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October 3rd, 2013

New Profoto Speedlight Ring Expands Use of RFi Softboxes

RFi-Speedlight-Speedring-with-speedlightsProfoto just announced a new Speedring adapter, which allows photographers to use any brand of speedlight with the entire line of RFi softboxes. The RFi Speedlight Speedring features dual brackets to attach two speed lights, if needed, for use with larger softboxes, providing extra illumination or faster recycling time. For more precise and creative lighting, the new adapter provides several adjustment options. Speedlights can be angled, adjusted vertically and, to obtain the optimal light-to-subject distance, moved forward. Even when using speedlights, softboxes can still be tilted and rotated 360 degrees.

Mounting positions are color-coded to match those of RFi softbox rods, making it easy to figure out what goes where with each different type of light modifier. The Speedring comes with additional hotshoe mounts so users can attach Profoto Air units or any radio sync, regardless of brand.

The RFi Speedlight Speedring is available now for $175, including the bracket and 4 hotshoe mounts.

October 1st, 2013

GoPro Hero Line Updated with Smaller, Faster Cameras

pdp_image_HERO3Plus_silver_45GoPro’s Black and Silver edition cameras have just been given Hero 3+ status. Both models are smaller and faster. They also  now offer longer battery life and better low light performance.

That’s just an overview of some of the improvements you’ll find in these updated models. For more details and a quick look at some new mount options, check out our sister site Rangefinder for today’s  Tech Tuesday blog or find additional information at GoPro.com. The cameras are priced at $400 and $300, respectively.

 

 

 

September 26th, 2013

Sony QX100 Teardown Video

Wonder what’s inside the Sony QX100 lens camera? Check out this very cool teardown video. The QX100, which features the same sensor and lens as the Sony RX100 II, and the QX10 just started shipping. For more information, you can read our blog post here.

Sony promises another video tomorrow with a re-assembled lens.

September 25th, 2013

DxO ViewPoint 2 Software Announced, Enhances Distortion Correction Tools

vp-small DxO just updated its ViewPoint perspective and distortion correction software. Version 2 features a new 8-point mode that, using 4 independent lines, allows users to more precisely  correct convergent lines. In conjunction with the new mode, DxO has also added a one-click “natural” option to adjust the intensity of those corrections.

ViewPoint 2 also draws on a database of almost 15,000 optics modules to automatically correct lens distortions according to specific lens/camera combinations. If your particular gear is not included in the database or you’d rather do it yourself, manual distortion controls are available.

The crop tool has been enhanced, providing access to the entire image and more cropping flexibility.

ViewPoint 2 operates as a standalone program and as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. With version 2, ViewPoint is also now compatible with Adobe Photoshop Elements (Elements 12 was just released) and Apple Aperture, although automatic distortion control is not yet available for Aperture.

Upgrades are free for those who purchased ViewPoint on or after August 1, 2013. For everyone else, ViewPoint 2 is on sale until October 20, 2013 for $49. After October 20, ViewPoint 2 will cost $79. A 30 day trial can be downloaded here.

September 19th, 2013

Delkin Announces Fast 1050X Cinema CF Card

DDCF1050-128GBThis may be the year of the 4K-compatible CompactFlash card, the latest coming from Delkin. The new 1050X UDMA 7 Delkin Cinema card targets videographers, particularly those shooting 4K on DSLRs such as the Canon EOS-1DC and C500. This is Delkin’s fastest card to date, featuring write speeds of up to 120MB/s and read speeds up to 160MB/s.

As Delkin explains, the Canon EOS-1DC, for example, requires UDMA 7 cards with a minimum write speed of 100MB/s in order to record 4K footage at 24 frames per second without dropping frames or stopping recording.

The 1050X is also compatible with digital file recorders such as AJA’s Ki Pro Mini.

Delkin’s CF Cinema cards are available now in three capacities: 32GB, 64GB and 128GB.

