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All articles from Digital Photography Review
Updated: 16 min 13 sec ago

2017 Buying Guide: Best cameras under $2000

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 7:00am

As you approach the $2000 price point you'll find flagship APS-C and Four Thirds cameras, built for speed and durability. You'll also find a handful of full-frame ILCs and DSLRs, with their own unique selling points. Find out which cameras are best-in-class in this price range.

Categories: Equipment

These are the best cameras you can buy right now

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 9:00am

Best cameras you can buy right now

Suppose you're the kind of person who reads movie spoilers online, or unwraps all of your presents on Christmas Eve. Does that make you a monster? Sure, but we're not here to judge. You'd probably also like to know which are the very best cameras on the market right now without reading our meticulously prepared and exhaustively researched buying guides. That's fine. You can cut right to the chase and find out which cameras we picked as category winners right here, you utter fiend.

Canon EOS M6

It's light, offers a healthy dose of direct controls and includes Canon's excellent Dual Pixel autofocus technology. It's our pick for parents, but it's a great option for someone who wants DSLR-like capabilities and controls in a compact package.

Read more about the Canon EOS M6

Canon EOS M100

It's an incarnation of the M6 with less direct control, but it's also several hundred dollars cheaper. We think it's an ideal lightweight point-and-shoot and it's our top pick if you're looking to spend around $500 on a new camera.

Read more about the Canon EOS M100

Canon EOS Rebel SL2

Beginners looking for an unfussy DSLR to get started will feel right at home with the SL2. We think its Feature Assistant is useful, and it offers all of the same guts of the M6 in a more approachable form.

Read more about the Canon SL2

Fujifilm X100F

You love it. We love it. Everyone loves the X100F. It's truly the photography press's darling, and it's our pick in the fixed prime lens category thanks to its excellent JPEG processing and dreamy form factor. To a large chunk of the photo-taking population it's an impractical novelty, but it sure is nice if you just want to enjoy the heck out of making photos.

Read more about Fujifilm X100F

Nikon D5600

The D5600 is our pick for both photography students and anyone looking to spend less than $1000. It's not sexy, but it's reliable, versatile, and offers modern refinements like a touchscreen and Wi-Fi with Bluetooth.

Read more about the Nikon D5600

Nikon D7500

We recommend the D7500 in the sub-$1500 category for many of the reasons we picked the D5600 in the category below it: it's just an extremely well-rounded camera. Impressive subject tracking, good AF, and a proven 20.9MP sensor all contribute to making this the best buy in its price category.

Read more about the Nikon D7500

Nikon D750

Speaking of cameras that just don't quit, the D750 is over three years old but it's still competitive – and is attractively priced lately. Despite its age we think it's the best you can do for under $2000 thanks to reliable autofocus and excellent image quality.

Read more about the Nikon D750

Nikon D850

The D850 shares a spot with the Sony a7R III as a top pick for landscape photographers and cameras over $2000. ISO 64 gives it a slight edge for photographers who need the ultimate in dynamic range, and it inherits a highly capable autofocus system from the D5. It comes up a little short in terms of pro video capabilities, but outside of that it's simply one of the best all-around performers you can buy now.

Read more about the Nikon D850

Nikon D5

For sports, the D5 is hands-down the most capable camera out there. It's ultra-tough and couples 14 fps shooting with the best phase-detection AF on the market. Plenty of shooters would find its smaller sibling, the D500 to be more than enough to suit their needs, but for the pro who needs the absolute best, there's nothing to top it at the moment.

Read more about the Nikon D5

Panasonic Lumix GH5

If you're serious about video and you want the best hybrid camera money can buy, get the GH5. It's outfitted with pro-level tools and boasts excellent stabilization for handheld shots. Oh, and it's a pretty darn good stills camera too.

Read more about the Panasonic GH5

Sony a7R III

The a7R III ranks as one of the very best cameras we tested this year, tying the equally impressive Nikon D850 as winner in the best for landscape photography and $2000 and up category. It's also our top pick for event photography, thanks to incredibly fast and accurate Eye-AF.

Read more about the Sony a7R III

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

Our top pick for travelers is the previous-generation RX10, which saves you several hundred dollars off the price of the Mark IV if you can live without a touchscreen and state-of-the-art autofocus. You'll still get that generous 24-600mm equiv. zoom range and top notch 4K video capture for all of those vacation memories.

Read more about the Sony RX10 III

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV

If we're going to talk about the very best cameras available now, we do need to mention the latest and greatest in the RX10 series. If there's a superzoom that can convince us we're shooting with a pro sports camera, this is it. It's incredibly pricey but its hybrid AF, 24 fps shooting and oversampled 4K are unparalleled in its class.

Read more about the Sony RX10 IV

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V

Ten years ago, if you'd told us that a camera that fits in your pocket can record incredible 4K video, shoot 24 fps, and offer 315 point phase detection AF we'd have laughed in your face. Yet here we are in the year 2017, and the RX100 V has made fools of us all. Do you pay handsomely for all of that cutting edge technology? Of course. But if you're looking for the best of the best, look no further.

Read more about the Sony RX100 V

Categories: Equipment

2017 Buying Guide: Best cameras under $1500

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 7:00am

If you're getting serious about photography and don't mind spending a bit more money, you'll find some amazing cameras in the $1000-1500 price range. In this buying guide, we've rounded up our recommendations for the category.

Categories: Equipment

Photo story of the week: The Milky Way over the Dolomites

Sat, 12/02/2017 - 10:00am
Gazing at the Milky Way over Tre Cime in the Dolomites

I have wanted to visit these mountains for a very long time. The incredible shapes and formations found in the Dolomites are like something out of a fairytale.

