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All articles from Digital Photography Review
Updated: 6 min 25 sec ago

DJI challenges drone plane collision test, accuses researchers of 'sowing fear'

1 hour 25 min ago

DJI has challenged a recently published video that demonstrates a small drone smashing into an airplane wing. The test collision was conducted in a simulated environment by researchers with the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) to assess the potential damage such an in-air crash may cause. DJI has accused the test of being "unbalanced, agenda-driven research."

In a letter sent to UDRI's group leader for impact physics Kevin Poorman, DJI alleges UDRI's "Risk in the Sky?" video (below) and related materials present a "collision scenario between a drone and an airplane wing that is simply inconceivable in real life."

The test collision involved a 952g / 2.1lbs DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter being launched at the wing of a Mooney M20 aircraft. In a blog post about the research, UDRI researchers said the test was intended to "mimic a midair collision of a drone and a commercial transport aircraft at 238 miles per hour..."

DJI has taken issue with that claim, saying the test assumes the Mooney M20 would be flying at its max 200mph / 321kph speed, and that the drone would "apparently" be exceeding its max 33.5mph / 53.9kph speed. "At the altitudes where that plane would conceivably encounter a Phantom drone," DJI claims, "it would fly less than half as fast - generating less than one-fourth of the collision energy."

DJI also states:

Your video was created contrary to established U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) crash test parameters, which assume a bird striking an airplane at its sea-level cruising speed —which is typically 161 mph to 184mph for Mooney M20. Your video deliberately created a more damaging scenario, and was widely cited as evidence for what could happen to a large commercial jet —even though the Mooney M20 is a small plane with four seats.

The Chinese drone company has likewise taken issue with the test as a whole, accusing it of having not been "created as part of a legitimate scientific query, with little description of your testing methodology and no disclosure of data generated during the test." The company accuses the researchers of having a "bias toward sowing fear," claiming they would have otherwise also shared a video of a simulated bird-plane strike that caused "more apparent damage."

DJI's letter demands UDRI "remove the alarmist video," withdraw the research, and "issue a corrective statement" that proclaims the test to be "invalid."

Categories: Equipment

Pixii is a display-less digital rangefinder that connects to your smartphone

5 hours 50 min ago

French startup Pixii has announced its first product, the Pixii camera. The Pixii is a digital rangefinder with an M-mount that pairs with your smartphone to use the mobile device's display and memory.

The machined aluminum body houses a CMOS sensor with global electronic shutter and 12-bit sampling rate that, according to Pixii, offers a dynamic range of 60-90dB. Base ISO is 200 and gain can be adjusted from ISO 100 to 6400. Unfortunately at this point there is no information on the sensor's dimensions or pixel count. All we know is it features a 5.5µm pixel pitch.

Lenses are attached via a Leica M mount but, using an adapter, you can also shoot with M39 and LTM lenses. Shutter speed can set to auto or manual but focus and aperture are controlled manually only.

“The digital camera hasn’t changed much since the 90s,” says PIXII founder David Barth. “But now the new generation is learning photography with a smartphone: who understands why a camera still needs to bother with a screen or an SD card?”

On the camera's back there is no display but an optical viewfinder that offers a 0.67x magnification, LED backlit frame lines (40/50mm and 28/35mm) and exposure indicators. LED brightness adjusts automatically and the viewfinder also offers automatic parallax correction.

On the top plate you can find a small OLED control screen that displays the most important camera and image settings but images have to be reviewed on the display of your smartphone. There is no card slot either. Instead images are saved into 8 or 32GB of built-in memory or directly transferred to your phone.

Other features include a tripod mount, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity (presumably for connecting to the smartphone) and a 1000mAh Li-ion battery.

There is no information yet on pricing or availability but we will let you know as soon as we get an update from Pixii.

Categories: Equipment

Why celebrity photographer Manfred Baumann uses ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2019

6 hours 6 min ago

Celebrity photographer Manfred Baumann has been using a pre-release version of ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2019 for a while, and in this article he shares his impressions of using the software.

As a photographer, there are plenty of software programs out there that all want my attention (and my money). ACDSee is a name that will be familiar to many digital photographers, going right back to the 1990s. Designed originally as an image organization tool for digital photographs, ACDSee has evolved over more than 20 years to become a fully featured digital asset manager and editing platform. These days it's basically a 'one-stop shop' for digital photographers.

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Like most photographers, I prefer taking pictures to sitting in front of a computer. For that reason, the software I use has to be fast, uncomplicated and self-explanatory. A Raw Converter is like a digital darkroom for me - everything else is optional. I've been using ACDSee for years. The latest version, Photo Studio Ultimate 2019, competes directly with the world's best Raw editors, offering in-depth editing features alongside advanced image cataloging and organizational tools.

New in the 2019 version is face detection and automatic face recognition,

One of my favorite things about Photo Studio Ultimate's editing power is the option to use layers when working on my Raw files. New in the 2019 version is face detection and automatic face recognition, which allows you to find photos of clients, friends or relatives at the click of a button. I don't think many people would have difficulty recognizing some of my portrait subjects, but face detection and recognition are useful features when I'm organizing images for my clients.

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Photo Studio Ultimate also brings improvements to black and white editing, which let me individually adjust the contrast and brightness of different channels. I can even use the Edit Brush to paint these adjustments onto specific parts of an image. Monochrome editing is at the heart of a lot of my workflow, and the improved black and white mode features in Ultimate 2019 are really useful.

ACDSee is ideal for photographers who prefer to take photos rather than sit in front of the computer

It is important to continue growing, and as an artist, you always want to make sure that viewers can recognize your signature in your photographs. I like to think that I catch what others might not have seen. My primary focus is using images to say something about the essence of the person I'm photographing, and it's all about the imagery: quality before quantity. Quality can be recognized by the fact that a good image doesn't go out of date.

I would say ACDSee is ideal for photographers who prefer to take photos outdoors or in the studio rather than constantly sitting in front of the computer. It is cost effective, fast, and offers more features than most of its competitors. With Photo Studio Ultimate I really don't need to use additional software in my workflow; I can usually do everything I need to do without leaving the app.

