DxOMark’s Pentax 645Z Review is Out After 2 Year Delay, Scores 101

 Gear  Comments Off on DxOMark’s Pentax 645Z Review is Out After 2 Year Delay, Scores 101
Nov 202017
 

Last month, we reported that DxOMark had reviewed the Pentax 645Z back in 2015 and given it a highest-ever score of 101 before pausing its medium format camera reviews prior to publishing any. That Pentax 645Z review is finally out, and DxOMark still has glowing things to say about the camera.

DxOMark says the 51.4-megapixel camera has extremely good image quality scores, and the large pixels on the sensor gives the camera the best low-light ISO scores ever recorded up to this point among all cameras.

“It’s clear from our testing that the Pentax 645Z’s sensor is extremely capable, coming within a whisper of matching the performance of the Hasselblad X1D sensor (our highest-scoring sensor to date),” DxOMark says. “The 645Z’s high dynamic range and color sensitivity make it ideally suited for capturing the types of scenes that are traditionally favored by medium-format photographers — landscapes, weddings, portraits, and still lifes (commercial).”

The camera is interesting to compare against the Nikon D850, DxOMark says. The Pentax has a sensor that’s 1.7 times larger, but the D850 is about 3 years newer. The Nikon D850 actually stacks up well against the medium format camera thanks to Sony’s sensor manufacturing prowess.

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FUJIFILM X-E3 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions

 Gear  Comments Off on FUJIFILM X-E3 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions
Nov 132017
 

The new FUJIFILM X-E3 is the latest edition to the ever growing family of FUJIFILM’s X-mount line. This APS-C sensor-sized, mirrorless stills camera, can shoot high quality 4k (UHD) video and, dare I say it, is the best they have produced so far! As a reviewer, I had the chance to work with the X-PRO2, X-T2, X-T20 and the GFX 50S. While all produce nice looking images, the new X-E3 sets itself apart from the crowd by offering greater ease of use (mostly due to the added focus lever and LCD touch screen), enhanced autofocus capabilities and very pleasing video quality. Read on for my FUJIFILM X-E3 review. 

FUJIFILM was kind enough to supply me with a production sample that I could use and explore for a few days; here are my findings from my FUJIFILM X-E3 review:

Ergonomics

The first thing I noticed when taking the camera out of the box was how light-weight it is, to the point of not being sure if FUJIFILM had decided to pull my leg and send me an empty camera shell! In a world where every gram counts, particularly in relation to international travel, this is a big advantage.

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Sony a7R III Announced Along Sony 24-105mm f4 and 400m f2.8

 Gear  Comments Off on Sony a7R III Announced Along Sony 24-105mm f4 and 400m f2.8
Oct 262017
 

Today is a Sony announcement day that sees the unveiling of the Sony a7R III and 24-105mm f4 zoom, and the announcement of an upcoming 400m f2.8 G Master lens.

Sony a7R III

The wait is over: Sony has finally unveiled the first in the new generation of the A7 series. As always, the Sony a7R III comes at the vanguard of the new announcements – ahead of the A7 and S models – and this time brings a host of improvements to existing features and a few new surprises.

As expected, the new Sony a7R III brings a high pixel-count sensor, with its 42.4MP of resolution once again making this the model aimed primarily at professional stills photographers. The camera’s back-illuminated Exmor R and BIONZ X processor make this model capable of capturing 10 still frames per second, for a buffer of 76 continuous compressed RAW or JPEG images. ISO is available from 100-32000, and Sony claims that noise has been reduced by up to a full stop.

All of this with the advanced autofocus capabilities we have come to expect from this line’s R model, thanks to its 399 phase-detection AF points across 68% of the image, in addition to 425 contrast-detection points. Sony also claims that the camera’s Eye AF performance has been improved when the subject is moving, backlit or looking down.

What about video?

Just like with the II, the new Sony a7R III is capable of recording internal 4K in both full-frame and Super 35mm modes. As you may remember from some of our camera tests of the previous generation, the A7R II offered a better 4K image in crop mode, so it remains to be seen whether this will still be the case with the a7R III (take a look at some comparisons here, and our review here). It’s worth mentioning that the camera also supports proxy recording for easier editing of high-resolution videos, particularly useful when dealing with the relatively processor-intensive XAVC codec. Additionally, one of the biggest improvements to the video capabilities of the camera is the ability to achieve an increased resolution of 5K in Super 35mm mode thanks to an oversampling of a 15MP section of the sensor.

