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All articles from Digital Photography Review
Updated: 53 min 8 sec ago

Shooting portraits with the $12,800 Leica Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 lens

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 12:02pm

Photographer and YouTuber Matt Granger recently got a chance to shoot with two unreleased Leica lenses that many a portrait photographer dreams of owning. On a freezing cold day in Brooklyn, he went out with friend and model Stephanie Pham to test out the APO Summicron-SL 90mm F2 ASPH and—the pièce de résistance—the $12,800 Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 ASPH.

You can't even buy the Noctilux yet, but Granger was able to get his hands on one for testing purposes ahead of his trip to Ethiopia, and before he hopped on a plane, he just had to try this lens out in a quick 10-minute portrait shoot by the water in Brooklyn. All of the photos were taken with the Leica SL, and since the Noctilux-M is an M-Mount lens (duh), Matt attached it using Leica's own M to L mount converter.

Matt was kind enough to share a few full-res JPEG samples with us, which you can scroll through in the gallery below.

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In the video, he mentions several times how difficult it can be to grab focus with a lens this fast, but the Leica SL's focus peaking seemed to help him nail the shot more often than not. In fact, he complains that it's harder to nail focus stopped down, because the peaking was far less helpful when more of the frame was in focus.

Check out the full video up top to hear Matt's thoughts and watch him work with this ultra-fast (and ultra expensive...) lens, and then head over to his website to download a few more samples for pixel peeping purposes. Finally, don't forget to let us (and him) know what you think of the images and these two lenses in the comments down below.

Categories: Equipment

Review: Google Pixel 2 is the best smartphone for stills photographers

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 9:00am

DPReview smartphone reviews are written with the needs of photographers in mind. We focus on camera features, performance, and image quality.

The Pixel 2 and its larger sibling, the Pixel 2 XL represent Google’s latest flagship phones. Both offer a single 12.2MP F1.8 main camera and an 8MP F2.4 ‘selfie’ camera. From a photographer’s perspective that might not sound like anything special - after all, the iPhone X offers dual rear cameras - yet thanks to behind-the-scenes processing, the Pixel 2 is capable of some of the most detailed photos we've ever seen from a smartphone.

It also features a background blurring effect (portrait mode), DNG Raw capture (with use of a third party app), 4K/30p video and optical image stabilization. Plus, all Pixel 2 owners get free Google Photo storage for photos and videos shot on the device through the end of 2020. After that point users will still get free storage but files saved will be high-quality compressed versions (full-res storage will still be available for a price).

Priced at $650, the Pixel 2 is not cheap, but it is 2/3rds the price of the iPhone X.

The Pixel 2 offers excellent image quality thanks to a combination of hardware and software processing .
ISO 82 | 1/23000 sec| F1.8

As smartphone cameras progress, we're seeing a cultural split from traditional camera companies, who rely mostly on hardware and optics to achieve good image quality, just as they did with their film cameras. Instead, smartphone manufacturers are relying more on computational photography and artificial intelligence to produce a photo that is detailed and well-toned, right 'out of camera'. With just one button press - no need to set the exposure or dynamic range compensation or AF mode yourself.

Google's secret sauce is in what the company calls 'HDR+', which judges exposure intelligently and uses multi-imaging techniques for every shot. So has computational photography, à la Pixel 2 come far enough to replace the pocket cam? How about the mirrorless camera or DSLR?

Aside from the excellent camera, the Pixel 2 is a fairly ordinary smartphone.

Key photographic / Video specs

  • 12.2MP rear camera (1/2.55" | 1.40 μm pixels)
  • F1.8 max aperture
  • 4K/30p video
  • 1080/120p, 720/240p slow motion video
  • Optical image stablization
  • Dual Pixel AF with phase detect
  • DNG Raw capture and manual control with 3rd party apps
  • 8MP front camera (F2.4 max ap.)

Other specs

  • Android 8.0 operating system (Oreo)
  • 5 in 1920x1080 AMOLED (441ppi) display (95% DCI-P3)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
  • 4GB Ram
  • 64 or 128GB internal storage
  • Unlimited cloud photo/video storage with Google Photos
  • 2750 mAh battery
  • $650
Categories: Equipment

Panasonic Lumix GH5S sample gallery

Sun, 02/11/2018 - 9:00am
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The Panasonic GH5S is a heavily video-focused variant of the GH5, and we've already tested its video capabilities extensively. To complement our sample reels, we have a full sample gallery for your viewing pleasure. Take a look at the still image side of this video-centric camera.

See our Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S
sample gallery

Categories: Equipment

A quick tour of Fujifilm's camera and lens factory in Sendai, Japan

Sat, 02/10/2018 - 12:00pm

Documentary cameraman Johnnie Behiri of Cinema5D was in Japan recently, when he was invited to visit one of Fujifilm's camera and lens factories in Sendai, Japan. Having been on a few factory tours ourselves, we suggest you do exactly what Behiri did: say yes, and bring a camera to document your journey.

The factory Behiri visited is responsible for putting together Fujifilm's Fujinon MK lenses, the X-T2 ILC, and the GFX 50S medium format camera and lenses. The tour is short and sweet, but you get to see how careful Fuji must be about cleanliness in a factory like this, and watch as the technicians assemble each Fujinon MK lens by hand.

This isn't the first time someone has been invited inside the Sendai Factory. In fact, we went there ourselves in 2016. And one year before that, The Fuji Guys took their own tour of the factory, which you can watch below (even if it is a bit dated now):

Fuji fans can watch both tours above. And if this inspires you to go behind the scenes with a few other manufacturers, check out our visit to the Hasselblad factory in Sweden, the Leica factory in Germany, Canon's L lens factory in Japan, and more.

