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2017 Roundup: Consumer Long Zoom Compacts

Bridge and travel zoom cameras are two of the very few categories of compact cameras to survive the smartphone. Whether it's a travel zoom, which puts a 25X-30X zoom into your pocket, or a bridge camera which offers even more zoom, phones just can't compete.

While there are now enthusiast-level long zoom cameras with 1"-type sensors, such as Sony's Cyber-shot RX10 series and Panasonic FZ1000/FZ2500, there are still plenty of more budget-friendly models, though their smaller sensors don't offer the image quality or depth-of-field control of the pricier models.

The following cameras are included in our roundup:

Of those eight cameras, three are pocket-sized and offer 30X-40X zooms. The other five are bridge (SLR-style) cameras with focal lengths ranging from 600mm to an unbelievable 2000mm (35mm-equivalent).

And with that, let's take a look at some consumer-level travel zoom cameras!

... Pubdate: Fri, 26 May 2017 07:43:00 Z

Think Tank Photo updates TurnStyle sling bags and adds wheels to StreetWalker series

Bag and accessories manufacturer Think Tank Photo has updated two of its ranges, adding more internal space and a rolling option to the StreetWalker series and a new waist strap to the TurnStyle sling-type bags.

All three of the existing StreetWalker backpacks have been enlarged to create more depth in the interior compartments so they can carry more kit, and particularly large bodies with wide-ranging zoom lenses still attached. The series also now features a version with wheels and a retractable handle in the StreetWalker Rolling Backpack V2.0, which can operate as a backpack or a rolling case.

The company has also revamped its Turnstyle series of sling bags, adding a new waist strap to hold the bag securely when the user is taking pictures. There are three sizes of bag, and each is now available in grey or blue.

The StreetWalker Rolling Backpack V2.0 costs $299.75 while the Turnstyle bags are priced $74.75 , $84.75 and $99.75 for the 5, 10 and 20 versions. For more information see the Think Tank Photo website.

Press release

Think Tank Photo Releases New StreetWalker® Rolling Photo Backpack
and Upgrades Classic StreetWalker® Series Backpacks

Santa Rosa, Calif. – Legendary durability and award winning comfort have made Think Tank Photo’s StreetWalker® series one of the most sought-after products in the photographic world. Now Think Tank announces the new StreetWalker Rolling Backpack V2.0, featuring the ability to switch from a backpack to a roller. Also released are upgraded versions of all three classic StreetWalker backpacks. Photographers get the same comfort and quality as the original series but with new features such as increased depth for modern DSLR systems, and dedicated pockets for both tablets and smartphones.

The new StreetWalker Rolling Backpack V2.0 is so spacious, it will fit two DSLR
bodies with lenses attached (including a 200-400mm f/4), and a 15” laptop. The StreetWalker HardDrive V2.0 backpack fits two bodies with lenses attached or a gripped body with a 200–400mm f/4 attached, a 15” laptop and a 13” tablet. The StreetWalker Pro V2.0 backpack fits two bodies with lens attached or a 400mm f/2.8 unattached, and a 10” table. And, the StreetWalker V2.0 backpack fits one gripped DSLR with 70–200mm f/2.8 attached, one standard DSLR with 24–70mm f/2.8 attached, a 16–35mm f/2.8, and a 10” tablet.

“With the release of the new StreetWalker Rolling Backpack and the new versions of the three classic StreetWalker backpacks, we made three of the best pro-level backpacks in the photo industry even better,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank Photo’s CEO and lead designer. “The one thing we’ve heard over and over since they first launched is how comfortable and durable they are.

Now, with the hybrid rolling backpack and the upgraded core backpacks, we’ve integrated even more photographer feedback to expand their functionality.”


StreetWalker Rolling Backpack V2.0

  • Comfortable harness system allows you to roll the bag or carry it on your back
  • Dedicated laptop compartment that holds up to a 15” laptop
  • Fits two bodies with lenses attached including a 200–400mm f/4
  • Specially designed interior to maximize gear for carry-on, meets most U.S. and International airline carry-on requirements
  • Reinforced telescoping handle with rubberized touch points
  • Tripod mount on front panel
  • Dedicated smartphone pocket fits today’s large phones with a 5.5” (14cm) screen size
  • Lockable YKK® RC Fuse zipper sliders (lock not included)
  • Two side water bottle pockets and two side zippered pockets
  • YKK® RC Fuse zippers, ballistic nylon, high-density velex and closed cell PU foam are the highest quality materials in the industry
  • Custom-designed, high-performance, 80mm wheels with sealed ABEC grade 5 bearings for quiet rolling
  • Seam-sealed rain cover included
  • User-replaceable retractable handle, wheels, wheel housings, feet and kick plate extends product life
  • Adjustable dividers allow a customized fit for your DSLR or Mirrorless gear
  • Hypalon reinforced rear panel for increased durability
  • Shoulder harness pockets, D-rings, daisy chain and adjustable sternum strap

Think Tank Photo’s Upgraded TurnStyle V2.0 Camera Bags Offer Greater Stability

Santa Rosa, Calif. – Ideal for a casual day of shooting with a DSLR or Mirrorless system, Think Tank Photo’s slim, body-conforming TurnStyle V2.0 sling bag allow photographers to move and shoot freely. The updated version of this popular series offers a new stabilizer strap that holds the bag steady while actively shooting or tucks away when not in use. Think Tank’s sling bags’ design promotes easy rotation for rapid access to gear and accessories.

The TurnStyle 5 fits a mirrorless body plus two to four lenses, and an eight-inch tablet. The TurnStyle 10 fits a standard size DSLR plus one to two lenses, and an eight-inch tablet. The TurnStyle 20 fits a standard size DSLR plus one to three lenses, and a 10” tablet. These new version releases come in the traditional Charcoal and in a new color, Indigo Blue.

“This new version of our popular TurnStyle sling bags reinforces their reputation as the ideal ‘grab and go’ camera bag,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank Photo’s CEO and lead designer. “One thing we’ve learned from serving professional photographers for so long is that they always need one, pre-conformed gear kit that gives them access to their core gear. The TurnStyle is that bag.”


  • Slim, contoured, body-conforming design with a wide shoulder strap provides a very comfortable fit
  • Lightweight materials and construction
  • Breathable 320G air-mesh back panel keeps your back cool during long days
  • Easily accessible front organizer pocket for batteries, memory cards or other small accessories
  • Rear internal pocket holds documents
  • Fully customizable interior dividers
  • Seam-sealed rain cover included in dedicated pocket


Exterior: All fabric exterior is treated with a durable water resistant coating while fabric underside is coated with polyurethane for superior water resistance, YKK® RC Fuse zippers, 420D velocity nylon, 550D polyspun, 320g air mesh, nylon webbing, 3-ply bonded nylon thread.

Interior: Removable closed-cell foam dividers, P210D, polyurethane backed velex liner, 2x polyurethane coated 210T seam-sealed taffeta rain cover, nylon binding tape, 3-ply bonded nylon thread.

... Pubdate: Thu, 25 May 2017 21:11:00 Z

Video: Kai Wong's first impressions of the new DJI Spark drone

DJI's latest drone is here and it is tiny, stabilized and reasonably priced. A floating selfie stick of sorts, the DJI Spark is likely to appeal to a wide array of casual users and enthusiasts. So is it any good? Kai Wong spent some time testing out a prototype of the Spark prior to its release, and seems impressed with the video quality and stablization. Have a watch for specifics and some insightful commentary, as well as a bit of humor.
... Pubdate: Thu, 25 May 2017 19:46:00 Z

Arsenal is artificial intelligence for your DSLR or mirrorless camera

A new product being funded on Kickstarter, Arsenal, aims to simplify the process of capturing images using a DSLR or mirrorless camera by utilizing artificial intelligence. The system is composed of a hardware component sits on the hotshoe and connects to the camera's USB port, as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android that communicate via WiFi or Bluetooth to the main unit. Among other things, Arsenal chooses ideal camera settings for a particular scene based on what it has learned from thousands of similar existing photographs.

