Feb 272015
 

Alex Chacón, the creator of the “Most Epic Selfie Video of 2014”, has taken the selfie game to a whole new level. He traveled to Veracruz to combine his passion for selfies and drones creating a unique and amazing road-trip video shot entirely on a drone. The “dronie” concept combines a selfie in motion captured by a drone (quadcopter)! Come on board and watch him explore the majestic land of Veracruz from a whole new perspective!

Feb 252015
 

“If you get excited by the thought of applying realistic painterly effects such as impasto, oil, watercolor, or pastel to your photos, or if you dream of mimicking the brushstrokes of legendary artists like Monet, Van Gogh, O’Keeffe, Degas, and Cezanne, Topaz Labs’ Impression plug-in will have you dancing in the streets. I absolutely LOVE it! The hardest part is choosing which preset to use because there are so many breathtaking options. In today’s tutorial, we’ll take a close look at Impression. I’ll share all of the amazing not-so-obvious features.”

Mark S. Johnson Photography

Feb 232015
 

From the Arri press release:

“ARRI announces the new ALEXA Mini, a versatile additional tool in the ARRI ALEXA camera range that combines a compact and lightweight form factor with the same unparalleled image quality that has made the ALEXA system a gold standard for the industry. Designed for specialized shot-making, the ALEXA Mini perfectly complements a full ALEXA shooting kit and allows crews to eliminate the complications of working with third-party cameras by keeping everything within a single system that is trusted all over the world.

To maintain ARRI’s famously rugged build quality in a small and lightweight camera, a number of unique design solutions have been incorporated. These include highly integrated and environmentally sealed electronics, a lightweight carbon housing and a solid titanium PL mount that connects directly with the new internal sensor mount to ensure a super-stable flange focal distance, even when using large lenses. Nimble in use and hardy on set, the ALEXA Mini is a go-anywhere tool, easy to transport in backpacks or as carry-on luggage.

The ALEXA Mini can be operated in a number of ways: by wireless remote control, as a normal camera with the ARRI MVF-1 multi viewfinder attached, or with an on-board monitor and controlled via the user button interface on the camera body. Light enough to be comfortably held at arm’s length in a hand rig, its compact size and extremely quiet operation also make it ideal for tight shooting conditions. The symmetrical design permits filming in any orientation, including upside-down and in portrait mode, while multiple accessory points enable highly creative mounting solutions. In addition, the ALEXA Mini’s interchangeable lens mount can be replaced with any of those designed for the ARRI AMIRA, allowing the use of B4 video and EF mount stills lenses.

Equipped with a 4:3 sensor, automatic de-squeeze mode for anamorphic productions and frame rates of 0.75-200 fps, the ALEXA Mini records ProRes or uncompressed ARRIRAW either in-camera to CFast 2.0 cards or to a specially-designed external Codex recorder that can record image streams from up to four ALEXA Minis simultaneously — a compelling option for multi-camera setups such as 360° plate shots. Images from the ALEXA Mini will perfectly match those from all other ALEXA cameras, making the final grade easier and quicker.

Integrated functionality is at the heart of the ALEXA Mini’s efficient and self-contained design. A built-in lens motor controller allows new active lens motors to be connected directly to the titanium PL mount, while ARRI Lens Data System (LDS) technology provides frame-accurate metadata that can save time and money both on-set and in post. Wi-Fi connectivity means that iOS or Android devices can be used to remotely control camera functions such as the motorized internal ND filters, which permit rapid responses to changing light conditions without adding bulk to the camera configuration.

The body design is optimized for use with new-generation brushless gimbals, multicopters and other specialized rigs. It is compact enough in the lens direction to allow the use of standard PL mount lenses even on lightweight and space-constrained rigs, such as gyro-stabilized aerial systems. The camera’s superb low-light performance makes it perfect for underwater work; dedicated underwater housings are currently being developed by leading manufacturers.

Like the ARRI AMIRA, the ALEXA Mini can record 4K UHD ProRes images, facilitating real-time 4K UHD output and simple pipelines for high-resolution deliverables. More importantly, the Mini and all other ARRI cameras with the ALEV III sensor offer unrivalled overall image quality by focusing not just on spatial resolution, but also on other parameters such as colorimetry, skin tones and High Dynamic Range (HDR). This is equally true whether the chosen output is HD, 2K, 4K UHD or one of the native resolution outputs like uncompressed ARRIRAW 2.8K or ProRes 3.2K, ensuring that images captured with the ALEXA Mini are future-proof, whatever new industry standards emerge.”

