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Olympus E-M1 Mark II Iceland sample gallery

Wed, 11/02/2016 - 1:00am

From waterfalls to the Northern Lights, Iceland is full of natural beauty. And, in October, lots and lots of rain. We've put together a sample gallery of photos taken over four days with Olympus' new OM-D E-M1 Mark II on a company-sponsored trip.

Categories: Equipment

Olympus OM-D E-M1 II will ship in December for $2000 body-only

Wed, 11/02/2016 - 1:00am

Olympus has taken wraps off availability and pricing details for its flagship OM-D E-M1 II. Announced at Photokina, the E-M1 II will cost $2000 body-only and is set to ship at the end of December. The E-M1 II's predecessor was introduced just over three years ago and started at $1400 body-only.

That $600 premium buys some notable advancements including a faster processor, 20.4MP sensor with 121 phase-detection AF points and a stabilization system claiming an unearthly 6.5 stops of shake correction. Like the Mark I, the E-M1 II is built to withstand hostile conditions with a dust, splash and freeze-proof design. 

Read our Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
Shooting Experience

Press release:

REVOLUTIONARY CAMERA PERFORMANCE: THE OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 MARK II ARRIVES

The new flagship Micro Four Thirds® camera boasts world’s fastest sequential shooting1, superior autofocus accuracy, and world’s most effective image stabilization performance2

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., — November 2, 2016 — Olympus announces that its new flagship camera, the Olympus® OM-D E-M1 Mark II, is set to go on sale at the end of December 2016 for the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1999.99 USD and $2499.99 CAD. The OM-D® E-M1 Mark II is the latest addition to the award-winning OM-D series and features incredible speed, outstanding image resolution and a host of new shooting features to meet the needs of the professional photographer.

The OM-D E-M1 Mark II is equipped with the newly-developed high-speed TruePic VIII Image Processor, which is 3.5 times faster than the previous TruePic processor used in the OM-D E-M1, and a new 20.4 megapixel Live MOS sensor equipped with 121 points of cross-type on-chip phase detection and contrast detection AF. These technologies work together with the camera’s silent electronic shutter to provide full-resolution RAW images at up to an unprecedented 60 frames per second in AF and AE lock, and up to 18 frames per second with continuous AF and AE tracking.

The OM-D E-M1 Mark II boasts a wide array of shooting features including the new Pro Capture Mode for lag-free shooting that enables the capture of split-second moments, a 50 Megapixel High-Res Shot Mode for images with incredible detail rivaling that of full-frame DSLRs, in-body 5-Axis Image Stabilization that provides up to 5.5 shutter speed steps of compensation performance3, and 5-Axis Sync IS that provides the world’s most effective 6.5 shutter speed steps of compensation2 when combined with the new M.ZUIKO® Digital ED 12-100mm f4.0 IS PRO.

The OM-D E-M1 Mark II is weather sealed to be dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof (down to 14°F/-10°C) in a compact lightweight design, ideal for shooting in all types of outdoor conditions.

Main Features

1. High-Speed Sequential Shooting and Superior AF Performance

Live MOS sensor and TruePic VIII Image Processor
The newly developed high-speed TruePic VIII Image Processor and a new 20.4 megapixel Live MOS Sensor works in concert with the camera’s electronic shutter to provide full-resolution images at a maximum 60 frames per second in AF and AE lock, and up to 18 frames per second with continuous AF and AE tracking.

The TruePic VIII Image Processor boasts a dual quad core system with four CPU cores and four image processing cores to achieve image processing speeds approximately 3.5 times faster than the TruePic VII Processor. Because camera operation and image processing functions are carried out in unison, transfer speeds and menu operations are vastly improved over previous models. 

Pro Capture Mode
The new Pro Capture Mode provides lag-free shooting so users can capture high-quality full-resolution images at precise moments with no compromises. Using the silent electronic shutter, Pro Capture buffers a running series of JPEG / RAW images when users press the shutter release halfway. Then, by fully pressing the shutter button, users can capture that moment's image plus up to 14 previous frames all at once.

Advanced Dual FAST Autofocus
The advanced Dual FAST AF automatically chooses between on-chip phase detection AF and contrast detection AF, or utilizes both phase and contrast detection simultaneously. This system boasts 121 cross-type on-chip phase detection focus points in order to dramatically improve accuracy. The simultaneous use of contrast detection and on-chip phase detection AF enables accurate focus in difficult lighting conditions, while a new moving subject tracking algorithm rapidly and continuously measures the subject-to-camera distance to precisely maintain focus. Finally, the in-camera AF Limiter function is included to achieve faster focusing by limiting the focus range of the lens, thus preventing time-consuming focus hunting.

Autofocus functions such as AF Target Mode4, AF target position and face/eye priority AF are easily set with a single button press. AF operations are enhanced with a new subject-tracking Cluster Display, which illuminates active sensors to assure the user of focus-subject accuracy. The AF Targeting Pad feature allows users to select the AF point by sliding their finger on the rear touch LCD monitor while looking through the viewfinder.

High-magnification, high-speed electronic viewfinder
The performance of the 1.48x (35mm equivalent) high-magnification, high-resolution electronic viewfinder rivals those of professional full-frame interchangeable lens cameras. With high-speed operation that includes a maximum refresh rate of 120 fps and a minimum response time of five milliseconds, users never lose track of fast-moving subjects.

High-speed response
The significantly improved shutter release lag time, now reduced by approximately 30% from that of the previous model, facilitates response time so users never miss a photo opportunity. In addition, frame-advance speed during playback is approximately three times quicker for faster scrolling and review of images.

2. Outstanding Portability and Reliability

A compact, lightweight system with excellent portability
The OM-D E-M1 Mark II features weatherproof construction in a compact and lightweight design. Coupled with an Olympus M.ZUIKO lens, the OM-D system is extremely compact, providing the ultimate in portability for shooting and transportation. Handheld super-telephoto shooting is possible with the M.ZUIKO Digital ED 300mm f4.0 IS PRO lens (600mm focal length in 35mm equivalent), and this camera and lens combination is compact enough to store in carry-on luggage when flying.

Weatherproof construction and Super-Sonic Wave Filter dust reduction system
The OM-D E-M1 Mark II features high-performance weather sealing for excellent dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof (down to 14°F/-10°C) performance so that users can shoot in the harshest of conditions. This weatherproofing is not limited to the camera body alone: it is extended across the entire OM-D system, including the dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof M.ZUIKO PRO lens lineup5. In addition, a Supersonic Wave Filter (SSWF) dust reduction system vibrates the image sensor more than 30,000 times a second to virtually eliminate any dust that may land on the sensor while changing lenses.

High-performance shutter
A newly developed shutter is rated for 200,000 actuations6 to withstand consistent daily use in professional environments. Floating shutter construction is employed so that shutter shock is not easily transmitted to the camera body.

Dual memory card slots
The OM-D E-M1 Mark II features dual memory card slots to allow simultaneous use of two SD cards for more versatile shooting. The slots are positioned in a staggered layout, making cards easier to insert and remove. Users can select from four settings: Standard Mode records to the specified card; Automatic Switching Mode automatically switches to the second card when the first card becomes full; Dual Independent Mode records to both cards according to the specified image quality setting assigned to each; and Dual Same Mode records identical files to both cards simultaneously. Slot 1 supports UHS-II and UHS-I cards, while Slot 2 supports UHS-I cards.

High-capacity battery and rapid charger
The new BLH-1 lithium-ion rechargeable battery has a capacity that’s approximately 37% higher than that of the BLN-1 used in the previous model, providing approximately 440 shots on a single charge (CIPA standards-compliant). The OM-D E-M1 Mark II displays the remaining battery life percentage on the rear monitor so users are not surprised by a depleted battery. Also, the new BCH-1 charger is 50% faster than the previous version.

3. Exceptional Image Quality

Higher resolution and improved dynamic range
The new 20.4 megapixel Live MOS sensor offers 25% higher resolution than the previous model, and the absence of a low-pass filter further enhances image quality. A higher dynamic range7 improves the reproduction of highlight and shadow detail, and an anti-reflective coating on both sides of the sensor’s sealing glass further enhances contrast performance.

