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May 14th, 2013

Nikon Announces New 32mm f/1.2 Nikon 1 Lens

nikon32-1.2Nikon has announced a new addition to the Nikon 1 system, a 32mm f/1.2.  Not only is it the fastest lens in the 1 Nikkor lineup, but it is one of the fastest lenses available for any mirrorless system. The lens is compatible with the entire Nikon 1 system (J1, J2, J3, S1, V1, V2),

For a run down of its features, plus pricing and availability,  see our full story on the Gear news page of PDNOnline.com.

There you’ll also find a link to information on Nikon’s website.

May 10th, 2013

Olympus Announces PEN E-P5 Micro Four-Thirds Body

P5_best_si+14-42Olympus today announced a very retro looking addition to its PEN lineup, the E-P5. While many of us thought the original Olympus PEN E-P1 styling harkened to the company’s half-frame PEN cameras, the E-P5 does it one better. An all metal casing contains a number of upgraded features:

  • 16MP MOS Four Thirds sensor
  • Dual top plate control dials with a “2×2″ function changing option
  • 1/8000 sec top shutter speed (first in a mirrorless body) and 1/320 sec flash sync
  • ’5-axis’ image stabilization with automatic panning detection
  • ISO 100-25600
  • Up to 9fps shooting (5.0 fps with continuous AF)
  • Focus ‘peaking’ display for manual focus lenses
  • Intervalometer and Time Lapse movie creation
  • 1.04m dot 3″ LCD touchscreen display
  • Built-in Wi-Fi for remote shooting and image transfer to smartphone or tablet

After a short hands-on experience with the camera, the dual control dials, focus peaking, 9fps, and remote shooting/wifi features jump out as being the most interesting. But there is no denying that Olympus has done a good job overall with the E-P5. Just on style alone, it should find its way into many a camera bag. But the added features and improved specs should give even the popular OM-D E-M5 a run for its money.

The Olympus PEN E-P5 will be available in May 2013 in the following configurations:
Body only, available in Black, Silver or White, $999.99
Black or Silver body with black M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f1.8 lens and VF-4 Electronic Viewfinder lens, $1449.99

More information and images can be found at:

http://www.getolympus.com/us/en/digitalcameras/pen-omd/e-p5.html

May 6th, 2013

Adobe Turns Creative Suite Into Cloud-Based Subscription Software

Adobe Creative CloudBack in March, a rumor made the rounds that Adobe would move away from selling packaged software, making Creative Suite programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator only available as cloud-based subscription software. The rumors claimed May 1 as the date this this change would happen. While not giving much specific information, Adobe at that time did confirm that it would stop selling physical packaged software and that all software would be available via download or online subscription. As often happens with rumors, May 1 came and went with no announcement from Adobe.

However, today during its keynote at the Adobe Max Creativity Conference, Adobe announced sweeping changes to the Creative Suite programs. All Creative Suite programs will now be re-branded as Creative Cloud.  Adobe will stop selling perpetual licenses and move completely to a subscription-based pricing system for all former CS apps. Creative Cloud (CC) is currently priced at $50 per month for individuals who purchase an annual subscription. Existing Adobe customers who own CS3 through CS5.5 get the first year of Creative Cloud at a promotional price $30 per month; educational pricing is also $30 per month. CS6 users can sign up for CC for $20 a month for the first year. More importantly for many photographers, single app pricing is $10 a month for the first year. Lightroom is the only CS app that will exist both as part of the CC and as a perpetual license. According to Adobe, this is due to Lightroom’s status as both a consumer and professional product. Adobe also announced significant upgrades to the new CC apps that will launch in June.

What does this mean for professional photographers? For most of us, it will be a big change. CS6 will continue to be available as a perpetual license and will be supported through the next significant upgrade to the Mac and Windows operating systems. However, there will be no further development for that version. Going forward, if you want to use Photoshop, you will have to have a Creative Cloud subscription of some sort.

While some level of internet connectivity is likely required, these are not (despite the name) cloud-based apps that require a constant connection. These are software programs that you download and install to your computer. You can work offline as you would with any version of Photoshop you have used in the past. The big difference now is that if you don’t pay your subscription fee, the software will stop functioning.