The hike up to Tre Cime was absolutely gorgeous and the location is really accessible. On this night, hiking under the stars wth my girlfriend Serena, who is also a landscape photographer, barely felt like reality... okay, I suppose once the wind picked up, it started to feel a bit real again.

Once we got up there, we walked around a little bit to check out different views and angles. The night was particularly chilly and we weren't prepared for it. We hunkered down by some rocks and halfway through the night, noticed an incredible flash of light that lit up the sky for a few seconds. It was one of the brightest shooting stars that I've ever seen in my life. The whole evening just felt really magical.

I used the Sony A7S with Canon 16-35 for this Panorama image, the wide perspective was created by 8 vertical images, stitched together. The orange glow on the horizon is light bouncing off nearby towns and creating light pollution.

The photograph was processed and color corrected using both Lightroom and Photoshop.

Michael Shainblum is is a landscape, timelapse and aerial photographer based in San Francisco, California. He has been working professionally as a photographer and filmmaker for 11 years since the age of 16.

To see more of his work, visit his website or give him a follow on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Categories: Equipment

2017 Buying Guide: Best cameras under $1000

Sat, 12/02/2017 - 7:00am

More direct controls, better autofocus, and in many cases 4K video capture – they're a step above 'budget,' but cameras in this category provide a whole lot of bang for your buck. Here are our top picks in the range.

Categories: Equipment

Leica Camera reports 'strong revenue growth' for 2016/2017 fiscal year

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 4:40pm

In recent years, financial reports from major camera manufacturers haven't typically made for overly positive news stories; however, Leica Camera AG is bucking this trend with the announcement of its results for the 2016/2017 financial year ending March 31st. Apparently, the German camera maker has been able to grow revenue by 6 percent, despite the global camera market declining by around 10 percent over the same period.

Leica cites systematic realignment of the company over recent years as the main driver of the positive development.

At the heart of this realignment lies the establishment of an in-house retail distribution division that now controls a network of 90 monobrand stores around the globe. The company says this move has been vital in promoting the brand, and the retail network is set to expand even further in the near future. China is currently Leica's number one growth market, and 20 to 30 new stores are planned in the country alone.

Other important initiatives include the Leica Akademie brand—which aims to increase brand awareness among younger target groups—and the company's collaboration with Chinese smartphone maker Huawei on the cameras in their latest high-end devices.

The upward trend has reportedly continued into the 2017/2018 financial year, leading CEO of Leica Camera AG, Matthias Harsch, to predict record-breaking growth for this coming year.

Its important to note, however, that at least part of Leica's future growth will have nothing to do with photography. In 2017, the company entered into the eyewear segment under the Leica Eyecare brand, which Leica says will "systematically tap into this global market in conjunction with its technology partner Novacel."

Press Release

Leica Camera AG Records Strong Revenue Growth for the 2016/2017 Financial Year and Bucks the Downward Trend in the Camera Market

The Leica Camera Group achieved revenue of almost 400 million euros in the past financial year 2016/2017 (31 March 2017) and can therefore look back very positively on the previous twelve-month period. With strong revenue growth of more than six per cent, Leica bucked the overall downward trend in the global camera market, which declined by around 10 per cent in the same period.

In the first few months of the current financial year 2017/2018, cumulative growth stands at 15 per cent, thus underscoring the positive global performance of Leica Camera AG. Despite a market environment that remains challenging, the CEO of Leica Camera AG, Matthias Harsch, once again expects a record-breaking result for the 2017/2018 financial year. As a result, the revenue of Leica Camera AG has increased more than fourfold since anchor investor and majority shareholder Dr Andreas Kaufmann came on board in 2004.

The main driver of growth is the systematic realignment of the company that has taken place in recent years. In particular, the setting up of an in-house Retail Distribution division has made a major contribution to revenue growth. Leica now has 90 monobrand stores around the world, which are vital in terms of promoting brand experience in the context of photography. ‘China is our number-one growth market,’ says Matthias Harsch, who is planning 20 to 30 new stores in the country alone. The Group is now strengthening its presence in the service sector with the Leica Akademie brand in order to boost the appeal of photography amongst younger target groups.

The extremely successful technology and brand partnership with Chinese company Huawei in the field of mobile phone photography makes Leica one of the world’s leading providers of smartphone lens applications, a burgeoning technology segment that serves as a global basis for new product ideas and applications in photography.

The entry of Leica into the eyewear segment (glasses) – a move that was completed in 2017 – offers further potential for strong revenue growth in the years ahead. Operating under the name of Leica Eyecare, the company will systematically tap into this global market in conjunction with its technology partner Novacel.

Categories: Equipment

Samsung's new W2018 flip phone features a variable aperture F1.5-F2.4 lens

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 4:25pm

Samsung just announced something that looks like it belongs in the mid-2000s... but looks can be deceiving. Meet Samsung's new flip phone: the W2018. Announced earlier today at an event in Xiamen, China, the followup to the W2017 is an Android-powered flip phone that boasts smartphone-caliber specs. In fact, the 12-megapixel rear camera is nearly identical to the one found in the Galaxy S8, featuring dual pixel autofocus, optical image stabilization and 1.4μm pixels.

It does differ in one very interesting way though.

Not only does the W2018 boast an F1.5 aperture—the brightest you'll find on a phone—that aperture is actually variable, switching between F1.5 and F2.4 when it senses there's enough light around. In this way, the phone automatically captures as much of the background as possible.