Arsenal was created by engineer and photographer Ryan Stout as a way to quickly shoot 'amazing images' in any condition, and without having to manually adjust the camera's settings. The related mobile app provides total control over the camera, as well as one-tap access to an AI assistant - trained from a database of millions of photographs and their metadata - that chooses optimal settings based on the scene in front of the camera. The software then goes on to refine its chosen settings based on 18 environmental factors. It even takes vibrations into account, thanks to its highly sensitive accelerometer.

Photographers are given a live preview of the scene through the mobile app, as well as manual control over aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. You can focus by tapping on your phone's touchscreen as well, or tap multiple points and Arsenal will ensure they're all focused. Arsenal also supports advanced camera functions, like automated photo stacking for HDR images, focus stacking, long exposures without the need for ND filters, and time lapse creation. The resulting Raw files are saved directly to the camera.

Images on your camera can be viewed, even at 100%, directly in the app. From there you can instantly share to social media using your phone's social sharing capabilities. You can even rate images and enter Lightroom compatible notes, and they'll all show up upon import.

Arsenal supports cameras from Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, and Sony; photographers can input their own camera on this page to see whether it is supported. The camera assistant is currently being funded through Kickstarter, where the $50,000 goal has been exceeded with nearly a quarter-million in funding. Backers can get a Kickstarter Exclusive Arsenal by pledging at least $150; shipping is estimated to start in January.

Our gallery below explains more about Arsenal's features. View full-screen for captions.

Via: Kickstarter

Press Release:

Arsenal, leaving stealth mode, unveils AI-powered camera hardware on Kickstarter

Intelligent camera assistant wirelessly controls DSLR and Mirrorless cameras from a smartphone, uses machine learning to find optimal settings in any conditions.

BOSEMAN, MT—May 23, 2017—Arsenal, a camera technology startup, today announced the world’s first intelligent camera assistant powered by machine learning. The new hardware and software product, launched on Kickstarter, enables photographers to wirelessly control their cameras and quickly perform advanced techniques.

Arsenal’s artificial intelligence (AI) is powered by a series of machine learning algorithms trained on a database of millions of photographs and their metadata. By comparing new scenes with its database and adjusting based on environmental variables, Arsenal enables photographers to get the perfect shot every time.

“Today's cameras have amazing optics, but they do very little to actually help you take a good photo,” said Ryan Stout, Arsenal’s founder and CEO. “You can go spend a thousand dollars and out-of-the-box it will take worse photos than your smartphone. Arsenal changes that by making your existing camera smarter.”

Arsenal will serve the growing market for Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) and Mirrorless cameras. Its initial product will be compatible with dozens of popular models made by Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Fuji.

In addition to its AI capabilities, Arsenal gives photographers control over their camera from up to 100 feet away. Users can adjust settings, watch a live preview, and trigger the shutter remotely from their smartphone.

Arsenal also simplifies several advanced photographic techniques. Arsenal will perform photo stacking (the process of combining multiple photos for more dynamic range or sharper focus), long exposures, and timelapses. In each case, the resulting RAW files are saved directly on the camera.

The Arsenal app also includes powerful photo review capabilities. Users can wirelessly browse the photos on their camera’s card and view individual RAW files in full resolution. Photos can then be shared directly to Instagram, Snap, and Facebook.

The Arsenal system, which is currently being tested in the field, consists of two parts: an ultralight hardware device that sits on top of a user’s camera, and an iOS/Android mobile app. The app wirelessly communicates with the device via wifi or Bluetooth, which in turn controls the camera via a micro-USB connection.

Backers of Arsenal’s Kickstarter campaign will be the first to receive the product, which is scheduled to ship in January 2018.  

For more information on Arsenal, the intelligent camera assistant, visit https://witharsenal.com.

... Pubdate: Thu, 25 May 2017 19:34:00 Z

A prototype of the Leica Noctilux-M 50mm Edition 0.95 can be yours for $25K

As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of the Noctilux-M f/0.95 ASPH ‘Edition 0.95’ for $24,995. The Edition 0.95 is already a limited run version of the ‘standard’ $11,000 version of the lens, that comes finished in Leica’s new anodized high-gloss black instead of black paint.

There are only 95 of the ‘Edition 0.95’ lenses worldwide, which have unpainted engravings, but it isn’t clear how many Prototype B models exist. Needless to say, we’d hope there are fewer than 95.

The store’s website says that this specific model has the words ‘Prototype B’ in white paint on its underside, and that it will come with a matte black lens cap instead of the usual glossy one. Despite the store only having one example of this lens, thrill seekers can still add ten or more to their virtual shopping basket.

For more information see the San Francisco Leica Store website.

Store information

Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f0.95 ASPH. "Edition 0.95" Prototype B

The Noctilux 0.95 Edition is one of the most unique noctilux lenses ever to roll off Leica's production lines in Wetzlar. Built to resolve past the capabilities that are known in any other fast primes or even the faculties of human vision, the Noctilux is a legendary benchmark of photographic optical engineering. This special "0.95 Edition" is limited, respectively, to 95 units world wide and stands visual representation of the elegantly unique images the Noctilux creates. Featuring the same optical design as the regular Noctilux 50mm 0.95 ASPH this special edition has an added bit of elegance. The exterior of the "0.95 Edition" features Leica's newly developed high-gloss anodized aluminum surface. The markings on the lens are left unpainted except one, the 0.95 f-stop mark.

This lens will be available in extremely limited quantities worldwide, and Leica Store SF/Camera West Boutiques will have very limited stock. If you have any questions concerning the availability of this lens please feel free to contact us directly at sales@leicastoresf.com or call 415.801.5066.

This specific lens is a prototype of this already rare blend of Leica and S.T. Dupont craftsmanship. This could very well be one of the most collectible 0.95 Noctilux's on the market today. The Prototype reads "prototyp B" the the back side of the barrel, and features a matte black cap instead of the glossy cap that comes with other 0.95 edition lenses.

... Pubdate: Thu, 25 May 2017 18:27:00 Z

Instagram is testing a feature that will let you hide/archive photos

Some Instagram users are noticing a new feature that enables the archiving of old posts, removing them from public view without going so far as to delete them. The company has confirmed this feature's existence to TechCrunch, explaining that the new archival option enables Instagrammers to view - and, if desired, restore - their old posts whenever they'd like.

Users with access to the feature, which is currently in testing and only available on a limited basis, can find it by tapping the '...' menu button on an Instagram post. Doing so reveals an 'Archive' option; tapping this removes the image from public view. To view archived posts, users can tap a small clock icon located in the upper right corner of their profile page. Instagram plans to expand the feature's availability 'over the next few months.'

Via: TechCrunch

... Pubdate: Thu, 25 May 2017 18:16:00 Z

Sony firmwares bring 10fps bursts with adapted lenses on a9 and faster startup

Sony has issued firmware updates for nine of its E-mount lenses and the LA-EA3 adapter, most of which appear to be aimed at increasing lens performance when used with the new Sony a9 camera.

Three lenses – the Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA, FE 85mm F1.4 GM, and FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS – gain support for continuous, blackout free shooting at up to 20fps on the a9, one of the camera's headline features. The update for the 70-200mm GM also promises to improve startup speed when used with the a9.

Also important, the LA-EA3 adapter now enables adapted A-mount lenses to maintain continuous autofocus at up to 10 fps when used with the a9.

Finally, the updates improve AF stability and IRIS function during continuous shooting on several lenses.

