-looking pixels underneath each microlens essentially sample two different perspectives that are slightly shifted from one another. Google then build a rudimentary depth map using this set of separated images and some help from its machine learning algorithms.

Clever. However, the stereo disparity between the two images are likely to be very small compared to a dual camera setup, which is likely to make it difficult for the Pixel 2 cameras to distinguish background from subject for more distant subjects. This might explain the poor results in DXO's comparison, but better results in the image above where Allison is much closer to the camera.

On the plus side, Portrait mode now renders full resolution 12MP files (you only got 5MP files on the original Pixels), and the 'lens blur' Google uses is generally more pleasing than Apple's more Gaussian blur. Out of focus highlights are rendered as more defined circles compared to Apple's results. This comes at a cost though: the blurring algorithm is computationally intensive so you'll generally wait a few seconds before seeing the result (and you can't see it in real time as you can with Apple).

Hardier hardware

Unsurprisingly if you've been following the rumor mill, the hardware specs on the new Pixel 2 phones didn't particularly impress any more than what we've seen from other phones. They're nice devices, and both are far more durable with IP67 ratings (a huge step up from the poor IP53 ratings of the previous Pixel phones, which were prone to quick wear and tear), but hardware-wise there's not too much to be excited about.

We've lost the headphone jack but gained stereo speakers in the front. The XL has less of a bezel, but it's still not as bezel-less as Samsung phones. No dual-cameras. RAM and processor are what you get in other Android phones. You can invoke the Assistant with a squeeze, but... well...

Nothing really stands out. But wait, there's more to the story.

AI First

If there's one point Google CEO Sundar Pichai continuously makes in his presentations, it's that we're moving from a 'Mobile First' to an 'AI First' world. He's referring to the move away from thinking of mobile devices simply as pocketable computation devices but, instead, intelligent devices that can adapt to our needs and make our lives easier. And Google is a leader here, thanks to the intelligence it acquires from its search services and apps like Maps and Photos.

AI is increasingly being used in many services to make them better, but often transparently. CEO Pichai recently cited an example of the Fitness app: every time he opens it he navigates to a different page. But rather than have the app team change the default page, or add an option to, he figures AI should just learn your preference transparently.

What's that mean for photography and videography? We're purely speculating here, but, imagine a camera learning your taste in photography by the way you edit photos. Or the photos you take. Or the filters you apply. Or the photos you 'like'. How about learning your taste in music so when Google Assistant auto-builds videos from your library of photos and videos, they're cut to music you like?

The possibilities are endless, and we're likely to see lots of cool things make their way into the new Pixel phones, like...

Google Lens

Sundar Pichai first talked about Google Lens at the I/O Developer Conference earlier this year. It marries machine vision and AI, and is now available for the first time in the Photos app and within Google Assistant on the new Pixel phones. Google's machine vision algorithms can analyze what the camera sees, and use AI to do cool things like identify what type of flower you're pointing your camera at.

This sort of intelligence is applicable to photography as well: Pichai talked about how AutoML has improved Google's ability to automatically identify objects in a scene. Anything from a fence to a motorbike to types of food to your face: Google is getting increasingly better at identifying these objects and understanding what they are – automatically using reinforcement learning.

And once you understand what an object is, you can do all sorts of cool things. Remove it. Re-light it. Identify it so you can easily search for it without every keywording your photos. The Photos app can already pull up pictures of planes, birthdays, food, wine, you name it. We look forward to seeing how the inclusion of Google Lens in the new phones makes Photos and Assistant better.

Maybe intelligent object recognition could even fix flare issues by understand what flare is... though this may not be necessary for the new phone...

Goodbye ugly lens flare

Thankfully, the nasty flare issues that plagued the first-gen Pixel phones appear to be remedied by lifting the camera module above the glass backing, which has also been reduced and streamlined to fit flush with the rest of the phone.