More information about the changes coming to Photoshop specifically can be found on Adobe’s website:

http://blogs.adobe.com/photoshopdotcom/2013/05/breaking-from-tradition-photoshop-cc.html

http://blogs.adobe.com/photoshopdotcom/2013/05/photoshop-cc-for-creative-cloud-members-coming-soon.html

 

May 1st, 2013

New Canon 5D Mark III Firmware For Uncompressed HDMI & F/8 Autofocus

Canon 5D Mark IIICanon has released version 1.2.1 of the firmware for its 5D Mark III DSLR. This update brings two useful features to the popular camera, one benefiting still photographers and the other those who shoot video with the 5D.

Firmware 1.2.1 gives filmmakers the ability to capture uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 video. This uncompressed footage will be output through the camera’s HDMI connection at the same time it is recorded to the memory cards and displayed on the 5D’s LCD.

The new firmware also allows the center cross-type AF point to work with lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/8.

PDN’s  full story, including a link where you can download the free upload, is now on the Gear news page of PDNOnline.com.

May 1st, 2013

Samsung Announces NX2000 Mirrorless Body

Samsung NX2000Samsung today announced a new body in its NX mirrorless system, the NX 2000. With five bodies and 12 lenses, the Samsung NX has quietly become one of the larger mirrorless systems on the market today. The NX2000, like many cameras recently, adds  Wi-Fi and NFC (Near Field Communications) with the goal of making camera-smartphone connections a standard part of your photography workflow.  NFC allows users to connect the camera with another properly enabled device simply by touching them together. This means no more entering wifi details on a tiny screen or searching for bluetooth pairings.

Along with a 20MP APS-C sensor, the NX 2000 has a generously sized 3.7-inch 1152k-dot touchscreen LCD, 8fps continuous shooting and Full HD video recording. Continuing the industry-wide trend, the NX2000 will be available in pink and white along with the more traditional black. Perhaps of more interest to serious photographers is the fact that the NX2000 comes bundled with a copy of Adobe Lightroom 4. Not a crippled freebie as with the terrible “limited” Photoshop versions that came bundled with cameras in the past, this is a full version of Lightroom 4. In what some may see as a drawback, the NX2000 does use MicroSD memory rather than the more common SD cards.

Specifications can be found in Samsung’s NX2000 press release. Priced at $649 for a body and 20-50mm lens kit, the NX2000 will be available later this month from Samsung dealers and at http://www.samsung.com.

 

Priced around $649.99, the camera will be available as a kit with the 20-50mm lens and a copy of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom in white, black and pink. There is currently no information about its European price and availability.

April 24th, 2013

Panasonic Announces DMC-G6 Micro Four-Thirds Body

Panasonic today announced its latest micro four-thirds camera body, the DMC-G6. It slots in between the GF6 and the GH3 in Panasonic’s lineup, a mid range body with some new features and a solid, if not class leading, feature set.

Panasonic G6

Panasonic G6

G6 feature highlights:

  • 16MP Live MOS sensor
  • ISO 160-12,800 (extendable up to 25,600) 7 frames per second continuous shooting, 5 fps with AF-tracking
  • 3.0″, 1.04 million dot touchscreen LCD
  • 1.44 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder with eye sensor
  • AVCHD video in full 1080/60p  with  manual control
  • 3.5mm external mic socket
  • Wireless Connectivity via Wi-Fi / NFC

As with other Panasonic bodies, the G6 is styled very much like a small DSLR and looks to continue Panasonic’s typical solid handling with its generous grip and multiple “function” (Fn) buttons. The sensor is the same previously class leading one that was used in the GH2 though Panasonic claims that its new Venus Engine speeds processing time and improves noise reduction significantly in the G6. This allows a maximum native ISO sensitivity of 12,800 (25,600 extended) and an increase to 7 frames per second shooting rate. An external mic input and full manual control over video recording are always welcome features in any body. The G6 is Panasonic’s second body, along with the GF6, to offer NFC (Near Field Communication)/WiFi connectivity. This allows users to connect the camera with a properly enabled device simply by touching them together. This means no more entering wifi details on a tiny screen or searching for bluetooth pairings. However, while becoming more common on Android devices, the feature may be of limited use to many photographers as Apple has yet to embrace NFC for its iOS devices.

