Phase One recently sent award-winning portrait photographer Rick Wenner on a dream assignment. Equipped with the XF IQ3 Achromatic—the world's only 101MP black-and-white medium format digital back—he was sent to Wildwood, NJ to shoot an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen.
The annual drag racing event features pre-war era hot rods and motorcycles, speeding across the beach. It's the ideal event to shoot in black-and-white, and when you're shooting with the only 101MP digital back out there... well, all the better.
But why black and white only? Wenner explained in an interview with Phase One:
“Black and white photography is a great approach to focus completely on the detail and art of these beautiful machines. [...] You aren’t distracted by a bright blue sky or a yellow-green paint job on a hot rod. You are not distracted by the colorful tattoos or the rust and patina of an old delivery truck. Your eye is only looking at what I want the viewers to see in my photos - detail, texture, facial expressions, style, shapes, and action.”
As for the camera itself, it was... hefty... as you might well assume. In addition to the weight of the XF IQ3 Achromatic, Wenner was using the Schneider Kreuznach 40-80mm LS f/4.0-5.6 and Schneider Kreuznach 75-150mm LS f/4.0-5.6 Blue Ring lenses, neither of which are exactly light.
Speaking with DPReview over email, though, Wenner tells us the extra weight was totally worth it once he got a look at the files:
The camera was heavier than what I’m used to with those zoom lenses but still manageable throughout the day. The files are ENORMOUS, as expected. The .IIQ (raw) files are on average about 150-175 MB. I loved working with the files because of the insane amount of detail captured and how much information can be recovered in highlights and shadows.
All photos by Rick Wenner and used with permission.
Photography gear is pricey, and buying used is a great way to keep your wallet from getting too thin, but it also comes with quite a few risks. The high price associated with photo gear sometimes attracts unsavory folks disguising themselves as reputable sellers as a means to part you from your hard earned cash. Thankfully, it's pretty easy to avoid this from happening.
I've been buying gear on a budget for thirteen years now, mostly via eBay and Craigslist, and in that time have come up with a basic set of rules to protect myself from getting burned. And after recently reading a gear-buying horror story, I felt compelled to write down my rules – with the input of my DPReview colleagues – and share them with you.
Note: There are exceptions to these rules and following them does not necessary guarantee you won't get burned by a bad deal. As with any big-ticket purchase, common sense is the best and safest policy.
Buy from reputable used retailers like KEH or from the used department of reputable camera retailers like Adorama or B&H. If you are unsure of whether a camera retailer is reputable, if they are based in the USA, a quick search of the company's name on the Better Business Bureau website should provide you the answer.
As a rule, always be sure to check and understand the retailer's return policy, just in case you have an issue. For instance, KEH offers a 6 month return window.
The advantage of buying from a used retailer is generally peace of mind; the disadvantage is you will likely pay more than buying direct from a selling party. That's where consumer-to-consumer sites like eBay and more recently, Amazon Marketplace* come into play.
If you plan on purchasing from a seller on one of these sites, I can not emphasize enough how important it is that they have a positive selling history with multiple completed transactions. At least ten is a good place to start, but the more the merrier. Checking a seller's history is simple on both of the above-mentioned sites.
DPReview.com is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon but is editorially independent of our parent company.
Only pay using a payment method you trust. PayPal is the obvious option, especially if buying on eBay, but there are others out there. And be wary of anyone who wants you to pay by wiring money to them via Western Union. If you choose to do so, make sure you’ve developed a sufficient level of trust with the seller.
Buy from sellers who are photographers/photo enthusiasts. They’ll likely have taken better care of their gear and know more about its operation. The language used in an item's description is usually a good indicator of whether the seller is a photo enthusiast or just someone who picked up some gear at an estate sale. If you are still unsure, reach out to the seller and ask them a question about the gear. If their reply doesn't satisfy you, don't buy it.
If you plan on buying off Craigslist, try the gear with your own lenses/camera before you buy. One of my colleagues went to check out a prospective lens from a Craigslist seller. The lens seemed to function great on the gentleman's camera, but when my buddy mounted it on his, the AF motor started to squeak. My friend had done his research and knew this particular lens occasionally suffers from premature failed AF motors, so he politely said 'no thank you' and moved on. Had he not tried it on his own camera, he might have ended up with a lemon of a lens.
This is in a similar vein to the previous tip: Always, ALWAYS research warning signs of failure for a piece of used gear you are considering purchasing. Some used gear holds up surprisingly well over time; some does not. For instance, early production Nikon 17-35mm F2.8 lenses suffer from the aforementioned failed focus motor. Knowing the warning signs of failure is essential. And don't be afraid to ask the buyer if 'the AF motor squeaks at all.' These kinds of questions and their answers can help protect you.
On a similar note, when purchasing a used camera, always ask for the shutter count. In the same way the odometer in a used car provides a metric for how much wear and tear it's received, so does a shutter count. Because shutters are only guaranteed so many actuations by the manufacturer, it is crucial to check before you buy.
Avoid grey market gear. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it refers to gear that is sold in new condition, but without a corresponding warranty for the country in which it is being purchased. To be clear: ANY camera or lens bought new from a reputable dealer will always have a warranty card issued by the manufacturer. Grey market cameras may have been imported illegally. Some will come with a third party warranty, some will not.
While the prices might be tempting, it's best to avoid these 'deals.' If you end up having a problem with the gear or there is some kind of recall, you may run into issues when sending it back to the manufacturer. Not to mention that grey market sales undermine the integrity of the photography gear market as a whole.
Look for alternative versions of gear that may be less expensive. This is less a tip about protecting yourself and more a tip about finding the best deal, but what the heck, we included it anyway. A good example of this is the Leica CL, which goes for a lot more money than a Leitz Minolta CL, despite being the same camera.
Double check your prospective gear's compatibility with your current gear. This one is pretty commonsense, but if you accidentally buy a Canon FD mount lens for your 5D Mark III, the screw-up is on you, not the seller. Likewise, if you buy a Nikkor-D lens and your DSLR doesn't have a built-in AF motor, that's your problem – not the seller's.
Be patient. If buying on Amazon Marketplace or eBay, you can set automated searches or notifications for products of interest. Don’t rush into buying something because you don’t see a lot of copies for sale.
If the original owner registered their gear with the manufacturer, make sure that you coordinate changing the registration info to your own. I recently heard an unfortunate story of a photographer sending a piece of gear, bought used, to the manufacturer due to a recall, and the manufacturer sending it back to the original buyer. A sticky wicket for sure! Don't let that happen to you.
