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All articles from Digital Photography Review
Updated: 20 min 2 sec ago

Researchers demo AI that can change the weather and time of day in photos

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 11:00am

NVIDIA Research is showing off a new project that uses artificial intelligence to change the time of day and weather in an image. The technology is called "unsupervised image-to-image translation," and it involves a newly-created framework capable of producing high-quality image translations, such as turning a day photo into a night photo, or a summer photo into a winter photo.

It is, to use the technical term: bananas.

Unsupervised, in this case, refers to a type of AI training that doesn't involve precise examples upon which the final results can be based. This is due to the variability inherent in taking one type of image, such as one showing a summer day, and translating it into a winter scene. Discussing this, the researchers explained in an abstract:

We compare the proposed framework with competing approaches and present high quality image translation results on various challenging unsupervised image translation tasks, including street scene image translation, animal image translation, and face image translation.

The team provides several before-and-after examples of their AI's work, demonstrating instances of a sunny day with blue sky being transformed into an overcast day, and a snow-covered winter environment being transformed into a sunny green environment.

The video below shows a video scene transformed from winter to summer:

NVIDIA also shared a video of a day scene transformed in night scene, though the change is far more obvious in this example:

Finally, the technology can also be used to transform one species into another, such as turning a house cat into a cheetah:

The team has shared a Google Photos album containing before-and-after images created with the AI, so if you want to see more photo editing madness, you can find it here.

Of course, the transitions are FAR from perfect at this stage, but some of the swaps are so extreme that even the imperfect creations still feel way beyond a computer's capacity to do by itself. Adobe's "Deep Fill" and "Project Cloak" are starting to look like a very small taste of the coming AI photo and video editing revolution.

Categories: Equipment

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III sample gallery

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 9:00am
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As far as fixed lens compacts go, the G1 X Mark III is one of the most capable – and pricey – models we've seen to date. It packs in a 24MP APS-C sensor, OLED viewfinder, Dual Pixel autofocus and a fully articulated touchscreen. Our production-ready review unit just rolled in the door and we've got a full gallery of sample images for you.

See our Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III sample gallery

Categories: Equipment

2017 Buying Guide: Best enthusiast long zoom cameras

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 7:00am

Long-zoom compacts fill the gap between pocketable cameras and interchangeable lens models with expensive lenses, offering a great combination of lens reach and portability. Here's a look at the category's current offerings and which ones we like best.

Categories: Equipment

Lifeprint unveils larger, WiFi-enabled version of its AR-equipped mobile printer

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 2:50pm

Lifeprint, the company behind the mobile photo printers with embedded augmented reality technology, today announced its second model, which produces larger prints than the original version and offers Wi-Fi connectivity as well.

The new printer can print images that are 3 by 4.5 inches in size—compared to the original model's minuscule 2 by 3 inch prints—and thanks to the new Wi-Fi feature you can remotely send an image for printing to a Lifeprint printer from anywhere, or send photos to printers owned by friends and family. For local printing, a Bluetooth connection is available as well.

As with the original Lifeprint, you can print video stills or a frame of an iPhone Live Photo and then view the full version via the Lifeprint app, merging physical print with digital display technology and offering a novel way of sharing videos with friends and family.

Like most mobile printers on the market, the Lifeprint prints on Polaroid's ZINK paper, which does away with the need for ink cartridges and comes with an adhesive backside. Inside the app you can add stickers, captions and filters before printing. At more than $1 per photo, the luxury is not cheap, so select your images and videos wisely.

Lifeprint's new larger printer is available exclusively through Apple Stores and on Apple.com for $150. A film pack of 20 is $30; $50 will get you a pack of 40.

Categories: Equipment

Lytro has officially killed off its online sharing platform for light-field images

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 2:06pm

Lytro, the pioneers in the area of light field photography, decided to abandon the consumer market and focus on Light Field video solutions more than two years ago. But it wasn't until this month that Lytro took the inevitable step early adopters of the company's cameras had been fearing: the company has now discontinued the pictures.lytro.com platform, which allowed Lytro users to share their refocusable 'living' light-field images with others online and through Facebook.

This means the Lytro desktop application is now the only remaining tool for users of the original Lytro and the Lytro ILLUM cameras to view their image results off-camera. In fact, if you visit our original Lytro 16GB Review, you'll see the living pictures no longer appear because it is now impossible to share native light field images online.

The app only allows you to adjust and animate light field images and export them in .jpg, .mov, .gif and other conventional formats for viewing without their trademark 'living picture' ability to refocus.

Unfortunately, the closure of pictures.lytro.com likely represents the final chapter in Lytro's failure in the consumer photography market. Though Lytro cameras are no doubt a part of imaging history, and we hope the company does better in its new ventures.

You can still read our review of the original Lytro (minus the embedded light field images) and I'll always fondly remember the Lytro photo walk at CES 2012. You'll find Lytro's full announcement on its website.

Categories: Equipment

Thingyfy launches Pinhole Pro S: The widest modern professional pinhole lens ever

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 1:50pm

Thingyfy is back with another Kickstarter campaign, and this time they're trying to fund the Pinhole Pro S-Series lenses. As with the original Pinhole Pro campaign launched this past summer, the new Pinhole Pro S seeks funding for a modern pinhole lens. Unlike the original, however, the latest campaign is for a model that Thingyfy calls the widest pro-tier pinhole lens in the world.