Categories: Equipment

Photography tour guide killed by toxic lava fumes in Hawaii

Sat, 02/10/2018 - 10:00am

Photographer Sean King, owner of tourism company Hawaii Stargazing Adventures, tragically passed away during a tour group excursion on February 1st after breathing in toxic fumes from a lava flow, according to local news organization KHON2. Heavy rains over the lava flow resulted in noxious steam, according to officials speaking with the news agency, which made it difficult to see and breathe.

According to friends and officials, King was with three other people as part of a guided hiking tour when it began to rain—he soon lost consciousness. The three individuals were forced to leave King behind and hike several hours before they had cell reception to call for help. Hawaii Fire Department officials spotted King from a helicopter and used it to airlift him to a nearby ambulance, but unfortunately it was too late.

Friends describe King has having been a passionate photographer with a great fondness for the Kilauea volcano. Speaking to KHON2, Bruce Omori, a friend of King's, described the conditions that led to the photographer's tragic demise:

The conditions today, I mean they were horrible. It was dumping so much rain out there. There was a stationary cell that was directly over the flow field, and it was really heavy. We’re shooting that and I’ve never gotten so wet in the helicopter, because it was raining so hard. It was raining so hard that we couldn’t venture any further, because we normally fly the entire length of the flow field, but it was impossible. So much rain was coming down.

According to Big Island Now, Hawaii's Criminal Investigation Section detectives are investigating the incident as an "unattended death."

Categories: Equipment

Blackmagic launches 4K broadcast camera for price of a high-end DSLR

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 3:39pm

Video camera maker Blackmagic Design has announced the "world’s most affordable and flexible professional" camera aimed at broadcast and studio film makers. The URSA Broadcast shoots Ultra HD resolution, uses an interchangeable lens mount and costs just $3,495.

The camera comes with the B4 lens mount, but this can be switched so the camera can accept PL, F or EF lenses. Users can load relatively low-cost SD or CFast media to record their footage, with the camera offering two slots for each format. Lossless 12-bit CinemaDNG Raw recording is possible for projects that require the best quality, while broadcast footage can be shot in 10-bit DNxHD 220X, DNxHD 145 or ProRes formats with metadata.

Blackmagic says the URSA Broadcast produces vibrant colors and accurate skin tones so that footage is ready to use straight from the camera, while an extended video dynamic range ensures a wide range of brightness values can be recorded. Three ND filters are built-in and can be dropped into the light path at the turn of a dial. The strengths offered are ¼, 1/16th and 1/64th stops, and each comes with IR compensation to maintain matchable colors from different situations.

The handling of the camera concentrates on placing controls on the outside of the body rather than in menu systems, and the company claims that should any button or control point fail during a job its function can be switched to another button as redundancy has been built into the design.

The Blackmagic Design URSA Broadcast is available now. For more information see the Blackmagic website.

Press release

Blackmagic Design Introduces URSA Broadcast

The world’s most affordable and flexible professional HD and Ultra HD broadcast camera for live production and studio programs, at the same price as a DSLR camera!

Fremont, California, USA - February 1, 2018 - Blackmagic Design today announced Blackmagic URSA Broadcast, a new high end, professional broadcast camera designed for both studio programming and live production. URSA Broadcast works with existing B4 broadcast HD lenses, can be used for both HD and Ultra HD production, features a 4K sensor, extended video dynamic range, traditional external controls and buttons, built in optical ND filters, dual CFast and dual SD card recorders, and much more. Blackmagic URSA Broadcast is available now for only US$3,495 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

URSA Broadcast is like two cameras in one, an incredible field camera for ENG and programming work, as well as a professional studio camera. The camera features traditional broadcast controls along with exceptional image quality, all in a compact design that is ideal for fast paced, fast turn around production work. The key is URSA Broadcast’s new extended video mode which captures incredible looking video with accurate skin tones and vibrant colors. That means customers don’t have to color correct images before going to air, making URSA Broadcast perfect for news, live sports, studio talk and game shows and more. URSA Broadcast lets customers shoot, edit and get stories on air faster than ever before.

URSA Broadcast is also designed to work with the equipment and systems traditional broadcasters already have. For example, customers can use their existing B4 HD and Ultra HD lenses with URSA Broadcast. Unlike other broadcast cameras, URSA Broadcast records onto inexpensive standard SD cards, UHS-II cards and CFast cards, and records 1080i or 2160p video into standard .mov files, with .mxf to be added in future updates. URSA Broadcast records using DNx145, DNx220X or ProRes, so video doesn’t need to be copied or transcoded. This makes it fast to work with video from URSA Broadcast because it’s compatible with virtually all existing broadcast systems and editing software.

The B4 lens mount and matching sensor on URSA Broadcast enables wide depth of field, so broadcast customers can shoot without constantly chasing focus. The lens mount features high performance optics with spherical aberration correction specifically designed to match the camera’s sensor. The ?” mount lets customers use existing HD lenses or Ultra HD lenses. Because B4 lenses are par-focal and have an extremely wide depth of field, images stay in focus when zoomed in and out. That lets customers work faster because they don’t need to change lenses or refocus between close up, medium and wide shots. URSA Broadcast also supports full electronic B4 lens control so customers can adjust focus, iris and zoom using the camera’s controls, or remotely from an ATEM switcher or ATEM Camera Control Panel. In addition, the standard B4 lens mount can be swapped with optional EF, F and PL mounts so customers can use everything from inexpensive high quality photographic lenses all the way up to massive cinema lenses.

URSA Broadcast features a high quality 4K image sensor and a new extended video mode with better dynamic range and color fidelity. The sensor is designed for both HD and Ultra HD, producing images with fine texture and detail, accurate skin tones, vibrant color and high dynamic range. The images from URSA Broadcast have been designed to be used without additional color correction. This makes editing faster, which is crucial in the fast paced broadcast world. The high resolution sensor is a huge advantage, even when working in HD, because it enables sub pixel image processing and superior anti-aliasing, resulting in super sharp images.