Prices:

32GB: $150

64GB: $350

128GB: $700

www.delkin.com

Related articles from the PDN archive:

6 Cameras to Ease Your Way Into Shooting 4K Video
9 Tips on How to Light 4K Video

September 19th, 2013

Nikon Waterproof Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera Debuts

resizedAW1_11_27.5_WH_frt34rNikon’s no stranger to underwater cameras, with experience dating back 50 years to the Calypso 35mm camera, which later evolved into the no-longer-available Nikonos underwater cameras. Now the company has released the waterproof Nikon 1 AW1. Essentially, this is a Nikon 1 J3 camera that’s waterproof to 49 feet, shockproof to 6.6 feet and freezeproof to 14 degrees F. While 49 feet is a little shallow for some SCUBA divers (we’d like to see a depth-rating of 130 feet), the camera offers built-in color and distortion controls to compensate for underwater conditions. The pop-up flash works underwater as well, and Nikon is in the process of developing an underwater Speedlight (the SB-N10).

In addition to withstanding the elements below and above water, the Nikon 1 AW1 is equipped with an altimeter, depth gauge, GPS and an electronic compass. Some settings can be changed by simply moving the camera (think flick-of-the-wrist), so you won’t have to fuss with dials and buttons while wearing heavy gloves.

At the same time, Nikon has also introduced two equally-rugged, waterproof lenses: an 11-27.5mm (30-74.24mm-equivalent) zoom and a 10mm (27mm-equivalent) prime. Above water, the Nikon 1 AW1 is compatible with the same lenses and accessories as the Nikon 1 J3. Nikon also announced accessory skins as well as a filter attachment (AW 50.5 NC) for the 1 AW 1 to help combat condensation under extreme temperatures and humidity.

Shipping in October, the Nikon 1 AW1 will be available as a one-lens kit, with the 1 Nikkor AW 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, and a two-lens kit with both the  11-27.5mm and the 1 Nikkor  AW 10mm f/2.8 lenses. The kits will come in black, silver or white.

Price:

one-lens kit: $800

two-lens kit: $1,000

www.nikonusa.com

September 17th, 2013

Simultaneous Card Downloads With Lexar’s Pro Workflow Solution

Lexar HR1_3_4Lexar’s Professional Workflow Solution may not be the most descriptive name but this device can be a real time-saver when faced with the prospect of downloading images and/or video from a day’s shoot. It’s a modular hub that allows you to mix and match card readers (CompactFlash, SDHC/SDXC, XQD) and simultaneously download  data from up to four media cards via USB 3.0.

For more details, visit Rangefinder’s Tech Tuesday blog here.

September 16th, 2013

Bruce Weber on David Bailey, Diane Arbus, Lisette Model and Romance

David Bailey photographed by Bruce Weber. Photo: David Bailey and Bruce Weber for Nokia Lumia 1020

David Bailey photographed by Bruce Weber. Photo: David Bailey and Bruce Weber for Nokia Lumia 1020

I recently got the chance to interview legendary photographers David Bailey and Bruce Weber. The two photographers – who are old friends–had spent a day together shooting in Harlem with the new Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone, taking photos that Nokia is showing in an exhibition and in their marketing. The day after the shoot, as PR people hovered near us in the rooftop bar at New York’s James Hotel, I was given precisely 30 minutes to interview both photographers for The Telegraph Magazine, which published the interview and several photos from their shoot this weekend. Half an hour turned out to be enough time for the photographers to tell me more good stories than I could fit into The Telegraph article.

For example, Bailey told a story that demonstrates the usefulness of keeping a pocket-sized camera with you at all times.

Once he was shooting a commercial in South Africa. Model Naomi Campbell turned up for the shoot three days late. (“The crew was very happy,” he said.) To make it up to Bailey, she offered to bring him along when she had breakfast with Nelson Mandela. Bailey was told by Mandela’s handlers he couldn’t bring any cameras. So, Bailey said, he stuck a video camera in one pocket, and a still camera in the other. When he arrived, President Mandela greeted him with open arms and said, “Ah Mr. Bailey, I hope you’re going to take my picture.” And he got a portrait.