When it comes to image organization and cataloguing I do this exclusively in ACDSee Studio Ultimate now. It's the quickest and easiest way for me to work.

Learn more about ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2019

Manfred Baumann lives and works in Europe and the USA with his wife, Nelly. Throughout a long and varied career he has photographed celebrities from the worlds of acting, sports, and fashion for some of the top publications in the world.

A passionate advocate for animal rights, images from Baumann's 'Mustangs' project have been exhibited in the Natural History Museum, Vienna.

See more of Manfred's work

This is sponsored content, created by ACD Systems. What does this mean?

Categories: Equipment

Fujifilm X-T3 Review

6 hours 40 min ago

When the Fujifilm X-T2 arrived, it was more than just a modest upgrade to the already impressive X-T1, most notably in terms of autofocus and video. While the new X-T3 hasn't changed the overall design of the camera it repeats the same trick: representing a significant step forward.

The X-T3 brings with it a brand new sensor, improved autofocus and video performance that makes it competitive with Panasonic's GH5, taking the X-T series from being a very good stills camera to one of the best stills/video hybrids on the market.

With its classic looks, attractive photos and superb video, it's the APS-C camera to beat.

Key Specifications

  • 26MP BSI 'X-Trans CMOS 4' sensor
  • 425-point hybrid AF system
  • Improved AF Tracking and Face/Eye Detection AF
  • 20 fps shooting with AF (11 fps with mechanical shutter)
  • 30 fps shooting in 1.25x crop with electronic shutter
  • 'Sports Finder' mode gives preview of area around a 1.25x crop
  • 3.69M-dot electronic viewfinder
  • Three-axis tilting touchscreen
  • 10 bit 4:2:0 H.265 internal video capture (4:2:2 over HDMI)
  • UHD/DCI 4K/60p from 1.18x crop region
  • UHD/DCI 4K/30p using full width of sensor
  • Internal F-Log capture (HLG coming by end of 2018)
  • Dual UHS-II SD card slots
  • USB C-type connector can be used for charging battery
  • Headphone and Mic Sockets
Out of camera JPEG shot using the Provia/Standard profile.
ISO 640 | 1/ 160 sec | F2 | Shot using the Fujifilm XF 90mm F2 R LM WR
Photo by Wenmei Hill

The X-T3 has an MSRP of $1499 (down $100 from the X-T2) but still costs $1899 when sold as a kit with the XF 18-55mm R F2.8-4 OIS lens. It is available in black or black and silver.

What's new and how it compares

Autofocus, video and the user interface are just a small portion of what's new on the X-T3 compared to its immediate predecessor.

Read more

Body and handling

The X-T3's design is nearly identical to that of the X-T2, and that's a good thing. The improvements are significant, though, with the addition of a higher-res EVF and a touchscreen LCD.

Read more

Operation and controls

The name of the game is customization, with nine buttons to choose from. There are also use-case-based AF controls available. Battery life is above average.

Read more

First impressions

Fujifilm has raised the bar for video on APS-C cameras, one example of why crop formats are not dead yet.

Read more

What's it like to use

We look at how well the X-T3 performs for a variety of different types of shooting...

Read more

Image quality

Take a closer look at the X-T3's image quality, using our studio scene.

Read more

Dynamic Range

The X-T3 produces pretty flexible Raw files, even in E-shutter mode...

Read more


The X-T3 shows newfound AF capabilities, particularly when it comes to people.

Read more


The X-T3's video quality lives up to its impressive specifications.

Read more


The X-T3's newly enhanced video capabilities, added to familiar photographic prowess makes it one of the best APS-C cameras we've tested.

Read more

Sample gallery

View a variety of sample images from the Fujifilm X-T3.

Read more

Categories: Equipment

These are the first portfolio images captured on Kodak's revived Ektachrome E100 film

Sun, 10/21/2018 - 10:55am
"Here, cotton candy-hued skies are reflected in Rockland, Maine's calm harbor, speckled with ferries, yachts, yawls and mighty windjammers, such as the red-striped Victory Chimes, America's largest schooner readying its sailors for a wind blown journey across Penobscot Bay," Guttman explained on Kodak's Instagram.

Ahead of its global distribution late last month, Kodak released its new Ektachrome 100 film to select photographers for beta testing. One of those photographers was award-winning photographer Peter Guttman, who was given access to the Kodak Professional Instagram account starting on September 12. Guttman used the account to share several images captured with the new Ektachrome E100 film.

Kodak bills its resurrected Ektachrome E100 as an extremely fine grain film that produces vibrant colors with low contrast and a neutral tonal scale. Guttman put the film to the test in a variety of scenes, capturing photos of a colorful sunset, bright daylight, high-contrast environments, and more.

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The new Kodak Ektachrome E100 film is available to preorder now from B&H Photo, Adorama, and other online retailers for $12.99. The film is listed as back-ordered with an availability date of December 2018. You can find out more information on Guttman by reading through his interview with YAG University

Credit: Photographs by Peter Guttman, used with permission

Categories: Equipment

Greater freedom: Canon's engineers talk about the EOS R project

Sun, 10/21/2018 - 9:00am

The launch of Canon's EOS R gave us a chance to talk to a group of the engineers involved in the project. The company put forward an engineer from each of the main parts of the development process: physical design, optical design, UI design and overall product design. They talked of being given more freedom than ever before but also of the need to build on the EOS system's strengths.

Left to right:
Koji Yoshida - Lead Engineer/Architect, Integrated Design Department 232
Manabu Kato - Deputy Senior General Manager, ICD Optical Product Development Center
Shintaro Oshima - General Manager, ICB Product Development Div 1.
Hironori Oishi - Lead Specialist, Product Design Div 1.

A new, short and wide mount

Canon has been consistent across its launch, when it's said that the important announcement isn't the EOS R, specifically, or the fact that there's no mirror, but in what the RF mount allows them to do.

Manabu Kato sums up the freedom they've gained in terms of optical design: "people who've been working on lenses for a really long time have, with this new system, been able to make lenses like the 28-70mm F2 comparably easily, compared to how they had so many challenges in the past."

