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Hands-on and in-depth with the Sony a6500

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 3:16pm

Sony announces Alpha 6500

Sony has announced the a6500, its top of the line APS-C E-mount mirrorless camera. It may look a lot like the a6300 but it's a higher spec (and more expensive) sister model.

It's based around the same copper-wired 24MP CMOS sensor as the a6300 but it adds several key features: most notably in-body image stabilization and touchscreen control.

An even faster Alpha

The a6500 still features the same 425 on-sensor phase detection elements as the a6300 and still shoots at at same 11 frames per second maximum burst rate, but a deeper buffer and additional processor allow it to shoot over 300 JPEG frames in a burst (or 100 frames when shooting Raw + JPEG).

The buffer and additional processing power also allow faster image review after having shot a burst, the company promises, which should avoid the frustrating 'camera busy' warnings that previous Sonys have been prone to give.

The camera's shutter mechanism has been updated and has now been tested to (though not necessarily guaranteed to) 200,000 cycles. Maximum shutter speed remains 1/4000th of a second.

5-axis in-body image stabilization

The a6500 manages to squeeze a five-axis image stabilization system into a camera that's just 5mm deeper than the a6300. The system is rated as offering 5 stops of improvement when tested to CIPA standards using a 55mm lens.

This system recognizes the presence of Sony lenses with OSS stabilization and passes responsibility for correcting pitch and yaw to the lens. Sony does not claim any additional effectiveness for this approach but we'd expect it to help maintain the 5-stop figure when using long lenses, since lens correction is able to correct for a greater degree of movement than sensor shift stabilization can.

Touchscreen focus

One of the biggest additions to the a6500 over existing models is touchscreen control. Previously reserved for the company's more point-and-shoot orientated models, the touchscreen makes it quicker to specify the AF point position (a significant frustration with the a6300).

The touchscreen is solely used to set the AF point with no option to control settings or navigate the menus.

This touch-to-focus ability extends to video mode and video focus speed can be adjusted to provide slow, smooth autofocus pulls. However, the camera won't touch-and-track in video mode: only the older 'Center Lock-On AF' system that locks onto the subject at the center of the frame is available.

Touchpad AF

Like Panasonic cameras and the recent Canon EOS M5, the a6500's touchscreen can still be used as a touchpad to specify the autofocus point when shooting through the camera's electronic viewfinder. The control of the AF point is always relative, rather than absolute, so you swipe to move the AF point from its current position, rather than touching exactly where you want it to be.

The camera lets you select whether both the touchscreen and touchpad modes are available, letting you disengage the touch sensitivity if you only want to use it with the camera to your eye or only want it active when using the rear LCD.

There's also the option to disable either the right or left-hand side of the touchscreen, to avoid accidental nose focus, depending on whether you shoot left or right eyed. The touchpad can again be set to disable when you turn the camera into the portrait orientation.

Revised menus

In addition to the touchscreen, Sony has made several other adjustments to the camera's operation and control.

The menus have been rearranged to cluster related features together and are now color-coded to make it easier to recognize and remember where a setting lives.

In addition the camera gains a second custom button on the top plate, taking the total number of customizable function buttons to 10.

4K Video

The a6500 offers the same UHD 4K capabilities as the a6300. It can shoot 4K/25p and 24p from the full width of its sensor, meaning 1.56x oversampling in each dimension. This gives very highly detailed footage, compared to taking a 'native' crop from the sensor. 30p 4K is taken from a smaller crop.

Sony has said nothing about changes in thermal management, so it's likely the camera won't be able to shoot for the full 29 minutes in warm conditions or similarly long clips back-to-back. However, with the latest firmware, we haven't encountered overheating as a problem if you're shooting clips to edit together, so it's only extended shooting that's likely to be a problem.

We're more concerned about any interaction between the camera's fairly high levels of rolling shutter and the movement of its 5-axis image stabilization system. Stabilized 4K video could be a hugely valuable capability of the camera but we'll wait to see the footage before getting too excited.

Video capabilities

Like the a6300, the a6500 has a built-in mic socket but no headphone port for audio monitoring.

It also continues to offer the in-depth 'Picture Profile' video response modes including ITU 709 and both S-Log2 and S-Log3 gamma curves. The camera records internally at up to 100Mbps for 4K recording and requires you us a U3-rated UHS-I card. It's happy to record to either SDXC or SDHC cards.

Internal recording is 8-bit 4:2:0 while HDMI out is 8-bit 4:2:2.

In summary

The a6500 is a very well specced camera: 5-axis stabilization, 11 fps shooting with AF, 4K UHD video capture with S-Log options, a comprehensive AF tracking system, weather-sealed body...

There are still a few things missing, though. Although the camera includes two command dials (one on the shoulder, one on the rear face of the camera), it has the same drawbacks as the a6300: both need to be controlled with the thumb. Worse still, it's likely that you'll have to shift your grip on the camera to reach from one to the other.

Still, the addition of a touchscreen and an even greater level of customization over the controls should give quick access to most of the features you need to change in-the-moment.

There's a price to be paid for these additional capabilities, though. The a6500 will sell for around $1400 or €1700 in Europe. As always, bear in mind the European price is likely to include VAT whereas the US price is usually quoted without sales tax. This makes it 40% more expensive than the a6300's list price and over twice the launch price of the more modest a6000.

So, while the technologies and capabilities of these three models are very different, the visual similarities risk causing customer confusion.

Categories: Equipment

Bowens introduces Generation X studio and portable flash heads with TTL radio control

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 2:58pm

UK flash manufacturer Bowens will use the PhotoPlus Expo to launch its new range of Generation X flash heads in the USA. The new range has a completely new design and features a portable model that is powered by an in-body rechargeable battery.

There are four heads in the new range: the XMT 500, XMS 500, XMS 750 and XMS 1000, all of which offer radio controlled triggering and control via new on-camera transceiver XMSR Trigger. The XMS mono-block heads are designed for indoor and in-studio use while the XMT 500 takes a removable lithium ion cell that the company claims delivers up to 500 full power bursts per charge. This portable head also offers TTL control for Canon, Nikon and Sony users.

All of the new heads have a high speed sync mode that allows shutter speeds as short a 1/8000sec, and the XMSR radio remote allows such high speed shooting with any brand of camera. The XMT 500 has a minimum flash duration of 1/10,309sec, and the XMS heads have shortest durations of 1/5180sec, 1/4800sec and 1/4400sec, which makes them all suitable for freezing action and moving subjects.

The XMS 500 has 7 stops of adjustable power, while the XMS 750 and XMS 1000 offer 8 stops. The XMT can manage 9 stops and has a lowest output of just 2Ws. The battery-operated head has recycle times of between 0.01 and 2 seconds, and the XMS 1000 can also recover from a full power burst in 2 seconds. Bowens claims each of the heads has a flash-to-flash consistency of +/-30°K and +/-0.05 stops.

