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June 27th, 2014

End of the Line for Apple’s Aperture Photo Software?

Apple-Aperture-3-(2)We haven’t heard much from Apple lately on its Aperture image management and editing software so it came as little surprise to learn that the company now appears to be pulling the plug on this once much ballyhooed program for pro photographers.

According to The Loop, Apple says its will no longer develop Aperture. Apple will, instead, concentrate on its new Photos app for the Mac, which was announced during the Worldwide Developer’s Conference earlier this month.

“With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture,” Apple said in a statement to The Loop. “When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS.”

The new Photos app will also replace Apple’s long-running iPhoto consumer photography program, according to The Loop.

Apple Aperture was launched, with much fanfare, at PhotoPlus Expo in 2005. Soon after its introduction, Aperture faced stiff competition from several other image management and editing applications including Adobe’s Lightroom, which has dominated the pro photography software market in recent years.

(Via Mac Rumors)

June 26th, 2014

Nikon Unveils 36.3MP, Full-Frame D810 Pro DSLR with No Optical Low Pass Filter (Hands-on Preview)

Nikon-D810-(front)-webNikon took the wraps off its latest professional digital SLR this morning: the 36.3MP, full-frame D810, which uses no optical low pass filter (OLPF) in an effort to optimize resolution and increase sharpness and dynamic range.

We got some hands-on time with an early version of the Nikon D810, which is designed to replace both the D800 and D800E models from 2012.

The 35mm-sized, CMOS chip in the Nikon D810 has the same resolution as the sensors in the D800/E models, but a Nikon representative we spoke with during our hands-on time with the camera said it has been “newly designed.”

He stopped short, however, of calling it a brand new chip.

The Nikon D810 will go on sale in late July for $3,299.95 (body only), which is about $300 more than the D800 debuted at in 2012, but the same price as the D800E. The first two images of the D810 in this story were shot during our hands-on time with camera; the rest were provided by Nikon.

Read more of this story about the Nikon D810 and see more images here.

June 18th, 2014

Adobe Expands Monthly $9.99 Photoshop Cloud Plan to Include New Photoshop Mix iPad App

1_Adobe-2014-CC-ReleaseAdobe has offered photographers a $9.99 per month Photoshop Photography Program for a while now but the San Jose, CA-based company announced this morning it’s adding several new things to the mix.

Retitled the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan, it’s aimed at “anyone interested in photography” and includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5, and the brand new Photoshop Mix iPad app. The app offers some desktop Photoshop editing features for Apple’s tablet computer.

The Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan also includes the Adobe Lightroom Mobile app, which debuted for the iPad in April and is now available for the iPhone, as well.

Adobe Photoshop Mix is designed to provide a wireless workflow with Creative Cloud, letting you access some of Photoshop CC’s tools on your iPad. Photoshop Mix lets you open Photoshop documents, access individual layers from a Photoshop PSD file, and grab images from Lightroom Mobile.

Once you have an image open in Photoshop Mix, you can access a range of Photoshop tools including Upright, Content Aware Fill, and Camera Shake Reduction.

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You can then export your finished image with all its layers and masks intact from Mix to Photoshop CC for further tweaking on your desktop computer.

Read more about Adobe’s revamped photography subscription plan in the press release after the jump.
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June 8th, 2014

Fake Chuck Westfall Unmasked!: Photographer Behind Controversial Canon Blog Reveals Why He’s Calling It Quits

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The real Chuck Westfall, a Technical Advisor at Canon USA for pro imaging products

If you follow the photo industry and, in particular, the world of Canon photography products, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the Fake Chuck Westfall blog.

A direct descendent of the Fake Steve Jobs persona that humorously parodied Apple’s leading luminary on The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs blog, Fake Chuck Westfall has been spoofing Canon’s main camera guru and the photo industry in general since 2008.

Fake Steve Jobs turned out to be writer Dan Lyons but Fake Chuck Westfall has remained anonymous…until now.

After tweeting on the FCW Twitter account last week that he was planning to pull the plug on Fake Chuck Westfall, the man behind the controversial blog agreed to be interviewed by PDN to explain who he is, why he created FCW, and why he’s putting an end to it. (And no, it’s not because Canon is threatening legal action, as it did back in 2009, which turned Fake Chuck Westfall into a photo industry Internet celebrity and caused the blog’s traffic to skyrocket.)

So, without further ado, meet photographer Karel Donk, aka Fake Chuck Westfall. Donk will give a more in depth account of the entire Fake Chuck Westfall saga in a post on his blog on Monday morning. (UPDATE: Here’s Donk’s FCW farewell post.)

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May 15th, 2014

Sony Adds RX100 III, the Sequel to Our Favorite Pocket Camera of 2013

Sony just launched the pocket-friendly but powerful RX100 III, which is the follow-up to our favorite pocket camera of 2013. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill for a camera that’s just an 1.5-inch thick and weighs around 10 ounces.

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The Sony RX100 III is not an overhaul of RX100 Il — thankfully, since that was a very well designed little camera — and even uses the same 20.1-megapixel 1.0-inch back-illuminated CMOS sensor as its predecessor. It also has about the same dimensions as the previous model — 4.0 x 2.3 x 1.5 inches — though might be slightly thicker.

