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All articles from Digital Photography Review
Updated: 19 min 23 sec ago

The new JPEG XS image format was built for streaming 4K and VR content

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 8:00am

There’s a new video compression standard on the block. It’s called JPEG XS, and while it’s made by the same team behind the ubiquitous JPEG image format, it serves a much different purpose.

JPEG XS was announced earlier this week by the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), headed by École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne (EPFL) professor Touradj Ebrahimi. The mission of this new format isn’t to replace the standard JPEG image standard, but to supplement it by being a low-energy standard for streaming video content via Wi-Fi and 5G cellular networks.

According to JPEG, the mission of JPEG XS is to, "stream the files instead of storing them in smartphones or other devices with limited memory." JPEG specifically mentions the benefits of JPEG XS for video captured and streamed by "drones and self-driving cars—technologies where long latency represents a danger for humans."

Photo by Samuel Schwendener

What’s interesting is that JPEG isn’t trying to shrink the file size with JPEG XS. In fact, quite the opposite. Whereas the JPEG standard has a compression ratio of about 10:1, JPEG XS comes out to a 6:1 ratio.

"For the first time in the history of image coding, we are compressing less in order to better preserve quality, and we are making the process faster while using less energy," said Professor Ebrahimi in the EPFL announcement post. "We want to be smarter in how we do things. The idea is to use less resources and use them more wisely. This is a real paradigm shift."

JPEG XS is open source, as well as HDR-compatible, making it a prime candidate for content creators around the world. Already, the European Space Agency (ESA) has expressed interest in the standard. JPEG XS would serve as a perfect format for sending high-quality images and video from space probes down to Earth while not using up any unnecessary energy.

According to Ebrahimi, JPEG XS will first be put to use in "professional applications like movie editing, space imagery and professional-grade cameras." Consumer electronics will like VR, AR, wireless connections between media devices, and self-driving cars will follow. The only remaining hurdle in the path of JPEG XS is the final approval from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Once it gets approved, it should be rolling into products and services shortly.

Categories: Equipment

Canon shows off its latest CMOS sensor tech in new promo video

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 3:50pm

Canon isn’t only in the business of making DSLR, mirrorless and point-and-shoot cameras. It’s also in the business of making the CMOS sensors inside those cameras—arguably the most important component. And in order to showcase what its achieved with its latest lineup of CMOS sensors, Canon USA has created a little promotional video.

The video showcases a variety of sensors seen across Canon's product line, from the extreme low-light full-frame sensor it showed off earlier this year, to more industrialized CMOS sensors made for surveillance and security purposes.

The video description from Canon USA:

This video showcases Canon variety of sensors. For several decades Canon has been developing and manufacturing advanced CMOS sensors with state-of-the-art technologies for exclusive use in Canon products. These sensors are a critical driving force behind many of our successful product lines, ranging from consumer products all the way up to high-end business and industrial solutions.

The video does seem a touch overly dramatic for what it is, and may even come across as a bit cheesy at times (why are they showing new sensor tech inside a Canon EOS 1D that came out in 2001?). Nonetheless, it’s an interesting watch that gives a good overview of the work Canon has been putting into its CMOS sensors in recent years—technology that will hopefully impact the Canon DSLRs and mirrorless cameras of the future.

Categories: Equipment

You can own the world's first single shot 8×10 digital camera for $106,000

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 3:07pm
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If you're shooting digital, the largest image sensor you will find at your local camera store is the 53.4mm x 40.1mm medium format sensors inside something like the Phase One IQ3. But if that is just not enough for you... there is one, much larger option. Meet the $106,000 LargeSense LS911: a large format digital camera and purportedly the "world's first 8x10 digital single shot camera for sale."

The LS911 is the passion project of Bill Charbonnet, who left his desk job in 2014 to start LargeSense LLC and built these large-format digital cameras. Four years later, the LS911 is his first shipping product.

According to the press materials, LS911 features a 12-megapixel 9x11-inch monochrome CMOS sensor (that translates into massive 75 micron pixels), ISO that can be set at either 2100 or 6400, 900GB of internal storage, and the ability to output files to DNG, 16-bit TIFF, 32-bit TIFF, RAW and JPEG formats. There is no CFA, but the monochrome sensor can be used to produce color images (of non-moving subjects) using an in-built 3-shot system and color filters.

Oh, and the thing can also apparently shoot 4K, 3840 × 2160 video at 26fps using its electronic shutter.

Here is a video of the LS911 in action:

And here is how the size of the LargeSense LS911 sensor compares to some of the other image sensors out there:

Note: the LargeSense LS45 is a 4x5-inch digital back Charbonnet is working on, but has yet to release.

If the LS911 seems a bit bonkers, honestly, that's because it is. We've been discussing it in the office for the past couple of days, trying to figure out how to put this camera in context for our readers, and here's our take: it's cool, but having a sensor this large may not be as advantageous as you think.

Science Editor Rishi Sanyal explains:

One of the main benefits of going to a larger sensor is that you can get more resolution as the larger pixels place less of a burden on the resolving power of the lens, but this camera does not take advantage of that.

What it does offer is the tilting, shifting and swinging ability large format cameras are known for, and if you can give the sensor enough light, the entire image has the potential for greater 'tonality' because the signal-to-noise ratio will be extremely high for most tones. That said, beyond a certain signal-to-noise ratio, tones are already clean enough - particularly with modern full-frame or medium format cameras - that it just doesn't matter.

So, are you guaranteed a noticeable improvement in overall quality of the photos just because of the 9x11-inch sensor? Not necessarily. This is probably more about the feel of large format where you can throw most of the image largely out-of-focus by tilting the focus plane, or keep a large amount in focus without stopping down if you align the focus plane with your subject(s).

