January 5th, 2015

Nikon Adds D5500 DSLR, Telephoto Lens at CES

D5500_BK_55_200_frttopAfter a year spent filling out its advanced full-frame DSLR lineup, Nikon came to CES 2015 ready to entice advanced amateurs with the new D5500.

The camera sports a 24.2-megapixel DX format (APS-C-sized) sensor with no optical low pass filter and a native ISO range of 100 to 25600. It was built using the same monocoque design approach responsible for the D750′s relatively light-but-tough build.

It’s capable of burst speeds up to 5 frames per second in JPEG and RAW and sports a 3.2-inch, vari-angle touch screen display. Video can be recorded at 1920×1080 at up to 60 fps and Nikon has carried over the flat picture control setting, stereo microphone and audio inputs from the D750.

The D5500′s autofocus system features 39 points with nine cross-type sensors.


Rounding out the feature set is Wi-Fi and a battery rated for 820 shots by CIPA.

The D5500 will sell body-only for $900 beginning in February. Throw in an 18-55mm kit lens and you’ll pay $1,000. Nikon will also sell a kit that bundles an 18-140mm lens for $1,200.

Joining the D5500 will be a new 3.6x zoom lens. The AF-S DX 50-200mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR II ($350, February) offers three stops of Vibration Reduction and a silent wave motor.

Nikon will also replace its 300mm f/4 lens in February with the new AF-S Nikkor 300mm F/4 E PF ED VR lens. It uses a phase fresnel design that helps to shed a full pound and a half of weight and 30 percent of size vs. the earlier generation lens. It has an electro-magnetically controlled diaphragm which delivers more consistently when shooting at faster frame rates, Nikon said.

The lens’ Vibration Reduction technology offers up to 4.5 stops of correction with a sports mode and tripod detection.

The telephoto lens will retail for $2,000.


January 5th, 2015

Sony Brings Its Action Camera Into the 4K Era




GoPro no longer has the 4K action camera market to itself. At CES, Sony has added 4K (3840×2160) recording to its new flagship action camera, the FDR-X100V.

Several advanced functions from Sony’s A7 camera line have also trickled down to the X100V, including full pixel readout during recording, which reduces jagged edges and false colors by pulling all of the data off the CMOS sensor. When shooting in 4K at 30 frames per second, you’ll enjoy bit rates of 100Mbps or 60Mbps when shooting at 24 fps. The X100V can record in full HD at up to 120 fps or at 240 fps when shooting at 720p resolution. It also supports Sony’s XAVC S codec.

The optical image stabilization system has been revamped from earlier action cams with a specific emphasis on stabilizing the camera for use on drones where low amplitude vibrations can induce nauseating jitters. The lens will provide the same 170-degree angle of view as previous Sony action cams.

Sony has added wind reduction to the stereo microphone as well as automatic exposure control and white balance settings to give pro users more latitude when adjusting exposure.X100V_in_the_box-1200

Also new for Sony’s 2015 action cam line is a Loop Recording feature, which lets you designate a recording time interval and when the camera hits the end of the allotted time, it will automatically loop back to the beginning and start over-writing previously recorded footage with new video. You can set loop recording at 5, 20, 60, or 120-minute intervals or set it to unlimited and it will use the entire capacity of your memory card.

For those in search of a quick, shareable highlight reel from the day’s adventure, a new Highlight Movie Maker function uses algorithms pegged to the cameras gyro sensor to flag content recorded when the camera was moving or turning rapidly and compiles the clips automatically into a short movie.

The X100V will be slightly larger than Sony’s existing action cams, so it won’t be compatible with older waterproof cases. Look for it in March for $500 or for $600 when bundled with the new RM-LVR2 live view remote. The new remote is waterproof to a depth of 10 feet and lets you control Sony’s action cameras and preview images.

AS200V_side1-1200If you don’t need the 4K experience, Sony’s new full HD HDR-AS200V updates the AS100V with Loop Record, Highlight Movie Maker, the full pixel readout functionality and a wind-reduction microphone. It will also ship in March for $300 or for $400 with the new live view remote.