Have any used-gear-buying tips of your own?
|Breaking down the composition of one of Henri Cartier-Bresson's most famous images. Photo: Magnum Photos, screenshot from video|
Henri Cartier-Bresson—the father of modern day street photography and master of the candid shot—was obsessive about the 'geometry' in his photographs. And in this two-part educational series, photographer Tavis Leaf Glover dives into some of Bresson's best-known images to explain the dynamic symmetry at work and help you understand (and implement) it in your own photos.
This is NOT a beginner's guide to composition. To the untrained (and many a trained) eye it can just look like Glover is overlaying so many lines onto each image that SOMEthing is going to line up no matter what. But for all that he coined the term the Decisive Moment, Bresson was extremely deliberate about his compositions.
Both videos dive into that deliberate vision—the way the iconic photographer saw the world around him and fit it into the 35mm frame just so. Check out both parts below, and then let us know what you think in the comments.
On November 23, 2016, a fire started along the Chimney Tops 2 that would spread throughout Gatlinburg and become the worst fire in Tennessee of the last 100 years. It claimed 14 lives and over 2,000 homes and businesses.
As the devastation became apparent, I had an idea to use my camera to bring healing and awareness to the region’s victims in a series of photos. From December 14-20, 2016, I photographed as many individuals and families as I could. There were already lots of photographers and drone enthusiasts there but I don’t find that more cameras help in times of need. There has to be a specific idea or angle to tell the story in a different, emotionally-compelling way.
As story-tellers, we have to use the creative director parts of our minds to think differently.
So I had the idea to place a stark white mattress in the middle of these blackened, charred homes and then place the homeowners on the mattress and photograph it from a drone. I had never used drones before but I knew it was the right solution for this project. And I was hopeful that it would be a bit therapeutic for the homeowners to lay down one last time in their former home… a moment of quiet remembrance in a time of distress.
This is the very first photo I took for the project, a portrait of a new friend named Kirk Fleta. He’s a famous musician and had built his home himself, with his own hands.
We had him lay down and then started flying the drone. As soon as I took this first photo, I started crying. I’ve never cried in my entire career, upon seeing one of my images for the first time. But this one got me on every level. Not only was it a successful vision but it uniquely displayed Kirk’s loss and it seemed to represent such a vulnerable moment for him… the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one.
We used a variety of different drones and DSLRs to capture the aerial shots and portraits for the project, respectively. For this shot, we were using a DJI Inspire Pro (X5). You can see the entire project here.
Jeremy Cowart is an award-winning photographer, artist, and entrepreneur whose mission in life is to "explore the intersection of creativity and empathy." His work ranges from celebrity portraiture to deeply personal projects like the Gatlinburg portraits. To see more of his work, visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Instagram.
World Photo Day is here and to celebrate we've decided to share a staff gallery of some of our favorite images shot over the past year (Note: we did not shot the above image, you can thank the crew of Apollo 17 for that).
The DPReview team is made up of more than just our editorial side – like any web-based publication we also have developers and a business-oriented team. But regardless of each staff members' role, we all share a common passion for photography. And this gallery is a small representation of that passion.
To accompany each image, the photographer has written a few paragraphs describing the scenario in which it was shot as well as the gear used. Enjoy!
I'm at heart a portrait photographer: my favorite subject is people, my favorite challenge is to capture a bit of their story. This is one of my favorite photos of the year because it shows her in the midst of childhood – she'd just turned seven years old – and her eyes carry the frank directness of a child tinged with a hint of the adult she will become.
I took this photo with the Petzval 58mm on the Nikon D750. The Petzval 58 is a manual focus lens with drop in aperture plates, so she had to wait patiently for me to pick my aperture and find my focus. The depth of the shadows and color also add a quality of stillness that I like, as stillness and patience are not easy to catch in a newly-minted seven year old. Every time I pass this photo in my collection, I stop and take a longer look, remembering and savoring this rare quiet moment.
This is one of those photos where a fleeting moment was captured by dumb luck. I like getting lucky with a photo because I like knowing that aside from having the right gear and dialing in the right settings, there is also an aspect of randomness to our art, and I enjoy seeing it manifested.
I took this photo at a friend’s lake house, while watching their neighbors set off Independence Day fireworks. I was concentrating on photographing the fireworks, which were coming from different directions, so I was switching around between very different exposure settings. I had taken a couple of pictures of my friends sitting on the dock, but they were sitting apart, and the photos weren’t that strong compositionally.
When a few minutes later, I saw them lean in to each other for just a few seconds, I quickly shot with whatever settings I had dialed for the fireworks, and got this photo. When I saw it on the LCD, I knew that it was going to be a keeper for me, even if it was blurry or out of focus, and I continued shooting the fireworks worry-free, knowing that I already had my shot.
Gear: Canon 5D Mark IV, EF 16-35 f/2.8L II USM at 16mm 0.5sec at f/4 ISO 800
I was lucky enough to visit the rugged but beautiful country of Iceland last October during a press event for Olympus. We hit most of the usual tourist spots: Reykjavik, Gullfoss, Skógafoss, Almannagjá and, of course, the Blue Lagoon (we need one of those here in Seattle). Being a press event, it shouldn't be surprising that I was using an Olympus camera, which in this case was an E-M1 Mark II.
On one of the days we headed to the south coast to the famous black sand beach in Vik. On the drive there we encountered sun, rain and hail in a five minute period, which I was told wasn't unusual for Iceland. Prior to our arrival, our guide told us to never turn our back to the dangerous ocean (always sage advice) since many have died at the beach. That was reinforced by a warning sign on the walk down and the presence of a security guard keeping people away from the water.
The scene on the beach was incredibly monochromatic. It was overcast with unbelievably rough seas, whose spray eliminated any color above the ocean. The basalt columns that shoot out of the earth give this spot an almost otherworldly feel (no pun intended). Not long after our arrival it started to hail again. The hail added some much-needed contrast to the scene and it was at the point where I took the photo above. That is indeed a color photo, but the scene on the beach was so grim and gloomy that it ended up looking black & white.
I shot this image in Tokyo earlier in spring on the Fujifilm GFX 50S and GF 63mm F2.8 R. I've always dreamed of wandering the streets of Tokyo, camera in hand but never expected the camera to be a digital medium-format. Truth is I intended on shooting the streets with my Leica M6 but a stroke of good fortune at the CP+ trade show days prior resulted in DPReview getting our hands on one of the very first GFX 50S' available to the media. And so naturally I put my M6 on the backburner/back in my suitcase and used the Fujifilm for the duration of my trip.
Large and sluggish to focus with the 63mm, it was hardly the ideal kit for walking multiple miles a day, trying to be discreet or attempting to catch decisive moments. But having yearned to visit Tokyo much of my life, I wasn't about to let those factors hold me back on my first visit. Plus, I've always enjoyed shooting with Fujifilm cameras and was pretty excited by this new one.