You can view details and download the update for your operating system by clicking on the Drivers & Software button on the linked product pages below:

  • 70-200mm GM: improves startup speed and adds blackout-free shooting up to 20 fps when using Alpha a9, improves AF tracking during continuous shooting 
  • 70-200mm G: improves IRIS function during continuous shooting
  • 24-240mm: improves IRIS function during continuous shooting
  • 28-70mm: improves IRIS function during continuous shooting 
  • 24-70mm Zeiss: improves IRIS function during continuous shooting 
  • 50mm f/1.8: improves AF stability 
  • 24-70mm GM: improves AF stability 
  • 50mm Zeiss: adds blackout-free shooting up to 20 fps when using Alpha a9, improves AF tracking during continuous shooting 
  • 85mm GM: adds blackout-free shooting up to 20 fps when using Alpha a9, improves AF tracking during continuous shooting  
  • LA-EA3 adapter: enables continuous AF at up to 10 fps when used with the Alpha a9
... Pubdate: Thu, 25 May 2017 16:02:00 Z

Fujifilm releases firmware updates for several cameras and software products

Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1. The links below include download links for the updated camera manuals and full details about the updates:

In addition Fujifilm has provided updates to several of its software products:

... Pubdate: Thu, 25 May 2017 15:07:00 Z

Go surfing in VR with Kelly Slater

What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste. Director Taylor Steele gave Slater a VR camera in hopes that it would let the audience 'feel right there with us.' (The actual surfing part starts around 1:30.)
Note: you may need to use the Google Chrome browser in order to watch in VR.
... Pubdate: Thu, 25 May 2017 14:45:00 Z

Nikon D3: The camera that changed everything

In 2007, after several years of lagging behind Canon in the enthusiast and professional DSLR market, Nikon was doing alright. Not spectacularly, but they were hanging in there. The D200 was a popular and capable enthusiast model, and the professional D2x was a significant advance on the muddled 'h' and 's' releases of the past. But it was their biggest competitor that seemed to have all the momentum. While Canon had been using APS-H and full-frame sensors for years, none of Nikon's DSLRs offered sensors bigger than APS-C, and Canon still ruled the roost in terms of autofocus1 and high ISO imaging capability.

But around that time, we had an inkling that Nikon had something big on the way. Not a company prone to grand gestures, Nikon invited the world's press (and I do mean the world's press) to Tokyo, in the sapping humidity of a Japanese heatwave for a top secret announcement...

The magnesium alloy-bodied D3 was as tough as anything that Canon ever brought to market, but offered a combination of speed, sensitivity and autofocus performance that the industry had never seen before. 

Ten years ago, camera technology was advancing continuously, and quickly. For quite a long time, it seemed like every new generation of digital cameras was better than the last in ways that camera buyers (and reviewers) actually cared about. Obviously, each new cycle brought more megapixels, but equally as important were the ergonomic and performance improvements that made each new generation of cameras easier to use, and more effective than the last.

Buzz Aldrin, in London to mark the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing.

Nowhere were these advances more obvious than in the professional DSLR segment. Compare the original EOS-1D of 2001 to the EOS-1D Mark IV of 2010. They look similar, but in terms of usability and image quality they're worlds apart.

Let's take usability, to start with. If we look at just the screen interfaces alone, in less than a decade, LCDs got bigger, and much sharper. Live view became standard, and, camera menu systems evolved from messy lists that looked like Windows ME error messages to friendly tabs and mobile-inspired icons.

My personal D3S, nestled alongside a D810 and several lenses in a Pelican case. It's still great, and I still use it.

The 4MP Canon EOS-1D is still capable of turning out decent-looking images for web and limited print use, and it can do so impressive quickly (8 fps ain't bad for a sixteen year-old DSLR). But the EOS-1D Mark IV offered four times the pixel count, better image quality across the board, including a far superior high ISO imaging capability, a faster continuous shooting rate, and a much more sophisticated autofocus system - plus live view and movie mode.

High Barn, not far from where I grew up, in North Yorkshire. 12MP might not be much by 2017 standards, but it's enough for a high quality 13-inch print.

All of this is by way of preamble. The point (finally! He gets to the point!) is that even by the fast-paced standards of the professional DSLR market in the mid 2000s, the Nikon D3 was a major technological achievement. Arguably, (and I admit it's a big 'arguably') the EOS-1D Mark IV and its successors might not have been quite such advanced cameras without the technological game-upping that Canon had to do in the years following the launch of the D3.

Nikon D3 Sample Images (2008)

As a working photographer and photography writer at the time, the D3 was (and remains, actually) the single most impactful product to be released during my career. Before Nikon's presentation in Tokyo had even drawn to a close,2 my industry's expectations of what a DSLR could do had been shifted.

Until the D3, you could either have a fast cropped sensor DSLR, or a slow full-frame one - not both. Until the D3, the maximum ISO sensitivity setting that you might be able to shoot at was either 1600 or 3200 (depending on the model), and even then, not particularly confidently. Until the D3 (and its sister model the D300) came along, if you wanted the best autofocus performance, there was no question - you bought Canon.

Melody Gardot, performing in London. The D3's shutter sounds like someone just dropped a cribbage board onto a marble floor, but the D3S introduced a fairly discreet 'Q' mode.

I was happily shooting with a Canon EOS-1D Mark II when the D3 was released. For the kind of photography I was doing at the time, the Mark II was one of the best cameras on the market, and did the job perfectly well - or so I thought. I felt the same way about the 1D Mark II in 2007 as I did about my Nokia 3210. Solid, reliable, and elegant in its own way. A useful and streamlined tool.

At risk of overstating the point, the D3 was to my EOS-1D Mark II what the iPhone was to the Nokia 3210. In short: a paradigm shift.3 

Florence Welch, shot with the D3's successor, the D3S. The D3S added some welcome tweaks over the D3, including in-camera sensor cleaning, and slightly improved high ISO image quality.

Using the D3, I could shoot quickly and without a crop factor for the first time. I could capture full-color images in light so low that my own eyes couldn't fully discern what I was looking at (and the AF could usually keep up). I could shoot at ISO 6400, and marvel at the moderate film-like grain - a grain pattern that wasn't distracting at all, and showed no banding. The D3's autofocus system was at least a generation ahead of what I was used to in terms of tracking too, allowing me to reliably use AF-C, even with off-center AF points in poor light. 

Nikon D3S Sample Images (2010)

In practical terms, this meant that I could capture images of performers in light so marginal that none of the other photographers working alongside me were able to get a sharp exposure.

A couple of times during my first few months of shooting with the D3 (when I had the camera for review, but before it was shipping in significant numbers) I found myself alone in the photo pit at a small venue, still shooting in punishingly low light after the other photographers had given up and left.4

But it wasn't just performance photographers that were amazed by the D3. Wildlife photographers, too, were raving about this new camera that let them shoot in full color, in situations where previously they would have been limited to infrared. Like I said, it was a paradigm shift.

The D3S has accompanied me on a few shooting trips in 2017, including a protest against the Trump administration's attempted travel ban, back in January. 

So of course I bought one. I sold all my Canon gear, took a hit on the exchange, ate tinned food for a few months and picked up a D3 with a 24-70mm F2.8. I added more lenses over the following couple of years when I could afford to, and ultimately traded the D3 for a D3S. The D3S added in-camera sensor-cleaning (one of the D3's few deficiencies), even better high ISO image quality and a basic HD video function. That was around the same time I started to write for DPReview, and about a year after that we moved to America and I mostly stopped shooting live music.

My life has changed a lot since then, but I still have my D3S and I still use it - mostly now as a second camera for event photography. And no, Dan Bracaglia - I'm not selling, so stop asking.

A still from a commercial shoot for a young singer-songwriter, Anna Sinfield, in 2008. She's a producer, these days, for UK radio.

One last anecdote...