Pinhole Pro S comes in two varieties: the Pinhole Pro S11, an 11mm lens with a 120 degree FOV, and the Pinhole Pro S37, a 37mm lens with a 60 degree FOV. Both lenses feature a fully aluminum body. The S11 version is designed for mirrorless cameras with Micro Four Thirds, Sony E, and Fuji X mounts; the S37 is designed for SLR/DSLR cameras with Sony A, Nikon F, Canon EF, and Pentax K mounts.

The wide-angle S-Series weighs less while being wider and nine times sharper than the original Pinhole Pro lens, according to Thingyfy. The company explains that its Pinhole Pro lenses offer a very precise pinhole aperture due to the use of a micro-drill that is robotically controlled. The drill produces a "perfectly round" and smooth hole, says Thingyfy, whereas alternatives like chemical etching and laser etching have downsides, such as corroded or burnt, fuzzy edges.

Thingyfy is funding its new Pinhole Pro S lenses on Kickstarter, where an early bird unit of any camera mount is offered for $59 CAD / $46 USD with an estimated shipping date of April 2018.

Categories: Equipment

Visvo's 'Novel' backpacks will satisfy the most tech-savvy photographers

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 12:42pm
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New backpacks for photographers don't usually feel like anything special when they make their way across our inbox. Updates are usually limited to "innovative" closures or gimmicky new features because, let's face it, there are a lot of great options out there. It's hard to innovate when all of the basic bases have been covered for so long.

Enter Visvo, a company that is designing "tech-filled backpacks for a whole new generation of creative consumers."

Visvo's new series of three backpacks—the Novel 1.0, Novel 2.0, and Novel 3.0—were not designed primarily for photographers, but some of the built-in features will definitely appeal to traveling tech-savvy photogs who are looking for something different than your typical camera bag.

Here's a quick intro to the Novel backpacks from the company's Kickstarter campaign page:

As you can see, these bags are all about convenience, with built-in charging ports, a full power bank, optional GPS tracker, and LED light strips soldered all over the thing.

While the innovations built into these backpacks aren't specifically targeted at photographers, the built-in power bank is a huge bonus for traveling shooters, the shock-absorbing materials and design will help ease your arrhythmias when you accidentally drop your bag, and the built in LEDs on both the outside and inside of the pack are a huge boon for nighttime shooting when you need to find your gear or adjust your setup.

Of course, each model comes with its pros and cons, but even the Novel 1.0 sports a lot of the tech we think photographers would appreciate. Here's a breakdown of the differences between the three models:

For more details or if you want to put down a pledge for either of these backpacks, head over to the Kickstarter campaign and read up.

Super early bird deals are still available as of this writing, getting you a Novel 1 for €250 (~$295 USD), Novel 2 for €270 (~$320 USD), or Novel 3 for €300 (~$355 USD). Estimated delivery—assuming the packs get funded AND the company follows through, unlike some in the past—is July 2018.

Categories: Equipment

This neural network can fix damaged photos and enhance low-res shots

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 11:49am

Neural networks have become an increasingly promising way to automate the restoration of damaged and/or low-resolution images. Some of these systems are publicly available, such as Let's Enhance, while others are being demonstrated through published research projects. The latest example of such technology is called Deep Image Prior, but it deviates from the norm. Rather than being pre-trained with a data set, Deep Image Prior recreates an image using the image itself as a guide.

In a paper detailing how Deep Image Prior works, researchers explain:

In this work, we show that, contrary to expectations, a great deal of image statistics are captured by the structure of a convolutional image generator rather than by any learned capability. This is particularly true for the statistics required to solve various image restoration problems, where the image prior is required to integrate information lost in the degradation processes.

In order to demonstrate this, the team used untrained deep convolutional neural networks with a single degraded image. The paper describes this as a "very simple formulation" that is capable of in-painting, denoising, and increasing the resolution of the degraded image without needing to be 'trained' with thousands of images beforehand. In essence, it's like the more advanced, AI-powered version of Content Aware Fill called 'Deep Fill' that Adobe showed off at MAX.

The team provided samples of various images processed by Deep Image Prior, including ones where JPEG compression artifacts were removed, image noise was removed, a low-resolution was upscaled to a larger resolution, and missing portions of an image were replaced via in-painting. The system is also capable of removing text from images, raising copyright theft concerns.

Though Deep Image Prior isn't perfect, the examples provided are impressive, and hint at a future in which such tools may be commonly available to consumers.

Whether that is a good thing remains up for debate. Some see these automatic tools as just that: tools that will make many a retoucher's job easier; others have expressed concerns that automation will, as in many other industries, take away those jobs entirely.

Categories: Equipment

Lensrentals merges with LensProToGo to create photo and video rental powerhouse

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 10:23am

Huge news is coming out of the camera gear rental space today. Lensrentals and LensProToGo have announced a 'strategic partnership', merging into one privately held company that the duo is calling "the strongest photo and video equipment rental company in the United States."

