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20 July 2019

Digital Photography Review...

Parrot exits toy drone market to focus on enterprise offerings
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 21:34:00 Z

The Wirecutter was the first to report that retailers such as Amazon have been slowly running out of Parrot’s Mambo (pictured above) and Swing drones.

French drone manufacturer Parrot is retiring its Mambo and Swing models, effectively exiting the toy drone market. The news was first reported by The Wirecutter. ‘Parrot has stopped the production and development of any drone but the Anafi and its variations,’ a spokesperson confirmed on Friday. Though the company will still offer the Anafi on the consumer end, it has been iterating on the compact, foldable drone and shifting its focus toward commercial and enterprise businesses with the Anafi Thermal.

Parrot has been steadily scaling back on consumer drone manufacturing for over two years. 290 employees, or roughly one third of the staff at the time from the UAV division, were laid off in the beginning of 2017 after a lackluster Holiday season. Consumer interest in drones is growing but the market is dominated by DJI, which is based in Shenzhen, China, and dominates globally with a 75% share.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently released an annual Aerospace Forecast Report. The latest findings predict the commercial drone market could triple in size by 2023. It makes sense that Parrot, who also announced they would no longer compete with DJI in the consumer market back in a 2017 financial filing, continues to focus on developing B2B enterprise solutions. While revenue from its commercial sector increased by 5% in 2018, total revenues were down by 28% from 2017.

This past May, Parrot was one of six companies selected to develop unmanned aircraft for the U.S. Military’s Department of Defense program. The month before, it introduced the Anafi Thermal containing a FLIR radiometric thermal-imaging unit with a standard 4K camera. This repurposing of a consumer drone for commercial purposes is a clear indicator of their future direction. The numbers speak volumes. In the first quarter of 2019, the company’s consumer drone sales accounted for 38% of its overall revenue, down 20% from the same period in 2018.


Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN Art sample gallery
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 13:00:00 Z

The Sigma 45mm F2.8 is neither the fastest nor the sharpest of the three full-frame mirrorless lenses recently launched for Sony E-mount and Sigma/Panasonic/Leica L-mount. But what it is is a compact, lightweight piece of glass perfect for walking around. And we did just that with it, have a look.

See our Sigma 45mm F2.8 gallery


DPReview TV: Sony a7R IV preview
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 22:29:00 Z

Sony just announced the a7R IV, its new high resolution flagship camera. DPReview TV was on hand for the launch and Jordan is here with a preview of the new model. Unfortunately, Chris picked this week to go on a big fishing trip, but we know a great website where he can learn more about the camera when he gets home.

Get new episodes of DPReview TV every week by subscribing to our YouTube channel!


Slideshow: The winners of the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 20:28:00 Z

2019 Audubon Photography Awards

The National Audubon Society has announced the winners of its 2019 Audubon Photography Awards, showcasing some of the most incredible bird photography from around the world.

In its own words, ‘The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation.’ Audubon consists of 23 state programs, 41 nature centers, almost 500 chapters and partners around the world.

Audubon has posted a full collection of the winning images on its website with an accompanying blog post, but we've gathered the winning images, with permission, in each category in the following slideshow.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Grand Prize Winner

Red-winged Blackbird by Kathrin Swoboda (Vienna, VA) | Audubon Photography Awards

Category: Amateur
Species: Red-winged Blackbird
Location: Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, Virginia
Camera: Nikon D500 with Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/800 second at f/6.3; ISO 2500

Story Behind the Shot: I visit this park near my home to photograph blackbirds on cold mornings, often aiming to capture the "smoke rings" that form from their breath as they sing out. On this occasion, I arrived early on a frigid day and heard the cry of the blackbirds all around the boardwalk. This particular bird was very vociferous, singing long and hard. I looked to set it against the dark background of the forest, shooting to the east as the sun rose over the trees, backlighting the vapor.