"By having [more] data being transferred between the camera and lens...you can improve the autofocus, metering and image stabilization performance"

As well as allowing more ambitious optical designs, the RF mount also adds data bandwidth, moving from eight communication channels to twelve. "During shooting there's a massive amount of data going between the lens and the camera, so making sure that was smooth was another challenge," says Kato. "By having that huge amount of data being transferred between the camera and lens, you can improve the general performance in relation to autofocus, metering and image stabilization. And you can also add features such as the control rings on the lenses."

The RF 28-70mm F2 lens, combined with pupil detection AF is a powerful combination. ISO 100 | 1/5000sec | F2 | Canon RF 28-70mm F2 @ 70mm (Pre-Production lens)

"You can also use DLO without any problems," he said. Digital Lens Optimizer - Canon's name for digital lens corrections - previously required that the camera look up the data in a database, meaning that camera firmware needed to be updated to accommodate new lenses. It's now supplied in real time by the lens itself, so there's no need for a look-up step.

Video, as well as stills

This real-time data flow allows the use of Digital Lens Optimizer and distortion correction in video for the first time. And it's clear that, despite the EOS R's comparatively modest specs in that area, Canon has done a lot of thinking about the needs of video shooters.

"Getting rid of [the mode dial] was a big decision that required a lot of consideration"

"In relation to the optical system, we gave consideration to focus breathing*, and also aperture control: you can change the aperture in 1/8th stops," says Kato. "also the Nano USM, it's very quiet and quick: the first time in an L lens."

Difficult decisions

Trying to accommodate the needs of video shooters ended up leading the removal of the camera's mode dial, says Koji Yoshida: "if you have a mode dial then the [exposure] settings will be the same for both stills and movies."

The decision not to offer a mode dial on the EOS R was not taken lightly.

"We consulted with a lot of different people and talked about this a lot, and decided to have different settings this time," he says. But it's clear this isn't a decision made lightly: "[The mode dial] is a function that's been common in the past, so getting rid of that was a big decision that required a lot of consideration," said Shintaro Oshima. "There was a lot of internal discussion about this point," concurs Yoshida.

The challenge of legacy

This tension between novelty and legacy is a constant theme of our conversation. "Our aim was to carry on the traditional parts of EOS but then bring in new innovation at the same time," says Hironori Oishi: "our biggest challenge was making this look like an EOS camera with just a single glance, you can see that it's an EOS camera, based on the traditional styling of the EOS cameras. And also the feeling, when you hold the camera - as soon as you hold it in your hand, you know it's an EOS."

The M-Fn button is one of the most obvious ways in which the EOS R introduces new thinking to the EOS experience. It's fair to say we're not convinced by the way it currently works.

This extended to the user interface, says Yoshida: "the challenge we faced in terms of the software or the interface was making sure that it's got the same basic controls as an EOS: to carry on that operability that EOS users are used to, then also implementing new elements into that design at the same time."

The answer was to blend features from Canon's existing live view and DSLR experience:, he says: "We used the mirrorless AF modes but we also also included features from the 5D Mark IV AF, like Expand AF area and large zone AF: this is the first time this has been introduced in a live view camera from Canon."

Opportunity for innovation

The solution to these tensions seems to have been to look for opportunities to innovate while maintaining continuity: something made clear in the challenges of maintaining EF lens compatibility. Despite the EF mount already being fully electronic, Kato says: "it was difficult ensuring that compatibility. But we think that's a big plus for the system."

Whatever we might think of the rest of the EOS R experience, we love the idea of adding a control dial or filter mount in the EF-to-RF adapters.

Tellingly, the team looked for ways to add new features. "We also achieved the control ring adapter which brings additional value to EOS lens users," says Kato: "The same applies to the drop-in filter adapter: it gives added value to those who already have EF lenses. We wanted to make sure that we looked after our current users of our EF lens system."

"The control ring adapter brings additional value to EOS lens users...the same applies to the drop-in filter adapter"

Oshima stresses that the need for continuity didn't hold the new camera back, though: "another focus was the low light limit performance. That's a point of evolution from the EOS cameras."

"Another focus was the low light [autofocus] limit performance"

This eye for an opportunity to innovate is perhaps most clearly seen in the way the EOS R, unlike any other mirrorless camera, closes its mechanical shutter when shut down. "we wanted to protect the sensor as much as possible from dust and light hitting the sensor," explains Oshima: "The light coming through the lens affects the sensor in the long term. The color filter array and microlenses and also the photodiodes can all be damaged by light [if the sensor is always exposed]."

Another bright idea: Canon's engineers worked out that if you stop-down the lens aperture blades, it reduces the risk of damaging the shutter blades, at which point you can close them to keep light and dust off the sensor.

To then protect the shutter blades, the camera stops its lens down and displays a warning not to leave it facing towards the sun, without a lens cap. "The aperture cannot be closed completely, so that message is kind of a safeguard," explains Kato: "We're kind of proud of the fact that with a simple idea, we've been able to increase value for customers."

Just the beginning

As usual, no one was able to discuss future products. When asked whether there was any chance of an APS-C RF-mount camera, Oishi was suitably non-committal: "we're thinking about it, but we can't answer in detail," he says. But the individual engineers did all discuss what they were looking forward to.

"We want to surprise and astonish you, so please expect big things"

"It gives more structural freedom in terms of design, because it doesn't have a pentamirror", says Oishi. "I'm excited about improvements in Digic image processor and functions that create more value and make easier to use," says Yoshida. But it's optics specialist Kato who seems most enthused: "This is just the start of the system," he says, talking about F2.8 zooms and other possibilities, before settling on a broader-reaching point: "We want to surprise and astonish you, so please expect big things."

Editor's note: Richard Butler

Nearly ten years ago I wrote a blog post suggesting camera makers should go back and take a 'blank sheet of paper' approach to the way their cameras operate. Simply suggesting it is the easy bit. Actually doing it, and having to find clever solutions is quite a different matter.

Throughout our conversation, it was obvious that Canon had given its engineers more freedom than usual in this project but that there's still a careful balancing act to avoid confusing or alienating your existing users. The nods of recognition around the table as Mr. Oshima spoke about the difficulty of decision to eliminate the mode dial said a lot about how seriously these decisions were taken.