URSA Broadcast is designed to be the toughest and most fully featured camera available. It includes everything customers need in a compact handheld magnesium alloy body that’s durable and light enough to use anywhere. There’s an external high visibility LCD status display for viewing critical shooting information, a foldout touch screen for reviewing shots without needing an extra on-set monitor, professional connections such as 12GSDI, XLR audio, built in high quality stereo microphones and more. Plus, every single control on the camera has a redundant backup, including the power, so if anything should go wrong in the field, the camera can still be used.

URSA Broadcast also features built in neutral density (ND) filters with IR compensation for quickly reducing the amount of light that enters the camera. The ¼, 1/16th and 1/64th stop filters are specifically designed to match the colorimetry of the camera and provide additional latitude, even under harsh lighting conditions. That means customers can use different combinations of aperture and shutter angle to achieve shallower depth of field, or specific levels of motion blur, in a wider range of situations. The IR filters evenly compensate for both far red and infrared wave lengths to eliminate IR contamination. The ND filters are true optical filters with a precision mechanism that quickly moves them into place when the ND filter dial is turned.

Blackmagic URSA Broadcast puts control buttons, switches, knobs and dials on the outside of the camera, giving customers direct access to the most important camera features. The controls are laid out in a logical order that makes them easy to remember so operators can use the camera without having to look at the buttons, hunt through menus, or take their eye off of the action. URSA Broadcast also features a high visibility LCD status display which shows important information such as timecode, shutter and lens settings, battery, recording status, and audio levels. The status display features a backlight and is designed to be clearly visible in both dimly lit studios and outside in direct sunlight.

URSA Broadcast features both dual CFast 2.0 recorders and dual SD/UHS-II card recorders. Both types of media are standard, non-proprietary, inexpensive and readily available at most computer and camera stores. Customers can record 10bit broadcast quality DNxHD 220X, DNxHD 145 or ProRes files with metadata, making it is easy to integrate URSA Broadcast into existing broadcast systems and workflows. URSA Broadcast can even record lossless 12bit CinemaDNG RAW files for high quality programming and post production. With dual slots for each media type, URSA Broadcast gives customers redundant recorders and non-stop recording. When the first card is full, recording automatically continues onto the next card so the full card can be swapped while recording continues on the other.

All of the connections on URSA Broadcast are standard television industry connectors so customers don’t need expensive, proprietary cables. The camera features multi rate 12GSDI connections for video output and return program feed input. Both connections automatically switch speed so they work with all HD and Ultra HD formats up to 2160p60 over a single cable. In addition, URSA Broadcast features HD-SDI monitoring out, 2 LANC inputs, balanced XLR audio with phantom power, and timecode/reference input. A 12 pin Hirose connector provides analog and digital broadcast lens control for powering and controlling SD, HD and Ultra HD lenses. There’s also a 4 pin XLR 12V DC power output and HD-SDI monitor output that can be used with Blackmagic viewfinders or any third party viewfinders and monitors.

Blackmagic Design also makes a complete set of professional camera accessories designed to work perfectly with URSA Broadcast. Customers can add a Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder or a large 7 inch Blackmagic URSA Studio Viewfinder. There are microphone mounts, standard V-Lock and Gold battery plates, optional lens mounts and more. The all new Blackmagic Camera Fiber Converter, Blackmagic Studio Fiber Converter and ATEM Camera Control Panel let customers create a complete broadcast camera chain that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars less than traditional camera chains. The fiber converters let customers extend their cameras and power them from up to 2 km away using industry standard SMPTE fiber cables. It includes 1 Ultra HD camera feed, plus 3 HD return feeds, common live camera controls with multiple channels of talkback, and standard television industry talkback headset connections, all in a compact IP video based design that allow it to be connected and controlled from a live production switcher.

“URSA Broadcast lets customers get the most out of their investment in cameras and lenses because it can be re-purposed and used on every type of project, whether it’s out in the field or in the studio. It’s like getting two cameras in one.” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “URSA Broadcast is exciting because it makes high end broadcast camera technology available to everyone from AV and web producers all the way up to professional broadcasters, for the same price as a common DSLR!”

Blackmagic URSA Broadcast Key Features

  • 4K sensor, extended video dynamic range, traditional external controls and buttons, built in optical ND filters, dual CFast and dual SD card recorders,
  • Advanced HD and Ultra HD broadcast camera with B4 mount.
  • New extended video mode with better dynamic range and color fidelity producing images with amazing texture and detail, accurate skin tones, vibrant color and high dynamic range.
  • Full electronic B4 lens control support for adjusting focus, iris and zoom using the camera’s controls, or remotely from an ATEM switcher or ATEM Camera Control Panel.
  • Built in dual SD/UHS-II and CFast card recorders allow unlimited duration recording in high quality.
  • Records 1080i or 2160p video into standard .mov files using DNx145, DNx220X or ProRes for compatibility with existing broadcast systems and workflows. Standard .mxf will be added in future updates.
  • Support for DNxHD 220X, DNxHD 145, Apple ProRes 4444 XQ QuickTime, ProRes 4444 QuickTime, ProRes 422 HQ QuickTime, ProRes 422 QuickTime, ProRes 422 LT QuickTime and ProRes 422 Proxy QuickTime, CinemaDNG RAW, CinemaDNG RAW 3:1, CinemaDNG RAW 4:1.
  • High quality clear, 1/4, 1/16th and 1/64th stop neutral density (ND) filters with IR compensation designed to specifically match the colorimetry and color science of URSA Broadcast.
  • Fully redundant controls including external broadcast controls which allow direct access to the most important camera settings such as external power switch, ND filter wheel, ISO, shutter, white balance, record button, audio gain controls, lens and transport control, high frame rate button and more.
  • Interchangeable lens mount with B4 mount included as standard. Optional EF, PL and F mount available separately.
  • Status display for quickly checking timecode, shutter and lens settings, battery, recording status, and audio levels.
  • Features all standard connections, including dual XLR mic/line audio inputs with phantom power, 12GSDI output for monitoring with camera status graphic overlay and separate XLR 4 pin power output for viewfinder power, headphone jack, LANC remote control and standard 4 pin 12V DC power connection.
  • Built in high quality stereo microphones for recording sound.
  • 4 inch foldout touchscreen for on-set monitoring and menu settings.
  • Blackmagic SDI Control Protocol for external control or iPad control via Bluetooth®, 2 x 2.5mm LANC for lens and record control.