Not long after the D3's launch, back in London, I spoke to a young Nikon engineer who had been heavily involved in the design of the new camera. He was visiting from Tokyo. He brought with him two sets of prints - one set from the then-current Canon EOS-1D Mark III, and an equivalent set from the D3. Pointing to the shots from the Canon, he said "in my opinion, these look like digital images". Turning to the images from the D3 he said "but these look like photographs".

That might sound like hyperbole, but the thing is - he was right.

1. Setting aside the much-reported and in my opinion overblown autofocus woes of the EOS-1D Mark III.

2. In addition to the cameras, the presentation was also memorable for a closing appeal from a very senior Nikon executive to the assembled US press. Please - he requested - please pronounce 'Nikon' correctly as 'Nick-on' not 'Nye-con' - a plea that was of course completely ignored by all concerned. That trip was also the first time I encountered a Geisha (it would not be the last).

3. If the D3 had come loaded with 'Snake II' it would have been perfect. Actually, given the amount of time professional photographers spend just waiting around, I've always wondered why simple arcade games weren't pre-loaded on professional DSLRs. 

4. The Pogues - I'm looking at you. Or rather, I was trying to...

... Pubdate: Thu, 25 May 2017 10:30:00 Z

Formula for LomoChrome Purple 400 film reworked

LomoChrome Purple 400 -  first announced in 2013 - has been reformulated and should now have improved sensitivity at ISO 400, a more refined grain and better rendering of red hues. Inspired by classic infrared film, it uses C41 processing, making it an accessible way for analog shooters to try their hands at this style of photography.

Are these improvements to LomoChrome Purple 400 related to an overall increase in market demand for film? It's hard to say. The good new is Purple 400 is now better than ever and will still shift your blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.

... Pubdate: Wed, 24 May 2017 22:55:00 Z

Ricoh announces WG-50 rugged compact with 5x zoom, built-in macro lights

Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera - the WG-50 - which replaces the WG-30. The WG-50 offers a 28-140mm equiv. F3.5-5.5 lens. The WG-50 uses a 16MP BSI-CMOS sensor and is capable of recording Full HD video at 30 fps. It is waterproof for two hours at a depth of 14m/45ft, and can cope with being dropped from a height of 1.6m/5ft, will operate at temperatures as low as -10°C/+14F and can withstand 100kg/220lbs of force.

As with Ricoh's other recent rugged cameras, the WG-50 has an array of six LEDs around the lens that can be used to assist macro shooting, selfies and when using the 2MP digital microscope mode.

The camera will go on sale at the end of June in a choice of orange or black, and will cost $279/£249. For more information see the Ricoh website.

Press release

RICOH COMPANY, LTD and RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD. announced the launch of the RICOH WG-50 digital compact camera.

This new model features a compact, lightweight body design, delivering exceptional waterproof and shockproof performance.

Developed as a standard-class waterproof digital compact camera, the RICOH WG-50 provides dependable performance and outstanding operability in demanding outdoor conditions. The WG-50 is waterproof to a depth of 14 metres, shockproof against falls from a height of 1.6 metres, and freeze-proof to temperatures as low as -10°C. It also provides a range of features to facilitate all types of still-image and movie shooting, including approximately 16.0 effective megapixels and Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) movie recording capability. It also comes equipped with an outdoor friendly LCD screen on the brightness can be instantly adjusted to the lighting levels in a particular shooting situation.

The RICOH WG-50 features a range of optional camera-mounting accessories allowing the user to fix the camera securely on a bicycle or watercraft. Using the camera’s creative shooting functions, such as interval shooting and Full HD movie recording, the user can capture unique images seen from a very different angle or viewpoint.

RRP £249.99
Availability: End June 2017
Colours: Orange or Black

Main Features

1. Heavy-duty construction allowing underwater shooting down to 14 metres, for up to two hours of continuous operation (equivalent to IPX 8 or JIS Class 8). The RICOH WG-50 is also shockproof against falls from a height of 1.6 metres,* dustproof (equivalent to IPX 6 or JIS Class 6), freeze-proof to temperatures as low as -10°C, and crushproof against weights up to 100kgf (kilogram force). ** Thanks to this heavy-duty construction, the camera performs superbly and dependably even in difficult and demanding outdoor conditions.
* Measured under RICOH IMAGING-original testing standards — from a height of 1.6 metres, onto a surface of 5cm-thick plywood — conforming to Method 516.5-Shock of the MIL-Standard 810F
** Measured under RICOH IMAGING-original testing standards

2. Exceptional image quality
The WG-50 comes equipped with a back illuminated CMOS image sensor, which delivers excellent high-sensitivity and low-noise characteristics and high-speed readout of image data signals. Coupled with a high-performance imaging engine, this image sensor delivers a top sensitivity of ISO 6400 and super-high-resolution images with approximately 16.0 effective megapixels. This model also provides advanced image processing functions, made possible by the latest super-resolution technology, to assure sharp, clear, high-resolution images. It also offers such innovative features as Hand-held Night Snap mode, which automatically captures several images of the same night-time scene from which it produces a single, blur-free composite image. Some advanced features have also been added to this model to facilitate and upgrade scenic photography. For example, white-balance optimisation in the Landscape shooting mode reproduces brilliant greens of trees.

3. 5X optical zoom lens with a 28mm wide-angle coverage
The WG-50 features a high-performance, five-times optical zoom lens with a focal-length coverage from 5mm to 25mm (equivalent to approx. 28mm to 140mm in the 35mm format) to accommodate a wide range of scenes and subjects, including sweeping landscapes. It also provides other convenient shooting functions, such as a macro mode to capture dramatic close-up images from a minimum focusing distance of a mere one centimetre; an Intelligent Zoom function to extend the zoom range to approximately 36 times (equivalent to 1008mm in the 35mm format) without compromising image quality and ideal for superior telephoto photography; and an interval shooting mode, which comes in handy for fixed-point observation.

4. Underwater shooting mode
Specifically designed for underwater photography, the Underwater and Underwater Movie shooting modes are programmed to optimise colour and contrast, based on the data of images actually captured under the water. These modes deliver sharp, true-to-life images by enhancing shades of red which are lost in underwater photography, while effectively compensating for the loss of contrast caused by the diffusion of light in water. During Underwater mode, the Flash Off + Flash On option, allows the user to consecutively capture two images — with a single shutter release — one without flash and another with flash.

5. Six Macro Lights to assist close-up shooting, and a Self-Portrait Assist mode
Ideally positioned around the circumference of the lens barrel for macro shooting, six LED Macro Lights allow the WG-50 to provide bright, uniform illumination on a subject when the Digital Microscope mode is selected.*** Using these Macro Lights, the user can clearly see a magnified view of the microscopic world on the camera’s LCD screen, normally undetectable by the naked eye, to effortlessly capture eye-catching, close-up images. In order to minimize camera shake and subject shake, the Instant Illumination Enhance function allows for the use of a higher shutter speed by automatically raising the discharge level of the Macro Lights at the moment of shutter release. The Macro Lights also provide other useful functions, such as a Self-Portrait Assist mode, which uses the blink of an LED lamp to check if the subject’s face has been safely captured within the picture frame, and the LED Lighting mode, which uses the Macro Lights as a lighting device in the dark.
*** When this mode is selected, the image size is fixed at 2.0 megapixels (at 16:9 proportions).

6. Full HD movie recording for extended shooting of high-quality movies
The WG-50 provides Full HD movie recording employing the H.264 recording format. Users can capture high-quality, extended movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels, 16:9 proportions) at a frame rate of 30 frames per second. To add some creative touches to movie recording, it also features a high-speed camera function**** for slow-motion playback of captured movie clips, and an interval movie function. A micro-HDMI terminal (Type D) is also provided on the camera body for simultaneous output of Full HD movie clips and sound to external audio-visual devices.
**** When this function is selected, the recorded size is fixed at 1280 x 720 pixels.