This is a big deal, especially when you consider the dearth of real competition in the rental space—BorrowLenses was put up for sale by Shutterfly in January of this year, and Lumoid 'paused operations' in September... just to name a few troubling bits of news.

The results of this important merger will not be a whole new company, though—you won't be seeing a LensProToRentals or LensrentalsToGo brand spring up. Instead, both websites will continue to exist and both brands will continue to operate under their current names, only now they'll do it with the substantially increased resources that the partnership provides. This paragraph from the press release sums up the benefits to current Lensrentals and LensProToGo customers well:

The strategic partnership effectively increases Lensrentals video equipment knowledge base, provides an East coast facility, and allows the company to further its leading position in the photo and video equipment rental market. Customers of both brands will be able to continue the long-term customer service relationships built over the years, in addition to having access to the largest inventory of equipment for rental in the photo and video industry, and an array of shipping, try-before-you-buy and insurance coverage programs.

This 'strategic partnership agreement' was closed and approved by both companies on December 1st, but since both are—or were—privately held, we won't be getting any financial evaluations of the deal or companies (unless, of course, someone wants to leak it to us... hint hint).

Press Release

Lensrentals and LensProToGo Join Forces to Create Strongest Photo and Video Equipment Rental Company in United States

Partnership Increases Leadership Position in Imaging Rental Market, Offers More Technical Expertise for Consultation, Greater Inventory and an East Coast Office for Lensrentals

Memphis, TN – December 5, 2017 – Lensrentals, the leading online photo, video and lighting equipment rental company, announces a recent strategic partnership with LensProToGo. The combined company will be privately held, with both the Lensrentals and LensProToGo brands continuing to operate with increased resources.

The strategic partnership effectively increases Lensrentals video equipment knowledge base, provides an East coast facility, and allows the company to further its leading position in the photo and video equipment rental market. Customers of both brands will be able to continue the long-term customer service relationships built over the years, in addition to having access to the largest inventory of equipment for rental in the photo and video industry, and an array of shipping, try-before-you-buy and insurance coverage programs.

“Building an east coast presence with a team that share our values and focus on customer service, is an important goal for Lensrentals. The LensProToGo opportunity allows us to increase our visibility on the east coast of the US, and continue to offer a more specialized consultative approach to photography and video gear rental,” said Drew Cicala, co-owner, Lensrentals. “We’ve long admired the LensProToGo team, share many similarities in our businesses, and overall approach to helping customers achieve exceptional results. LensProToGo team’s video market expertise blends well with our own, will greatly contribute toward expanding our product offerings and knowledge base for customers to draw upon,”Cicala continued.

“We’ve known the Lensrentals team for many years, and by agreeing to blend our operations we can maintain our company ethos and service-first approach to customers,” said Paul Friedman, CEO, LensProToGo. “On a day-to-day basis our customers will now be able to access cameras, lenses, lighting, drones and more in the largest rental inventory of photo and video equipment in the country. We’ll also continue to spend as much time on the phone and email as our customers need, we enjoy our customers and the relationships formed, and we look forward to expanding those relationships even further.”

In the long-term, Lensrentals will be able to better serve customers who vary in their needs and wants. From those customers that know what they’re looking for, to those needing a little advice or perspective on equipment, or that may want a more consultative relationship, to fully understand all elements of the equipment.

The continued growth of Lensrentals and LensProToGo, allows both brands to better serve the largest customer base, with the newest and widest range of creative solutions, from experts with the deepest knowledge base in the industry. With the largest rental inventory of photo and video equipment in the country, the company is at the forefront of what creatives need to deliver outstanding video, still and digital content.

The strategic partnership agreement was closed December 1st 2017, having been approved by both companies.

In a previously unannounced and separate agreement in late September, Lensrentals agreed to acquire a 100% interest in ATS Rentals.

Categories: Equipment

Photographing Idaho with Michael Bonocore and Canon's EOS 6D Mark II

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 10:00am

It's no surprise that Michael Bonocore, Editor of Resource Travel, spends most of his time on the road. But what you might not guess is that he's made a permanent home in Boise, Idaho after falling in love with the state's scenery. We spent several days road tripping with Bonocore and capturing it all with the Canon EOS 6D Mark II. The camera's feature set was well suited to the wide range of shooting situations we encountered – and with plenty of snowfall, incredible sunsets and mountains for days, Idaho did not disappoint.

Read more about the
Canon EOS 6D Mark II

This is sponsored content, created with the support of Amazon and Canon. What does this mean?

Categories: Equipment

Nikon D850 vs Sony a7R III: Which is best?

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 8:00am

Intro

2017 has seen the release of some interesting cameras, but the two that have generated the most buzz, the most traffic and the most questions are Nikon's D850 and the Sony a7R III. They're both rather exotic creatures, not quite as other-worldly as D5s and a9s, but hardly the sorts of cameras we're all going to rush out and buy. So why the excitement?

Both high res models are among the fastest in
their line-ups

What's interesting about both is just how much better they are than their predecessors, despite superficially looking like subtle re-shuffles of the specifications. The give-away of this leap forward is hidden in plain sight: they may both be updates of their makers' high-res models, but both are also promoted to being among the fastest-shooting models in their respective line-ups.

That makes them much more appealing, well-rounded cameras than their predecessors, which is perhaps why they've generated so much interest. And why everybody wants to know which is best...

