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05/31/2018 06:53 PM
Shooting Greenland in Winter Part 3: Familiar Places

In the previous articles in this series, I wrote about reaching Uummannaq in problematic conditions and about the better days that followed. For this final article, I'd like to tell you about my experience shooting Ilulissat and Disko Bay in winter.

I'm no stranger to Disko Bay. I've been traveling and guiding there for several years now, so I wasn't as excited about shooting there compared to Uummannaq. My visit was quite productive however, and sometimes surprising. Weather was problematic some of the time, with very heavy snow making it hard to shoot anything more than a few meters away. On the few days I could shoot, I had a very good time and produced some images I'm happy with.

Winter is a very good time to shoot travel scenes in Ilulissat. I'm a nature photographer but had commitments to sponsors, and thus had to try my skill at shooting non-nature scenes that they had asked for. This included shots of town and shots of dog sledding.

Ilulissat harbor in winter. The boats are resting on sea ice.

The dog sledding was done on a snowy day, which added a lot to the experience and also allowed me to easily isolate my subjects. To shoot the musher and dogs from above while moving I had to kneel as high as I could and shoot blindly, but it wasn't so hard after a few tries. I did almost fall a few times.

When it stopped snowing, my guide Jakob and I took a fast snowmobile and headed to Kangia Fjord. The drive was going great, and I was enjoying the complete white cover created by the heavy snow the previous day. And then… we got stuck in the snow. It appeared that it had snowed so heavily, the powder was over a meter deep and had no time to harden. After 2 hours trying to dig us out, we had to call for help. The upside was that we got stuck right at a frozen side-fjord which was packed full of beautiful icebergs embedded in sea ice.

I took advantage of the situation and of the white conditions to take some surreal images of the icebergs surrounded by turquoise sea-slush, which had been exposed when the currents had slightly moved the icebergs.

The thing I was most looking forward to was an iceberg sail. I had done it many times in summer, but in winter the bay is covered by a layer of slush, which might have prevented the sail from happening, but otherwise creates opportunity for very interesting photography.

I attended two sails. The first was a normal tourist sail, which I took together with many other visitors. The sail was good, but the boat stayed near the fjord. This is problematic since the really interesting and intricately-shaped icebergs are ones which had time to melt into those shapes, which means they are also ones that are farther in the bay (usually to the north). The tourist sail missed those entirely.

Finally, right before finishing the visit, I managed to get a boat for a few hours just for myself. I tried my best to use it wisely, since costs were high and time was short. I sailed north of Ilulissat, and managed to find some beautiful icebergs surrounded by frozen sea ice, which added a lot to the images. The sea ice also gave the open water a calm and reflective appearance, a relative rarity in Disko Bay.

I hope you've enjoyed this series and that it encouraged you to think of visiting Greenland in winter, and trying what it has to offer.

Erez Marom is a professional nature photographer, photography guide and traveler based in Israel. You can follow Erez's work on Instagram and Facebook, and subscribe to his mailing list for updates.

If you'd like to experience and shoot some of the most fascinating landscapes on earth with Erez as your guide, take a look at his unique photography workshops in Southern Iceland, Northern Iceland, The Lofoten Islands, Patagonia, Greenland in summer, Greenland in winter, Namibia the Faroe Islands and Ethiopia.

Erez offers video tutorials discussing his images and explaining how he achieved them.

More in this Series:

Selected Articles by Erez Marom:

05/31/2018 01:24 AM
Lomography Diana Instant Square Camera launches on Kickstarter

Lomography is crowdfunding its latest film camera, the Diana Instant Square. According to the company, this is the first Instax-compatible camera with a hot-shoe mount and support for interchangeable lenses. Lomography designed this model to work with any of the lenses compatible with the Diana F+, as well as Fujifilm Instax Square film packs.

The new Diana Instant Square camera features a selfie mirror, detachable viewfinder, film counter, an unlimited multiple exposure mode, a bulb mode for keeping the shutter open, adjustable aperture (F11, F19, F32), and an "instinctive zone-focusing system" that toggles between 1 - 2m / 3.3 - 6.6ft, 2 - 4m / 6.6 - 13ft, and 4m/13ft to infinity. A wide variety of flashes can be used with the hot-shoe mount.

Buyers have the following lens choices:

Lomography is currently funding the Diana Instant Square camera on Kickstarter, where it is offering a single Classic unit for pledges of at least $69 USD, which is 30% off the anticipated retail price. The company is also offering a Special Edition of the instant camera for pledges of at least $77 USD. Shipping for backers is expected to start in December for Classic units and January 2019 for Special units.

Via: Kickstarter

05/30/2018 11:49 PM
Microsoft launches AI-powered Bing Visual Search

Microsoft today announced a new AI-powered Visual Search function for its Bing search engine that will pretty much directly compete with Google Lens. Visual Search will let users search the web and shop online through pictures they have taken or selected from their camera roll.

For example, you can find out more about a landmark or flower by capturing it through the Bing app or uploading it from your device memory. Visual Search will then identify the object in question and provide web links you can explore further.

In the same way, you can shop for fashion items or furniture. If you see an object you like, take or upload a photo of it and the system will reply with shopping options and pricing for similar-looking items.

The Bing team says Visual Search will be continuously improved and expanded but the current version is available today in the Bing app for iOS and Android as well as Microsoft Launcher and the Microsoft Edge browser for Android. It'll also be soon available in Microsoft Edge for iOS and on

05/30/2018 10:04 PM
Supreme Court rules online retailers such as Amazon and B&H Photo can be required to collect sales tax

One of the biggest appeals of buying cameras, lenses and accessories online may no longer be around. As reported by the NY Times, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, has ruled states can now demand retailers to collect sales tax from online sales, regardless of the physical location of the business.

The ruling is the first time since 1992 that the Supreme Court has let states collect sales tax from retailers who don't have a physical presence within their borders.

'In Thursday’s ruling, the court effectively overturned a system that it created. In 1992, the court ruled in Quill Corporation v. North Dakota that the Constitution bars states from requiring businesses to collect sales tax unless they have a substantial connection to the state,' says the NY Times in its report. 'The Quill decision helped pave the way for the growth of online retail by letting companies sell nationwide without navigating the complex patchwork of state and local tax codes..

One of the best known instances of not having to pay sales tax on items in the photography world is B&H Photo. Based on the 1992 Supreme Court ruling, customers who live outside of the state of New York aren't required to pay sales tax on any gear purchased online at B&H. On a large-ticket item, such as Canon's $10,000 400mm F2.8 IS II lens, that saves a customer just over $887 dollars, based on New York's 8.875% sales tax rate.