January 5th, 2015

Panasonic CES 2015 Digicams: Zooming In, Getting Tough

panasonic zoom

Panasonic pulled back the curtain on several long zoom compact cameras and a pair of rugged waterproof models at CES 2015.

The Lumix DMC-SZ10 features a 16-megapixel CCD sensor and a 12x optical zoom lens (24mm wide angle equivalent).  It features a 2.7-inch flip-up display, 720p HD video capture, 15 creative filters, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

The SZ10 will retail for $200.

The DMC-ZS45 swaps the 16-megapixel CCD sensor for a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor and a longer 20x optical zoom lens (24-480mm, 35mm equivalent). You’ll find a 1.04m dot, 3-inch tilting LCD, Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity and 1080/30p HD video recording.

The ZS45 will retail for $300.

Rounding out the long zoom compact line is the ZS50 with a 12-megapixel CMOS sensor and a 30x optical zoom (24-720mm, 35mm equivalent) Leica lens with an aperture range of f/3.3-6.4 and a control ring on the lens for controlling exposure and zoom. The lens is kept steady using the company’s 5-axis Hybrid O.I.S. Videos can be recorded up to 1080/60p in the AVCHD progressive codec.

The ZS50 will support still photography in both RAW and JPEG image formats. In addition to a 3-inch display, the camera will offer a .2-inch Live View Finder with an eye sensor. It also features Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity and will retail for $400.

lumix tough

Panasonic also updated its lineup of rugged point-and-shoots with the new Lumix TS6 and TS30.

The $300 TS6 can be submerged in up to 43 feet of water, dropped from as high as 6.6 feet, is dust proof and can withstand up to 220 pounds of pressure. It features a 16-megapixel image sensor, 3-inch display, built-in GPS, a 4.6x optical Leica lens (28-128mm, 35mm equivalent) and 1080/60p HD video recording. You’ll also find a built-in Wi-Fi and NFC plus a compass and altimeter.

The 16-megapixel TS30 can’t take as much of a beating as the TS6–it’s rated for dives as deep as 26 feet underwater and falls from as high as five feet. The $180 TS30 features a 4x optical zoom lens (25mm, 35mm equivalent) plus a 2.7-inch LCD and 12 creative filters.

January 5th, 2015

Seagate Has the World’s Thinnest Portable Hard Drive


Seagate hit CES with a slender new portable hard drive.

The Seagate Seven is being touted as the world’s thinnest portable 500GB drive. The 0.38-inch thin drive is nearly as thin as the iPhone 6 and is enclosed entirely in steel. It features USB 3.0 connectivity and will retail for $100 when it hit stores this month.

The company also launched a Personal Cloud storage product that enables users to back up PCs and mobile devices in addition to streaming content to connected TVs and media players.

The Personal Cloud drive can be configured to automatically back up its contents to cloud providers such as Amazon S3, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, HiDrive and Yandex.Disk.  The Personal Cloud drive can also be synchronized with Dropbox, Baidu and Google Drive to keep files consistent on both the hard drive and cloud service.

The drive will be sold in a single bay version in 3TB, 4TB and 5TB varieties from $170 to $250. It will also be sold in a two-bay version with 4TB, 6TB and 8TB capacities starting at $300. The two-bay drive can be configured to mirror the contents of one drive on another or to access both drives for maximum storage capacity.


Finally, Seagate also launched a 500GB wireless drive for uploading mobile images and streaming content to up to three mobile devices. The unit’s battery is good for up to six hours of use. The drive offers USB 2.0 connectivity and will retail for $130.

January 5th, 2015

Canon at CES 2015: A Parade of PowerShots

HR_SX710HS_BLACK_3Q_CLCanon introduced a total of five new PowerShot cameras and three new Vixia camcorders at CES 2015.

The PowerShot SX530 HS boasts a 50x optical zoom lens, 16-megapixel image sensor and built-in Wi-Fi and NFC. It uses Canon’s DIGIC 4+ image processor and records 1920x1080p HD video. It ships in February for $430.

The PowerShot SX710 HS is a successor to the SX700 and delivers a 20.3-megapixel sensor paired with a 30x optical zoom lens. It’s capable of recording 1080p HD video at up to 60 frames per second. The camera’s Story Highlights mode can create slideshows with creative transitions automatically in the camera. It’s due next month for $350.

