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23 September 2017
 

Digital Photography Review...

Craigslist poster raises the bar on terrible car photography
Fri, 22 Sep 2017 19:35:00 Z

A Craigslist post offering a 1990 Mazda RX-7 for sale is going viral today thanks to the photos of the car... and it's not because they're good.

For whatever reason, the ad's author decided the best way to photograph his or her car for this ad was to take pictures of the car with their cell phone, and then take pictures of the pictures displayed on their cracked, hazy smartphone screen.

The original Craigslist post, a link to which hasn't been shared publicly to avoid disrupting the seller's efforts, was spotted by Murilee Martin and shared with Autoweek. And yes, the pictures are exactly as bad as described.

The reasoning behind this photographic decision aren't known and probably never will be. But instead of sharp, colorful, detailed photos of a car what we get are hazy, in some cases out-of-focus shots of a red vehicle that is difficult to make out through the cracks in the screen.

Even by Craigslist standards these are bad. By car photography standards? It's like something out of a horror film.


 

The iPhone 8 Plus is the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested
Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:01:00 Z

Photo: Apple

Apple fans who were hopeful the iPhone 8/Plus would represent a big step up in camera quality over the already-respectable iPhone 7/Plus have something to celebrate. DxOMark just released the results of its iPhone 8 and 8 Plus tests, and the new Apple smartphones represents a significant improvement over the previous versions.

In fact, the iPhone 8 Plus is now the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 comes in a close second, pushing the Google Pixel down from the top stop into the #3 position.

You can read full iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus reviews by clicking on the respective links, but the conclusion from DxOMark's review of the Plus just about tells you all you need to know:

Overall, the Apple iPhone 8 Plus is an excellent choice for the needs of nearly every smartphone photographer. It features outstanding image quality, zoom for those needing to get closer to their subjects, and an industry-leading Portrait mode for artistic efforts. It is at the top of our scoring charts in nearly every category — and in particular, its advanced software allows it to do an amazing job of capturing high-dynamic range scenes and images in which it can recognize faces.

'Nuff said? Now we wait to see how much better (or not) the iPhone X is... and what Google's response will be when the company reveals its new smartphone on October 4th.


 

This Kodak Moments chatbot digs through your old photos and tries to sell you prints
Fri, 22 Sep 2017 16:36:00 Z

Kodak has created a new Facebook Messenger chatbot called 'Kodak Moments' that tries to get users to buy physical products by digging through and resurfacing their old photos.

The AI algorithm works by searching through the mass of images a user has uploaded to Facebook and suggesting ones that may have been forgotten in hopes the user, when suddenly presented with this fond old memory (or Kodak moment... if you will), will order it as a physical print or photo product like a coffee mug.

Facebook users are given the option of either dismissing the chatbot's suggested image, requesting other images that contain the same people as the first image, or requesting a print or product containing the selected image. All you have to do to join this 'fun' game that tries to sell you things is search for Kodak Moments in the Messenger app.

Unfortunately, the chatbot—at least in its current iteration—doesn't support any sort of filtering options, making it impossible to prevent the bot from digging up photos of old memories better left forgotten. Consider yourself warned.

Joining this Messenger chatbot is a new Kodak Moments app (Android | iOS) that goes a bit further. After being given permission, the app will search through a Facebook or Google account and camera roll to find images it thinks users may want to turn into physical products.

The goal behind the new Kodak Moments technology is (obviously) to increase the company's print sales while reviving the idea of a 'Kodak Moment' and helping customers sort through their possibly massive photo albums. We'll let you decide if the concept is fun, annoying, or maybe a bit traumatizing.


 

Affinity Photo for iPad adds extremely useful drag-and-drop feature with iOS 11 update
Fri, 22 Sep 2017 15:47:00 Z

One of the useful features added to the iPad with the update to iOS 11 this week was drag-and-drop between the operating system's "Files" app and other applications on the tablet. And popular photo editor Affinity Photo has already updated its iPad app to take advantage of this really handy feature.

Now, if you want to edit a photograph in the Affinity Photo app, all you have to do is drag it from the files app into Affinity... that's it. No need to get the image onto your iPad in some other, more convoluted way—as long as it's accessible from your Files app (read: in a cloud-connected folder on your Apple computer) you can drag it into the app.

What's more, you can drag multiple files in at once for HDR merging, panorama creation, and focus stacking. Here's the description direct from Serif, the makers of Affinity Photo:

Thanks to iOS 11’s new Files app you can now drag and drop multiple images straight into Affinity Photo for iPad and start editing. This is tremendously useful when working with HDR merge, image stacking and panoramas and will provide an instant boost to your workflow. And if you ever receive images, or even PSD files, via email, you can now open and edit that file – with all layers intact – by simply dragging it in.

Affinity Photo made a big splash with their iPad release, calling it "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." As Serif builds more and more functionality into the app, they're hoping to close the gap between mobile and desktop editing. This represents a big step in that direction.

