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July 23rd, 2013

Hasselblad Announces ‘Stellar’ Large-Sensor Compact

Hasselblad StellarHasselblad has announced their new, large-sensor compact camera, the Stellar. Like the Sony NEX 7 “inspired” Hasselblad Luna announced at the photokina trade show last year, the Stellar is a close cousin of the Sony RX100 large-sensor compact camera (20.2-megapixel 1-inch sensor, 3.6x (28-100mm) f/1.8 Zeiss-branded lens). In fact, it would appear that the only significant difference is the rather unique hand grip which is available in your choice of six different wood choices (Padouk, Olive, Zebra, Mahogany, Wenge and Walnut) or carbon fiber.

Something interesting? Or a marketing gimmick on the same level as all those “special edition” M cameras that Leica used to put out?

Hard to say. But you can make up your own mind at the dedicated Stellar website.

http://www.hasselblad-stellar.com/

July 23rd, 2013

Sony To Launch Lens-Sensor Module For Smartphones?

Bildschirmfoto2013-07-18um133322_zps3badc0f8The folks over at sonyalpharumors.com posted a strange rumor the other day that they seem pretty confident is true. They claim that Sony is going to make a lens/sensor module that you would connect to, and control with, your smartphone.

Now, we all know that smartphones have made some serious inroads into the photography world and that camera companies are feeling the pinch because of it. But are we really ready for a tin-can size accessory for our phones in the name of better photography on the go?

http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/sr3-honami-smartphone-uses-a-magnetic-mount-for-nex-lenses-and-a-curious-lens/

July 19th, 2013

MōVi Stabilizers To Ship August 15th, Freefly Announces

movi-rig-in-action-videoIn April, when  photographer Vincent Laforet unveiled a new, handheld camera stabilization system at NAB, it created lots of buzz. Called MōVi and produced by Freefly Systems, the device is a “digital 3-axis gyro-stabilized handheld camera gimbal,” which Laforet promised would revolutionize “your way of thinking about camera movement.” We saw what the handheld rig could do for tracking shots through some pretty outstanding videos Laforet filmed with the MōVi.

Now, Freefly has announced that the MōVI M10 will start shipping on August 15th, 2013 on a first-come-first-served basis to customers who have pre-ordered units.  New customers can visit www.freeflysystems.com for more information and place their MōVI M10 pre­orders now at www.movirig.com (and in the near future via select dealers worldwide). The M10 will set you back $15,000 and a $2,500 deposit is required upon pre-ordering. However, in some good news, the smaller DSLR sized MōVi M5 has been priced at $5,000. This is well under the $7,500 estimate that was announced at NAB and will be welcome news to professional photographers, videographers, and small budget filmmakers. The MōVi M5 will ship in Q4 of 2013 and you can pre-order it with a $500 deposit.

In case you haven’t seen it, below is a “behind the scenes” video of Vincent Laforet’s “MōVi” film that made everyone so excited. Take special note of the taxi shot that they show at 2:50 or so and how it is done by a cameraman on rollerblades. You can see more of these videos and read about their creation on Vincent’s blog, blog.vincentlaforet.com. The post where he announces the MōVi and posts the first films can be found right here.

Price: $15,000/$5000

http://www.movirig.com/

July 19th, 2013

New Canon 5D Mark III Firmware From Magic Lantern Boosts Dynamic Range

Dual ISO Firmware Sample

Note the detail retained in the shadows and in the window highlights.

Magic Lantern, the folks behind the free EOS Camera Tool software for Canon DSLRs, have released a custom firmware hack for the Canon 5D Mark III and 7D. They call their latest release Dual ISO and claim that it expands the dynamic range of the 5D Mark III and EOS 7D by four stops, giving those cameras a total dynamic range of 14EV. Dual ISO can be applied to stills and video on the 5D Mark III but only still images on the 7D. The samples are interesting, and appear to back up the claims. Dual ISO works by splitting the sensor’s output into alternating horizontal rows. Half of the rows capture the image at a high ISO (for shadow detail) and half at a low ISO (to retain highlights). The data from the alternating rows are then combined and the missing data is interpolated. If it sounds a little like HDR, the idea is similar. But unlike HDR, which requires multiple images, Dual ISO uses just a single exposure, making it far more suitable for moving subjects.