Improved image quality at high ISO settings

The newly-developed TruePic VIII Image Processor dramatically improves image quality when shooting at high ISO settings, making it possible to capture images with minimal noise. The normal sensitivity ISO (ISO AUTO) range has been expanded to ISO 6400 for greater flexibility in a variety of shooting scenarios, and Fine Detail Processing II ensures that no detail is lost due to oversharpening.

ISO 64 equivalent ISO LOW setting
The ISO LOW setting is equivalent to ISO 64, providing greater flexibility to shoot at wider apertures even in brightly lit situations, making it possible to achieve beautiful, shallow depths of field.

50 Megapixel High-Res Shot Mode
A High-Res Shot Mode utilizes the Voice Coil Motor (VCM) system of the 5-Axis Image Stabilization System to precisely shift the sensor in half-pixel increments while capturing a total of eight shots. The camera automatically composites the shots into a single 50-megapixel equivalent ultra-high resolution image8. This unique Olympus technology is a benefit for any still life photographer or anyone who requires ultrafine detail reproduction. The TruePic VIII Image Processor effectively suppresses blur due to subject movement, making it possible to utilize High-Res Shot Mode in a wide variety of shooting conditions, such as gently blowing grass, tree leaves or ocean waves. In addition to 80 megapixel RAW and 50 megapixel equivalent JPEG images, it is possible to select a smaller 25 megapixel equivalent file size.

In-body 5-Axis Image Stabilization
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is equipped with the latest in-body 5-Axis Image Stabilization to compensate for all types of camera shake. An optimized correction algorithm boasts outstanding compensation performance with approximately 5.5 shutter-speed steps of compensation3. Also, when combined with Olympus lenses equipped with in-lens image stabilization, 5-Axis Sync IS provides the world's most effective 6.5 shutter-speed steps of compensation2 for blur-free handheld shooting of stills and video.

4. Stunning UHD Video Capture

Digital Cinema Standard 4K videos
The OM-D E-M1 Mark II supports Digital Cinema Standard 4K (4096x2060 pixels) video capture9 at a 24P frame rate and a bit rate of up to 237 Mbps for authentic movie production. The 20.4 megapixel Live MOS sensor provides a read speed three times faster than that of the previous model for effective suppression of movement distortion, resulting in sharp, clear image quality. The video-specific picture mode "Flat" is ideal for color grading and finishing the footage exactly as envisioned by the videographer.

5-Axis Image Stabilization combined with electronic stabilization for video
With four times the resolution of Full HD, 4K videos are easily affected by camera movement and typically require a tripod, mini jib, crane and other specialized accessories for movie recording. The OM-D E-M1 Mark II pairs its advanced 5-Axis Image Stabilization with electronic stabilization specialized for video (M-IS)10 to effectively reduce camera shake, making handheld 4K video capture possible. This outstanding image stabilization system allows videographers to easily shoot movies with virtually no visible camera shake. The camera’s rear vari-angle LCD monitor can be adjustable to the user’s preferred angle for shooting convenience.

HDMI monitor connection and recording synchronization
The HDMI monitor connection provides the ability to view live video output on a larger display while shooting. Users are able to select from Monitor Mode for an external monitor and Recording Mode to capture uncompressed video directly from the HDMI port. The OM-D E-M1 Mark II is equipped with a synchronization signal so that video recording to an external device can start or stop from the camera. A 4:2:2 external output is provided to meet a wider color correction range. An audio synchronization function makes it easy to synchronize audio recording when using Olympus’ Linear PCM Recorder LS-100 while recording video, and a Slate Tone function facilitates the syncing of recorded audio and video.

5. Advanced Shooting Functions

Silent Mode
Silent Mode utilizes the silent electronic shutter to eliminate all mechanical noises while shooting. Silent Mode is especially useful for shooting in situations where noise of any kind is not appropriate, including stage performances, concerts and even sleeping children. Also, it is possible to deactivate the AF Illuminator, AF confirmation beep and flash for virtually silent operation.

Focus Stacking/Focus Bracketing Modes
Depth of field is especially shallow when taking macro photos, making it difficult to capture an image that is completely in focus from the foreground to background, even at smaller apertures. Focus Stacking Mode captures eight shots at different focal positions and composites them to form a single shot that is entirely in focus. The depth of field provided by Focus Stacking is far deeper than even the smallest aperture at close distances. Focus Stacking Mode is compatible with seven Olympus M.ZUIKO lenses for a variety of shooting scenes11.

Focus Bracketing Mode automatically captures up to 999 shots with different focal points, allowing users to choose shots with the optimal focus point or use commercially-available software to composite all images into one picture with stunning depth of field.

Live Composite/Live Bulb Modes
Live Composite Mode is available for shooting fireworks and cityscapes against starry backgrounds. While using Live Composite, the exposure of dark areas remains constant, while areas of light that change during the exposure are updated, creating trails of light from stars or fireworks. Live Bulb and Live Composite Modes allow users to easily check the image on the LCD monitor in real time, instead of relying on intuition.

Keystone Compensation
The camera is equipped with Keystone Compensation for photographing architecture. Keystone Compensation digitally provides tilt and shift functions with all M.ZUIKO lenses, and because trapezoidal compensation may be applied simultaneously to both vertical and horizontal directions, it is possible to shoot various subjects in a wide range of situations.

Tethered shooting with Olympus Capture
Olympus Capture™ is now available in Version 1.2 and supports tethered shooting with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. High-speed data processing and transfer via the USB 3.0 Type C port is four times faster than with Olympus Capture Version 1.1. A cable clip is bundled for securing and stabilizing the cable to a strap when the camera and computer are connected.

Additional features

  • Customizable C-AF tracking sensitivity allows users to choose the best setting for their subject to optimize C-AF tracking performance.
  • AF Scan allows users to adjust the lens scan operation settings in low-contrast environments to prevent unnecessary hunting.
  • Preset MF lets users quickly set a preferred focus distance when using manual focus.
  • AF Home Settings is assignable to a customizable function button. Users are able to program their most frequently used AF target position, AF Target Mode and AF Mode as an AF Home setting.
  • Lowest Shutter Speed Setting on the camera allows users to predefine a minimum shutter speed so that the ISO sensitivity increases in low-light situations rather than slowing down the shutter speed. This is convenient for handheld shooting in low-light environments.
  • Users are able to back up customized camera settings on a computer so that they can be reapplied to the camera whenever necessary, which is especially useful for using the same settings on multiple cameras or maintaining settings after a firmware update.
  • Specify Folder function lets users select a folder as a recording destination and create new folders to make image editing and management easier.
  • Grid settings allow users to set a highly visible grid color for display as a guide when shooting in dark locations such as theaters.
  • The Date/Time/Second display lets users organize images by a second unit. This is an effective feature for high-speed sequential shooting.

Optional Accessories

HLD-9 Power Battery Holder
This dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof power battery holder is specifically designed for the OM-D E-M1 Mark II. With the HLD-9, users have the power of one BLH-1 lithium-ion rechargeable battery in the camera body and a second one in the HLD-9. The rear of the HLD-9 power battery holder is equipped with the same directional pad, two control dials, two function buttons and shutter release, as on the camera body, for identical controls whether the camera is held in a vertical or horizontal position. An optional AC-5 AC adapter can be used for studio photography or other situations when using the camera for long periods of time.

FL-900R Weatherproof High-Intensity Flash
This is a high-intensity flash boasting a maximum guide number of 58m. This accessory on-camera flash has the highest sequential shooting tracking performance in its class at 10 fps12. It features a lightweight weatherproof design with a wireless RC mode for simultaneous control of multiple flash units, and supports Multi Flash, High Res Shot, Focus Stacking and Focus Bracketing Modes. The FL-900R is also equipped with a built-in LED light for recording videos. For additional details, please see the FL-900R press release.

STF-8 Weatherproof Macro Flash
The STF-8 is the world's first macro flash built with dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof construction13. The flash heads and controller features a lightweight compact design. When combined with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, Focus Stacking and Focus Bracketing modes are supported for flash photography, useful for capturing flowers, insects and commercial photos in the studio. The bundled adapter ring is compatible with the M.ZUIKO Digital ED 30mm f3.5 Macro, M.ZUIKO Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro and M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12–40mm f2.8 PRO. When using both flash heads the GN is 8.5m. In addition to a TTL Auto Sync Mode for precision control, users can set the flash in 1/3-step increments on the camera when in Manual Mode and in one-step increments with the flash dial. The main flash can also be used as a commander to control multiple flash units. The flash head angle is adjustable within a range of -60 to 40 degrees.