Bowens is particularly proud of a new adjustment lever that allows the heads to be tilted very quickly without the user having to wind open a bolt. The new lever just flips open to allow the angle of the head to be adjusted and then flips back to lock the head in position.

XMT 500            $1,799.99/£1199
XMS 500            $1,099.99/£799
XMS 750            $1,299.99/£899
XMS 1000          $1,499.99/£999
XMSR Trigger    $ 289.99

For more information see the Bowens website.

Press release

Bowens Launches Game Changing Generation X Flash Range

Upper Saddle River, N.J. (October 5, 2016) – Manfrotto Distribution, Inc., distributor of Bowens products in the United States, proudly announces the launch of the new Generation X flash range by Bowens. These innovative units will debut in the U.S. at PhotoPlus Expo in New York City later this month and mark a renaissance for the legacy lighting manufacturer.

Generation X comprises two new flash systems: XMT – an all-in-one battery unit for location lighting and XMS – engineered to be the go-to system for photographers who need a function-rich and completely reliable flash in the studio.

Announcing the launch, David Hollingsworth, Marketing Manager, said, “Generation X is just the first step in relaunching Bowens to the imaging world. These barrier-breaking new products combine state-of-the-art technology and cutting-edge design and are the result of many months of very intense market research and product development. They will be the vanguard of our plans for ongoing and regular new unit roll-outs in coming months and years.”

Added Hollingsworth, “We believe these are simply the best lights in their class available on the market today. New-look Bowens is creating beautifully designed and engineered products, tailored to our customers’ needs.”

John Gass, Technical Director said, “Generation X is the result of highly-focused analysis of our customers’ feedback through the years. These new units are revolutionary products which we believe are absolutely unbeatable in their class in terms of functionality, aesthetics and cost.”

He added, “For decades, customers have frequently described our products as ‘workhorses’ in the studio and on location. Now the workhorse has been transformed into a stallion; we tested the XMS at full power every five seconds over consecutive days and we couldn’t force this product to overheat.”

Generation X – at a glance:
The all-new 500Ws XMT boasts TTL and high speed sync functionality (up to 1/8000s) compatible with Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras: 9-stops of flash power adjustment; flash durations as short as 1/10309s: faster recycle times than ever before (as rapid as 0.01s): easy swap lithium-ion battery provides up to 500 full power flashes per charge: rear curtain sync; sync delay and strobe mode allow creative set-ups on the move.

The XMS, available in 500,750 and 1000Ws models (all fully controllable via the XMSR 2.4 Ghz radio control and trigger) features multi-voltage operation. These units offer outstanding specification with faster recycling times and flash durations. The XMSR model includes groundbreaking Bowens ‘Sync Offset’ functionality, enabling photographers to embrace any brand of camera to shoot at high sync speeds – up to 1/8000s.

The following models will be available this fall:
XMT 500 $1,799.99
XMS 500 $1,099.99
XMS 750 $1,299.99
XMS 1000 $1,499.99
XMSR Trigger $ 289.99

For additional information or to learn more about Bowens products, visit: https://www.manfrotto.us/bowens.

Categories: Equipment

Fujifilm X-Pro2 firmware 2.0 adds focus points, improves PDAF accuracy

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 2:37pm

Fujifilm has released firmware v 2.0 for the Fuji X-Pro2, bringing many tweaks, changes and bug fixes to the company's flagship APS-C camera. Among the changes is an increase in the number of focus points to 325, as well as improved phase detection autofocus accuracy via the X-T2’s AF algorithm, improved AF tracking in Continuous L burst rate shooting in AF-C mode, the addition of support for the EF-X500 shoe mount flash, new 15/30 second and 1 minute time options for ‘Auto Power Off,’ and improved optical image stabilization when using the electronic shutter.

The full firmware 2.0 changelog:

  • 1. The NUMBER OF THE FOCUS POINT has increased.(*) The options available are 91 POINTS(7x13) and 325 POINTS(13x25) on the NUMBER OF THE FOCUS POINT of the AF/MF SETTING in the Shooting Menu.
  • 2. Improvement of phase detection AF accuracy. By employing the new AF algorithm used in the X-T2, the AF accuracy has been improved.
  • 3. AF tracking function has been improved when CONTINUOUS L in the AF-C mode.
  • 4. In AF-C mode, AE function will work while pressing the shutter button halfway.
  • 5. AF tracking function works while CONTINUOUS shooting in the AF-C mode with the Electronic Shutter.
  • 6. AF tracking function works while CONTINUOUS H shooting in the AF-C mode instead of zone AF.
  • 7. STILL IMAGE(single frame shooting) is available when CONTINUOUS L in the AF-C mode.
  • 8. The focus point of Eye Detection AF has been changed to the eye closer to the camera.
  • 9. Compatibility with the Shoe Mount Flash EF-X500.(*) Additional functions like the multi-flash lighting, high-speed flash sync and so on can be used with the EF-X500. Accordingly, the FLASH SETTING and the Shooting Menu is dramatically changed.
  • 10. The items that can be assigned to the Quick Menu have changed.(*) FLASH FUNCTION SETTINGS and FLASH COMPENSATION have been added due to the compatibility with the Shoe Mount Flash EF-X500.
  • 11. The roles that can be assigned to the Function buttons have changed.(*) FLASH FUNCTION SETTINGS, TTL-LOCK and MODELING FLASH have been added due to the compatibility with the Shoe Mount Flash EF-X500.
  • 12. Addition of AUTO POWER SAVE.(*) AUTO POWER SAVE option has been added to the POWER MANAGEMENT of the Setup Menu. Select ON to save the power consumption and make the battery life longer.
  • 13. Addition of setting time in AUTO POWER OFF.(*) 15 SEC, 30 SEC and 1 MIN have been added to the AUTO POWER OFF of the POWER MANAGEMENT in the Setup Menu.
  • 14. S.S OPERATION option has been added to BUTTON/DIAL SETTING in the Setup Menu.(*) Select OFF to disable the shutter-speed fine-tuning using the command dials.
  • 15. Change of the CORRECTED AF FRAME in the OVF.(*) Specification of the CORRECTED AF FRAME of AF/MF SETTING in the Shooting Menu has been changed. OFF: The frame moves according to parallax to show the focus point. ON: The CORRECTED AF FRAME in the OVF is fixed on the recommended value described in the Owner's manual. If the minimum focus range of the attached lens is greater than the recommended value, the frame is displayed on the position of the minimum focus range. *Upgrade the firmware of the lenses after the firmware of the camera is upgraded.
  • 16. The phenomenon is fixed that in rare cases the magnification of the OVF doesn't switch appropriately when a lens is changed.
  • 17. The bright frame movement in the OVF has become more smoothly while zooming in and out.
  • 18. OIS function has been improved while using Electronic Shutter.
  • 19. The phenomenon is fixed that in rare cases frames of live view on a smartphone drop while using the application software "FUJIFILM Camera Remote".
  • 20. The phenomenon is fixed that exposure sometimes doesn't change appropriately in Aperture Priority AE while using an M MOUNT ADAPTER.
Categories: Equipment

Sony takes the wraps off of its Alpha a6500

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 10:32am

Breaking news: Sony has taken the wraps off of its new Alpha a6500 mirrorless camera at an event in New York City. Our own Carey Rose and Rishi Sanyal are reporting live and we'll be updating this story frequently, so keep refreshing this page!

