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21 June 2018
 

Digital Photography Review...

Instagram unveils IGTV, a new standalone video-sharing app for hour-long videos
Thu, 21 Jun 2018 12:04:00 Z

Instagram has finally cleared the air regarding rumors and reports that the Facebook-owned social network was looking to get more heavily involved in video content. A new blog post on Instagram's website confirms the impending release of Instagram TV, a new standalone app with a focus on long-form, vertical-first video content.

As detailed by Instagram in its announcement blog post, Instagram TV — IGTV for short — is different from the main Instagram app in a few ways. 'First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long.'

When you download and log in to IGTV, you shouldn't have to spend much time going out there and finding content from the get-go. Once you've logged into IGTV, any content creators you follow on Instagram will already be a part of your video content on IGTV. Akin to YouTube, IGTV calls each creator's page a 'channel,' although the call to action remains 'follow,' unlike 'subscribe' on YouTube.

From the second you open IGTV on your device, video content will immediately start playing. Instagram compares this to how a television automatically starts playing content when you turn it on, but it's more or less a fancy way of saying IGTV content is autoplay content.

To keep things familiar, IGTV makes it easy to keep tabs on your favorite creators and find new ones. As with the Instagram app, IGTV will feature a 'For You,' 'Following' and 'Popular' tab for navigation. There's also a new 'Continue Watching' section for revisiting old videos you didn't finish for whatever reason. You can also like, comment and share videos with friends via Instagram's direct messaging system.

In addition to being a standalone app, IGTV content will also appear in the main Instagram app. It's not known whether this cross-app integration will stay, as it seems to more or less to be an effort to get Instagram users onboard with the new app. Whatever the case, for the time being, you should be able to catch the latest content from the people you follow right within the Instagram app.

IGTV will be rolling out across the globe over the 'next few weeks' for both Android and iOS.


 

NVIDIA researchers can now turn 30fps video into 240fps slo-mo footage using AI
Wed, 20 Jun 2018 16:13:00 Z

NVIDIA researchers have developed a new method to create 240fps slow-motion video from 30fps content using artificial intelligence.

Detailed in a paper submitted to the Cornell University Library, NVIDIA researchers trained the system by processing more than 11,000 videos through NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs and a cuDNN-accelerated PyTorch deep learning framework. This archive of videos, shot at 240fps, taught the system how to better predict the positioning differences in videos shot at only 30fps.

This isn't the first time something like this has been done. A post-production plug-in called Twixtor has been doing this for almost a decade now. But it doesn't come anywhere close to NVIDIA's results in terms of quality and accuracy. Even in scenes where there is a great amount of detail, there appears to be minimal artifacts in the interpolated frames.

The researchers also note that while there are smartphones that can shoot 240fps video, it's not necessarily worth it to use all of that processing power and storage when something that will get you 99% of the way there is possible using a system such as theirs. 'While it is possible to take 240-frame-per-second videos with a cell phone, recording everything at high frame rates is impractical, as it requires large memories and is power-intensive for mobile devices,' the researchers wrote in the paper.

The research and findings detailed in the paper will be presented at the annual Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah this week.


 

Loupedeck announces Loupedeck+ with support for Capture One, better controls
Wed, 20 Jun 2018 14:00:00 Z

Loupedeck - a popular editing console for Adobe Lightroom users - has received a significant update to both its physical characteristics and its overall compatibility with the launch of the Loupedeck+.

In addition to Adobe Lightroom (and Lightroom CC) Loupedeck+ is now compatible with Aurora HDR and Capture One (the later will be beta support at launch, with full compatibility to be offered soon). There are already a few editing consoles on the market that work with Lightroom as well as Capture One, and it's encouraging to see Loupedeck get in on the Capture One fun as more photographers do.

Physical improvements include better build quality with more responsive mechanical buttons and a greater degree of customization. The Loupedeck+ can be yours for $229 - current Loupedeck owners can upgrade for $50 off.