RM-CB2 Release Cable
This release cable with a pin jack terminal (2.5mm diameter) features a bulb lock function convenient for long exposures. The connector terminal features an L-shaped design ensuring a compact form when connected to the camera.

PT-EP14 Underwater Case
This compact underwater housing provides water depth resistance up to 60 meters. It provides a clear field of view to each corner of the screen, designed to be easy to hold to frame and zoom your shot easily. In addition, the PPO-EP03 Macro Lens Port provides compatibility with the M.ZUIKO Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro and M.ZUIKO Digital ED 30mm f3.5 Macro14.

  1. Sequential shooting speed as of September 2016, when using Silent Sequential Shooting H Mode S-AF.
  2. OM-D E-M1 Mark II with M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-100mm f4.0 IS PRO, focal length: 100mm (35mm equivalent focal length: approx. 200mm); halfway release image stabilization: OFF; CIPA standard compliant, when correction is carried out on two axes (Yaw/Pitch); as of September 2016.
  3. OM-D E-M1 Mark II with M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO; focal length: 40mm (35mm equivalent focal length: approx. 80mm); CIPA standard compliant, when correction is carried out on two axes (Yaw/Pitch); as of September 2016.
  4. Four modes of AF targeting include the new 5-Point Cross, All Point, Single Point, and 9-Point Group.
  5. Dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof (-10°C) performance applies to the following non-M.ZUIKO PRO lenses as well: M.ZUIKO Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro, M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ and M.ZUIKO Digital ED 14-150mm f4.0-5.6 II.
  6. According to Olympus internal testing.
  7. As of September 2016, according to Olympus internal testing.
  8. In RAW+JPEG Mode, three types of images are saved including 50M JPEG, 80M RAW (ORF) and 20M RAW (ORI). 80M RAW images can be processed to 50M JPEG images on the camera. 80M JPEG images can be processed using Olympus Viewer 3 (64-bit OS). Please use a tripod.
  9. 4K video capture (3842x2160 pixels) also possible.
  10. The angle of view is narrowed when using electronic stabilization for movies (M-IS1).
  11. Lenses compatible with Focus Stacking Mode: M.ZUIKO Digital ED 7–14mm f2.8 PRO, M.ZUIKO Digital ED 8mm f1.8 Fisheye PRO, M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12–40mm f2.8 PRO, M.ZUIKO Digital ED 40–150mm f2.8 PRO, M.ZUIKO Digital ED 300mm f4.0 IS PRO, M.ZUIKO Digital ED 30mm f3.5 Macro and M.ZUIKO Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro.
  12. When paired with the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, at a flash ratio of 1/32.
  13. Among ring flashes and twin flashes currently on sale as of September 2016, according to Olympus research.
  14. Any lens with the appropriate diameter may be used with a commercially available step-up ring.
Categories: Equipment

Magnum's 'Conditions of the Heart' square print sale underway

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 2:46pm

Magnum 'Conditions of the Heart' square print sale 

Kochi, India, 2014 © Alex Webb / Magnum Photos

Magnum Photos recently tasked its photographers with capturing photographs related to the theme ‘Conditions of the Heart,’ doing so for the organization’s Square Print Project. This project was inspired by David ‘Chim’ Seymour’s work, and is itself part of a larger series that examines the work of Magnum's four co-founders. A new square print sale is now offering these photos as museum-quality 6x6 prints for a short duration.

The square print sale started yesterday, October 31, and is running through November 4 at 6PM EST. During this time, the public can purchase high-quality 6x6 prints that are signed and estate stamped for $100 each. These square prints are printed onto archival paper and will not be available for purchase beyond this sale. Photographers featured in the square print sale include Steve McCurry, Alex Webb, David Alan Harvey, Matt Black, and others.

Purchases can be made through Magnum Photos' online shop.

Magnum 'Conditions of the Heart' square print sale

Kochi, India, 2014 © Alex Webb / Magnum Photos

“Connection in photography can take many forms. While one typically thinks of the connection in photographing people one knows, there can also be a kind of intimacy with a place or a culture itself. As a street photographer, it is this latter connection that intrigues me. Over the years, I’ve learned that each culture demands its own unique and complicated approach—often with many nuanced variations—in order to photograph the life of its streets. For instance in Mumbai, people sometimes seem so interested in strangers, one may later discover smiling faces peering into the edges of one’s photographs. However, in a city such as Kochi in southern India where I took this photograph, one may also encounter unexpected quieter moments. Ultimately, no matter how gently and respectfully one tries to photograph in a culture other than one’s own, how long a street photographer can linger is largely thanks to the grace of others.”

– Alex Webb

Magnum 'Conditions of the Heart' square print sale

Chiang Mai, Thailand © Steve McCurry / Magnum Photos

"I photographed these elephants and their mahouts at a rescue sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The mahouts dedicate their lives to caring for a specific elephant, spending their days and nights tending to all of the elephant's needs."

– McCurry, Steve

Magnum 'Conditions of the Heart' square print sale

Savoy Ballroom. Harlem, New York City. 1939 . © Cornell Capa / International Center of Photography / Magnum Photos

"The Concerned Photographer produces images in which genuine human feeling predominates over commercial cynicism or disinterested formalism."

– Cornell Capa

Magnum 'Conditions of the Heart' square print sale

Sheepherder with Mount Mikeno. North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. 2016 © Michael Christopher Brown/ Magnum Photos

“Though much of my work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo depicts dire circumstances, I remain optimistic for the country; it is not only one of the most beautiful places, but also filled with incredible people.”

– Michael Christopher Brown

Magnum 'Conditions of the Heart' square print sale

Fisherman and family. Bahía Honda, Cuba. 1954.© Eve Arnold/ Magnum Photos

“Magnum dispatched [Eve Arnold] to Cuba and Haiti to take pictures for magazine projects that [Robert] Capa had arranged. In both countries, she was confronted with destitution on a level she had never seen, beyond even the migrant farm workers. A Cuban family she was photographing begged her to adopt their nine-year-old daughter, Juana, to save her from a life of poverty and prostitution, and she was so moved by them that she cried when she left.”

– Janine di Giovanni, Magnum Legacy: Lives Behind Photographs – Eve Arnold, Prestel, 2015

Categories: Equipment

Yongnuo shows off familiar-looking 100mm F2 lens for Canon EOS

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 2:09pm
The Yongnuo Y100mm F2 on the left, and Canon's EF 100mm F2 USM on the right

Chinese photo equipment manufacturer Yongnuo is set to launch a new 100mm F2 lens that not only uses a Canon EF mount but which also looks just like Canon's own 100m F2. According to websites Photo Rumours and Photo Gear News the full-frame lens will be priced at around $170/€160.

The lens has been made to resemble the Canon version inside and out it seems, as both feature eight elements, have a maximum magnification of 0.14x and an aperture range of F2 to F22. The Yongnuo lens arranges its elements in five groups though while Canon’s own model used eight in six. Canon’s EF 100mm F2 USM also has eight blades in its iris, against the nine in the Yongnuo version.

Price is also a significant differentiator as the Canon lens costs $500. Nikon Rumours expects the lens to also become available in a Nikon mount.

Yongnuo already sells 35mm F2 and 50mm F1.8 lenses in Canon and Nikon mounts with each mount having a corresponding barrel design to match of the camera brand’s own.

Categories: Equipment

The future is bright: technology trends in mobile photography

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 7:00am

The future is bright: technology trends in mobile photography

Smartphones have long overtaken the trusted digital compact camera as the most popular imaging device among consumers. So it's no surprise that for some time now the mobile industry has been a major driving force of innovation in imaging. 2016 is slowly yet surely coming to an end, and has been a fruitful year in terms of innovation in mobile imaging. What better time to look back at the most important technology trends that have emerged over the past few months?

Multi-lens-cameras

Dual-cameras have been around for some time now, but this year we've seen the introduction of two new types of this camera category with real potential to have a lasting impact on mobile imaging. The dual-camera modules in the Huawei P9 and Honor 8 capture images on a color and a monochrome sensor at the same time. Thanks to the lack of a color array filter, the latter can record better detail, higher contrast and a wider dynamic range than its color counterpart. After capture, the image information from both sensors is combined, resulting in better overall image quality than on a conventional camera.