You can see the trick in this close-up video uploaded to Weibo by Jason Wang:

Rumors have been floating around that the Galaxy S9 will feature a variable aperture F1.5 lens; as you might expect, the appearance of the selfsame lens in another Samsung phone makes us pretty confident that will, indeed, be the case. As to whether or not you ever really need to 'stop down' a smartphone camera lens... that's another topic entirely.

Like the W2017 before it, this phone will first be released in China, comes with a bunch of "VIP" perks like free tech support, and will probably cost upwards of $3,000... no, we didn't add another zero.

Categories: Equipment

Astrophotography lens shootout: Samyang 14mm F2.4 vs Sigma 14mm F1.8

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 2:16pm

If you're thinking of picking up a great ultra-wide astrophotography lens, chances are good you've looked at the three 14mm primes featured in this video. The old Samyang 14mm F2.8 is a classic and affordable choice; the updated Samyang 14mm F2.4 is faster, higher quality, and not prohibitively expensive; and the Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is a lens astrophotographers have been drooling over ever since it was announced in February.

So which do you pick, and why?

NatureTTL's Matthew Saville took all three lenses into the middle of the desert to shoot some nightscapes and compare the performance of these extremely popular choices.

You'll definitely want to check out the full video if you're deeply uncertain about which to choose—there are some great side-by-side sharpness comparisons that should satisfy the pixel peepers out there—but Saville manages to break the trio down into a very neat categories:

The Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is your choice if you absolutely need the extra light over the F2.4 and don't mind spending a bunch more money to get it. It's extremely sharp, and will deliver exceptional results... even wide open... even in the corners.

The Samyang 14mm F2.4 is hard to beat as an overall choice when you look at performance-to-price ratio. To his eye, it's a tiny bit sharper in the corners wide open than the Sigma—even when you stop the Sigma down to F2.4—and it'll cost you half as much. You are, of course, sacrificing AutoFocus over the Sigma, but many nightscape and night sky photographers shoot in manual focus all the time anyway.

The Samyang 14mm F2.8 is by far the most affordable of the bunch. This classic lens will cost you as little as $250 on sale, making it less than half as much as the Samyang 14mm F2.4, which was already half the price of the Sigma 14mm. But that drop in price comes with a significant drop in performance. Saville labels it a great choice for those just getting into nightscape photography, as a time-lapse lens if you'll be displaying your footage in 1080p, or as a solid backup that is so cheap it would be silly not to own one.

Check out the full video up top to hear all of Saville's thoughts on these three popular 14mm primes. And if you want to find out more about why the Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art lens just might be worth spending that bundle of money on, click on the big blue button below to read about why DPReview's Dale Baskin named it his Gear of the Year 2017.

Gear of the Year 2017 - Dale's choice: Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art

Categories: Equipment

CAMS unveils new camera plates for small DSLRs and mirrorless cameras

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 12:41pm
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Following in the footsteps of its successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the Pro Camera plate system, accessory manufacturer CAMS is looking to the crowdfunding platform once more to create scaled down plates for smaller DSLR and CSC bodies. The company hopes to raise $20,000 to fund a project that it says brings a host of new features to the plate and sling strap system.

The new CAMS standard and Mini Plates are designed to fit smaller camera systems while still allowing access to the battery compartment door so batteries can be changed without having to remove the plate. The plates also have their own storage slots for a spare SD card and to hold the hex key that fits the plate to the camera.

Those using Arca-Swiss type tripod heads will be able to mount the plate directly onto their tripod, while a further thread in the base allows the plates to attach to a standard 1/4in-20 tripod screw.

Here's a quick intro to the new plates from the Kickstarter campaign:

A sling strap comes as an optional accessory and connects to the plate via a quick-opening attachment, while a hand strap can be used with the smaller lug close to the camera’s handgrip. In addition to the usual neoprene strap, the company is now offering Minima webbing strap and a Pelle leather version.

Prices start from $50 for either plate with no strap or $65 with a Minima strap. For more details, visit the CAMS Kickstarter campaign page or the CAMS website.

Categories: Equipment

Video: Using the RGB tone curves in Photoshop, a crash course

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 11:53am

Photographer Conner Turmon has put together a quick video tutorial that will get you up to speed on using the RGB tone curves to post-process your photos in either Lightroom or Photoshop (although this info will work with any photo editing program that gives you access to the tone curve).

The video will only take up eight minutes of your time, so definitely give it a go if you want to see tone curve editing in action, but the key takeaways can be summarized in two points:

1. Know your color wheel. This way, you understand what tones you're 'adding' and 'subtracting' when you pull or push any particular combination of Red, Blue and Green.

and

2. Focus only on the area you're editing. If you're editing in the shadows, look only at the shadows while you're doing it; if you're editing the highlights, same thing, look only at the highlights.

As far as how you should approach each individual photo, Turmon shared a solid tip on Reddit:

I find it super helpful to either do complementary colors (e.g., Purple-Yellow, Red-Green, Blue-Orange) or emulate a film type that you like! For example, Fuji is notorious for green shadows and blue highlights (at least I think).

Another good tip: download photographs you like (tone-wise), pull them into Photoshop, and use the eye dropper tool to inspect the shadows, midtones, and highlights to see how they've been edited. This will give you a better idea of how you might approach editing your own work.

But before you do any of that, check out the video above to get a quick breakdown of how RGB curves work; and if you like what you see, check out Turmon's website, Instagram, and YouTube channel for more.

