January 11th, 2016

Spotted @ CES 2016: Your Photos on Coffee

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 1.34.25 PMLet’s face it, there’s no greater way to consume photography than with coffee. And there’s no better way to consume coffee than with your photography on it.

That’s the premise behind the Ripple Maker, a $1,000 coffee maker that “prints” images and text using coffee extract and the foam atop your latte or cappuccino. The company hit CES with a new app that lets users upload their own personal images to a Ripple for printing/consumption.

The app is free and available now for iOS devices. An Android version is due in February. The app lets you send images from your camera roll, with the ability to edit, scale and add text before it’s printed. You can also select from the Ripple content library if your own images aren’t cutting it. The app tracks your location so is able to alert you to any nearby coffee shops that are using the Ripple machine.

Unfortunately, you can’t own your own Ripple Maker. The company that produces it, Steam CC, is only selling them to commercial coffee shops, restaurants and hotels at the moment. That said, you can submit your own images for Ripple’s content library and be memorialized, however briefly, on foam.

Follow PDN’s CES 2016 coverage here.

January 11th, 2016

Here’s What a 136 Year Old Lens Looks Like on a Modern Digital Camera

Here’s a good reason why you should never, ever, throw out a lens: it may star in some future video.

Photographer Mathieu Stern dug up a large format camera lens that he claims dates back to the 1880s and slapped it (with some modifications) onto his Sony a7 II.

You can peruse a collection of the resulting stills here and check out the video below for the moving picture.

“The lens is incredibly sharp for a 136 years old simple metallic lens, from my test it’s even sharper than most of my modern canon lenses, the results are amazing,” Stern writes. “But it also gives some strange lens flares and light leaks that are pretty dreamy (some would say it’s horrible).”

Judge for yourself:

Read More:

Step Into Photo History: Inside Kodak’s Tech Vault

The Hidden History of the Zoom Lens in Film & History

This Software Promises to Make Cheap Lenses Awesome


January 8th, 2016

Great Photography and Filmmaking Reads for Your Weekend

Rich Grundy | Flickr

Rich Grundy | Flickr

Oscar Wilde once noted that, “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” In that spirit, here are a few photography and filmmaking pieces we’ve picked out for your weekend reading pleasure.

How I Made This New Year’s Eve Photo Go ViralBBC

One of the Most Haunting and Seductive Photographers Died Too YoungHuffington Post (NSFW)

How Video Game Photography Got Me Into Real PhotographyGames Radar

Why You Should Be Paying Attention to Agricultural PhotographyCreators Project

Gender Parity in Documentary Filmmaking Is a FictionIndie Wire

How to Monetize a Social Media FollowingPDN

See past Weekend Reads here.

January 7th, 2016

CES 2016: Slimmer SSD Storage Coming Soon to a Gear Bag Near You

While CES has plenty of surprises (like a buzz-generating Super 8 camera), it’s a given that we’ll be treated to new storage devices that are slimmer and faster than last year’s models. Not that we’re complaining!

Here’s a look at some of the new drives and memory cards announced at CES 2016:


SanDisk added a water resistant portable SSD drive to its lineup.  The 480GB Extreme 510 Portable SSD is splash and dust proof and its rubber bumper protects it from impact. You’ll enjoy transfer speeds up to 430MB/s as well as SanDisk’s SecureAccess encryption software. It retails for $250.

128GB-microSDXC-1800x-with-reader-adapterLexar introduced new, high-speed microSD cards for use in 4K action cameras and drones.

The Professional 1800x microSDHC and microSDXC UHS-II cards deliver read transfer speeds up to 270MBps thanks to Ultra High Speed II (U3 technology). The cards will ship with a USB 3.0 reader that delivers data transfers nine times faster than using the USB cable included with most cameras, Lexar said.

The cards will be sold in  in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities for $80, $135 and $270, respectively, and include a lifetime copy of Image Rescue software. They are available for purchase now.

Lexar also introduced a portable SSD drive that’s compatible with its Professional Workflow system. The drive boasts transfer speeds of 450MB/s and will be available in 256GB and 512GB capacities for $150 and $250, respectively. The drive will feature an external LED capacity meter.