Availability and Price
Blackmagic URSA Broadcast is available now from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide for US$3,495.

Blackmagic URSA Broadcast Accessories

  • Blackmagic Camera Fiber Converter.
  • Blackmagic Studio Fiber Converter.
  • ATEM Camera Control Panel (available May/June 2018).
  • Blackmagic URSA Broadcast Shoulder Kit features built in rosettes, rail mounts, viewfinder mount, integrated tripod quick lock release and top handle.
  • Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder is a high resolution viewfinder that includes a full HD OLED display and true glass optics for perfect focus.
  • Blackmagic URSA Studio Viewfinder featuring 7” screen, variable tension mounting points, easy grip handles, external controls and more.
  • URSA VLock Battery Plate provides a VLock compatible plate for attaching third party batteries.
  • Interchangeable EF, F and PL lens mounts.
Categories: Equipment

COOPH necklaces line launched with five silver camera-inspired charms

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 1:47pm

Cooperative of Photography (COOPH) has launched a line of necklaces featuring small silver charms inspired by five different types of cameras: Hasselblad, Rolleiflex, Olympus OM, Nikon F, and Leica M. All five models are made with 100% 925 sterling silver, include a 46cm / 18in chain with two link options and a small black box, and are priced at €59. Shipping is available worldwide and free on orders over €200.00.

Via: PhotographyBLOG

Categories: Equipment

Instagram test lets users re-share content, but there's a way to disable it

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 12:57pm

Instagram has confirmed that it is testing a feature for sharing publicly available content posted by other users. In a statement to TechCrunch, Instagram explained that the company regularly tests new ways for users to "share any moment" with their friends. The feature, which some people are referring to as "regram," allows for public content to be shared within a user's Instagram Story.

The sharing feature is only available to a small percentage of users at this time. Instagram didn't provide any sort of time frame for when the feature may launch for all users, nor whether that is certain to happen. However, it seems likely that the feature will see a wider launch due to all users already having the ability to disable re-shares.

Photographers can prevent users from re-sharing their content by opening their Instagram profile, then tapping the menu icon. Within the app's menu, a new setting option is listed that reads "Allow Others to Reshare" alongside a toggle switch. Toggling the switch off will disable other users' ability to re-share content posted by that account.

Via: The Verge

Categories: Equipment

How to shoot Log video using DJI's D-Log color profile

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 9:00am

One of the challenges of shooting video with a drone is dealing with high dynamic range lighting situations. Fortunately, many of DJI's drones offer a useful picture profile called D-Log. It's DJI's implementation of a Log gamma curve, designed to capture as much tonal information as possible.

DJI's standard picture profiles can be vivid and punchy, but similar to shooting JPEG format on a stills camera, using them can make it impossible to recover highlights or shadows if clipping occurs in high contrast scenes.

If you don't need to shoot Log to capture the dynamic range of a scene, it may not be
the best choice

Using D-Log can give you more flexibility in your post-production by retaining a wider tonal range, allowing you more latitude to apply your color and style choices during editing. However, there's no such thing as a free lunch; shooting in Log can reduce image quality by trying to compress too much tonal information into a limited number of bits in the file. If you're shooting a high dynamic range scene that tradeoff may result in a net benefit. But if you don't need to shoot Log to capture the dynamic range of a scene, it may not be the best choice.

In this article, I'll show you how to set up the D-Log profile, how to expose for it, and provide some examples of what you can achieve by shooting in D-Log and using color lookup tables, or LUTS, to color grade the final footage.

Set up your DJI drone to shoot in D-Log

To set your Mavic Pro, Phantom, or Inspire to shoot in D-Log, make sure you're in video mode and navigate to your camera settings. You'll find D-Log under the 'Color' settings, along with all the other color profiles. Once selected, you're ready to shoot in D-Log.

To set up D-Log using the DJI GO app, simply navigate to the Color settings in video mode and select the D-Log profile. I also recommend going to the Style settings and creating a custom style with sharpness, contrast, and saturation set to -3 to give yourself more flexibility in editing.

I also recommend going to the 'Style' settings and creating a custom style with contrast, sharpness, and saturation all dialed back to -3. This can give you a bit more flexibility in post-processing since you're not baking things such as the default sharpness level into the file.

Your drone should now be set up and ready to record footage in the D-Log profile. Keep in mind that the image above is from the DJI GO 4 app using the Phantom 4 Pro; menus may look slightly different on different models, but it should be the same basic procedure.

Setting exposure in D-Log

Now that your drone is set to shoot in D-Log, let's discuss some best practices and tips for properly exposing your footage. We'll be using my screenshot below to point out some key settings.

When shooting D-Log, I've had good experience using the expose to the right (ETTR) technique in order to get more shadow detail while preserving highlights.

There are different schools of thought on how to best expose when shooting in Log, but I'll share what has worked consistently for me.