If, after knowing all of this, you're still interested in dropping $106K on the LS991 (hey - it's guaranteed to be a conversation piece at parties if nothing else), head over to the LS911 product page on the LargeSense website or check out the full spec sheet at this link.

And do let us know: what would you use it for?

Press Release

LargeSense launches the LS911

It is the first full frame 8x10 digital single shot camera for sale!

Medium format has thus far been the limit as far as sensor size because large sensors are difficult and expensive to produce. With the LS911, photographers now have an option for high quality large format images other than film. Available now. The USA price is US$106,000 Check www.largesense.com for more information.

LS911 Specifications

  • Single shot 9x11 inch monochrome CMOS sensor
  • High base sensitivity of ISO 2100
  • Live view for focusing
  • Compatible with any large format lens with a sufficient image circle
  • Easy to use HTML-based WiFi control with any HTML5 browser
  • 4k Lossless video with audio up to 26fps
  • 900GB internal storage, CF cards and external USB 3.1 drives
  • User-generated curves to apply to the linear files
  • Integrated 3 shot tri-color images when using color filters
  • Designed for mounting on large tripods or custom camera stands

LS911 product page: http://largesense.com/products/8x10-large-format-digital-back-ls911/

LS911 spec and feature sheet: http://largesense.com/files/3415/2348/3451/LS911-Specs-And-Features-180411.pdf

Upcoming Products

A 4x5 inch digital back, the LS45, is expected at the end of 2018.

The color version of the LS911 is expected in 2020.

LargeSense was founded in 2014 by Bill Charbonnet to manufacture single shot, large format digital cameras. Inspiration was from Mitchell Feinberg’s 8x10 digital back. The issue for a business in this tiny market is keeping costs low while delivering a specialty product. After 3 years of development, we are proud to be the first to offer such camera, the LS911!

Categories: Equipment

Tokina FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF lens will ship June 1st, costs $950

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 12:41pm

Tokina announced the FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF—its second prime lens in the premium FíRIN lens lineup for mirrorless cameras—back in February, and we got to see it in person at CP+. But it was only this month that they revealed when the lens would ship, and only earlier today that we finally know the price.

According to Tokina itself, the autofocus lens for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras lens will begin shipping on June 1st; and according to online retailers who finally put the lens up for pre-order today, the price will be $950.

There's not much more we can say about the lens that we didn't already reveal in the announcement post and hands-on at CP+. The Fírin 20mm F2 FE AF is simply the autofocus version of Tokina's first high-end Fírin lens. The two lenses share an optical formula, and the addition of AF is simply meant to offer "more options for end-users to choose from according to the purpose and style of shooting."

To learn more about the Tokina Fírin 20mm F2 FE AF lens, dive into the optical design, and see some sample images captured with this lens, visit the Tokina website.

Press Release

New Tokina FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF

April 06, 2018 – Kenko Tokina Co., Ltd. is proud to announce the sales release of Tokina FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF - the second prime lens in Tokina’s premium lens series FíRIN for mirrorless cameras.

Name Origin

FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF belongs to the newly launched "FíRIN" series of Tokina lenses for mirrorless cameras (or ILCs - Interchangeable Lens Compacts) marking a new epoch in Tokina history. FíRIN is a variation of Fírinne - the old Irish word for "truth". It means "that what is real" and signifies "being true to someone or something". It represents a promise from Tokina to photographers to help them capture the truth in their images with this revolutionary new lens.

Overview

FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF is the long-awaited autofocus version of the existing FíRIN 20mm F2 FE super wide angle lens for full-frame Sony E-mount. Being specially designed for Sony E-mount and adopting the same optical design as in MF model, FíRIN series now offers more options for end-users to choose from according to the purpose and style of shooting.

Estimated time of arrival: June 1, 2018 EAN code: 4961607634509

For more information about the product refer to FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF product page.

Categories: Equipment

PETA monkey selfie lawsuit lives on, judge rejects attempted settlement

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 11:13am
Photo: David Slater

It's the copyright lawsuit that refuses to die. In September 2017, PETA finally settled its monkey selfie lawsuit with photographer David Slater, ending years of financially destructive litigation. However, a request to dismiss the case has since been rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which points out in a newly published order that it's not required to honor the dismissal request.

The decision to proceed with a ruling appears to be the Ninth Circuit's way of preventing PETA from dodging a legal outcome that would interfere with potential future litigation of a similar nature. The Court's order states, in part, that:

...denying the motion to dismiss and declining to vacate the lower court judgement prevents the parties from manipulating precedent in a way that suits their institutional preferences.

The Ninth Circuit further narrows down the thought process behind continuing the lawsuit, stating in the order:

As one of our colleagues once warned in a similar context, “courts must be particularly wary of abetting ‘strategic behavior’ on the part of institutional litigants whose continuing interest in the development in the law may transcend their immediate interest in the outcome of a particular case."

PETA's settlement was anticipated last year after signs surfaced indicating the courts weren't in the organization's favor. In July 2017, for example, PETA's attorney faced a series of questions from judges including whether the organization's relationship with the monkey was of the nature that it could sue on the animal's behalf. Before that, a federal judge in San Francisco found that the monkey doesn't have legal standing to sue.

By settling—assuming the case were dismissed and a lower court's judgement vacated—PETA could dodge a ruling that it may not like; a ruling that could establish a precedent that would prevent it from filing similar lawsuits on the behalf of animals in the future. The Ninth Circuit's order also states:

We note that although PETA joins Appellants in the motions to dismiss the appeal and to vacate the district court judgment, and claims to have reached a settlement agreement with Appellees, it also points out that Naruto is not a party to the settlement agreement. It appears that the settlement agreement would not bar another attempt to file a new action.