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Pre-Order:

Sony a7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS E-Mount NEX Camera Lens

Why the Brush Tool Has a Weird Purple Line in Photoshop CC 2018

 Technique  Comments Off on Why the Brush Tool Has a Weird Purple Line in Photoshop CC 2018
Oct 242017
 

If you’ve started using Photoshop CC 2018, you may have noticed a strange purple line following your brush around as you’re using it now. That line is called a “brush leash,” and here’s a helpful 6-minute video by retoucher Pratik Naik about what that purple line is and how you can use and customize it.

Basically, the purple brush leash is meant to serve as a guide for the Smoothing feature of the Brush Tool. Turning Smoothing down to 0% removes the purple line and restores the brush tool to the original version.

You can also turn off the brush leash in the Cursors panel of your Preferences.

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Review: The Nikon D850’s Negative Digitizer Isn’t Ready for Prime Time

 Gear  Comments Off on Review: The Nikon D850’s Negative Digitizer Isn’t Ready for Prime Time
Oct 242017
 

 

A couple weeks ago, I got a chance to run the Nikon D850 through its paces as a scanner. The “Negative Digitizer” feature, which can automatically flip negatives to positive got a lot of buzz as the camera was being released, and I was eager to try it out.

I’ve been using digital cameras to scan my negatives since I was first able to put my hands on one. When done properly, it’s possible to digitize very large collections quickly and efficiently.

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How to Use the Foreground to Create Depth in Landscape Photos

 Technique  Comments Off on How to Use the Foreground to Create Depth in Landscape Photos
Oct 242017
 

Sometimes a beautiful landscape scene doesn’t look as good on camera as it did to your eye, but that’s because translating a 3-dimensional scene into a 2-dimensional space is challenging. Using strong foreground elements in your composition is one way to create depth and counter this problem, as shown in this 8-minute tutorial from Nature TTL.

There are a huge number of different rules and compositional guides you can adhere to, but one lesser-known rule is the “Rule of Odds.”

This suggests using an odd number of objects in your foreground, as the eye tends to find itself being drawn to the middle one. This means that you can use objects as stepping stones, drawing the eye into the image.

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PolarPro FiftyFifty Review – A New Way to Compose Your Watersport Shots

 Gear  Comments Off on PolarPro FiftyFifty Review – A New Way to Compose Your Watersport Shots
Oct 162017
 

The PolarPro FiftyFifty is the latest gadget for the GoPro HERO 5: a dome for split shots over and underwater. Read on for sample footage and my impressions.

Having used GoPro gear for the last few years, I am constantly amazed by the evolution of the cameras and their accessories. I recently got my hands on the PolarPro FiftyFifty, a dome shaped-accessory that allows you to achieve shots above and below the water surface simultaneously.

Now you may ask, why would I need a dome? Couldn’t I just hold the GoPro half way over and under water? There are two reasons why this isn’t a good idea. First, the GoPro’s tiny lens makes it difficult to accurately hit that half/half position. Secondly, there’s the small detail of physics blurring your image: the surface tension of the water, in addition to the air and plastic front lens creates a contact angle with a water surface curvature, acting like an optical element. If this happens directly on your front lens, it blurs a lot of your recorded image. However, if this phenomenon happens further away – hence the dome – then it occupies only a small portion of the image, and you get a clear split shot.

The PolarPro FiftyFifty

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Adobe Portfolio Now Integrates with Lightroom Collections

 Technique  Comments Off on Adobe Portfolio Now Integrates with Lightroom Collections
Oct 082017
 

Adobe Portfolio, a platform for photographers to share images online on their own websites, will now integrate with Lightroom collections. This means you can upload entire collections at once, straight from Lightroom to your online portfolio.

The “Manage Content” section that Adobe Portfolio users are familiar with has been changed to make all this as easy as possible. It’s now broken down into two separate tabs, “Website Pages” and “Integrations,” and you can quickly get an overview of your portfolio and use the powerful new features.