It’s not about the mirror (or lack of it)

We ended our D850 review by calling it “the best DSLR on the market today” and summed up the Sony by saying it was “the most well-rounded mirrorless camera on the market,” but you should take that to mean it’s simply a question of whether you prefer a mirror in your camera or not. Mainly because, when you use them, it really doesn’t make much difference.

Closer to a sports camera than anything with 46 megapixels has the right to feel

Long gone are the days when you could say ‘DSLRs are better at autofocus’ or ‘Mirrorless are smaller, and more convenient.’ No-one who’s held a Sony a7 series with a GM lens on is likely to find the words ‘small’ or ‘lightweight’ springing into their minds. Equally though, I doubt many people who’ve used an a7R III in a tight spot are going to think ‘I’d have got that shot with an SLR.’

Similarly though, the D850 is the kind of DSLR that could make mirrorless stalwarts consider changing their minds. It’s not quite D5-level good but the D850 feels closer to a sports camera than anything with 46 megapixels has the right to. All those ‘you have to imagine you’re shooting medium format’ reservations that we’ve had about previous high-res DSLRs start to evaporate. With a recent Nikon VR lens on the front, you can shoot the D850 without too much thought and it’ll simply get the job done.

Image Quality

It should go without saying that both cameras produce spectacular image quality. Their sensors both offer tremendous resolution and dynamic range. They’re among the best sensors we’ve ever shot with, putting them within the same realm as the Hasselblad X1D, Pentax 645Z and Fujifilm GFX 50S: company that suddenly makes both cameras seem unexpectedly good value.

Among the best sensors we’ve ever shot with

The Sony demands you shoot uncompressed Raw to get at its full capability, whereas the Nikon has some of the smartest Raw compression on the market (even its ‘lossy’ compression is essentially only throwing away spurious data), but that ends up being a question of storage and workflow, not of the photographic process itself. The pictures themselves are similarly good.

Anyone who's shot them side-by-side won't be at all surprised to find that DxO has given their sensors the same score: there's virtually nothing to choose between them. Slight differences in dynamic range and high ISO performance are just that: slight. If anyone tells you that one camera is better than the other, for any particular activity based on image quality, you should laugh at them. In their face, if possible.

Verdict: no clear winner

Video

Unsurprisingly perhaps, the a7R III is the better video camera. Its video quality is higher, its range of features and supporting tools is wider and its video autofocus, while still frustratingly inconsistent with the behavior in stills mode, is actually useable for all but the most demanding of projects. Realistically, if video is one of your primary needs, the Sony is the clear choice, even before you consider its ability to accept, via adapter, just about every dedicated cinema lens you might chance across.

However, the D850 isn’t utterly left for dead. Its video quality isn’t half bad and, so long as you have some experience of focusing and exposing video, it's pretty adept at quickly jumping back and forth between stills and video shooting. In fact, because it retains separate exposure settings for stills and video mode, it can actually be easier to switch between the two than it is on the Sony. To match this behavior, you need to configure one or more of the Sony’s Memory Recall modes, to ensure you don’t find yourself with a card full of stop-motion-like video clips shot at your ‘freeze the action’ shutter speed.

Verdict: Sony a7R III wins

Autofocus - Action

The D850 3D Tracking performance doesn't quite match the D5, but it's still capable of a very impressive performance. 3D Tracking will generally do a good job of recognizing the subject you initially point it at, then track it around the scene, using whichever AF point is closest to your subject's current position. It'll occasionally fall off the precise point you chose, and you're limited to the camera's comparatively small focus sensor region, but it'll generally do a great job and offers enough configuration options to cope even with complex action.

The Sony does a great job of keeping things in focus if you can keep the AF point over them, but its subject tracking isn't as surefooted as the D850's. Worse still, unlike Nikon's system, you can't specify which part of the subject you wish to track: the camera tries to identify the subject and then tracks all of it. This usually means focusing on whatever element is closest. Depending on your subject, that may not be good enough.

Verdict: Nikon D850 wins

Autofocus - People

Wedding photographers and just about anyone needing to shoot pictures of people will find the a7R III's Eye AF feature is a huge advantage. Sony wasn't the first to offer an AF mode that detects the subject's eyes but the implementation is pretty clever: in single AF mode Face Priority will focus on your subject's eye, but the clever stuff happens in C-AF mode. Here, you hold down a configured button and the camera focuses on your subject's eye, regardless of what AF area mode you were in.

This means that you can compose your image without having to perfectly position your AF, knowing that hammering down the Eye AF button will all-but ensure perfectly focused images on whichever eye is nearest your AF point.

Anyone needing to shoot pictures of people will find the a7R III's Eye AF feature a huge advantage

The above shot was achieved while holding a video camera to the a7R III's viewfinder, waving both devices around to show the degree to which Eye AF works, and where it fails. Despite all attention being on shooting this demonstration, rather than any photos, a handful of the resultant shots proved to be of a high enough standard to include in our samples galleries. Each of them pin sharp.

The D850 has no option to find eyes in the scene and its 3D Tracking, while good, can't be relied on to follow the subject's eye even if you point the camera to it. Beyond this, even when working with calibrated lenses, we simply wouldn't expect an off-center DSLR AF point to match the focus precision that the Sony will effortlessly achieve.