It's difficult to talk to people who've worked so hard to make a great camera and then have to publicly report that it doesn't work as well as they'd intended. But that's the reality of our experiences with the EOS R so far, across the DPReview team.

If nothing else, though, the team's responses show how seriously Canon is taking the RF system as a chance to improve and innovate.I really hope we'll see that reflected in updates to the EOS R and future products in the system.

* A change in field-of-view as the lens focuses - a minor concern for stills shooting, but potentially distracting in video [Return to text]

Categories: Equipment

New Sony sensor specs resemble chips found inside Fujifilm X-T3, Panasonic GH5S, others

Sat, 10/20/2018 - 12:45pm

Sony has updated its sensor page and shared the details of a number of new image sensors it's made. Sure enough, a few of them bear a striking resemblance to sensors inside other manufacturers cameras.

One sensor in particular, a 26-megapixel backside-illuminated (BSI) APS-C chip nicknamed IMX571, bears an uncanny resemblance to the sensor used inside Fujifilm's X-T3 camera. While Fujifilm hasn't confirmed it's a Sony sensor inside the X-T3, General Manager of Fujifilm UK, Theo Georgiades, did say it wasn't a Samsung sensor used inside the camera, as some believed to be the case, leaving little doubt that it was Sony who manufactured the sensor. The specs listed under this image sensor on Sony's website all but confirm that speculation.

It's also worth noting that there's a good chance we'll see Sony build something around this sensor as well. The a6300 and a6500 both use the same sensor as Fujifilm's X-T2, so it's not a stretch to imagine Sony will be releasing one or two A600-series cameras using the 26-megapixel BSI image sensor found inside the X-T3.

The BSI IMX461 sensor has been in the works for a long time and based on Fujifilm's announcement that it is currently developing a 100-megapixel medium format camera, it's likely this is the sensor that will be inside of it. The sensor has 3.76 micron pixels and features a maximum frame-rate of up to six frames per second.

The IMX299 is a bit harder to hit on the head, but based on it being 11-megapixls, having 4.63 micron pixels, and a 60 frames per second readout, it's almost certainly the sensor found inside the Panasonic GH5S.

Last but not least is the IMX272. This 20-megapixel Four Thirds-type sensor has 3.3 micron pixels and a maximum readout of 60 frames per second. We don't have any reason to believe this is currently in any camera, but it seems like an incredibly capable sensor that could show up in a very high-performing Four Thirds camera in the future.

Categories: Equipment

DPReview TV: Simple techniques for great macro photography

Sat, 10/20/2018 - 9:00am

This week Chris and Jordan are joined by renowned macro photographer Don Komarechka, who demonstrates a few simple techniques that can improve your macro photos in a big way.

Want to learn more? Check out some of our other articles about macro photography:

DPReview articles about macro photography

Get new episodes of DPReview TV every week by subscribing to our YouTube channel!

Categories: Equipment

Magic Lantern starts work on way to 'enhance' Canon EOS R feature-set

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 5:30pm
An example of the Magic Lantern software running on an EOS DSLR

The group that provides Canon users with programs to expand the feature set of their cameras has begun cracking the new EOS R mirrorless firmware.

Beta firmware from Magic Lantern is said to be in the test stages, and if it follows already existing Magic Lantern software, it will add new display overlays, uncompressed raw video, focus stacking and even the chance to load games on to the camera. Magic Lantern doesn’t replace the firmware already loaded onto the camera by Canon, but is extra software that runs alongside it to add additional features.

Many users will perhaps hope that full-sensor 4K video will be added, though the consequences of the camera using the whole sensor area for extended recording is yet to be discovered.

Andrew Reid from EOSHD shows a video of an experimental firmware probe successfully taking control of the camera system – even if to just show a green screen. This, he says, is good news, as it means the Magic Lantern code ‘was able to execute on the EOS R as normal’ and ‘which demonstrates the possibility to change camera registers and execute code on the main processor.’

Obviously more work is needed, but the first steps of cracking the file format and encryption seems to be underway.

Categories: Equipment

Google Pixel 3 XL sample gallery

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 9:00am
$(document).ready(function() { SampleGalleryV2({"containerId":"embeddedSampleGallery_8660533092","galleryId":"8660533092","isEmbeddedWidget":true,"selectedImageIndex":0,"isMobile":false}) });

The Pixel 3 represents another step forward in computational photography for Google's smartphone line. Introducing features like super-resolution digital zoom, a synthetic fill-flash effect and learning-based Portrait Mode improvements are just a few ways that the company is making the most of a single main camera. We've just started testing the Pixel 3 XL, but in the meantime take a look at some sample images.

We've included some Raw conversions and made Raws available for download where possible; however, please note that Raw support appears to be preliminary. Default conversions are very flat and require significant post-processing. We expect this to be remedied soon with proper profiles.

Categories: Equipment

Canon EOS R teardown: Roger Cicala takes a look inside Canon's first full-frame mirrorless

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 8:23am
Lensrentals.com, 2018

It's been less than two weeks since the Canon EOS R started shipping and already Roger Cicala, founder of Lens Rentals, has taken one apart in incredible detail to see what's inside.

Per his usual routine for gear teardowns, Cicala makes notes of various features and components found inside the camera along the way.

Lensrentals.com, 2018

The EOS R teardown started with the removal of the adhesive grip tape from around the body of the camera to better see where all of the screws are. From there, the Cicala stripped the EOS R of its various elements piece by piece from the outside in.

While Cicala called it 'a rather a boring disassembly," the resulting photos and look inside the camera are anything but. Canon appears to have done a solid job across the board considering the price point and feature set of the camera, but there's certainly room for improvements.

Lensrentals.com, 2018

The buttons on the camera are thoroughly protected with weather-sealing gaskets, but the body itself is only water-resistant by tightly overlapping two pieces of the seams of the polycarbonate frame. In Cicala's own words, "that means, I think, that it will be fine in a misty rain for a while, but don’t get it saturated and don’t set it somewhere wet."

Lensrentals.com, 2018

Cicala also notes that "it’s not very crowded inside [the EOS R]," meaning there's plenty of room to pack in more features and tech inside if Canon decides to do so. He specifically mentions that much of the extra space he noticed between the circuit board and image sensor is where the in-body stabilization (IBIS) is seen inside the Sony A7R III he took apart. But don't hold your breath for seeing IBIS in future EOS R cameras. Cicala adds "Canon has been very clear that they think lens stabilization is superior."