“Website Pages” will show you all of your galleries and pages, whereas “Integrations” will enable you to connect Lightroom collections as well as setting which gallery future Behance projects will appear in.

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A Canon Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera May Arrive in 2018 with New Sensor

 Gear  Comments Off on A Canon Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera May Arrive in 2018 with New Sensor
Oct 082017
 

It looks like Canon and Nikon are now racing to unleash a full frame mirrorless camera on the world of photography. Nikon has given numerous statements in recent days that seem to confirm its development of such a camera, and now more details are emerging of an upcoming Canon full-frame mirrorless camera as well.

Canon Rumors is hearing from a trusted source that Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera will contain its own dedicated CMOS sensor rather than one that’s already being used in Canon’s full frame DSLR cameras (e.g. the 6D Mark II and the 5D Mark IV).

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Nikon D850 Best DSLR Ever, Gets First Full 100 Score at DxOMark

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Nikon D850 Best DSLR Ever, Gets First Full 100 Score at DxOMark
Oct 082017
 

The Nikon D850 was just awarded the first full 100 overall score ever given out to a DSLR by the testing lab DxOMark. The D850 now sits alone in the top spot on the camera leaderboard, with the full-frame mirrorless Sony a7R II sitting at #2 with a score of 98.

This is the first time a full-frame backside-illuminated sensor has appeared in a Nikon camera, and it’s a sensor that “breaks new ground for image quality,” DxOMark says. The D850 has the best color and dynamic range at base ISO among all commercially available cameras tested by the lab — it’s so good it rivals medium format sensors in some aspects.

“At base ISO, the Nikon D850 image quality for color is unrivaled for a DSLR, although the mirrorless Sony A7R II and full frame compact RX1R II comes pretty close,” DxOMark writes. “The D850’s color is on par with the best results we’ve seen on medium-format sensors, such as the Phase One IQ180 digital back, and fractionally ahead of the Phase One P65.”

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Looking Through the Viewfinder of a Hasselblad XPan

 Gear  Comments Off on Looking Through the Viewfinder of a Hasselblad XPan
Oct 022017
 

The XPan was the first Hasselblad camera to 35mm film and was able to shoot ultra-wide panorama negatives. Photographer Jordan Lockhart decided to mount an action camera to his XPan to capture what it’s like to frame the world and shoot with this unique camera.

“It took us a while to figure out a proper way to make this work but we eventually found out a decent solution, which I hope will give you a taste of why I love this camera so much,” writes Vincent Moschetti of OYWFO, who made the 6-minute video above showing the experiment. “We used a roll of Kodak Portra 800 which seemed like the perfect film to use on this rainy day and explore the city of Tampere in Finland.”

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iPhone 8 Plus Has the Best Smartphone Camera Ever, DxOMark Says

 Gear  Comments Off on iPhone 8 Plus Has the Best Smartphone Camera Ever, DxOMark Says
Sep 242017
 

The new iPhone 8 Plus has the best smartphone camera ever. That’s the conclusion DxOMark came to after the camera testing lab went hands-on with the new Apple smartphone. With a record score of 94, it’s now the clear leader in the market.

“The Apple iPhone 8 Plus has a main camera system truly worthy of a flagship phone,” DxOMark says in the opening of its newly published review. “[It’s] the best-performing mobile device camera we have ever tested.”

The upgrades given to the cameras — a 12MP main wide-angle camera (with a backside-illuminated (BSI) sensor and f/1.8 lens) and a 12MP telephoto camera (with a f/2.8 lens) — have improved its quality in every single category. The iPhone 8 Plus scores exceptionally high marks in both Zoom image quality and Bokeh quality, two new categories that DxOMark just added to its scoring system.

The score of 94 puts in 2 points ahead of the new iPhone 8 and 4 points ahead of the Google Pixel and HTC U11.

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The New Cmotion cPRO Wireless Hand Unit Offers Ultimate Focus Control

 Gear  Comments Off on The New Cmotion cPRO Wireless Hand Unit Offers Ultimate Focus Control
Sep 212017
 

We took a look at the new Cmotion cPRO lens controller, a feature packed, professional hand unit for professional focus assistance with Camin integration.