A final ruling in the case is forthcoming.

Categories: Equipment

Video: How to find the best natural light for portraits

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 10:58am

How do you find good quality natural light while walking out and about? It’s not always easy, but if you know where to look and what to look for, you can almost always find the perfect light for a portrait. At least that's what London-based photographer and YouTuber Sean Tucker believes, and he's created a helpful tutorial for his series ‘Good Light’ that explains what it is you should look for in natural light to make the most of a scene for an impromptu portrait session.

In the six-minute video, Tucker and his friend Sarah hit the streets of London in search for a backdrop for their photo shoot. As tends to be the case with so many street shoots, the pair end up in an alley, where Tucker sets up shop to explain the benefits of this particular scene and why it provides good natural light for the portrait he’s trying to capture.

Tucker hows how the buildings on either side of the alley not only provide good leading lines, but also serve as black flags of sort, helping give depth to the subject by making the natural light more directional. After a few shots, he noticed a problem though: panda eyes. To fix this, Tucker uses a simple white grocery bag his subject had on hand as a reflector. A bit primitive, but as his final image shows, it did the trick.

Photo by Sean Tucker

To wrap up the video, Tucker shows how he went about editing the image in Lightroom CC on his iPad—itself a helpful tutorial for those of us who frequently edit images on-the-go for sharing on social media and beyond.

Watch the full video for yourself up top, and then head on over to Tucker's YouTube Channel to see more from his popular "Good Light" series. You can also find him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, or read his DPReview Photo Story of the Week.

Categories: Equipment

Photos of violence and escape win 2018 Pulitzer Prizes for photography

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 9:50am

The 2018 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced yesterday, and in the two photography categories, images of violence and escape from violence took home the coveted gold medals.

In the Breaking News Photography category, photojournalist Ryan Kelly won for his shocking image of a car plowing into counter-protestors of the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville, VA on August 12th, 2017. As Poynter reports, this photograph was actually taken on Kelly's final day as a staff photographer for The Daily Progress. He left the job due to the "state of the industry, the stress and the schedule," but not before capturing a photograph seen around the world:

The photo was taken by then-staff photographer @RyanMKellyPhoto on his last day at the paper.https://t.co/yLvrwy228U

— The Daily Progress (@DailyProgress) April 16, 2018

In the Feature Photography category, not one photographer but an entire staff received the award. The medal went to "The Photography Staff of Reuters" for the publication's coverage of Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar. Reuters has shared several GIFs and still images on the Reuters Pictures Twitter (embedded below), but you can see the full series at this link.

.@reuterspictures was awarded a Pulitzer for the photographs that exposed the world to the violence Rohingya refugees faced while fleeing Myanmar. See the photos here: https://t.co/zDAsss9wWk pic.twitter.com/dNN90R5Rmz

— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) April 17, 2018

The winners highlight the importance of photojournalism on vastly different scales. As Kelly told Poynter, his Pulitzer Prize win "is a super valuable reminder for people of the power of local journalism." The Reuters win, meanwhile, highlights the role photojournalism can play on a global scale, exposing the rest of the world to realities it might otherwise never see, or choose to ignore.

As always, the winners each receive $15,000 prize money and the coveted gold medal.

Categories: Equipment

Budget wide: Rokinon AF 14mm F2.8 FE sample gallery

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 8:00am
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When it was announced in 2016, the Rokinon AF 14mm F2.8 FE was among the first full-frame autofocus lenses for Sony's a7-series mirrorless cameras. We wanted to see how this affordable wideangle prime performs on Sony's latest a7R III, and we've put together a small gallery of samples.

View our gallery of samples from the Rokinon AF 14mm F2.8 FE

Categories: Equipment

Adobe has quietly added support for Sony's .ARQ Pixel Shift files to Lightroom

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 6:00pm

Files recorded using the Pixel Shift mode in the Sony a7R lll can now be opened in Lightroom Classic CC after the latest update released on April 8th, although you wouldn't know it by looking at the update's release notes. Marc Alhadeff of Sony Alpha Blog spotted the update, which adds support for the ARQ files that are produced once the original a7R III files have passed through Sony’s own Imaging Edge software.

Note: Imaging Edge is still needed to combine the four ARW raw files into a single image, which it outputs as a raw ARQ file.

While we'd still recommend giving the third-party SonyPixelShift2DNG software a go if you're working with these files extensively, this additional support is definitely a step in the right direction for Adobe. Previously, ARQ files would need to be converted to DNGs in order to be edited in any of the Adobe products. But now, with Lightroom Classic CC 7.3, the ARQ file can be read without conversion.

Categories: Equipment

Nikon dominates World Press Photo 2018 camera breakdown

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 2:39pm
Photo by chuttersnap

Last week, the prestigious photojournalism contest World Press Photo announced its 2018 winning photos, and most of those winners included information about the gear used to capture their images. Taking advantage of this fact, Spanish photography website Photolari pulled that public data and created a series of graphs breaking down the equipment used by participating photojournalists.

Of the 129 winning images, 97 included gear details; though the graphs don't represent the models were used by all participants, they do cover the majority. And the short version of the results goes something like this: Nikon dominated the brands, and the DSLR continues to dominate over mirrorless.

According to the breakdown, the Nikon D5, Nikon D810, and Canon EOS 5D Mark III tied for first place, with 11 winning photos each. Coming in second is the Nikon D800E and Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with seven units each. Finally, both the Nikon D4S and Nikon D700 tied for third place with six units each.