Verdict: Sony a7R III wins

Configuration and operation

Perhaps because the a7R III has such an extensive video and stills feature set, it absolutely demands that you spend time learning and configuring the camera. It’s a complaint we’ve regularly leveled at Olympus, over the years, and it’s just as true here. The a7R III can do so much that you really need to decide how you want to shoot, which tools you want access to, then carefully consider how to set the camera up to give easiest access to all these things. But taking this time is worth it, since there are some very powerful customization options available.

Even simple things like having a physical AF/MF switch count in the Nikon’s favor. But, while its ability to change all key functions by holding a button and turning a dial is a highly efficient and effective way of working (once you’ve become familiar with it), it’s a system that, for now, works primarily for stills. Not having things like a Log profile, much less a mode to offer a corrected preview mean there are fewer functions the Nikon needs to give quick access to.

Verdict: no clear winner

Lenses

Both makers have spent the past few years going all-out to flesh-out their lens lineups. Nikon has an inherent advantage, of course, offering at least some degree of compatibility with a decades-deep back-catalog of lenses, the vast majority designed to be useful on full frame.

This advantage remains even if you limit yourself to the lenses Nikon says are well suited to the demands of 46MP, but Sony has an increasing number of the ‘essential’ bases covered. The new 24-105mm F4, for instance, seems great (though there's a hefty price tag associated with this apparent excellence), and we've been impressed by the 85mm F1.8.

And, while we wouldn’t recommend buying an a7R III if you plan only to shoot with adapted lenses (tilt-shifts aside, perhaps), it’s true that the Sony can at least make use of just about any lens you care to mount on it. So while you significantly reduce the camera's maximum shooting speed, you do at least retain functions like Eye AF.

Verdict: no clear winner

Operational speed

The D850 still has a slight edge in terms of operational speed over the a7R III. Sony has made great strides to remove the lags and delays from its menus and operation, but the D850 just feels like a more responsive camera. It could be a matter of perception, and I very much doubt the difference is within the realms of practical measurement, but what feels like the cumulative effect of fractions of a second here and there make me think of the D850’s operation being near-instantaneous in a way that I don’t get with the Sony.

Verdict: Nikon D850 (just)

The tiniest of margins

As we said earlier in this slideshow, you can no longer summarily decide which camera is going to be better for a given situation, based simply on whether it's Mirrorless or a DSLR. But with these two cameras it's near impossible to find any situation in which one definitively outshines the other.

You can no longer summarily decide which camera is going to be better for a given situation, based simply on whether it's Mirrorless or a DSLR

Landscapes? the DR differences are small enough that it comes down to a question of whether the weight difference or the built-in intervalometer swings it for you. The Sony is better at video in several respects, but if video isn't your primary concern, the D850 makes it so easy (out of the box) to jump from stills to video to stills that even that's not going to be a decisive victory for those just shooting the odd clip.

What's most striking about both cameras is how good they are across a range of subjects and shooting types, making them very hard to tease apart. The differences in video and in the areas of autofocus in which each excels (the Nikon for action, the Sony for pictures of people), apart there's no clear winner. This isn't fence-sitting on our part: they're genuinely two of the best cameras the world has ever seen.

Overall verdict: No clear winner

Categories: Equipment

2017 Buying Guide: Best cameras over $2000

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 7:00am

The very best digital cameras on the market will cost you at least $2000. That's a lot of money, but generally speaking these cameras offer serious enthusiasts and working pros the highest resolution, best build quality and most advanced video specs out there. Here are our picks in the group.

Categories: Equipment

This 32-inch QHD Philips monitor with 99% Adobe RGB only costs $500

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 4:00pm

Bargain hunters looking for a high quality monitor for designer work or photo editing, there's a new panel in town that you will want to consider. Meet the Philips 328P6AUBREB P-line display, a 32-inch Quad HD (2560 x 1440) monitor with 100% sRGB coverage, 99% Adobe RGB coverage, and HDR technology.

This monitor is essentially Philips response to BenQ's 27-inch SW2700PT, which retails for $600 and features nearly identical specs, albeit in a slightly smaller screen. Depending on your needs, you might actually prefer the higher PPI of the smaller BenQ monitor, but the ability to get a slightly higher contrast ratio—1,200:1 on the Philips vs 1,000:1 on the BenQ—and a bit more screen real estate for $100 less is definitely tempting.

Regarding the 'HDR technology' mentioned above, HDR viewing will definitely benefit from the relatively bright (for computer monitors, anyway) 450 nits typical brightness, and the wide color gamut support. However, the low contrast typically associated with IPS displays means you won't want to use this as a primary HDR viewing or grading monitor.

Finally, before you put it on your wish list, there is one more thing to consider. Despite diving into the user manual, we couldn't find any mention of direct access to the 12-bit internal LUTs for color calibration on the Philips monitor.

The BenQ monitors, by comparison, come with calibration software that directly addresses the 14-bit internal LUTs to calibrate your monitor without sacrificing the overall bit-depth of the display, minimizing the risk of banding. The color calibration solution BenQ provides, while of course requiring the purchase of a separate colorimeter or spectrophotometer, is definitely an advantage of its lineup.