In the image above, note that my histogram is exposed as far to the right side of the scale as possible without clipping my highlights. This is a technique called expose to the right, or ETTR. Exposing this way for D-Log allows for less noise in the shadows while maintaining highlights as much as possible. For the way I shoot, it's the 'sweet spot' for maximum dynamic range retention.

Alternatively, you can optimize exposure for the mid-tones when shooting in D-Log. However, note that D-Log footage can get very noisy if underexposed. If exposing for the mid-tones means using a lower exposure than the ETTR method, it will result in more noise in the shadows in exchange for better highlight retention in the brighter regions of your image. I suggest trying both methods to see what works best for you.

The other key thing to note about my settings is the fact that ISO is set to 500. It's the lowest ISO that DJI D-Log can be shot in on the current Phantom 4 Pro firmware. That means you can go higher than ISO 500 if you'd like, but never below ISO 500. I recommend leaving your ISO at 500 to get the best results.

Using LUTs to color grade D-Log footage

Recording your footage in D-Log offers many benefits, but one of the things that you have to do in order to reap those benefits is to devote more time to post-processing. Straight out of the camera, Log footage looks very flat since it's designed to cram as many tonal values into the available space as possible.

The first step in grading your D-Log footage will be to make it look like something more recognizable. To do this we'll use a LUT, or lookup table, to apply a different gamma curve (tone curve) to our footage using our video editing software.

A LUT is essentially a matrix of numerical data that describes how to modify our footage from the profile it was shot in, to a profile we want to work with.

All of this work with LUTs typically takes place in your video editing software. I use DaVinci Resolve, but the same basic process can be performed in other editors like Final Cut Pro X or Premiere Pro. Once your footage has been imported, you can apply a D-Log to Rec.709 LUT, which converts our D-Log footage to the standard color and tone response for HD video. At this point, our footage should more closely conform to the standard color output we're used to seeing.

Having the flexibility to push and pull colors and exposure in editing is worth
the added effort for me

DJI used to provide a LUT for this conversion but has stopped offering it since the Phantom 4. I like to use Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve because it has a D-Log to Rec.709 LUT built in, but other third-party plugins like Filmconvert also offer them with their color grading tools as well.

From here it's possible to finish color grading manually if you wish. Alternatively, you can use another LUT to apply a new 'look' to your Rec.709 footage, such as one that emulates a film stock or provides a specific cinematic look, to achieve the output you're going for.

When editing in DaVinci Resolve it's easy to apply a D-Log to Rec.709 LUT to convert my footage. The general workflow is similar in programs like Final Cut Pro X or Premiere Pro, though you may have to add a D-Log to Rec.709 LUT to your software.

One of my workflows is to use the 'D-Log to Rec.709' LUT in DaVinci Resolve, followed by a cinematic LUT from the Elektra series from Polar Pro.

To be clear, Elektra LUTs are intended to convert your D-Log footage directly to a cinematic look, and they absolutely work in that respect. However, after some experimentation I've found the results can sometimes be more pleasing – to me, at least – when I apply these LUTs to footage after applying a D-Log to Rec.709 LUT. Both methods work, and it's really a matter of personal taste and the look you want to achieve.

There are other sources of LUTs designed for DJI drones as well, including collections from Ground Control, and even D-Log LUTs created by the user community (just do a bit of searching online).

I like to go through my library of available LUTs and try them until I find the one that suits the project. I've put together a short sample reel of some D-Log footage from a flight at Seattle's Gasworks Park, so take a peek at the video for some examples of different looks.

This video shows a number of looks I was able to create from the same shoot using different LUTs.

Keep in mind that LUTs don't eliminate the need to do manual color grading; they're a starting point that allows you to apply a consistent look across your footage, but you'll likely still need to do a bit more work to get the precise result you seek.


Now that you know how to set up your DJI drone to shoot in D-Log, expose it for maximum dynamic range, and color grade it using LUTs, you're ready to create your own cinematic aerial films. I've found that the additional workflow required to shoot in D-Log has given me enough benefit in post-production to continue using it. Having the flexibility to push and pull colors and exposure in editing is worth the added effort for me.

Granted, I probably wouldn't employ this process for casual shooting, but for important productions where use of a high contrast color profile would risk clipping a lot of highlights or crushing shadows straight out of the camera , shooting in D-Log is definitely a must. DJI has even created a handy guide to getting started with setting up and shooting in D-Log as well, so if you'd like more information on the process, take a look at that guide here.

Categories: Equipment

Sigma announces full-frame 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art lens

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 12:00am
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Sigma has announced a new 14-24mm F2.8 HSM Art lens for full-frame Canon, Nikon and Sigma DSLRs. This ultra-wide zoom has three FLD and three SLD glass elements, plus an 80mm 'high precision molded' aspherical element. The lens is sealed against dust and moisture and has a nine-blade aperture, minimum focus distance of 26cm (10") and a weight of around 1.2 kg (2.5 lb).

While the 14-24 comes with a petal-shaped hood, Sigma will offer a 'front mount conversion service' that will replace it with a circular hood, which is preferable when capturing content intended for VR use.

Living up to its Art designation, the 14-24mm has been designed with 50MP sensors in mind. It claims to minimize distortion to 1% or lower when focused to infinity, and the Canon mount version of the lens works with Canon's in-camera lens aberration correction. Each 14-24mm F2.8 comes from Sigma's Aizu, Japan factory.

Pricing and availability information will be released at a later date.

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Press Release

Sigma Announces Brand New 14-24mm F2.8 Art Lens

February 9, 2018 - Sigma Corporation today announced the brand new 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art wide aperture zoom lens. In addition to the new Global Vision full-frame lens model, Sigma also announced a new front conversion service for the 14-24mm F2.8.