Samsung released a new portable SSD drive, the T3, in capacities ranging from 250GB to 2TB. According to Samsung, the petite drive will be “smaller than an average business card.” It will offer transfer speeds of 450MB/s and is housed in a shock-resistant metal casing capable of surviving a 2 meter drop. It connects via USB Type-C and offers AES 256-bit hardware encryption.

The T3 ships in February. Pricing wasn’t announced.

See Also:

Seagate Launches World’s Thinnest 2TB Portable Drive at CES 2016

How Long Will Digital Photos Last? 


January 6th, 2016

Documentary Photographers: Contest Deadlines Approaching Fast

Marzell Williamson plays the tuba, by Jerry Wolford, winner of Photojournalist of the Year honors at last year's Best of Photojournalism competition. ©News & Record/Jerry Wolford Photojournalism 2015 Ph

Marzell Williamson plays the tuba, Greensboro, NC. Jerry Wolford won Photojournalist of the Year honors for a portfolio including this image, at last year’s Best of Photojournalism competition. ©News & Record/Jerry Wolford

Winter is the height of the photojournalism contest season, and entry deadlines are fast approaching for a number of international competitions. Among them are:

The World Press Photo entry deadline is January 13, although entrants must register by January 7. (Multimedia entries are due by  January 20.) There is no entry fee, but participants must provide proof of their professional status.  This year’s contest is subject to a new code of ethics and strict new rules about photo manipulation, as well as other rule changes. See the contest website for details. Photo contest winners will be announced February 18. The winner of the World Press Photo of the Year 2015 will receive a cash prize of 10,000 EUR, and winners in all categories will be invited to travel to Amersterdam for an awards ceremony in April at the expense of World Press Photo organizers.

Entries for the 73rd POYi competition are due by January 15. The competition includes multiple categories in photojournalism, multimedia, and visual editing divisions. The entry fee is $50. Prizes are primarily bragging rights and exposure, but winners of several premier categories also receive modest cash awards–$1,000 for Photographer of the Year and $500 for Newspaper Photographer of the Year, for instance. Judging takes place from February 8-25 at the Missouri School of Journalism, which sponsors the contest. Details and rules are on the POYi website.

Photo entries for the Eyes of History competition are due January 15. The competition is sponsored by the White News Photographers Association. The entry fee is $67. The competition has other divisions with different entry due dates: video entries are due January 29, multimedia entries are due January 31, and student entries are due February 1. The entry fees for those divisions also vary. All divisions except the student division are open to WHNP members only. See the WHNP website for complete details.

Best of Photojournalism entries are due by January 29. The contest, which is sponsored by National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), is open to NPPA members and non-members alike. There is no entry fee, and there are no monetary prizes (just bragging rights and plaques). Like POYi, BOP includes still photo, multimedia and editing divisions, plus a video division. Contest details and rules are available on the NPPA website. No date has been set for announcing winners, but winners for past competitions have been announced in March or April.

The deadline for entering PDN’s Photo Annual competition is February 3. In addition to photojournalism/documentary and video/multimedia categories, the competition categories include: advertising, editorial, photo books, sports, self-promotion, stock photography, personal work and student work. The entry fee is $50 for single images, and $60 for each series of images. Cash awards total more than $20,000. Contest information and rules are available at the PDN Photo Annual website.

The Piclet.org International Prize for Contemporary African Photography  (POPCAP) is accepting entries until February 7. The prize is for work about Africa or the diaspora of an African country. Entrants must submit a single series or story consisting of 10 to 25 images. There is no entry fee. The prizes include an artists’ residency. Finalists will be announced February 29, and five winners will be announced March 7. Past winners include Zed Nelson, Léonard Pongo, Anoek Steketee, Patrick Willocq, and Cristina de Middel. Full details and rules are available at the POPCAP website.

Entries for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, sponsored by Natural History Museum in London, are due by February 25. “Judges are looking for outstanding images that raise awareness of nature’s beauty and fragility, while also championing the highest ethical standards in wildlife photography,” according to the contest website. Entrants may submit up to 25 images. The entry fee is £30.00 ($44). Top prize is £10,000 ($14,675) for Best Single Image, but the competition awards monetary prizes in a number of categories. Winners will be notified May 13. Past winners include Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols, Greg du Toit, and Paul Nicklen. Full contest details are available at the WPY website.