7. Triple anti-shake protection to prevent blurred images in all applications
(1) Pixel Track SR mechanism
When recording still images, this advanced shake-reduction mechanism effectively compensates for camera shake by digitally processing affected images.

(2) Digital SR mode
When the camera detects low-lighting conditions in still-image shooting, this mode automatically raises the sensitivity up to as high as ISO 6400, making it possible to use a higher shutter speed and effectively minimise the adverse effect of camera shake and subject shake when dealing with poor lighting conditions.

(3) Movie SR mode
During movie recording, this mode effectively compensates for the misalignment of images caused by camera shake through the use of exclusive software to produce beautiful, blur-free movie clips.

8. 2.7 inch LCD screen with Outdoor View Setting mode
The WG-50 comes equipped 2.7 inch LCD screen with horizontally extended 16:9 proportions and approximately 230,000 dots. The screen’s AR (Anti-Reflection) coating minimises annoying glare and reflections to deliver a sharp, clear on-screen image even in sunshine during outdoor shooting. It also comes equipped with such convenient features as the Outdoor View Setting mode, which easily sets the optimal screen brightness level for a given lighting situation.

9. Other features

  • A range of WG-series mount accessories (optional) for a range of shooting situations
  • Two remote control receptors (one in front and another in the back) to widen signal coverage
  • Macro stand (included) to maintain a minimum focusing distance of one centimetre to the subject during extended observation and shooting of macro images
  • High-speed Face Detection function to capture as many as 32 faces in focus in approximately 0.03 seconds (minimum); Smile Capture function to automatically release the shutter when the subject’s smile is detected
  • Outdoor friendly Style Watch function to display the time on the LCD monitor, using an extended push of the OK button when the camera’s power is turned off
  • Delay-free, push-button start of the playback mode, using an extended push of the playback button
  • Auto Picture mode to automatically select the most appropriate shooting mode from 16 different scene modes
  • A choice of 12 digital filters
  • Pet detection function to automatically detect the face of a cat or dog

Ricoh WG-50 specifications

Body type
Body typeCompact
Body materialComposite
Max resolution4608 x 3456
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 16:9
Effective pixels16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors17 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Sensor typeBSI-CMOS
Color spacesRGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
ISOAuto, 125-6400
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationDigital only
Uncompressed formatNo
JPEG quality levelsFine, normal, basic
File format
  • JPEG (Exif v2.3)
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.)28–140 mm
Optical zoom5×
Maximum apertureF3.5–5.5
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (7.2X)
Manual focusYes
Normal focus range50 cm (19.69)
Macro focus range1 cm (0.39)
Number of focus points9
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size2.7
Screen dots230,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed4 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Auto
  • Program
Scene modes
  • HDR
  • Handheld Night Snap
  • Movie
  • High Speed Movie
  • Digital Microscope
  • Landscape
  • Flower
  • Portrait
  • Underwater
  • Underwater Movie
  • Interval Shot
  • Interval Movie
  • Surf & Snow
  • Kids
  • Pet
  • Sport
  • Night Scene
  • Night Scene Portrait
  • Fireworks
  • Food
  • Digital SR
  • Report
  • Green
Built-in flashYes
Flash range5.50 m (at Auto ISO)
External flashNo
Flash modesOn, off
Drive modes
  • Single
  • Self-timer
  • Continuous
  • Burst
  • Remote control
  • Auto Bracketing
Continuous drive8.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 secs, remote)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1280 x 720 @ 120p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1280 x 720 @ 60p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1280 x 720 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC card
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (micro-HDMI)
Microphone portNo
Headphone portNo
Remote controlYes (Wireless)
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionD-LI92 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)300
Weight (inc. batteries)193 g (0.43 lb / 6.81 oz)
Dimensions123 x 62 x 30 mm (4.84 x 2.44 x 1.18)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
... Pubdate: Wed, 24 May 2017 20:17:00 Z

The DJI Spark is a $500 HD mini drone

DJI unveiled the Spark mini drone this morning, an entry-level product aimed at casual users and enthusiasts. It is capable of 1080p HD video capture, features a 2-axis gimbal and uses a 1/2.3-inch 12MP CMOS sensor.

The size of a soda can, the unit weighs just 300 g. Despite its small footprint, Spark can fly up to 50 kph, offers a 100 m range (when controlled by a smart device) and has a 16 min flight time. Other highlights include multiple sensors for accident avoidance, gesture control, micro-USB charging and DJI’s Intelligent Flight modes. The unit can be controlled via hand gestures alone, a smart device or a controller.

A neat new feature called QuickShot shoots one minute of footage and automatically edits it down to 10 secs for sharing on social media. When using the Quickshot feature, Spark offers 4 different automatic flight patterns. One of them, called 'Helix,' sends the drone spiraling upward away from you. Spark also features a new panorama mode and a ShallowFocus mode.

It comes in five colors including: Alpine White, Sky Blue, Meadow Green, Lava Red, and Sunrise Yellow. An accessory package will also be sold alongside the Spark which includes a physical controller, extra battery, propeller guards and a charging hub for $200.

Both will be available June 15th. You can pre-order here.

Press Release

DJI Launches Spark, The Easy And Fun Camera Drone For Everyone

The Company’s First Mini Drone Lets You Capture Special Moments From The Air Just By Moving Your Hands

DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, Wednesday launched Spark, an easy-to-use, fun-to-fly mini camera drone that lifts off from the palm of your hand to capture and share the special moments in your life on the go.

Thanks to DJI’s powerful technology, Spark is the first drone that users can control by hand gestures alone, successfully removing the barriers between you and your camera in the sky. Even if you’ve never flown a drone before, flying Spark is easy because the only remote controller you’ll need is your hand.

When Spark takes off from your hand, it automatically enters Gesture Mode. This features new advanced gesture controls like PalmControl, which lets users control Spark with hand movements.[1] In Gesture Mode, you can also send Spark up and away from you, take a selfie, and call it back with just your hands.

“Controlling a camera drone with hand movements alone is a major step towards making aerial technology an intuitive part of everyone’s daily life, from work and adventure to moments with friends and family,” said Paul Pan, Senior Product Manager at DJI. “Spark’s revolutionary new interface lets you effortlessly extend your point of view to the air, making it easier than ever to capture and share the world from new perspectives.”

Spark has been designed to be the perfect lifestyle accessory you can take anywhere. It fits easily in almost any bag and weighs just 10.6 ounces (300 grams) – less than a can of soda. Spark is ready to launch within seconds whenever inspiration strikes and can be operated by a remote controller, a mobile device, or hand gestures alone. Spark will be available in five different colors: Alpine White, Sky Blue, Meadow Green, Lava Red, and Sunrise Yellow.

Visually Smart, Incredibly Intuitive

Spark comes with new and exciting flight options that empower you to effortlessly capture and share your memorable moments. The new QuickShot Intelligent Flight Mode makes creating professional videos fun and easy. Select a QuickShot, and Spark will fly along a preset flight path while recording a short video and tracking a subject along the way.

Four QuickShots are available: Rocket, sending Spark straight up into the air with the camera pointed down; Dronie, flying up and away from your subject; Circle, rotating around the subject; and Helix, spiraling away from a subject as it flies upward. For each QuickShot, Spark will automatically create a 10-second video from your flight that is ready to share on social media, where everyone can see your special moments.

Previously introduced Intelligent Flight Modes such as TapFly and ActiveTrack can also be found on Spark. Developed based on DJI's vision technology, a new TapFly sub mode called Coordinate allows Spark to fly to a location you tap on your mobile device screen. TapFly’s Direction Mode lets you keep flying in the direction you tap on the screen. Using ActiveTrack, Spark will automatically recognize and track an object you choose, keeping it at the center of the frame for perfect shots of objects in motion. Whether you are using TapFly or tracking a subject, Spark’s 3D Sensing System will actively sense obstacles in front of the aircraft.