Outstanding Art Lens Performance
Designed for 50-megapixel plus cameras, the 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art achieves the legendary Art lens sharpness with three FLD glass elements, three SLD glass elements, and three aspherical lens elements, including one 80mm high precision molded glass aspherical element. With near zero distortion (less than 1%) and minimal transverse chromatic aberration, flare and ghosting, the new Sigma 14-24mm offers constant F2.8 brightness throughout the zoom range and delivers optimal image quality at every focal length and shooting distance. The high-speed, high-accuracy autofocus allows photographers to capture incredible, in-the-moment images.

Rugged Design
In addition to outstanding optical performance, the 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art features the Sports line level dust- and splash-proof design with special sealing at the mount connection, manual focus ring, zoom ring and cover connection, allowing for the lens to be used during varying weather conditions.

Versatile Camera System Mount Support
The new Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art lens supports Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts and works with Sigma’s MC-11 Sony E-mount converter. The Nikon mount features brand new electromagnetic diaphragm, whereas the Canon mount is compatible with the Canon Lens Aberration Correction function.

Pricing and availability for the Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 Art lens will be announced later.

Front Mount Conversion Service for Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art
Addressing the rising popularity of multi-camera productions, especially using ultra wide-angle lenses in shooting virtual reality (VR) content, Sigma has introduced its Front Conversion Service. Converting the petal-type hood of the 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art to an exclusive round component allows for the lens to be used in various VR scenarios without the risk of interfering with other lenses in the VR rig or undesired shadows in the content.

The availability of this fee-based service for Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 Art will be announced at a later date.

Categories: Equipment

RGG EDU is giving away a $300, 8+ hour beer photography course for free

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 4:53pm

If you're looking to get into professional beverage photography—and specifically tap into the market for professional beer photography—this course from RGG EDU is definitely worth checking out. Produced by RGG and photographer Rob Grimm, the 8+ hour course covers everything you need to know. And the best part? This course, which usually retails for $300, is being given away 100% free.

As with all free offers like this, you'll have to put in your personal info at checkout, but you can uncheck the "keep me up to date on news and exclusive offers" checkbox and avoid the marketing emails if you're not keen on those.

The process takes just a few clicks—we went through it ourselves to check that it actually works—and once you're done, you'll get an email with a bespoke download link that gives you access to all 25 chapters of photography and retouching tutorial content, 27 RAW files, four full photo shoots, and access to a private Facebook group where you can chat with fellow members of the RGG community about the stuff you're learning.

Here's RGG's description of the course:

In this tutorial, you will see Rob’s entire process for creating beverage images by breaking the composition down into its parts and obsessing over the details. You will learn the foundations of beverage photography from capturing a bottle on white, photographing cocktails including drink styling, proper use of ice, realistic condensation, creating appetite and appeal, and the use of duratrans to make an image that appears to be shot on-location with all the control of a studio.

Rob will share with you his method for generating portfolio ideas that will make you rethink your entire approach to creating images. Finally, world-renowned retoucher Earth Oliver, will walk you through the best methods to bring polish to your images that stand out from the crowd.

To learn more about the course or pick up your free copy, click here.

Categories: Equipment

DJI will set up temporary no-fly zones at the 2018 Olympics

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 3:47pm
Photo by Matthew Brodeur

File this one under "well... obviously." DJI is creating no-fly zones near Olympics venues in South Korea that will prevent its drones from operating in the regions. The no-fly zones will be implemented at the software level as a precaution to prevent any foolish or negligent DJI users from putting safety or security at risk.

These no-fly zones will be in place for the duration of the Games in the following cities:

  • Pyeongchang
  • Gangneung
  • Bongpyeong
  • Jeongseon

Drone security is a big topic for this year's Games. Earlier this week, South Korean officials confirmed that they'll have their own anti-drone UAVs in operation. These UAVs—the ones operated by security officials —will launch nets at any uninvited drone to take them out of the sky.

For its part, though, DJI has confirmed that it will be releasing a software update that creates temporary no-fly zones. This isn't the first time the Chinese company has created temporary airspace restrictions. In a statement to Tech Crunch, DJI explained:

Safety is DJI’s top priority, and we’ve always taken proactive steps to educate our customers to operate within the law and where appropriate, implement temporary no-fly zones during major events. We believe this feature will reduce the potential for drone operations that could inadvertently create safety or security concerns.

Categories: Equipment

Google Photos adds new AI-powered themed video options

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 3:35pm

The Google Photos app has been capable of automatically generating themed videos using image recognition and artificial intelligence (AI) for a while now. The feature was originally introduced in 2016 and automatically creates videos from your images for special occasions, such as Mother's Day (see you video above), or by selecting a specific type of photo in your collection—for example selfies.

Now Google has expanded the selection of themed videos that can be created in the Photos mobile app or on the web platform. There are nine themes in all, and the naming is pretty self-explanatory:

  • Mother's Day Movie
  • Father's Day Movie
  • Smiles of 2017
  • Doggie Movie
  • They Grow Up So Fast
  • Meow Movie
  • Selfie Movie
  • Valentine's Day Movie
  • In Loving Memory

To create a video, you have to tap on the Assistant tab in the app and then tap on Movie. Once the theme and the people or pets you'd like to appear in said theme are chosen, algorithms create the video, including background music. You'll receive a notification when everything is finished.

The service is rolling out to most regions today. You can see some more sample videos on the Google Photos Youtube Channel.

Categories: Equipment

Leaked: Sigma preparing to release 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art lens

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:51am
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Earlier today, Sigma sprang a pretty major leak ahead of the CP+ show in Japan. According to leaked images from Nokishita, Sigma is planning to add a 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art lens to its ultra-wide angle lineup very soon. In fact, it looks like Nokishita got their hands on all of Sigma's standard product shots.