Nikon is the overall winner among gear use, representing a total of 51.5% versus Canon's second place 29.9%. Other makers represented far smaller pieces of the pie, with Fujifilm taking 6.2%, Sony taking 5.1%, and both Pentax and DJI taking 2.1% each. Not represented in the percentage graph are three Leica models, two of them the M10 and the other a Leica SL.

Further revealing the type of gear used is another category: types of cameras. That breakdown reveals DSLRs comprised the majority of participants' gear at 83.5%, with mirrorless taking second place at 11.3%, and other unspecified types representing a total of 5.2%.

This isn't Photolari's first breakdown of World Press Photo winner gear. Last year, the site found that Canon took the top three slots, with the 5D Mark III in first place, while the 5D Mark II and Mark IV models took second and third, respectively. Nikon wasn't even represented until 7th place on last year's breakdown. Photolari's graphs also reveal an uptick in mirrorless popularity. In 2017, DSLRs claimed 88.8% of the "types" category, a figure that dropped to 83.5% in 2018. Mirrorless only claimed 5.55% in 2017, increasing to 11.3% this year.

That said, it's important to note that Photolari's 2017 graphs are based on only 36 out of 45 awarded photos. So while it's nice to compare 2017 to 2018 and draw grand conclusions about the camera market, this is probably more an exercise in bragging rights than an accurate representation of camera company health.

Categories: Equipment

MindShift Gear releases 18L version of its popular BackLight daypack

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 2:10pm
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After releasing a set of weather-resistant Exposure messenger bags earlier this month, MindShift Gear is back with a new product: the BackLight 18L backpack for photographers. This new model expands MindShift's existing BackLight rear panel access backpack lineup, offering the same convenient access in a smaller overall size.

The 18L offers the same features as the larger 26L and 36L backpacks. The bag's exterior is made with 420D velocity nylon and high-density nylon, 320G UltraStretch mesh, 350G air mesh, YKK RC-Fuse zippers, 3-ply bonded nylon thread, and a water-repellant coating. The interior includes a 210D nylon lining, high-density closed-cell foam, hexa-mesh pockets, PE board reinforcement, and the same 3-ply thread.

One of the BackLight lineup's biggest features is the ability to remove/replace items without taking the daypack off. Instead, the wearer, after securing the waist belt, rotates the bag to the front and uses the rear panel to access the gear inside. The bag accommodates various gear configurations, such as a pair of gripped DSLRs with attached lenses and an additional 1 - 3 zoom lenses, or a pair of gripped mirrorless cameras with attached lenses and and 3 - 5 additional lenses.

Additionally, the BackLight 18L supports up to 13-inch laptops and a 10-inch tablet, plus there are front compartments with a total 5L capacity for personal items.

Additional features include a front/side mounting system for a tripod/monopod, a pair of large water bottle pockets, lash points, daisy chain, ice axe loops, interior mesh pockets, lumbar support and an air channel. Plus, the bag is compatible with MindShift's existing Tripod Suspension Kit, Switch Case, Filter Nest, and Filter Hive.

The BackLight 18L is available from MindShift now in Woodland Green and Charcoal colors for $200 USD. To learn more, head over to the MindShift Gear website.

Press Release

MindShift Gear’s BackLight 18L Outdoor Photography Daypack Offers Added Comfort and Quick Rear-Panel Access

SANTA ROSA, CALIF – MindShift Gear announces the release of an 18-liter version of its popular BackLight series, the BackLight® 18L rear-panel backpack. This smaller version offers a lightweight daypack that enables photographers to access gear without taking off the backpack. They can change lenses or just snap a quick photo simply by rotating the bag to the front while the waist belt is still secured. Rear-panel access also adds security when traveling since camera gear is protected from behind.

This back-panel access allows photographers to work out of the bag without getting the harness dirty, wet, muddy, or icy. It features dedicated compartments that fit up to a 13” laptop and a full-size tablet. As a daypack, its front pockets total 5 liters in personal gear carry for a day’s outing, such as extra layers, a light jacket, food, and more. It is available in two colors, Charcoal and Woodland Green, and meets most international and U.S. airline carry-on requirements.

This new backpack holds a variety of camera kits:

  • Two gripped DSLRs with lenses attached and one to three standard zoom lenses
  • Two gripped Mirrorless bodies with lenses attached and three to five lenses
  • Fits up to a 13” laptop and a 10” tablet
  • Fits personal gear in the 5L front compartments
  • Maximum lens size: 300mm f/2.8 or 150–600mm f/5–6.3 attached to a body

“The BackLight 18L was designed with comfort in mind,” said Doug Murdoch, MindShift’s CEO and Lead Designer. “The air channel on the rear panel was designed for maximum comfort. It features a large padded waistbelt to support heavy gear and a contoured backpanel for extra lumbar support.”

Additional Features and Benefits

  • Daisy chain, ice axe loops and additional lash points for expanding carry capacity
  • Includes tripod/monopod mounting system on front or side
  • Comfortable padded waist belt for all day comfort on the trail with webbing rail for additional MindShift accessories
  • Flap-keeper neck strap allows unencumbered access to gear
  • Two large water bottle pockets with cinch cord fit a 32oz Nalgene
  • Side compression straps with locking SR buckles for additional lash points
  • Air channel and lumbar support on rear-panel for all-day comfort
  • Ergonomic zipper pulls are easily gripped with gloves or frozen fingers
  • Highest quality YKK zippers, 420D Velocity and 420D high-density nylon for long lasting durability and strength
  • Front stuff pockets for trail essentials, e.g., headlamp, gloves, chargers
  • Adjustable dividers for large telephoto lenses, traditional photo gear, or personal items
  • Top zippered pocket for quick access essentials
  • Interior mesh pockets for storing filters, batteries, cables, etc.
  • Seam-sealed rain cover included, folds flat for use as a ground cover
  • Compatible with MindShift’s Tripod Suspension Kit, Filter Nest, Filter Hive and Switch Case