 The dual-cam in the Huawei P9 combines images from color and monochrome sensors.

Both the LG G5 and Apple's new iPhone 7 Plus use dual-cameras for optical zooming. However, there is an important difference. On the LG the standard wide-angle lens is accompanied by a super-wide-angle. The Apple’s secondary lens offers an equivalent of 56mm, double that of the 28mm standard lens.

 Apple's iPhone 7 Plus uses a dual-camera setup for digital zooming.

Lack of optical zoom is one of the key limitations of conventional smartphone cameras. The digital zoom functions implemented in most smartphones lead to a deterioration of image quality and can't really be considered an alternative. This is why the solutions from LG and Apple represent a real step forward that can help expand the creative potential of smartphone photography. The concept of dual-cameras is still in its infancy and it’s probably only a question of time before we’ll see smartphones with more than two camera/lens combinations – the very approach that the the Light L16 camera development team is taking.

Raw-capture on smartphone cameras

Raw-capture on smartphones is not a totally new topic either. It was first introduced to the high-end models in Nokia's Lumia line and came to Android devices with version 5.0 of the Google OS, which was introduced in 2014. Since then many high-end devices from Samsung, Huawei, LG and other manufacturers have supported the feature. However, with the introduction of the seventh iPhone generation and iOS 10, Raw capture is now finally available on the other major mobile platform, iOS, massively expanding its potential user base. 

 The Huawei P9's DNG files can be edited in Adobe Camera Raw or other Raw converters.

The advantages of the Raw file format are the same on a smartphone camera as they are on a DSLR or mirrorless system camera. Instead of leaving the conversion of the captured image data to the algorithms of the camera’s JPEG-engine, the photographer can adjust many image parameters after capture, without any loss of image quality, by processing manually in a Raw-converter such as Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom or Capture One.

With the small image sensors in smartphone cameras digital exposure compensation can only be applied within narrow limits, but white balance, sharpness, contrast, noise reduction and many other parameters can all be modified. Especially in difficult lighting situations shooting Raw can be a lifesaver. However, it can also help achieve more natural image results when the camera’s default settings produce too vibrant images, as is often the case with smartphone cameras, or to create different versions of the same image – for example one for large-scale printing and one for viewing on the web.

There is no doubt that the conversion of Raw image files can improve the quality of an image, or at least adjust it for specific requirements. However, the crucial question is if this all makes sense on a smartphone. Here, opinions are mixed. On one hand it can be argued that photographers who are willing to put time and effort into Raw conversion would typically shoot with their DSLR or system camera to start with. On the other hand, you never know when you encounter a great photo opportunity. If the only camera you've got is the smartphone in your pocket, Raw conversion can make the difference between a good and a great image.

Modular solutions

For many users an elegant and thin smartphone body is an important buying criterion. Unfortunately those characteristics stand in direct contrast to camera performance. Larger sensors offer lower noise levels and better dynamic range. Bigger lenses provide for brighter apertures or offer zoom capability. A powerful xenon flash also requires space. One of the solutions to this dilemma is a modular approach: for general everyday day use you carry the slim smartphone in the pocket. When better image quality and camera features are required, for example while visiting an event or when traveling, an external camera module is attached to the smartphone.

Previous approaches, for example Sony’s QX-models or the Kodak Pixpro SL modules, which are compatible with most smartphones and connect to the device via Wi-Fi, were unfortunately cumbersome to operate. Connection to the smartphone was often slow and occasionally unstable, leading to laggy image transmission and operation.

However, this year Lenovo has revived the camera module concept by introducing the Hasselblad True Zoom. The TrueZoom is so far only compatible with the smartphones of Lenovo’s Moto Z series but, on the upside, attaching and operating the device work much more seamlessly than anything else we’ve seen before. The TrueZoom attaches to the smartphone magnetically and, with a 10x zoom lens and xenon flash, instantly transforms it into a connected travel zoom camera, without any rebooting or other configuration steps.

The Hasselblad True Zoom camera module attaches magnetically to smartphones of the Lenovo Moto Z series.

The fact that the True Zoom is only compatible with a handful of phones won’t contribute to a wide distribution of the device. However, it is showing what is currently technologically feasible in terms of smartphones and external modules working together. Things could get even more interesting if market leaders Apple or Samsung show an interest in camera modules and make them popular with the masses.

Algorithms trump hardware

As mentioned above, your standard smartphone doesn't provide enough space for large image sensors, zoom lenses or powerful flash units. However, mobile devices have one definite advantage over conventional cameras: computing power.

Thanks to powerful chipsets modern smartphone cameras can record and digitally merge several image frames in a split-second. This process, called image stacking, captures more image information than a single frame. The resulting JPEG files show better detail, lower noise levels and a wider dynamic range than standard exposures. In very dark scenes this method can also achieve a brighter exposure than conventional capture. In addition, camera shake and blur in low light are less of an issue, as the individual frames of the image stack can use faster shutter speeds than a single standard exposure.

 The HDR+ mode in the Google Camera app uses frame stacking for improved image results.

Apple offers such high dynamic range and night modes in its iPhone cameras and Google has implemented them into the HDR+ function of its Google Camera app, which is also used as the stock camera app on the new Pixel and Pixel XL phones. Again, development of such technologies is still in relatively early stages. Over the coming years more powerful processor hardware and better algorithms will likely further improve smartphone image quality, without a need for larger sensors or faster lenses.

Outlook

It’s probably fair to say that in the conventional digital camera sector the rate of innovation has noticeably slowed down over the last few years. In contrast, many of the new concepts that are currently being applied in mobile imaging are still in their infancy. It remains to be seen which ones will be here to stay and which ones will be forgotten in the nearer future. However, there's no doubt that mobile photographers have a lot to look forward to. 

Categories: Equipment

Announcing the winners of USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 6:00am

USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 Winners

Sunrise light illuminates Mount Rainier as it rises above low clouds, seen from high above Tipsoo Lake, Washington. Adult Overall Winner 2016. Photo by Alex Noriega

Nikon D600, 35mm, ISO 100, F11, shutter speed unknown

We're pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards! From thousands of entries, Oregon-based Alex Noriega's photo of a misty Mount Rainier at sunrise was selected as the overall winner. Youth winners were also selected for the comptetitions categories, with Hawaii's Raiatea Arcuri taking the overall Youth award for a stunning image of water flowing over coastal lava tubes.

We're also excited to co-present a Special Award category, Life in Landscape. You can see the winner of that category and all of the other winning images by flipping through the slides above. For more information about the contest, visit their website

Press release:

The winners are announced
1st November 2016

A visually stunning and dramatic view of Mount Rainier has won the top prize in this year’s search for USA Landscape Photographer of the Year’s winning entry. Portland based photographer, Alex Noriega becomes the third person to win the overall title and the $15,000 prize. His picture of Mount Rainier as it rises above low clouds, seen from high above Tipsoo Lake was chosen, by the judges, from the thousands of entries received from over 40 countries across the globe, all celebrating the beauty and free spirit of the American landscape.

Charlie Waite, one of Britain’s leading landscape photographers and founder of the Awards spoke about this year’s competition:

“Apart from the pleasure I enjoy from my own landscape photography, there can be few experiences that come near the huge enjoyment and admiration that I have had from looking at photographs submitted to the USA Landscape Photographer of the Year.

I have been truly overwhelmed by the high quality, considered and finely crafted images that we have seen from so many talented photographers who have contributed for the third USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016.

From the start of the contest, the standard of landscape photography has been as high as it ever has been. The wonderful images that I have seen are testament to not only every photographer’s passion but for the obvious joy they receive from their creativity and indeed from fully engaging with some of the greatest landscapes on the planet.”

The Young Landscape Photographer of the Year title has been awarded to Raiatea Arcuri, who captured coastal lava tubes along the Kona coast on the Island of Hawaii. Raiatea said of his image “What makes the Big Island special is the presence of lava tubes around the island. Some of these lava tubes at the coast will make amazing water motion as the waves push water in and out. It can be quite an epic experience capturing it. The water can easily surge up to your waist level and quickly recede back into the tube, creating a nice waterfall.”