Press Release:

Introducing Loupedeck+, the Next Evolution of Custom Photo Editing Console, Loupedeck

Next Generation Includes Skylum Aurora HDR Compatibility, Upgraded Build and More Customization Options, All Based on the Photography Community’s Feedback

HELSINKI, Finland – June 20, 2018Loupedeck, the custom photo editing console built with an intuitive design that makes editing faster and more creative, has announced the next evolution, Loupedeck+. While the Loupedeck was the only device on the market custom-built to improve the Adobe Lightroom experience, the Loupedeck+ is now also compatible with popular photo editing software Skylum Aurora HDR (in addition to Adobe Lightroom Classic CC), and is designed with more functionalities, control and increased customization options. Following a year of overwhelming success and customer feedback, the Loupedeck+ was designed in Loupedeck’s headquarters in Finland, with all updates solely based on feedback from the invested photography community.

Specifically, upgrades to the Loupedeck+ include:

  • Mechanical keys with a more precise and sturdy feel
  • Improved build quality
  • Two dedicated customizable dials and seventeen buttons
  • “Custom Mode” that allows full user control of all dials
  • Configuration software built from scratch for an even better, faster and more stable photo editing experience

“We know how dedicated both the professional and amateur photography communities are in their work, and we’re committed to making their lives easier and more productive,” said Mikko Kesti, Founder and CEO of Loupedeck. “There’s no better way to create the next evolution of our flagship product than by going straight to the source and taking their feedback to heart. By adding even more control, efficiency and customization options to the editing process, we’re able to help photographers be more successful by increasing their output and artistry, and look forward to continue supporting them in their work.”

Following Loupedeck’s new partnership with Skylum, the Loupedeck+ will include future integrations with Skylum’s other professional photo editing products, including Skylum Luminar. It is also currently in beta integration with Capture One, with full integration on the way, as well as additional software integrations to follow later this year. These options will provide photographers with a more diverse, intuitive experience, helping to expedite the editing process and maximize the photo editing experience.

"Skylum and Loupedeck share the same vision. We want to help photographers create great photos, differently,” said Alex Tsepko, CEO of Sklyum. “When I discovered that the new version of Loupedeck keyboard is coming out, I knew Skylum software should be the first to support it. This is the kind of innovation modern photographers really need.”

The Loupedeck+ is available for purchase in the Loupedeck Online Store, B&H Photo and Amazon.com for $229. Loupedeck is also offering a cashback opportunity of $50 for current Loupedeck owners.

For more information visit www.loupedeck.com.


 

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Review
Wed, 20 Jun 2018 13:38:00 Z

Samsung's Galaxy S9+ is a large, fast smartphone that's jam-packed with photography-focused features. But while it's certainly capable of great image quality, we found some issues with regard to capturing moving subjects, shooting under low lighting and when using 'Live Focus' portrait mode. On the other hand, 4K/60p video capture is of very high quality with good autofocus, and the screen on the S9+ is the best we've seen on a smartphone to date.

Key photographic / video specs

  • Dual rear cameras, each with optical stabilization
    • Wide-angle: 12MP F1.5-2.4, 26mm equiv. focal length, dual pixel autofocus
    • Telephoto: 12MP F2.4, 52mm equiv. focal length, contrast detect autofocus
  • Wide-angle module is the only variable aperture smartphone design on the market
  • Front-facing wide-angle camera: 8MP F1.7 25mm equiv.
  • 'Live Focus' background blurring for rear and front cameras
  • 'Pro' mode offers manual control in built-in camera app, and Raw can be enabled
  • UHD 4K/60p video recording, slow-motion 1080/240p and 720/960p recording (8x and 32x slow motion when outputted at 30 frames per second)

To start, the Galaxy's dual rear cameras are similar to the setup on Apple's iPhone X (one wide-angle, one telephoto), while Google's Pixel 2 makes do with just a single camera on the rear of the phone.

Out-of-camera JPEG | ISO 32 | 1/614 sec | F2.4

But beyond just the number of cameras, each of these phones takes a noticeably different photographic approach across different shooting scenarios. We're starting to see enough differences between the experiences of using these phones to really warrant consideration of what you want (and like) to photograph, especially if you're choosing your next phone with camera quality as a primary concern.