Materials

Exterior: For superior water resistance, all exterior fabric has a durable water-repellant coating, plus the underside of the fabric has a polyurethane coating. Features the highest-quality abrasion-resistant YKK® RC-Fuse zippers, 420D velocity nylon, 420D high-density nylon, 320G UltraStretch mesh, 350G airmesh, nylon webbing, 3-ply bonded nylon thread

Interior: 210D silver-toned nylon lining, hexa-mesh pockets, high-density closed-cell foam, PE board reinforcement, 3-ply bonded nylon thread

Specifications

  • Exterior Dimensions: 10.6” W x 18.5” H x 7.1” D (27 x 47 x 18 cm)
  • Interior Camera Compartment: 9.4” W x 16.7” H x 5.5” D (24 x 42.5 x 14 cm)
  • Laptop Pocket: 8.9” W x 13.8” H x 0.8”D (22.5 x 35 x 2.1 cm)
  • Tablet Pocket: 8.7” W x 10.2” H x 0.6” D (22 x 26 x 1.5 cm)
  • Total Volume: 18L
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs. (1.6 kg)
Categories: Equipment

Video: 10 Lightroom features you may not know about

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 10:55am

No matter how well you think you know Adobe Lightroom, this video probably still has something to teach you about Adobe's photo editing and digital asset management program.

In the video, photographer and YouTuber Jamie Windsor spends twelve minutes looking at 10 "hidden" Lightroom Classic features you may or may not know about. Some are a bit more common-knowledge than the others, but odds are you'll find at least one feature you didn't know existed.

Check out the video above for a full rundown, or keep reading for a quick synopsis of all 10 tips:

  1. Sharing online - Using an integrated share function, you can easily share an album of your images online, where people can favorite and even comment on your photos.
  2. Getting good color - Hidden inside the develop dialog is a little color calibration tool. Adobe recently updated this tool, but the tip still stands and proves even more useful.
  3. Change preset opacity - This tip needs a plugin (The Fader), so it's not directly integrated into Lightroom. But the tool is free to download. Once installed, you can choose how strong any presets are that you've installed.
  4. Targeted adjustment tool - Rather than using HSL sliders, the targeted adjustment tool lets you adjust the variables in a specific area with minimal affect on the rest of the image.
  5. Auto exposures match - This one is pure magic. Take a batch of photos with varying exposures, edit one how you want, and select the auto exposure match tool in the menu. Boom. The photos will look like they were shot with exactly the same settings. Great for wedding and even sports photography.
  6. Faster image rating - Rather than using the arrow keys and pressing numbers, simply press caps lock on your keyboard. Now, after you press a number it will automatically advance to the next image.
  7. Selective auto settings - If you hold shift and double-click the slider on an adjustment, Lightroom will automatically give you what it believes to be the proper setup.
  8. Edit local adjustment tools - Does that gradient filter overlay you just applied affect the subject of your image? Don't fret. Simply click on the brush tool and use the erase function to selectively remove the are of the gradient you don't want.
  9. Increased slider size - Drag out your adjustment tools to get more accurate edits (in case you didn't know, you can also hold shift while moving a slider to make it more precise)
  10. Alt precision views - Holding the Alt key will more precisely show you what edits are being made—great for sharpening and exposure tools.

These tips apply to Adobe Lightroom Classic CC. If you're using the new cloud-based Lightroom CC, a few of them will translate over, but not all, so play around a bit and see what you find. And if you found these tips useful, you can check out more of Windsor's videos on his YouTube channel.

Categories: Equipment

Luminar Jupiter update brings new Raw conversion engine and big performance boost

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 10:02am

Skylum Software—the artist formerly known as Macphun—has released a major update to its photo editing program Luminar. The update, known as Luminar Jupiter, brings more than 300 updates and improvements, including a big performance boost for both Mac and Windows users, automatic lens correction tools, a new Raw conversion engine, and much more.

One of the biggest improvements Luminar Jupiter brings is speed. According to Skylum, the update improves performance by up to 5x on Windows devices and a whopping 12x on MacOS, as illustrated in the graphics below:

Comparison charts for Luminar 2018 running on a Mid-2015 15" MacBook Pro.
Comparison charts for Luminar 2018 running on a custom-built PC.

Beyond speed, the core of the update is two new features available in both the Windows and MacOS versions of Luminar 2018. They are: automatic lens correction controls and an improved Raw conversion engine that's said to yield better exposure calculation, cleaner gradients, minimized chromatic aberrations and more robust camera compatibility.

Windows users in particular gain numerous new features including batch processing, an improved cloning tool, and better masking controls, while Mac users gain advanced digital camera profiles.

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The Luminar Jupiter update is available now as a free update to owners of Luminar 2018. Luminar 2017 owners can upgrade for $50, while entirely new users can grab the most recent version of Luminar for $60. To find out more or to purchase Luminar 2018 for yourself, head over to the Skylum Software website.

Press Release

Skylum Updates Award-Winning Software with Luminar 2018 Jupiter

Includes Enormous Speed Increases/New Features and Functions

WHO: Skylum Software, creators of multi-award-winning Luminar 2018 imaging software, has added new and improved features with Luminar 2018 Jupiter.

WHAT: Luminar 2018 Jupiter now provides processing speeds up to 5X faster with Windows and 12X faster with Mac.