The a6500 is now the company's top-end APS-C camera, sitting above the a6300. It maintains the 425 on-sensor PDAF points but gains a faster (LSI) processor to allow high speed operation. Sony also promises improved processing at high ISO settings, thanks to this new processor.

The camera gains 5-axis image stabilization which continues to work in both stills and video.

It also gains a touchscreen for faster operation. The rear screen works as a touchpad if you're holding the camera to your eye.

The buffer has been significantly increased, allowing the camera to shoot at 11 frames per second for over 200 frames.

It can shoot 4K video much like the a6300 but with the touchscreen allowing touch-to-pull-focus. The AF drive speed during video shooting can be controlled for smooth focus transitions. We're waiting to hear whether the more powerful processing capabilities help with rolling shutter.

The a6500 will be available for $1400/€1700 in the end of November and December for the US and EU, respectively.

Categories: Equipment

Sony announces Cyber-shot RX100 Mark V with 315 phase-detection AF points

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 10:14am

Breaking news: Sony has announced the latest version of its RX100 series: the Mark V. Our own Rishi Sanyal and Carey Rose are reporting live from Sony's event in NYC, so check back frequently for the latest information!

 The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V offers what Sony calls 'professional level AF performance' in the form of a new sensor with 315 phase-detection AF points over 65% of the frame, claiming the world's fastest AF speed at 0.05 seconds. It offers 24 fps shooting at full 20.1MP resolution with autofocus and auto exposure for up to 150 frames for JPEG + Raw. Sony has added a more powerful processing chip, along with a large buffer to cope with the data coming off the sensor.

The Mark V's video is also improved. It creates UHD 4K from a 5028 x 2828 pixel region. This means it oversamples by 1.3x in each dimension (1.7x overall), to give highly detailed 4K footage. The camera maintains the ability to use its phase detection AF during video shooting. 960fps slow motion is available with twice the recording duration of the RX100 IV – up to 8 seconds of 40x slow motion. An anti-distortion shutter is available up to 1/32000sec, and silent shutter is available even for 24fps burst shooting.

The camera's 3" 1229k-dot LCD tilts a full 180 degrees upward and 45 degrees downward. It retains a pop-up viewfinder, with a 2359k-dot OLED panel. Wi-Fi is available as expected, with the added benefit of being able to read QR codes to help make a wireless connection when NFC isn't an option. A new underwater case is available, compatible with the entire RX100 series and making it possible to use the camera up to 40m underwater.

 It will be available in October for $1000/€1200.

Categories: Equipment

iPhone 7 real-world sample gallery

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 7:00am

The iPhone 7 lacks the dual camera modules of its iPhone 7 Plus sibling, but it still offers plenty of imaging features. It includes a 12MP sensor with optical image stabilization, 4K video recording and thanks to iOS 10, Raw image capture. We've already posted a preliminary iPhone 7 Plus gallery, but not wanting to neglect the iPhone 7, we went spent some time getting to know its sibling too.

See our iPhone 7 real-world sample gallery

Categories: Equipment

Throwback Thursday: Canon EOS D30

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 6:00am

In the year 2000 (somehow, living in it never felt as futuristic and cool as saying it), I enrolled as a first-year undergraduate student1 at the University of Durham. For many among the student body, the most exciting thing that happened that year was the use by Warner Brothers of parts of the Cathedral grounds and cloisters for filming 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'.

But while my fellow undergraduates occupied themselves with daily games of 'Where's Alan Rickman Getting Coffee Today?'2 I was trying to work out how to become a photographer. Back then, the most expensive component of photography was materials. Film, chemicals, paper and of course the associated hardware. An enlarger with a decent lens, tanks, trays and the physical space required to set it up. I didn't have a darkroom at home, so I made full use of the facilities both at my college and later, when studying abroad in France.

Over the course of my first year at Durham I took thousands of photographs, experimenting with different styles, different film stocks, and different ways of processing and creating images. Serious digital imaging was still out of reach to all but the wealthiest of enthusiasts at that point, but our student-run website bought a Canon Digital IXUS V in 2001 which I shot with a lot. Although it only offered 2 million pixels, had a crappy battery life and barely any zoom, after a long, smelly day in the darkroom, the IXUS V gave me a refreshing taste of the convenience – and potential – of digital imaging.

That potential had come a little bit closer to being realized late the previous year, when Canon released the EOS D30.

The D30 was a groundbreaking camera for a number of reasons. Not only was it Canon's first properly home-grown DSLR (previous efforts had been collaborations with Kodak, and were priced for the pro market), it was the first DSLR with an APS-C format CMOS sensor, and the first to come in at (just) under $3000, body only.

I read early previews and reviews of the D30 voraciously. The sheer potential of the thing was incredible. Along with many other photography nerds at the time I had a whole new language to learn. Raw files. JPEGs. A few terms, like 'unsharp mask' I was familiar with from the darkroom, but others like 'white balance' and 'color space' were alien.

It was image quality that really sold the D30. God knows it wasn't the 3-point autofocus system or the pokey, dark viewfinder. For someone used to shooting with a high-end Canon film SLR, the D30's core photographic specification must have looked alarmingly primitive (pity the first generation of press photographers who had to use them coming from EOS 1N and EOS 3 bodies) but those files...

Images from the D30 were amazingly clean and detailed, and up to ISO 1600 there was almost no grain - or, as I was learning to call it - noise.

It's easy to forget that for 35mm film photographers, shooting above ISO 400 was considered a bit risky. There were some decent general-purpose 800 ISO color emulsions, but film (color film at any rate) was never really great for low-light handheld shooting. As such, the ability to shoot good, clean, contrasty, colorful and virtually grain-free images above ISO 400 on the D30 was a revelation. The late Michael Reichmann took a lot of flak from purists back then for saying that images from the D30 were essentially better than film, but I thought he was right when he published that article, and I still do.