Categories: Equipment

Gear of the Year 2017 - Dale's choice: Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 9:00am
Sigma's 14mm F1.8 Art lens makes it easier to get shots like this.
ISO 5000 | 2 seconds | F1.8 | 14mm

Over the past couple years I've developed a strong interest in wide-field astrophotography. Specifically, I've become passionate about photographing the aurora borealis, commonly known as the northern lights.

The aurora is Mother Nature's own special effects show, and it's one of those things that makes you stop to just appreciate the magic of the universe. No photo, IMAX screen, or VR headset will ever replicate the experience of standing under the sky when she flips on the light switch, but maybe that's why I'm so drawn to aurora photography in the first place: it requires me to go to where I can experience the magic in person.

There are a lot of good lenses out there for this purpose, and I've used quite a few of them including the legendary Nikon 14-24mm F2.8, the Rokinon 14mm F2.8, the Venus Optics Laowa 15mm F2, various 16-35mm F2.8 variants, and even Sigma's own 20mm F1.4 Art, but once I tried the Sigma 14mm F1.8 it was game over. I knew I had found the one.

ISO 1600 | 3.2 seconds | F1.8 | 14mm

One thing you learn quickly when shooting aurora is that you need fast, wide lenses. Fast because you're shooting at night (duh). Wide because the aurora typically covers a large portion of the sky. It also makes it easier to include some landscape to provide a sense of place. This is where the Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art lens comes in.

What makes this lens so special is the fast F1.8 aperture. That's 1.3 EV faster than an F2.8 lens. Put another way, wide open the Sigma 14mm has a 2.5x light gathering advantage over F2.8 lenses. That's huge.

One challenge when photographing the aurora is that it can dance around surprisingly fast at times. Even at high ISO values an exposure may be on the order of several seconds, making it difficult to capture the intricate structure you often see in person. That's part of the reason time-lapse sequences never look as good as the real thing.

ISO 3200 | 5 seconds | F12.8 | 14mm

Using the Sigma 14mm, however, I can cut my exposure time significantly. Where the Nikon 14-24mm F2.8 might require a 6 second exposure, the Sigma lets me get away with 2.5 seconds. Still not enough to freeze the action, but enough to reduce the degree to which patterns and structure in the aurora get averaged out.

Conversely, there are times when the aurora moves slowly and I'm not too concerned about shutter speed. In that case, I can lower my ISO significantly, say from 6400 to 2500, in order to get higher quality images.

But wait, there's more! This lens even makes it easier to focus in the dark. I typically use live view to focus on a bright star. Sounds easy, but sometimes it's not. The extra light at F1.8 makes this easier, making shooting more fun.

Blah, blah, blah... That all means squat if the photos don't look good. Thankfully, this lens has great image quality.

ISO 6400 | 1.3 seconds | F1.8 | 14mm

Wide open there's some comatic aberration, which causes point sources of light near the edge of the frame to look distorted, but unless your viewer is pixel-peeping they probably won't see it. I suppose if I were an astro purist, and the stars were the main subject of my photos, I might get a bit persnickety about this, but I'm not, so I don't.

There's also noticeable vignetting wide open, but it's a smooth transition to the edges, and I've generally been able to correct for it effectively in Lightroom. Again, astro purists will probably cringe at this, but for aurora photos it works great.

If there's any significant downside to this lens, it's that it's both big and heavy. This is one place where Sigma's 'Make the best optic possible and size be damned' design approach is visible. Put a couple of these in your pack and you're going to feel it. (Then again, some of those other lenses I mentioned above are pretty big as well.)

I'm looking forward to doing a lot more aurora photography in the future, and I'll be doing much of it with this lens. It's going to take a lot to displace it from my camera, which is why it's my 2017 gear of the year.

Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art sample galleries

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Categories: Equipment

2017 Buying Guide: Best cameras under $500

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 7:00am

Whether you're looking for a compact camera with image quality exceeding that of your smartphone or just want an inexpensive second camera, there are some impressive options that won't bust your wallet.

Categories: Equipment

Leaked government memo claims DJI is spying on the US for China

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 2:04pm

Drone maker DJI's security troubles continue to grow, as a newly leaked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) memo claims the company may be spying on the US on behalf of the Chinese government. Per the memo, DJI drones and mobile apps are possibly being used to gather data on critical US infrastructure, law enforcement, and more.

The ICE memo was issued on August 9, 2017, and is unclassified. In it, the memo claims that DJI is "likely" providing the aforementioned data to the Chinese government, an assertion that is "based on information derived from open source reporting and a reliable source within the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry with first and secondhand access."

The claims aren't a certainty, according to ICE, which says in the memo that Special Agent in Charge Intelligence Program (SIP) Los Angeles has "moderate confidence" that DJI is providing law enforcement and critical infrastructure data to China. However, the memo claims that SIP LA has "high confidence" that DJI is "selectively targeting government and privately owned entities within these sectors to expand its ability to collect and exploit sensitive U.S. data."

SIP Los Angeles makes some alarming claims about the DJI GO and SkyPixel mobile apps, saying in part that they grab facial recognition data even if the feature is disabled. The collected data, which is said to include sensitive personal info like full names, images and videos, phone numbers, and computer credentials, are automatically uploaded to unspecified "cloud storage systems" in Hong Kong and Taiwan "to which the Chinese government most likely has access."

The memo goes on to state that SIP LA has "high confidence [that] a foreign government with access to this information could easily coordinate physical or cyber attacks against critical sites."

Sources of information (SOI) have informed officials, according to the document, that:

The Chinese government is using DJI UAS as an inexpensive, hard-to-trace method to collect on U.S. critical assets ... directorates most likely receiving the data from DJI's cloud are the offices responsible for defense, critical infrastructure, traffic controlling, and cyber offense...