Read More:

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Feb 192015
 

Magnetic Stereo: Plugin for magically balancing audio from your stereo mic in FCPX.
Use a stereo mic or field recorder? Magnetic Stereo by Audiofile Engineering is a magical way to quickly balance your stereo audio.
crumplepop.com

Feb 172015
 

With fun features such as a “selfie screen”, pared down controls and a user-friendly interface, the Olympus PEN E-PL7 is primarily aimed at point-and-shoot users. However, experienced photographers can find plenty of depth to keep their interest, with enough manual control to feel serious, and with the option of adding accessories such as an electronic viewfinder.

If you’ve seen the marketing for the latest Olympus PEN E-PL7, and are put off by its selfie screens and the like, then don’t be. It’s not all gimmickry, with style high on the agenda. The E-PL7 certainly is attractive and there’s more than just its looks on offer.

As the sixth model in the E-PL series, does the E-PL7 offer enough to keep it up to scratch compared to the entry-level compact system camera competition?

There is no mistake that the E-PL7 belongs to the PEN “Lite” range, but this sixth iteration is a step in the right direction towards the more luxury Olympus PEN E-P5, adopting the traditional rangefinder style with faux-leather body-finish (previous E-PL versions feature a smooth and therefore more slippery finish). The model in for review is the black and silver version, which looks lovely, but the camera is available in other colours too.

Read more: pocket-lint.com

 

Feb 172015
 

The Blu-Ray Disc Association has put together a more or less conclusive agreement on a batch of standards for the next generation of their once very popular Blu-ray discs. The new 4K Blu-ray versions of these discs have been in the making since at least the middle of last year and are expected to be released towards the middle or end of 2015.

According to the latest news on the new, concreted standards from the BDA, the association will support three different High Dynamic Range technologies in its new 4K Blu-ray discs. These include specs from both Dolby Vision, the HDR system that is being offered by Philips and a joint HDR standard that comes from Technicolor and is part of the MPEG/SMPTE proposals of the company.

Also important is the fact that the new Blu-ray 4K disc specifications fit in with the “Recommendation 2020” protocol that has been put forth by the EBU and includes proposals not only for the much wider color gamuts that will come with HDR but also delivers the highly important technology of “better pixels” that is being promised for ultra HD. “Better pixels” are supposed to dramatically improve the visual quality of the 4K resolution screens that emerge with them even though UHD screens already offer some of the best picture quality in existence today.

According to “Large Display Monitor”, the trade magazine that originally reported on the new UHD Blu-ray standards, the combined specs for better pixels, HDR variations and other improvements to 4K visuals will indeed be embraced by the Blu-ray Disc Association by the middle of the year.

The 4K Blu-ray discs themselves, and the media players that support them should both then start appearing later in 2015; though Panasonic has already unveiled a 4K Blu-ray media player at the International CES 2015 in January of this year.

Read More at 4k.com

Feb 022015
 

The latest buzz in the Sony and Canon rumor mills is that the next round of high megapixel sensors for both companies, will be produced through a joint venture.imageAccording to the report, published both on Canon Watch and Canon Rumors, the new 50MP sensors that we have been hearing so much about from Canon and Sony, are actually the same sensor. The rumor states that by way of a patent share, Canon would get the benefit of Sony’s sensor design and Sony would get the advantage of Canon’s Dual Pixel AF, the resulting 50MP sensor would be used in both companies’ high megapixel bodies.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the best of both worlds. If you are a Canon shooter, you get a HUGE increase in dynamic range and sensor quality, while retaining the awesome abilities of the Dual Pixel AF. If you are a Sony shooter, you gain the advanced AF ability of the Dual Pixel AF (something we know many mirrorless offerings still struggle with), while maintaining your superb sensor performance.

Read More:

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Jan 092015
 

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A new “Ansel Adams Act” introduced in Congress could have big implications on photographers’ rights across the United States. The bill aims to “restore the First Amendment rights of photographers” by removing restrictions on taking photos in public places.

Introduced on January 2nd, 2015 by Republican US Representative Steve Stockman of Texas, the document discusses the disturbing trend in recent years of the US Government creating regulations that prohibit or restrict photography in places such as national parks and public spaces, and of subjects such as government buildings, police officers, and other government workers.