With the remote controller accessory, operators can switch to Sport Mode and unleash Spark's speed potential of up to 31 mph (50 kph). Sport Mode sets the gimbal to first-person view (FPV) by default, so the camera moves with you as you fly. Spark will also be compatible with DJI Goggles for an immersive FPV flight experience.

Shoot Like a Pro

Spark houses an impressive camera with a 1/2.3” CMOS sensor that captures 12 megapixel photos and shoots stabilized HD 1080p videos. Spark's 2-axis mechanical gimbal and UltraSmooth technology dramatically reduce shake and rolling shutter effect to capture cinematic shots effortlessly.

Spark includes many previous DJI drone shooting modes with two new additions: Pano and ShallowFocus. In Pano Mode, the camera creates horizontal or vertical panoramas by automatically adjusting its gimbal and heading, taking a series of pictures and stitching them together. ShallowFocus allows you to put part of a picture into sharp focus while the rest of the image is softened, creating photographs with a shallow depth of field. An array of filters and automatic editing templates available in the DJI GO 4 app enables creators to quickly edit videos and share them directly to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms.

Fly with Safety, Accuracy, and Precision

Spark’s FlightAutonomy system consists of the main camera, a downward-facing vision system, a forward-facing 3D Sensing System, dual-band GPS and GLONASS, a high-precision inertial measurement unit, and 24 powerful computing cores. These features allow Spark to hover accurately with vision system assistance at up to 98 feet (30 meters) and sense obstacles from up to 16 ft (5 m) away.

Like all recent DJI drones, Spark can return to its home point automatically with a sufficient GPS signal. While using the remote controller, if the battery gets too low, connection is lost, or the operator presses the Return to Home (RTH) button, Spark flies back to the preset home point while sensing obstacles in its path. Spark also integrates DJI’s GEO System or NFZ geofencing to provide you with up-to-date guidance on areas where flight may be limited by regulations or raise safety or security concerns – helping you fly safely and responsibly.

For optimal performance, Spark is powered by a high-energy density LiPo battery and has a maximum flight time of up to 16 minutes. When flying with the remote controller accessory, Spark allows for 720p real-time video transmission from up to 1.2 miles (2 km) away.[2]

Price and Availability

The US retail price of a DJI Spark, including an aircraft, a battery, a USB charger and three pairs of propellers, is $499 USD. The Spark Fly More Combo includes an aircraft, two batteries, four pairs of propellers, a remote controller, propeller guards, a charging hub, a shoulder bag and all necessary cables, with a US retail price of $699 USD. Pricing and availability of other accessories for Spark will be announced at a later date.

Spark will be available for pre-order at store.dji.com, four DJI Flagship Stores, and authorized dealers. Spark pre-orders will start shipping in mid-June. Color options and Fly More Combo availability may vary at different sales channels.

DJI Care for Spark

DJI Care Refresh for Spark, a new one-year coverage plan, will enable Spark customers to obtain up to two full replacements that are new or equivalent to new, for a small additional charge. DJI Care Refresh for Spark is currently available in select countries, including China, Hong Kong, the United States, Canada, 28 European Union countries, and Australia.

... Pubdate: Wed, 24 May 2017 20:15:00 Z

Prynt Pocket, a pocket-sized photo printer for iPhone, is now available

Prynt, the company that launched a phone case/printer through the crowdfunding website Kickstarter in 2015, has released its next-generation mobile printer, the Prynt Pocket. With Prynt Pocket, users can print a photo directly from their iPhone by inserting the handset into the printer, then snapping a photo. The related Prynt app also offers an augmented reality feature that plays a video within the physical photo print.

Prynt Pocket utilizes Zink inkless photo paper and has a removable paper cartridge that holds up to ten sheets at a time. Once Pocket is attached to an iPhone, users can snap a photo and then make edits using the Prynt app, including adding stickers and text, and adjusting the lighting. The printer takes about half a minute to produce a photo.

Unlike some competing instant cameras and mini printers, the Prynt app also leverages augmented reality to give users something a bit more modern and technical: 10-second looping videos that play when a Prynt photo is viewed using the company's mobile app. The (optional) video is recorded when the photo is taken and is uploaded to the cloud, where it is then utilized whenever someone views the photo with the Prynt AR app feature. 

Prynt Pocket is available from Prynt's website now for $149.99. A 40-pack of photo paper retails for $19.99.

Press Release:

Meet the Prynt Pocket -- The Device that Transforms your Phone into the Smallest and Coolest Instant Camera

Now small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, Prynt's second generation device is the easiest way to print and share life's everyday moments while on-the-go

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/23/17 -- Prynt, the company leading a new era of instant photography, today announced Prynt Pocket, a device that transforms your phone into the smallest and coolest instant camera. Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, Prynt Pocket attaches directly to your phone, and lets you capture, print and share life's everyday moments -- from spontaneous to special occasions -- while on-the-go. The Prynt Pocket also has innovative video capabilities for next-gen storytelling, giving you the option to embed augmented reality videos into your photos and bring them to life in a Harry Potter-like way. Check out the video.

The phone in our pocket serves as our camera, photo album, and the way we share our lives digitally. But with the thousands of photos stored on our phones, there's never been an easy way to print those photos, so they become lost in our phones and rarely looked at again. Prynt is changing this and giving everyone -- from teens and millennials to young parents -- the ability to turn their phone into an instant camera. Printing photos from your phone is now just as instant and exciting as posting a photo on Instagram or Snapchat.

"We are thrilled to bring Prynt Pocket to market after the success we have had with the Prynt Case," said Clément Perrot, co-founder and CEO of Prynt. "There is nothing cooler than being able to print a photo straight from your phone, and when you add in the augmented reality video feature, that takes photo sharing to a whole new level. By turning a phone into an instant camera, everyone gets to experience the shared enjoyment of reliving fun and spontaneous moments through a printed photo."

Using Prynt Pocket is easy. Simply attach it to your phone and you're ready to print. Once you've taken a photo, you have the option to record a 10-second video that will be hidden within that photo. Before printing, the Prynt app enables you to edit and enhance your photo with fun, creative filters, text and memes. Then, whoever has a physical copy, can use the Prynt app to scan the photo and watch it come to life. Whether a marriage proposal, surprise announcement or selfie video, Prynt Pocket adds magic to any moment.

The ultra-portable Prynt Pocket, Prynt comes in three colors -- cool grey, graphite and mint -- making it a fashion-forward accessory that fits any lifestyle. It uses inkless paper for vibrant, long-lasting, tear and smudge resistant photos. The paper has adhesive backing so you can peel and stick your photos anywhere -- whether on an inspiration board, scrapbook or your desk at work. Through the Prynt app, users can also share their photos and video creations across all social channels, as well as print their favorite Instagram, Snapchat, etc. pictures directly from their phone.

Prynt Pocket is now available for purchase on www.prynt.co/, Amazon.com and UrbanOutfitters.com for $149. In early June, it will also be available at Best Buy, with additional retailers to be introduced. Prynt Pocket is compatible with the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone SE, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5, and will be available for Android later this year.

... Pubdate: Wed, 24 May 2017 18:32:00 Z

Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom updates brings a9 support

Updates for Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom CC bring support for the Sony Alpha 9 and Panasonic ZS70/TZ90. They also adds bug-fixes for several Fujifilm and Hasselblad cameras. They can be downloaded via the 'Updates' options in Photoshop and Lightroom CC.

The latest version: 9.10.1 fixes a bug that caused images shot in continuous drive mode on Fujifilm X series cameras to have a color cast. It also now correctly interprets images highest ISO settings on Fujifilm's GFX 50S.