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When we shot our first Field Test video in 2014, I took my D30 along to record some 'behind the scenes' shots of the (then) brand-new Canon EOS 7D II being put through its paces.

Such was the demand for the D30 when it was finally released that they were pretty scarce. Only once do I remember seeing a non-professional with one. He was a guest in the restaurant I waited in3 during my university holidays and he had it out on the table (of course he did). The restaurant was one of those rural boutique hotel restaurants with Michelin Star aspirations and prices to match, but too many covers (and too much corner-cutting) to ever be awarded one. At the time it used to attract a lot of what the head waiter dismissively termed 'BDGs', which stood for 'builders4 done good'. Lots of money, but lacking in taste. The kind of people who would order a soufflé and then ask for ketchup.5 D30 man was a BDG.

As a 19 year-old student it pained me to see him flashing around a $3000 camera which was fabulously beyond my means, and that he clearly didn't know how to use. But it delighted me when, towards the end of the meal, he drunkenly spilled red wine all over it.6

Another three years would pass before I owned my own DSLR, an EOS 10D. It took a whole year of working in that same restaurant to pay for it, and I never looked (or went) back. But it was another six years before I finally got my hands on an EOS D30. In 2009, not long before I joined DPReview I found one on Ebay, boxed and in immaculate condition.7 I didn't need it, but I wanted it. There's something very special about encountering things that you once lusted over - it's like a kind of magic. The attraction never quite wears off. I won the bid (a very reasonable £100, if I remember correctly) and fell in love all over again. I still have my D30. I still shoot with it from time to time. And it's still great.

1. English Literature & Philosophy, in case you were curious. Which, sixteen years on, means you can basically ask me anything about Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. 

2. Vennels, and the Café on the Green mostly I think.

3. For the benefit of our American readers, waited in = served in. I wasn't just lurking in a restaurant.

4. Also for the benefit of our American readers, builder = construction worker. 

5. I actually saw that happen once, but I was never able to confirm the story of another BDG returning his gazpacho soup because it was cold.

6. Schadenfreude, like gazpacho soup, is best served chilled.

7. Listed by a certain Ray Davies, of Birmingham England. Presumably not that Ray Davies.

Categories: Equipment

Voigtlander shows off three new lenses including 65mm F2 Macro for E-mount

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 3:21pm
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Lens manufacturer Voigtlander is set to introduce three unusual lenses this autumn and has posted pictures and specifications on its website, but isn’t letting on when they will arrive.

The most interesting, visually at least, is a VM 50mm F3.5 Heliar designed for M-mount bodies. It uses an almost symmetrical configuration of five elements in three groups and forms a conical shape reminiscent of the Tessar 50mm lenses of the Carl Zeiss Jena Werra cameras. The lens will have a minimum aperture of F22 and will use a 10-bladed iris that promises nice circular out-of-focus highlights. Remarkably, the aperture ring will be without click stops.

A more popular lens will be the 65mm F2 Macro Apo-Lanthar for the Sony E-mount system. This will have a closest focusing distance of 0.31m and will be able to transmit EXIF data to the camera as well as trigger manual focus assistance such as automatic magnification and peaking. It will have 10 elements in 8 groups and will offer apertures down to F22. The company has yet to decide whether the aperture ring will feature click stops, but again the iris will use 10 blades.

The third lens on display is a SL ll – S 58mm F1.4 Nokton designed for Nikon AI-S bodies. This new version of the company’s existing SL ll – N lens appears to be optically unchanged but it offers a more retro barrel design that echoes Nikon’s own manual focus lenses, and it has the addition of a meter coupling prong that will allow it to be used with much older bodies.

The company has not given any information on pricing or delivery dates, but you can read more specification on the Voigtlander website.

Categories: Equipment

ExoLens offers Zeiss-branded accessory lenses for iPhone 7, adds 'Prime' lens line

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 3:16pm

ExoLens has announced that it will sell its Zeiss-branded accessory lenses for iPhone 7, and has also introduced a second product line. Calling its existing lineup of lenses with Zeiss optics the 'Pro' line, it emphasizes their high quality construction while adding the 'Prime' line for 'artistic expression and non-technical social sharing.' ExoLens does not mention support for the iPhone 7 Plus and its dual camera modules.

Three Pro lenses are offered: the Wide, Telephoto and Macro-Zooms first introduced in January. Each will come with an ExoLens Edge machined aluminum mount, as well as a key ring loop. Launching for iPhone 7, 6/6 Plus and 6s/6s Plus in December, the wide-angle and telephoto kits will also sell for $199.99 and $249.99, respectively.

Following the launch of these two kits, ExoLens will release the Pro Macro-Zoom Lens in January for $199.99 bundled with the lens mount bracket. This kit will include the Zeiss Vario-Proxar 40-80 T macro-zoom lens for taking photos of items that measure between 3cm and 12cm. 

The Pro macro lens kit will be joined by Telephoto 2x, Wide-Angle 0.6x, and Super Wide-Angle/Macro combo lenses in the PRIME range, all of which launch in the first quarter of 2017; prices for the Prime kits haven’t been released yet.

Press release:

ExoLens® Introduces PRO and PRIME Ranges of Professional Accessory Lenses for the iPhone 7

The new lines offer photographers a range of exceptional mobile lenses that are made for a wide variety of usage scenarios, from professional landscape and portrait imagery to selfies used by social sharers.

Itasca, IL – October 5, 2016 – ExoLens®, accessory brand dedicated to elevating the mobile photography category, announces the launch of the ExoLens PRO and PRIME ranges. Each line is designed for a specific consumer, which allows everyone from the novice to the professional to join the mobile photography movement. Leading the collection, is the ExoLens® PRO line for the iPhone 7, which feature Optics by market leading brand, ZEISS, to offer truly professional-grade mobile lenses to photographers, artists and journalists to seriously step up your mobile photography game.

“We are very excited to launch the high-performance ranges of PRO and PRIME iPhone lenses,” says John Fellowes, Chief Executive Officer of Fellowes Brands, which acquired ExoLens in 2014. “The new product lines signify an expanded brand strategy for ExoLens, which will now reach mobile photographers of all levels.”

First to market will be the ExoLens PRO Wide-Angle and Telephoto Kits for iPhone 7. These kits will bring the aspherical lens technology previously reserved for high-end DSLR lenses, straight to your iPhone as a compact mobile accessory lens. With more than 170 years of experience engineering professional optics, ZEISS has gained unrivaled trust among professional photographers and cinematographers in the industry. The series of high-performance lenses is a new breed of mobile photography optics that will allow the massive community of iPhone photographers and videographers to tell a deeper story with gold-standard gear. All PRO Kits come with the new machined aluminum ExoLens Edge mount, which features an integrated cold shoe accessory mount (compatible with accessories such as external video light) and key ring loop.