Learn more about Affinity Photo for iPad by clicking here. And if you're more of a desktop editor sort of person, don't forget to check out our review of Affinity Photo 1.5.2 posted this week!

Full Review: Affinity Photo 1.5.2 for Desktop


 

Yashica teases 'Unprecedented Camera': Coming to Kickstarter in October
Fri, 22 Sep 2017 15:04:00 Z

Last week's Yashica teaser was met with a lot of excitement. But it didn't take long for people to claim that teaser had nothing to do with a camera. In fact, they said, Yashica was just teasing a clip-on smartphone lens they had already released. Womp womp...

But not so fast! Another teaser video released yesterday seems to hint at the big return to the camera market we were all actually hoping for.

The teaser, titled "The Prologue," shows more of the same girl walking around with an old Yashica film camera (maybe?) and even a brief scene with that clip-on smartphone lens. All unremarkable, except the whole thing starts with this tagline:

Expect the Unexpected

The Unprecedented Camera by YASHICA

And later on a date floats onto the screen:

October 2017, Kickstarter

It looks like Yashica may be making a grand return after all. Hopefully they don't disappoint us after all this teasing. If you're claiming to release an "unprecedented" camera, you'd better deliver.


 

Synology launches its first 6-bay NAS tower, updates more affordable options
Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:41:00 Z

Storage solution company Synology has introduced its first six-bay NAS device: the DS3018xs. The new model holds six drives of its own, but if that's still not enough storage for your epic photo library, it can combine with the company’s DX1215 expansion units to control up to thirty.

The company has used the Pentium D1208 dual-core 2.2GHz processor that can boost to 2.6GHz, and provides a PCle slot for users to install an optional dual M.2 SATA SSD adapter to shift processing onto solid state drives for speed and efficiency. The DS3018xs comes with 8GB of RAM installed, but has two memory slots for expansion up to 32GB, and an optional 10GbE network card can provide 2230MB/s sequential read speeds.

At the same time, Synology has launched four other DS and DS+ models that replace existing NAS enclosures. The new DS918+ and DS718+ are upgrades of the DS..16+ models, and bring more memory capacity and options for adding extra slots via DX517 expansion unit. These models and the DS218+ and DS418 get new processors as well, while all are said to be capable of transcoding 4K video on the go.

Synology has started a series of workshops around the world that demonstrate some of these models and show off the company’s technology. They are free to attend to anyone registered via the Synology 2018 events page. For more information about the new NAS enclosures visit the Synology website.

Pricing

DS3018xs - £1298.18 (including VAT), €1190 (excluding taxes)
DS918+ - £518.18 (including VAT), €475 (excluding taxes)
DS718+ - £414.55 (including VAT), €380 (excluding taxes)
DS218+ - £310.90 (including VAT), €285 (excluding taxes)
DS418 - £387.91 (including VAT), €351 (excluding taxes)

Press Release

From Home to Business: Synology® Unveils New XS/Plus/Value-Series Product Lineup

Storage solutions designed to meet a multitude of needs

Synology® Inc. announced the official launch of new product lineup featuring:

DS3018xs: Synology's first 6-bay tower NAS with optional 10GbE and NVMe SATA SSD supports

Plus-series DS918+, DS718+, and DS218+: Designed to meet your intensive daily workloads

Value-series DS418: Featuring optimized 4K online transcoding capability

To allow for ultra-high performance using SSD cache without occupying internal drive bays, DS3018xs features a PCIe slot, which can be installed with a dual M.2 SATA SSD adapter card (M2D17). DS918+ comes with dedicated dual M.2 NVMe slots at the bottom where you can directly install M.2 NVMe SSDs. DS418 features 10-bit H.265 4K video transcoding, and while supporting the next-generation Btrfs file system in DSM 6.2 official, expected to release in early Q1 next year. Btrfs provides reliable data protection through its cutting-edge self-healing and point-in-time snapshot features.

DS3018xs, Synology's first 6-bay tower NAS, is compact yet powerful as it features the Intel’s advanced Pentium D1508 dual-core 2.2GHz processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.6GHz) with AES-NI encryption engine; offering scalability of RAM up to 32 GB and storage capacity up to 30 drives with two Synology DX1215. In addition to four Gigabit LAN ports, DS3018xs takes advantage of boosting maximum throughput with an optional 10GbE network interface card, delivering stunning performance at over 2,230 MB/s sequential reading and 265,000 sequential read IOPS.

DS918+ and DS718+ are powered by Intel‘s Celeron® J3455 quad-core processor. DS218+ is powered by Intel’s Celeron® J3355 dual core processor. Both models are equipped with AES-NI hardware encryption engine and support up to two channels of H.265/H.264 4K video transcoding.DS918+’s RAM is scalable up to 8GB, while DS718+ and DS218+ are scalable up to 6 GB, allowing you to operate more intensive tasks at once. DS918+ and DS718+ are equipped with two LAN ports, and their storage capacity can be scaled up to 9 and 7 drives, respectively, with Synology’s DX517 expansion unit.

