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18 August 2017
 

Digital Photography Review...

Video: Four top-notch portrait photographers shoot the same model
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 16:07:00 Z

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:

Outfit 1
J.1 - Brandon
J.2 - Dani
J.3 - Jessica
J.4 - Joey

Outfit 2
D.1 - Jessica
D.2 - Brandon
D.3 - Joey
D.4 - Dani

Outfit 3
JL.1 - Dani
JL.2 - Joey
JL.3 - Brandon
JL.4 - Jessica

Outfit 4
B.1 - Jessica
B.2 - Joey
B.3 - Brandon
B.4 - Dani


 

Asus ZenFone 4 Pro dual-cam comes with 2x zoom and portrait blur
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 16:07:00 Z

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.

Key Specifications:

  • Dual-cam with 2x zoom
  • Main camera with 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 sensor, F1.7 aperture and 4-axis OIS
  • PDAF and laser AF
  • 4K video, 1080p slow-motion at 120 fps
  • Tele camera with Sony IMX351 sensor with 1um pixels and F2.6 aperture
  • 8MP / F1.9 front camera
  • Snapdragon 835 chipset
  • 5.5" 1080p AMOLED display
  • up to 6GB RAM
  • up to 128GB internal storage
  • microSD support


 

Picktorial's new X-Pack lets you add Fuji's film simulation profiles to X-Trans raw files
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:30:00 Z

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:

The add-on requires Picktorial version 3.0.4 or newer, which will cost you $40 to buy new as of this writing. The X-Pack itself costs $15, and can be purchased at this link.

Picktorial’s new X-Pack film simulation color profiles offer further appeal for Fuji RAF users

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:

  1. Camera CLASSIC CHROME
  2. Camera ACROS
  3. Camera ACROS+Ye
  4. Camera ACROS+R
  5. Camera ACROS+G
  6. Camera Velvia/VIVID
  7. Camera PROVIA/STANDARD
  8. Camera PRO Neg. Hi
  9. Camera PRO Neg. Std
  10. Camera ASTIA/SOFT
  11. Camera MONOCHROME
  12. Camera MONOCHROME+Ye
  13. Camera MONOCHROME+R
  14. Camera MONOCHROME+G

The camera profiles are compatible with Fujifilm X-Trans(TM) RAF files.

Requirements:

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


 

Flip to flop: the pocket camcorder flash in the pan
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 13:00:00 Z

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).

A video camera, in your pocket!

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.

Flip finally flops

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.


The Flip cam: My first time filmmaking

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 Flip cam removed a major mental barrier for me in terms of making movies.'

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.


 

New Nokia 8 smartphone features 13MP dual-cam with Zeiss optics
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 11:12:00 Z

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.

Key specifications:

  • Dual-cam with 13MP RGB/Mono sensors, 1.12 um pixel size
  • OIS in the main module
  • F2.0 aperture
  • PDAF + laser AF
  • 13MP / F2.0 front camera with display-flash function
  • Dual-tone flash
  • 5.3” IPS LCD QHD 2,560 x 1,440 display, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • 4GB RAM, 64/128GB storage
  • microSD support up to 256GB
  • Android Nougat 7.1.1
  • 3090 mAh battery with Qualcomm quick charge
  • Splashproof body with IP54 rating


 

B&H Photo will pay $3.2 million to settle federal discrimination case
Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:23:00 Z

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:

B&H Agrees to Settle Outstanding Government Claims

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.

Full disclosure: DPReview.com is fully owned but editorially independent from Amazon.com, which competes with B&H Photo.


 

Godox A1 smartphone flash trigger officially released, costs $70
Wed, 16 Aug 2017 18:25:00 Z

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 beats Nikon to get EISA’s Pro DSLR award for 3rd year running
Wed, 16 Aug 2017 16:05:00 Z

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.

Photography awards in full:

EISA CONSUMER DSLR CAMERA 2017-2018
Canon EOS 77D

EISA PROSUMER DSLR CAMERA 2017-2018
Nikon D7500

EISA PROFESSIONAL DSLR CAMERA 2017-2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

EISA CONSUMER COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERA 2017-2018
Fujifilm X-T20

EISA PROSUMER COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERA 2017-2018
Sony 6500

EISA CAMERA 2017-2018
Sony 9

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
Huawei P10


 

Barack Obama photo and quote becomes most popular tweet of all time
Wed, 16 Aug 2017 15:38:00 Z

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.

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.


 

This iconic still life photo was shot at f/240... for 6 hours!
Wed, 16 Aug 2017 15:19:00 Z

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.


 

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