Full specifications available via the DMC-G6 press release and Panasonic’s website. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.

April 18th, 2013

Sigma Announces World’s First F1.8 Constant Aperture Zoom

PPhoto_A_18_35_013_VerticalIn a very exciting bit of news for photographers who live and breathe in the low-light world, Sigma today announced a 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM lens. A constant f/1.8 zoom lens is one and a third stops faster than the f/2.8 lenses that we normally consider a “fast” zooms. Sigma is claiming that their 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens is the market’s first zoom lens to achieve a maximum aperture F1.8 throughout the entire zoom range.

The 18-35mm is the latest addition to Sigma’s Art line of lenses, one of their new “Global Vision” products. The Global Vision lenses are categorized by use into one of three groups: Art, Contemporary and Sports. The Art category is supposed to deliver “high-level artistic expression through sophisticated and abundant expressive power.” We’re not sure what “abundant expressive power” means. But if it means fast zoom lenses, we’re all in.

Our full story on the Sigma news, including specifications, info on handling and more is on the Gear section of PDNOnline.

April 16th, 2013

Adobe Launches Lightroom 5 Beta

Adobe has announced the release of the public “beta” version of Lightroom 5. From the Adobe Lightroom Journal blog post:adobe-lightroom-5-beta

The Lightroom team is proud to introduce the fifth major version of the product designed for and by photographers. It was 7 years ago when we introduced the very first public beta of Lightroom at MacWorld on January 9, 2006. Since 2006 we’ve been hard at work improving an application that’s intended to be as easy to use as it is powerful.  This release builds on the image quality improvements in Lightroom 4 to provide a truly complete workflow and imaging solution.  We keep hearing from customers that they love Lightroom but needed to leave Lightroom to complete X, Y, or Z.  Lightroom 5 beta solves those issues.

New/Improved Lightroom 5 features of note include:

  • Advanced Healing Brush
  • Upright Perspective Correction
  • Radial Filter
  • Smart Previews
  • Improved Photo Book Creation
  • Slideshows with Videos and Still Images
  • PNG file support
  • True Full Screen Mode
  • Configurable grid overlays
  • Additional search criteria for filters and smart collections
  • Lock zoom position preference settings
  • Direction field in EXIF metadata panel
  • “Set as Target Collection” checkbox in Create Collections dialogue
  • Integrity verification of DNG files
  • LAB color readout
  • Aspect slider added to the Manual tab in the Lens Correction panel
  • Persistent clipping indicators between Lightroom sessions
  • Crop overlay aspect ratios

More information, including system requirements, can be found on Adobe’s blog announcement post. The Lightroom 5 public beta can be downloaded from Adobe’s website: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom5/

April 10th, 2013

New GoPro Products From Tiffen and RedRock

Steadicam Curve

Steadicam Curve

Two new products were announced this week aimed at photographers and videographers using GoPro cameras.

Tiffen announced the release of the Steadicam Curve. Compact enough to fit in your back pocket, the new Steadicam Curve weighs in at just eight ounces with an ergonomic design for one-handed use. “Steadicam is synonymous with action, so engineering a system that keeps pace with the intensity of GoPro users was a natural step in the progression of the Steadicam product line,” says Steve Tiffen, President and CEO, The Tiffen Company. “GoPro shooters have given the world some of the most amazing footage. We look forward with even greater anticipation to watching those jaw-dropping moments with that extra bit of cinematic flare thanks to the new Steadicam Curve.”

According to Tiffen, the Steadicam Curve is “ideal for GoPro users on the move,” a somewhat humorous statement given that almost all GoPro footage is captured “on the move” in some fashion. All joking aside, the Steadicam curve could turn out to be a powerful tool for professional photographers and videographers looking to spice up their offerings with the kind of footage that a GoPro can provide. While the output quality of the GoPro has increased over the years, the ergonomics of using it for anything but a mounted POV shot has always been tough. Tiffen has had its Steadicam Smoothee on the market for a while now. But its somewhat bulky form factor limited its usefulness for “on the move” users, as Tiffen might say. With a 6 3/8 inch overall height, the Steadicam Curve may just find its way into a lot of camera packs.