The Philips 328P6AUBREB P-line display will officially go on sale in January for £439 / 499 EUR/ 499 USD, and if you're like some of the folks at our office, you're seriously tempted by this display... at this price.

Press Release

New Philips Adobe RGB, QHD, docking USB-C monitor

  • USB-C docking for simplicity and single-cable peripherals docking
  • Designed for professionals whose work demands a maximum of quality

Amsterdam, 30 November 2017 – MMD, the leading technology company and brand license partner for Philips monitors, is rolling out a new Philips Brilliance QHD docking USB-C monitor with High Dynamic Range (HDR). The 32-inch 328P6AUBREB delivers great image quality and one-cable docking for enhanced productivity and effortless convenience.

Connectivity made simple

The 328P6AUBREB is equipped with the extremely versatile connectivity of the latest-generation USB 3.1 Type C technology. Featuring a slim, reversible connector, USB-C enables users to charge, transfer audio and video signal, and connect to the Internet – all with one single cable. Hence, the monitor instantly becomes a hub and serves as a docking station, just without using that extra space on the desk. It also enables easy linking of multiple monitors, which is useful for graphic designers for example. Consequently, USB-C extends the limited connectivity of notebooks and allows users to transfer data securely at ultra-fast speeds. USB 3.1 is 20 times faster than USB 2.0, making data transfer a breeze. And, for those whose devices seem to always be running low on battery, USB-C with power delivery can even charge notebooks.

An unparalleled visual experience

Explaining the display’s positioning, Artem Khomenko, Product Manager Philips Monitors Europe at MMD, says: “The P-line monitors are designed to deliver precise, accurate and colour-critical colour performance. We are proud to bring this new model to the market, and to meet the high standards of professionals. This model is the perfect fit for graphic designers, CAD engineers, photographers, video editors and other professionals who rely on an outstanding on-screen reproduction of fine details.”

With Quad HD, you will enjoy an excellent viewing experience with high-resolution visuals. HDR technology ensures exceptional brightness and contrast, as well as a rich palette of captivating new colours never before seen on a display. The 10-bit display offers 1.074 billion of them, supported by 12-bit internal processing for natural colours and smooth gradients. With 99% Adobe RGB and 100% sRGB (CIE 1973), the 328P6AUBREB offers professional colour standards and 2560 x 1440 pixels deliver crystal-clear images and make graphics come alive. Thanks to IPS technology, the monitor can be viewed from an angle of 178° without losing any of the colour accuracy or consistent brightness that professional applications demand.

An extra dose of convenience

Beyond its connectivity and stunning visuals, this 32-inch QHD display boasts many of the standout features that have earned Philips monitors their reputation: the SmartErgoBase ergonomic adjustable stand enables users to tilt, swivel and raise the display for maximum viewing comfort. It also features Philips LowBlue Mode which reduces potentially harmful shortwave blue light. Flicker-free technology regulates brightness and reduces flicker for even more comfortable viewing; built-in stereo speakers provide excellent audio reproduction while eliminating the need for peripheral speakers; and what is more, with 65% post-consumer recycled plastics, this monitor is a good choice for eco-friendly users.

The Philips 328P6AUBREB P-line display, with an RRP of £439, will be available in January 2018.

Technical Specifications:

Specification

  • Philips 328P6AUBREB P-line display

LCD panel type

  • IPS technology

Backlighting technology

  • W-LED

Panel size

  • 31.5 inch / 80.1 cm

Aspect ratio

  • 16:9

Optimum resolution

  • 2560 x 1440 @ 60Hz

Effective viewing area

  • 698.11 (H) x 392.69 (V)

Viewing angle

  • 178° (H) / 178° (V), @ C/R > 10

Brightness

  • 450 cd/m²

Display colours

  • 1.07 billion

Colour gamut

  • 99% Adobe RGB (CIE 1973); HDR400

SmartContrast

  • 50,000,000 :1

USB Connectivity

  • USB-C (upstream), USB 3.0x2 (downstream, w/fast charging)

Connectivity

  • Signal Input: VGA (Analog ), DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0 x 1, USB-C (DP Alt mode, PD, data)
  • Sync Input: Separate Sync, Sync on Green
  • Audio (In/Out): PC audio-in, Headphone out
  • RJ45

Convenience

  • Built-in speakers: 3 W x 2
  • SmartImage, Input, Brightness Menu, Power On/Off
  • Control Software: Smart Control
  • Kensington lock, VESA mount (100 x 100 mm)
  • Plug & Play Compatibility: DDC/CI, Mac OS X, sRGB, Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7

Stand

  • Height adjustment: 180 mm
  • Pivot: 90 degree
  • Swivel: -170/170 degree
  • Tilt: -5/20 degree

Sustainability

  • Environmental and energy: EnergyStar 7.0, EPEAT Gold, RoHS
  • Recyclable packaging material: 100 %
  • Post-consumer recycled plastic: 65%
  • Specific Substances: PVC / BFR free housing, Mercury free, Lead free