In the end I worked around the sluggish AF and clunky size and made a ton of images while exploring there, many of which I was pleased with, but none more than the one above. It just goes to show, the photographic tool is much less important than the will of the photographer. Also thanks to the high-res chip, I was able to crop to taste in post without any worry.
I showed up to this shoot with a Sony a7R II and a set of primes. I brought a Nikon D5 and 70-200 F2.8E FL ED VR. Just in case.
I chose Volunteer Park in Seattle as the backdrop, because of the lush greenery everywhere. Close to sunset, the sun shines through numerous trees, affording ample opportunity for backlit scenarios and light shining through trees. I started off shooting with the a7R II. Looking through the EVF, I was able to carefully tune my exposure on-the-fly - a huge advantage of mirrorless.
But something was missing. I didn't like what I was seeing through the EVF. I saw a flat, dull representation of the love story in front of me. Why? Because Sony's JPEG engine rendered lackluster colors and a flat preview that tries to pack in a bunch of scene dynamic range into the EVF preview so you can see the wide range of tones in your scene. That's actually a good thing, in most cases. But the resulting images on the LCD were, well, meh.
Somewhat uninspired, I whipped out the D5. It hurt. Like I think a couple of bones cracked and a nerve rubbed me the wrong way. But then I took a shot. I looked at it on the back of the LCD and I was like 'whoa'. The retina-esque resolution of the D5 LCD combined with Nikon's improved JPEG color rendition that gets it at least part of the way to Canon (whose colors - along with Fujifilm - we unanimously love in the office) left me inspired. But not just that - seeing a scene through the optical viewfinder and concentrating on it, and only after taking the shot realizing I'd created something quite pleasing was satisfying. Satisfying like those days when I picked up my Velvia slides after a weekend getaway.
I packed away the a7R II for the rest of the shoot. Boy was I glad I brought that D5 just in case. Good thing I didn't need to shoot any video.
As has already been well-documented, I brought only a 50mm-equivalent lens on a trip to Thailand as a personal challenge. I'm used to wider focal lengths, and after a couple of days, I had accepted that most of my photos from this trip would probably suck.
But I kept on shooting anyway. I was in Thailand, after all. I gradually became somewhat more comfortable with the focal length, and didn't constantly feel like I needed to take five steps back whenever I raised the camera to my eye.
We visited the Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand in the final days of our trip, and I like to think of this photo as a sort of happy accident that stemmed from my personal challenge. If I had a 28mm lens, this would probably be one of those 'here is an elephant in a field' sorts of pictures. But because of the tighter field of view, I was able to more clearly see and frame the curves of the elephant's back against an almost mirror-image of them in the landscape, and captured what I found to be a much more compelling image.
So despite my initial reservations, I like this image not only because, well, I like it, but also because it serves as a reminder to keep on challenging myself to 'see' a little differently.
The Aurora Borealis is one of Earth’s truly magical natural phenomena, and under the right conditions it can turn a nighttime landscape into an otherworldly place. A few months back I was in Canada’s Northwest Territories to photograph the aurora and caught this image almost by accident.
I had a couple other cameras shooting time-lapse sequences in a clearing when something drew me into the woods nearby. It wasn’t until I looked up through the trees of the taiga forest that I realized why. I was surrounded on all sides by aurora that dipped almost to the horizon, creating stark silhouettes of the trees. A window of stars opened straight above. I quickly mounted my camera on a tripod, pointed upward, and took a series of shots. A few minutes later the aurora had moved and the scene was gone forever.
This picture is one of my favorites from the past year because it captures the essence of what it’s like to stand alone in a remote northern forest, spellbound, as the northern lights dance around you. It’s a supernatural, spiritual experience that’s good for your soul.
Photographed with a Nikon D750 and Rokinon 14mm F2.8 lens. ISO 5000, 10 sec, F2.8.
One of my favorite photos from this year is actually a composite of two images. The fourth of May this year saw a storm approach from the west. A bright afternoon became darker and darker as threatening clouds rolled in and the forecast of lightning (uncharacteristic for Seattle) began to look more likely. I grabbed the highest-res camera I could and a Tamron lens we needed to shoot samples on, and raced to the most Southerly end of the building, hoping to capture the mood without also including one of city’s many construction cranes.
The clouds looked ever more moody, and it was visibly apparent where they were raining: the mountains to the North West were still lit by sunshine, but there was no visibility at all as you turned to the South. I started snapping, immediately struck by the Tamron’s ability to stabilize 1/80th of a second and 130mm while carefully aimed between the tilted-open window and its outer frame. I kept shooting as the lightning started.
The flashes seem so long-lived, illuminating the banks and fold of cloud for an appreciable time after the initial burst of light. I wondered whether I could roughly anticipate the next flash, with a long enough shutter speed. No. Then I thought I’d see if my reaction times, combined with the lingering glow in the clouds would be enough. Sure enough, on the third bolt of lightning, I managed to catch the tail-end of the strike. It wasn’t the most dramatic lightning shot I’ve ever seen, but it felt pretty satisfying, given my complete lack of preparation.
I quickly chimped: more than acceptably sharp, considering I was trying to hand-hold a 50MP camera. Then I zoomed out and realized that, while trying to focus on getting the timing right, I’d let the camera slip slightly and inadvertently cropped the top off the Space Needle. So the end result is a composite: a fractionally sharper shot taken a few moments earlier, with the darker clouds and lightning merged in from the better-timed image. I'd like to think I've created a 50MP image which looks eye-catching even as a thumbnail but also allows you to zoom in on the Washington State Ferries, apparently sheltering in the harbor on Bainbridge Island. And, since it's not photojournalism or a competition entry, why not?
This is a photo I shot almost exactly a year ago, but just under, so I think it still counts. It's shot with the Canon M10 and EF-M 22mm, which is a nice combination, and nobody checking your bag bats an eye at it.
Mason, Ohio is a suburb north of Cincinnati best known for its amusement park and annual pro tennis tournament. This is sunset on Grandstand Court, which is the second-largest court and has a more intimate feel than the neighboring Center Court. I saw Roger Federer play here once. He hasn't played on the second-largest court in a long, long time since then.
There are things I don't love about this photo but so much that I do when I come back to it. It takes me back to warm August nights, the hush over the crowd, the hum from the nearby interstate during quiet moments as points are played. I like focusing on the crowd here rather than the players. We had a day of intense rainstorms and the sunset was spectacular that night. It's kind of a Field of Dreams moment – this incredible tournament with the world's best players pretty much in the middle of a field, in what used to be rural Ohio.