The 'Live Focus' portrait mode experience
is disappointing

With the Galaxy S9+, Samsung touts its Dual Aperture technology as an aid to low-light shooting and the included telephoto lens is primarily used for the 'Live Focus' portrait mode. We found that, despite the Dual Aperture, the phone would select exposure settings that resulted in unnecessarily blurry images in even moderately low light. We also found that, overall, the 'Live Focus' experience using that telephoto lens can give you completely mis-focused images even in bright light, and that it's nigh unusable as light levels start to drop.

Other specs

  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 6.2" Super AMOLED display with 2960x1440 resolution (529 ppi)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • 6GB RAM
  • 64/128/256 GB storage plus microSD card slot
  • 3500 mAh Lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
  • $840/890/940 (£849/869/929 in the UK, €949/1049 in Germany and France for 128GB and 256GB models)

We've now had our loaner Galaxy S9+ for several weeks courtesy of Verizon Wireless, and taken a critical look at how its cameras perform under a wide variety of scenarios. Let's dig in and see what's what.


Unique Features

The Samsung Galaxy S9+ (along with its smaller brother, the S9) are the only current smartphones on the market with adjustable apertures and screens that automatically adjust contrast and brightness depending on your viewing conditions.

Read more

Body and display

The Galaxy S9+ comes with a huge 6.2" AMOLED display with rounded edges that is simply gorgeous to look at - for the most part.

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Photo quality

From 'Live Focus' portraits to a special 'Food' mode, we've taken a look at the Galaxy's image quality under a wide range of situations.

Read more

Video quality

With UHD 4K/60p and slow-motion video recording, the Galaxy S9+ certainly looks capable on paper - so we found out how it looks in the real world.

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Sample gallery

We've updated our sample gallery with dozens of images from several weeks of shooting. Check out portraits, concerts, sports and more.

Read more

Conclusion

The Galaxy S9+ is one of the most photographically capable smartphones on the market; is it the one for you?

Read more


 

Apple releases four new iPhone X mobile photography video tutorials
Wed, 20 Jun 2018 11:00:00 Z

Apple released a new batch of mobile photography tutorial videos this week, each briefly demonstrating how to perform various camera actions using the flagship iPhone X. The OLED-equipped iPhone X features dual rear 12MP cameras coupled with optical image stabilization and optical zoom.

The four new videos were published on June 14 and guide iPhone X users through the following functions: shooting with the backlight, shooting in burst mode, recording in slow motion, and creating panoramas.

Apple semi-regularly updates video tutorials for its products, and previously released a batch of similar mobile photography instructional videos for the iPhone 8. A full playlist of Apple's mobile photography video tutorials, including those covering older iPhone models, is available here. The four newest videos are below.

Via: Light Stalking


 

Adobe announces Project Rush, a cross-device video editing application
Wed, 20 Jun 2018 10:00:00 Z

Adobe has announced development of Project Rush, a cross-device video editing application that consolidates the entire video creation workflow, from shooting to social media sharing. According to Adobe, Rush is intended to provide a more streamlined and intuitive user experience for creating videos, as well as to provide a powerful video solution for mobile users.

In contrast to traditional video creation workflows, which often require switching between specialized programs, Rush aims to put the entire workflow into one, integrated application. It supports shooting, editing, audio optimization, motion graphics, and video sharing, and provides a simplified interface for editing, color correction, audio, and titling.

Adobe says the tools available in Rush are based on the same underlying technology as some of its pro apps, including color correction technology from Premiere Pro and audio technology from Audition. Integration with Adobe Stock will provide access to free motion graphics templates which can be customized by users.

Project Rush will work across mobile and desktop platforms, and will include the same feature set in both versions. Projects will synchronize between devices using Adobe Creative Cloud.

Recognizing that a great deal of video content is now shared through social media, Rush will automatically optimize video for a variety social media platforms, as well as manage publication and scheduling of content to those platforms. Adobe did not specify which platforms will be supported.

Rush will be available in mobile and desktop applications, with both versions supporting the same feature set, meaning users will have the same tools at their disposal no matter which device they’re using. Projects will sync between devices using Adobe Creative Cloud.