... Pubdate: Wed, 24 May 2017 17:44:00 Z

Triggertrap Mobile camera control dongle goes open source

Ooh... blueprinty... Triggertrap's Mobile Dongle is no longer available, but the hardware has just been open-sourced.

Following the demise of Triggertrap, its innovative remote camera control system is no longer available. But good news for fans of remote photography came this week, with the news that the mobile dongle hardware has been open-sourced.

So if you still want one, and you know how to read schematics, you can make your own. If you feel like some DIY fun and fancy a challenge, let us know how you get on.

Read more on diyphotography.net

... Pubdate: Wed, 24 May 2017 17:36:00 Z

Magic Format Converter lets you use DSLR-lenses on the Fuji GFX 50S

Venus Optics today announced the Laowa Magic Format Converter (MFC), an adapter which allows to use Canon and Nikon full-frame lenses on the Fujifilm GFX 50S medium format camera. It differs from currently available adapters in that it also corrects for the smaller image circle of the DSLR lenses, reducing vignetting and edge softness.

The Magic Format Converter takes advantage of the short flange-back distance of mirrorless cameras and comes with internal optics that expand the image circle of the lens. According to the manufacturer this does not compromise the image quality but the adapter comes with a focal length multiplier of 1.4x and reduces the maximum aperture by one stop.

Venus optics is currently for beta testers for its adapter. If you own a Fuji GFX 50S and are interested in trying the Magic Format Converter you can find more information and contact details on the Venus Optics website

... Pubdate: Wed, 24 May 2017 17:28:00 Z

MacPhun to release Aurora HDR and Luminar for Windows users

The usually Apple-exclusive MacPhun software developer has announced that it will introduce PC versions of two of its most popular applications. Both Aurora HDR and Luminar should be available for the Window operating system by the autumn of this year.

Luminar is a general image editor that works with both raw and JPEG files, and is designed to suit a wide range of users with its adaptable interface that can be as complicated as you choose. It features a large collection of preset effects and looks, as well as filters to make editing quick, easy and repeatable.

Aurora HDR is aimed at those wanting to work with high dynamic range imaging, whether from a bracketed series or a single image. The software offers extensive controls, as well as one-click options for those who prefer a simpler life.

The company hasn’t released pricing information yet, but we might expect the Windows versions to cost the same as those for Mac. A Beta version of Luminar for Windows will be available to the public in July, with the full versions of both applications being scheduled for release in September/October. For more information visit the MacPhun website.

Press release

Macphun, Apple’s most-awarded photography software developer, expands to the Windows platform

Macphun’s best-selling photo editors, Luminar and Aurora HDR, come to the PC in the fall of 2017, bridging the gap between professional and consumer image-editing tools

Macphun, the California-based developer known for making complex photo-editing software simple and fun, today announced it will bring this experience to Windows users in the fall of 2017.

Apple’s App Store editors have named Macphun products amongst their “Editors’ Choices” for Best of the Year awards for 5 straight years. Macphun is the only such photography developer to have achieved this honor. Last month, only 5 months after its launch, Macphun’s flagship product Luminar won the prestigious TIPA award for Best Imaging Software 2017.

“We have been delivering award-winning products to Mac users for almost a decade, and now are very excited to bring Windows users products they have frankly been missing in the PC market. Combining power and simplicity, Luminar and Aurora HDR give users a new way to express themselves through striking images they can create within minutes”, said Kevin La Rue, Vice-President at Macphun.

Macphun will be launching a “public beta” of Luminar in July to give Windows users the first taste of their powerful all-in-one photo editor for creating bold images in minutes. To stay current with the latest news, and to sign up for access to beta test versions when available, visit the company’s page.

Guided by the extensive expertise of its Research Lab team, Macphun products have reinvented image editing workflow on the Mac for both professional and amateur photographers worldwide. Soon, Windows users will be able to enjoy:

  • A straightforward, yet powerful, image-editing workflow inspired by Macphun’s “hassle free” enhancement philosophy
  • A truly innovative user experience, where the software adapts to the skill level and preferences of the photographer, not vise versa
  • Robust tools and photo filters powered with a revolutionary AI (Artificial Intelligence) that comes straight from the Macphun’s research and development lab
  • A wide range of creative photography presets, developed by Macphun and professional photographers from around the globe
  • Unparalleled flexibility and creative freedom with a non-destructive editing workflow, and integration with Adobe CC for those who want to use Macphun software as powerful plug-ins
  • A stream of continuous development and educational resources to support the overall consumer experience

“Committing to Windows has moved us to invest significantly on Research and Development. In addition, we are designing a new platform for photo management and working on AI technology that will bring entirely new possibilities for image editing”, La Rue concluded.

Aurora HDR - First released in November 2016, and co-developed with the world’s pre-eminent HDR photographer Trey Ratcliff, Aurora HDR made the complex task of HDR photography effortless and unintimidating. However, the software is not just a tool for merging brackets: it brings every option imaginable to create perfect HDR photos - from one-click presets and advanced tone-mapping, to layers, noise reduction and powerful luminosity masking controls.

Luminar - This new and powerful all-in-one photo editor offers smart, cutting-edge solutions to make complex photo editing processes simple and straightforward. Luminar furnishes an innovative user interface that adapts to the user’s skill level, dozens of creative photo filters, easy sky replacement & object removal, and over 300 other tools that together help photographers create bold images in minutes.

With the expansion of their offerings for the Windows platform, Macphun will continue supporting the Mac community and its growing user base of over 4 million Mac creatives. Macphun will launch a major update for Luminar in June, and will launch the 2018 versions of both Luminar and Aurora HDR this fall.

Apple Awards Reference:
Annually, App Store editors from around the world select their favorite apps of the year to spotlight publicly. The following software from Macphun has been honored among their "Best of the Year" picks:

“Best of 2012” selection for Snapheal
“Best of 2013” selection for Intensify
“Best of 2014” selection for Tonality
“Best of 2015” selection for Aurora HDR
“Best of 2016” selection for Filters for Photos

... Pubdate: Wed, 24 May 2017 16:00:00 Z

Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM sample gallery

With the FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM lens, Sony is seeking to fill a super-telephoto gap in its lens lineup with the announcement of the a9 sports camera. It may not have the fast aperture of competitors' telephoto primes, but the zoom range is versatile, and the lens looks to be very sharp with pleasing out-of-focus backgrounds, plus it comes with a very close focusing distance to boot.

We'll be updating our gallery with more sports oriented samples on Sony's a9 as we begin fully testing that camera, so stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy some horses jumping and scenes from the El Capitan State Beach outside of Santa Barbara, CA.

Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM gallery

Sample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photo
... Pubdate: Wed, 24 May 2017 11:00:00 Z

Garmin announces the VIRB 360, a 5.7K waterproof 360-cam

Garmin is entering the 360-camera market with the introduction of the VIRB 360, a dual camera device capable of 5.7K (30p) immersive video and 15MP spherical still images. Unlike most other 360-cameras, the VIRB 360 is completely waterproof. It also features a bevy of sensors, including GPS - information from which can be overlayed directly into 360-video in post.

The camera will launch with a free mobile app and desktop software for editing, stabilizing and sharing 360 photos and video. There does not appear to be any in-camera stabilization, though users can stabilize their 5.7K footage in post, resulting in 4K 360 footage. The camera also has live streaming capability and footage should be compatible with all VR headsets currently on the market.

Available in June, the suggested retail price is $799.99, putting the VIRB 360 at a substantially higher price point than other consumer 360 cameras.

