Sep 192014
 

Apple is a company renowned for making products that are not only functional, but also beautiful. When you buy an apple product you’re buying something that’s been crafted as opposed to being cobbled together. Overseeing design at Apple is Jony Ive, the London-born designer who has worked up the ranks at the company since 1992 to take the post of senior vice president of design.

Given Apple’s design heritage, and Ive’s customarily well-calibrated eye, I have to wonder how this carbuncle came to adorn the iPhone 6.

I’m talking about the protrusion from the otherwise sleek exterior of the iPhone 6 to accommodate the camera lens, something that from this point on I will call the “camera nubbin.”

To view full article please click the link below:

zdnet
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Sep 162014
 

“Unique Photo has launched a new series of online events titled “UEventLive”. Hosted by Unique Photo President, Matt Sweetwood – we bring in world’s leading photographers and camera technicians, each event showcases discussions on the latest and greatest in camera technology.”

UniquePhoto

Sep 162014
 

 

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Sep 082014
 

“Watching a photographer at work is always fascinating to me. Ever been to a wedding as “just a guest,” when you’re a wedding photographer? You almost have a sixth sense as to where the hired photographer has positioned himself, how he has posed the couple and what lenses he is using for that particular shot. You picture in your mind what you would do differently had you been the one in their shoes instead of enjoying the wedding cake and champagne from the grandstands. But watching a master photographer at work is something altogether different. When commercial photographer Erik Almas  gives a glimpse of himself at work, you stop and you listen and soak in every word. Erik’s images have a hint of surrealism to them that pulls you into a dreamy romantic world. He is unapologetic for his use of compositing to fulfill his vision as a tool for his art and his vast knowledge is freely shared.”

To view full article please click the link below:

slrlounge

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Sep 032014
 

“Dolby Vision is a new technology for Dolby, marking the first time it has ventured into an area outside of audio. It aims to hugely increase the ‘dynamic range’ of TVs, allowing TVs to show a greater difference between the darkest and brightest parts of a scene.”

Please click here to read the full article

Aug 302014
 

Emmy-winner Yves Faroudja on his company’s prototype technology and why he sees high frame rates as “disturbing”

During the transition to HDTV, Yves Faroudja won three Emmys for processing technology that remains in use today. And now the award-winning engineer is using his experience to take aim at new formats including Ultra HD, or 4K, which is four times the resolution of HD.

“Bandwidth requirements for video are clogging the Internet, and we need to reduce the bit rate on the video system,” he told The Hollywood Reporter, noting that today it commonly involves use of a 4K-capable compression scheme known as HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding, or H.265). “But that doesn’t work. It doesn’t [keep up with] the increased popularity of video transmission, which is doubling every 2 to 3 years.”

To view full article please click the link below:

The Hollywood Reporter

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Aug 292014
 

Read at at slrlouge.com:

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Widening Your Horizons

If you are a professional photographer, you know how the photography market has morphed over the last few years. We have more competition than ever from our fellow pro shooters. The relative ease of creating digital images has inundated stock photo agencies to the point that our images often get lost in a “sea of similars.”

To add insult to injury, we are now seeing a tidal wave of smart phone images and a perception that images should be free!

Over the last 21 years, the art of creating visually compelling (and highly marketable) panoramic images has brought me the unique appeal I always wanted as a professional photographer. 

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A Profitable and Fun Niche

I found that the panoramic format is fun, as well as challenging, in many ways. I love the cinematic feel of panoramas and enjoy the compositional opportunities the format has to offer. By concentrating my efforts, I have found a unique way to compete in a changing marketplace.

Creating Your Panoramas

First of all, you may want to investigate the technical aspects and gear requirements of the format. One of the most important technical aspects of creating panos is that your lens must rotate around the entrance pupil of the lens. Sometimes, this point is called the “Nodal Point.” This is essential to getting a good stitch. You can read a good explanation about it here.

When shooting images for a pano be sure your camera is set on manual exposure and focus. If these change during your exposure sequence, the resulting panorama will be useless. Also, be sure to use a remote to trigger your exposures as any vibrations can ruin the panorama.

I set my exposure based on the brightest portion of the panorama using “Expose to the Right” technique.

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Use Gear You Already Own 

Add a good a panoramic tripod head, either manual or automated and you are on your way. Here are a few panoramic gear suppliers;

360 Precision

Nodal Ninja 

Really Right Stuff 

Seitz Roundshot 

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Dedicated Panoramic Cameras?