After Staged-Photo Debacle, World Press Changes Rules

Daniel Berehulak Wins Reportage Photographer of the Year Honors at 2015 POYi Competition

Brad Vest Named Newspaper Photographer of the Year at 2015 POYi Competition

Mads Nissen Wins World Press Photo of the Year 2014 Prize (PDN subscription required)

January 6th, 2016

CES 2016: Olympus Announces 300mm f/4 Lens with 6 Stops of Image Stabilization

OLYMPUS E-M1-BLK_left_M3040

Drink all the coffee you want: Olympus’ new 300mm f/4 lens can deliver up to six stops of image stabilization per CIPA standards when paired with the company’s E-M1 or E-M5 Mark II cameras.

On other bodies, the new lens delivers a still-impressive four stops of correction.

The mirrorless lens delivers a 35mm equivalent focal length of 600mm, and at 2.8 pounds weighs roughly half that of a 600mm DSLR lens. Paired with the 1.4x teleconverter, the new lens can reach up to 800mm (35mm equivalent).

The lens is weather-sealed and has a minimum focusing distance of 46 inches. It sports a built-in sliding lens hood and will retail for $2,500.

January 6th, 2016

CES 2016: Panasonic Intros Longest Zoom for Micro Four Thirds Yet


Panasonic aims to bring cinema-style video techniques into the hands of more users with a new high-end camcorder introduced at CES. The company also introduced a pair of advanced compact cameras and a new 100-400mm f/4-6.3 telephoto lens–the longest focal length available for the Micro Four Thirds system.

Let’s take the lens first. The LEICA DG VARIO-ELMAR 100-400mm F4.0-6.3 ASPH offers a 200-800mm 35mm equivalent focal length and power optical image stabilization. It features nine aperture blades and a gapless construction to keep moisture and dust from penetrating the lens body.

It boasts a new, two-part tripod mount to quickly switch from landscape to portrait framing without moving key controls like focus limiting, power OIS and manual focus. It also features an integrated, hideaway lens hood. It ships in April for $1,800.



The ZS100 boasts a 20-megapixel, 1-inch image sensor and an f/2.8 Vario Elmarit Leica zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 25-250mm (the aperture is variable and stops down to f/5.9 at the end of the focal length).

It uses Panasonic’s Venus engine processor with the same noise reduction processing that’s found in more advanced models such as the GH4. The native ISO range is 100-12,800.

You can record 4K video (3840×2160) at either 24 or 30fps and take advantage of Panasonic’s 4K photo modes to isolate 8-megapixel still images from 4K video clips. It can also record a rapid sequence of 4K clips at varying focus points to create an image file that can be refocused, in camera, after it’s been captured.

Two new 4K features have also been introduced on this camera that take advantage of the abundant pixels. The first is Light Composition mode, which compiles multiple 4K stills to properly balance exposure. The second is 4K Live Cropping, which allows you to crop a 4K video down to an HD file in-camera. The cropping function allows users to pan within a video (Ken Burns-style) or zoom in on a subject without having to manually adjust the focal length during filming.

Additional features include:

  • high-speed AF with depth-to-defocus technology
  • high-resolution live viewfinder with adjustable saturation, brightness and contrast
  • 3-inch touch LCD display
  • control ring and two customizable dials
  • in-camera RAW processing
  • Wi-Fi
  • 10 fps burst shooting, 5fps with AF engaged
  • 1/16,000 sec. electronic shutter
  • 5-axis hybrid optical image stabilization

The ZS100 ships in March for $700 and is available for pre-order now.


Also due in March is the ZS60. It packs an 18-megapixel image sensor that’s smaller, at 1/2.3-inches than the ZS100 to accommodate a longer 24-720mm equivalent zoom lens.

The ZS60 records 4K video with the aforementioned 4K photo modes, 4K live cropping and post focusing capability.