We saw a very interesting and affordable low end wireless focus control solution with Tilta’s new $399 Nucleus-N yesterday. Today we’re looking at state of the art high end stuff. Here’s what Cmotion had in store during IBC 2017.

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Zenit is Back! First Look at New 50mm f/0.95, 50mm f/1.2, and 85mm f/1.2

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Zenit is Back! First Look at New 50mm f/0.95, 50mm f/1.2, and 85mm f/1.2
Sep 172017
 

News broke back in February that Russian camera manufacturer Zenit was going to come back and take on Leica in the luxury camera market. But the first Zenit products to see the light of day aren’t cameras, it’s three very fast KMZ/Zenit lenses: the Zenitar 50mm f/0.95, 50mm f/1.2, and 85mm f/1.2.

Photo Rumors initially spotted the lenses last week on Russian photographer Denis Gavrilov’s website (translated link). And when we got in touch with Gavrilov to ask permission to share the images, he was kind enough to upload even more!

So let’s take the new lenses one by one, starting with the fastest of them.

Zenitar 50mm f/0.95

No doubt meant to give mere mortals an affordable alternative to the much lusted-after Noctilux (although, we hope, at a significantly lower price tag), the Zenitar 50mm f/0.95 is meant for Sony’s FE mirrorless cameras.

Sporting 9 elements in 8 groups, the lens’s 14 aperture blades in 2 levels surprised Gavrilov. The lens will supposedly arrive sometime in 2017 and run you close to $500… so yes, just a touch cheaper than the $9,700 Noctilux.

Here are a few more shots of the lens:

Zenitar_50_095_1

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Zenit’s Full Frame Mirrorless Camera to Be a Rebranded Leica SL, Rumor Says

 Gear  Comments Off on Zenit’s Full Frame Mirrorless Camera to Be a Rebranded Leica SL, Rumor Says
Sep 172017
 

The iconic Russian camera brand Zenit caused a flurry of excitement back in February after it announced that it’s relaunching in 2018 with a full frame mirrorless camera that rivals Leica in luxury. But the camera may do more than rival Leica… It may actually be a Leica at its core — a rebranded Leica SL.

USSRPhoto is hearing from a Zenit source working inside the company’s KMZ factory that the innards of the upcoming Zenit camera is presumably the German-made Leica SL, which is a medium format mirrorless camera.

There may be outward modifications to the camera’s style by Zenit, and special lenses for the new camera will be made by KMZ in Russia.

“KMZ is a mechanical and optical factory, so they don’t do electronics at all,” USSRPhoto tells PetaPixel. “Anything [digital/electronic] that is done is outsourced to French and German firms.

“What is a fact is that KMZ is organizing an optical shop within the Zenit factory to start production of lenses for this model.”

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Canon 6D Mark II Vs. 80D and 7D Mark II In-Depth Review

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Canon 6D Mark II Vs. 80D and 7D Mark II In-Depth Review
Sep 072017
 

The Canon 6D Mark II has not been the most well-received camera thus far. But how does it actually perform, and are the complaints justified?

The initial complaints were around the fact that this camera does not shoot 4K video. Discussions then moved on to its dynamic range and how it underperformed even against APS-C cameras. The most recent complaints are around the fact that its performance at higher ISOs may be worse than the original 6D. Personally, my biggest gripe about this camera is the fact that it only has one storage slot. This one individual point makes it less viable in a professional setting for me, however this may not bring as much concern to shooters upgrading from the original. The 6D Mark II has been referred to as a bigger Canon 80D and for good reason. There are a few minor differences between the two cameras except for the sensor size and price tag. The Canon 7D Mark II sits in between the 80D and 6D Mark II when it comes to the price and for that reason, it’s viable to compare these three to one another.

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Here’s the First 8K Timelapse Shot with the Nikon D850

 Gear  Comments Off on Here’s the First 8K Timelapse Shot with the Nikon D850
Sep 072017
 

The new Nikon D850 lets you create 8K timelapses using the 45.7-megapixel sensor and the built-in Interval Timer. If you’ve been wanting to see what 8K shot with the camera looks like, today’s your lucky day: we got our hands on the first 8K timelapse short film shot on the D850.