I feel like this moment captures what that week in August is like, at least to me, and that kind of thing makes me really excited about taking pictures. It's both meaningful to me personally, and a lovely, fleeting moment captured and made still. Now that I'm on a photo book-making kick, I feel like this might end up in a tennis photo album soon.
This is a photo of a mother bear and two cubs sharing a salmon at the Katmai National Park and Preserve at Brooks Camp in late 2016. At this remote national park, there are only a small number of people and a huge number of bears. Safety is your number one priority as you always give bears the right of way, which results in a unique wildlife experience. Viewing platforms at various points in the Brooks Falls area give photographers some great angles whether they are hauling around tens-of-thousands of dollars in lenses – or the compact super-zoom Sony RX10 III that I used in this shot.
We love ducks. They're a staff favorite. Mainly because there are lots of them at the nearby park and they're always around when we don't have any other models. At some point we should probably get them to sign model releases.
We have so many photos of ducks that we couldn't pick a single favorite, so this was a random selection to represent the multitude of duck portraits we captured last year. Quack on.
French President Emmanuel Macron has filed a legal complaint against a photographer over allegations that he violated the presidential couple's privacy while they were on a holiday vacation. According to UK newspaper The Telegraph, Macron and his wife were on a private holiday in France when an unnamed photographer failed to honor their request for privacy.
The photographer is accused of stalking the president and his wife during their stay in the French city of Marseille, having at times acted in 'a risky and perilous manner' while ignoring warnings from Macron's security personnel to back off. None of that got him arrested, however; it was the photographer's alleged unauthorized entrance into the couple's private property that led to the cops being called and a legal complaint being filed.
The unnamed photographer reportedly told French newspaper VSD that he was subjected to a police search, which included having officials search his bags and gear. He complained of being treated like a criminal and being forced to remove his watch and shoelaces, and characterized the police officers' search of him as 'totally illegal.'
The oldest known original photo of a U.S. president will go up for auction at Sotheby's on October 5th, the auction house has revealed. The daguerreotype is a black and white silver-plate portrait of John Quincy Adams, who is featured sitting in a chair as a Massachusetts congressman following his term as president.
The photo was originally gifted by Adams to Vermont congressman Horace Everett, who remained in possession of the photo until the time of his death.
Though the photo had remained at Everett's house since it was first gifted to the congressman, it was only recently realized to be a photo of Adams. The image was taken by photographer Philip Haas in Washington DC, according to journal entries made by Adams, who described visiting the photographer's studio twice in March of 1843. The previous oldest original portrait of a president was also of Adams, taken only a handful of months later in August 1843.
The back of the framed portrait features Everett's name, as well as the initials 'J. Q. Adams,' the date 'Feb. 1843,' and a bookplate that reads, 'Presented by J.Q.A to his Kinsman H.E. 1843.' The auction house has the portrait listed with an estimated sale price of $150,000 to $250,000.
Sigma has released firmware updates for both its 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Art lens and its Mount Converter MC-11 SA-E and EF-E. Both updates address an issue in which the optical stabilization mechanism malfunctions when the lens is used with either of the aforementioned MC-11 mount converters.
The products can be updated using Sigma Optimization Pro 1.4.1 or greater for Windows or version 1.4.0 or greater for Mac, as well as with the Sigma USB Dock.
|RIP Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux. Photo credit: Leica Store Manchester|
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, here's your 1,000 words about why you should never check in your camera gear when flying. This $11,000 Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux ASPH lens and the $7,000 Leica M10 it was attached to are both broken, possibly beyond repair, after the owner checked them into the hold on a flight instead of carrying them onto the plane.
The lens showed up like this at the Leica Store Manchester, who posted this photo to their Instagram and Facebook pages as a warning for other photographers who have considered checking their camera gear. It might be easier, but you never know what kind of treatment your bag is going to get.
Case in point: the murdered Noctilux above arrived at its destination with two front lens elements shattered... through a filter. What's left of the poor filter is stuck in the lens' filter threads. The owner has sent the lens and and camera to a Leica service center, but while the camera might be fixable, we doubt there's anything to be done about the lens.
Shall we consider this lesson learned?
Photo by Leica Store Manchester and used with permission.
|Warped watermarks leave visible artifacts when removed automatically. Image: Google|
Watermarks are widely used by photographers and stock agencies to protect their digital property in an online world where very little stands between an eager image thief and your photography. However, even complex watermarks might not be as secure as you'd think when the same pattern is applied to a large number of accessible images.
A research team at Google recently embarked on a two-part experiment. First, they developed a method of quickly,. effectively and automatically removing watermarks from a large set of images. Then, they found a way to thwart their own automatic system, creating a more secure way to watermark.
It's a tedious task to remove a watermark manually, which can can take even image editing experts several minutes. Even for a computer it is very difficult to automatically detect and remove a watermark on a single image. However, if watermarks are added in a consistent manner to many images, automatic removal becomes much easier.
In the first step, an algorithm identifies which image structures are repeating in an image collection. If a similar watermark is embedded in many images, the watermark becomes the signal and images become the noise. At that point, a few simple image operations can generate a rough estimation of the watermark pattern.
In the second step, the watermark is separated into its image and opacity components while reconstructing a subset of clean images. The end result is a much more accurate estimation of the watermark pattern, which can then easily be removed from the marked images—no manual photo editing required.
As the vulnerability of current watermarking techniques lies in the consistency in watermarks across image collections, the research team at Google developed a method to introduce inconsistencies when embedding watermarks.
They found that simply changing the watermark position or random changes in its opacity do not improve security by much; however, slightly warping the watermark when embedding it in the image did the trick by producing a watermark that is very similar to the original but leaves very visible artifacts when removed by an algorithm. Estimating the random warp field that was applied to the watermark is simply too difficult for current algorithms.
According to the researchers, there is no guarantee that there will not be a way to break randomized watermarking schemes in the future, but randomized warping will make it fundamentally more difficult to automatically remove watermarks from image collections.
More detail and sample images are available on the Google Research Blog.
Photography gear isn't cheap. If you're looking to take your photography to the next level, there's no shortage of expensive lenses and accessories that will beckon to you.
Sometimes it's worth it to save up for the right piece of equipment, but you don't necessarily have to make a serious investment if you're looking to make gains in your creative pursuit. Here are a few relatively cheap buys that will pay off dividends if you're looking to try something new, build on your current photography skills, or just add another visual trick to your arsenal.
To really master the arts of things like lighting or post-processing, online courses are invaluable. They can also be pretty expensive. But if you're looking to pick up some additional knowledge on the cheap, Creative Live hosts classes on an array of topics – and best of all, they're free when you watch live. The Creative Live app also offers a free lesson of the day.