Weber said, “Isn’t it funny how many times …you’re told, ‘You can’t bring a camera’? You have always got to stick one in your pocket.” Bailey said, “I always think: What do you mean, ‘Don’t take a camera’? That’s like leaving my head behind.”

The day in Harlem shooting with the Nokia Lumia 1020 was not only Weber’s first time shooting with a phone; it was his first time ever shooting digitally. But the two talked less about the tools they use to shoot photos than about the personal feeling they try to express in their images. Bailey, for example, said he doesn’t care what his subjects think about the portraits he takes, “I just take the picture that I want to take in that moment.” He said his motto is “Be true to yourself.”

(For more on Bailey’s attitude towards his picture taking, see PDNOnline’s Legends Online interview with him from 2001 here.

When asked what they admire most about each other’s work, they said it’s that their images always bear a personal stamp and style.  Weber said he can see Bailey’s feelings and curiosity expressed in all of his portraits. He calls Bailey’s images “romantic,” a description that surprised Bailey. “Romantic” is also the word Weber uses to describe images by his mentor, Diane Arbus, whom he met when he first moved to New York City.

After Arbus got him enrolled in classes with her old teacher, Lisette Model, Weber says, he and Model sometimes talked about Arbus’s work. “We would meet at Howard Johnson’s after class and have hot fudge sundaes and talk about the romance in Diane’s pictures.” That sounds like an amazing teacher-student conference.

Weber said Model was one of several people who encouraged him early in his career to express his emotions in his photos. “I think that most photographers are basically pretty shy, except for David maybe,” he said, laughing. Model’s classes,  “gave me a lot of courage to go out and speak the truth about my feelings about what I saw and what I wanted to see.

Another important mentor was Bea Feitler, the renowned art director of Harper’s Bazaar. Once when he showed her some portraits, she asked if he liked what he’d shot. Not really, he had to admit. She said, “Do your pictures. I don’t want to you to do what you thought I’d like. I want you to do what you have in your head and your heart.”

Weber also said that when you look back over the history of photography, all great photographers “like Cartier-Bresson and Lartigue” have something in common. “Their pictures, no matter what they’re photographing, are really portraits of themselves.” Thinking of the sexually adventurous teens photographed for Abercrombie and Fitch and old-money aristocrats he depicted in Ralph Lauren campaigns, I asked Weber if his photos are autobiographical. “I hope so,” he said.

I tried to ask about Weber and Bailey how they created the commercials and ad campaigns that have made them famous. Bailey insisted that he shoots what he wants to shoot, no matter how the photo will be used. Weber agreed, and said he gives his assistants the same advice about shooting advertisements that Richard Avedon once gave him: “Always take a picture for yourself, so you can go to bed at night and go to sleep soundly.”

The Telegraph article includes Weber’s tale about the making of the ground-breaking Calvin Klein underwear ad in which athlete Tom Hintnaus posed in tidy white briefs against a blue sky in Santorini. The story is so cute and innocent, it’s hard to believe. He also told a story about one of the many shoots he did over the years for designer Ralph Lauren. The location was a farm by the sea in California, and Weber took time to photograph the landscape. When the producers told him several models were being kept waiting, Weber said, “Yes, but this is the farm that Ralph always dreamed he would have.” Lauren chose to include some of Weber’s images of the farm in the campaign.

Having learned to express his own aspirations and dreams in his work, clients like Lauren were willing to entrust Weber to express their dreams as well.

The photos from the photographers’ day-long shoot can be seen in The Telegraph Magazine. The exhibition “Weber X Bailey by Nokia Lumia 1020” is on display through September 21 at the Nicholls and Clarke building in Shoreditch, London.