Lensrentals.com, 2018

Overall, Cicala says the EOS R appears to follow most of the design and engineering elements of past Canon DSLR cameras. "It was rather a boring disassembly, really, about what we should expect for Canon doing a Canon 6D Mark II quality mirrorless camera [...] It’s neatly laid out and nicely engineered inside."

Lensrentals.com, 2018

To see more photos and more thorough insights from Cicala, head on over to the full Canon EOS R teardown. Cicala notes that a similar dissection of Nikon's Z7 is complete and will be written up as soon as he can get around to it.

Categories: Equipment

Yashica's comeback camera hit by claims of delays and poor quality

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 3:09pm

The Kickstarter campaign for Yashica’s digitFilm Y35 camera has produced a wave of complaints about delays in shipping product as well as cameras that don’t work. Running with the foreshadowing strapline ‘Expect the Unexpected,’ the campaign seems to be delivering on its promise to be unexpected by giving some of the 6935 backers exactly what they weren't hoping for.

The campaign raised HK $10,035,296 (approx. $1,280,225) for the firm and promised a digital camera that you load with different ‘film cassettes’ that apply specific styles to the pictures. While a delivery date of April 2018 was given at the time of the launch many backers have yet to receive their cameras.

In the last update, on 18th September, the company explained that they are dealing with 38 different combinations of product, and that they were working hard to get orders completed by the end of the month. However, four weeks later the feedback section is 3900 comments long, and while some are complaining that their camera hasn’t arrived others say the shutter button doesn’t work or that the camera switches off unexpectedly.

One user who has received his camera tells those who haven’t to stop complaining, as the product is so bad they’ll be happier now than when it arrives.

The picture isn’t much brighter on Indiegogo where the project took the total raised to $1,515,695, as more investors are making the same complaints. The principle problem seems to be the lack of communication from the manufacturer that's leaving customers in the dark about their cameras and their money.

This hasn’t been a good period for camera-related campaigns on crowd-funding sites, as this failure comes right after the collapse of Meyer Optik Gorlitz, and its associated brands, which left many photographers out of pocket and without the costly products they had backed.

Categories: Equipment

Pixelmator Pro 1.2 brings smart photo enhancements, batch processing and more

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 12:03pm

Pixelmator today released Pixelmator Pro 1.2 Quicksilver, a major update to its image editing app that brings support for macOS Mojave, machine-learning-powered automatic photo enhancement, and batch image processing among other new features.

“Users love Pixelmator Pro for making such powerful image editing tools so incredibly easy to use,” said Saulius Dailide, one of the founders of the Pixelmator Team. “And the new ML Enhance is our most powerful feature yet — it lets you dramatically improve the look of any photo with a single click, thanks to a machine learning algorithm trained on millions of professional photos.”

The new ML Enhance feature automatically adjusts color and exposure locally in the frame. The goal is to give the user an optimized starting point for their own edits. The feature was developed using a set of millions of photos to train the machine learning algorithm which analyzes photos to detect objects and scenes and applies the adjustments.

There's also a new option to use a light-colored user interface in addition to a refresehed version of the dark theme, allowing for easy adaption to the light and dark modes in macOS Mojave. The app is also capable of automatically switching to adapt to the current appearance of macOS.

A lot of the new and existing features can now be applied via the Automator batch processing tool, making work with large numbers of files less stressful. Other improvements include support for colorful SVG Fonts, a Continuity Camera camera, an Eraser Mode for the Pixel Paint tool, as well as a range of performance improvements and bug fixes.

Pixelmator Pro 1.2 Quicksilver is available from the Mac App Store and can currently be purchased for $29.99, 50% off the regular price. More information is available on the Pixelmator website.

Press Release:

Pixelmator Pro gets major update with AI-powered photo enhancement tools

Vilnius, Lithuania — October 18, 2018 — The Pixelmator Team today released Pixelmator Pro 1.2 Quicksilver, a major update to the fast and powerful image editor for Mac. The update adds support for macOS Mojave, including an all-new light appearance, Core ML-powered automatic photo enhancement, batch image processing via the Automator app, and much more.

“Users love Pixelmator Pro for making such powerful image editing tools so incredibly easy to use,” said Saulius Dailide, one of the founders of the Pixelmator Team. “And the new ML Enhance is our most powerful feature yet — it lets you dramatically improve the look of any photo with a single click, thanks to a machine learning algorithm trained on millions of professional photos.”

The new ML Enhance feature in Pixelmator Pro automatically enhances photos — balancing the colors, evening out exposure, and making changes to individual color ranges — to give you the best starting point for making your own creative edits to a photo. Powered by Core ML and developed using a carefully refined set of millions of professional photos, the machine learning algorithm analyzes photos to detect the objects they contain, then enhances their colors and brings out missing details, leaving the final creative touches to the user.

The update also brings the option to use a gorgeous light appearance, giving users an entirely new way to experience Pixelmator Pro. In addition, Pixelmator Pro 1.2 Quicksilver includes a refreshed, much more native dark appearance, so the app now adapts seamlessly to the light and dark modes in macOS Mojave. And with automatic switching, Pixelmator Pro instantly updates to match the current appearance of macOS.

Automator support and five powerful, versatile actions now makes it possible to batch process images using the professional editing tools available in Pixelmator Pro. The Auto Enhance Images action uses the new ML Enhance feature to automatically improve photos, Auto White Balance Images automatically corrects white balance, Apply Color Adjustments to Images and Apply Effects to Images makes every single color adjustment and effect in Pixelmator Pro available in Automator, and Change Type of Images makes it a breeze to convert batches of images from one file format to another. So now, working with large sets of images and making repetitive edits becomes effortless.

Pixelmator Pro 1.2 Quicksilver includes many other improvements, including support for colorful SVG Fonts, the new Continuity Camera, an Eraser Mode for the Pixel Paint tool, as well as a range of additional performance improvements and fixes.