Even when these laws don’t exist, people “have been instructed to prohibit photography from public spaces, and threatened photographers with arrest or seizure of photographic equipment,” the bill says.

Stockman argues that this is a violation of “freedom of speech and of the press” against the principles of the First Amendment. “Still and motion photographs are speech,” he says. “It is contrary to the public policy of the United States to prohibit or restrict photography in public spaces, whether for private, news media, or commercial use.”

The bill’s solution is to make sure that photography in public spaces is not prohibited (the government would need a court order to do so), that the government will not charge photographers to shoot on public land, and that photographic equipment cannot be seized or tampered with.

Read More:

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Jan 062015
 

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This is all centered on the fact that the new sensor is based on the same 4.2 micron pixel design as the new 7D Mark II. If you take that 4.2 micron pixel design, and extrapolate that into a full frame sized sensor, then you get roughly a 52MP sensor.

Read More:

slrlounge

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Dec 222014
 
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“Taken during the Mayana Soora Thiruvizha festival, which takes place every March in the small village of Kaveripattinam, the day after Mahashivarathiri (the great night of Shiva). The festival is devoted to Angalamman, a fierce guardian deity worshipped widely in southern India.” –Mahesh Balasubramanian. Location: Kaveripattinam, Tamilnadu, India Mahesh Balasubramanian / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest / Via travel.nationalgeographic.com

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“Green Lake (Grüner See) is located Tragöss, Austria. In spring, snowmelt raises the lake level about 10 metres. This phenomenon lasts only a few weeks, covering the hiking trails, meadows, trees.

The result is magical-to-watch diving landscapes.” –Marc Henauer Marc Henauer / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest / Via travel.nationalgeographic.com

Read More:

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Dec 222014
 

 

There are two lens terms that have similar sounding (and potentially confusing) names: fluorine and fluorite. Apparently quite a few people have trouble distinguishing between the two, so here’s a quick look at what they each are.

Fluorine Coating

When lens companies talk about fluorine, they’re talking about a special coating based on the element fluorine that’s applied to the surface of your lens glass that helps to repel things like dust, water, grease, and dirt.

Here’s a short demonstration video by Nikon that was shared earlier this year:

Read More:

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Dec 122014
 

exp7

This week, Alien Skin announced version 7 of their wildly successful editing platform, Exposure. Along with a beautiful UI, several new film-stock emulations, new non-destructive tools (including a new straighten tool), new texture overlays (some of which were made by Lara Jade and Parker Pfister) and new file browsing interface, the most exciting addition to Exposure 7 is new comprehensive raw file support. Exposure 7 is available now for $149, existing Exposure 6 users can nab a copy as a free upgrade for people who purchased after June, 2014 or $69 for other Exposure 6 owners. Alien Skin Software

What’s New

RAW Support

As a standalone program, Exposure 7 will now allow you to work on RAW files from a wide range of cameras from all manufacturers without having to convert to a TIFF or JPEG first.
Supported RAW Formats
Non-Destructive Editing

Exposure 7 provides true non-destructive editing for RAW files in standalone mode. Your workflow is about to get a lot simpler and more streamlined!
Rapid Folder and File Browsing

Exposure 7 now provides rapid folder and file browsing right within the same UI when working in standalone mode. No need to switch between modules like in other programs; you can simply pull up batches or individual images and work on them right then and there.
Crop & Rotate

Also in standalone mode, Exposure 7 features a new, easy-to-use Crop and Rotate panel, which will help you get your images looking just right.
New Film Emulation Presets

We’ve also developed some cool new film presets based on careful research of the original film stock:

Color:

KODAK PORTRA 160*
KODAK PORTRA 400*
KODAK PORTRA 800
KODAK GOLD 100
KODAK GOLD 200
KODAK GOLD 400
KODAK ULTRA MAX 400
FUJI PRO 800Z
FUJI SUPERIA X-TRA 400
FUJI SUPERIA X-TRA 800
*NEW VERSIONS BASED ON 2010/11 FILMS

B&W:

KODAK BW400CN
ILFORD XP2 SUPER 400
KODAK T-MAX 400
New Textures

Finally, you can put the finishing touches to your images by using a series of cool new textures that we’re adding to the Overlays panel. Developed by world-renowned photographers Lara Jade and Parker J Pfister, these textures can be applied subtly or aggressively to get the exact look you’re after.