Along those lines, maybe read some books for inspiration. Remember the library? The library! Learn about past masters of photography or see what current photographers are doing. Bryan Petersen has a whole slew of instructional books, or you could look for some creativity boosters like David du Chemin's follow-along lessons.
Local photography groups can help you get out the door and put you in good company. Being around other photographers and making connections within your area's photography community are great ways to keep furthering your skills, and organizations often have very affordable yearly membership fees or suggested donations – one Seattle group suggests $20 per year. Many clubs organize through meetup.com, which is a good place to start looking.
For an even lower barrier to entry, join a local photography group on Facebook for sharing and critiquing photos. And if you're looking for extra incentive, think about starting a 365 or 52 project, where you take a photo a day or a photo a week for a year. There are tons of online groups to join for support and critiques, and there are also options for 30-day projects if you feel overwhelmed by an entire year.
A couple of pieces of white and black poster board make for quick and cheap ways to play with lighting. White poster board can act as a reflector, and a piece of black poster board can help tame unwanted light and reflections. It's not fancy, but it's a very cheap way to add some visual tricks to product and still life photos. And depending on the situation, poster board can act as a makeshift backdrop for portraits.
A bit of bold color can make your product photography pop. A brightly colored sheet of plexiglass costs somewhere around $10 and can lend product shots a new level of professional polish. Out here, west coast retailer TAP Plastics offers plenty of affordable options, but online options abound. Make sure to add on a bottle of glass cleaner to your order, if you haven't got some already – the fingerprints will accumulate faster than you think.
If you're not ready to spring for a flashgun, you can dip your toe into the vast waters of lighting by modifying the light from your camera's pop-up flash. Sure, a Gary Fong Puffer or a Light Scoop looks a little silly, but at $20 and $30 respectively, they're a reasonably priced way to make more of what your camera already offers.
If you've gone ahead and purchased a flashgun, congratulations – you're already reaping the benefits of a more powerful and pliable source of illumination. But there's a lot more you can do. For less than $10 you can start with a bounce diffuser, and for around $30-50 you can add something a little more exotic, like a Rogue FlashBender.
Or go no further than your local craft store: if you're just looking to experiment, some construction paper can be fashioned into a snoot and taped to a flashgun. It doesn't get much cheaper than that.
Moving your flash off camera will also open up new possibilities, and third-party radio flash triggers are more affordable than ever – a Yongnuo wireless trigger kit can be had for about $30. It's a whole new ballgame when you free your flashgun from the confines of your camera hotshoe.
You can drop a whole lot of cash on a fancy LED light for photography, but if your aim is to experiment with another kind of off-camera illumination, pick up an LED flashlight. They're a great way to play with light painting, and if you're feeling industrious, an LED flashlight can be modified into a makeshift Ice Light for a fraction of the cost of the real thing.
If you find yourself spending a lot of your photo editing time nudging the color temperature slider back and forth, ExpoDisc is worth looking at. At $50 it's on the expensive end of 'cheap' but we know a number of wedding and portrait photographers who swear by it.
To quote an extremely wise and temperamental philosopher, "It's a magical world out there, Hobbes ol' buddy... let's go exploring!" Photography is in itself a wonderful excuse to get out and explore. A new neighborhood, a historical site, a park – going somewhere new can spark creativity, awaken a new interest, and generally be a good exercise for the mind and the body. Pick a location, set yourself a goal, grab your camera and get out the door.
There are two types of kind-of-clichéd photography challenges that are actually quite inspirational and informative: (1) A great photographer using a cheap camera, and (2) Several top-notch photographers shooting the same thing. This video by portrait shooter Jessica Kobeissi is a great example of the latter.
In the latest episode of her new series "4 photographers shoot the same model," Kobeissi goes up against Joey L, Dani Diamond and Brandon Woelfel to see who can capture the most consistently great portraits of the same model—in this case, Charlotte McKee.
All four photographers get to pick one location and outfit, and the entire group has to shoot each of the scenarios. In practical terms, that means only one of the outfits and locations will be 'familiar' and 'comfortable' for each photographer. Oh, and you only get three minutes to shoot...
To see the final shots from each of the four photographer, check out the video up top. And then scroll down to reveal who shot each photograph:
J.1 - Brandon
J.2 - Dani
J.3 - Jessica
J.4 - Joey
D.1 - Jessica
D.2 - Brandon
D.3 - Joey
D.4 - Dani
JL.1 - Dani
JL.2 - Joey
JL.3 - Brandon
JL.4 - Jessica
B.1 - Jessica
B.2 - Joey
B.3 - Brandon
B.4 - Dani
Taiwanese manufacturer Asus is a pioneer in the area of smartphone zoom, and so it does not come as a surprise that its latest flagship model, the ZenFone 4 Pro, comes with a quite impressive looking dual-camera setup that offers 2x zoom capability.
The main sensor in the dual-camera is a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 that comes with large 1.4um pixels and sees the world through a fast F1.7 aperture and 4-axis optical image stabilization. In terms of autofocus, Asus bundles PDAF with laser-based time-of-flight technology for reliable performance in all light conditions.
The main camera also comes with a manual mode that allows for up to 32 second shutter speeds, and 120 fps slow-motion video at 1080p resolution in addition to a 4K mode. Finally, a super-resolution mode can create 48MP images out of four 12MP captures.
The secondary camera uses a smaller Sony IMX351 sensor with 1um pixels and a slower F2.6 aperture. The camera offers both 2x optical zoom and a background-blurring bokeh-effect, but the smaller sensor and a lack of OIS and PDAF in the tele-module probably means those modes are best reserved for bright-light shooting.
In the front camera you'll find an 8MP Sony chip with 1.4um pixels and an F1.9 aperture, alongside other flagship-worthy specifications: the Android OS is powered by a Snapdragon 835 chipset, images can be viewed on a 5.5" 1080p AMOLED display, and the phone is wrapped up in a glass-metal-glass sandwich design body.
Prices for the ZenFone 4 Pro start at $600.
When Picktorial 3 debuted back in April, it offered "superior support" for Fujifilm X-Trans RAW files, including compressed and uncompressed RAF. This was a big deal, and it has been so well received that Picktorial Innovations, Ltd. has announced another major addition for Fuji users this week: they've added Fuji film simulation color profiles.
Released as a $15 "X-Pack" add-on to Picktorial 3, the preset pack is described as, "a package of pitch-perfect film simulation color profiles for Fujifilm RAF files."