Press Release

Introducing the VIRB® 360: An immersive 360-degree 5.7K camera experience from Garmin®

OLATHE, Kan./May 24, 2017/Business Wire – Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), today announced the versatile VIRB 360, a compact, rugged and fully spherical 360-degree camera. The waterproof1 VIRB 360 is an easy-to-use camera that captures impressive high-quality video up to 5.7K/30fps, with four built-in microphones to ensure everything sounds as good as it looks in any direction. Whether users are kayaking down river rapids or mountain biking through rough terrain, the VIRB 360’s 4K Spherical Stabilization2 makes every video smooth and steady.

With the VIRB 360, users capture video with automatic in-camera stitching up to 4K/30fps. Videos are easily uploaded for editing or sharing instantaneously. Taking advantage of its built-in GPS and numerous other sensors, the VIRB 360 provides owners with customizable G-Metrix™ data overlays in a captivating 360-degree augmented reality3 setting.

“The VIRB 360 lets you relive personal experiences and share them with your friends – from a different point of view, every single time,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales. “VIRB 360 owners will no longer need to worry about trying to capture the perfect angle or setting up the perfect shot. The camera’s easy-to-use feature set will make even the most inexperienced users look like experts.”

Garmin offers a free downloadable VIRB Mobile app and desktop software to edit, stabilize, share and add data overlays to any VIRB 360 video content – features that make the VIRB 360 easier to use than most other 360 cameras. Boasting conveniently simple one-touch button controls, the VIRB 360 also incorporates helpful voice control4 options to start and stop recordings, snap photos and more. And to make the most of “in-the-moment” experiences, the VIRB 360 features livestream5 capabilities to post to YouTube™ or Facebook Live with a compatible smartphone or tablet.

The VIRB 360 offers a rechargeable, one-hour battery life while recording. Even more impressive, whether it’s a family event or a rigorous journey, the VIRB 360 is built to withstand overheating and wet conditions. Beyond video, the VIRB 360 can take stitched-in-camera, 360-degree, 15 megapixel spherical photos. Photo modes include single capture, burst shooting, and time lapse. Additionally, the camera is equipped with a sunlight-readable display for users to identify battery life, storage capacity and video modes. The VIRB 360 supports Wi-Fi®, Bluetooth®, ANT+™, and NFC (one-tap connection with Android™ devices) connectivity.

Offering a wealth of flexibility and range, the VIRB 360 is compatible with industry-leading virtual reality headsets and live playback through the free VIRB Mobile app. What’s more, the camera is compatible with Apple® and Android devices, and comes with its own unique tripod/handgrip. The VIRB 360 uses replaceable microSD memory6 cards of up to 128GB (sold separately).

The Garmin VIRB 360 has a suggested retail price of $799.99 and is expected to be available in June. For more information, visit Garmin.com/VIRB360.

The Garmin VIRB 360 is the latest from the consumer automotive and camera segment of Garmin, the leading worldwide provider of portable navigation devices for automobiles, motorcycles and trucks. The company’s user-friendly navigation and action camera solutions have innovative features that provide time- and fuel-saving benefits to meet the demands of everyday driving and outdoor living.

For decades, Garmin has pioneered new GPS navigation, advancements with camera solutions, wireless devices and applications that are designed for people who live an active lifestyle. Garmin serves five primary business units, including automotive, aviation, fitness, marine, and outdoor recreation. For more information, visit Garmin's virtual pressroom at garmin.com/newsroom, contact the Media Relations department at 913-397-8200, or follow us at facebook.com/garmin, twitter.com/garmin, or youtube.com/garmin.

1See Garmin.com/waterrating.
2Stabillization is applied using VIRB Mobile app or VIRB Edit desktop software and is only available for videos stitched in camera.
3Augmented reality overlays require mobile or desktop VIRB app before sharing.
4Voice control available for English (US, UK), French, Italian, German, Spanish, Swedish, Japanese, and Mandarin.
5Live streaming only available on compatible Apple devices.
6See Garmin.com/VIRBcards for compatibility.

... Pubdate: Wed, 24 May 2017 11:00:00 Z

Makers of the Panono 108MP 360-degree camera filing for bankruptcy

German media reports that the founders of the company behind the Panono 360-degree ball camera have filed for insolvency proceedings at a court in Berlin, Germany. Unfortunately this means it's very unlikely that the backers of the original crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo will ever receive their camera. 

The small number of buyers who purchased a Panono through retail channels after the Indiegogo campaign could be affected as well. At this point it is unknown if the the Panono servers, which power the automatic stitching of the Panono's 360-degree images, will remain functional for the foreseeable future.  

Initially things had gone well for the German start-up. The Indiegogo campaign generated 1.25 million dollars in 2013. However, it soon became obvious that the team had miscalculated the development time for the camera which back then only existed in prototype form.

The final product was due to ship in 2014 but instead there was only a second prototype in February 2015. A few months later first shipments were announced, but not to the project backers. Instead the cameras went to retail customers who paid a considerably higher prices. It appears at this point the company had already run out of money and was hoping to generate additional funds for mass production and eventual shipping to project backers. 

Now it seems this plan has not worked out either and remaining funds have dried up. We had the chance to test both a prototype and final product of the Panono camera and were quite impressed by the technology. 360-degree cameras are now much more widely available than in 2013 but none of the affordable models offer the Panono's 108MP resolution and image detail. 

... Pubdate: Tue, 23 May 2017 19:34:00 Z

The new Surface Pro: new processors, boosted battery life and more

Microsoft's Surface Pro (they've dropped the numbering scheme) looks impressive. In an interview with The Verge, Microsoft's head of Surface, Panos Panay, claims there are about 800 new custom parts in the Surface Pro.

Battery life is up from 9 to 13.5 hours, it's got the latest Kaby Lake processors, there are promised sleep/wake improvements (an issue that plagued many Surface Pro 4 users), and the device just looks and feels nicer with more rounded edges as well as a barely visible vent.

The Core i5 now joins the m3 in being fanless (the high-end i7 still has a fan). The new hinge allows the Surface Pro to lie almost completely flat at 165 degrees, which Microsoft calls Studio Mode (after the Surface Studio). This'll make it easier to use with the Surface Dial. Of note: Surface Dial will come to Surface Book and Pro 4 users later this year.

The Surface Pen gets a sizable update as well: it now has 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt detection (only with the Surface Pro) for better shading and inking accuracy. Perhaps even more important is that it's more responsive because of a reduction in minimum activation force. Though this time around, it's a separate purchase. And despite the re-design, we still wish secondary clicks were easier with the pen, without requiring you to rotate the pen to the right position to click the secondary button (a ring button wrapped all the way around the pen would be more ergonomically friendly).

There's still no USB-C, and only one USB port (this accessory will help photographers import SD cards to an external drive without a hub, utilizing the Surface's micro SD port). A new LTE option should be great for those one the go, though a release date for that feature hasn't been announced.

The new Surface Pro is available for pre-order today starting at $799, with the Type Cover coming in at $129 and Surface Pen coming in at $99. Shipping starts June 15th.

Via: The Verge and Microsoft

... Pubdate: Tue, 23 May 2017 19:29:00 Z

Hy6 rises again as DW Photo tries to break from tangled history

Some ideas are apparently too good to let die. DW Photo of Braunschweig, Germany, has become the latest company to attempt to produce the Hy6 645 medium format camera. This follows the collapse of DHW Fototechnik, which itself took over responsibility from the defunct Franke & Heidecke, which grew from the remains of Rollei.

The company will produce the Hy6 mod2 version of the camera, originally released in 2012 and use manufacturing facilities at the former Rollei factory. The camera will cost €5950.

German photo site Photoscala also has a fascinating look at how the camera, once sold under the Leaf, Sinar and Rolleiflex brands, came into being and how its collaborative development following the fall of Rollei has created a legal tangle for anyone trying to bring the camera back to market. Even in Google Translated form, it's well worth a read.

... Pubdate: Tue, 23 May 2017 18:54:00 Z

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