This isn't the first time DJI has been the source of security concerns. Earlier this year, the U.S. Army issued a memo, as pointed out in this most recently leaked document, that ordered its units to immediately cease use of DJI products over security concerns. Additionally, security researcher Kevin Finisterre recently claimed that DJI threatened him after he submitted a bug bounty report highlighting serious security issues he had discovered with the company's system.

For its part, DJI has released an official statement on the leaked ICE memo, saying:

The bulletin is based on clearly false and misleading claims from an unidentified source. Through the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, DJI provided ICE a detailed rebuttal of the report, explaining why the data behind its conclusions is deeply flawed.

As DJI explained to ICE, the allegations in the bulletin are so profoundly wrong as a factual matter that ICE should consider withdrawing it, or at least correcting its unsupportable assertions. DJI further urged ICE to consider whether the source of the allegations may have had a competitive or improper motive to interfere with DJI's legitimate business by making false allegations about DJI.

The company states that some of the claims in the ICE memo can be "easily disproven," including with "a simple internet search," while other claims are said to be "unsupported by facts or technical analysis."

That said, the ICE memo claims, "Much of the information collected [by DJI products] includes proprietary and sensitive critical infrastructure data, such as detailed imagery of power control panels, security measures for critical infrastructure sites, or materials used in bridge construction."

DJI is allegedly "focused on targeting" the utility companies that provide drinking water in four big locations: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New Jersey. The memo claims the drone maker is also focused on railway companies located in Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Omaha, the Milan Army Ammunition Plant in Fort Riley, Kansas, and it is allegedly also providing the Chinese government with data to help it determine which assets to acquire in the U.S.

The complete ICE memo can be found here.

Categories: Equipment

The Isolite intelligent modifier system lets you change a photo's lighting after it's taken

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 12:30pm

An intriguing new lighting system called Isolite just launched on Kickstarter. The system of hardware accessories for strobes and speedlights comprises what parent company Phototechnica calls the "first ever intelligent light modifier." What does that actually mean? Basically, with Isolite, photographers are able to modify the lighting in an image after taking it.

Phototechnica stresses that this process involves turning on and off actual lighting in the image, not simply lightening /darkening it or adjusting contrast—this is the real deal, not a post-processing trick.

The Isolite system doesn't require a 3D render or special camera to enable light changes during post-processing. Raw images are converted by the Isolite converter, which enables users to adjust the image's lighting before outputting it as a raw DNG file. That final DNG file can then be edited with compatible software like Capture One and Lightroom.

Phototechnica lists the following capabilities on its Kickstarter campaign:

  • Turn real lights on and off after the capture has been made.
  • Push, Pull, Paint light after the capture has been made.
  • Hard and soft light in one capture.
  • Adjust the exposure and ratio of each light source after the capture has been made.
  • With selective masking of each light source, difficult or impossible lighting control can be done with ease.
  • Light can be animated after capture turning still image captures into full motion video.
  • Using our proprietary tools, online images can be brought to life with light.

Here's a video intro the further explains what the Isolite system is and how it works:

As far as hardware is concerned, the Isolite system features the Duolite and Beauty Dish Kit. The gear is designed to work with popular Speedlight sizes, most legacy Speedlights, the newest Profoto and Tri/Bowens Mount Strobes, plus there are adapters for using it with Elinchrom products.

Phototechnica is offering the Isolite Dualite through Kickstarter for pledges of at least $195 CAD (~$150 USD), a Dualite Speedlight Kit for $250 CAD (~$195 USD), Isolite Studio for $500 CAD (~$390 USD), and the Isolite Deluxe Studio for $1500 CAD (~$1,165 USD). The campaign is also offering early bird versions to backers who make pledges starting at $95 CAD (~$75 USD).

For now the campaign has a long way to go before its funding goal is met, and only 15 days to get there, so we're not holding our breath on this one. But if the campaign is successful, shipments to some backers are estimated to start in May 2018.

To find out more or put down your own pledge, head over to the Kickstarter campaign.

Categories: Equipment

Leica unveils retro version of the APO-Summicron-M 50mm F2.0 ASPH to honor the LHSA

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 11:45am
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Hot on the heels of yesterday's Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 ASPH announcement, Leica has debuted yet another lens this week. This time, it's a special edition: the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm F2 ASPH 'LHSA' released in honor of the 50th anniversary of The International Leica Society (LHSA).

What makes this lens special is, basically, that it meshes the styling of the original Summicon 50mm F2 from 1954 with the optics of the current APO-Summicron 50mm F2 ASPH released in May of 2012. Optically, it's identical to the 2012 lens, but on the outside it features either a black paint or silver chrome finish, a 1950s style lens hood, and red engravings of the distance scale. Other special markings include:

The special serial number is engraved on the aperture ring and is picked out in black on the silver chrome version and is not coloured on the black paint lens. Further engravings are found on the bayonet ring: ‘MADE IN GERMANY’ and the LHSA Logo – both of which are not picked out in colour.

This special edition Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm F2 ASPH 'LHSA' will be limited to just 500 copies—300 in the black finish and 200 in silver—and each of them will come in 'high quality packaging' with a certificate of authenticity.

Both colors will be available starting the 4th of December, and according to our contacts at Leica it will retail for $9,595. That's $1,800 more than the non-special edition lens retails for.

To learn more about this lens, visit the Leica website.