Additional specs include:

  • 10fps burst mode or 5fps with AF tracking engaged
  • Wi-Fi
  • 5 axis hybrid image stabilization system
  • 3-inch touch screen display with touch focusing
  • control ring

The ZS60 ships in March for $450 and is available for pre-order now.


Finally, Panasonic launched a high-end video camera that aims to bring some of its 4K cropping features into the hands of student filmmakers, videographers and the ambitious soccer mom/dad.

The WXF991 records 4K video at 24 or 30 fps via an 8-megapixel backside-illuminated image sensor. It has a 20x optical zoom lens with 5-axis image stabilization.

In addition to 4K photo mode, Panasonic incorporate several scene modes that use the extra pixels in the 4K video to create cinematic camera movements without the user having to physically move the camera (the resulting video will be delivered in HD). The camera can stabilize a 4K video by cropping out the edges to deliver smooth video that resembles a shot taken with a Steadicam. It can create a dolly zoom effect, pan across a scene, or speed up/slow down footage–all in camera, after the video has been recorded.


An HDR movie feature captures 30 frames of over exposed video, 30 frames of under exposed video in succession then combines the resulting frames into a single, properly exposed HD video.

The camera also incorporates a high-resolution, tilting EVF and Wi-Fi.

The WXF 991 ships in march for $1,000 and is available for pre-order now.

Follow PDN’s CES 2016 coverage here.

January 6th, 2016

Kodak Plans to Make a Super 8 Camera (For Real)

Artist rendering of Kodak's forthcoming Super 8 camera.

Artist rendering of Kodak’s forthcoming Super 8 camera.

For years, Kodak has served as exhibit A of a company caught flat-footed by changing technology. But a funny thing has happened since Kodak’s fortunes fell–Hollywood directors have rallied around the company’s motion picture film, to the extent that Kodak expects to be profitable next year on the basis of its film business.

Emboldened by that success, the company doubled down at CES 2016 with a plan to revive the Super 8 camera.

Calling it the “Super 8 Revival Initiative” Kodak said the camera would combine the “classic features of a Super 8 with digital functionality.”

Kodak says they’ve built a roadmap that includes a “range of cameras, film development services, post production tools and more.”

“It is an ecosystem for film” said Jeff Clarke, Eastman Kodak Chief Executive Officer, in a statement announcing the initiative. “Following the 50th anniversary of Super 8, Kodak is providing new opportunities to enjoy and appreciate film as a medium.”

The initiative has a string of high-profile endorsers, including director Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams. “For me, 8mm was the beginning of everything,” Spielberg said in a statement released by Kodak. “When I think of 8mm, I think of the movies.”

The camera is expected to cost between $400-$700 with film processing ranging from $50-$75. Developed film will be returned to consumers as a digital file and film strip. While the details are still being finalized, a Kodak spokesperson said users would be able to choose the type of video file they receive back from Kodak.

The camera will have a mic input on the top handle and audio will be recorded to SD cards. While Kodak will process the film, it will be up to the end-user to sync audio with the video. It will have a flip out digital display for a real time preview of what you’re recording as well as access to the menu.

Kodak is not the first company to take an interest in resurrecting Super 8 filmmaking. A father-and-son duo from Denmark launched an ambitious Super 8 camera last year dubbed the Logmar S8 aimed for pro shooters.

Follow PDN’s CES 2016 coverage here.


January 6th, 2016

CES 2016: Sony’s Action Cam Gets New Tricks


Sony came to CES with a new HD action cam in tow.

The HDR-AS50 isn’t 4K capable, but delivers several new features for Sony’s action cam line.
Among them is a new live-view remote (the LVR-3) that’s 30 percent smaller than the existing remote. The remote is now able to turn the camera’s power on and off, which Sony says can help prolong the camera’s battery life.

There’s also a new, higher-resolution display on the camera body. Face detection has been added to Sony’s Highlight Movie Maker function—a feature that automatically compiles a highlight reel from footage based on cues from the camera’s sensors (i.e. scenes get flagged during fast turns, acceleration and now, whenever faces are detected in the frame).