The PowerShot SX 610 HS, for $250, offers an 18x optical zoom, 20-megapixel sensor and Wi-Fi/NFC.

HR_ELPH160_BLACK_3Q_CLRounding out the entry-level of the PowerShot line are a pair of Elph models. The 170 IS features a 20-megapixel sensor, a 12x optical zoom lens and 720p HD video capture. It ships in February for $150 and will be sold in blue, black and silver. The 20-megapixel Elph 160, for $120, features an 8x optical zoom and 720p video recording.


On the camcorder front, Canon will bring the Vixia HF R series to stores in March.

All three models will share the same 57x (32.5-1853mm) optical zoom lens with optical image stabilization, 3-inch touch screen displays, and a 3.28-megapixel CMOS sensor for recording 1920×1080/60p HD video in either MP4 or AVCHD formats. The Vixia models will also all offer fast and slow motion modes, cinema-style filters, headphone jacks and a Framing Assist mode to recapture focus on a subject during zooming.

The $450 HF R62 offers 32GB of internal flash memory and Wi-Fi/NFC connectivity. The HF R60 will feature 8GB of internal memory plus Wi-Fi/NFC and will retail for $400. Finally, the HF R600 records directly to SD card and won’t offer wireless connectivity. It will retail for $300.


January 4th, 2015

LaCie Mirror: Portable Storage Worth Looking At


Portable hard drives aren’t much to look at, but the new LaCie Mirror is likely to turn heads. This 1TB portable drive is housed in Corning Gorilla Glass and was designed in collaboration with French designer Pauline Deltour.

The idea, according to LaCie, is that digital technology and the data preserved by hard drives serves as a reflection of ourselves.

The Mirror drive connects via USB 3.0 and sits in an included ebony wood base. It ships this month for $280.

For those who need their portable storage without the metaphysical symbolism, LaCie also introduced a new Rugged RAID portable drive. The new drive offers hardware RAID in modes 0 and 1–the only drives in this category to offer such a feature, according to LaCie.

The 4TB drive offers both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connections plus transfer rates up to 240MB/s in RAID 0 mode. It can withstand a drop from up to 5 feet and is dust and water resistant.

The Rugged RAID drive ships in the first quarter of 2015 for $450.

LaCie R2D2 3-4 Right

January 4th, 2015

Narrative Clip 2: Tiny “Life-logging” Camera Updated for 2015



Narrative, maker of the Clip life-logging camera, has introduced the next-generation model on the eve of CES 2015.

The aptly named Clip 2 sports a new, 8-megapixel image sensor, a wider-angle lens with an 86 degree field of view and removable backside mounts which will enable users to place the Clip in more places.

The Clip 2 will now also offer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity for uploading your images to a mobile device or using your phone to remotely control the camera. The company’s Android and iOS app will now support a “public moments” timeline that lets you share images with other Narrative owners.

The new Clip will ship in 2015 though Narrative would not get more specific than that. It is expected to retail for $200. The original, 5-megapixel Clip will stay on the market, for now, at the reduced price of $150.

The diminutive camera snaps a photo automatically every 30 seconds (though you can manually tap it to trigger the shutter if you want) automatically creating a visual record of your activities.

December 23rd, 2014

Amazon Sells iPhone Accessories Infringing Copyrighted News Images of War, Death

Amazon page offering a smartphone case decorated with Daniel Berehulak's image from Liberia.

Amazon page offering a smartphone case decorated with Daniel Berehulak’s image from Liberia.

Dealers of cellphone and iPad cases emblazoned with copyrighted news images by Tomas Van Houtryve, Daniel Berehulak, Tyler Hicks and other photojournalists are using Amazon’s marketplace to sell their wares without permission from the photographers. All the images had been featured by TIME magazine on its “Picks of the Top 10 Photos of 2014.” In addition to the cases featuring news images—such as a photo of a child dying of Ebola and a child killed in an air attack on Gaza—the sellers listed on Amazon also sell cases featuring photos of nature, pets, cars, celebrity actors, major sports teams and other subjects.