The ExoLens PRO Wide-Angle Kit with Optics by ZEISS features a ZEISS Mutar™ 0.6x Asph T* Wide-Angle lens, which provides virtually no distortion and exceptional edge-to-edge contrast, resulting in an image quality that is unmatched by any other iPhone accessory lens. This Kit helps professionals capture expansive scenery and immerse viewers with frame filling detail, while expanding the frame of the iPhone to see the world in a beautiful new perspective. The ExoLens PRO Wide-Angle Kit with Optics by ZEISS will be available for iPhone 6/6s, iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus, and iPhone 7 in December for $199.99.

The ExoLens PRO Telephoto Kit with Optics by ZEISS features a ZEISS Mutar™ 2.0x Asph T* Telephoto lens. The Kit offers photographers a narrow depth of field to add a beautiful bokeh to the background while focusing attention on the subject. The focal length of the telephoto allows the contours of the face to appear more natural and closer to real life, and is ideal for street photography, portraits or capturing events. The Telephoto Kit will be available for iPhone 6/6s, iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus, and iPhone 7 in December for $249.99.

ExoLens PRO Macro-Zoom Kit with Optics by ZEISS features the ZEISS Vario-Proxar 40-80 T* macro-zoom lens. The ZEISS Vario-Proxar 40-80 T* macro-zoom lens has a variable focal length of 40 to 80 millimeters. "In combination with the optics of the smartphone camera, turning the ring does not result in an increase or reduction of the field of view," Product Developer Vladan Blahnik from ZEISS explains. "Instead, the ring functions much like a manual focus with which different planes can be set. If photographers want to shoot objects that are three to five centimeters away, they turn the ring to the right as far as it will go, and to the left for objects that are five to eight centimeters away." This allows users to capture objects measuring three to twelve centimeters filling the complete field of view and capture astonishing details beyond what is visible to the human eye to put you impossibly close to the subject. The PRO Macro-Zoom Kit will be available for iPhone 6/6s, iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus, and iPhone 7 in January for $199.99.

The ExoLens PRIME product line allows for artistic expression and non-technical social sharing to step up your iPhone photography and videography game. They are intended for the photographer looking to create unique, artistic and candid snapshots. The lenses offered for PRIME Kits are the Wide Angle 0.6X, the Telephoto 2X and the Super Wide-Angle/Macro Combo.. The PRIME product line will be available starting Q1 2017.

Categories: Equipment

Three's company: Lensbaby launches Trio 28 for mirrorless cameras

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 1:09pm

Lensbaby has announced the Trio 28, a unique creative lens designed specifically for mirrorless camera users. The Trio 28 is three lenses in one, offering the creative effects of Lensbaby's Twist, Velvet and Sweet optics in one compact lens. A simple rotation of the lens lets you switch between the three effects, and the 28mm focal length makes it a useful all-around lens for mirrorless photographers. We are interested in how the fixed F3.5 aperture will work since aperture is a key part of controlling the creative effect in Lensbaby's other lenses and optics, but we are excited to try it out!

The Trio 28 is available for pre-order starting on October 26, 2016. It is priced at $279.95 and is available in Sony E, Micro 4/3, and Fuji X mounts.

Press release:

Lensbaby Launches One-of-a-Kind Lens for Mirrorless Camera Shooters

Convenience meets creativity with unique, compact 3-in-1 lens design

Portland, OR – October 5, 2016 Lensbaby — makers of award-winning creative effects lenses, optics and accessories — announces the launch of their most versatile lens yet, Trio 28. Designed specifically for mirrorless camera users, Trio 28 features three selective focus optics in one compact lens and will be available for purchase on October 26, 2016.

By simply rotating a dial to switch between Lensbaby’s most popular optical effects – Twist, Velvet or Sweet – the Trio 28 empowers photographers to shape their vision in the moment through the limitless creative options offered by the lens:

  • Twist gives you a large sharp central area of focus surrounding by twisty, swirling bokeh
  • Velvet has a sharp yet dreamy central area of focus with delicate glow from edge-to-edge
  • Sweet creates a sharp central sweet spot of focus surrounded by gradually increasing blur

“Trio 28 offers a revolutionary shooting experience for mirrorless shooters,” said Lensbaby Co-Founder and CEO Craig Strong. "This is the first lens we’ve designed specifically with the mirrorless camera’s small form factor in mind. With mirrorless camera sales continuing to grow, this was a natural next step for Lensbaby.”

"Our goal is to help photographers discover their unique visual voice through the creative freedom our lenses offer," Strong continued. "With a variety of selective focus effects in a compact lens designed for the small form factor of mirrorless cameras, Trio 28 goes above and beyond, helping us reach this goal. We can’t wait to see what photographers create with it."

The wide 28mm focal length, as well as the small and compact form to match the size of mirrorless cameras, makes the Trio 28 an ideal lens for on-the-go adventure and will help photographers uniquely capture the soul of street scenes, landscapes, environmental portraits and more.

Trio 28 Specs:

  • Focal Length: 28mm
  • Aperture: fixed f/3.5
  • 3 Optics for 3 effects - Twist, Velvet, Sweet
  • Minimum focus distance: 8”
  • Maximum focusing distance: Infinity
  • Focus Type: Manual
  • Size/Weight: 4.9oz, 2.75” x2.75” x2”
  • Twist Optic: 4 multi-coated elements in 3 groups
  • Velvet Optic: 3 multi-coated elements in 2 groups
  • Sweet Optic: 3 multi-coated elements in 3 groups
  • 46mm front threads
  • When shooting on full frame cameras, Twist will produce a subtle vignette

The Trio 28 is designed for the following mirrorless cameras: Sony E, Micro 4/3 and FujiX. It retails for $279.95 and will be available for purchase at Lensbaby.com and other Lensbaby-authorized retailers on October 26, 2016.

For more information please contact Keri Friedman at keri@lensbaby.com or Ally Hopper with Groundswell PR at ally@groundswellpr.com.

About Lensbaby

For over a decade, photographers have relied on Portland, Oregon-based Lensbaby to help them break free of routine, tinker, and open themselves up to unexpected results—dancing, playing and delighting in what’s possible with a creative lens and their imagination.

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

Lensbaby Trio 28 specifications

Categories: Equipment

Google's Pixel phones: What you need to know

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 12:49pm

Everything you need to know about Google's new Pixel phones

Google's 2016 smartphones have dropped the Nexus moniker and, in line with the company's high-end Chromebooks and tablets, have instead adopted the Pixel brand. Despite being made by HTC the Pixel and Pixel XL are marketed as Google devices and only differ in terms of screen size and resolution as well as battery capacity. A 5" 1080p AMOLED display and a 2,770mAh battery can be found on the standard Pixel, while the XL comes with a 5.5" QHD-screen and a 3,450mAh battery. 