For the first time this year, the Awards are being held in association with DPReview and Amazon. Life in the Landscape, The Digital Photography Review Special Award was offered for the photograph judged to best convey how people interact with the American landscape. Michael Shainblum’s Endless which saw Michael endure extreme heat as it was about 105 degrees fahrenheit, certainly met the requirements for this Award and captures a truly magical moment.

Congratulations also goes to the winner of this year’s other Special Award. Wild Landscape, The Future Publishing Award was won by Terrence Bond for his photograph The Real Duck Dynasty which was taken on the Clarence Canon Wildlife Refuge, Annada, Mo on the migratory highway, on the west side of the Mississippi River.

2016 Results:

Adult Winner - Alex Noriega - Sunrise light illuminates Mount Rainier
Winner – Classic View – James Menzies - Main Strike, Grand Canyon National Park
Runner Up – Classic View – Long Nguyen – Lost, Boardman Farm, Oregon
Winner – Black and White - Terry Koyama - Waimea Bay Beast, Hawaii
Runner Up – Black and White – Michael Ryan - Waimea Bay Beast, California
Winner – My USA - Az Jackson - A lone figure of a man on Brooklyn Bridge, New York Runner Up – My USA – Michael Shainblum - Thunder Mountain, Eastern Sierra Mountains Winner – Urban – Souvik Dutta – Caged, Orlando, Florida
Runner Up – Urban - Jennifer Vahlbruch - 75 Stages of Life, Miami, Florida
Winner – Environmental Value - Terry Koyama - Mammatus Makers, Kansas
Runner Up – Environmental Value – Yoshiki Nakamura - Sunset flight in Fir Island, Mt Vernon
Winner – DPReview Special Award - Michael Shainblum – Endless, Fonts Point, Anza Borrego Desert
Runner Up – DPReview Special Award - Sapna Reddy – Escape the Ordinary, Mt Tamalpais, Marin County
Winner – Future Publishing Special Award - Terrence Bond - The real Duck Dynasty, Missouri
Runner Up - Future Publishing Special Award - Ashish Varma - Autumn fog over Grand Tetons, Wyoming

Youth Winner – Raiatea Arcuri - Coastal lava tubes in Kona, Hawaii
Winner – Classic View – Mark Rivera - Lamar Valley, Autumn Foliage, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Winner – Black and White - John Morris - Sunset Light Show, California
Winner – My USA - Raiatea Arcuri - Plume Cloud from the active Halemaumau Crater, Hawaii
Winner – Urban – Kyle Wolfe - The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Fort Point, San Francisco, California
Winner – Environmental Value - Mark Basarab - Fiery Sunset Yosemite National Park, California
Winner – DPReview Special Award - Mark Basarab - Point Reyes Slanted Tree, California Winner – Future Publishing Special Award - Kyle Wolfe - Navajo Sandstone of Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Contact: info@usalpoty.com for images to accompany this release or to organize interviews with Awards founder, Charlie Waite, and/or Award winners.

Please note that all images and/or logos supplied by or on behalf of USA Landscape Photographer of the Year remain the copyright of their respective photographers. They may only be used for press/promotional purposes in direct connection with the USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards and must be credited.

More information: www.usalpoty.com

USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 Winners

Coastal lava tubes in Kona, HI cause the water to flow in and out creating beautiful water motion. Youth Winner 2016. Photo by Raiatea Arcuri 

Sony A6000, ISO 100, 0.4 sec, F11, 12mm (Rokinon 12mm)

USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 Winners

Waimea Bay Beast, Oahu, Hawaii. B&W Winner. Photo by Terry Koyama

Canon 5D Mark III with Canon EF200-400mm F4L lens 1/640 sec, F5.6, ISO 800

USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 Winners

Sunset Light Show. B&W Winner Youth. Photo by John Morris

Nikon D800, 1/250th, F9, ISO 160

USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 Winners

Main Strike. Grand Canyon National Park. Classic Winner. Photo by James Menzies

Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 320, F10, focal length 26mm on a 17-40mm Wide lens. Bolt occurred during 19.9 second exposure

USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 Winners

Lamar Valley, Autumn Foliage, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Classic Winner Youth. Photo by Mark Rivera

Nikon D750, Nikkor 300mm lens, F6.7 for 1/640 second, ISO 250

USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 Winners

"Endless" This image is a self portrait taken at Fonts Point in the Anza Borrego Desert. DPReview Special Award. Photo by Michael Shainblum

Canon EOS 6D, Rokinon 14mm F2.8 25sec F2.8 ISO 3200

USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 Winners

Point Reyes Slanted Tree, California. DPReview Special Award Youth. Photo by Mark Basarab

Canon Rebel T3i 1/1000sec F3.5 ISO 800

USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 Winners

Mammatus Makers, Kansas. Environmental Value. Photo by Terry Koyama

Sony a7R II with Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS 1/4sec, F8.0, ISO 100

USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 Winners

Fiery Sunset Yosemite National Park, California. Environmental Value Youth Winner. Photo by Mark Basarab

Panasonic Lumix G5 1/400sec F3.5 ISO 160

USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 Winners

The real Duck Dynasty. Future Publishing Special Award Winner. Photo by Terrence Bond

Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, Canon EF 600mm F4L IS, 7.5 MB, JPEG, ISO 125 840mm, F7.1 1/400 sec

USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 Winners

A mysterious lone figure with an umbrella walking from the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. My USA Winner. Photo by Az Jackson

Canon 5D Mark II - ISO: 800, F5.6, 1/40 sec. - Focal Length: 24mm

USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 Winners

An interesting plume cloud from the active Halemaumau Crater with steam pluming from the vents below in Kilauea Iki Crater in Volcanoes National Park. My USA Youth Winner. Photo by Raiatea Arcuri

Sony A7S, ISO 500, 20 sec, F2.8, 24mm (Rokinon 24mm)

USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 Winners

Caged (Orlando). Urban Winner. Photo by Souvik Dutta

Canon EOS 70D 1/1328 sec, F8, ISO 200, Focal Length 10mm (16 mm - 35 mm equivalent)

USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 Winners

The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Fort Point in San Francisco. The eye is led into this circular composition by the careful placement of a rustic metal chain. Urban Winner Youth. Photo by Kyle Wolfe 

Sony A7, Sony 28mm F2, B+W 10 stop ND filter Manual exposure, F22, 30 seconds, ISO 64, 28mm

Categories: Equipment

This 4K video tour of the International Space Station is probably as close as you'll get to being an astronaut

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 4:00am

Halloween's not over yet – NASA has released a 4K treat. The 18 minute UHD video features a fly-through of the International Space Station. Get out your headphones, flip into full-screen mode and pretend your dreams of becoming an astronaut have finally come true.

Related: NASA astronaut Jeff Williams showcases ISS photography equipment

Categories: Equipment

G-Technology introduces its first SSD portable stand-alone drive

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 3:15pm

Storage company G-Technology has announced a new stand-alone SSD storage device that it claims can manage transfer speeds of up to 540MB per second. The G-Drive slim SSD uses a USB 3.1 interface and requires no external power source to run. Designed to be used with Mac computers the 500GB and 1TB drives, which come finished in silver or ‘space gray’, can be formatted for PC using the company’s Windows Format Wizard software. The drives come with a ‘high-quality’ USB Type-C to Type-C cable as well as a Type-C to Type-A cable.

The drives are set to retail for $229.95 and $379.95, and are available now – with the space gray option an Apple Store exclusive.

For more information see the G-Technology website.

Press Release

G-TECHNOLOGY G-DRIVE LINEUP OF PORTABLE SOLUTIONS EXPANDED WITH SOLID STATE TECHNOLOGY AND FAST USB-C™ CONNECTIVITY

G-Technology®, a trusted premium storage brand by Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC), today announced the expansion of its G-DRIVE portfolio, with its first solid state portable drive, the G-DRIVE slim SSD USB-C. The new drive brings faster interface speeds with USB-C connectivity and expanded external storage for next-generation computers such as MacBook and the all-new MacBook Pro, perfect for consumers and creative professionals across the world.

Available in 1TB and 500GB capacities, the G-DRIVE slim SSD USB-C delivers super-fast solid state drive performance of up to 540MB/s. It features the speedy 10Gb/s USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface, taking full advantage of the SSD performance. The included high-quality Type-C to Type-C cable and Type-C to Type-A cable, allows this drive to operate with any computer featuring Thunderbolt 3, USB-C or USB 3.0* ports. Requiring no external power source, the G-DRIVE slim SSD USB-C will ensure that high-quality videos, photos and music will be readily available whether traveling in the field, back at home or in the office.