Pricing & Availability

Pixelmator Pro 1.2 Quicksilver is available exclusively from the Mac App Store and is currently on sale for $29.99, 50% off its regular price.

Pixelmator Pro requires macOS High Sierra and a Metal-compatible graphics card. Full system requirements and more information on Pixelmator Pro can be found at www.pixelmator.com/pro/

Categories: Equipment

Canon EOS R image quality: it's all in the details

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 9:58am

Although Raw performance of the EOS R is very similar to the 5D Mark IV, Canon's done some tweaking on the JPEGs - take a look at our studio scene to see for yourself.

Categories: Equipment

Meyer Optik Görlitz's parent company is insolvent, backers won't get lenses or money returned

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 9:45am

In August Net SE, the company behind Meyer Optik Görlitz, Emil Busch, C.P. Goerz, Ihagee, Oprema Jena, and A. Schacht products, was removed from the German stock exchange and subsequently filed for insolvency.

Now, the fears of Kickstarter backers of the Meyer Optik Görlitz products who have not received their lenses yet have turned into a reality: The reward will not arrive and you won't get your money back either. Net SE is completely dead. This was first reported by German photo publication Photoscala after an official notice was published, asking to direct claims to a law firm.

Insolvency proceedings have been opened which means all hopes for backers to receive rewards or their money back have evaporated. Net SE's lack of assets means nothing can be expected from the company and Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms reject all responsibility in such cases.

This isn't the first crowdfunding project ending up in a mess but given we are dealing with several campaigns here the number of affected photographers is likely higher than usual. It's a reminder that backing a crowdfunding project isn't the same thing as pre-ordering and there's always some risk of losing your money.

Categories: Equipment

Photokina 2018: Sony interview - 'I don’t care about competitors, I care about customers'

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 9:00am
Kenji Tanaka, VP and Senior General Manager of Sony's Business Unit 1, Digital Imaging Group, pictured at the Photokina trade show in Cologne, Germany last month.

At last month's Photokina trade show in Cologne, Germany we made time to speak to senior executives from several major manufacturers, including Sony. In a broad-ranging conversation, Kenji Tanaka talked to us about competition in the full-frame mirrorless market, the value of APS-C, and future plans for the a7S lineup.

Is there a customer group that you feel you could reach more effectively?

There are many customers in the field of photography, and we want to create products for all of them. Recently, we launched products for sports photographers. That’s just one example. One by one, we want to expand.

What is Sony doing that’s unique?

We are the world’s largest manufacturer of image sensors, and have developed many unique sensors. Looking at the Alpha 9, the stacked CMOS sensor is a good example of both a unique and innovative product. These kinds of things are a strength compared to our competitors.

But the stacked image sensor in the Alpha 9 is kind of like the engine in a formula 1 car. If you only had the engine, the car wouldn’t work. You also need good tires, a good chassis, and a good driver to control the machine.

Our vision is [...] to expand the market

How do new competitive full-frame mirrorless cameras affect your planning?

I welcome the shift in the market. Our vision is not to move the customer [from DSLR to mirrorless], it is to expand the market.

I don’t know what the impact of [Canon and Nikon entering the full-frame mirrrorless market] will be but we remain focused on creating new customers. That is our priority. Honestly speaking, I don’t care about competitors, I care about the customers. If customers need more functionality, or more quality, we’ll try to do it.

The Sony a7 III is a high-performance full-frame mirrorless interchangeable lens camera aimed at enthusiast photographers and videographers. According to Mr Tanaka, Sony is more interested in expanding the market than in responding to what his competitors are doing.

Is there anything that surprised you about the announcements from your competitors?

No, not really. I already predicted that Canon and Nikon would join the market, and even Panasonic. It wasn’t a surprise to me. But thinking about innovation in cameras, every company should join the mirrorless market, as this is where there is the most opportunity to innovate.

There are five fundamentals to mirrorless - lens, image quality, speed, battery life - some of our competitors especially struggle with that one - and compactness and light weight. These are areas that everyone is trying to improve, but right now I think Sony is in a good position.

Do you see any customer demand for sensors larger than full frame?

Right now there are a lot of things still to do with full-frame sensors, so at the moment I don’t have any ideas about starting work on new larger imaging sensors.

Sony's 24mm F1.4 G Master is an impressively compact, but stunningly sharp full-frame wideangle prime lens. On Sony's APS-C cameras, it offers an equivalent focal length of 36mm.

We’ve been enjoying using your 24mm F1.4 G Master lens. Do you have plans to create more, smaller, lenses in this lineup?

Of course, yes. Some customers want small size as well as high quality, so that’s one of our targets.

Do you have any plans to release new APS-C lenses?

Yes, APS-C is a big market for us. Recently most of our new lenses have been full frame, but APS-C remains a key target.

What are the advantages of APS-C?

Mobility, and ease of use.

The APS-C market is very important for us, [...] but we need to ask customers what kind of models they want.

What is your long-term strategy for APS-C and will we ever see another NEX-7 equivalent camera with dual dials ?

We have to get customer feedback. The dual dial on the NEX-7, some customers appreciated it, but some customers didn’t. The APS-C market is very important for us, so we will create new models in the APS-C market, but we need to ask customers what kind of models they want.

Do you think APS-C could be a professional format for Sony in the future?

Professionals have many cameras. Of course, full-frame is usually their main camera, but for a long time, they’ve also used APS-C as their second camera, so of course, APS-C cameras for professional use must exist.

Will we ever see another 'professional' APS-C camera from Sony, in the mold of the erstwhile NEX-7? According to Mr Tanaka, the strengths of APS-C are size and weight, and ease of use. But professionals do use APS-C cameras as 'second' bodies.

Do you have a different design approach for APS-C and full-frame lenses?

No. Our strategy is unique - one single mount. For example, future APS-C customers might use our G-Master 24mm F1.4. So our lens design should be consistent for all types of models.

Do a lot of your APS-C customers buy full-frame lenses?


Some Sony shooters tell us they want improved weather-sealing. Is that something that you’re working on?

Yes, of course. We’ve heard from many customers. We’re trying.

Someday the a7 III will come down in price and it’ll be easy to buy for anybody

Do you think the price of full-frame mirrorless cameras needs to come down, to make them more accessible?