The camera unit is raised from the back ever-so-slightly though, but that's a compromise we're willing to accept if it means the camera isn't behind a piece of uncoated glass – a recipe for flare disaster. The only flare we've seen so far with our limited hands-on time is what DXO witnessed in their report: the lens element reflections in corners you sometimes see even in professional lenses. That's something we'll gladly put up with (and that some of us even like).

If flare bugged you on the previous Pixel phones (it certainly bugged me), consider it a non-issue on the new phones.

Incredibly smooth video

When the original Pixel launched, Google claimed its camera beat other cameras with optical image stabilization (OIS) despite lacking OIS. It claimed its software-based stabilization approach allowed it to get better with time as algorithms got better. Omitting OIS was also crucial to keeping the camera small such that it fit within the slim body.

Google is singing a different tune this year, including both OIS and electronic image stabilization (EIS) in its larger camera unit that extends ever-so-slightly above the back glass. And the results appear to be quite impressive. The original Pixels already had very good stabilization in video (even 4K), but combining OIS + EIS appears to have made the video results even smoother. Check out the video from Google above.

For low light photography, OIS should help steady the camera for longer shutter speeds. You should also get better macro results and better document scanning. Hey, that's worth something.

Equally as important as what the new phones offer is what the new phones don't offer...

Color management? HEIF?

Notably absent was any talk about proper color management on the new phones. The previous Pixels had beautiful OLED displays, but colors were wildly inaccurate and often too saturated due to lack of any color management or proper calibrated display modes.

iPhones have some of the most color accurate screens out there. Their wide gamut screens now cover most of DCI-P3 but, more importantly, iOS can automatically switch the screen's gamut between properly calibrated DCI-P3 and standard gamut (sRGB) modes on-the-fly based on content.

This means you view photos and movies as they were intended. It also means when you send an image from your iPhone to be printed (using a service that at least understands color management, like Apple's print services), the print comes back looking similar, though perhaps a bit dimmer.*

The Samsung Galaxy S8 also has calibrated DCI-P3 and sRGB modes, though you have to manually switch between them. The new Pixel phones made no mention of calibrated display modes or proper color management, though Android Oreo does at least support color management (though, like Windows, leaves it up to apps). But without a proper display profile, we're not sure how one will get accurate colors on the Pixel 2 phones.

*That's only because prints aren't generally illuminated as much as bright backlit LCDs that these days reach anywhere from 6 to 10 times the brightness prints are generally viewed at.

HDR display?

Sadly there was no mention of 10-bit images or HDR display of photos or videos (using the HDR10 or Dolby Vision standards) at Google's press event. This leaves much to be desired.

The iPhone X will play back HDR video content using multiple streaming services, but more importantly for photographers it will display photos in HDR mode as well. Remember, this has little to do with HDR capture but, instead, the proper display of photos on displays—like OLED—that can reproduce a wider range of tones.

To put it bluntly: photos taken on an iPhone X and viewed on an iPhone X will look more brilliant and have more pop than anything else you're likely to have seen before thanks to the support for HDR display and accurate color. It's a big deal, and Google seems to have missed the boat entirely here.

HDR displays require less of the tonemapping traditional HDR capture algorithms employ (though HDR capture is still usually beneficial, since it preserves highlights and decreases noise in shadows). Instead of brightening shadows and darkening bright skies after capture, as HDR algorithms like the Pixel 2's are known to do post-capture (above, left), leaving many of these tones alone is the way to go with high dynamic range displays like OLED.

In other words, the image above and to the right, with its brighter highlights and darker shadows, may in fact be better suited for HDR displays like that of the Pixel 2, as long as there's still color information present in the shadows and highlights of the (ideally 10-bit) image. Unfortunately, Google made no mention of a proper camera-to-display workflow for HDR capture and display.