Bird Lore: Red-winged Blackbirds are some of the most abundant and conspicuous birds in North America. Beginning in early spring, males perch above marshes, pond edges, damp fields, and roadside ditches, flaring their red shoulder patches and belting out arresting songs to announce their claims to breeding territories.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Amateur Winner

White-necked Jacobin by Mariam Kamal (New York, NY) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: White-necked Jacobin
Location: Dave & Dave’s Nature Park, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica
Camera: Nikon D3300 with Tamron SP AF 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD lens; 1/250 second at f/6.3; ISO 200

Story Behind the Shot: On my fifth trip to Costa Rica, my favorite birding spots produced a few measly sightings. So I drove six hours to a reforestation site, which turned out to be well worth the trip. For an hour I photographed a valiant troop of White-necked Jacobins consuming nectar from heliconias that swayed and bobbed in a forceful wind. I could barely breathe as I snapped—I felt that I, too, was fighting to hang on!

Bird Lore: Of the 350-plus species of hummingbirds, most have small geographic ranges. Bucking the trend is the White-necked Jacobin, common from southern Mexico to southern Brazil. It succeeds by being adaptable, occupying a wide variety of tropical forest and edge habitats.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Professional Winner

Greater Sage-Grouse by Elizabeth Boehm (Pinedale, Wyoming) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: Greater Sage-Grouse
Location: Pinedale, Wyoming
Camera: Canon EOS 6D with Canon 500mm EF f/4 L IS USM lens; 1/1500 second at f/5.6; ISO 800

Story Behind the Shot: I spent a number of cold spring mornings photographing the courting display of the Greater Sage-Grouse from a blind on the perimeter of the lek. Along with the strutting, I watch for the dominance fights between males. The two contestants sit side by side until, upon some invisible cue, they suddenly throw blows, hitting each other with their wings. This photo, captured on hard snowpack, shows the power they exhibit when they are fighting for mates.

Bird Lore: On a Greater Sage-Grouse dancing ground, or lek, the stakes are high. Many males may display there, but most females that visit will mate with one of the few dominant males at the center of the lek. As a result, genes passed on to the next generation will tend to be those of the strongest males.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Youth Winner

Horned Puffin by Sebastian Velasquez (Menlo Park, California) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: Horned Puffin
Location: Alaska SeaLife Center (accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums), Seward, Alaska
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel t7i with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lens; 1/800 second at f/11; ISO 1600

Story Behind the Shot: Traveling through Alaska I saw Horned and Tufted Puffins from afar, always hoping to get closer. I got my chance at the SeaLife Center. Amid the chaos of native birds swimming, fishing, and zipping past me, I waited for hours for the perfect shot. At last I spotted this secluded puffin in a moment of stillness, preening its feathers, providing a glimpse into a seemingly private moment.

Bird Lore: Unlike the Atlantic and Tufted Puffins, which dig tunnels in soil for their nests, the Horned Puffin usually lays its single egg deep in a crevice among rocks. Such nest sites are harder to access for study, and the habits of this North Pacific species are not as well known as those of its relatives.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Plants For Birds Winner

Hooded Oriole on a California Fan Palm by Michael Schulte (San Diego, California) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: Hooded Oriole
Location: San Diego, California
Camera: Canon 7D Mark II with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC lens; 1/800 second at f/6.3; ISO 1600

Story Behind the Shot: Soon after moving to San Diego last year, I noticed a pair of orioles that frequented the California fan palm in my backyard. When I saw the female gathering palm fibers for a nest, I grabbed my camera. I love this shot; it shows the relationship between two native species and illustrates the natural beauty to be appreciated even in a city. And the radiating palm fronds behind the female give a sense of radiance to her diligent efforts.