Additional new features and updates include:

  • Automatic lens correction features (NEW for Mac and Windows)
  • Improved RAW Conversion engine (Mac and Windows)
  • Advanced Digital Camera Profiles (DCP) for Mac

10 NEW features for Windows users including:

  • Batch Processing
  • Free Transform, Flip and Rotate Tools
  • Overall, more than 300 updates and improvements to software

WHEN: Luminar 2018 Jupiter is available now as a free update to current owners of Luminar 2018. Luminar 2017 owners can upgrade for $49 and new customers can purchase Luminar Jupiter for $69 (No annual subscription or software renewal needed). Download software here

WHY: Through the efforts of its internal product development team, Skylum Software has developed one of the fastest, easiest, and most affordable universal image processing software in the world. A one time, low-cost purchase with no annual subscription.

DETAILS: Luminar 2018 Jupiter is taking the most complete and cost-effective image processing software and making it a whole lot better by:

  • Increased performance speed by up to 5X (Windows) and 12X (Mac)
  • Automatic Lens Distortion correction (Mac and Windows)
  • Improved RAW Conversion Engine (Mac and Windows)
  • Better exposure calculation
  • Cleaner gradients
  • Fewer halos
  • More cameras, better compatibility
  • Eliminate chromatic aberrations

New Features for Windows

  • Batch processing
  • Better cloning
  • Better masking controls, cleaner zooms, easy transformations
  • Improved workflow with other applications (as a plugin)
  • Share workspaces (remote sharing)

“Our loyal community of users continues to offer ideas for additional features that would benefit their respective workflows, and we continued to listen, learn, and improve,” said Alex Tsepko, CEO of Skylum. “Our goal is to produce a fast, easy, and feature-rich imaging software that can offer both single-click solutions as well as custom functions for those want absolute control.

Categories: Equipment

Best Cameras for Parents Buying Guide recommendations updated

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 9:00am

With the Canon EOS M50 review wrapped up, we've revisited our Best Cameras for Parents Buying Guide – and have some new recommendations in the category.

Categories: Equipment

The Xperia XZ2 Premium is Sony's first dual camera smartphone

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 8:55am

Most high-end smartphones these days come equipped with dual-cameras and in many cases the cameras are built around Sony image sensors. An yet, Sony's own Xperia range had no dual-camera models to speak of... until now. At the Mobile World Congress, the Japanese manufacturer displayed a demo model of a high-sensitivity dual-camera setup, and this technology will soon be available in a production model announced today: the Sony Xperia XZ Premium.

Sony's new top-range device combines two 1/2.3" sensors in its camera—a 3-layer stacked 19MP RGB unit, and a 12MP monochrome imager. Image data from both chips is merged by the AUBE Fusion image signal processor in order to optimize dynamic range, noise and detail. Sony claims outstanding low-light performance with a maximum ISO value of 51200.

Like Huawei's high-end phones, the Sony offers a native black-and-white mode, and a background-blurring bokeh-effect is available as well. The 7-element G lenses come with F1.8 and F1.6 apertures respectively. On the video side of things, the Xperia XZ2 is capable of recording HDR footage at 4K resolution, and offers the same Motion Eye 1080p/960fps slow-motion mode as the standard Xperia XZ2.

All non-camera specifications are worthy of a flagship smartphone, as well. The Android Oreo OS will be powered by a Snapdragon 845 SoC and 6GB of RAM. And the 5.8-inch TRILUMINOS display offers a 2160 x 3840 pixel resolution and is covered by 2.5D Gorilla Glass.

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium will be available starting this summer in Chrome Black or Chrome Silver. Pricing is yet to be announced. More details on the Xperia XZ2 and its dual camera are available on the Sony website.

Categories: Equipment

Opinion: the Sony a7 III could be the new Nikon D750

Sun, 04/15/2018 - 9:00am

For the past few years, I've been recommending the Nikon D750 to enthusiasts and semi-professionals needing a reliable DSLR to grow in to – probably more than any other ILC on the market. It was even my Gear of the Year in 2015 for its excellent feature set to price ratio.

Though it debuted in late 2014, the D750 remains a relevant and reliable workhorse years later. 24MP of resolution on a full frame sensor is a sweet spot for a lot of shooters, and the D750 still offers competitive dynamic range and excellent high ISO performance. It also has terrific autofocus, with Nikon's reliable 3D Tracking.

The D750 has proven to be among the most future-proof full frame DSLRs in recent memory

And as far as full frame DSLRs go, it's among the lightest ever made. But it's also a camera we know will likely stand the test of time thanks to aggressive weather-sealing and sturdy construction. In short, the D750 has proven to be among the most future-proof full frame DSLRs in recent memory. Even today it's still priced aggressively enough – with technology that is relevant – to warrant my recommendation, not to mention the recommendation of the DPReview staff in our Best Camera Under $2000 roundup.

Time for a new recommendation?

I swapped out my Nikon D750 to shoot a show with the Sony a7 III: the combination of excellent AF coverage and good low light IQ left me questioning whether it's time to recommend this Sony over the Nikon I've come to love.
ISO 12800 | 1/400 sec | F4 | Shot on Sony FE 35mm F1.4 ZA | Edited to taste in ACR

But like all of us, the D750 is starting to show its age. Though it offers an articulating LCD (a Nikon full frame first), the live view experience is just plain unrefined when compared to a modern mirrorless camera. This is because the D750 relies on Contrast Detect AF in live view, which is painfully slow and often misses.

Though the 51-point AF system performs admirably, even in low light, it only covers the central potion of the frame, limiting compositional freedom when using 3D Tracking. And though the D750 offers decent-looking 1080/60p video, the lack of continuous AF in video limits its use. Plus the lack of 4K makes the camera's video spec feel dated.