To be very clear, this is absolutely NOT an official Canon firmware release. As you might expect, installing something like this in your camera doesn’t come without some downside. Most obvious is the reduction in resolution. Perhaps more importantly, there’s a chance that you may fry your sensor since you are making it do something that Canon did not design it to do. One should assume that warranty claims due to this sort of firmware hacking will not be looked upon too kindly by Canon.

More information is on the Magic Lantern website: http://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=7139.0

Cost: FREE

July 8th, 2013

Phottix Releases Luna Line of Softboxes and Beauty Dishes

82750_Open_LR_SQPhottix, the company behind the popular Odin TTL flash trigger, has released the Luna line of softboxes and beauty dishes. They are designed to help solve the frustrations of using these two popular light modifiers on location. The Luna series uses folding and locking fiberglass rods, and an integrated speed ring to speed up assembly and make transportation easier. Where a traditional octa softbox might take ten minutes to assemble, Phottix says that the Luna 110cm Octa can be ready to use in 90 seconds.

The Phottix Luna Beauty Dish uses a similar principle. Unlike traditional metal dishes, the Luna dish’s folding and locking fiberglass rods make it compact and easy to transport without sacrificing the quality of light. Both Luna Softboxes and Beauty Dishes come standard with a Bowens-compatible mount. Compatible mounts for Elinchrom, Profoto and Balcar are also available, making the Luna series useable on many popular studio lights.

Pricing:

Phottix Luna Folding Octo Softbox: $75

Phottix Luna Folding Beauty Dish: $65

http://www.phottixstore.com/

July 8th, 2013

LightZone Image-Editing Software Re-Released as Free and Open Source

lightzoneRemember LightZone software? For those who do not, LightZone was a photo-editing program that offered a number of groundbreaking features including full 16-bit, selective and  nondestructive RAW editing in a fairly user-friendly GUI. Released in 2005, it won awards from MacWorld, MacUser and American Photo magazine. LightZone was marketed and sold by Lightcrafts until September 2011, when that company closed for business. Beginning in October 2011, the LightZone software was kept alive and being supported, first by an informal e-mail tree and then, since November 2011, by the LightZombie Project users’ group, lightzombie.org. It has become an open-source project under a BSD license from creator Fabio Riccardi, who is currently with Apple’s iOS Imaging Group. Under the terms of the BSD agreement LightZone will be offered to the public through the LightZoneProject (www.lightzoneproject.org) free of charge.

The software is newly available to the public for free downloading in the Windows and Linux operating systems, and MAC beta testing has begun today. It is also available to the open-source community for new development now.

 Price: FREE!

www.lightzoneproject.org

July 3rd, 2013

Pelican Introduces S115 Sport Elite Pack

Pelican-S115Pelican has long been a well known brand for those who demand strong, though bulky, protection for their gear. But recently they have been releasing what some might call the “softer” side of Pelican. Over the past few months we’ve seen a few different bags and cases from them that are aimed more at day to day use than just hard-core traveling pros. Last month’s U160 Half Case is a perfect example.

Now Pelican has announced the Pelican ProGear S115 Sport Elite Laptop/Camera Pro Pack. Unlike some of Pelican’s other products, it has a more traditional soft sided camera storage area, but has a waterproof/crushproof laptop section. Given how crucial digital data is to so many of us, I think there will be a few people who see the value in having their laptop protected to such a level. Insurance can replace lenses, nothing can replace lost data.