Both devices are powered by Qualcomm's top-end chipset Snapdragon 821 and 4GB of RAM. The metal body with glass inlays on the back also houses a fingerprint reader, USB Type-C port for quick charging and a 3.5mm headphone-jack. In the US the devices will be available in black, silver and blue, with pricing starting at a fairly steep $649 for the standard Pixel with 32GB of built-in storage. 

The Pixel and Pixel XL have generated a lot of buzz for their imaging capabilities in a short amount of time – click through to see what else you should know about the new Google Pixel phones.

New camera hardware

Google says the camera stack used by the Pixel has been redesigned, even though on paper the camera specifications are similar to last year's Nexus models. A 6-element lens with F2.0 aperture is placed in front of a 1/2.3" 12.3MP sensor with 1.55µm sized pixels. On-sensor phase detection is on board as well and a laser-beam helps measuring the subject distance in low light for even better AF-accuracy. A dual-tone LED flash should make for pleasant skin tones when shooting with the built-in lamp in very low light.  

On the video side of things the Pixel phones can record up to 4K video at 30fps. In slow motion mode you can shoot Full-HD footage at 120fps or 720p video at 240fps. Perhaps the most notable new feature is a gyroscope-based electronic video-stabilization system that looked very promising in Google's demonstration video during the launch presentation. It reads the gyroscope 200 times per second in order to correct for any camera movement and also helps reduce the "jello-effect" that is often noticeable on CMOS-sensors when panning the camera.

The front camera specification would not have looked out of place on a main camera only a few years ago. A 1/3.2" 8MP sensor with a 1.4 µm pixel size and F2.4 aperture should allow for decent selfies in most conditions and the front camera is also capable of recording 1080p video. 

Imaging software

While the Pixel's camera hardware is pretty much in line with other high-end smartphones, it's the imaging software that really sets the Google devices apart. Thanks to more powerful image processing and a zero shutter lag the camera can now use Google's excellent HDR+ mode, which has been available in the Google Camera app for a while, by default, without any noticeable processing delays for the photographer.

Instead of taking one longer exposure, HDR+ captures multiple images, aligns them algorithmically and merges them. This results in improved dynamic range, lower noise levels and better detail at all light levels but is especially helpful in low light conditions. Additionally, Smartburst captures several frames just before and after you press the shutter button and then, thanks to Google's image recognition technology, selects the sharpest and clearest photos with the most pleasant facial expressions to display. Google also says the Pixel is quicker than any other smartphone in getting ready to capture a picture.  

Best ever DxOMark Mobile score

It appears the Pixel's high-end camera hardware and Google's clever imaging algorithms are working together very well. DxO has already tested the Pixel camera before its launch and with a score of 89 the Google device is the best smartphone ever tested. It takes the top position in the DxOMark rankings ahead of such illustrious competition as the new iPhone 7, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the HTC 10.

The DxO testers were impressed by the great detail and low noise levels across all light situations. They also found exposure to be spot on and the autofocus to be very accurate, both in still in video mode. You can read the full report on DxOMark.com.

Unlimited cloud storage for photos and video

Like previously the Google Nexus devices, the Pixel phones do not come with a microSD memory expansion slot. This is something many mobile photographers won't be too happy about but the Pixel is meant to be a cloud device and Google is emphasizing that by offering free unlimited cloud storage for full-resolution images and even 4K video in Google Photos.

A Smart Storage option will upload images and videos storage to your personal cloud and delete them off your phone automatically when your local storage starts to get full, similar to the Nextbit Robin. So nothing is stopping you now from recording that feature film in 4K resolution – just make sure you're close to a reasonably fast internet connection. 

Android Nougat 7.1

The Google Pixel devices are not the first smartphones to come with Android 7 Nougat – that honor went to the LG V20 – but for its own devices Google has launched version 7.1 which comes with a few modifications, some of which are specific to the Pixels. 

One of the most notable differences is the new launcher that comes with an opaque shelf and round icons and folders. Other cosmetic differences include blue accents and custom navigation bar icons. In addition to unlimited photo storage Pixel users will also enjoy Google's 24-hour tech support service. You can call or chat with a trained representative right from the device settings.

New features that are not exclusive to the Pixel phones are fingerprint gestures, which for example let you swipe down on the sensor to open the notification tray and the Night Light feature, a blue light filter that is activated at night. Seamless Updates downloads and installs updates in the background while you keep working on the device. They are then activated after a restart, similar to what you're used to from a Windows PC.

Of course version 7.1 also offers the new features we've already seen on the original Nougat, such as 'Project Doze' which makes the phone use less battery while it's not in your hands with the screen on and the ability to reply directly to notifications from the notification tray, without opening the corresponding app first. 

Google Assistant

Google Assistant is Google's Version of Siri or Cortana and a much more intelligent version of Google Now. Assistant uses machine learning to become more useful the more you use it and in the future will come with different "personalities" for different types of tasks.

The version in the Pixel phones is already able to set and send calendar reminders, search for and book restaurants, find gas stations while you are on the road or play music while you are at home among many other things. It remembers every interaction and is therefore capable of having conversations rather than just receiving commands. Google Assistant uses data from your personal Google account in combination with voice and image recognition technologies, the built-in sensors in the phone and machine learning methods to offer its services.  

Daydream View VR-headset

The Pixel and Pixel XL are the first devices ready for Google's Daydream VR technology that was first demonstrated at the I/O conference in May. Together with the smartphones Google has now also unveiled the Daydream View headset, which at $79 is meant to bring VR to the masses. The headset is made with a soft and breathable fabric that allows for extra comfort and makes it easy to use the headset over glasses. As a side-effect it is approximately 30% lighter than similar devices, for example Samsung's Gear VR. 

Phone and headset come with an auto-alignment system, so once the Pixel is dropped in the Daydream VR you don’t need to worry about any cables or other connections. Daydream VR comes with the Daydream controller remote control that lets you interact with the virtual world you are moving in. It has a number of sensors to interpret your gestures and movements and offers high levels of precision. When not in use it slides into the headphones, reducing the risk of losing it. 

Categories: Equipment

Fast and light: Nikkor 24mm F1.8G ED lens review

DPReview.com - Latest News - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 10:19am

The AF-S Nikkor 24mm F1.8G ED was first announced back in August 2015. It joins Nikon's growing family of modern full frame primes alongside the 20mm F1.8G, 28mm F1.8G, 35mm F1.8G, 85mm F1.8G and the 50mm F1.8G. It's priced at just under $750 making it a well matched option to be paired with cameras like the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D750. The Nikkor can also be used on DX format cameras with an equivalent focal length of 36mm.