The a7 III just might be my go-to recommendation moving forward

If only a camera matched or surpassed what the D750 is capable of, all for a similar cost! Enter the Sony a7 III. Its debut price is a couple hundred dollars less than that of the Nikon and as of this writing it can be had for just a few hundred dollars more than the now heavily discounted D750 (new). As a result, the a7 III just might be my go-to recommendation moving forward.

On paper, it has all the ingredients to make it a relevant camera for years to come. This includes a 24MP Full Frame sensor, high-quality stabilized 4K video (with AF-C), AF points covering 93% of the frame with reliable subject tracking and Eye AF, solid battery life, a small form factor and good build quality. Plus, every lens you put on it – even adapted ones – automatically becomes stabilized thanks to its 5-axis IBIS system (rated at 5 stops).

Sony a7 III, on paper vs in use

AF performance from the a7 III is excellent, even in challenging light.
ISO 12800 | 1/400 sec | F2.8 | Shot on Sony FE 35mm F1.4 ZA | Edited to taste in ACR

Of course specs are one thing and in the field operation is another – something a few readers occasionally forget. That said, I’ve been really impressed by how refined this recent generation of Sony full frame cameras are – the Sony a9 was even my 2017 Gear of the Year. And thankfully one evening spent shooting live music with the a7 III proved that it largely operates like its $4500 high-speed sibling.

The a7 III's lock-on AF is reassuringly effective at tracking a subject and nailing focus in low light, just like the D750's 3D Tracking. The main difference? The AF point coverage is significantly greater on the Sony, giving me far more room to place my subject in the frame. On the downside, it’s nearly impossible to see what AF point you’ve selected on a Sony when shooting in the dark (or even in daylight) because the AF area does not illuminate when moved with the joystick. To work around this, I left my initial medium lock-on point dead center and began each new acquisition with my subject in the middle of the frame.

One evening spent shooting live music with the a7 III proved that it largely operates like its $4500 high speed sibling

Image quality also impressed me – I was pleased with the Raw files I came back with and was able to make some nice edits despite the high ISO nature of my shots. But don't take my word alone, have a look at our studio scene, which proves both cameras (a7 III and D750) perform exceptionally in low light. The a7 III's shadows are actually cleaner at high ISO, thanks to its higher dynamic range at ISOs above 500.

The live view experience using the LCD, by the very nature of mirrorless, was also refreshing. Unlike the D750, AF works the same when using the LCD or EVF. This meant I could actually use the LCD to get shots without having to worry about missed focus.

And while I didn't make use of the camera's silent shooting mode, it's something I could certainly see appealing to wedding or event shooters. Same goes for the a7 III's over-sampled 4K video; though I didn't put it to use at the show, the footage I've seen from fellow editors proves it's both extremely detailed and offers high dynamic range with minimal rolling shutter.

Normally I micro adjust lenses before a shoot. With the a7 III there's no need.
ISO 12800 | 1/400 sec | F2 | Shot on Sony FE 85mm F1.8 | Edited to taste in ACR

Lingering hesitations

Despite my largely positive shooting experience with the camera, I still have a few hesitations about it: First, there is a perceivable lag when turning dials on the a7 III (and other Sony cameras for that matter), something that is not the case with other DSLRs at this price point. I also find the EVF can take a fraction of a second to engage when one’s eye is brought to the finder. This sounds like nitpicking, but those used to an optical EVF might find they miss shots, as I did, due to this. Other annoyances include the occasional operation error.

The lack of weather-sealing on the battery door concerns me when it comes to the longevity of this camera

Fortunately, all of those concerns can likely be addressed via firmware. But something that can't be fixed so easily is the lack of weather-sealing on the battery door, which concerns me when it comes to the longevity of this camera – I'd hate to recommend a product that might fail due to a little water. Adding to my concerns, our pals over at Imaging Resource ran a sort-of-scientific test looking at the weather sealing on high-end cameras, including the a7R III. The results were, to put it lightly, not encouraging for Sony cameras.

Another hesitation in recommending the well-priced a7 III is the present lack of well-priced autofocusing glass available for it. One major reason I like to point folks to the D750, especially those on a budget, is due to the enormous catalog of autofocusing lenses offered for the system at varying prices. With Sony full frame, most AF lenses are pricey, large and the selection is currently limited. But it's encouraging to see third party lens manufacturers like Sigma, Tamron and Tokina getting into the FE game.

The Takeaway

The a7 III is a lot of camera for the money and will likely be a technologically relevant product for quite some time – if Sony's a6000-series is any indication, the a7 III will have a long and fruitful product life, with price breaks every so often for years to come. My few hesitations aside, I feel that the a7 III gets enough right for the right price to almost certainly be my new go-to full frame recommendation moving forward.

That said, I'm going to hold off making any serious recommendations until our full technical review – to be published soon – goes live.

Categories: Equipment

Don't buy the phone with the 'best camera,' buy the phone you like as a phone

Sat, 04/14/2018 - 9:00am

If your job entails giving people on the internet buying advice about photo gear, you field a lot of questions from friends who want to make a camera purchase. It sounds corny, but we at DPR actually love these questions – it's a chance to put an otherwise somewhat useless store of knowledge to work. We get something out of the transaction too: a data point about the needs and wants of people who are actually buying cameras. It's like a pop quiz we spend 40 hours a week studying for.

Lately, it's not just cameras we're asked about. Friends have seen plenty of advertising declaring this or that smartphone as having the 'best camera.' More and more, we see people treating their smartphone purchase as a camera purchase too, so it makes plenty of sense that these claims hold a lot of sway. People who seek our advice are now debating between a couple of flagship devices, sometimes within the same operating system, and sometimes not. But the question is the same – "'Such and such phone' has the best camera, should I buy it?"