“G-Technology continues to embrace advanced technologies in its line of products, and is excited to announce its fastest portable consumer storage solution to date,” said Mike Williams, vice president, advanced technologies/G-Technology, Content Solutions Group, Western Digital. “The G-DRIVE slim SSD USB-C embodies our commitment to delivering products that offer exceptional performance, style, and reliability, while combining SSD technology with the latest USB-C interface ensures users will have the latest technology and performance at their fingertips.”

Plug-and-play for Mac®, this sleek drive is available in space gray and silver, making it a perfect companion for a MacBook or MacBook Pro. The MSRP for the 500GB capacity is $229.95 and the 1TB is $379.95*. The product is available for purchase today at G-Technology resellers with the space gray model available exclusively at Apple Stores in early November.

G-Technology also announced today a new rose gold color for its G-DRIVE mobile USB-C line up, adding to its portfolio that also includes space gray and gold. Featuring a fast 1TB 7200RPM hard drive for transfer speeds of up to 136MB/s, the G-DRIVE mobile USB-C is compatible with any Thunderbolt 3, USB-C or USB 3.0 system**. The G-DRIVE mobile USB-C, is available in your favorite Apple colors, now at Apple stores, with rose gold coming in early November. The silver G-DRIVE mobile USB-C is available today at G-Technology resellers. The drives can be purchased at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $119.95*.

“When I am out on location I need fast, reliable portable storage solutions to help keep up with demanding shoots. With sleek designs and super speeds, I know I can count on G-Technology drives as my go-to back up and transfer solutions, wherever I need to be,” said Jeremy Cowart, celebrity photographer and G-Team Ambassador.

The G-DRIVE mobile USB-C and G-DRIVE slim SSD USB-C are easily reformatted for Windows users with the G-Technology Windows Format Wizard. For more information on G-Technology offerings, please visit www.g-technology.com.

Categories: Equipment

LaCie unveils Thunderbolt 3 desktop storage devices

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 2:52pm

LaCie has launched three new Thunderbolt 3 desktop storage devices, the 12big, 6big and Bolt3. All three devices are, according to LaCie, the fastest desktop storage solutions currently on the market, making them suitable for storing and editing 4K and 6K video content, among other things. The Bolt3 offers 2TB of storage, the 6big offers up to 60TB, and the 12big offers up to 120TB.

The Bolt is the smallest of the three products, offering speeds up to 2800MB/s. According to LaCie, this model can handle raw video from a Blackmagic or RED camera, and can be used to transcode up to 6K footage using Adobe Premiere Pro or something similar. It only takes about 5 minutes to transfer a terabyte of 4K ProRes 4444 XQ video from the Bolt3 to the 12big.

The LaCie 6big offers speeds up to 1400MB/s and the 12big has speeds up to 2600MB/s. These models can be used to edit uncompressed 10-bit and 12-bit HD videos or multiple streams of ProRes 422 HQ and ProRes 4444XQ footage. The company also says raw photos can be accessed and edited in Lightroom without lag. A custom Pelican Storm case will be available for these two models.

The storage devices will be available this quarter starting at the following prices:

  • LaCie Bolt3: $1,999
  • LaCie 6big: $3,199
  • LaCie 12big: $6,399
  • Pelican Case: $349

Press release:

LaCie Announces World's Fastest Desktop Storage and Complete Thunderbolt 3 Portfolio for Creative Professionals

CUPERTINO, CALIF. - Today, LaCie, the premium brand from Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ: STX), announced its Thunderbolt™ 3 portfolio of storage solutions aimed at helping video professionals excel with ultra high-resolution footage. First, the LaCie® Bolt3 combines Thunderbolt 3 speed with the latest M.2 PCIe SSDs to create the world’s fastest desktop drive. In addition, the LaCie 12big Thunderbolt 3 and 6big Thunderbolt 3 are ready to handle massive amounts of content thanks to fast transfer speeds, RAID 5/6 security and enterprise-class drives. These storage solutions, design by Neil Poulton, are ideal companions to the all-new MacBook Pro.

For the Bolt3, LaCie harnessed the breakthrough performance potential of Thunderbolt 3 and paired it with two M.2 PCIe SSDs striped into a 2TB volume. Bolt3 delivers record speeds of up to 2800MB/s and cuts valuable time off of post-production workflows, such as ingesting RAW footage from RED® or Blackmagic® cinema cameras or transcoding 4/5/6K footage using Adobe® Premiere® Pro or DaVinci Resolve. What’s more, videographers can transfer a terabyte of 4K ProRes 4444 XQ footage from the LaCie Bolt3 to RAID storage—such as the LaCie 12big Thunderbolt 3—in only 5 minutes and 11 seconds*.

The LaCie Bolt3 is engineered for long term reliability—from the enclosure to the internal components—to endure intensive storage tasks. Each product is individually Computer Numerical Control machined from solid aluminum blocks for rigid durability and heat dissipation. Effective cooling helps to ensure long-term component health. The stand securely docks the product with powerful neodymium magnets—and detaches for easy transport.

With up to 120TB of massive capacity, the breakthrough performance of Thunderbolt 3 and RAID 5/6, the LaCie 12big, and the new LaCie 6big help video professionals meet the data demands of 4/5/6K cameras. Both feature Seagate enterprise-class drives with 256MB cache and 7200RPM for superb accessibility, reliability and robust performance.

“From ultra high-resolution cameras to virtual reality to drones, the new experiences that content creators can bring to life are truly exciting,” said Tim Bucher, Senior Vice President of Seagate and LaCie Branded Solutions. “Creating these experiences generates unprecedented amounts of data while requiring extreme performance, and today we’re thrilled to help our customers by offering best-in-class storage solutions that excel in even the most demanding video workflows.”

Thunderbolt 3 speeds of up to 2600MB/s for LaCie 12big and 1400MB/s for LaCie 6big slash time off nearly every post-production workflow task. Users can then edit multiple streams of ProRes 422 (HQ), ProRes 4444 XQ, as well as uncompressed HD 10-bit and 12-bit video. What’s more, photographers can transfer RAW photos quickly and edit in Adobe Lightroom without lag. Plus, with up to 120TB of capacity, the LaCie 12big can store 100 hours of 4K ProRes 4444 XQ footage in RAID 5*.

With double the video bandwidth of its predecessor, Thunderbolt 3 lets a user daisy chain dual 4K displays or a single 5K display to the LaCie 12big or LaCie 6big. With two 4K displays, users can spread out their workspace by dedicating one display to the timeline and the other to previewing 4K footage, for example. It’s even possible to power a compatible laptop through the USB-C cable**. Additionally, the user can connect to USB 3.0 computers via the included USB-C to USB-A cable.

The LaCie 12big and LaCie 6big are engineered to handle demanding video workflows. Front-accessible drives offer convenient and quick drive replacement and front-facing drive status LEDs help the user keep track of drive health and RAID build status. The aluminum enclosure dissipates heat far better than plastic, while two thermoregulated fans pull heat away from internal components. Both the LaCie 12big and LaCie 6big are protected by a five-year limited warranty that covers drives, enclosure and spare parts.

LaCie has also partnered with Pelican Products to offer custom cases to safely transport the LaCie 12big or 6big to and from set. The Pelican™ Storm Case™ is an injection-molded case made of HPX® high-performance resin that is virtually unbreakable and resistant to dents and shatter. The custom, durable foam configuration houses a LaCie 12big or 6big, multiple LaCie Rugged® drives and accessories such as cords or a power supply. The cases are lightweight, airtight, watertight and backed by Pelican’s lifetime warranty***.

AVAILABILITY
The LaCie Bolt3 will come in a 2TB SSD capacity for $1999.00. The LaCie 6big will come in 24TB, 36TB, 48TB and 60TB capacities starting at $3199.00. The LaCie 12big will come in 48TB, 72TB, 96TB and 120TB capacities starting at $6399.00. The custom Pelican Storm cases start at $349.00. All LaCie Thunderbolt 3 solutions and the custom Pelican Storm cases will be available at LaCie resellers this quarter.