If states are to follow through on putting in place this new ruling—the effects of which are immediate based on the Supreme Court's decision—the sales tax rate applied to purchases would vary from state to state, depending on where you're ordering from. It's worth noting four states don't charge sales tax, so this ruling shouldn't have any affect on purchases in Delaware, Montana, Oregon, and New Hampshire. Alaska is another state that doesn't charge sales tax, but Individual municipalities can choose to apply their own sales tax, up to 7.5 percent.

This ruling aside, 45 states, as well as the District of Columbia, apply what's called a 'use tax' to make up for lost sales tax from out-of-state purchases, be they online or in-person. So, legally, you should be claiming and paying the sales tax on any purchases you make online, unless you live in the states of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, or Oregon.

Full disclosure: DPReview is an editorially-independent but wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon.

05/30/2018 01:00 AM
Instagram influencer apologizes for using stock and Pinterest images

A popular Instagram user based in Singapore has been caught passing stock images off as his own work. Daryl Aiden Yow, who has worked with many recognizable brands, was called out by Mothership, which highlighted a dozen examples of work he presented as his own. Following the report's publication, Mothership noted that Yow began deleting some images from his Instagram account and adding credits to others.

Yow, who currently has approximately 101,000 followers on Instagram, published an apology in recent hours alongside a plain black image. The statement states, in part:

The outrage regarding how I have conducted myself is justified and I accept full responsibility for my actions and all consequences that arise from those actions.

I was wrong to have claimed that stock images and other people’s work were my own. I was also wrong to have used false captions that misled my followers and those who viewed my images. Having marketed myself as a photographer, I fell far short of what was expected of me and disappointed those who believed—or wanted to believe—in me.

For all of that, I apologise.

As noted by BBC, Yow was listed on Sony's Singapore website as a Creative Ally; the company advised BBC that it is "looking into" the matter. Website MustShareNews reports that it spoke with Yow before his apology was published on Instagram. Yow allegedly told the website that he paid for stock images from providers like Shutterstock; others were acquired from Pinterest or other photographers.

Yow reportedly said that he would tag Pinterest or the photographers as image sources in his posts, though that claim has been called into question. In other instances, Yow said no credits were listed because they weren't required by the seller, according to MustShareNews. Brands were supposedly aware of Yow's use of stock images.

Regardless, Yow presented himself as a photographer on Instagram; he also worked with clients to host photography workshops where he taught others. It appears Yow has removed a few dozen images from his Instagram account, but critics point out that some images, such as this one with an obvious Photoshop blunder (acquired from Pinterest), still lack proper credit.

Via: BBC

05/30/2018 12:32 AM
Instagram reaches 1 billion active users

With its stand-alone IGTV video app Instagram had a big product announcement this week, but at the launch event in San Francisco the company had another milestone to talk about: after surpassing 800 million active users last September, Instagram has now reached the 1 billion mark.

After Messenger (1.3 billion), Whatsapp (1.5 billion) and Facebook itself (2.2 billion), this makes the mobile image sharing platform the fourth Facebook-owned social media app to reach this lofty number. When Instagram was taken over by Facebook in 2012, it had approximately 40 million users. The app's massive growth makes the 1 billion dollar price tag back then look like a very sound investment now.

It also shows that the recent privacy controversies around Facebook after the misuse of data belonging to 50 million of its users don't appear to have a lasting impact on the company's apps' and services' user numbers.

05/29/2018 10:44 PM
Oppo Find X smartphone has a slide-up camera for a true full-screen display

Chinese company Oppo has unveiled its new Find X, an Android smartphone with a full screen 19.5:9 "Panoramic Arc" display, rear dual cameras, and a 3D face-scanning front camera. Unlike certain competing smartphones, such as the iPhone X, Oppo elected to use a slide-up mechanism to house the device's cameras, rather than a display notch, resulting in a 93.8% screen-to-body ratio.

Oppo's slide-up mechanism is triggered by swiping up on the handset's lock screen, at which point the 3D face-scanning camera will slide into view to authenticate the user. The Find X does not feature a fingerprint sensor. According to The Verge, initial tests with a pre-production version of the Find X found the sliding mechanism moves quickly enough for comfortable daily use.

Oppo claims the Find X's front-facing 3D camera is "AI-enhanced" to "naturally personalize" a selfie, and that its software offers 3D lighting to produce "artistic portraits." Joining the front 3D camera are dual rear 16MP and 20MP cameras with optical image stabilization. Oppo says its camera software features AI Scene Recognition, a function that works like a "photography technique consultant" with the ability to analyze and identify 800 scene types.

Cameras aside, the Oppo Find X features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage. The handset ships with Android 8.1 Oreo and the maker's own Color OS veneer. The handset likewise features a 3730mAh battery with fast-charging support.

Oppo will launch Find X globally in August, according to CNET, which reports that the 256GB version will cost €999.

Via: The Verge

05/29/2018 06:53 PM
Kamlan 28mm F1.4 for APS-C sample gallery

The Kamlan 28mm F1.4 is an all-manual prime lens for APS-C (and Micro Four Thirds) mirrorless cameras. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, it'll go on sale to the public for $200, and after a bit of shooting we'd say that's not a bad deal. It boasts a solid feel, and rings are smooth to turn and feel well-damped. The lens is all-manual provides no electronic communication with the attached camera body. That said, it's hard to argue with a $200 price tag ($149 if you get in before the Kickstarter ends).

Take a look through our gallery to see what this budget-priced prime can do on Fujifilm and Sony bodies.

See our Kamlan 28mm F1.4 sample gallery

05/29/2018 05:57 PM
Instagram unveils IGTV, a new standalone app for sharing hour-long vertical videos

Instagram has finally cleared the air regarding rumors and reports that the Facebook-owned social network was looking to get more heavily involved in video content. A new blog post on Instagram's website confirms the impending release of Instagram TV, a new standalone app with a focus on long-form, vertical-first video content.

As detailed by Instagram in its announcement blog post, Instagram TV — IGTV for short — is different from the main Instagram app in a few ways. 'First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long.'

When you download and log in to IGTV, you shouldn't have to spend much time going out there and finding content from the get-go. Once you've logged into IGTV, any content creators you follow on Instagram will already be a part of your video content on IGTV. Akin to YouTube, IGTV calls each creator's page a 'channel,' although the call to action remains 'follow,' unlike 'subscribe' on YouTube.

From the second you open IGTV on your device, video content will immediately start playing. Instagram compares this to how a television automatically starts playing content when you turn it on, but it's more or less a fancy way of saying IGTV content is autoplay content.