  • Built-In Watertight, Crushproof Case
  • Top-Loading, Fast Access – TSA Ready & Under Seat Convenient
  • Slim case for use with Ultrabook™ laptops up to 15″, also 17″ Apple® laptops
  • Watertight to 1 meter for 30 min* – O-Ring Gasket Sealed
  • Pressure Equalization Valve – Prevents Vacuum Lock
  • Large sized padded divider compartment – Holds multiple bodies, lenses, flash, etc.
  • Rigid front plate protects camera gear from impact

Price: $329.95

http://www.pelican.com/backpacks/S115.html

 

July 2nd, 2013

Canon Announces 70D DSLR

HR_70D_EFS18-135_IS_STM_3Q_CLCanon today announced the successor to their 60D DSLR, named the Canon 70D. Featuring a very interesting new Dual Pixel CMOS AF system that promises “instant and precise focusing of video as well as still images,” the EOS 70D also has a completely new 20.2 megapixel APS-C Canon CMOS sensor and uses Canon’s  DIGIC 5+ Image Processor. The 70D is wi-fi connected, has a 19-point AF sensor (including a high-precision f/2.8 dual cross-type AF center point), , a 63-zone Dual Layer IFCL (Intelligent Focus, Color & Luminance) AE metering system, an ISO range of 100 to 12800 (expandable to 25,600), and a vari-angle touchscreen LCD (allowing a “touch to focus” feature).

While the improved low-light performance, wi-fi and touchscreen LCD will grab some attention, the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system is the crowning feature of the 70D. Essentially, Canon has figured out how to have each pixel on the sensor perform both imaging and phase-detection AF simultaneously. This is achieved by each pixel on the CMOS sensor having two independent photodiodes sending independant signals that can be used for both imaging and AF. It also allows continuous phase detection AF during movie recording. Eliminating slow or jumpy AF due to contrast detection or hybrid systems will be a big deal for a lot of photographers who shoot video with their DSLRs.

For more on the EOS 70D, including availability, pricing and more, see our full news story on PDNOnline.

www.usa.canon.com/eos

 

June 20th, 2013

Samsung Announces Android-Powered Wi-fi 3G/4G LTE Connected Galaxy NX

samsung-galaxy-nx-frontSamsung today made an announcement that is sure to turn a lot of heads. The 20MP APS-C sensor Galaxy NX is the world’s first Android powered mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Running Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean,” the Galaxy NX also follows Android’s mobile design, being 3G and 4G LTE connected. While the cellular capabilities may make it seem quaint, the Galaxy NX also has wi-fi.  Add it all together and Samsung has attempted to create an advanced camera that allows users to instantly share images with anyone they choose, from wherever they might be, at a quality level that should far exceed the cellphone cameras typically being used for that task.

“The GALAXY NX reflects the unique needs of a user who needs to take professional photos and share them immediately in any situation. For those who want to express themselves and the exciting moments that make up their lives quickly, easily and on the go, the GALAXY NX is an ideal choice” said Myoung Sup Han, Senior Vice President and Head of the Digital Imaging Business, Samsung Electronics.

Spesamsung-galaxy-nx-backcs:

·20.3 MP sensor and Hybrid Autofocus (AF)
·4.8-inch HD LCD touchscreen and SVGA Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)
·Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) operating system
·3G/4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity for seamless sharing of images and video
·1/6000 sec shutter speed and 8.6fps continuous shooting
·1.6 GHz Quad-core processor

Pricing and availability were not announced. More info at http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxycamera/nx/

June 17th, 2013

Phase One and Profoto Announce Lighting Control Integration For Capture One Software

Profoto_CaptureOne_light-control_675pxPhase One and Profoto today announced that their collaboration has produced a new integration between Profoto’s studio lights and Phase One’s Capture One software. Now photographers can link their Profoto studio light to the aperture or ISO settings of their DSLR or medium-format camera system. While shooting tethered in Capture One Pro, any changes to the aperture on the camera will cause the light intensity of the studio light to automatically compensate an equivalent f-stop. For example, if the photographer switches from f/8 to f/5.6, the light will drop one f-stop, so that the image is not overexposed.

The solution lets photographers define which groups of lights should be included in the linking, making it a flexible work tool.

“Capture One Pro was designed to satisfy the needs of professional photographers,” said Henrik O. Håkonsson, CEO & President, Phase One. “Our collaboration with Profoto and the success of our capture and lighting integrations offer unprecedented lighting control during capture. This solution is especially great for portrait photographers who want to vary their depth of field; they can just turn the aperture dial and the light intensity will follow to ensure the right exposure.”

Capture One software is available from Phase One at http://www.phaseone.com/software. The Profoto Studio plugin download is available at http://www.profoto.com/capture-one.