Although Project Rush is unlikely to replace pro-level tools for larger productions, it may prove useful to those who don’t need the power of a dedicated non-linear editor, or those who prefer a workflow that doesn't involve multiple programs.

Adobe did not provide a release date or pricing for Project Rush, but since it’s designed to sync across Creative Cloud it’s likely to require a Creative Cloud subscription to fully utilize its features. If you want to try Rush for yourself, you can apply to join the public beta here.

We’ll be taking a look at Rush in the near future and will share our impressions once we've had a chance to give it a spin.


 

Adobe reveals record-breaking quarterly revenue in Q2 2018
Tue, 19 Jun 2018 23:26:00 Z

Adobe has announced a new quarterly revenue record of $2.20 billion for its 2018 second fiscal quarter. The company saw 22% growth to $1.55 billion in its Digital Media segment, which includes $1.30 billion for Creative and a record $243 million for Document Cloud. The company's Digital Experience segment experienced 18% growth to hit $586 million during Q2 2018, as well.

Overall, Adobe saw its year-on-year net income increase 77% on a GAAP-basis, as well as a 39% operating income increase. Looking at its Digital Media Annualized Recurring Revenue (ARR), Adobe saw its second fiscal quarter end with a $343 million increase to $6.06 billion. The Creative ARR hit $5.37 billion, while Document Cloud ARR increased to $694 million.

Talking about the record quarter, Adobe President and CEO Shantanu Narayen said:

Adobe delivers all the capabilities to enable transformative digital experiences, including content creation and management, predictive analytics and commerce. Our record results in Q2 reflect continued execution against this significant opportunity where Adobe is the clear market leader.

Narayen cited a partnership with Microsoft as a factor contributing to the favorable quarterly results, according to CNBC. Having beat analysts expectations this in Q2, Adobe anticipates third fiscal quarterly revenue of $2.24 billion.

Via: Adobe


 

PolarPro's new buyback program gives you credit towards a new filter when you trade in an old one
Tue, 19 Jun 2018 17:59:00 Z

Earlier this year, PolarPro stepped up its filter game and brought its expertise to the world of DSLR and mirrorless cameras with its QuartzLine filters.

As a follow-up to its latest filter lineup, PolarPro has launched a buyback program that will let you get a certain amount of credit towards a new filter if you return an old one - even if it's not theirs.

Here's how it works. For any 37mm or 46mm filter you send in, you'll be given a $20 credit towards a new PolarPro filter. For 67mm, 77mm and 82mm filter sizes, you'll be given $40 in PolarPro credit. You will receive one credit for each filter you send in. Once you've agreed to the PolarPro terms for the return, you'll be given a discount code to use with your PolarPro purchase.

This is the dialog box you'll see when asked to agree to the terms of the buyback program.

Once your purchase is made, PolarPro will send you an email with a prepaid label to send in your old filter(s). Simply package them up and ship them off within 14 days of receiving your new QuartzLine filter and you're good to go. You can even use the box they shipped you your new filter in. PolarPro notes that any filters sent in will be recycled or repurposed.

To find out more information and get started with your trade-in, head on over to PolarPro's buyback page.

Read our original article about QuartzLine filters (April 2018)


 

Sigma now shipping Art series prime lenses for Sony E-mount
Tue, 19 Jun 2018 17:34:00 Z

Sigma has announced that five of its Sony E-Mount Art-series primes, announced earlier this year, are now shipping. The 20mm F1.4 DG HSM, Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM, Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM, Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM and 85mm F1.4 DG HSM are designed for Sony's full-frame a7-series and a9 mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras.

The E-Mount version of Sigma's 14mm F1.4 DG HSM (shown above, in prototype form) is expected later this summer, along with E-Mount versions of the recently-announced 70mm F2.8 Macro, and the 105mm and 135mm Art-series telephotos.

Optically the E-mount primes are unchanged compared to their DSLR-mount predecessors but are compatible with high-speed continuous autofocus and should offer faster data throughput compared to using a DSLR-mount version with an adapter. This should improve autofocus speed across the board, compared to using a DSLR-mount version with an adapter - something we hope to test for ourselves in the coming weeks.