Also new is the ability to change the angle of view on the camera, selecting between wide (1.0x) or narrow (1.4x). Finally, Sony added a tripod socket, dedicated power button and louder recording beep to its action camera.

The AS50 features a CMOS sensor and records in Sony’s XAVC codec with frame rates up to 120p. It incorporates the same digital image stabilization system incorporate in the FDR-X1000. There’s also a 4K time-lapse mode that captures a series of still images and exports them as a 4K movie file.

The camera will be joined by several new accessories, including a new underwater housing good for 60 meters, a grip/tripod unit that can hold both the camera and LVR remote, and a new cap clip for recording point-of-view footage.

The AS50 ships in Feb for $200 (including the underwater housing) or for $350 when bundled with the new LVR remote.


Follow PDN’s CES 2016 coverage here.


January 5th, 2016

Nikon Unveils D5, D500 and New 4K 360-Degree VR Camera


Following a brief internet tease, Nikon revealed the much sought-after specs for its newest flagship full frame DSLR, the D5. The camera checks off a lot of boxes including super-high ISO, 4K video recording and a burst mode of 12 fps with tracking AF engaged.

The company also pulled back the curtain on its new flagship crop sensor camera, the D500, and marked its entry into the action camera market with a new 360-degree camera.

But first, the big gun.

Here are the D5’s highlights:

    • The camera features a newly developed 20-megapixel CMOS sensor with a native ISO range of 100-102,400 with extended settings for ISO 50-3,280,000 (not a typo!).
    • EXPEED 5 Image processor
    •  4K videos recording (3840x2160p30) with clean HDMI out
    • 153 AF points, including 99-point cross sensor and 15 points functional at f/8 plus a new AF processor
    • Continuous shooting at 12 fps with AF tracking up to 200 frames when shooting 15-bit lossless RAW
    • focusing down to -4 EV illumination
    • a 3.2-inch, 2.36 million dot touchscreen display
    • dual memory card slots
    • 100 field of view through the viewfinder with a magnification of .72 times
    • USB 3.0 connection
    • Battery EN-EL18a


The D5 will be sold in a body with two XQD card slots or a model with two CF card slots. Both models are due in March for a body-only price of $6,500. Nikon says the XQD cards will deliver image transfer speeds 35 percent faster than CF cards. (More images of the D5 are below.)


Nikon also debuted a new flagship DX (crop sensor) camera in the D500. The highlights:

  • a  20.9-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor with a native  ISO range of 100-51,200, expandable to 50-1,640,000
  • 10 fps burst shooting (up to 79 shots in 14-bit uncompressed RAW) with AF and AE engaged
  • Same AF system as the D5 with a 153-point AF array that fills the frame from side to side
  • A 3.2-inch touch screen display
  • A dual memory card slot for SD cards and XQD cards
  • Updated SnapBridge technology for easier wirelessly photo transfers via Bluetooth.
  • 4K recording at 3840x2160p30

It will ship in March with a body-only price of $2,000.



There were fewer details on Nikon’s entry into the 4K camera market. The company plans to call the lineup KeyMission with the first camera, the KeyMission 360. It will offer a pair of image sensors/lenses on either side of the device to capture and stitch a single 360-degree still or 4K video. It will be waterproof to a depth of 100 feet and shock resistant. Electronic VR will keep things steady.

Nikon will have more details closer to the spring, when the camera is set to launch.

nikon_18-55_af-p-550x316Nikon also added a pair of DX format 3.1x zoom lenses, the AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G.

According to Nikon, these are the first “AF-P” lenses for Nikon digital SLR cameras, which incorporate stepping motors to drive autofocusing. They offer retractable lens barrels and two aspherical lens elements. The AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR also features vibration reduction good for a CIPA-rated 4 stops of compensation.

The lenses accept 55m filters. Prices weren’t announced.


Finally, Nikon released a new speedlight, the SB-5,000. It’s the first Nikon model that operates via radio frequency without requiring a direct line-of-sight. It will have a range of 98 feet.  When paired with the WR-R10 and the D5 or the D500, this speedlight can control up to six groups / 18 speedlights. The flash will offer a programmable “i” button for access to frequently used settings.

It will ship in March for $600.