A Tyler Hicks image from Gaza on a cellphone case sold by a vendor via Amazon.

A Tyler Hicks image from Gaza on a cellphone case sold by a vendor via Amazon.

One of the infringed photographers, Tomas Van Houtryve, had complained that Amazon removed some of the items infringing his photo, but not all. Van Houtryve tells PDN that after he discovered the unauthorized use of his black-and-white image on cases being sold through Amazon, he contacted the online retailer through the email it provides to report copyright infringement. An automated form asked for more information verifying that he holds the copyright to the image. He says, “I provided that along with a detailed list of links to all of the products infringing on my copyright. I also requested the contact information of the vendors/manufacturers providing the illegal cases,” he says. The following day, some of the products were removed, but many remained. He received another automated email from Amazon saying, “We trust this will bring the matter to a close.” He says, “As you can imagine, I’m not satisfied with this response.” On December 20, he took to Instagram and Facebook, posting images of the pages where the products decorated with his image were sold.

The Massimo Sestini image, cropped on a smartphone case.

The Massimo Sestini image, cropped on a smartphone case.

A search of Amazon for the names of other photographers featured on the TIME list turned up cellphone and iPad cases featuring Tyler Hicks’ image from Gaza of a boy carrying a dead child, Daniel Berehulak’s image of health workers in Liberia carrying a child suffering from Ebola (who later died), and part of Massimo Sestini’s photo of a crowded boat transporting migrants from Africa to Malta, and a tight crop on a portion of Whitney Curtis’s image of police pointing automatic weapons at a protester in Ferguson, Missouri.

Erik Fairleigh, PR spokesperson for Amazon, declined PDN’s request for comment, except to tell PDN “the item is no longer listed for sale,” referring to the product Van Houtryve had complained about. On December 23, however, products made with images by Berehulak, Hicks and Sestini remained on the site.

JP Pappis of Polaris Images, which represents Sestini, says that purusing the makers of the cases would be too costly, since they would be difficult to identify and locate and, if they are overseas, would be beyond the reach of U.S. federal courts. (All the cases “ship from China,” according to the delivery information listed on Amazon.) Sarah Lochting of Getty Images, which represents Daniel Berehulak said the agency is “pursuing the matter. We find it particularly egregious given the content of these images.”

The cases sell for between $12 and $15 through Amazon’s third-party vendor system, which allows any individual or company that fills out an online form to sell their products on Amazon. Amazon’s only requirement is that the seller pay a fee, agree to let Amazon take a cut of sales, and agree to the “Amazon Services Business Solutions Agreement,” which includes a clause indemnifying Amazon against “any claim, loss, damage, settlement, cost, expense or other liability” arising from “any actual or alleged infringement of any Intellectual Property Rights.”

Recognize this photo? Let us know.

Recognize this photo? Let us know.

The sellers offering the photo-emblazoned cases use many names, including David Ray Floyd, Sonja B Williams, DODO7899, Janice Lee Curry, NicoleWilliamHarris. 

Take a look. And if you see your photo on one of the cases being sold, let us know.

Recognize the photo? Let us know.

Recognize the photo? Let us know.

December 23rd, 2014

PDNPulse: Top Stories of 2014

As another fascinating year in the world of professional photography comes to a close, we look back on the stories that drew the most interest from PDNPulse readers this year.

From manipulated news photos, to photographers arrested for doing their jobs, to collaborative efforts between photographers and an interview with one of photography’s most influential star makers, these stories capture some of the highs and lows of the photography business today.

1: George Steinmetz Wonders: Was It Worth Getting Arrested for National Geographic Cover Story Photos

2: 2014 Winter Olympics Op-Ed: Everything You’ve Read About Problems for Photographers in Sochi is True

3: PDN Video: Lens Blog’s James Estrin’s Career Tips for Photojournalists

4: Photographers Share Intimate Images of Loved Ones for Curated Photo Website

5: AP Severs Ties With Photographer Narciso Contreras Over Photoshopped Image
5a: Photographer Fired by AP Says Decision Was Fair, But Process Wasn’t

6: How Much Do Editorial Clients Pay? “Wiki” Gives Names and Fees

7: If that Kim Kardashian Photo Looks Familiar…

8: Calumet Photographic to Liquidate, Closes U.S. Stores

9: Photographer Creates Free iPhone App for His Signature Style

10: Wal-mart Sues Photographer’s Widow Claiming Copyright for Decades of Portraits of Walton Family

11: Suffolk County Pays $200K to Settle News Photographer’s Unlawful Arrest Claim

12: How Should Clients React to Sexual Coercion Allegations Against Terry Richardson?