Press Release

Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH. 'LHSA': Special Edition to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of 'The International Leica Society' (LHSA)

Wetzlar, 30 November 2017 – For the past 50 years, ‘The International Leica Society’ (LHSA) has dedicated itself to researching the history of Leica and the use of the company’s products. The beginning of the celebration of the 50th anniversary in 2018 will be marked by the launch of a special edition of the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. produced especially for the occasion. The appearance of the lens is reminiscent of the Summicron 50 mm f/2 from 1954. The special edition thus unites the outstanding imaging performance of the current lens—which was the first to be able to fully exploit the contrast and resolution offered by modern digital cameras—with the look of the nineteen-fifties.

Depending on the choice of colour of the ‘LHSA’ special edition, the outer brass elements of the lens are finished either in black paint or in silver chrome. This also applies to the separate lens hood in the style of the nineteen-fifties that is also made of brass. While the engravings of the distance scale in feet are picked out in red on both versions, the other engravings vary in colour depending on the version of the lens selected: these are in white on the black paint version and black in the case of the silver chrome option. The special serial number is engraved on the aperture ring and is picked out in black on the silver chrome version and is not coloured on the black paint lens. Further engravings are found on the bayonet ring: ‘MADE IN GERMANY’ and the LHSA Logo—both of which are not picked out in colour.

The cordial collaboration between Leica and the LHSA has a long tradition and has already been the source of a number of special editions in the past. These include, for example, a set comprising a silver chrome Leica M6 and three Summicron-M lenses of different focal lengths produced in 1993 and a Leica MP from 2003 finished in a special hammertone lacquer.

The LHSA special edition of the APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. is strictly limited to 500 examples, 300 in black paint finish and 200 in silver chrome. Both versions will be supplied together with a certificate of authenticity in particularly high-quality packaging and will be available from 4 December 2017.

Categories: Equipment

Gear of the Year 2017 - Dan's choice: Sony a9

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 11:14am

It's been fascinating to watch the rise of mirrorless cameras over the course of my 7+ years writing about digital photography. And Sony in particular has been fun to watch as they've lead the mirrorless charge in terms of sensor size and resolution.

I’ll never forget the moment the Sony NEX-7 was unveiled in a pre-launch briefing in 2011 - it was the first time I truly craved a mirrorless body - the publication I worked for at the time even named it 'Camera of the Year'. Up until that point mirrorless still felt like something of a novelty: a nice option for amateurs craving a small, light ILC alternative to a DSLR, but certainly not a replacement for one, especially for those 'serious' about their photography.

It's often been Sony in particular making the mirrorless cameras I'm most eager to get my hands on.

As the mirrorless market continued to take off and cameras like the original Sony a7 were unveiled, my interest in what originally seemed like a niche continued to grow. And while a lot of brands have contributed serious innovation to the mirrorless market, it's been Sony in particular making the mirrorless cameras I'm most eager to get my hands on - an opinion not shared by all my colleagues, mind you.

But time and time again I found my expectations of shooting a Sony mirrorless camera never quite matched the reality of using the product. For instance, when it came to the Sony a7, sure it packed a full-frame sensor in a super compact mirrorless body - something that'd never been done, but the user interface of the camera, to put it simply, felt unfinished. This led to an overly frustrating shooting experience.

The Sony a9 is the brand's first truly refined mirrorless camera, in this writer's opinion.
ISO 1000 | 1/1000 sec | F5.6

To make matters worse, many of Sony's early mirrorless UI stumbling points were uniquely their own: slow startup times, vague error messages, and batteries draining while the camera's shut off were problems other manufacturers had long since addressed (not to mention poor battery life). And while no one has the perfect menus, Sony's have historically been the most cluttered and confusing.

But time and time again I found my expectations of shooting a Sony mirrorless camera never quite matched the reality of using the product.

For years, early Sony mirrorless adopters defended their decision to go all-in citing that, eventually, you do get used to the annoying UI and find workarounds. And indeed I'm sure they did. But a good camera shouldn't force you to work around it: it should work with you. And as the Sony a7 II-series came to market, it seemed clear the brand was intent on fixing a lot of these issues and shaking its image as the camera brand with bad UI.

And then came the Sony a9

But it wasn't until the release of the Alpha 9 this year, that a Sony camera has felt as refined in use as it DSLR counterparts. A year early, the Sony a6500 came pretty close to hitting this mark, but it's the Sony a9 that's finally won me over as a whole-hearted mirrorless believer.

Make no mistake, the a9 is meant to compete against the likes of the flagship Nikon D5 and Canon EOS 1D X Mark II. What it lacks in built-in vertical grip, it makes up for in a faster burst (20 fps on the Sony, 14 fps on the Canon and 12 fps on the Nikon). But it has more appeal to me than as just a sports camera.

The a9 is a sports camera, but that doesn't mean it isn't also well-suited for shooting candids. In fact it's flip-out touchscreen is perfect for discreetly focusing on a subject.
ISO 100 | 1/640 sec | F5.6

For me, the mark of a truly good camera is one you find yourself reaching for regardless of the assignment or subject matter. Since the a9 landed in our office, it's been a camera that I've found myself grabbing for both static and moving subjects. Because as well-suited as it might be for sports photography, it's also a great street photography camera with lenses like the FE 28mm F2 attached. I find that using the flip-out touchscreen to select a point of focus is a great way to shoot candids.

Since the a9 landed in our office, its a camera that I've found myself grabbing for both static and moving subjects.

I recently took a trip to Jackson, Wyoming where I expected to shoot a mix of wildlife, landscapes and video, and found myself bringing the a9 because it offered a fast burst rate with good AF, 4K video without any heavy crop factor and excellent dynamic range. But moreover, I packed it because it is a camera I enjoy shooting with and can, with some time spent, customize to complement my shooting style perfectly.