With the exception of the Seitz Roundshot Digital cameras, all of the dedicated panoramic cameras use film… not that there’s anything wrong with that! Actually, the Fuji and Linhof panoramic cameras are fantastic. The problem is that we just don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to purchase film and find labs to process it. These cameras served me well for many years. That being said, I have rarely used my film cameras in the last few years. 

Most camera manufacturers have not produced digital panoramic cameras due largely to the lack of appropriate sensors. Development costs and what would be a miniscule scale of production are to blame. The Seitz cameras are the exception, as I mentioned. Their panoramic cameras are famous for their Swiss precision and durable design. I use their VR-Drive tripod head which automates the process of shooting images needed for the subsequent stitching process. The customer service at Seitz is first rate! Ask for Werner Seitz. Mr Seitz has been very helpful to me over the years.

Aspect Ratio?

Panoramics can be any aspect ratio greater than 2-1. However the best selling and most common aspect ratio used is 3-1. Unless there is a compelling compositional reason not to use the 3-1 aspect ratio, that is what I recommend. The 3-1 ratio being exactly double the width of the full frame 35mm standard format. As such, 3-1 works well for advertising and coffee table books where the images are often displayed across two pages. 

Specialized Software 

Though you can stitch panos in Photoshop CC, I use specialty software; 

PTGui 

Autopano Giga 

HDR Expose 3 

PTGui and Autopano Giga are stitching programs which allow a greater degree of stitching control and precision over Photoshop CC. These programs allow you to create panoramas, but also 360 degree virtual reality images. HDR Expose 3 will allow you to create extremely precise and realistic HDR images and HDR panoramic images. Although there are many HDR software programs, HDR Expose 3 now has a unique “Pano Prep Batch Processing” mode. This new mode allows the application of identical tone-mapping to the HDR panels for subsequent stitching. 

What to Shoot

You will need to consider the types of subject matter that are in demand if you are hoping to get your images licensed on the one hand, or sold as “Print On Demand” on the other. My experience is that compelling scenics will sell, however well composed city skyline images can do extremely well. Nicely executed composites are salable if you have a great concept, and if you have excellent compositing skills. 

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I have found that standard views of well known places may well become best sellers. The images must be well composed, clean and taken in attractive light. 

Marketing Your Panoramas

Working with a specialty panoramic stock agency can be very helpful. I am under contract with Panoramic Images (Doug Segal, President).

Other options for marketing your panoramic images are increasing and well worth investigating. Here are a few that come to mind;

Stocksy 

500px Prime 

I suggest you also set up a section of your website to show off your panoramas. My website is tightly focused on my panoramic work.

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Mastering the Panoramic Medium

The rules of composition for panoramas are no different from standard formats. I have found that one point perspective to be especially effective with panos. The Golden Mean or Golden Ratio is a powerful tool. For years, I used a Golden Mean grid over the ground glass of my V-Pan 617 MKIII panoramic view camera. 

Learning More

The varied technical aspects of panorama shooting are beyond the scope of this article, but stay tuned as I plan to follow up soon with more information on the subject! 

About the Guest Contributor

richardsiskr

Twenty one years ago, I began a voyage to photograph the American landscape with high-resolution panoramic cameras. I used several cameras for this project, including the Fuji G617, the V-Pan 617 Mark III and more recently, high resolution Canon digital cameras and an advanced panoramic device called the Seitz VR-Drive.

There have been many moving moments during this long journey. However, the people I met along the way, have been the greatest source of inspiration throughout my travels.

I wish you the best with your own dreams, photography and adventures of discovery.

Richard Sisk – www.richardsiskproductions.com

Aug 212014
 

Professional photographers and casual photo snappers will both likely find a new free book of interest in this collection of photography eBooks.

Compiled by Light Stalking, the digital books cover topics such as studio lighting, copyright, Adobe Lightroom versus Photoshop, and how to shoot in manual mode. Textbook of Digital Photography, pictured above, alone is a gem, with over 100 sample pages of instruction.

Most of the books are PDFs, and some require you to provide your email, but combined with Light Stalking’s previous collection of eBooks, it’s a lot of great information you can download and read at your leisure.

To view full article please click the link below:

lifehacker

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Aug 102014
 

Bublcam the Toronto-based hardware startup that has created the first spherical, 360-degree consumer camera, is ready to ship its product next month.