13: AP Photographer Anja Niedringhaus Killed in Afghanistan

14: Cowboy Lifestyle Photographer David Stoecklein Dies, 65

15: Photojournalist Camille Lapage, 26, “Murdered” in Central African Republic

December 19th, 2014

Creative Cloud Photography Plan–3 Myths Debunked

Sponsored by Adobe

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 12.37.18 PM
Photos © David Guenther

When the subscription model was first announced for the Adobe Creative Cloud in 2011, many photographers were concerned about the implications of “renting” software. Adobe, recognizing that most photographers don’t need the entire suite of applications they offer, responded with a special version this summer that includes Photoshop CC and Lightroom–the two tools most important to a photographer’s digital workflow, and widely considered the standard for post-production.

David Guenther (www.davidguentherphotography.com), a respected wedding and portrait photographer based in Lethbridge, Alberta, uses Lightroom and Photoshop CC extensively– they are, as he puts it, his “jam”. Guenther does his photo processing in Lightroom before sending them over to Photoshop CC for final tuning and output. In his opinion, the subscription model of $9.99 per month is a great value. “I’d rather pay a low monthly cost than buy the software outright at a huge price, and then have to upgrade every time a new version comes out,” he explains.

While the cost efficiency is a plus, the subscription-only model has been a big change for photographers who were used to a one-time purchase and basic access from their personal computers. Three years after Adobe Creative Cloud’s first release, we still hear common misconceptions about its features and functionality. With the release of the Creative Cloud Photography plan, it’s time to clear the air.

David Guenther Adobe CC

The Myth: The Creative Cloud Photography plan is more expensive in the long run.

The Truth: When compared to the traditional model of purchasing and upgrading, the Creative Cloud Photography subscription saves hundreds of dollars and spreads out the costs over time. When you add in the mobile applications that can handle powerful photography editing (photo editing in Lightroom mobile, for example) and other services like Lightroom web for sharing and receiving feedback, the value of Creative Cloud becomes very clear. And, as an added bonus, photographers of all levels will find value in Adobe’s extensive video tutorials that are available with the plan.

The Myth: All of your images will be stored in the Cloud.

The Truth: It’s not necessary to store your images in the Cloud (nor will you lose them if you have a lapse in your subscription), and all of your files can easily be stored locally. The Cloud is a just a very cool bonus–for many photographers, like Guenther, access to mobile apps like Lightroom mobile and Photoshop Mix let him edit and organize his photos while away from the computer. He says, “I use the Adobe Creative Cloud quite a bit. It’s important for me to have access to images and shoots I’m working on, because I’m often collaborating on a project and need to discuss work when I’m away from my computer. In that way, it’s been a huge help. I always have access to my work. All that, combined with Smart Previews in Lightroom, means I can work pretty much anywhere at any time. That’s essential for me.”


The Myth: All Creative Cloud applications are Cloud-based.

The Truth: One of the biggest misconceptions about Creative Cloud subscriptions is that you need to be connected to the Internet in order to use the applications. All of the desktop applications live on your computer. There is no requirement to have a full-time Internet connection­–Creative Cloud checks once a month to validate the subscription, taking only a few seconds. And with the mobile applications, this means you can work anywhere: remote locations, at the client’s office, or wherever you travel to.

Guenther says, “For me, Creative Cloud Photography has allowed me to be more mobile and work while I travel or while I’m away from the office. The Adobe tools I use operate just the same, but I have more flexibility.”

You can read more about the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan at www.creative.adobe.com/plans/photography. And, as always, you can download a free 30-day trial of Lightroom or Photoshop CC–desktop or mobile–to try it out for yourself.