I picked the Sony a9 for a once in a lifetime trip to Jackson, Wyoming because of its small size, dynamic range, 4K video and burst speed.
ISO 50 | 1/640 sec | F8

That's a big step forward for Sony. They've long made cameras that out-spec'ed the competition but for me personally, were not enjoyable to use. But the a9's menus have been overhauled and are less confusing, its also responsive (starts up fast) and rarely throws confusing errors messages. These may sound like little things, but they add up to vastly more pleasant shooting experience compared to Sonys of years past.

I packed it because it is a camera I enjoy shooting with.

Improvements like a new, larger capacity battery that doesn't self-drain, gave me more confidence in grabbing the Sony for what was likely a once in a lifetime shooting excursion. Plus, compared to a D5 or 1D X II, the a9 is a much smaller lighter camera to pack. And its in-body + lens stabilization allows me the flexibility to shoot handheld at slower shutter speeds and avoid lugging a tripod around. This was something that mattered to me as I was to do a lot of hiking in Jackson.

These bison may be nursing, and therefore stationary, but they can run at speeds up to 40 MPH. Good thing the Sony a9 can shoot at 20 fps.
ISO 100 | 1/500 sec | F5.6

Where Sony can go from here

The Sony a9, and its recently-released cousin, the Sony a7R III are both exceptional cameras. I used to hesitate to pick up a Sony camera; with this recent generation, no longer. That said, there are still some areas these cameras could improve to truly leave their DSLR pals in the dust, specifically: weather-sealing and subject tracking.

'Nikon's 3D Tracking is still superior to Sony's Lock-on AF for subject tracking.'

The Sony a9 is dust and moisture resistant to certain degree, but the lack of robust rubber gaskets on the ports, SD card and battery doors does not lead me to trust its ability to survive shooting in conditions such as a lacrosse game in torrential downpours - I'd be much more comfortable grabbing a Nikon D5 of Canon 1D X II.

The same goes for any assignment/circumstance were nailing focus on the shot is mission critical: Nikon's 3D Tracking is still superior to Sony's Lock-on AF for subject tracking.

There are some other minor grievances I have with the a9, like the inability to enter menus while the buffer clears. Another: the omission of video gamma and color modes found in most other Sony cameras. But these are all things that can easily be added/improved in the next generation. And if there is one thing I've learned covering Sony's camera technology, it's that the brand listens to customers and industry feedback.

This was shot through a seaplane window. If you've ever flown in one, you know they can be very shaky, thankful the camera's stablization helped steady my shot.
ISO 800 | 1/2000 sec | F5.6

It's no secret that Sony is hungry for a piece of the professional sports photography market, eager to get mirrorless cameras on the sidelines of the Olympics and Super Bowl. And with the Sony a9, there's compelling reason to at least acknowledge Sony as a legit player. I think it will take a few more generations of cameras for Sony to blow past the competition, giving pros a concrete reason to consider switching. But if they keep moving in the direction they have been, I see no reason why more and more pros wouldn't give them a chance.

So for winning me over and being the first Sony mirrorless camera I truly love shooting with, the a9 is my pick for 2017 gear of the year.

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Categories: Equipment

Hasselblad launches its own online store, offers 5% off for a limited time

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:40am

Iconic medium format manufacturer Hasselblad has opened its own online store, allowing users all over the world to skip the third-party vendors and local dealer and buy direct from the manufacturer itself. Following in the footsteps of Hasselblad's first brick-andmortar stores in Sweden, China, and Japan, the online 'Hasselblad Store' will be open to resident of the USA, China, UK, Germany and France.

Currently, the Hasselblad Store is selling both X1D and H6D cameras, as well as a limited number of lenses. Opening offers include 5% off some X1D kits and the body-only price, while H6D buyers can get a free hard case with their purchase. These discounts will last until December 7th.

The company's hope is that an official online store will broaden the availability of its products:

The launch of the ‘Hasselblad Store’ is one of our core initiatives derived from our strategy that focuses on not only making our products more accessible to photographers seeking hands on experience with the Hasselblad product line-up, but also to inspire fans with great images and stories.

For more information or if you want to purchase a brand new Hassy from the company itself, check out the Hasselblad Store for yourself.

Press Release

Hasselblad Expands Into E-Commerce with Launch of 'Hasselblad Store'

Hasselblad’s New Online Store is Now Open To The USA, China, UK, Germany and France

Hasselblad, the leading manufacturer of digital medium format cameras and lenses, is pleased to announce the launch of its new online ‘Hasselblad Store’. The online store will broaden availability of Hasselblad’s iconic high- performance cameras and lenses to photographers in the USA, China, UK, Germany and France.

“The launch of the ‘Hasselblad Store’ is one of our core initiatives derived from our strategy that focuses on not only making our products more accessible to photographers seeking hands on experience with the Hasselblad product line-up, but also to inspire fans with great images and stories” said Bronius Rudnickas, Hasselblad Marketing Manager.

The online store follows closely behind the new Hasselblad website and the ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ program that was launched earlier in November.

‘Rent a Hasselblad’ is a global online reservation service for Hasselblad cameras and lenses. Whether renting a Hasselblad system for a speci c photoshoot, booking a camera to try it out before purchasing, or reserving gear to pick up and use at their next travel destination, the rental service provides photographers with more freedom and greater accessibility to Hasselblad systems.