I can’t speak about pricing strategy, but if we want to increase the number of customers, of course some will accept cameras in the $2000-3000 range, but others won’t. Recently, our a7 II was priced at around $1000. So I think our customers are pleased with our wide price range in full-frame.

Someday the a7 III will come down in price and it’ll be easy to buy for anybody. A lot of customers want the a7 III, but it will take time.

Why is Sony sticking to SD memory cards?

Memory card performance is related to image processing speed. Right now, processing speed is slower than SD UHS-II, so using SD is OK. But in the future, for example in any camera with 8K/30p video, SD won’t be enough. But for right now, SD is OK. Recently we announced SD ‘tough’ cards, for professionals that need more durability.

Why do your cameras use two card slots?

There are a lot of use cases for dual card slots. For example using one card as backup, or one for JPEG and one for Raw. Dual card slots are very useful to the customer, we think. Some customers are OK with just one card, but from our research we think that many people will want two slots.

The Sony E-mount is 'open', to the extend that other lens manufacturers can apply to use the standard. Sigma's 70mm F2.8 Macro is one of a growing range of FE-mount lenses from third-party manufacturers.

How important are third-party lens manufacturers to your long-term growth?

As you know, the E mount is an open mount. And of course competition will happen. If the customer can choose between many high quality lenses, that is a good thing.

Can you describe your relationship with third-party lens manufacturers?

We have a contract, and if a lens manufacturer wants to create an E-mount lens, they apply to Sony. Then we disclose the specification to that manufacturer. Sony does not approve lens designs, we just disclose the mount specification.

We’re planning a future a7S model right now, but it will take time.

4K is becoming a standard across all categories now, and the a7S II is getting rather old. Are you still interested in this market segment?

Of course, yes. Our a7S II customers want to create many things, and to meet their demands we are thinking about creating a successor model. But the next model should of course be more than they expect. So we’re planning a future S model right now, but it will take time.

What do your existing a7S II customers want to see improved?

They want 4K/60p, 4:2:2 10-bit, and of course more battery power, increased AF accuracy - many things!

The Sony a7S II is aimed at videographers, but in the three years since its release, its capabilities have in some respects been superseded by more conventional a7-series cameras, and the a9. According to Mr Tanaka, an a7S III is on its way, possibly offering 4K/60p, but 'it will take time'.

Do you think it’s necessary for the a7S II successor to be a hybrid camera, or could it be a dedicated video model?

In my personal experience, the a7S II is a good stills camera. The pixels are very large, so the dynamic range is very wide. There is demand for still camera features I think.

You’ve said that artificial intelligence will play more of a role in future Sony cameras. Can you elaborate on that?

I can’t give you an exact answer, but we feel that AI is useful for many customers. Currently we’re planning upgrades to existing models, and of course future models that will contain new AI features.

Cameras should support creators. Focusing on eyes or focusing on other shapes is a very complex action. Photographers just want to think about composition, or capturing a moment. So I want to remove the need for focus manipulation, or other manipulation. When it comes to autofocus, Sony is very dedicated to developing AI.

Editor's note: Barnaby Britton

Our meeting with Mr Tanaka last month followed Canon and Nikon's long-awaited entry into the full-frame mirrorless market, after five years during which Sony effectively had the field to itself. When I spoke to him in Japan earlier this year, Mr Tanaka predicted that both companies would make the leap before the end of the year, and it doesn't sound like he was surprised to see Panasonic joining in, too. Either way, in his own words, 'I don’t care about competitors, I care about the customers'.

The a7 III isn't going to become a poor camera once a future Mark IV version comes out

That should be encouraging news for users of Sony's well-established a7-series and a9 cameras, who might be justifiably interested in what Canon, Nikon and Panasonic have to offer in the coming years. Also encouraging, for consumers willing to wait a couple of years before buying into new technologies, it seems that Sony will continue its strategy of keeping older models on the market at reduced prices. The last-generation a7 II is a bargain right now, and the a7 III isn't going to become a poor camera once a future Mark IV version comes out, even if future AI-assisted cameras make photography even easier than it is now.

Speaking of AI, this particular comment is highly significant and worth quoting again in its entirety:

"Cameras should support creators. Focusing on eyes or focusing on other shapes is a very complex action. Photographers just want to think about composition, or capturing a moment. So I want to remove the need for focus manipulation, or other manipulation. When it comes to autofocus, Sony is very dedicated to developing AI".

Mr Tanaka also had good news for fans of APS-C camera users, and users of the video-oriented a7S II. On the APS-C side, he admits that full-frame has been a major focus recently, but " APS-C cameras for professional use must exist" and "APS-C remains a key target".

Mr Tanaka's list of customer requests serves as a strong hint at features that could make it into an a7S III

The a7S II is a highly specialized camera, intended to satisfy the needs of enthusiast and professional videographers. It's been due for an upgrade for a little while, and Mr Tanaka's list of customer requests serves as a strong hint at features that could make it into a Mark III version. Perhaps at next year's NAB show in spring? Here's hoping.

Categories: Equipment

How Google developed the Pixel 3's Super Res Zoom technology

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 3:49pm

In a blog post on its Google AI Blog, Google engineers have laid out how they created the new Super Res Zoom technology inside the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

Over the past year or so, several smartphone manufacturers have added multiple cameras to their phones with 2x or even 3x optical zoom lenses. Google, however, has taken a different path, deciding instead to stick with a single main camera in its new Pixel 3 models and implementing a new feature it is calling Super Res Zoom.

Unlike conventional digital zoom, Super Res Zoom technology isn't simply upscaling a crop from a single image. Instead, the technology merges many slightly offset frames to create a higher resolution image. Google claims the end results are roughly on par with 2x optical zoom lenses on other smartphones.

Compared to the standard demosaicing pipeline that needs to interpolate missing colors (top), gaps can be filled by shifting multiple images one pixel horizontally or vertically. Illustration: Google

The Google engineers are using the photographer's hand motion - and the resulting movement between individual frames of a burst - to their advantage. Google says this natural hand tremor occurs for everyone, even those users with “steady hands”, and has a magnitude of just a few pixels when shooting with a high-resolution sensor.