* Based on 764GB per hour of 4K GoPro footage (source) and 764GB per hour of 4K ProRes 4444 XQ footage (source). Quantitative usage examples for various applications are for illustrative purposes.
** Delivers up to 15W to power compatible laptops.
*** See pelican.com/warranty for full details.

Categories: Equipment

Lume Cube returns to Kickstarter with the Life Lite mini LED cube

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 2:00pm

Lume Cube launched the first generation of its high-powered LED-lighting cube for smartphones and action cameras back in 2014. Now, the company has returned to Kickstarter to raise funding for its follow-up product Life Lite. Compared to the original Lume Cube the Life Lite is about half the size and weight but, at 1000 lumens, still offers approximately 70% of the Lume Cube's light output. 

As before, you can control one Life Lite, or several units, via a smartphone app and a Bluetooth connection. The Life Lite is waterproof down to 10m/33ft, making it suitable for filming surfing and other water-based activities. There are multiple levels of strobe mode for creative lighting effects, a physical multifunction button and a custom fresnel lens. The emitted light has a color temperature of 5600K and the light is charged via a microUSB connector. A full charge gives you approximately 30 minute of illumination. 

The Life Lite also comes with an internal magnet and a standard tripod mount, allowing for attachment to a wide range of metallic objects and camera support systems. You can secure a Life Lite now by pledging $39 on the project's Kickstarter page. Shipping is planned for March 2017. 

Categories: Equipment

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85/G80 Review

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 11:45am

Key Features

  • 16MP Four Thirds MOS sensor w/o optical low pass filter
  • 5-axis image stabilization with Dual I.S. 2
  • Splash/dust-proof body
  • Depth from Defocus AF
  • 2.36M-dot OLED EVF
  • 3-inch 1.04M-dot fully-articulating touchscreen LCD
  • 4K video / photo
  • Focus stacking and post focus

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85 is an SLR-style mid-range mirrorless camera. It features 4K video capture, 2nd-generation 5-axis image stabilization and a 16MP Four Thirds sensor with no optical low pass filter. A sister model, the G80 will be available in other markets.

Though Panasonic has not come outright and said it, the G85 is the successor to the G7. More a refinement than something new entirely, both cameras share seemingly identical bodies and offer twin control dials, plenty of customizable buttons and fully articulating touch interfaces. 

But the G85 is rather more grand: it's weather-sealed with a magnesium alloy front plate, and offers a new electromagnetic shutter to combat shutter shock, an upgraded electronic viewfinder and 5-axis in-camera IS.

Like the Panasonic GX85, the G85 uses a 16MP chip with no anti-aliasing filter. We found image quality from the GX85 to be slightly improved over that of past Panasonic cameras using the same 16MP chip with AA filters (like the G7).

The G85 also uses the same redesigned shutter mechanism as the GX85, which we found to effectively mitigate shutter shock, an issue that affected the Panasonic G7

Compared to its peers

  Panasonic G85 Panasonic G7 Panasonic GX85 Sony a6300 Olympus EM-5 II
MSRP $900 (body) $800 (with kit lens) $800 (with kit lens) $1000 (body) $1100 (body)
Sensor (resolution/size) 16MP Four Thirds 16MP Four Thirds 16MP Four Thirds 24MP APS-C 16MP Four Thirds
AA filter No Yes No Yes No
Stabilization Sensor-shift (5-axis) + Dual IS 2 In-lens only
Sensor-shift (5-axis) + Dual I.S.
In-lens only Sensor-shift (5-axis)
EVF res/mag. 2.36M-dot OLED (0.74x) 2.36M-dot OLED (0.7x) 2.76M-dot field sequential LCD (0.7x) 2.36M-dot OLED (0.7x) 2.36M-dot LCD (0.74x)
Autofocus Contrast Detect w/ 49-points + DFD Contrast Detect w/ 49-points + DFD Contrast Detect w/ 49-points + DFD Hybrid AF w/425 PDAF points Contrast Detect w/ 81-points
Burst w/ continuous AF 6 fps 6 fps 6 fps 11 fps 5 fps
LCD size, type 3-inch 1.04M-dot articulating 3-inch 1.04M-dot articulating 3-inch 1.04M-dot tilting 3-inch
921k-dot tilting
3-inch 1.04M-dot articulating
Touchscreen Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Mic/Headphone port Yes/No Yes/No No/No Yes/No Yes/No
Max movie resolution 4K/30p 4K/30p 4K/30p 4K/30p 1080/60p
Weather-sealing Yes No No Yes Yes
Flash sync speed 1/160 sec 1/160 sec 1/160 sec 1/160 sec 1/250 sec
Battery life 320 shots 350 shots 290 shots 400 shots 310 shots
Weight 453 g 410 g 426 g 404 g 469 g
Dimensions 128 x 89 x 74 mm 125 x 86 x 77mm 122 x 71 x 44 mm 120 x 67 x 49 mm 124 x 85 x 45mm

While the three Panasonic cameras compared above share quite a lot, the G85 stands out against the other 16MP Panasonic's as the most appealing choice. This is due to its inclusion of weather-sealing, an updated Dual IS system and upgraded electronic viewfinder.

When compared to similar mirrorless offerings from Sony and Olympus, things get a bit more complicated. The Sony beats it in terms of its more sophisticated AF system, larger sensor and faster burst (w/ AF), but the G85 offers superior ergonomics (fully articulating touchscreen, dual top-plate control dials, higher magnification EVF). The G85 and EM-5 II also share quite a lot, the major distinction between the two being the G85's 4K video capability (compared to 1080p on the Olympus).

The whole Panasonic gang, including the Panasonic G85, GX85, G7 and 20MP GX8.

Pricing and availability

The Panasonic G85 will be available in the US for $899 body only and $999 with 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 Power O.I.S. kit lens.

Accessories

The optional DMW-BGG1 vertical battery grip adds an additional shutter release and improved ergonomics, as well as room for a second battery, effectively doubling shooting time.

Review History

Review History
19 September 2016 First Impressions and Samples Gallery published
31 October 2016 Video & Features updated, Autofocus & Performance, Image Quality, Raw Dynamic Range and Conclusion published,
based on production camera running f/w 1.00
Categories: Equipment

Google Pixel XL real-world sample gallery

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 7:00am

The Google Pixel XL landed in our office recently, and in addition to a trip to the studio, it's been around the neighborhood for some real-world shooting. Take a look at how it handles a variety of situations, including some inexplicably sunny fall Seattle days.

See our Google Pixel XL
real-world sample gallery

Categories: Equipment

Nikon Small World 2016 winners announced

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 6:00am

Nikon Small World 2016 winners announced

Four-day-old zebrafish embryo (10x). 1st place 2016 Photomicrography Competition. Photo by Dr. Oscar Ruiz

For over 40 years Nikon's Small World photomicrography competition has celebrated imagery of the hidden world right under our noses. This year, an image of a four-day-old Zebrafish embryo has taken the top prize. But that's just scratching the surface – take a look at the top ten winners here and head over to the competition website to see even more.

Nikon Small World 2016 winners announced

2nd place 2016 Photomicrography Competition. Photo by Douglas L. Moore

Polished slab of Teepee Canyon agate (90x).

Nikon Small World 2016 winners announced

3rd place 2016 Photomicrography Competition. Photo by Rebecca Nutbrown

Brain cells from skin cells : Specifically, this is a culture of neurons (stained green) derived from human skin cells, and Schwann cells, a second type of brain cell (stained red), which have started to cover the neuron in the same way these cells interact in the brain. (20x)

Nikon Small World 2016 winners announced

4th place 2016 Photomicrography Competition. Photo by Jochen Schroeder

Butterfly proboscis (6.3x). 

Nikon Small World 2016 winners announced

5th place 2016 Photomicrography Competition. Photo by Dr. Igor Siwanowicz

Front foot (tarsus) of a male diving beetle (100x).

Nikon Small World 2016 winners announced

6th place 2016 Photomicrography Competition. Photo by Marek Miś

Air bubbles formed from melted ascorbic acid (vitamin C) crystals (50x).

Nikon Small World 2016 winners announced

7th place 2016 Photomicrography Competition. Photo by Dr. David Maitland

Leaves of Selaginella (lesser club moss) (40x).

Nikon Small World 2016 winners announced

8th place 2016 Photomicrography Competition. Photo by Samuel Silberman

Wildflower stamens (40x).