Compliance and standards

Regulatory Approvals: CE Mark, FCC Class B,
VCCI, RDM, BSMI, ICES-003, J-MOSS, cETLus, EPA, PSB, CU-EAC, SEMKO, SASO, KUCAS, UKRAINIAN, PSE, CECP, WEEE, TUV Ergo, TUV/GS

Cabinet

  • Front bezel, rear cover and foot: Black
  • Finish: Texture

What’s in the box

  • Monitor with stand
  • Cables: D-Sub cable, DP cable, HDMI cable, USB-C to USB-C cable, USB-C to USB-A cable, Power cable, Audio cable
  • User Documentation
Categories: Equipment

Video: Shooting the Milky Way hand-held with the Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 3:08pm

More than once, we've called the Sigma 14mm F1.8 DG HSM | Art lens an astrophotographer's dream lens. From the moment it was announced, we were dying to get our hands on it; and once we did, it did not disappoint. But what's the big deal? Why pay $1,600 for this lens when the very capable Samyang/Rokinon 14mm F2.4 will cost you half as much and resolve nearly as much detail (if not more)?

Light... that's why. A point explained beautifully by photographer Alyn Wallace, who recently took the 14mm F1.8 Art out for a spin in the night. After managing to take a hand-held photograph of the Milky Way—an insane and somewhat-pointless but also kind-of-fun experiment to see what F1.8 can really do—he pops the lens onto a tripod for some proper astrophotography and is immediately blown away.

"This lens is a light vacuum," he says. "It's like I've stuck a black hole on the front of my camera."

DPReview's Dale Baskin felt similarly after shooting the Aurora with the Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art, writing in his Gear of The Year post, "Once I tried the Sigma 14mm F1.8 it was game over. I knew I had found the one."

Of course, the lens isn't perfect, and Wallace gets into that as well, looking closely at the corners and revealing where pushing this lens to F1.8 is going to cost you. To see his results and drool a bit over a piece of glass that may make its way onto your very own "treat yourself" list this holiday season, check out the full video up top.

Categories: Equipment

CIPA figures show disappointing October sales, but mirrorless continues to rise

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 2:13pm
Graph: CIPA

The Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) has released its statistics for October 2017, and in contrast to previous years, we did not see the Black Friday/Thanksgiving induced spike we're used to seeing, with month-to-month shipments remaining fairly flat (read: disappointing).

In fact, year-on-year total camera shipments in October are down a whopping 13 percent, although we did see an overall year-over-year increase of 11 percent in the digital camera market for the January-to-October timeframe, and 6 percent for ILCs. Part of this development could be due to production coming back online after the Kumamoto earthquake; however, this trend is likely to continue for another couple of CIPA reporting periods or so.

Compared to October 2016, only 78 percent of DSLRs were shipped globally, but 112 percent for mirrorless, indicating that mirrorless is continuing its rise while simultaneously cannibalizing market share from its DSLR cousins. Most of the mirrorless shipments are going to the Asia region, though, which still accounts for more than 50 percent of all mirrorless cameras shipped. Globally, mirrorless is now 36 percent of the total market for ILC.

With smartphones fulfilling most consumer imaging needs and a big manufacturer like Nikon thinking about re-entering the mirrorless segment, we'll be watching closely to see how those numbers develop over the coming months into 2018.

Categories: Equipment

Video: Incredible 1,000fps slow-motion 4K lightning footage

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 1:06pm

If you need something to get your week off to an 'epic' start, look no further than DP Dustin Farrell's incredible storm chasing video he just released yesterday. Captured mostly with a Phantom Flex4K slow-motion camera at 1,000fps, it's a slow-motion masterpiece with lightning footage that left this writer's jaw slack.

The video, titled Transient, is a compilation of Farrell's best storm chasing shots from the 2017 season. Over the course of 30 days he says he drove over 20,000 miles—developing a deeper "respect and admiration for storm chasers" all the while. Her also shared some technical details in the video's description:

Most of the lightning footage was captured in uncompressed raw at 1000 frames per second with our Phantom Flex4K.

[...]

The Phantom Flex4K is a camera that must be post triggered while shooting high speed. This works out well for capturing lightning because the camera is always recording and rewriting to internal ram. As soon as a bolt appears in my view finder I trigger the camera to save what has been stored in the ram. Shooting at high frame rates requires a lot of light. Therefore, I mostly used my Zeiss Otus 28, 55, and 85mm lenses wide open at f1.4. In all, I captured 10TB of data during this production.

But don't let the plethora of awesome footage fool you, this was an incredibly challenging project:

This is one of the most difficult projects I have ever attempted in my career [...] Chasing storms with a Phantom Flex4K is stressful even when things are going well. There were at least 10 days where I returned home with my tail between my legs and nothing to show after a ten hour chase and 500 miles. There were also a couple of days that I drove home with an ear to ear smile that lasted for hours.

Check out the results for yourself above, but don't forget to do it right: shades drawn, headphones on, volume up, and resolution set to 4K. It is 100% worth it. And if you like what you see, definitely head over to Farrell's website or give him a follow on Facebook and Instagram.

Categories: Equipment

DJI adds 'voluntary identification' for drone pilots who want to broadcast their credentials

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 12:35pm

DJI has updated its AeroScope drone tracking and identification system to include an optional self-identification feature for drone operators who choose to broadcast the info. With this update, operators can now "voluntarily identify their flight operations to authorities," DJI explained in a press release. That info will join the serial number and telemetry data DJI drones broadcast to AeroScope receivers used by authorities.