During the opening week of the online store, customers will be eligible to receive a ve percent (5%) discount on the award winning X1D and the XCD 45mm and 90mm lenses. In addition, for every customer purchasing an H6D-50c or H6D-100c camera, an H System Camera Hard Case will be included. This offer will end on December 7th, 2017.
Access to the ‘Hasselblad Store’ at:
https://store.hasselblad.com/

Categories: Equipment

Hasselbald launches its own online store, offers 5% off for a limited time

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:40am

Iconic medium format manufacturer Hasselblad has opened its own online store, allowing users all over the world to skip the third-party vendors and local dealer and buy direct from the manufacturer itself. Following in the footsteps of Hasselblad's first brick-andmortar stores in Sweden, China, and Japan, the online 'Hasselblad Store' will be open to resident of the USA, China, UK, Germany and France.

Currently, the Hasselblad Store is selling both X1D and H6D cameras, as well as a limited number of lenses. Opening offers include 5% off some X1D kits and the body-only price, while H6D buyers can get a free hard case with their purchase. These discounts will last until December 7th.

The company's hope is that an official online store will broaden the availability of its products:

The launch of the ‘Hasselblad Store’ is one of our core initiatives derived from our strategy that focuses on not only making our products more accessible to photographers seeking hands on experience with the Hasselblad product line-up, but also to inspire fans with great images and stories.

For more information or if you want to purchase a brand new Hassy from the company itself, check out the Hasselblad Store for yourself.

Press Release

Hasselblad Expands Into E-Commerce with Launch of 'Hasselblad Store'

Hasselblad’s New Online Store is Now Open To The USA, China, UK, Germany and France

Hasselblad, the leading manufacturer of digital medium format cameras and lenses, is pleased to announce the launch of its new online ‘Hasselblad Store’. The online store will broaden availability of Hasselblad’s iconic high- performance cameras and lenses to photographers in the USA, China, UK, Germany and France.

“The launch of the ‘Hasselblad Store’ is one of our core initiatives derived from our strategy that focuses on not only making our products more accessible to photographers seeking hands on experience with the Hasselblad product line-up, but also to inspire fans with great images and stories” said Bronius Rudnickas, Hasselblad Marketing Manager.

The online store follows closely behind the new Hasselblad website and the ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ program that was launched earlier in November.

‘Rent a Hasselblad’ is a global online reservation service for Hasselblad cameras and lenses. Whether renting a Hasselblad system for a speci c photoshoot, booking a camera to try it out before purchasing, or reserving gear to pick up and use at their next travel destination, the rental service provides photographers with more freedom and greater accessibility to Hasselblad systems.

During the opening week of the online store, customers will be eligible to receive a ve percent (5%) discount on the award winning X1D and the XCD 45mm and 90mm lenses. In addition, for every customer purchasing an H6D-50c or H6D-100c camera, an H System Camera Hard Case will be included. This offer will end on December 7th, 2017.
Access to the ‘Hasselblad Store’ at:
https://store.hasselblad.com/

Categories: Equipment

Phase One unveils Capture One 11 with 'next level layers' and more

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:29am

Watch out Adobe. Early this morning, Phase One unveiled the next major update to Capture One. The new version, Capture One 11, promises improvements in every regard: from "new, highly responsive tools," to "workflow enhancements" to a new "finely tuned processing engine."

Here's a quick introduction to what's new in Capture One 11 straight from Phase One itself:

The major improvements can be broken down into three categories: layers, workflow, and performance.

Performance

When Phase One talks about 'optimized' performance, the company is not just talking about how quickly Capture One can open and edit your Raw files. Included in these improvements is 're-engineered' color handling, as well as the addition of a LAB Readout option for "customers who wish to measure image output to critical values."

'Next Level Layers'

With this update, Phase One is now characterizing Capture One 11 as a 'layer centric application.' All of the program's adjustment tools are now compatible with layers, masking tools have been improved with the ability to refine and feather masks after drawing, and you can now control the opacity of individual layers.

Workflow

Since Capture One 11 is trying to be "the professionals’ choice in imaging software," several improvements have also been made on the workflow side.

You can now add annotations and graphics on top of your image as overlays, and export them as separate layers in a PSD file; crops can be added as a 'Path' when exporting to a PSD file, so you don't lose any pixels if you transfer out to Photoshop; and, finally, you can now export watermarks as a separate layer in an exported PSD file as well.

As with all major Adobe competitors—and Capture One is arguably one of the best-known and most widely-used—the message Phase One wants to send loud and clear is, "we care about our customers' needs." In fact, you could say Phase One stopped just short of calling Adobe out by name in its announcement:

In keeping with Phase One’s commitment to its customers’ choice, Capture One 11 is available for purchase by either perpetual license or by subscription – whichever best suits the customers’ needs.

For photographers eager to escape Adobe's subscription-only model, Capture One 11 represents a very tempting choice.

Capture One 11 is available now for both Mac and Windows at $300 for a brand-new perpetual license or $20/month on subscription (or $180 if you pay for a year in advance). If you already own Capture One Pro 9 or 10, you can get a perpetual license for just $120, and if you purchased Capture One Pro 10 on October 31st, 2017 or later, you can actually upgrade to Capture One 11 for free by using your same license key.

To learn more or download a fully-functional 30-day free trial, head over to the Phase One website.

Categories: Equipment

2017 Buying Guide: Best cameras for people and events

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 7:00am

Those shooting portraits and weddings need a camera with a decent autofocus system that won't give up in low light, good image quality at medium/high ISO and great colors straight out of the camera. Read on to see which cameras are best suited to those tasks.

Categories: Equipment

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