This fast wide-angle prime will most likely appeal to architecture, landscape and portrait or wedding photographers. Additionally, the F1.8 max aperture may come in handy for those looking to utilize the lens for astrophotography work as well.

At 24mm the lens is Nikon's second widest prime option to date, coming in just behind the Nikkor 20mm lens. It's worth noting that there are a few other options at 24mm that potential buyers should definitely be aware of. One of those options is the slightly faster Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art that comes in at just under $850.

The Sigma 24mm can be seen mounted on a Nikon D810 on the left and the Nikkor 24mm can be seen mounted on a D810 on the right.

Although the Sigma is a bit pricier, it is a sensible alternate option for folks looking for a lens at this focal length. By comparison the Nikkor 24mm F1.4G ED is is priced at just under $2000 which makes the Sigma version that much more attractive to potential buyers. We will be taking a closer look at the Nikkor 24mm F1.8G and the Sigma 24mm F1.4 as an alternative lens option in this review.


If you're an APS-C shooter the 36mm equivalent focal length with an equivalent aperture of F2.7 will be a nice addition to your lens kit, being flexible enough to allow environmental and photojournalistic portraits while still being wide enough to accommodate for some landscape and architectural photography as well. It is worth noting however that if you're looking to purchase this lens for an APS-C camera, then other options, such as Sigma's 18-35mm F1.8 lens, might be a better alternative for the money. For this reason, we're not going to consider this lens for use on APS-C in this review.

Nikkor 24mm F1.8G ED Headline Features

  • 24mm Focal Length
  • F1.8 Maximum Aperture
  • 'Silent wave' focus motor with full-time manual override
  • F-mount FX format lens, works on both DX and FX format Nikon SLRs
  • Accepts standard screw-type 72mm Filters

Lens Specifications

  AF-S Nikkor 24mm F1.8G ED Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM A (Nikon Mount)
Price (MSRP) $745 $849
Announced 2015 2015
Lens Type Wide Angle Prime Wide Angle Prime
Lens Mount Nikon F Nikon F
Max Format Size 35mm FF 35mm FF
Focal Length 24mm 24mm
Image Stabilization No No
Max Aperture F1.8 F1.4
Minimum Aperture  F16 F16
Aperture Ring  No No 
Diaphragm Blades 7 (rounded)  9 (rounded)
Elements 12  15
Groups  9 11
Special Elements/Coatings  2 extra-LD glass elements and 2 aspherical elements, Nano Crystal Coat and Super Integrated Coating 2 aspherical elements, 3 FLD and 4 SLD glass elements coupled with Multi Layer Coatings
Minimum Focus 23cm (9.1") 25cm (9.9")
Maximum Magnification 0.2x  0.19x
Autofocus Yes  Yes
Motor Type Silent Wave Motor autofocus mechanism HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor)
Full Time Manual  Yes Yes
Focus Method  Internal Internal
Distance Scale Yes Yes
DoF Scale Yes Yes 
Weight  355g (12.5 oz) 665g (23.1 oz)
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 78 x 83mm (3.1 x 3.3") 85 x 90mm (3.4 x 3.6")
Materials Metal Mount/Plastic and composite material Metal Mount/Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) material
Sealing  None  None
Color Black Black
Filter Thread 72mm 77mm
Hood Supplied  Yes Yes
Hood Product Code HB-76 Bayonet Hood  
Tripod Collar No No

The Nikkor 24mm has a metal lens mount and a mostly plastic/composite material body. It feels surprisingly light for being such a fast prime lens; especially when compared to the Sigma 24mm lens which weighs nearly twice the amount and is slightly larger in size (this is broadly to be expected with the Sigma's 2/3 stop extra light gathering ability). The build quality of the Sigma lens definitely feels more robust with the majority of its components constructed of metal and a composite material that can be found on most of Sigma's Art series lenses.

It's worth mentioning that both the Nikkor and the Sigma 24mm lenses lack comprehensive weather sealing, but the Nikkor does offer some protection with rubber gasket around the lens mount, so that's definitely something to keep in mind if you plan to use these lenses in adverse weather conditions.

With these specifications in mind, how do these lenses stack up against one another in terms of performance? In this review we will be looking at the performance of the Nikkor 24mm and how it compares to the heavier and faster Sigma 24mm. 

Categories: Equipment

Gitzo updates Systematic tripod range with new materials, big feet and Easy Link sockets

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 10/04/2016 - 6:35pm

Gitzo has introduced a new range of Systematic tripods that it says are more stable and stronger, and which feature new locking mechanisms for the leg sections. The latest models use what the company calls Carbon eXact for the leg tubing, which it claims offers improved ‘balance between rigidity and weight’. The Systematic range is Gitzo’s top end series and the tripods are designed for heavy cameras and long lenses. Larger feet have been introduced for the new models to prevent slipping and for making uneven ground more easy to rest on, and the twist-lock leg sections have been given G-lock Ultra clamps that Gitzo says are quicker and easier to use.

The company has also added a connector for the Manfrotto Easy Link system in a first for the Gitzo line-up. This threaded socket allows accessory arms and clamps to be attached to the casting of the tripod so reflectors, flash units, trays and other accessories can be held in place.

The new models will be priced from $799.99/£649.95 and a new range of monopods will start at $319.99/£214.95.

For more information see the Gitzo website.

Press release:

Gitzo introduces:
The New Generation of Photography Support Solutions

October 2016 - Gitzo, pioneers in developing some of the most advanced and revolutionary technologies for professional camera equipment, proudly introduce the new generation Systematic tripod family and the latest Monopod family, setting new industry standards in premium photography equipment.

The iconic Gitzo Systematic tripod family is the high-end choice for exacting professional photographers who use long lenses and heavy cameras and require extreme precision – down to the smallest detail – in their work and equipment. The new Gitzo Systematic tripods leverage the latest innovation for the greatest performance ever: the leg tubes are upgraded to Gitzo’s latest generation Carbon eXact, improving the balance between rigidity and weight. New, 50mm diameter big feet enable ultimate stability, preventing slipping and movement. The new G-lock Ultra allows even more comfortable operation and protection while the leg angle selectors guarantee a quicker switch between leg angles – further enhancing ergonomics. Moreover, the new Gitzo Systematic models feature the Easy Link attachment, a 3/8” thread through which a rich array of innovative photography accessories can be attached to facilitate the most advanced shooting techniques. The tripods are offered in a new sizing assortment.