You can scroll through them above, and see some rumored specifications below:

  • Mount: Canon, Nikon, Sigma
  • Lens construction: 17 elements in 11 groups
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 9 (circular aperture)
  • Maximum photographing magnification: 1: 5.4
  • Size (Sigma mount): ų 96.4mm x 135.1mm
  • Weight (Sigma mount): 1,150g

Of course, this isn't the Sigma 70-200mm that's been rumored (and hoped for) since before the Photo Plus Expo, but it does make for an impressive lineup of ultra-wides in the much-beloved Sigma Art series.

If previous experience is anything to judge by, Nokishita's product photo leaks usually come just days (sometimes less than 24 hours) before an official announcement, so we're expecting this lens to make landfall very soon.

Categories: Equipment

Worth the money? Fully loaded iMac Pro vs fully loaded iMac

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 10:22am

A fully loaded iMac Pro will cost you an eye-watering $13,200... but if you're set on an Apple all-in-one, is it really almost $8,000 better than a fully-loaded 5K iMac? Parker Walbeck of Full Time Filmmaker ran some tests to find out, putting both all-in-ones through their paces using RED 8K footage, Canon 1D X Mark II 4K footage, and DJI Phantom 4 Pro 4K footage.

He also tested the machines using both Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X, to eliminate the CPU-crushing effects of Adobe's software.

As you might expect, the iMac Pro outperformed the iMac in nearly every test, playing back full resolution footage flawlessly while the iMac dropped frames, and rendering/exporting at about 2x the speed. However, it didn't win in every regard. The iMac actually outperformed the iMac Pro by 25% when it came to applying Warp Stabilizer, because this feature is only using an individual core to do the work.

Playing back 8K RED footage on the iMac Pro was much smoother than the iMac, which had to be dropped to 1/8th resolution to match performance.

All of this leads Parker to his very reasonable conclusion:

"I definitely think there is a point of diminishing returns, where you're paying a premium for slight, incremental improvements," says Walbeck. "But that's how it is with most new technology, it's overpriced and you're going to pay a premium for the latest and greatest."

As for the value, he sums it up pretty well in the video, and it's probably exactly what you expected coming into this comparison. Is it worth the money?

For most people? No. For a select few, yeah, it may be a difference maker. Do I personally need a computer this powerful? No. I'm sure I'd be just fine with my iMac or a base model iMac Pro


I've edited RED 8K footage on my MacBook Pro before, it's definitely doable, it's just a lot slower than if I were to use an iMac Pro. So my advice would be to use whatever you've got, whatever you can afford, and just start creating content.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, might be the most practical advice to come out of one of these iMac Pro comparison videos yet. Check out the full breakdown in the video above, where Walbeck offers some great advice for video shooters who are salivating over Apple's newest machine... and yes, he does touch on why he doesn't think that, at least for him, it's worth it to spend less money and build an equally powerful PC.

Categories: Equipment

PyeongChang 2018: Behind the scenes with Nikon Professional Services

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 12:01am
Sixty NPS staff members from 13 countries are gathered to help photographers at this year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The PyeongChang Winter Olympics offers a chance for athletes to shine on the world's most prestigious stage, but it's equally as important an event for the hundreds of professional photographers covering the proceedings. In order to capture the most critical sporting moments, they need everything - camera position, angle and timing - to come together at once. This is no place for gear trouble, and that's where Nikon Professional Services (NPS) comes in.

NPS can be found at most major worldwide sporting events, including the Olympics, as well as international entertainment fixtures such as film and music festivals. NPS also provides camera support services at smaller domestic events like national sporting championships.

There will be 60 NPS staff members from 13 countries on hand, offering support in around 10 languages.

As preparations gear up for this year's PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea, we spoke to a senior NPS technician and veteran of 15 Olympic Games about what's involved.

At the PyeongChang Olympics, there will be 60 NPS staff members from 13 countries on hand, offering support in around 10 languages. Planning for the event started two years ago, and as well as D5 and D850 bodies the NPS inventory will include a range of specialized prime and zoom lenses. The exact figure is confidential, but the total value of all the gear is equivalent to 'several hundred luxury cars'.

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Located in the main press center, the NPS depot will serve all press photographers, regardless of NPS membership. Services offered will include camera check-ups, cleaning and repairs - as well as technical advice and loaner equipment.

Nikon's professional DSLRs can keep shooting well below freezing, but the extreme temperature difference between inside and outside shooting environments can still present challenges. Among the services available to photographers will be solving a problem unique to shooting in winter - condensation buildup inside lenses.

It may look like a studio light at first glance, but it’s actually a Robotic POD ― an MRMC robotic motion control rig incorporating an AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens and D5 combination.

The PyeongChang depot is also newly equipped to offer support for robotic remote shooting systems made by Mark Roberts Motion Control (MRMC), a British company that's now part of the Nikon group.

Major international events like the Olympics are the front lines of technological development

Major international events like the Olympics are the front lines of technological development, and several press agencies will be using MRMC's Robotic POD (pictured above) at the Winter Games. The latest remote head, it incorporates a D5 body and boasts a less complicated system than conventional models to allow for easier control. With accurate zooming, focusing and rotating, the Robotic POD enables remote shooting in a much wider range of scenarios.

But the depot isn't just there to help when a photographer has gear trouble - NPS hopes it will serve as an 'oasis' amid the high-pressure environment of the games, providing a valuable opportunity for photographers and technicians to talk and share ideas.

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Categories: Equipment

Meike teases three new lenses: 50mm F1.7, 25mm F2.0 and 25mm T2.2

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:44pm

Chinese accessory and optical manufacturer Meike has posted a picture on its website of three lenses it intends to launch in the coming months. Two stills lenses are promised, a 50mm and a 25mm, as well as a 25mm designed for movie shooters.