With this unique add-on to Picktorial 3, the simple yet powerful non- destructive RAW photo editing platform for Mac, Fuji photographers can enjoy the renowned look of the Fujifilm Film-Simulation yet retain the capability and latitude of the X-Trans sensor output.
The X-Pack features 14 color profiles, which accurately reproduce the much-loved Fuji film simulation modes you find in-camera when shooting JPEG. The difference here being, of course, that you can apply these profiles to raw RAF files to achieve the same looks without losing the editing latitude of raw.
Here are a few before and after images of the X-Pack in action:
Jerusalem, Israel - August 16, 2017 - Picktorial Innovations, Ltd. is excited to announce its latest offering to the Fuji community with X-Pack, a package of pitch-perfect film simulation color profiles for Fujifilm RAF files. With this unique add-on to Picktorial 3, the simple yet powerful non- destructive RAW photo editing platform for Mac, Fuji photographers can enjoy the renowned look of the Fujifilm Film-Simulation yet retain the capability and latitude of the X-Trans sensor output.
Already a favorite within the Fuji community due to its superior X-Trans RAW support, Picktorial has added the X-Pack with 14 color profiles reproducing the Fuji Film-Simulation modes found in- camera when shooting in JPEG format. These profiles, based on the original films, are considered one of the most beloved features in the Fuji X-series digital cameras.
Picktorial continues to develop new features in line with its mission: providing intuitive, pro-level tools to every photographer, expanding creative opportunities while saving editing time. Since its launch in April 2017, Picktorial 3 has received rave reviews from both leading publications and users alike.
Included in the X-Pack are the following profiles:
The camera profiles are compatible with Fujifilm X-Trans(TM) RAF files.
Picktorial 3.0.4 or later
Availability and Pricing:
The X-Pack is now available for download at www.picktorial.com/xpack for $15.
More tutorials and resources can be found at www.youtube.com/picktorial
Whether it's the Walkman, Photoshop or the GoPro, every now and again a product comes along that so perfectly epitomizes the form, that its name is taken to represent the entire category of products (whether its maker likes it or not). For a couple of years, the Flip Video pocket camcorder was just such a device. The dead giveaway being that you can probably picture what I mean by 'Flip Video' but not by the phrase 'pocket camcorder.'
In a manner similar to GoPro, the Flip wasn't necessarily the most technologically innovative product, but it represented a novel arrangement of components in such a way that it heralded a new class of devices. Rather than making you carry around a full-sized camcorder, the Flip squeezed a small sensor, a battery and some memory together in a genuinely pocketable package.
The first units captured VGA resolution, which wasn't as undesirable as it now sounds, since standard (1950s) definition TV still ruled the world in the mid 2000s. In fact the Flip Video grew out of a device so simple that could only be used once, with the expectation that its output would be transferred to DVD (which, for all their 'digital quality,' are essentially 'widescreen' standard definition discs).
In the classic 'it only has to be good enough' fashion that Allison highlighted earlier this week, the Flip was a raging success. The first version, launched in 2007, captured a claimed 13% of the total camcorder market within a year of launch and for a while they seemed like the only video devices anyone was buying.
By 2009, though, the Flip Ultra HD brought 1280 x 720 video and, with its 8GB of internal memory, could capture 2 hours of footage. A flip-out USB connector allowed this footage to be offloaded and some basic sharing software was accessed in the same manner. Above all, though, it remained simple. There was a tiny screen and a big red button to start recording. Beyond this there were directional buttons to activate the digital zoom, buttons for play and delete and that's pretty much it.
|No need to carry cables or software: you could just connect the flip-out USB socket|
The speed with which the Flip phenomenon emerged meant the whole sector was comparatively mature by the time DPReview conducted a roundup/introduction. By 2010, Flip itself had dropped a little off the pace and rivals such as Panasonic, JVC, Kodak (remember them?) and Sony (whose 'Bloggie' branding just didn't pass into common parlance as smoothly as Walkman had) had not only started to muscle-in, but had already moved to Full HD capture. Imagine that!
|The Flip Mino HD shot 720p video: resolution so high that not everyone had a TV that could show it, yet.|
As is probably very apparent from the footage included in our introductory article, I knew nothing whatsoever about shooting video, but since all you could do is hold the camera up the right way and hit the big red button, that didn't really matter. We were all going to be the next Kubrick. Or, at least, were going to imperil our friend's mobile data limits by taking advantage of Facebook's newly-added video capabilities.
This talk of mobile data already hints at what would eventually wipe out the entire class, but interestingly, I think, the Flip itself didn't die as a result of the challenge from smartphones. Smartphones with video were still comparatively rare (though clearly visible in the offing) and the Flip was a successful product in a comparatively buoyant market when the plug was pulled.
|The quality wasn't great, but pocket camcorders could be pretty fun|
Instead, its downfall was that the company got bought by the wrong buyer. Network infrastructure company Cisco bought Flip Video in 2009, during a period in which cash-rich companies were diversifying into just about anything that seemed internet-related. But just two years later, under pressure from shareholders, it closed most of its consumer division to refocus on its core business. Interestingly, there doesn't appear to have been any attempt to sell the business, which suggests there was already a significant question mark hanging over it.
The pocket camcorder class would persist for another couple of years but would soon enough be rendered irrelevant by the camcorder you already have with you (sound familiar?). Perhaps there were lessons the wider camera industry could learn from the brilliant but short-lived impact of the Flip Video. You can bet GoPro has given it plenty of thought.
by Dan Bracaglia
|Still image from 'They Dream,' a short film I shot on the Flip Mino (close to actual resolution) in 2008. While Richard was reviewing cameras for DPReview, I was busy getting my degree and making (bad) artsy short films.|
I remember the Flip fondly, specifically the Flip Video Mino which debuted in the summer of 2008.
I was an undergraduate at Rutgers University and the editor in chief of our student newspaper, the Daily Targum when MTV reached out to me, along with editors of other college papers with a proposition: we’ll send you a Flip cam to keep if you use it to make and submit a short film back to the network (specifically MTVU). Having shot, but never edited video footage before, I was intrigued and obliged their offer.
The device, capable off 640 x 480 video seemed way ahead of its time. It could capture up to an hour of footage on 2GB of internal memory, offered a built-in microphone, a postage stamp-sized LCD, digital zoom, and best of all, had a built-in USB for charging and off-loading footage.
The day it arrived I brought it out to a university-sponsored concert to get some test shots even though there was a strict no-video policy. I figured the Flip was small enough, no one would pay me any mind. I was wrong, as I was instead bombarded by curious classmates, eager to check out the strange new device.