To keep things familiar, IGTV makes it easy to keep tabs on your favorite creators and find new ones. As with the Instagram app, IGTV will feature a 'For You,' 'Following' and 'Popular' tab for navigation. There's also a new 'Continue Watching' section for revisiting old videos you didn't finish for whatever reason. You can also like, comment and share videos with friends via Instagram's direct messaging system.

In addition to being a standalone app, IGTV content will also appear in the main Instagram app. It's not known whether this cross-app integration will stay, as it seems to more or less to be an effort to get Instagram users onboard with the new app. Whatever the case, for the time being, you should be able to catch the latest content from the people you follow right within the Instagram app.

IGTV will be rolling out across the globe over the 'next few weeks' for both Android and iOS.

05/28/2018 10:06 PM
NVIDIA researchers can now turn 30fps video into 240fps slo-mo footage using AI

NVIDIA researchers have developed a new method to create 240fps slow-motion video from 30fps content using artificial intelligence.

Detailed in a paper submitted to the Cornell University Library, NVIDIA researchers trained the system by processing more than 11,000 videos through NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs and a cuDNN-accelerated PyTorch deep learning framework. This archive of videos, shot at 240fps, taught the system how to better predict the positioning differences in videos shot at only 30fps.

This isn't the first time something like this has been done. A post-production plug-in called Twixtor has been doing this for almost a decade now. But it doesn't come anywhere close to NVIDIA's results in terms of quality and accuracy. Even in scenes where there is a great amount of detail, there appears to be minimal artifacts in the interpolated frames.

The researchers also note that while there are smartphones that can shoot 240fps video, it's not necessarily worth it to use all of that processing power and storage when something that will get you 99% of the way there is possible using a system such as theirs. 'While it is possible to take 240-frame-per-second videos with a cell phone, recording everything at high frame rates is impractical, as it requires large memories and is power-intensive for mobile devices,' the researchers wrote in the paper.

The research and findings detailed in the paper will be presented at the annual Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah this week.

05/28/2018 07:53 PM
Loupedeck announces Loupedeck+ with support for Capture One, better controls

Loupedeck - a popular editing console for Adobe Lightroom users - has received a significant update to both its physical characteristics and its overall compatibility with the launch of the Loupedeck+.

In addition to Adobe Lightroom (and Lightroom CC) Loupedeck+ is now compatible with Aurora HDR and Capture One (the later will be beta support at launch, with full compatibility to be offered soon). There are already a few editing consoles on the market that work with Lightroom as well as Capture One, and it's encouraging to see Loupedeck get in on the Capture One fun as more photographers do.

Physical improvements include better build quality with more responsive mechanical buttons and a greater degree of customization. The Loupedeck+ can be yours for $229 - current Loupedeck owners can upgrade for $50 off.

Press Release:

Introducing Loupedeck+, the Next Evolution of Custom Photo Editing Console, Loupedeck

Next Generation Includes Skylum Aurora HDR Compatibility, Upgraded Build and More Customization Options, All Based on the Photography Community’s Feedback

HELSINKI, Finland – June 20, 2018Loupedeck, the custom photo editing console built with an intuitive design that makes editing faster and more creative, has announced the next evolution, Loupedeck+. While the Loupedeck was the only device on the market custom-built to improve the Adobe Lightroom experience, the Loupedeck+ is now also compatible with popular photo editing software Skylum Aurora HDR (in addition to Adobe Lightroom Classic CC), and is designed with more functionalities, control and increased customization options. Following a year of overwhelming success and customer feedback, the Loupedeck+ was designed in Loupedeck’s headquarters in Finland, with all updates solely based on feedback from the invested photography community.

Specifically, upgrades to the Loupedeck+ include:

“We know how dedicated both the professional and amateur photography communities are in their work, and we’re committed to making their lives easier and more productive,” said Mikko Kesti, Founder and CEO of Loupedeck. “There’s no better way to create the next evolution of our flagship product than by going straight to the source and taking their feedback to heart. By adding even more control, efficiency and customization options to the editing process, we’re able to help photographers be more successful by increasing their output and artistry, and look forward to continue supporting them in their work.”

Following Loupedeck’s new partnership with Skylum, the Loupedeck+ will include future integrations with Skylum’s other professional photo editing products, including Skylum Luminar. It is also currently in beta integration with Capture One, with full integration on the way, as well as additional software integrations to follow later this year. These options will provide photographers with a more diverse, intuitive experience, helping to expedite the editing process and maximize the photo editing experience.

"Skylum and Loupedeck share the same vision. We want to help photographers create great photos, differently,” said Alex Tsepko, CEO of Sklyum. “When I discovered that the new version of Loupedeck keyboard is coming out, I knew Skylum software should be the first to support it. This is the kind of innovation modern photographers really need.”

The Loupedeck+ is available for purchase in the Loupedeck Online Store, B&H Photo and for $229. Loupedeck is also offering a cashback opportunity of $50 for current Loupedeck owners.

For more information visit

05/28/2018 07:31 PM
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Review

Samsung's Galaxy S9+ is a large, fast smartphone that's jam-packed with photography-focused features. But while it's certainly capable of great image quality, we found some issues with regard to capturing moving subjects, shooting under low lighting and when using 'Live Focus' portrait mode. On the other hand, 4K/60p video capture is of very high quality with good autofocus, and the screen on the S9+ is the best we've seen on a smartphone to date.

Key photographic / video specs

To start, the Galaxy's dual rear cameras are similar to the setup on Apple's iPhone X (one wide-angle, one telephoto), while Google's Pixel 2 makes do with just a single camera on the rear of the phone.

Out-of-camera JPEG | ISO 32 | 1/614 sec | F2.4

But beyond just the number of cameras, each of these phones takes a noticeably different photographic approach across different shooting scenarios. We're starting to see enough differences between the experiences of using these phones to really warrant consideration of what you want (and like) to photograph, especially if you're choosing your next phone with camera quality as a primary concern.

The 'Live Focus' portrait mode experience
is disappointing

With the Galaxy S9+, Samsung touts its Dual Aperture technology as an aid to low-light shooting and the included telephoto lens is primarily used for the 'Live Focus' portrait mode. We found that, despite the Dual Aperture, the phone would select exposure settings that resulted in unnecessarily blurry images in even moderately low light. We also found that, overall, the 'Live Focus' experience using that telephoto lens can give you completely mis-focused images even in bright light, and that it's nigh unusable as light levels start to drop.

Other specs

We've now had our loaner Galaxy S9+ for several weeks courtesy of Verizon Wireless, and taken a critical look at how its cameras perform under a wide variety of scenarios. Let's dig in and see what's what.