Press release:

Sigma Ships Five Prime Art Lenses for Sony E-mount Cameras with Full-Frame Sensors

Ronkonkoma, NY – June 19, 2018 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading still photo and cinema lens, camera, flash and accessory manufacturer, today announced availability of five of its interchangeable Art prime lenses for Sony E-mount camera systems – Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM ($899 USD), Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM ($849 USD), Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM ($899 USD), Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM ($949 USD) and Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM ($1199 USD).

Offering the same high-performance optical design as other lenses in the Art line, the new Sony E-mount models feature a newly developed control algorithm that optimizes the autofocus drive and maximizes the data transmission speed. In addition, these lenses are compatible with Sony’s Continuous AF (AF-C) and high-speed autofocus, which are not addressed by Sigma Mount Converter MC-11. Like MC-11, the lenses are compatible with in-camera image stabilization and in-camera lens aberration correction, which includes corrections for peripheral illumination, chromatic aberrations and distortion.

Key Features and Benefits

Autofocus Tuned for Each Lens

Thanks to an autofocus drive control program tuned for each lens and high-speed data transmission, the lenses offer a high-speed autofocus at the same performance level as that of a lens designed exclusively for mirrorless cameras. In particular, in E-mount cameras offering Sony’s Fast Hybrid AF, AF-C mode delivers exceptional subject following performance. Autofocus remains
extremely precise even in those E-mount cameras offering only contrast AF.

Compatible with In-Camera Image Stabilization

The lenses are compatible with in-camera image stabilization. The Sony E-mount camera senses the focal length of the lens and automatically optimizes image stabilization performance.

Data Loaded for Compatibility with In-Camera Aberration Correction

The lenses are fully compatible with in-camera aberration correction, which includes corrections for peripheral illumination, chromatic aberrations and distortion. By matching corrections to the optical characteristics of the lens, this function takes image quality to an even higher level.

Native Mount for a More Rigid and Stable Feel

Making the mount native to the lens means a more rigid and stable feel to the lens. Featuring a special surface treatment to enhance strength, the brass bayonet mount offers a high-precision fit and exceptional durability. The mount connection area incorporates rubber sealing for dust- and splash-proof construction.

Available Mount Conversion Service*

This service converts the mount of Sigma lenses to that of a different camera body, allowing photographers to continue using their favorite lenses over the long term regardless of camera system.

*The Mount Conversion Service is different from a normal repair. In order to apply for the service, please contact your nearest authorized Sigma subsidiary or distributor: http://www.sigma-global.com/en/about/world-network/.

**This service is performed exclusively by Sigma.


 

Adobe Creative Cloud updates bring preset and profile syncing to Lightroom CC
Tue, 19 Jun 2018 13:00:00 Z

A new batch paste option in Lightroom CC allows settings to be quickly synced across multiple images.

Adobe has announced a raft of updates across its suite of Creative Cloud apps, including Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC.

For photographers, Lightroom CC receives the most substantial updates, which include easy synchronization of presets and profiles across all devices. Preset and profile syncing works with Lightroom's inbuilt options, as well as custom and third-party presets and profiles. Presets can now be created in Lightroom CC on mobile devices, too. iOS devices also gain a new chromatic aberration removal tool, and a beta 'long-exposure' mode which combines multiple images and stacks them to simulate the effect of a long shutter speed without the need for a tripod.

Lightroom CC for iOS now includes a 'Technology Preview' of a new long exposure photo mode, which simulates the effect of using a long shutter speed by combining several conventionally-captured exposures into one.

For those using Lightroom CC on a desktop computer, Adobe has improved batch syncing of settings across multiple images, and enhanced the options for sharing albums.

Users of Lightroom Classic CC are promised a substantial update 'coming soon' but in the meantime, Adobe has provided an iterative release centering on 'speed, stability, and a focus on professional workflows'. To that end, Adobe has added new ways of accessing and sorting presets, new color labels for organizing folders, and faster searching inside them.

Learn more about what's new in Adobe Lightroom CC

Learn more about what's new in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC

In other news, for designers, Adobe Spark is now available for Android smart devices and Adobe XD benefits from a range of improvements and added features including overlay support and private sharing.


 

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