The pictures in a burst are aligned by choosing a reference frame and then aligning all other frames relative to it to sub-pixel precision in software. When the device is mounted on a tripod or otherwise stabilized natural hand motion is simulated by slightly moving the camera's OIS module between shots.

As a bonus there's no more need to demosaic, resulting in even more image detail. With enough frames in a burst any scene element will have fallen on a red, green, and blue pixel on the image sensor. After alignment R, G, and B information is then available for any scene element, removing the need for demosaicing.

For full technical detail of Google's Super Res Zoom technology head over to the Google Blog. More information on the Pixel 3's computational imaging features can be found here.

Categories: Equipment

PhotoDirector 10 released with AI styles, new layer features, and tethered shooting

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 3:12pm

CyberLink has released PhotoDirector 10, the newest version of its PhotoDirector image editing and design software. The latest installment brings a number of new features, including tethered shooting and an AI Style Engine. CyberLink has also made a number of improvements to layer editing.

PhotoDirector 10 brings users workflow improvements, according to CyberLink, that are designed for "advanced photographers." The inclusion of tethered shooting enables users to directly connect a camera to their PC, shoot images, and instantly preview them on the computer.

The newest upgrade also brings Soft Proofing for previewing a printer's tone and color rendering, as well as improvements to layer editing. The latter change includes the ability to add empty layers to projects, use clipping masks, and group layers together.

Other features include the addition of integrated Express Layer Templates, additional template packs that can be purchased through CyberLink Store, AI Style Packs that use deep learning to be "more than just photo filters," one-clicked keystone correction, advanced layer text editing, adjustment layers, and content-aware editing for moving, removing, and copying image elements.

PhotoDirector 10 is available now from CyberLink's website for $99.99 USD for new customers, or starting at $69.99 USD as an upgrade for existing customers.

Categories: Equipment

Don't wait for Holga's, you can get this battery-free Instax printer today

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 2:45pm

Toy manufacturer Tomy has announced the KiiPix, a battery-free smartphone printer that's remarkably similar to the one Holga has been promoting through its Kickstarter campaign. The biggest difference between the two is that you can get the KiiPix today, rather than having to wait for a Kickstarter.

The KiiPix is designed very much like the Holga version, other than the pull-up bellows, and uses the same principles for copying the screen of your smartphone onto Fujifilm Instax Mini instant film.

To make a print, users are encouraged to turn up the brightness of their screen and place the smartphone face down on a frame supported by a fold-out stand. The shutter is tripped using a nearly identical side-lever mechanism as the Holga Printer, and a winding crank draws the film from the cassette through the exit slot to trigger development.

The only thing the KiipIx needs to print photos is a steady supply of Instax film. It collapses down to 135x55x175mm/5.3x2.1x6.88in to stow away easily in a bag for carrying around. The printer has been available since August, and retails for$40/£39. It comes in a range of colors depending on your region. For more information see the Tomy website.


KiiPix from TOMY is the new and innovative smartphone printer that instantly prints your favourite photos straight from your smartphone to create lasting memories.

Unlike many instant cameras or photo-printing devices, KiiPix does not require batteries, an app or Wi-Fi to use; simply open up the device, place your smartphone on top, press the button and rotate the dial to print out your photo. KiiPix’s compact design means it’s easily portable so you are ready to print photos anytime, anywhere. It comes in three colours: cherry blossom, sky blue and jet black and at an affordable price point of £39.99 is guaranteed to appeal to the masses.

As the revival of retro inspired products becomes more prominent in both the fashion and technology industries, Kiipix is tipped to be the must-have lifestyle product for millennials, students and young women in 2018. From fashion, to gaming systems, to food, consumer trends show that nostalgic brands are resonating with millennials as they embrace old favourites.

There has been a huge surge in the popularity of instant photography in the last number of years as consumers turn to analogue camera equipment and discover the joy of print photography in this digital age. KiiPix combines both the new and the old, as users can capture and modify photos on their smartphones before instantly printing, retro style.

Kiipix will be supported with a strong digital and social media campaign, as well as being present at experiential consumer events; influencer marketing will also be central to the product launch.

KiiPix – SRP: £39.99
The innovative KiiPix device is light and compact, and collapses into a peggable closed box making it easily portable measuring at 135 mm x 55 mm x 175 mm. KiiPix comes in three colours, cherry blossom, sky blue and jet black. Available in August 2018. Suitable for 10 years plus.

All TOMY toys are cleverly designed to develop children’s core skills whilst they play. Manufactured to the highest standards, this collection of reliable toys continues to be a family favourite, building on the heritage and core values, which parents associate with TOMY. For more information on TOMY please visit www.tomy.com, become a fan at Facebook.com/tomy.toy.uk or follow us on @TomyToysUK.

Categories: Equipment

Sony users are reporting issue using 128GB SanDisk Extreme SD cards with a7 III

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 11:45am

According to multiple users on the Sony Alpha subreddit, Sony's a7 III camera is having issues with a particular SanDisk SD card.

Reddit user "shadyashell" originally made a post regarding an issue they were having with their Sony a7 III camera and SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB SDXC UHS-I Card (Class 3) memory card. In the text of the post, they wrote:

"Everytime I insert the card into slot 1 [I get] the error message 'Unable to read memory card. Reinsert memory card. Slot 1' appears. I've reset the camera multiple times, formatted the card both on slot 2 and my laptop. Any advice on solving this issue?"

Not long after posting, other Reddit users chimed in and echoed that they too had experienced an issue. Reddit user 'iamtridluu3' said "I'm having the same issue. All six cards. Identical 128gb Extreme Pro. I could use it in slot 2 fine. Just slot 1 of both my a7 III and all six cards. Something is wrong with these cards."

Reddit user 'dany74m' claims to have contacted Sony and been told that "[Sony] officially recognize[s] the problem" and "the camera or the card are not defective [it's] just an incompatibility with the SD extreme V.30 128GB." Reddit user 'dany74m' added "[Sony] said they are aware and they are working to fix the issue with a firmware update in few weeks."

DPReview contacted Sony regarding the issue. A spokesperson for the company kept it short and vague, saying "our team is currently investigating the claims." We will update this article if any new information becomes available.

Categories: Equipment