Bird Lore: Orioles build hanging nests, weaving plant fibers for a lightweight but durable structure. Living in subtropical climates, the Hooded Oriole finds the perfect building material in the long, strong fibers of palms. It often fastens its nest under a leaf of California fan palm; "Palm-leaf Oriole" was an old alternative name for this bird.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Fisher Prize Winner

Black-browed Albatross by Ly Dang (Poway, California) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: Black-browed Albatross
Location: Saunders Island, Falkland Islands
Camera: Nikon D850 with Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED AF-S VR lens; 1/4000 second at f/8.0; ISO 400

Story Behind the Shot: On a steep, windy slope of Saunders Island, several breeding colonies of Black-browed Albatrosses were tending their chicks and squawking at the neighbors to urge them to respect the territories. As I sat watching the birds conducting their daily activities, I started to notice the simple, elegant beauty of the adults’ eyes. After several positions looking for a clear view and a good light angle, I took this shot.

Bird Lore: Spending most of their lives at sea in southern oceans, Black-browed Albatrosses are masters of the air, soaring and gliding effortlessly on incredibly long wings. On the Falkland Islands they share nesting colonies with penguins—the opposite of albatrosses in flying ability, but birds also supremely adapted to a life at sea.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Amateur Honorable Mention

Great Blue Heron by Melissa Rowell (Vestal, New York) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: Great Blue Heron
Location: Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray Beach, Florida
Camera: Nikon D500 with Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 ED VR lens; 1/1250 second at f/5.6; ISO 640

Story Behind the Shot: A storm was on the horizon when I arrived at one of my favorite wetlands. These herons immediately grabbed my attention: The male, obviously attempting to entice the female, was doing a stretch display. I love this mating ritual and decided to spend some time with them. When serious bill duels erupted between the pair, I was fascinated by their intense expressions as they sparred. The drama was further heightened as, thunder rumbling in the distance, the wind picked up, accentuating their long, flowing plumes.

Bird Lore: Equipped with sinewy necks and spear-like bills, Great Blue Herons can lunge with fearsome speed to strike their aquatic prey. Adults will also employ rapid stabbing motions as one aspect of their complex courtship displays; they’re seemingly dangerous moves, but fitting to the intensity of mating season.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Professional Honorable Mention

Bald Eagle by Kevin Ebi (Lynnwood, Washington) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: Bald Eagle
Location: San Juan Island National Historical Park, Friday Harbor, Washington
Camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with Canon EF 600mm f/4 IS lens; 1/320 second at f/11; ISO 1600

Story Behind the Shot: I had spent the day photographing foxes and was panning with this kit running with its prey when an unmistakable cry made me look up. I just knew the eagle racing our way was after the fox’s rabbit. I expected to have only a split second to capture the theft in one explosive frame; instead the eagle snagged the fox and rabbit, carrying both 20 feet off the ground. After eight seconds it dropped the fox, seemingly unharmed, and flew away with its stolen dinner.

Bird Lore: Bald Eagles eat pretty much anything they want to. Their penchant for dining on carrion may seem less than regal, but they are also powerful predators and pirates. They capture a wide variety of fish, mammals, and birds, and don’t hesitate to steal others’ prey.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Youth Honorable Mention

Bobolink by Garrett Sheets (St. Louis, Missouri) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: Bobolink
Location: Dunn Ranch Prairie, Lincoln Township, Missouri
Camera: Canon EOS 60D with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lens; 1/1250 second at f/6.3; ISO 400

Story Behind the Shot: At sunset the Dunn Ranch Prairie becomes a field of golden grasses, which provided a perfect setting for this male as he perched briefly for a curious glance at my camera. The robotic tone of his song was echoed by dozens of other Bobolinks as they flew overhead. I was almost too excited to take the photo, but I secured a burst of photos before he took off, flying far out over the grasses.

Bird Lore: Most songbirds nesting in grasslands of the United States and Canada are short-distance migrants at most. The Bobolink is a striking exception, vacating North America entirely in fall, spending mid­winter south of the Equator in South America. Bobolinks molt before migrating, the male trading his snappy summer plumage for subtle buff-brown tones.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Plants For Birds Honorable Mention

Purple Gallinule on a fire flag by Joseph Przybyla (Lakeland, Florida) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: Purple Gallinule
Location: Circle B Bar Reserve, Lakeland, Florida
Camera: Nikon D500 with Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VRII AF-S ED lens; 1/1000 second at f/5.6; ISO 1800

Story Behind the Shot: The normally elusive Purple Gallinule comes into the open when fire flag blooms, climbing the plant to feed on its flowers. I spotted this one making its way up the plant mid-morning on an overcast day, eating as it went. I set up with my monopod and camera, watching, waiting. When it reached the top, I captured images as it moved from stem to stem, moving quickly, side to side, up and down, choosing the best angle, and ultimately getting this photo of the bird mid-snack.