Pricing and Availability

Exposure 7 is now available through www.alienskin.com for $149 USD. Owners of any version of Exposure may upgrade for $69 USD. Free upgrades have already been sent out to everyone who purchased or paid to upgrade to Exposure 6 directly from Alien Skin Software on or after June 10th, 2014. If you feel like you have missed out on this, please check your spam folder and any other email accounts you might have used for registering with us before contacting us at support@alienskin.com.

Read more:

fstoppers.com

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Nov 192014
 

lightroom57_1

Aperture users and G.A.S. sufferers take note: version 5.7 of Adobe’s Lightroom and 8.7 of Camera RAW have officially dropped with the Aperture Importer Tool and support for some of the newest and most exciting DSLRs now built right in.

The Aperture Importer Tool we already told you about when it launched as a stand-alone plugin, but now it comes baked into Lightroom 5.7. Read more at the link below:

Petapixel

aperturemigrate2

 

Nov 142014
 

When cameras get put through a review, it’s often done at a pixel-peeping level in a studio, where the lighting is consistent across the board and variables are few and far between. This is NOT one of those reviews.

When it came time to review Canon’s new APS-C flagship, the 7D Mark II, DPReview reached out to professional wildlife photographer Adam Jones and asked him to take the camera out into the wild… literally. More at Petapixel.com

Nov 132014
 

Today, at its 2014 Developer Conference, Samsung unveiled Project Beyond: a camera capable of capturing true 3D video in a full 360-degrees. The saucer-shaped design captures a gigapixel of 3D footage every single second! Which sets the stage for Samsung’s endeavors to make virtual reality more realistic than ever.

The camera, whose footage is designed to work seamlessly with Samsung’s own Gear VR headset, packs quite a punch inside its considerably small form factor. Along the outside of the device, there is an array of 16 Full-HD cameras, each of which have an ultra-wide-angle lens attached.

Beneath the camera is the device’s processor and storage, which includes a means of high-speed connectivity to get the footage off the camera and onto other devices. An image sensor and controller is placed between the camera arrangement to ensure Project Beyond captures everything exactly as planned.

For more info please click the link below:

petapixel

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Nov 122014
 

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

Nov 122014
 

Think about a lot of the issues that you currently have with your camera’s performance: moire, rolling shutter (in video), ISO performance, under 10fps burst mode, etc. All of these issues would no longer be a problem if this rumor about some upcoming Sony sensor tech is legit.

sony-sensor

According to a report over on Sony Alpha Rumors, which is rating this rumor an SR4 (out of 5, with 5 being most reliable), Sony is poised to announce a new “Active-Pixel Color Sampling” sensor in 2015. This new sensor is technology completely different from what is in your current camera, which is based on Bayer methodology. This is also completely different from Foveon or other multi-layer technology.

Read full article at: SLRLounge

Nov 102014
 

I hope this “Rumor” proves true. I have been hearing about this update for several years now! Is it finally here?

canon-100-400mm-mk-ii1-650x365

 

Price: $2199 USD
Release Date: November 11, 2014
Ship Date: Unknown

Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 100-400mm 1:4.5-5.6
Lens Construction: 21 elements in 16 groups
Diagonal Angle of View: 24º-6’10’
Focus Adjustment: Inner focus system / USM
Closest Focusing Distance: 3.2 ft. / 0.98m
Filter Size: 77mm
Max Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.7 in. x 7.6 in. / 94mm x 193mm; 3.46 lbs. / 1,570g
Overview
The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM telephoto lens delivers a superb combination of cutting-edge performance, compact construction and brilliant resolving power that’s great for sports and wildlife photography.

Read the full article  at:

Canon Rumors

 

Nov 062014
 

KodakSP360_3

KODAK PIXPRO SP360 ALL AROUND YOU: See the amazing 360° view taken with the new SP360 Action Camera under the water by a professional photographer in Tokashiki Island, Okinawa, Japan. KODAK SP360 Action Camera’s fisheye lens enables you to catch a wide view by Front mode and a full 360 degrees panorama movie by Round mode with FULL HD quality even in the water.
The movie shows the rarely seen moment of a moray attacking the Action Camera with its sharp teeth and the warm shot of a friendly turtle guiding the diver in the blue ocean were caught by the KODAK PIXPRO SP360 Action Camera.

Buy it NOW
Nov 012014
 

DXO Optics Pro 10 is my choice for processing RAW images when I need the absolute highest quality results.

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Visit the DXO Optics Pro website and download your free trial:

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