Here's the short answer: Not necessarily.

The flagship phones from the major manufacturers all have pretty darn good cameras at this point. Sure, there are slight advantages in image quality in different scenarios, but overall, any minor shortcomings are going to be easier to live with than an operating system you don't like. This is especially true if you're upgrading from a phone that's several generations old. Manufacturers have been leaning hard into camera tech innovation for the past few years, so you'll probably see plenty of improvement even upgrading from a device several years old to last year's flagship.

You'll probably see plenty of improvement even upgrading from a device several years old to last year's flagship

There's a slight caveat here: while quality from most smartphone cameras is good, a few of them do offer unique hardware-based camera features. The LG V30's super-wide-angle lens is a good example – if a wider lens is something you really want, it's worth checking the V30 out because it's basically one-of-a-kind right now.

It's also worth remembering that the demands on image quality in smartphones are, in most cases, much lower than on dedicated cameras. Photos taken with phones will likely only ever be viewed at lower resolution on another device screen or in smaller printed formats, like Chatbooks. In many situations, even the image quality benefits of a dedicated camera will be negligible when images are downsized for viewing on a 5" screen.

So why even test phone cameras if they're all good enough at this point? The same reason why we test cameras: so you can make an informed buying decision. We also fully expect them to eventually challenge more traditional cameras, but that's another story for another day. Even if we could declare one traditional camera as the objective 'best camera,' that would be a pretty meaningless award. Size and cost, for example, are two huge factors to consider when buying a camera. It doesn't matter if you bought the 'best' camera of all time; if it's too heavy and you leave it at home most of the time then it wasn't the best camera for you.

How you get along with your smartphone is an important consideration since many of us spend an embarrassing amount of our waking hours using them

How you get along with your smartphone is an important consideration since many of us spend an embarrassing amount of our waking hours using them. It has taken the place of a dedicated camera for lots of folks, but it's not just our camera – it's also our communication hub, media player, notepad, grocery list, bank, travel agent, the list goes on. How you like using it and how it feels in your hand should be given as much, if not more consideration than whether the camera scored three points higher than another.

We'll keep testing smartphone cameras so we can help inform your decision and point out where there's still room for improvement. In the meantime, if you're debating upgrading to a new phone and you've got an eye on the one with the 'best camera,' consider heading to a wireless retail store and see if that's the one you like best as a phone. You'll be glad that you did.

Categories: Equipment

You will soon be able to download your entire photo archive from Instagram

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 4:28pm

Currently, if you wanted to download all of your content from Instagram, you have no choice but to use a third party service like DownloadGram and 4K Stogram. Fortunately, that may not be the case for too much longer. In a statement to TechCrunch earlier this week, an Instagram spokesperson said:

We are building a new data portability tool. You’ll soon be able to download a copy of what you’ve shared on Instagram, including your photos, videos and messages.

It’s not known exactly how the tool will work or what other data will be available for download beyond your photos, but if Facebook’s Download Your Information tool is anything to go on, it’s likely you'll be able to download most of your content and activity into a ZIP file.

As noted by TechCrunch, if Instagram implements its new download tool before May 25th, it will ensure it’s in compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy law, which requires organizations to let individuals download any data that’s been gathered on them. But there’s no guarantee Instagram will get the tool out in time.

Regardless of when it happens, it’ll be nice to see an integrated tool for easily downloading your content, be it because you’re jumping to another platform or simply want to make an offline copy. It also means days are numbered for apps like DownloadGram.

Categories: Equipment

Composite timelapse combines Death Valley's night sky with New York City's streets

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 4:12pm

In honor of International Dark Sky Week 2018—which will run from April 15th to the 21st—timelapse filmmakers Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinovic decided to create an interesting composite. Using their ample post-processing skills and footage they'd captured across the country, they replaced the light-polluted skies over New York City with long-exposure footage captured in pristine locations like Death Valley and Grand Canyon National Parks.

The whole thing is part of the duo's project Skyglow: an ongoing quest to raise awareness about and examine the dangers of light pollution. The project features a 192-page hardcover book and blu ray video series made up of footage and photos captured all over the United States, but it was also the impetus behind an inspiring series of Skyglow timelapses. The project began three years ago with another composite timelapse—in which they 'darkened' the skies over LA—so Heffernan and Mehmedinovic decided they would cross the country and do it again, this time in NYC, for Dark Sky Week 2018.

You can learn more about the Skyglow Project at this link, watch the new New York City composite timelapse above, and scroll through some stills from the project below.

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Categories: Equipment

Report: Chinese company Xiaomi may purchase GoPro

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 1:06pm

Chinese electronics company Xiaomi is considering an offer to buy action-cam makers GoPro, according to a report in The Information. This news follows GoPro's January announcement that it would be exiting the market for drones in order to streamline business and become more profitable. At the same time, CEO Nick Woodman said in an interview with CNBC the company was open to a buy-out:

If there are opportunities for us to unite with a bigger parent company to scale GoPro even bigger, that is something that we would look at.

Details on the potential offer are sparse at this point in time, but the deal could be worth as much as $1 billion. Once valued at more than $10 billion, in its heyday GoPro was a success story in consumer electronics, but the company's market capitalization has since fallen to about $761 million, mainly due to aggressive competition from China.

According to analysts, a buyer could leverage GoPro’s brand and make profits through device sales. Xiaomi in particular could also use some of GoPro's camera IP in the development of camera modules for its smartphones. That said, if the Chinese company does end up buying GoPro, we hope they won't just use the brand name and patents, and will let GoPro action-cams live on.

GoPro's stock price has spiked 8.8 percent on the news.

Categories: Equipment

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