Unique Features

The Samsung Galaxy S9+ (along with its smaller brother, the S9) are the only current smartphones on the market with adjustable apertures and screens that automatically adjust contrast and brightness depending on your viewing conditions.

Read more

Body and display

The Galaxy S9+ comes with a huge 6.2" AMOLED display with rounded edges that is simply gorgeous to look at - for the most part.

Read more

Photo quality

From 'Live Focus' portraits to a special 'Food' mode, we've taken a look at the Galaxy's image quality under a wide range of situations.

Read more

Video quality

With UHD 4K/60p and slow-motion video recording, the Galaxy S9+ certainly looks capable on paper - so we found out how it looks in the real world.

Read more

Sample gallery

We've updated our sample gallery with dozens of images from several weeks of shooting. Check out portraits, concerts, sports and more.

Read more


The Galaxy S9+ is one of the most photographically capable smartphones on the market; is it the one for you?

Read more

05/28/2018 04:53 PM
Apple releases four new iPhone X mobile photography video tutorials

Apple released a new batch of mobile photography tutorial videos this week, each briefly demonstrating how to perform various camera actions using the flagship iPhone X. The OLED-equipped iPhone X features dual rear 12MP cameras coupled with optical image stabilization and optical zoom.

The four new videos were published on June 14 and guide iPhone X users through the following functions: shooting with the backlight, shooting in burst mode, recording in slow motion, and creating panoramas.

Apple semi-regularly updates video tutorials for its products, and previously released a batch of similar mobile photography instructional videos for the iPhone 8. A full playlist of Apple's mobile photography video tutorials, including those covering older iPhone models, is available here. The four newest videos are below.

Via: Light Stalking

05/28/2018 03:53 PM
Adobe announces Project Rush, a cross-device video editing application

Adobe has announced development of Project Rush, a cross-device video editing application that consolidates the entire video creation workflow, from shooting to social media sharing. According to Adobe, Rush is intended to provide a more streamlined and intuitive user experience for creating videos, as well as to provide a powerful video solution for mobile users.

In contrast to traditional video creation workflows, which often require switching between specialized programs, Rush aims to put the entire workflow into one, integrated application. It supports shooting, editing, audio optimization, motion graphics, and video sharing, and provides a simplified interface for editing, color correction, audio, and titling.

Adobe says the tools available in Rush are based on the same underlying technology as some of its pro apps, including color correction technology from Premiere Pro and audio technology from Audition. Integration with Adobe Stock will provide access to free motion graphics templates which can be customized by users.

Project Rush will work across mobile and desktop platforms, and will include the same feature set in both versions. Projects will synchronize between devices using Adobe Creative Cloud.

Recognizing that a great deal of video content is now shared through social media, Rush will automatically optimize video for a variety social media platforms, as well as manage publication and scheduling of content to those platforms. Adobe did not specify which platforms will be supported.

Rush will be available in mobile and desktop applications, with both versions supporting the same feature set, meaning users will have the same tools at their disposal no matter which device they’re using. Projects will sync between devices using Adobe Creative Cloud.

Although Project Rush is unlikely to replace pro-level tools for larger productions, it may prove useful to those who don’t need the power of a dedicated non-linear editor, or those who prefer a workflow that doesn't involve multiple programs.

Adobe did not provide a release date or pricing for Project Rush, but since it’s designed to sync across Creative Cloud it’s likely to require a Creative Cloud subscription to fully utilize its features. If you want to try Rush for yourself, you can apply to join the public beta here.

We’ll be taking a look at Rush in the near future and will share our impressions once we've had a chance to give it a spin.

05/28/2018 05:19 AM
Adobe reveals record-breaking quarterly revenue in Q2 2018

Adobe has announced a new quarterly revenue record of $2.20 billion for its 2018 second fiscal quarter. The company saw 22% growth to $1.55 billion in its Digital Media segment, which includes $1.30 billion for Creative and a record $243 million for Document Cloud. The company's Digital Experience segment experienced 18% growth to hit $586 million during Q2 2018, as well.

Overall, Adobe saw its year-on-year net income increase 77% on a GAAP-basis, as well as a 39% operating income increase. Looking at its Digital Media Annualized Recurring Revenue (ARR), Adobe saw its second fiscal quarter end with a $343 million increase to $6.06 billion. The Creative ARR hit $5.37 billion, while Document Cloud ARR increased to $694 million.

Talking about the record quarter, Adobe President and CEO Shantanu Narayen said:

Adobe delivers all the capabilities to enable transformative digital experiences, including content creation and management, predictive analytics and commerce. Our record results in Q2 reflect continued execution against this significant opportunity where Adobe is the clear market leader.

Narayen cited a partnership with Microsoft as a factor contributing to the favorable quarterly results, according to CNBC. Having beat analysts expectations this in Q2, Adobe anticipates third fiscal quarterly revenue of $2.24 billion.

Via: Adobe

05/27/2018 11:52 PM
PolarPro's new buyback program gives you credit towards a new filter when you trade in an old one

Earlier this year, PolarPro stepped up its filter game and brought its expertise to the world of DSLR and mirrorless cameras with its QuartzLine filters.

As a follow-up to its latest filter lineup, PolarPro has launched a buyback program that will let you get a certain amount of credit towards a new filter if you return an old one - even if it's not theirs.

Here's how it works. For any 37mm or 46mm filter you send in, you'll be given a $20 credit towards a new PolarPro filter. For 67mm, 77mm and 82mm filter sizes, you'll be given $40 in PolarPro credit. You will receive one credit for each filter you send in. Once you've agreed to the PolarPro terms for the return, you'll be given a discount code to use with your PolarPro purchase.

This is the dialog box you'll see when asked to agree to the terms of the buyback program.

Once your purchase is made, PolarPro will send you an email with a prepaid label to send in your old filter(s). Simply package them up and ship them off within 14 days of receiving your new QuartzLine filter and you're good to go. You can even use the box they shipped you your new filter in. PolarPro notes that any filters sent in will be recycled or repurposed.

To find out more information and get started with your trade-in, head on over to PolarPro's buyback page.

Read our original article about QuartzLine filters (April 2018)

05/27/2018 11:27 PM
Sigma now shipping Art series prime lenses for Sony E-mount

Sigma has announced that five of its Sony E-Mount Art-series primes, announced earlier this year, are now shipping. The 20mm F1.4 DG HSM, Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM, Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM, Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM and 85mm F1.4 DG HSM are designed for Sony's full-frame a7-series and a9 mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras.

The E-Mount version of Sigma's 14mm F1.4 DG HSM (shown above, in prototype form) is expected later this summer, along with E-Mount versions of the recently-announced 70mm F2.8 Macro, and the 105mm and 135mm Art-series telephotos.