"Responding to the demands from our customers, DS3018xs is built as a comprehensive business-ready desktop NAS. Running mission-critical applications or planning virtualization deployment with DS3018xs has never been easier." said Katarina Shao, Product Manager at Synology Inc. "The new DS918+, DS718+, and DS218+ are optimized to be your digital video libraries, and will bring you an excellent viewing experience with high definition live video transcoding, regardless of device limitations."

DS418 is equipped with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor with hardware encryption engine, 2 GB RAM, and two LAN ports. Powered by the hardware transcoding engine, DS418 supports H.265 4K transcoding allowing it to serve as your media library. Combined with Btrfs and Snapshot supports, DS418 is delivers more efficient data storage and more reliable data protection.

For more information on DS3018xs, please visit https://www.synology.com/products/DS3018xs

For more information on DS918+, please visit https://www.synology.com/products/DS918+

For more information on DS718+, please visit https://www.synology.com/products/DS718+

For more information on DS218+, please visit https://www.synology.com/products/DS218+

For more information on DS418, please visit https://www.synology.com/products/DS418


 

New product overview videos: Canon EOS 6D II and more
Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:00:00 Z

We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6. Take a look at some of the key features these cameras offer – demonstrated in the shooting scenarios they were built to handle. For more overviews and gear tests, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 overview

Canon EOS M6 overview


This is sponsored content, created with the support of Amazon and Canon. What does this mean?


 

Throwback Thursday: the Canon PowerShot G1
Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:00:00 Z

It wasn't the first 'prosumer' compact on the market, but it did check off a lot of the items on enthusiasts' wish lists at the time. The Canon G1, announced to the world on September 18, 2000, offered a great deal of manual control options, a hot shoe, Raw capture and a fully articulated 1.8" screen. That line would eventually evolve into the present-day PowerShot Gx X series – but it all started 17 years ago this week.

Read our full Canon PowerShot G1 Review

Canon PowerShot G1 sample gallery

Sample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photo


 

Incredible microscopic close-ups of a peacock feather
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 19:50:00 Z

Turkish macro photographer Can Tuncer takes his macro work far beyond most macro shooters. Forget 1:1 or even 2:1, when Tuncer decides on a project his super macro work requires complex focus stacking rigs, microscope lenses, and 40-images per photo to get everything in focus.

This was the case with his most recent project, Peacock Feather, in which he used three different microscope lenses and a super-macro setup to capture extreme closeups of these colorful marvels.

For this particular project, Tuncer used three lenses: a Lomo 3.7x (3.7x magnification), Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 5x (5x magnification), and Nikon CF Plan 10x 0.30 WD 16.5 (10x magnification). Each was mounted to his Canon 6D in turn and, using the light from a single Yongnuo YN-560 III and two Ikea Jansjö LED lamps.

The final rig looked like this:

And these are the three lenses used:

The project took two weeks to complete, during which time Can captured 1,500 images of a single feather in order to create the final focus-stacked series you see at the top. Scroll through the high-res versions for yourself if you need to add a bit of wow-factor to your Wednesday.

And then, if you want to see even more incredible macro photography, you can find more of Can's work on 500px, Flickr, and Instagram.


All images by Can Tuncer and used with permission.


 

Oprema Jena revives Biotar 58mm F2 lens with record-setting 17 aperture blades
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 18:59:00 Z

After successfully funding the 'legendary' Biotar 78mm F1.5 lens through Kickstarter, newly-minted company Oprema Jena is trying to pull off yet another resurrection. This time the crowdfunding platform is Indiegogo, and the lens they're bringing back is the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 'historic' 17-blade aperture.

Oprema isn't holding back when it comes to describing this lens in the most epic of terms:

Reengineered to its true historic 17 aperture blade version it will change how you feel about photography. With its unique design the Biotar 58 balances the need for sharpness and bokeh in one lens like no other. It is truly an enchanting miracle bokeh wonder lens for all your photographic situations.

"Miracle bokeh wonder lens" .... there's a tagline for you. And if that's not enough, here's an overly-dramatic introduction to this lens complete with inspiring music and over-zealous presenter voice:

Joking aside, people seem very excited about this old lens coming back. The original design dates back to 1927, and it was introduced to the public around 1937. Unfortunately, due to the war, the original Biotar 58 was only produced in small numbers, and later versions never quite recaptured the original's flare for dramatic bokeh.

Until (at least according to Oprema Jena) now.

Oprema identified the models that were "most outstanding" from the Biotar's history, and recreated those while adding in some modern conveniences like rangefinder coupling for Leica users, and modern-day lens mounts for everyone else. Here are some web resolution sample photos so you can judge for yourself if they succeeded in creating a lens worth dropping a grand on:

Already over 150% funded, it looks like the Biotar 58mm F2 will come to be whether or not anybody else decides to pledge their money and pick one up. But if you want to learn more about this lens and/or drop the $950 it'll take to buy one in either Silver or Black (Super Early Bird level, still 180 available), head over to the Indiegogo campaign by clicking here.


 

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