AeroScope was created as a solution for airport officials and law enforcement who need to identify drones operated in ways that violate regulations, such as near an airport. The system picks up on the telemetry data and serial number of a drone using the communications link between the drone and its remote controller. This localized data broadcasting limits surveillance potential by avoiding the Internet altogether.

You can see the tech in action in this video.

Via updates to both the DJI GO 4 app and DJI drones, operators will now have the option of broadcasting their Unique User Identification Code (UUIC), which is connected to their DJI pilot account, as well as providing Identification & Flight Information. With that latter option, drone operators can choose to share information about their flight with authorities who may be nearby with an AeroScope receiver.

Though AeroScope remains a point of contention for many DJI owners, the added ability to voluntarily provide information about a flight could prove beneficial for pilots, enabling them to directly provide law enforcement or other authorities with details about the nature of flight and why it is taking place.

The feature started rolling out late last week, first arriving via an update for the DJI Mavic Pro.

Categories: Equipment

The CamFi Pro promises blazing-fast wireless photo transfer

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 12:25pm

CamFi has launched the CamFi Pro, a souped-up version of its wireless remote controller that can allegedly transfer your photos at a rate of up to 10Mbps between the camera and a secondary device such as a laptop or smartphone. This, according to CamFi, will make the Pro "the fastest wireless camera controller in the world."

The new device uses 5.8GHz communications to move data more quickly than usual, making it possible to stream video in addition to sending larger files and sequences far more quickly. The idea is that users can transfer images directly to a computer or tablet as they are shot without tethering or relying on the slow transfer rates of most cameras' built-in Wi-Fi systems.

The CamFi Pro will work with a range of Nikon, Canon and Sony cameras, and will allow users the choice to transmit Raw and JPEG files simultaneously, or send one type over Wi-Fi and save the other to the camera’s memory card.

Additional features include the ability to control the settings of a single camera while simultaneously triggering multiple cameras in sequence to create ‘time slice’ effects; support for HDR image capture (read: bracketing), focus stacking, and timelapse videos; and an Auto Print mode that lets the photographer send files straight to a printer via the CamFi Matrix software—ideal for providing high-quality prints on the fly while shooting events.

The company is raising funding via Indiegogo, and needs $5,000 to make the project viable. Prices start from $200 for backers, after which the cost is expected to raise to $300, so supporters of the campaign get a pretty sizable discount.

For more information, check out the video below, visit the CamFi website, or see the CamFi Pro Indiegogo page.

Press Release

CamFi will launch the fastest wireless camera controller in the world

GUANGDONG , China – November 30, 2017 – CamFi, maker of wireless controllers for digital cameras, today announced the launch of a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for the fastest wireless camera controller, CamFi Pro. CamFi Pro uses the 802.11ac protocol to transfer the photo from the camera. It can offer Wi-Fi transfer speeds up to 866Mbps. Tests show it can reach speeds of 10M bytes per second in reality, two to three times faster than most built-in Wi-Fi cameras and 2.4G Hz wireless camera controllers.

CamFi Pro supports most of Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras. And it will be the only 5.8G wireless tether solution for Sony cameras in current market.

“Speed is a big problem for current Wi-Fi products. It limits the productivity of the professional photographers.” Said Mark Ma, CEO of CamFi. “CamFi Pro is going to use new technology to solve this challenge.”

CamFi Pro takes two to three seconds to transfer a raw photo with a size of 20 megabytes. It supports auto view mode, which enables the client device to receive the photos in real time when the photographer is taking the photo. Selective transfer is also supported. The photographer can send only JPEGs to the client device and keep the raw photos on SD card.

By using 5.8G band, the device effectively avoids Wi-Fi interference. This is suitable for professional photographers covering events and meetings. The live view works smoothly for high transfer speed, making it effective for recording the video as well.

CamFi Pro also supports timelapse, HDR, focus stacking and multiple camera control. The photographer can use one computer to control multiple cameras to shoot and transfer the photos back. It can be applied for bullet - time effect and 3D modelling.

It can be controlled from Android and iOS mobile devices as well as PCs and Apple computers. Backers of CamFi Pro will be the first to receive the product. Delivery is expected for February, 2018. More information, including a full list of compatible cameras, can be found on the Indiegogo crowdfunding site: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/camfi-pro-the-fastest-wireless-camera-controller#/

Categories: Equipment

Panasonic G9 added to studio scene comparison

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 10:00am

We've had the 20MP Panasonic G9 in our office for just a little bit – enough time to write a first impressions review and shoot a sample gallery. More recently, we put it on a tripod and shot our standard studio test scene to satisfy your curiosity and ours. Take a peek and find out what kind of image quality this Micro Four Thirds speed demon is capable of.

See the Panasonic G9 in our studio scene comparison tool

Categories: Equipment

Have your say! 2017 Readers' Choice Awards open for voting

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 9:00am

It's time: make your voice heard and vote for your favorite photography products of the year. Polls are currently open in all seven categories but don't deliberate too long – they close December 18th.

Categories: Equipment

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