Optically the E-mount primes are unchanged compared to their DSLR-mount predecessors but are compatible with high-speed continuous autofocus and should offer faster data throughput compared to using a DSLR-mount version with an adapter. This should improve autofocus speed across the board, compared to using a DSLR-mount version with an adapter - something we hope to test for ourselves in the coming weeks.

Press release:

Sigma Ships Five Prime Art Lenses for Sony E-mount Cameras with Full-Frame Sensors

Ronkonkoma, NY – June 19, 2018 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading still photo and cinema lens, camera, flash and accessory manufacturer, today announced availability of five of its interchangeable Art prime lenses for Sony E-mount camera systems – Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM ($899 USD), Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM ($849 USD), Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM ($899 USD), Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM ($949 USD) and Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM ($1199 USD).

Offering the same high-performance optical design as other lenses in the Art line, the new Sony E-mount models feature a newly developed control algorithm that optimizes the autofocus drive and maximizes the data transmission speed. In addition, these lenses are compatible with Sony’s Continuous AF (AF-C) and high-speed autofocus, which are not addressed by Sigma Mount Converter MC-11. Like MC-11, the lenses are compatible with in-camera image stabilization and in-camera lens aberration correction, which includes corrections for peripheral illumination, chromatic aberrations and distortion.

Key Features and Benefits

Autofocus Tuned for Each Lens

Thanks to an autofocus drive control program tuned for each lens and high-speed data transmission, the lenses offer a high-speed autofocus at the same performance level as that of a lens designed exclusively for mirrorless cameras. In particular, in E-mount cameras offering Sony’s Fast Hybrid AF, AF-C mode delivers exceptional subject following performance. Autofocus remains
extremely precise even in those E-mount cameras offering only contrast AF.

Compatible with In-Camera Image Stabilization

The lenses are compatible with in-camera image stabilization. The Sony E-mount camera senses the focal length of the lens and automatically optimizes image stabilization performance.

Data Loaded for Compatibility with In-Camera Aberration Correction

The lenses are fully compatible with in-camera aberration correction, which includes corrections for peripheral illumination, chromatic aberrations and distortion. By matching corrections to the optical characteristics of the lens, this function takes image quality to an even higher level.

Native Mount for a More Rigid and Stable Feel

Making the mount native to the lens means a more rigid and stable feel to the lens. Featuring a special surface treatment to enhance strength, the brass bayonet mount offers a high-precision fit and exceptional durability. The mount connection area incorporates rubber sealing for dust- and splash-proof construction.

Available Mount Conversion Service*

This service converts the mount of Sigma lenses to that of a different camera body, allowing photographers to continue using their favorite lenses over the long term regardless of camera system.

*The Mount Conversion Service is different from a normal repair. In order to apply for the service, please contact your nearest authorized Sigma subsidiary or distributor:

**This service is performed exclusively by Sigma.

05/27/2018 06:53 PM
Adobe Creative Cloud updates bring preset and profile syncing to Lightroom CC
A new batch paste option in Lightroom CC allows settings to be quickly synced across multiple images.

Adobe has announced a raft of updates across its suite of Creative Cloud apps, including Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC.

For photographers, Lightroom CC receives the most substantial updates, which include easy synchronization of presets and profiles across all devices. Preset and profile syncing works with Lightroom's inbuilt options, as well as custom and third-party presets and profiles. Presets can now be created in Lightroom CC on mobile devices, too. iOS devices also gain a new chromatic aberration removal tool, and a beta 'long-exposure' mode which combines multiple images and stacks them to simulate the effect of a long shutter speed without the need for a tripod.

Lightroom CC for iOS now includes a 'Technology Preview' of a new long exposure photo mode, which simulates the effect of using a long shutter speed by combining several conventionally-captured exposures into one.

For those using Lightroom CC on a desktop computer, Adobe has improved batch syncing of settings across multiple images, and enhanced the options for sharing albums.

Users of Lightroom Classic CC are promised a substantial update 'coming soon' but in the meantime, Adobe has provided an iterative release centering on 'speed, stability, and a focus on professional workflows'. To that end, Adobe has added new ways of accessing and sorting presets, new color labels for organizing folders, and faster searching inside them.

Learn more about what's new in Adobe Lightroom CC

Learn more about what's new in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC

In other news, for designers, Adobe Spark is now available for Android smart devices and Adobe XD benefits from a range of improvements and added features including overlay support and private sharing.

05/27/2018 05:53 PM
Fujifilm GF 45mm F2.8 R WR sample gallery

The dust and moisture-sealed FUJINON GF 45mm F2.8 R WR is a 36mm equivalent fast prime for Fujifilm's GFX 50S. Optical construction comprises 11 elements in eight groups, including one aspherical and two ED elements. But does all of this add up to great image quality?

Judge for yourself in our gallery of real-world samples.

Learn more about the FUJINON GF 45mm F2.8 R WR

05/27/2018 04:53 PM
Magix celebrates 10th birthday with biggest ever performance update

Video editing software package Video Pro X has received what is described as its biggest update yet, to mark ten years since Magix Video Pro was launched. Owner Magix says the update focuses on speed and performance, and includes new tools to make editors' lives easier.

Magix says that rendering HEVC/H.265 video can now done using the NVIDIA GPU encoder making export much faster than before, while AVX optimization speeds up image processing and improves the accuracy of color correction.

The company also says it has introduced easier methods for working with overlapping audio and video clips, and that its effects interface is now more clearly organized. Green screen work is improved, as is the package’s ability to handle and manipulate 360° content, and users can now edit stereo video footage as well.

Magix Video Pro X costs £299 / $399 and is available now. For more information visit the Magix website (link below).


Press Release:

10 Years of Video Pro X: MAGIX publishes the largest update in the history of the video software

On the occasion of the software’s 10 year anniversary, MAGIX Software is introducing the largest update for Video Pro X ever to the market. The anniversary version of the professional video editing program includes numerous new functions and improvements for significantly more power, productivity, and design flexibility.

The latest Video Pro X has arrived. Right on time to mark the anniversary, the powerful video processing system from MAGIX offers an extensive program of intelligent new and optimized features that help ambitious users to achieve high-end results even faster than ever before.


The most recent update from MAGIX had already put a strong focus on increased performance. However, the new version introduces the largest performance leap ever. For the first time, HEVC/H.265 video export can now be rendered with the NVIDIA GPU's encoder. This makes export speeds possible, which were inconceivable in the past. Also new to the latest version is the comprehensive AVX optimization in the internal image processing and the 3-way colour correction resulting in faster image processing and much more precise output quality during colour conversion. Additionally, the output of 4K source videos into FullHD quality has been optimized by reducing high-frequency image components. This results in fewer bit errors during the conversion of high-resolution recordings.