The 2.5-minute video above was captured by photographer and Nikon Ambassador Lucas Gilman in Iceland using a pre-production D850. If you somehow have an 8K-capable screen, be sure to select the 4320p/8K quality option in the video to watch it in its full glory.

Here’s an illustration showing how much more resolution 8K has than 4K, Full HD, and SD:

Gilman says he chose to test the camera’s 8K capabilities in Iceland due to the movements that can be seen everywhere in the landscapes and due to the microclimates that provide a huge amount of visual diversity even in a short amount of time.

The project was challenging though: there’s only a single sunrise and sunset you can capture each day, and each 3-4 second sequence in the video above took hours for Gilman to plan and shoot. He was planning to shoot night scenes as well, but Iceland’s days were 20 hours long while he was in the country.

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Vision Research introduces Phantom VEO 4KPL and Phantom VEO 590L

 Gear  Comments Off on Vision Research introduces Phantom VEO 4KPL and Phantom VEO 590L
Sep 062017
 

Vision Research has just introduced its newest flagship model, the Phantom VEO 4K PL, as well as the Phantom VEO 590S and VEO590L. How do these newly-introduced cameras compare to other models? Will the camera break my bank? We have the answers for you below.

What is the Phantom VEO line?

They say that when you touch a Phantom camera you go straight to heaven. At least that’s how I feel. Vision Research is a company that started out with high-speed cameras for military testing and analysing car-crash impacts, only to later turn its eye to the film industry with its revolutionary tech. In 2014, Vision Research introduced the mind-blowing Phantom Flex 4K camera, capable of 1000 frames-per-second at full 4K DCI resolution, in what many would consider the best quality 4K RAW compared to RED and even ARRI. Last year, Vision Research introduced the VEO line, a more compact version of their film industry cameras that continue the trend set by the ARRI Mini and RED – that smaller is better. Less weight and a more compact design mean more possibilities, such as the use of stabilisation platforms and even UAV. In comparison, the Phantom Flex 4K body weighs an incredible 5kg without ANYTHING on it. Add a lens, follow focus, rods, viewfinder, batteries, monitor and you can easily accumulate a weight that not many gimbals can handle.

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Olympus E-M10 III – Sample Footage and Exclusive First Impressions

 Gear  Comments Off on Olympus E-M10 III – Sample Footage and Exclusive First Impressions
Sep 062017
 

Johnnie had a chance to be one of the first to get his hands on the new Olympus E-M10 III and test its video capabilities.

Finally, a short family summer vacation. It is time to pack, leave work behind and slow down to the point that only the necessary body organs are working (brain excluded). But wait, whom am I kidding? The courier just rang the door bell, bringing a small package containing the shiny new Olympus E-M10 III. Now, as a workaholic, my options are limited: cancel my vacation and risk an immediate divorce, or pack my production bag and search for a story to shoot while on vacation. Knowing from past experience that mixing a family activity and work is a bad idea, I decided to leave behind my ambitions of a big production and scale everything down to the minimum. My simple tourist setup consisted of this small new Micro Four Thirds camera, the extremely cheap Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ pancake kit lens and my trusted Heliopan Vari ND filter. THAT’S IT – no tripod, no slider, no gimbal, just pure simplicity. And enough to be reassured that there is no substitute for having fun when filming with a small camera, no matter how good its bigger brothers may perform.

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Fstoppers Reviews the Insta360 Air: A Pocket-Sized 360-Degree Streaming Camera

 Gear  Comments Off on Fstoppers Reviews the Insta360 Air: A Pocket-Sized 360-Degree Streaming Camera
Aug 172017
 

Live streaming on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook is nothing new in the age of social media. It’s a fantastic tool for marketing or just showing how much fun you’re having on a fun new adventure. What if you were able to completely immerse your viewers in the environment you’re streaming? InstaAir 360 is one such a camera and I was given the opportunity to work with it.

To start I’ll give you the basics. The camera is available for both Android (both Micro USB and USB Type-C) and Apple devices. For lens elements, it has dual 210-degree lenses facing 180-degrees from each other. With a max output of 3K resolution images, and 2K (3K on certain phone models) video. Utilizing real-time stitching, you’re able to stream the views from the camera live on most social media applications. It featured built-in stabilization allowing for smooth operation. In addition, it can be used as a webcam with the included USB adapter.

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