Pricing and availability to be announced soon. http://www.tiffen.com

Redrock Micro announced its new line of Cobalt Cages and accessories for the GoPro cameras. The Cobalt Cage is an aluminum housing that encases the camera for a significant increase in protection, mounting options, and accessory attachments. “GoPro cameras have been great cameras, but reliable mounting has been really

Redrock Micro

Redrock Micro

frustrating”, said director and cinematographer Jon Collins. “With the Cobalt Cage, I’m able to attach it directly to a ballhead to get the cameras in exactly the place and angle I want. The multiple attachments on all sides gives me the ability to rig the camera with three points, which makes a huge difference in the shot’s stability, and gives me the confidence to push the rigging for some really unique angles. And talk about indestructible–we accidentally ran one over with a 5-ton grip truck, and the camera was fine, the cage only a little nicked up. GoPro cameras can be disposable, but anywhere we can save money, it helps.”

The increased protection aspect is always welcome given the locations that GoPro camera see use. GoPro cameras are fairly tough as-is, and it hardly breaks a production budget to lose one. But as noted above, saving money anywhere you can helps the bottom line. More importantly, why take the risk of losing footage because of an accident or equipment failure? In addition, the advantage of the Cobalt Cage’s multiple 1/4 thread tapped attachment points shouldn’t be overlooked. Judging by the images provided by Redrock, there appear to be close to 20 of them spread out across the four sides. The strength of the GoPro has always been in its expansive mounting options, the Redrock Micro Cobalt Cage expands these options even further.

$99 available now, http://store.redrockmicro.com/

April 8th, 2013

G-Tech Launches New Evolution Series Storage Products

G-Technology G-DOCK ev

G-Technology G-DOCK ev

Today at NAB2013, G-Technology announced the first three products in its Evolution Series lineup. They are the G-DOCK ev™ with Thunderbolt, the G-DRIVE® ev and the G-DRIVE ev PLUS external hard drive modules. The Evolution Series G-DOCK ev with Thunderbolt is a two-bay, hot-swappable JBOD media drive system with user-configurable RAID 1 (protected) or RAID 0 (performance). The two Evolution Series drives are both USB 3.0, 2.5-inch, and 7200RPM. The only real differences are that the  G-DRIVE ev allows transfer rates of up to 136MB/s while the G-DRIVE ev PLUS increases that to 250MB/s. The G-DRIVE ev comes in both 500GB and 1TB capacities while the G-DRIVE ev PLUS is only available as a 1TB drive.

Perhaps the most unique feature of the new Evolution Series products is that, unlike other RAID systems, the drive modules for the G-DOCK ev are standalone external drives. This means that you can take them with you as a regular external USB drive, then reconnect them to the  G-DOCK ev when you return. While going out and about with one of your RAID system drives is the kind of thing that would make many Network Administrators go white in the face, it can also be part of an efficient backup system.

Say you take one drive out to the job and have your assistant back up all images onto it onsite. Then when you return home,  that drive is mounted into your G-DOCK ev configured as RAID 1, and your data is protected as soon as the drive finishes mirroring. Having standalone drives also lends itself to offsite backup storage as well. Should your studio ever experience a fire or other disaster, the G-DRIVE ev drives that you have stored offsite not only would be protected, but would also be usable with no additional downtime caused by having to remount them in a new drive enclosure.

The G-DOCK ev, including two 1TB G-DRIVE ev modules, will be available in May through G-Technology and its Premier Channel Partners for an MSRP of $749.95. Additional 500GB or 1TB G-DRIVE ev modules can be purchased separately for a MSRP of $149.95 and $199.95, respectively. The higher throughput 1TB G-DRIVE ev PLUS modules will be available this summer for $349.95 MSRP. http://www.g-technology.com/