With the new Video Pro X, MAGIX pushes ahead with its workflow optimization strategy. The latest improvements include the new time-saving J-L cut and the intuitive "Move object content" mouse mode. With J-L edits, video and audio tracks can now be modified individually without losing the advantages of working with grouping. For video editors who work regularly with overlapping objects, such as spoken audio spanning several scenes in documentaries and interviews, work will become noticeably easier, and object content can now be moved more flexibly. From now on, users can intuitively select and adjust image content from video objects with a click of the mouse while maintaining the editing rhythm.


The Video Pro X effects area has been enhanced and is now more clearly organized and user friendly than ever. Users can quickly navigate to the effects they want and control plugins much more intuitively meaning the creative workflow stays uninterrupted. Chroma Keying has also been optimized in response to customer feedback. A new algorithm supports the ability to recognize and extract objects. 360° editing was also improved. 360° image stabilization, a set of spectacular 360° transitions, and special 360° effects from HitFilm now supplement the Video Pro X 360° editing package. And now even stereoscopic videos can be processed by Video Pro X.

"10 years of development have been invested in the new Video Pro X. We would like to introduce the largest update in the history of Video Pro X as a way to say thank you to our loyal customers. Without the continuous feedback from the Video Pro X community, the software would by far not be as sophisticated and powerful as it is today," says Florian Liepold, Product Owner Video Pro X at MAGIX.

Video Pro X comes with a year of Update Service free of charge. So, users who now decide to purchase the software will automatically receive any upcoming updates. For example, the flexible anchor point positioning, an intelligent function that helps to individually select the object focus – for maximum design flexibility while scaling and rotating.

All new Video Pro X features at a glance:

Prices and availability:

Video Pro X – £299 / $399

05/27/2018 02:12 AM
Canon teases CMOS sensor nearly 40 times larger than a 35mm full-frame sensor

In 2010, Canon revealed that it was developing the world's largest CMOS sensor, one measuring about 40 times larger than a full-frame CMOS sensor. The company has now added more details about the project to its website, including a discussion of a real-world application.

Whereas a 35mm full-frame sensor measures 36 x 24mm, Canon's massive chip measures about 200 x 200mm. Canon gives a little detail about some of the challenges presented by such a large sensor and how it overcame them, saying in part:

Increasing the size of CMOS sensors entails overcoming such problems as distortion and transmission delays for the electrical signals converted from light. To resolve these issues, Canon not only made use of a parallel processing circuit, but also exercised ingenuity with the transfer method itself.

Overcoming this problem allowed comparatively fast readout of the sensor's huge pixels, allowing it to capture video at 60fps in conditions as dark as 0.3 lux, which is about as bright as a night scene illuminated by the moon.

The company says the sensor has already been used by Japan's Kiso Observatory to capture the first ever video of meteors that otherwise would have been too faint to record. This allowed analysis of the meteor frequency, providing supporting evidence for a theoretical model of meteor behavior.

Canon also suggests the ultrahigh-sensitivity sensor could be used for various other applications requiring video in extreme low-light conditions, such as studying the behavior of nocturnal animals or shooting video of aurora.

Via: Canon

05/26/2018 09:39 PM
Samyang releases 85mm F1.4 AF lens for Canon DSLRs

Exactly one week after dropping its 24mm F2.8 AF lens for full-frame Sony cameras, Samyang is back at it again. Today, Samyang announced the release of a new 85mm F1.4 AF lens for Canon DSLRs.

The telephoto prime is yet another addition in Samyang's growing portfolio of autofocus lenses. This lens in particular uses an upgraded dual-motor system to deliver faster, more accurate autofocus performance, according to Samyang. The minimum focusing distance is 90cm/35.43in, roughly 5cm more than Canon's 85mm F1.4 IS USM lens, which has a minimum focusing distance of 85cm/33.46in.

The Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 EF lens weighs 485g/1.07lbs and measures in at 72mm long without the lens hood or rear cap. It's constructed of nine optical elements in seven groups, including hybrid aspherical elements and an "ultra multi coating" designed to eliminate flares and ghosting. Samyang has also included weather-sealing, which should make it a little more robust in tough environments.

The Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 EF lens, which sells under the Rokinon brand name in the United States, will be available in July 2018 for £599.99 (~$800). This puts it at roughly half the price of Canon's 85mm F1.4 IS USM lens, which retails for $1,600.

05/26/2018 09:31 PM
Kickstarter: Pixl-latr aims to simplify film digitization
The Pixl-latr flattens film on a diffused surface so that it can easily be photographed with a conventional digital camera.

The analog revival continues unabated, and a new product - the Pixl-latr - could provide a long-awaited easy solution to the challenge of converting film to pixels.

Just launched on Kickstarter, at its core the Pixl-later is a diffusing plate which comes with a series of pins and frames that can flatten 35mm, 120 film (up to 6x12) and even 5x4 sheet film to be photographed with a digital camera - it even comes with a small stand to prop your negative up.

120 film being loaded into the Pixl-latr.

The idea for the Pixl-latr came to creator Hamish Gill (of 35mmc fame) when he realized the lack of affordable 5x4 film scanning solutions. He decided to create something that could easily flatten his film to be photographed, rather than scanned. Anyone who's tried to photograph negatives knows what a pain getting them flat can be - the Pixl-latr seeks to solve this very annoying problem.

Through Kickstarter, the Pixl-latr can be yours for the 'Super-Early Bird - Supporter Special' price of £25 / ~$33, assuming that the funding goal is met.

Personally, considering the time and effort I’ve spent scanning film over the years, £25 seems like a real bargain and I truly hope it gets fully backed. If it has piqued your interest, you can read more about the Pixl-latr and and support the Kickstarter from the link below.

Read more about the Pixl-latr and support the Kickstarter

05/26/2018 09:23 PM
Google reveals how to simulate shallow DOF from a single mobile camera

Google has published an 18-page study fully detailing the synthetic depth-of-field technology that makes its single-camera Portrait Mode possible. Google introduced its evolved Portrait Mode feature on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, though neither smartphone model has the dual-camera hardware typically required to produce this effect.

The in-depth paper shows a degree of openness unusual for the smartphone and camera industries. Smartphones with a single camera produce images where everything is generally in focus. Dual-camera phones paired with a stereo algorithm get around this limitation by matching points in images from both cameras to determine depth within the captured scene. Having acquired that depth data, some pixels can be selectively blurred to produce the shallow DOF effect, Google explained in a blog post last year.