The short film I ended up submitting, titled 'They Dream,' represented my first foray into the world of video editing, and was hacked together over the course of an all-nighter using iMovie. Without giving too much away, I warn you that it is both amateurish and embarrassing. But artsy cliches and bad editing aside, The Flip cam removed a major mental barrier for me in terms of making movies. Suddenly, the labor of getting the shot became as simple as pulling the Flip out of my pocket, turning it on and pressing record.
I still own the Flip cam and it still works. In fact I recently plugged it in and found a whole cache of questionable college-age footage, shot by both me and by friends. Another reminder of how simple it was to operate (and how wild my college years were). So thank you Flip cam, for introducing me to the wide world of video capture and editing. By today’s standards your footage may be bad, your audio crap and your digital zoom laughable, but at the time, you were the bees knees and and integral part of my visual development.
HMD Global, the company behind the Nokia smartphone brand, has launched its long-anticipated Nokia 8 flagship. With a 5.3" QHD IPS display covered in 2.5D Gorilla Glass 5, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, 4GB of RAM and 64 or 128GB storage options the Android device comes with high-end specification all-around and has a lot to offer in the camera department as well.
HMD says the rear cameras has been developed in collaboration with Zeiss but has not revealed any further detail. The unit features a 13MP RGB sensor with 1.12µm pixels, F2.0 aperture and optical image stabilization with a secondary 13MP monochrome sensor. As usual with this kind of system, image data from both sensor is combined for more detail, lower noise levels and better dynamic range. However, there is no word of a background-blurring portrait mode like the ones you find on most dual-cam equipped devices.
There is also a dual-tone LED-flash, a 4K video mode, and a front-facing camera with a 13MP sensor and F2.0 aperture.
An interesting camera feature built into the Nokia 8 is the so-called "Bothie" mode, which allows you to take pictures or record video with front and rear cameras at the same time. We've seen this function before on LG and Samsung phones, but Nokia adds the ability to live-stream to Facebook or YouTube in this mode.
All the Nokia 8's components are wrapped up in an IP54 rated aluminum uni-body that will be available in Gloss Blue, Tempered Blue, Steel, and Polished Copper. In Europe the Nokia 8 will cost you €600 (approximately $700). No information on availability in the US has been released yet.
B&H Foto & Electronics Corp., the company behind retail site B&H Photo, has agreed to pay $3,220,000 to settle a federal discrimination case, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This follows a lawsuit filed by the Department of Labor against B&H Foto & Electronics Corp. in February 2016, in which the department alleged that B&H was engaging in discrimination against multiple groups, as well as harassment of workers.
According to the lawsuit filed by the DoL, B&H Foto 'systematically discriminated' against Asian, black, and female jobseekers, instead hiring only male Hispanic workers in its entry-level positions. The individuals it did hire were then paid much less than other employees in similar positions, according to the Department of Labor, and weren't promoted into higher positions within the company.
The Labor Department's lawsuit also claimed that B&H Foto subjected its hired workers to harassment on a routine basis, and that it gave them 'unequal access to restroom facilities.' Employees complained to the company about these problems, but the lawsuit states that B&H Foto failed to correct them. As a result, the company will pay $3.2 million as both monetary relief and back wages to more than 1,300 individuals.
In addition to paying the fee, B&H Foto has agreed to annually train its managers on workplace harassment prevention and equal opportunity principles, and to hire a consultant to fix the negative conduct and practices at its warehouses. Though the lawsuit concerns discriminatory practices at its Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse, the consultant will also work to ensure the problems don't arise at B&H's future Florence, New Jersey warehouse.
Update August 17th: B&H has issued the following statement:
New York – August 14, 2017 -- B&H announced today that it has settled a 2016 case with the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
While we are pleased to conclude the case, B&H rejects the OFCCP’s allegations -- we settled this matter to let us focus on our day-to-day work of providing excellent service to our customers, to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation, and to grow our Federal government business (the OFCCP oversees employers that do business with the government).
The OFCCP allegations pertained to certain hiring, promotion, and compensation practices. While B&H categorically denies the allegations, we settled to avoid the distraction of litigation. As a government contractor, we determined settlement was in our best interest. B&H is pleased that this issue has been resolved, and we are confident we have the measures in place to comply with all federal hiring and employment law.
B&H is pleased that an overwhelming portion of the settlement payout will end up with our current and former employees. Our success is a result of the hard work and dedication of our employees.
Comments have been locked, as a result of too many posts straying away from the specific issues of the story
Full disclosure: DPReview.com is fully owned but editorially independent from Amazon.com, which competes with B&H Photo.
The Godox A1 smartphone flash trigger is finally official. After being announced unofficially over Facebook and teased further with some studio portrait samples, the phone flash and 2.4GHz flash trigger is now available for pre-order.
Chinese company Godox is a rising star in the lighting world thanks to a growing repertoire of affordable, surprisingly versatile and often innovative speedlight and monolight options. The Godox A1 arguably falls into that last "innovative" category: a device that can act as a flash or a remote trigger designed specifically for use with smartphones.
The unit itself features a 1W 'modeling lamp' and a daylight-balanced 8W flash with 5 different power settings between 1/1 and 1/16, but chances are good photographers won't be using those two options. What's more interesting is the 2.4GHz trigger built into the unit, which allows you to control Godox's own X system gear wirelessly using an iPhone app.
Capturing professional-looking, artificial light portraits with a smartphone seems a bit more feasible now.
The flash trigger costs $70 and is available for pre-order starting today. Out of the box, the Godox A1 will be compatible with iPhone 6s and newer Apple phones, but Android support is coming soon, starting with Huawei and Samsung phones in September (which might be before the flash arrives on anybody's doorstep anyhow).
To learn more about the Godox A1, or if you want to pre-order your own, head over to the Godox website by clicking here. And be sure to keep an eye out for a review of the Godox A1 in the coming month: a test unit is winging its way to the DPReview offices as I type this.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s (EISA) Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category. Neither company, though, managed to come out as well as Sony, which won a total of six titles for is compact system range.
One of Sony’s titles was the prestigious European Camera of the Year award—a prize the company hasn’t won in nine years—which went to the a9.
Sony’s other awards included Prosumer Compact Camera of the Year for the a6500, Compact Camera of the Year for the RX100 V, Superzoom Camera of the Year for the RX10 ll, Compact System Lens for its FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS and Professional Compact System Lens for the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS.
Other notable lens awards went to Sigma for the 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art, and to Tamron’s 150-600 f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 and the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Panasonic’s Lumix DC-GH5 won Photo & Video Camera of the Year, while Prosumer DSLR of the Year went to Nikon’s D7500.
While this was the first year non-European countries were able to take part in the awards process, the Photography Expert Group remained entirely populated by magazine editors from Europe. For more information see the EISA website.