The startup was formerly part of the Canadian Film Centre’s (CFC) ideaBOOST accelerator program, and recently launched pre-orders for the product. It’ll start shipping in early September, continuing into October.

Bubl’s current collaboration with Google allows anyone with a Bublcam to upload spherical photos directly to Google Maps, StreetView and Google+. Other features include real-time image stitching, self-calibration and image stabilization, a four-camera, tetrahedral design for zero blind spots and live video streaming.

To view full article please click the link below:
BUBLCAM

Aug 092014
 
Winners – Winners Gallery – Traveler Photo Contest 2014 – National Geographic.

Photo and caption by Mahesh Balasubramanian used with permission

Taken during the Mayana Soora Thiruvizha festival, which takes place every March in the small village of Kaveripattinam the day after Maha Shivarathiri (the great night of Shiva). The festival is devoted to Angalamman, a fierce guardian deity worshipped widely in Southern India.

http://www.maheshb.com/

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Aug 082014
 

“It seems pretty clear that smartphones have become the point-and-shoots of our time.  The latest smartphone cams on the market have resolutions up to 41 megapixels, well more than the 10Mp of my old Canon PowerShot S90.  Even the average top-end smartphone sports a lens that delivers at least 16Mp.”

“So, other than driving the point-and-shoot guys out of business, what have they achieved, these super-cam smartphones?  Well, a lot, and they’re going to do more.”

“Now, 16Mp will support any format of the new 4K displays, which have roughly 4,000 pixels along the horizontal edge.  In fact, depending on the standard, they can vary from 3,840 to 5,120, and have anywhere from ~7Mp up to ~16.3Mp total, but the standard for ultra high definition television (UHDTV) uses just a bit more than 8Mp.”

To view full article please click the link below:

FORBES

Hanchard-Goodwin

Aug 062014
 

Our good friends at Ohanaware have released this great new app for the Mac:

More info at the Mac App Store

Don’t leave the safety of your important files to chance. What if your Mac gets damaged, or stolen? Hard drives fail, even backup drives can fail, especially when needed most. Replacing a computer is one thing, but replacing your photos*, projects, web layouts, thesis, book drafts, artwork, graphic designs, app ideas and many other kinds of irreplaceable files & data, can be impossible. Unless you have adequate protection. Everyone who owns a computer needs to think about multiple backup solutions. Before it’s too late, and your digital belongings are lost forever. Backup To Go is a must have utility, it adds the much needed extra level of protection. Making it ridiculously easy to take and keep your files safely with you, all the time.

Simply plug in a USB Stick, Thumbdrive, SD card or an external Hard Drive, and configure it with Backup To Go. Then Every time the disk is plugged into the Mac, Backup To Go will automatically copy the latest files and changes to the portable backup disk. Many USB Sticks or Thumbdrives have keychain loops, SD cards are small enough to fit in a wallet, while external Hard Drives can fit in a purse or stay in the car. The important point is, there is an extra layer of protection in case the worst does happen. Download Backup To Go today, and give your digital belongings the much needed protection they deserve.

Key Features of Backup To Go: • Automatically backs up the latest changes and files, when the backup disk is plugged in. • Automatically ejects the disk on completion, so it can safely be removed and taken with you*. • Can automatically launch at the same time as your computer starts. • Simple & straight forward Interface. • Menubar icon for convenient access. • Saves battery life, by using zero energy while idle. • Retina ready. •Supports multiple simultaneous backups, allowing different files to be copied to different disks, or the same files to different disks. • Uses the fastest copy methods we could find.

Aug 042014
 

“One aspect of computer technology that has remained relatively constant is the resolutions of the monitors and display panels we use. Think about it: while the display and the graphics processing hardware that drive them continuously get faster and more powerful, the underlying resolutions of the devices themselves haven’t gotten notably higher in quite some time.”

However, researchers at Oxford University and the University of Exeter in England recently came up with nanopixels, a new display technology that could increase screen resolution as much as 150 times higher than current tech.

And you thought 4K displays were crazy.

What are nanopixels?

“Nanopixels are capable of much higher resolutions primarily because the pixels themselves are only 300×300 nanometers in size. That’s 150 times smaller than the pixels deployed in traditional displays. To put that in perspective, we’re talking about pixels that are small enough to draw images that are the width of a human hair.”

“Furthermore, nanopixels deploy something called phase-change technology. Described simplistically, this means that the pixels themselves can switch between on and off modes with each refresh. Therefore, much like the E-Ink displays used in e-Readers, nanopixels require refreshes only when their states change. This means that they conserve a significant amount of power compared to conventional LCD screens.”