Achieving this same effect using only a single camera is difficult. Some mobile camera apps attempt to simulate a shallow DOF by separating an image's pixels into two layers, isolating the foreground, and then blurring the remaining pixels; this is called semantic segmentation. The lack of depth data, however, means the software doesn't know how much blur to apply to any arbitrary object in the scene. The results can often be lackluster or unrealistic, without the gradual optical blur expected of objects receding into the distance.

That's where Google's "authentic defocus" technology comes in. The Pixel 2 smartphones utilize the semantic segmentation method for images taken with the front-facing camera, but they also use a stereo algorithm for images taken with the rear camera... despite there only being a single lens. Google provided an overview of how it achieves that on its AI blog in October.

There are advantages to Google's technology versus using a second camera, including reducing the space taken up by the imaging module, reduced power consumption, and helping keep costs down.

Put simply, Google repurposes its dual-pixel auto focus hardware utilized increasingly in mobile cameras for fast AF. Each pixel on the sensor is split into two photodiodes; the left- and right-looking (or up- and down-looking) photodiodes essentially establish two perspectives of the scene with a ~1mm stereo baseline. A burst of images are aligned and averaged to reduce noise, and a stereo algorithm computes a depth map from the two perspectives. This simulates the data that would be provided by two physical cameras next to each other, enabling Google's software to determine the depth of every point within the captured scene.

There's a lot more to Google's approach, including even advantages over traditional optics - for example in its choice to force a larger depth-of-field around the focus plane to ensure a sharp subject, something impossible to achieve optically. The study also points out that there are advantages to Google's technology versus using a second camera, including reducing the space taken up by the imaging module, reduced power consumption, and helping keep costs down.

Read the full PDF here.

Via: Cornell University Library

05/26/2018 05:53 PM
Rugged compact, GoPro, or smartphone: Which should I take on vacation?
My family hikes, we camp, we fish, we snowboard. As a photographer, that leaves me with some choices to make if I want to take pictures or video of our adventures.

Vacations, particularly outdoor, active ones, can provide some of the most vivid family memories, but can also be some of the most difficult to photograph. Several different types of device try to fit the bill but which is best for you?

Your mirrorless camera may be pretty compact to travel with, but can it film your kid’s first trip down a waterslide? Your DSLR may claim to be weather sealed but are you willing to risk pulling your $3000 camera+lens combo out to take a ski chairlift photo? Even if you are willing to trust it, are you willing to carry that kit with you all day?

In 2018, there’s no reason to let that keep you from being able to record those moments in your life. There are more options than ever for water, shockproof / freezeproof cameras that can survive life’s more demanding adventures. I’m talking about cameras that can survive a rainstorm or a day at the beach or sledding hill. Something compact and easy to travel with that you don’t have to worry about (and won’t cost thousands to replace) if clumsy Uncle Fred drops it into the hotel pool. Let's look at the options:

Action cameras

Small, tough and able to capture wide-angle video, Action cameras are especially good for capturing the spirit and experience of action activities.

Since the introduction of the GoPro HD in 2009, action cameras have become almost a required accessory for outdoor adventures. Once the sole domain of those who jumped off of cliffs or surfed on 20 foot waves, these days GoPros are used for everything from 'Hot Wheels' tracks in the backyard to Formula 1 races across the globe. From a child's first wobbly bike ride to mountain bikers who throw themselves down cliffs. If you are on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, It’s highly likely that you see video from these cameras virtually every time you look at your feed.

While not expressly listed as shockproof or freezeproof, action cameras have a pretty proven track record.

It’s easy to see why action cameras have become so popular. They are tough, small, offer very good video quality, and can be mounted literally anywhere. Their super wide lenses give them a unique field-of-view that both suits, and has become de-rigueur for, recording 'cool' adventures. 4K video, image stabilization, and even Raw image shooting options are common. The newer camera designs from GoPro (Hero6, Hero5, Session) offer 10 meters / 33 feet of waterproofing while still offering clear audio out of the water and an optional external case extends this depth to 60m / 196ft.

These cameras are far better when mounted on a helmet, handlebar, or selfie stick than they are used handheld.

While not expressly listed as shockproof or freezeproof, action cameras have a pretty proven track record. Googling 'GoPro survives fall' or 'GoPro Everest' should give more than enough examples to convince most skeptics. Most offer Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity and many have apps that allow for remote control via smartphone. Finally, it is hard to deny just how much kids love these cameras. The days of youngsters being thrilled by the apparent magic of a smartphone or a digital camera are probably over. But for whatever reason, when you hand a kid a GoPro, they just go nuts with it. You’ll get some of the most fascinating and genuine footage of children you’ve ever seen. It is both unique and heartwarming.

There's something unobtrusive about an action camera that can help candidly capture natural behavior.

However, it can be frustrating trying to use an action camera for still images. JPEG quality, color science, and even operational speed can feel like they lag behind dedicated still camera makers. Manual controls are near non-existent, and those that do exist are frequently hidden behind screen/button taps and menus. With no zoom or interchangeable lenses, your field-of-view is limited to super-wide or cropped 'medium' and 'narrow' options, limiting both flexibility and quality. And as cool as that super-wide view is, you probably won’t be surprised to hear how easy it is to get your fingers in the way if you are shooting handheld.

These cameras are far better when mounted on a helmet, handlebar, or selfie stick than they are used handheld, particularly given their size and lack of physical controls.

Waterproof P&S cameras

There are times when those 'freezeproof' ratings start to seem pertinent.

The waterproof point-and-shoot camera has been around for many years, as 1994’s film-based Canon Sure Shot A1 can attest. But as with most P&S cameras, the digital revolution brought a whole new level of usefulness to these tough little cameras. However, unlike most P&S cameras, the waterproof segment continues to thrive and evolve even in the age of smartphones.

Many of these cameras are not only waterproof, but are rated to be freeze, dust and shockproof. For example, typical specs might be waterproof to 15-30 meters / 50-100 ft, dustproof, crushproof to 100 kgf / 220 lbf, shockproof from 2.1 meters / 7 ft, and freezeproof to -10° / +14° F. While lenses in these cameras are the typical variable aperture midrange zoom that most P&S cameras have, the waterproof versions tend to be a bit faster on the wide end, apertures of F2 or F2.8 aren’t uncommon. And unlike action cameras or smartphones with their fixed lenses and digital zooms, these are true optical zooms that typically offer a 4x-6x range. RAW shooting, 4K video, optical image stabilization and Wi-Fi/bluetooth connectivity are showing up on recent models.

Even if you're not shooting underwater, there are times it's nice to know your camera will withstand a drop.