EISA CONSUMER DSLR CAMERA 2017-2018
Canon EOS 77D
EISA PROSUMER DSLR CAMERA 2017-2018
EISA PROFESSIONAL DSLR CAMERA 2017-2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
EISA CONSUMER COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERA 2017-2018
EISA PROSUMER COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERA 2017-2018
EISA CAMERA 2017-2018
EISA COMPACT CAMERA 2017-2018
Sony RX100 V
EISA SUPERZOOM CAMERA 2017-2018
Sony RX10 III
EISA PHOTO & VIDEO CAMERA 2017-2018
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5
EISA INSTANT CAMERA 2017-2018
Fujifilm Instax SQUARE SQ10
EISA DSLR LENS 2017-2018
SIGMA 135mm F1.8 DG HSM | Art
EISA DSLR ZOOM LENS 2017-2018
Tamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
EISA PROFESSIONAL DSLR LENS 2017-2018
Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L III USM
EISA COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERA LENS 2017-2018
Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS
EISA PROFESSIONAL COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERA LENS 2017-2018
Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS
EISA COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERA ZOOM LENS 2017-2018
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO
EISA PHOTO INNOVATION 2017-2018
Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD
EISA PHOTO DISPLAY 2017-2018
EIZO ColorEdge CG2730
EISA SMARTPHONE CAMERA 2017-2018
|Official White House Photo by Pete Souza|
Former president Barack Obama's recent photo response to the violent events in Charlottesville, VA has officially become the most popular tweet of all time. The 44th President of these United States tweeted the official White House photograph above—captured by the great Pete Souza—alongside part of a quote by the late Nelson Mandela:
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
As of this writing, the tweet has received over 53,000 replies, 1.3 million retweets and nearly 3.4 million likes.
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion..." pic.twitter.com/InZ58zkoAm— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 13, 2017
The new record just goes to show: pair a powerful message with a powerful photograph, and you've got a lot more power than the proverbial "1,000 words" that photo is supposedly worth.
Editor's Note: The video contains a fine art nude print that is spoken about starting at 7:50 and appears in the background throughout most of the video from that point on. Potentially NSFW.
What's the smallest aperture you've ever used? F22? Maybe the max you'll find on some large format lenses: F64? When iconic photographer Edward Weston needed more depth of field to capture his famous still life Pepper No. 30, F64 wasn't nearly enough. He shot it at F240, using only natural light and exposing the shot for 4-6 hours!
This curious piece of photo trivia came up during the latest episode of Marc Silber's show Advancing Your Photography, in which he visits Weston's house and speaks to Weston's grandson Kim about the legendary photographer's work and technique.
|Edward Weston's famous 'Pepper #30' was shot at f/240, with an exposure time of between 4 and 6 hours using all natural light. Photo: Edward Weson, screenshot from video.|
Silber and the younger Weston touch on several of the renowned photographer's best known photographs, and finish the episode with a teaser from inside Weston's darkroom. To hear about these techniques in more detail and see more of Weston's work and home, click play up top.
|Threaded replies are a small update, but regular users will really appreciate it.|
Instagram just launched a minor update that regular users will really enjoy: threaded comments. Previously, comments on the Facebook-owned photo sharing app were all lumped together, only @-replies denoting who was talking to who. Now, when you reply to a comment it will automatically create a new thread.
"Comment threads help you keep track of conversations and make it easy to respond to a specific thread," writes Instagram in its press release. "This update will make your feed an even better place to share interests, get inspired and connect with others."
Venus Optics has finally announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E-mount that was first announced last September, and which the company has called "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame." The lens is due to ship at the end of August or early September, and will cost $850. First orders will include UV, ND1000 and polarizing filters for free.
The Zero-D in the name denotes the company's claim that even though these lenses are very wide-angled, they exhibit almost no curvilinear distortion – or barreling. And at its angle of view of 110°, Venus Optics claims the new 15mm is the widest available rectilinear F2 lens for the Sony E system.
Here are a few official sample shots captured with the new lens:
The manual focus lens is constructed using 12 elements in nine groups, with three extra-low dispersion elements and two aspherical lenses.
Venus Optics says that it has tried to keep the design compact and lightweight, achieving dimensions of 66x88mm and a weight of just 500g/1.1lbs. Unusually for such a wide lens, a filter thread (72mm) is actually built-in, and the lens' closest focus distance is just 15cm. The nine-bladed aperture runs to F22, and users have the choice to operate with or without clicked stops.
Venus Optics, the camera lenses manufacturer who had previously launched a number of unique Laowa camera lenses, is proud to announce the world’s widest rectilinear f/2 native lens for Sony Full Frame E-mount cameras, Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D.
Super Light & Compact
The Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D is currently the widest f/2 rectilinear lens in the market which comes with a native E mount (i.e. Does not require additional adapters). It is an ultra-wide & ultra-fast prime lens which covers both 35mm full-frame & APS-C sensors. Despite the extreme specifications, Venus Optics has successfully minimized the weight of the lens to around 500g (~1.1 pounds) and 8cm long. This compact and light lens comprises of 12 elements in 9 groups with 2 pcs of aspherical elements and 3 pcs of Extra-low dispersion elements. The patented optical design successfully minimizes the distortion and chromatic aberrations to its lowest but at the same time, delivers a superb optical performance from corners to corners.
72mm Filter Thread
Ultra-wide & fast lenses in the market tend to be huge and have a dome-shaped front element. It is a headache for landscape photographers who need to use filters very often. Venus Optics understand their needs and manage to design a flat front surface and include a 72mm filter thread into the lens. 72mm screw-on filters can be used and no more investment on bulky filter holder is required.
Ultra Wide & Fast
The extreme 110° angle of view and ultra-fast f/2 aperture allow photographers to create impressive astro-photography shots with ease. It also gives photographers a fast and wide-angle option for landscape photography and low-light shooting.
Close focusing distance
Photographers can take advantage of the super close focusing distance (i.e. 15cm) and the f/2 aperture to create some bokeh shots and wide angle close-up shots.
The Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D is the second member of the Close-to-Zero distortion line-up from Venus Optics, followed the launch of 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D last year. The lens is specially designed to remove the optical distortion commonly exist in wide angle lenses at infinity focus. Any straight lines will be retained.
Added feature for videographers
The new Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D is specially designed with an aperture switch which allows users to quickly switch between click-less and clicked aperture. This added feature will be extremely useful for videographers.
The Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D is currently available to pre-order in the official website of Venus Optics (http://www.venuslens.net/) and their authorized resellers..
Recommended Retail Price in US (without tax) is USD 849/pc. Pricing may vary in different countries. Shipping will start from late Aug/early Sept.