Related articles
Legends Online: David Bailey

September 16th, 2013

Adobe Intros $9.99/Month Creative Cloud Photography Program

Adobe_deal_equation_650px_cropGiven the backlash from the photography community over Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription-only pricing model for Photoshop and its Creative Suite products, we weren’t too surprised when Adobe announced its new Photography Program. Adobe is now pricing subscriptions to Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5 at $9.99 a month for owners of commercial versions of Photoshop or Photoshop Extended CS3 or later who sign up no later than December 31, 2013. Suites and volume licenses do not qualify. According to Adobe, this is not an introductory price; it is the “standard price” for this level of membership–until or unless you cancel your membership. If you decide to cancel, you will not be able to re-join at the same price.

If you already have a Creative Cloud Single App membership for Photoshop at the $9.99/month price, your membership will automatically be transitioned to the new pricing model so you will continue to pay the same amount going forward and receive the same benefits as those just signing up, including Lightroom 5. Other CC members who meet the qualifications and want to take advantage of the $9.99/month rate should contact Adobe Customer Service about transitioning their membership to the new pricing structure.

The Photography Program requires an annual commitment with monthly payments and includes Adobe Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5 (soon to be updated to v. 5.2), Bridge, a Behance membership with a ProSite, 20GB of free storage, and access to all updates and Creative Cloud Learn’s training resources.

Sign-up is slated to begin this week, on or after September 17.

Related articles:

Adobe Turns Creative Suite into Cloud-based Subscription Software

Product Review: Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud

 

September 12th, 2013

SanDisk Intros High Performance CFast 2.0 and VPG-65 CompactFlash Cards

Advances in still and video technology, particularly 4K video, demand higher performance cards and storage, and this morning SanDisk announced two new CompactFlash cards and a speed increase across its Extreme Pro CF cards.

CFast_Front_120GB_HRSanDisk’s Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 card is the first to utilize the CFast 2.0 standard, which is designed to meet the intensive needs of high-end and next-generation motion and still photography cameras. Available in 60GB and 120GB capacities, the card’s capabilities range from blazingly fast read speeds of up to 450MB/s (3000X) and write speeds of up to 350MB/s (2333X). The CFast 2.0 card was designed in collaboration with the CompactFlash Association, Canon and ARRI. Initially, the card–with a CODEX Capture Drive to CFast 2.0 adapter for ARRI cameras–will be sold directly to ARRI and will be available at ARRI specialty retailers and other photo specialty stores.

In the past, splits in card formats were generally relegated to consumer-level cameras (xD vs. SD, among others). Now, professionals may have to assess the specifications and availability of cards formats–CFast 2.0 vs. XQD–when selecting a camera. The XQD card, which was introduced along with the Nikon D4–to date, the only DSLR to use the XQD format. Sony was the first to produce XQD cards (the new Sony 4K Handycam, the FDR-AX1 is also XQD-compatible, for example) and Lexar started shipping its XQD cards earlier this year. So far, though, SanDisk’s CFast 2.0 card’s read and write speeds exceeds those of the XQD.

 

 

SanDiskExtremePro_CF_160MBs_UDMA7_VPG65_Front_256GB_LRAlso a world’s first, SanDisk also introduced the massive, 256GB Extreme Pro CompactFlash card with the VPG-65 (Video Performance Guarantee) specification. The 256GB CF card offers transfers up to 160MB/s and  write speeds of up to 140MB/s. At the same time, SanDisk has pumped up the speed across its Extreme Pro line, with CompactFlash receiving a boost by about 50 percent to read and write speeds of up to 160MB/s and 150MB/s, respectively. SD card users will be happy to hear that SanDisk’s Extreme line of SD cards will also receive a speed increase of up to 80MB/s (read) and up to 60MB/s (write).

www.SanDisk.com

Price:

CFast 2.0: 60GB; 120GB: TBD

Extreme Pro CompactFlash cards:

16GB-256GB priced from $220-$1,810