But perhaps most importantly, these cameras blow the other options out of the water in terms of ergonomics. While their physical controls, shutter buttons, and handgrips won’t win any awards when compared to DSLR or mirrorless cameras, they are miles ahead of a GoPro or iPhone. You can successfully use these cameras with gloves on, with wet hands, or in a location where a fumble would mean losing the camera. Along similar lines, these cameras all have one small feature that is difficult or impossible to find on action cameras or smartphones: a strap loop. While a full neckstrap may be a bit much for a camera like this, a small wrist strap is a worthwhile and compact safety measure. Buoyancy floats can even be attached if you do find yourself out on the water.

These cameras blow the other options out of the water in terms of ergonomics

While these cameras often have more physical controls than other options on this list, they still don’t tend to have very many of them compared to more serious cameras. Camera and shooting settings are still commonly accessed via pressing buttons to scroll through menus. On the other hand, this may not matter because there just aren’t that many manual control options on most point-and-shoot cameras, waterproof or otherwise. Shooting and 'art' modes of limited usefulness are far more likely than shutter or aperture priority options.

Autofocus is improved from the cheap P&S your parents might have had at one point, but it still is going to lag behind any DSLR or mirrorless you are used to. They are also absolutely an additional device to carry with you. Unlike a tiny GoPro or the smartphone that you probably already have with you, a waterproof compact can feel bulky/heavy enough that you know you are having to carry it around.


But a dedicated camera isn't necessarily your only option. What if there was a surprisingly powerful camera that you probably already owned and it was almost always in your pocket or purse? What if this camera also had powerful photo and video editing capabilities and could instantly upload the finished product to the internet and social media? As you’ve probably already guessed, this camera already exists and you probably already own one, a smartphone.

It is becoming more and more common for higher end smartphones to have some level of Ingress Protection rating

It is becoming more and more common for higher end smartphones to have at least some level of IP (Ingress Protection) rating. Typically, they are dustproof and water resistant for up to 30 minutes in water around 1 m / 3.3 ft deep. This means you shouldn’t go snorkeling with any of them, but they will survive dunkings and splashes easily, even without one of the great many 'protector' cases that are available for the flagship handsets. High-resolution 4k video, dual (or even triple) lens options, optical image stabilization, and front/back cameras are all regularly seen on expensive and budget smartphones alike.

Default camera apps are decent, but the real power is using some of the 3rd party apps that give you additional shooting modes, full manual control and the ability to shoot in Raw. Not only can you capture images, but editing programs give you the ability to crop, sharpen, adjust and enhance your photos/video right on your phone. Cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity allow instant uploading to social media or text / email to friends and family.

With an IP-rated smartphone, the selfies don't have to stop when the conditions get more challenging.

Perhaps most importantly, you are almost assuredly going to have a smartphone with you anyway. Whether for communication, navigation, entertainment, and even emergencies, you’ll want your smartphone for all of them while traveling. There is a reason that these days, hardcore outdoor folks often call a mobile phone the 'eleventh essential' on the classic 'ten essentials' survival item list.

The convenience factor of using a smartphone as your vacation/adventure camera is high, but the drawbacks may be even higher. There is simply no getting around the fact that the ergonomics of these devices as cameras are simply awful. They are thin, slippery, and without any sort of handgrip or strap options. A shattered screen from a two foot drop on the pool deck or a tumble down a thousand foot cliff is just one small stumble away. Almost everyone you know has dropped their phone with dry hands, so how much worse is that likely to be with wet hands or gloves? And, as most of us know, using a touchscreen with gloves or wet hands can be impossible, which just exacerbates the ergonomics issue.

A lack of zoom may be a drawback but chances are you'll have a smartphone with you at key moments.

Battery life is frequently a problem with phones, and constantly filming and photographing will only make this worse, which may leave you without communication or data capabilities at a crucial moment. Most important of all is the fact that if something happens to your phone, you are likely losing a lot more personal data than just a few images. Dropping and breaking your GoPro is a good way to have a bad day, but dropping and breaking your iPhone X could leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere if you were relying on its GPS to get you home. Not to mention the fact that you’d be out over $1000: that’s going to hurt no matter who you are.

If you are going the smartphone route, it might be worth looking into some of the extreme protection cases form companies such as LifeProof or OtterBox.


So, which to choose? That depends on what sort of vacation/adventure you see yourself taking.

If you are looking for still image capability, a waterproof point and shoot camera will probably prove the most versatile. With their optical zooms and physical controls, they easily best the other options for still images. 4k video and image stabilization means that they're not slouches in the video department as well. Equally at home capturing everything from a flower in a tropical rainstorm to rock climbing in a national park, they really are a jack of all trades. I take mine anytime I want to shoot still images, might want the option for video, and require protection from water/drops/freezing/etc.

Rugged, waterproof cameras aren't only useful for underwater shooting.

More action-orientated adventures are probably better suited to the video and perspective that action cams offer. Will you be skiing, sailing, paragliding, mountain biking or anything like that? For me, I’m mostly likely to pull out the GoPro when I’m snowboarding. A video with that wide field-of-view just does the best job of capturing that memory for me. Additionally, any trip that includes children is a strong point for these cameras as well. As you can see from the waterslide video above, even a day poolside with a GoPro can capture some pretty fun kid moments.

Finally, let’s face it, you’ll likely have your cell phone in your pocket no matter where you go. In 2018, most of us are so addicted to the connectivity that these devices offer, we’re unlikely to leave them home. But can they be a vacation camera for you? If you are going to be somewhere with good cell coverage and with a low level of risk, then yes. Seeing the Smithsonian, visiting the beach, taking a train across Europe or dropping into an oyster shack for lunch? The still and video options of today’s smartphones will serve you well. Pick up a model with a decent IP rating and you can even enjoy some protection from splashes and sand. Just make sure you don’t drop it and leave yourself stranded somewhere!

The Olympus Tough TG-5 is one of the few rugged cameras that lets you shoot Raw, which is useful for making the most of those images shot in difficult conditions.

But if I was only going to carry one on a vacation or adventure, I would still choose the waterproof P&S option (probably the Olympus Tough TG-5 in my case). It is the best of the bunch as far ease/quality of still photos, has the ability to shoot Raw, does a great job with video, offers a few physical controls, has a usable and reasonably fast zoom lens, is freeze/drop/waterproof, includes Wi-Fi connectivity, and can be found for under $400.

I’ve gone fishing, snowboarding, snorkeling, camping, traveling, and splashing at the local pool with mine. It’s survived, kids, grandfathers, drops, kicks, falls, bouncing across river rocks, careening down waterslides and generally being ridden hard and put away (literally) wet. It’s yet to let me down.

The Olympus Tough TG-5 is the camera we recommend as best camera in our Waterproof Camera buying guide.