Bird Lore: The Purple Gallinule seems to combine the best traits of its rail relatives. Like true rails, it slips through dense marshes; like the coots, it swims and dives expertly on open water. When food beckons, it uses its garish yellow feet to clamber higher, even into trees.


UK photographer transforms shipping container into camera and darkroom
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 18:33:00 Z

Brendan Barry, the photographer who transformed New York City's iconic 101 Park Avenue skyscraper into a giant camera, has unveiled a new project: Container Camera. This is ‘basically the world's biggest, slowest, and most impractical Polaroid camera,’ according to Barry, who showcased his work in a new video created by Exploredinary, the same team behind the recently published Ilford Photo video.

Container Camera is a shipping container converted into a giant camera with a built-in darkroom that can produce large traditional analog prints. Barry describes the solar-powered camera/darkroom as a wheelchair-accessible space that can be used to accommodate large groups for photography workshops.

The container is located in Exeter, UK, where Barry spent three weeks producing images with the workspace. During various times, the camera was open to the public, and other times it hosted people from community groups, charities, and education centers. Toward the end of the project, the shipping container was then turned into a gallery where photos produced by the camera were put on display.

Below is a collection of images provided by Barry with permission showing a bit of the building process and a number of resulting images captured with the shipping container camera:

This is one of many unique camera projects Barry has published, other examples including cameras built into a variety of unusual structures: a squash, honeydew melon, mannequin, bread, watermelon, pineapple, and larger structures like a shed and caravan. Barry's other work can be found on his website and Instagram profile.


Small claims copyright court CASE Act bill passed by US Senate Judiciary Committee
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 18:06:00 Z

The Senate Judiciary Committee has passed the Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act legislation that was introduced in the House and Senate on May 1. Though the bill hasn't become law at this time, the majority vote on Thursday will allow the CASE Act to proceed to the floor for a full Senate vote.

Assuming the CASE Act passes into law, small creators in the US would be able to pursue copyright infringement cases in a small claims court called the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) within the Copyright Office. Claims pursued under the CCB would be limited to statutory damages up to $15,000 per infringed work and up to $30,000 in total damages per case. This would present small creators like photographers with a less expensive alternative to existing copyright claims options.

Following the favorable vote, the Copyright Alliance published a statement praising the Senate Judiciary Committee and explaining the importance of the CASE Act:

...federal court is often far too expensive and complex to navigate for most individual creators and small businesses that own copyrights. What this means is that America’s creators have rights under the law but no practical way to enforce those rights when someone steals from them. The CASE Act will help change that by providing creators with a voluntary, inexpensive, and streamlined alternative to federal court that they can use to protect their creativity and their livelihoods, and in doing so fulfill the purposes of the Constitution.

The full Senate bill can be read here.


The Alotech ELEV 5800' is a back-contouring backpack for wildlife photographers
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 15:39:00 Z

Alotech has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its new camera bag that the company claims is ‘designed for wildlife photographers by wildlife photographers.’

As you would expect from a bag for wildlife photographers, the ELEV 5800’ backpack is constructed to be ergonomic with a unique back panel that contours to fit the curve natural curve of your spine—and it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. As noted in the tongue-in-cheek introduction video above, Alotech plans to offer the bag in three sizes (small, medium and large) with various strap options for maximum customizability and comfort.

The backpack measures 56cm (22in) tall, 36cm (14in) wide and 20cm (8in) deep, with an expandable secondary pocket that can increases the height another 23cm (9in). It weighs just 2kg (4.5lbs), which is at least a pound lighter than similarly-sized backpacks from other manufacturers, and Alotech notes it specifically sized the bag so it would be carry-on compatible with most airlines.