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The new Sony RX100 III does, however, add some significant new features — particularly relating to the lens — including the following highlights:

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May 13th, 2014

Big Guns: Nikon Launches 400mm F/2.8 FL ED VR Super Telephoto Lens and 1.4x Teleconverter

Nikon unleashed a new super telephoto lens and tele extender this morning: the AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens and 1.4x magnifying AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III. Sports photographers and wildlife shooters should find a lot to like here; the Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 features improved autofocus, exposure accuracy and speed, while the teleconverter TC-14E III multiplies the focal length of Nikon lenses by 1.4x with reportedly only a one-stop loss of exposure.

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Unfortunately for those photographers looking to get their hands on these big guns they don’t go on sale until August 2014 and they won’t be cheap. The the AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens will sell for $12,000, while the AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III will retail for $500.

Read more of this story here.

May 7th, 2014

Photo Book Publisher Blurb Gobbles Up Its Biggest Competitor, HP’s MagCloud

The photo book self-publishing landscape has gotten a little bit smaller. Do-it-yourself book publisher Blurb announced yesterday it had purchased its biggest competitor: HP’s MagCloud web-based publishing platform.

BlurbMagCloud differs slightly form Blurb in that it is more of a soft-cover, magazine-style self-publishing platform than than a photo book publisher.

According to a press release from Blurb, MagCloud will become a part of Blurb under a new licensing agreement.

Current MagCloud customers will see no changes to their service for three months. Current and new photo magazine layouts will remain on MagCloud for photographers seeking to print, sell or distribute them. Once that period ends, Blurb expects to move MagCloud users to the Blurb platform.

“Indie magazines are experiencing a bit of a renaissance, and we’re thrilled to welcome MagCloud customers to the Blurb fold,” said Eileen Gittins, Blurb’s founder and CEO.

We’re wondering what readers feel about this news? I reviewed Blurb a few years ago and found it to be very easy to use and reasonably priced service that produced good if somewhat unspectacular results. I’m less familiar with HP’s MagCloud service and I’m wondering whether those users have any trepidations about this merger.

Please leave your thoughts on this self-publishing development in the comments below.

You can read more details about the MagCloud and Blurb merger here.

April 24th, 2014

Leica Launches Leica T (Typ 701) Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera System (Hands-On Review)

Venerable German camera manufacturer Leica entered the modern world of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras this morning by introducing the new 16-megapixel Leica T (Typ 701) system. We got to test out an early production unit of the Leica T, which is being touted as much for its unique design as for its picture-taking skills.

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The Leica T was developed in collaboration with German car manufacturer Audi — the two companies worked together on the Leica M9 Titanium model four years ago — and features a striking, aluminum, unibody design, not unlike a Macbook Pro laptop from Apple. (Leica is not shy of this comparison, either.) Like many Apple products, the Leica T has a Spartan control set, with just two dials, a shutter and a video button, and a large 3.7-inch touchscreen on back.

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April 14th, 2014

New 51MP Pentax 645Z Medium Format Camera with CMOS Sensor Shoots HD Video and Will Sell for $8,500

645Z_wo_Food_Pentax became the latest company to introduce a medium format camera with a CMOS sensor tonight but the new model comes with several major twists. For one, the new 51.4-megapixel Pentax 645Z camera can shoot full HD video, which is a first for a medium format camera.

The Pentax 645Z is also one of the fastest medium format cameras on the market, capable of shooting up to three full RAW images per second. In contrast, the Phase One IQ250 digital back and Hasselblad H5Dc camera system, which both use CMOS sensors, can shoot at up to 1.5fps.

The Pentax 645Z is also weather sealed with 76 seals, making it cold-resistant, weather-resistant and dustproof; and it sports a 3.2-inch, tilting LCD screen on back with 1,037,000 dots of resolution, which are both firsts for a medium format camera.

Competitively Priced
But the biggest thing that differentiates the 645Z from its competitors might be its low price for a medium format camera. When it goes on sale in June 2014, the Pentax 645Z will sell for $8,499.95. In comparison, the Phase IQ250 retails for $34,990, and the Hasselblad H5Dc is selling for $27,500.

Read the rest of this story here.

April 8th, 2014

Adobe Launches Lightroom Mobile App for iPad; Here’s Our Hands-On Review

Photographers have been asking for a mobile version of Adobe Lightroom pretty much since the first iPad launched four years ago and, for some eager folks, even prior to that. Well, everyone finally got their wish tonight, as Adobe launched the Lightroom mobile app, which lets you edit and organize your images on your iPad. (The company says iPhone and Android versions of the app are also in the works.)

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While the Lightroom mobile app is free to download, you need to have one of Adobe’s controversial subscription plans in order to use it. The best current Adobe subscription deal for photographers is the Photoshop Photography Program, which costs $9.99 a month and gives you Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5, along with some other features including 20GB of cloud storage. You’ll also need the latest iteration of Lightroom, which is at Version 5.4, to run the app, but that’s a free update and available now.

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