It is reported that the first will be a 50mm F1.7 for mirrorless systems—including the Canon EOS M mount—which is due in the middle of next month. A 25mm F2 shown in the same graphic is quite a different design to the 50mm, and different also from Meike’s existing mirrorless and APS-C range of lenses, so it isn’t easy to guess what systems this model will be aimed at. The third lens is a 25mm T2.2 Cinema lens, which appears to be the company’s first foray into this video market.

Finally, as for how much these lenses might cost, it's worth noting that the company's current 50mm F2 retails for about $80... so they tend to be pretty affordable.

For more information, visit the Meike website.

Categories: Equipment

Samsung's new ISOCELL Dual module will bring dual-cameras to budget smartphones

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:28pm

Dual-camera setups that allow for better zooming and a background-blurring fake bokeh effect have become pretty much a standard feature on flagship smartphones; however, they are still far less common on cheaper 'budget' devices. That's all about to change. The image sensor division of device maker Samsung just launched the new ISOCELL Dual camera module, which was specifically designed for use in budget devices.

The new module comes with a built-in set of algorithms and functions and can be configured two ways: either for low-light performance by combining image data from two sensor, or to provide a bokeh effect feature. For the low-light setup, Samsung couples two 8MP sensors; for the bokeh effect, the module is assembled with a 13MP and 5MP image sensor combination.

Samsung will likely use the module in its own entry-level devices but, like it does with its sensors, RAM modules and other components, the company is also offering the technology to other OEMs. This will allow smaller companies to integrate dual-cam technology into their products without the need for large R&D budgets and software optimization.

We should see the first production smartphones using the ISOCELL Dual module sometime later this year.

Categories: Equipment

Scammers are peddling fake 'KODAKCoin' to unsuspecting victims

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 11:44am

Kodak is warning potential investors that "KODAKCoin" offerings found online aren't the real thing. According to an email sent to potential investors, and shared by AdAge, scammers have started listing KODAKCoin for sale despite its lack of official availability. Buyers aren't getting the new cryptocurrency, they're simply losing real-world cash.

In January, Kodak announced plans to launch a blockchain-based image rights management platform called KODAKOne and its own cryptocurrency called KODAKCoin. In a status update published on January 31st, Kodak said it has received interest in its digital currency from more than 40,000 potential investors. The company is now entering an "accredited investors" phase during which time it will verify the status of interested potential investors.

Now, scammers are taking advantage of the hype around cryptocurrency in general and the confusion around KODAKCoin specifically to try and steal some money.

Scams involving initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies are huge at the moment thanks to bitcoin's recent record value and growing public awareness of the digital currency market. Facebook recently blacklisted advertisements involving cryptocurrencies and ICOs from its platform due to the number of scams, and SEC Chairman Jay Clayton testified before Congress about the topic yesterday.

Editor's Note: If you're confused as to why exactly Kodak decided to get into cryptocurrency and bitcoin mining, give the op-ed below a read. Not everything with the Kodak name on it is connected to the company many of us know and love (or loved).

Categories: Equipment

DxOMark report reveals just how far smartphone cameras have come in the last 5 years

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 11:18am
DxOMark chart shows that overall scores for smartphone cameras have steadily improved over the last 5 years.

If you're looking for the most drastic and impressive improvements in the world of imaging, the (sad?) fact is, you'll want to look at smartphone manufacturers. And this is what DxOMark highlights in a fascinating retrospective titled "Disruptive technologies in mobile imaging" that looks back on 5 years of testing smartphone cameras.

Not that the Sonys and Nikons and Canons of the world haven't made improvements—and who knows when the next generational leap in image sensor technology will take place—but as the saying goes: necessity is the mother of invention. Given the size limitations of our ever-thinner and lighter smartphones, its phone manufacturers who have had to be most creative when it comes to improving image quality.

That, in a nutshell, is what DxOMark breaks down in its retrospective, taking a close look at everything from how smartphones have improved their ability to eliminate noise without losing texture, to exposure improvements, autofocus, video stabilization, zoom, and the recent advancements in bokeh simulation.

Exposure is one of the areas that has seen drastic improvements. These images were captured at just 1 Lux, showing how the 808 PureView falls far short of the iPhone 5s, which in turn falls significantly short of the Galaxy S7 "thanks to better tuning and noise reduction."

The area where smartphone cameras seem to have improved most is in their ability to toe the line between decreasing noise and maintaining texture. Without simply increasing the size of the image sensor, this is a difficult balance to strike if you're using just image processing, so newer phones take care of this in three ways:

  1. Optical image stabilization to allow for longer hand-held exposures
  2. Temporal noise reduction (TNR) that combines image data from multiple frames
  3. Multiple camera modules (currently dual, maybe soon triple)

These techniques have helped manufacturers make huge leaps forward in the past 5 years:

This side-by-side comparison shows just how much better the iPhone X is at avoiding and cleaning up noise than the iPhone 5s. But even the iPhone6, which used the same camera module as the 5s, benefitted greatly from improved software.
But the iPhone X isn't even the best at this trick. Here it is compared to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Google Pixel 2, and Huawei Mate 10 Pro.

DxOMark's conclusion after sharing all of this data is unsurprising, and one of the reasons why we're keeping such a close eye on the newest smartphone camera tech:

We can see that camera hardware and image processing have been evolving alongside each during the past 5 years, and at a much faster pace than in the “traditional” camera sector.

DSLRs and mirrorless system cameras are still clearly ahead in some areas, but in terms of image processing, Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and the other players in the DSC market are behind what Apple, Samsung, Google, and Huawei can do. Thanks to their hardware advantages, the larger cameras don’t actually need the same level of pixel processing as smartphones to produce great images, but there is no denying that the performance gap between smartphones and DSLRs is narrowing.

That's a good summary, but if you want to dive into all of the comparisons—between phones of the past and today, and between the best phones on the market right now—head over to DxOMark and read their full retrospective.

Categories: Equipment