The new Gitzo Monopods are designed to guarantee unfailing support for the highest quality equipment, enabling professional photographers to comfortably capture the golden moment. They are the ideal combination of rigidity, light weight, precision, rapid set up speed and ergonomics. Now even stronger than before thanks to state-of-the-art Carbon eXact tubing and G-lock Ultra leg locks, their new big foot ensures rock-solid footing on any surface while providing smooth movement with its integrated ball; the new models also feature enhanced aesthetics and improved sizing selection.
Series 4 Gitzo Monopod models (top leg diameter 37.0mm) replace the previous Series 5 models; the slimmer top tube contributes to an easier grip and lighter weight, while ensuring rigidity from the stiff Carbon eXact tubes.

Underscoring Gitzo’s dedication to groundbreaking excellence, the refinements to the new Systematic tripods and Monopods – in terms of strength, stability and rigidity, safety and security, set-up speed, ease of use and ergonomics – set new paradigms in the photography equipment market.

Gitzo photography products are superbly engineered to withstand the roughest handling. Precision assembly, high quality materials and fine control are distinguishing qualities that represent a market leader that has been unsurpassed for over half a century.

Pricing for the new Systematic tripods starts at £649.95. The new Systematic monopods are available from £214.95.

More information on the new Gitzo Systematic tripod and Monopod ranges can be found online at www.gitzo.co.uk/tripods-systematic

Categories: Equipment

Google Pixel tops DxOMark's Mobile rankings

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 10/04/2016 - 2:57pm
Google Pixel's HDR+ mode wows DxO in real-world use. Photo via DxOMark.

The Google Pixel smartphone has just been launched but DxO has already had a chance to put the new device's camera through its paces – with impressive results. With a DxOMark score of 89 the Google Pixel features the best smartphone camera ever tested by the French company.

The DxO engineers found the new Google phone to perform well across all situations but were particularly impressed by the high levels of detail and relatively low noise levels across all light situations. Exposures were accurate, with very good contrast and white balance, as well as fast autofocus. The testers also liked the white balance performance and detail preservation when shooting with flash. Minor weaknesses included some inconsistency in repeated autofocus and artifacts in low-light shots. You can read the full report on DxOMark.com.

Categories: Equipment

Google launches Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones with gyroscope-based video stabilization

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 10/04/2016 - 2:33pm

Google has just launched its 2016 smartphones. The Nexus moniker has gone and the new models are Pixel-branded, just like the company's top-end Chromebooks and tablet. The Pixel and Pixel XL are made by HTC, though only the Google logo appears on the device, and pretty much only differ in terms of screen size and resolution as well battery capacity. The smaller Pixel sports a 5" 1080p AMOLED display and a 2,770mAh battery, while the XL variant comes with a 5.5" QHD-screen and a 3,450mAh battery. 

In the camera department the specifications have not changed much from last year's Nexus devices. A 1/2.3" 12MP sensor with 1.55µm pixel size is paired with an F2.0 aperture. There is no optical image stabilization but Google has added a new gyroscope-based video stabilization system that reads gyro data 200 times a second for smoother panning and shake-free handheld recording. The camera can record 4K video, and in stills mode Google's excellent HDR+ mode is on by default, using an image stacking approach to reduce noise and capture better detail. In addition Pixel owners can store unlimited full-size images in Google's cloud service.

Check out the photography-specific features of the Google Pixel from the announcement.

Both phones come with Google's brand new Android 7.0 Nougat operating system and are powered by Qualcomm's latest top-end chipset Snapdragon 821. 4GB of RAM can be combined with either 32 or 128 GB of local storage and a fingerprint reader on the back provides extra security. The Pixel phones will be available in Quite Black, Very Silver, and Really Blue color options. Pricing starts at $649 for the standard Pixel. In the US the devices will be exclusive to carrier Verizon, with pre-orders starting today. 

Categories: Equipment

Hoya Solas infrared neutral density filters launch in USA

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 10/04/2016 - 2:17pm

Hoya has launched new USA-exclusive Solas infrared neutral density filters. The company says its new IRND filters offer a consistent color balance across the density range while also suppressing infrared, the end result being a balanced image with reduced ‘IR contamination’ like excessive digital artifacts and color shifts.

Hoya has launched the new Solar IRND filters in the following sizes and densities:

0.3 (1-stop) – 49mm ~ 82mm
0.6 (2-stop) – 49mm ~ 82mm
0.9 (3-stop) – 46mm ~ 82mm
1.2 (4-stop) – 49mm ~ 82mm
1.5 (5-stop) – 49mm ~ 82mm
1.8 (6-stop) – 46mm ~ 82mm
2.7 (9-stop) – 49mm ~ 82mm
3.0 (10-stop) – 46mm ~ 82mm

B&H Photo currently lists the filters with the following prices: 46mm ($48.90), 49mm ($48.90), 52mm ($53.90), 55mm ($61.90), 58mm ($69.90), 62mm ($85.90), 67mm ($93.90), 72mm ($100.90), 77mm ($120.90), and 82mm ($151.90).

Via: Kenko Tokina USA

Categories: Equipment

Photoshop Elements 15 and Premiere Elements 15 released

DPReview.com - Latest News - Tue, 10/04/2016 - 9:00am

Adobe has updated its beginner-friendly Photoshop Elements and Premiere editing software. Elements 15 adds touchscreen editing, batch adjustments, enhanced search function and a tool to edit facial features.

New Smart Tags help identify key features in images and are applied automatically – search for 'dog' or 'birthday' and Adobe claims its enhanced search will identify these photos in your collection. Borrowing from Photoshop CC's face-aware liquify technology, Elements also gets a tool to help turn frowns into smiles and fix squinting eyes. Quick Edit and Organizer modes gain touch compatibility, and it's now possible to apply 'instant fix' edits to a batch of photos.

Premiere Elements 15, Adobe's entry-level video editing software, offers the de-haze tool already offered by Photoshop CC and Elements and also gains touch functionality. A few other feature updates are also included, like the ability to create photo/video collages and a Remix feature to help match music and video clip length.

Visit Adobe's website to learn more about Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements 15.

Categories: Equipment

Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art real world sample gallery

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

Hot on the heels of its Photokina announcement, the Sigma 12-24mm F4 Art arrived on our doorstep last week, meaning it was time to shoot wide. Just 1mm shy of matching the world's widest rectilinear zoom, the Canon 11-24mm F4 L, the Sigma gives a large amount of the Canon's focal range for a much lower price of $1599. To see if its images are as tempting as the specs are, we wasted no time getting it out in the real world mounted on the new Canon 5D Mark IV, the 5DSR, and a Sony a7R II with Sigma's MC11 adaptor.  

See our Sigma 12-24 F4 Art real world samples

Categories: Equipment