Categories: Equipment

Pixelmator 3.7 adds High Sierra and HEIF support

DPReview.com - Latest News - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 12:12pm

Pixelmator has released version 3.7 Mount Whitney of its comprehensive image editing app for Mac. The update brings support for macOS High Sierra and the new HEIF (High Efficiency Image File Format) image format that was introduced with the iPhone 8 series and iPhone X.

In addition Pixelmator can now directly be launched from the Photos app and any edits will be saved to the original image in the Photos library. The option to edit with Pixelmator appears in the Photos Image menu as soon as the app has been installed or updated to the latest version.

“People love using Pixelmator on the Mac, and one of the biggest reasons is its extensive integration with macOS,” said Saulius Dailide, one of the founders of the Pixelmator Team. “And with Pixelmator 3.7 Mount Whitney, we think users are really going to love the much more seamless experience of launching Pixelmator right from the Photos app and automatically saving changes back to the same image in the Photos library.”

The update also includes improvements to the Repair Tool to make it faster and more accurate, and improved support for PSD images. The updated Pixelmator can be downloaded from the App Store for $30.

Categories: Equipment

The Nikon D850 is the best camera DxOMark has ever tested, first to hit score of 100

DPReview.com - Latest News - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 10:52am

Forget all of those DxOMark Mobile scores, it's time to talk about "real" cameras again. DxOMark just completed their review of the Nikon D850 and, not entirely surprising, it is officially the best camera DxOMark has ever tested. In fact, it's the first camera ever to reach a score of 100, pushing the Sony a7R II into second place with its score of 98.

As it stands now, the camera rankings put the Nikon D850 and its predecessor, the D810, in the number 1 and 3 spots.

While the D850 isn't the best camera DxO has tested across the board, it nevertheless put in top notch performance in every category. "The D850’s key strengths are its outstanding color and dynamic range at base ISO, where it again ranks as the number one among all commercially available cameras we’ve tested for these attributes," explains DxOMark. If it falls even slightly short in any regard, it's in the low-light ISO category where its higher resolution starts to sting.

That said, you can't help but go wide-eyed reading DxOMark's conclusion. As they say, this camera is "in a class of its own for image quality.":

The introduction of the first BSI sensor in a full-frame Nikon DSLR with a super-high 45.7Mp resolution puts the Nikon D850’s image quality on par with, and often better than, medium-format cameras. The first DSLR to hit 100 points — rather apt for Nikon’s hundredth anniversary year — puts the Nikon D850 in a class of its own for image quality. At base ISO, it’s unrivaled for color in the DSLR class, and its headline dynamic range score is outstanding, too.

To read the full conclusion—the full review, for that matter—and see how the D850 compares to the competition from Sony and Canon, head over to DxOMark.

Categories: Equipment

SanDisk launches ultra-reliable industrial memory cards that can handle extreme temperatures

DPReview.com - Latest News - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 10:47am

Western Digital is working on a line of ultra-reliable, ultra-tough SanDIsk memory cards meant for automotive and industrial applications. There will be an automotive SD card for use in vehicles and drones, and three industrial cards in SD, microSD and XI formats, all of which are designed to withstand extreme temperature ranges and provide even better reliability than the manufacturer's standard cards.

It's safe to say you'll have to encounter some pretty extreme climatic conditions to bring these cards to their metaphorical knees. The Industrial SD and microSD cards can be used in temperatures ranging from -13°F to 185°F, while the Industrial XI and Automotive SD cards can take temperatures between -40°F and 185°F.

At 80MB/s and 50MB/s, the cards also offer decent read/write speeds and come with a Status Monitor tool and a number of data protection features. According to a report on AnandTech, samples of the cards are in the process of being distributed to manufacturers. We're just hoping the cards will also be available through retail channels at some point in the nearer future... photographers operating in extreme conditions would definitely appreciate this extra layer of reliability.

Categories: Equipment

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

$(document).ready(function() { SampleGalleryStripV2({"galleryId":"9004820076"}) })
Sample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photo
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

Pages