Another component that’s being launched alongside the ELEV 5800’ is Alotech’s patent-pending camera and lens holster. Alotech has created an Area-Swiss compatible holster that’s made to be mounted on the waist belt of the backpack. The campaign page says the holster is able to hold up to an 800mm lens, but it’s safe to say you probably wouldn’t want a lens that large banging into your leg every step you take.

Alotech doesn’t specifically give different camera/lens setups that would fit inside the bag, but as seen in the images above and clips in the above video show the bag is more than capable of holding two super-telephoto lenses and multiple camera bodies, so it’s safe to say there’s plenty of internal storage for nearly any type of kit you throw its way.

Other features of the bag include a water bottle holster, a dedicated waterproof compartment for a hydration bladder, a laptop compartment (up to 15in laptops), accessory pockets on the shoulder straps and a unique tripod attachment system that lets you place the tripod in four different locations on the bag.

The backpack-only ELEV 5800’ pledge starts at $399, while the backpack and holster combo starts at $483. To secure your spot and find out more information, head over to the ELEV 5800’ kickstarter campaign.

Disclaimer: Remember to do your research with any crowdfunding project. DPReview does its best to share only the projects that look legitimate and come from reliable creators, but as with any crowdfunded campaign, there's always the risk of the product or service never coming to fruition.


Sony FE 35mm F1.8 sample gallery updated
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 13:00:00 Z

We've been eager to continue shooting with the brand-new FE 35mm F1.8, a lens that's sure to become a staple for many Sony shooters. Hence, our sample gallery has been updated with a fresh batch of images. Take a look at the results of a walk through a somewhat rainy – but beautiful – Tokyo with the a7R III and 35mm F1.8.


Video: Bald eagle takes off with a camera that was capturing its eating frenzy
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 19:36:00 Z

Action cameras have enabled all kinds of unique point-of-view video capture. Sometimes though, the cameras can get a little too close to the action, as James Williams of Haida Gwaii, an archipelago roughly 40 miles off the Pacific coast of Canada, recently found out.

As seen in the above footage shared by CBC, Williams was attempting to capture video footage of a convocation of bald eagles eating a meal, when one of the birds of prey picked up and took his camera for a rather brutal test-drive.

CBC doesn’t specify how the camera was recovered, but the footage appears to show the bald eagle returning to the coast before letting go of the camera, where Williams was presumably able to recover it.


Instagram changes its policy on disabling accounts, will give users a warning first
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 18:30:00 Z

Instagram has announced changes to its policy related to disabling user accounts, stating that going forward it will remove a greater number of accounts, but will first give users a warning that they’re at risk of the action.

Until now, Instagram’s policy involved the company disabling accounts that contained ‘a certain percentage of violating content.’ Though this policy will remain in place, Instagram says it will also start disabling accounts that contain ‘a certain percentage of violating content within a window of time.’

Additionally, Instagram will start alerting users when their account is at risk of being disabled. The notification includes the content that Instagram removed for violating its guidelines, as well as a list of past violations and a warning that one more removed post may result in the account being deleted.

The same notification will offer users a way to appeal the decision, though appeals will initially be limited to violations involving bullying and harassment, hate speech, nudity and pornography, counter-terrorism policies, and drug sales. ’In coming months,’ Instagram says it will expand the appeals feature to include other issues.

The change follows Facebook’s April meeting, during which time it revealed that Instagram content considered ’inappropriate’ will be demoted on the platform. This demotion applies to content that doesn’t violate Instagram’s Community Guidelines, but that ‘might not be appropriate for our global community,’ the company said at the time.

The content demotion policy has proven controversial with users primarily based on the ambiguous nature of what is considered ’appropriate’ for inclusion on hashtag pages and in Explore. Based on Instagram’s guidelines, it doesn’t appear that this ‘inappropriate’ content will be factored into strikes that may get an account deleted.


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