To read full article please click the link below:
digitaltrends

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Aug 032014
 

“Lytro’s mission is to convince the world to re-think our relationship with photos. With the Illum, it’s built a professional-grade camera designed to teach us how light-field photography works, and what it means when we don’t have to focus our photos when we shoot them. What it means when we can change perspective, even view our photos in 3D after the fact. It’s a big, heavy, expensive camera, with big plans. We took it out to the streets, the concert halls, and the countryside of New York to find out what the future of photography looks like.”

THE VERGE

DPREVIEW

 

Aug 022014
 

Wow… We just posted about my favorite film emulation software DXO FilmPack yesterday and here is another option for creating great black and white conversions! Tonality has some nice features. It is not free however it’s not expensive either. The standard version now 1/2 off, $17.99 at the Apple APP Store and the “Pro” version is $69.99 through Macphun Software

Jul 302014
 

This new phone was released in China but not here in the USA. I think the camera with it’s video HDR capability is interesting in that it also features 4K resolution. It sounds like the Sony sensor that has been mentioned for the iPhone 6. We will have to wait a while to find out…

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“Xiaomi finally unwrapped its much talked about beauty, the Mi 4, at a huge event earlier today. While the device is still not official for the United States and Europe, there are hopes that the Chinese favorite will get to the bigger markets too with its amazing features and a fighting specifications list. The smartphone is at par in terms of features with the other primary flagships that we usually talk about, however, what is the cherry of this features’ list is the Xiaomi Mi 4 camera! At 13 megapixel, the rear shooter uses a new Sony sensor that not only makes low-light photography a real charm, but also tackles with earlier issues of recording and HDR photography.

Xiaomi Mi 4 has launched today with a 13 megapixel primary shooter with a wide f/1.8 aperture. Xiaomi Mi 4 camera features a new Sony sensor IMX214 which is a BSI stacked CMOS sensor with a 1/3.06″. The new Sony sensor is a much improved sensor than the last generation IMX135 that was used in many flagships including the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the LG G3.
The major, and perhaps the most pleasing news for many consumers, is the improvement that the sensor offers for low-light photography. Because the Sony IMX214 is more sensitive and has less color crosstalk, it significantly improves low-light photography and produces better color-balanced images. The smartphone has improved the low-light photography department by taking a flash-less image along with another with flash, combining both to get both lit-up and much more natural looking images. The shooter also has a post-capture image refocus mode which seems quite handy along with a very easy exposure adjustment interface when you open the camera.”

Read full article: WCCFtech.com

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Jul 252014
 

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Nikon’s replacement for both the D800 and D800E, the D810, falls into that latter category: an incrementally improved DSLR that probably won’t receive too much flack for it.

Of course, by ‘incrementally improved,’ we don’t mean to say there aren’t features worth upgrading for, and D800 owners in particular will be tempted. Nikon is quick to point out that the D810 and its all-new 36.3-megapixel FX CMOS sensor without Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) offers the ‘best image quality in Nikon history.’

Beyond the new sensor and the COMPLETE lack of an OLPF (the D800E had one, but the anti-aliasing properties had been ‘canceled’), Nikon also packed the D4s’ powerful EXPEED 4 processor inside the updated camera, making sure that moire is suppressed as much as possible to make up for the missing filter, and pushing the hardware to greater heights.

ISO now runs from an impressively low 64 all the way up to 12,800 (expandable to 32-51,200) with the same noise reduction performance Nikon was boasting about for the D4s. The camera is also said to run 30% faster thanks to the new processor, while simultaneously saving battery.

To view full article please click the link below:

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Buy it now

Jul 102014
 

“This month we’re promoting our image masking software Topaz ReMask, which will be 50% off from July 15 – 31 with coupon code “julyremask”. We’re also releasing a substantial free update to ReMask for existing customers this Saturday.

There’s lots of masking tools out there, but we’ve focused on making ReMask the fastest + easiest to use. We like to say that it’s the only masking software that doesn’t require an instructions manual: http://www.topazlabs.com/remask

We’re dropping the ReMask price from $70 to $34.99 until the end of the month. Many customers tell us that ReMask is their favorite Topaz product, and we’re confident that this promotion will do well.”

-Eric Yang, Operations, Topaz Labs

Please click on the photo below to download the free trial version or to purchase Topaz Remask!

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