Nikon Small World 2016 winners announced

9th place 2016 Photomicrography Competition. Photo by Vin Kitayama & Sanae Kitayama

Espresso coffee crystals.

Nikon Small World 2016 winners announced

10th place 2016 Photomicrography Competition. Photo by Rogelio Moreno Gill

Frontonia (showing ingested food, cilia, mouth and trichocysts) (200x).

Categories: Equipment

Carry-everywhere convenience: Sony RX100 V samples gallery update

Sun, 10/30/2016 - 6:01am
Photo by Carey Rose

The Sony RX100-series has always been about offering photographers better image quality than a phone without weighing them down or putting a kink in their necks - and the Mark V is no exception. Ours has been a constant companion, allowing us to take advantage of the last remaining flashes of autumnal Seattle sunshine. So in the course of putting the finishing touches on our full review, we've brought one more big update to our existing samples gallery - enjoy!

Check out our RX100 V
real-world sample gallery

Categories: Equipment

Watch thousands of books being reshelved in a two minute time-lapse

Sat, 10/29/2016 - 6:00am

After a two-year closure for repairs, the Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library reopened earlier this month. That meant a whole lot of books had to go back on the shelves. Thankfully, the whole process has been documented in a totally engrossing time-lapse video that makes it look way easier than it actually was. Take a look at the video above, and head to the NYPL's blog for more on the grand re-opening of their Rose Main Reading Room.

Related: Photos of Cincinnati's impressive 'Old Main' public library

Categories: Equipment

Watch thousands of books being re-shelved in a two minute time-lapse

Sat, 10/29/2016 - 6:00am

After a two-year closure for repairs, the Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library re-opened earlier this month. That meant a whole lot of books had to go back on the shelves. Thankfully, the whole process has been documented in a totally engrossing time-lapse video that makes it look way easier than it actually was. Take a look at the video above, and head to the NYPL's blog for more on the grand re-opening of their Rose Main Reading Room.

Related: Photos of Cincinnati's impressive 'Old Main' public library

Categories: Equipment

Nikon KeyMission action cameras now shipping in US

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 3:03pm

The Nikon KeyMission action cameras are now shipping from retailers in the US. As previously stated, the Nikon KeyMission 80 is priced at $270, the KeyMission 170 at $399, and the KeyMission 360 at $499. However, all three models are being offered on Amazon, B&H Photo, and Adorama at slight discounts.

The Nikon KeyMission 360 was first introduced at CES 2016, and followed later by the KeyMission 80 and KeyMission 170, with the numbers referring to each model's field-of-view. The KeyMission 80 features a 12.5 megapixel front camera and 4.9 megapixel rear camera with support for 1080p recording, while the KeyMission 170 and 360 both support 4K recording. All three cameras are rugged to various degrees, including being waterproof and shockproof.

Via: NikonRumors

Categories: Equipment

Facebook takes aim at Snapchat and Prisma with new camera features

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 1:53pm

If cute animal selfie masks are the wave of the future, then Facebook isn't going to sit idly by. The company will be updating its in-app camera function with some Snapchat and Prisma style functions soon. It is currently testing a new version that includes animated selfie masks, overlaid graphics, and geofilters, similar to those available on Snapchat, and a range of filter effects that convert your images and videos into fine-art paintings, like on the popular Prisma app.

In addition there is a series of new 'reactive' filters that respond to movements of your body. They cover the screen with 'bubbles' that can be move around by waving your arms, or line patterns than be disrupted by motion. 

Once you have accessed the new camera, filter options can be made visible by swiping down. In addition, you can tap on the new creative tools button for even more effects. The latter include pieces of virtual clothing and fashion accessories and art-filters. And it's not just the filters that will remind you of Snapchat. Like on Snapchat, photos disappear after a 24 hour period, unless unless someone leaves a comment to start a conversation. The new Facebook camera features are currently being tested in Ireland, but should be expected to roll out globally soon.

Categories: Equipment

YI M1 Sample Gallery

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 7:00am

The YI M1 is a new Micro Four Thirds camera by a China-based company called Young Innovators. Built around a familiar 20MP Sony sensor, the M1 offers quite a bit of room for Raw post processing. We took the YI around Seattle and over the hills to Leavenworth, WA to photograph some fall color.

See our YI M1
real-world sample gallery

Categories: Equipment

Apple revamps MacBook Pro lineup, adds 'Touch Bar'

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 3:02pm

On the 25th anniversary of the first PowerBook, Apple has announced three new MacBook Pro models. The long-awaited new flagship 13in and 15in MacBook Pros bring performance boosts compared to the previous generation, revamped ergonomics, and a new 'Touch Bar', aimed at making the machines more versatile for creative professionals.

It's no surprise that the two new flagship MacBook Pro models are slimmer and lighter than their predecessors, but the ergonomic changes are more fundamental than that. Their new 'force touch' trackpads are twice as large as the previous-generation, and the keyboards have been redesigned, with a slimmer butterfly switch design, that Apple claims will offer superior tactile feel to the similar switches in the 12in MacBook. 

The big news, however, is the addition of a 'Touch Bar'. Much anticipated (and leaked), this is a touch-sensitive display strip, that effectively replaces the traditional function keys which have been a feature of consumer computing for more than 40 years. The Touch Bar is fully customizable, and its default functions change depending on the application. Obvious uses including scrubbing through a video timeline in Final Cut Pro, and quick text formatting and email flagging in Apple's Mail app.

In addition to the new 13" and 15" Touch Bar-equipped models, a third new 13in MacBook Pro has also been introduced, which is even slimmer, even lighter, but features only two thunderbolt ports, and a traditional function key array. Base configurations of the new 13in and 15in MacBook Pro models will be available starting at $1799 and $2399 respectively, and the slimmer non-Touch Bar model will start at $1499.

During a demo at the launch event, a representative from Adobe demonstrated how the Touch Bar can be used in Photoshop to quickly switch between layers, blending modes and select brushes without needing to access any of the usual on-screen pallets - effectively allowing true 'full-screen' image editing. Adobe is expecting to add full support for the Touch Bar before the end of 2016.

Another big change is how the new MacBook Pro models manage peripherals. Gone is the built-in SD reader, MagSafe connector, and any traditional USB or HDMI ports. Instead, the new computers offer four Thunderbolt 3 ports, all of which can serve as power, USB 3, HDMI, display, or ThunderBolt connectors.

In terms of performance, Apple claims that the new MacBook Pro's displays are 67% brighter, offer a 67% greater contrast ratio and 25% greater color gamut than the previous generation, and the 15in version offers 130% greater 3D graphics performance. Video editing on the 15in model should be 57% faster than the previous generation, thanks to a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, faster 2133Mhz memory and up to 4GB of video Ram. Built-in storage has been boosted too, up to 3TB with a maximum rated data transfer rate of 3.1 gigabytes per second. 

We're intrigued by the possibilities of the new Touch Bar, and after watching Adobe's demonstration of its integration into Photoshop, we can see it becoming popular with photographers. Likewise video editing. The ability to run a video at full-screen, without any on-screen clutter but still have access to key navigation and editing tools from the Touch Bar is pretty neat. Business users will appreciate Touch Bar integration with MS Office, and an integrated iOS-style Touch ID fingerprint scanner for quick unlocking and user-switching.

Every time Apple adds or removes an I/O port, certain Internet commenters get up in arms, but with the exception of the lack of SD slot, the move to an all-Thunderbolt I/O interface makes sense. We suspect that for serious users, the sheer versatility of the four USB-C style ports should outweigh the inconvenience of switching away from traditional USB, HDMI and display connectors in the long run.

Less clear-cut is the matter of how Apple intends to evolve its desktop and mobile operating systems. With iOS getting more powerful (just anecdotally, the iPad Pro has effectively replaced laptops for several of us here at DPReview), and Mac OS getting progressively more iOS-like, we're curious to see what happens next. The addition of the Touch Bar to the new MacBooks brings OS integration a little closer, but will Apple continue to expect developers like Adobe to create separate versions of its applications for both iOS and Mac OS – even as the user bases overlap?

What do you think? With Microsoft's new hybrid device, the Surface Studio snapping at their heels, is Apple still providing creative professionals with the high-end computers that they need? Let us know in the comments.

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