February 10th, 2015

Sigma Releases New 24mm Art Lens, DP Quattro Series Camera

 

 

 

 

 

pphoto_dp0_quattro_side_slanting-large-2Sigma announced the fourth member of its DP Quattro series of digital cameras, plus a new 24mm Art lens in advance of the CP+2015 show in Japan.

The DP0 sports a fixed 14mm F4 lens (21mm, 35mm equivalent). All other features will be identical to the previous models in the lineup.

The DP0 incorporates a 29-megapixel APS-C-sized Foveon X3 Quattro image sensor. The Quattro sensor features a proprietary three-layer design meant to replicate how film emulsions capture red, green and blue light. Working in tandem, these three layers create Sigma’s equivalent of a 39-megapixel image, and Sigma’s True III image processor crunches the data to output an image that the company claims delivers truer-to-life colors and more realistic images than competing sensor designs.

Beyond the sensor, the DP0 delivers 14-bit RAW image capture and a sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 6400. The body design marries a thin, panoramic frame with a prominent grip that extends from the back of the camera, giving the DP0 a particularly distinctive look.

Pricing and availability on the DP0 were not announced.

 

401_24mm_art-150dpi-angledSigma also announced a new member of its Art lens family. The new 24mm F1.4 Art  lens is designed for full-frame DSLRs. It features  nine rounded aperture blades and a maximum magnification of 1:5.3. The  minimum focusing distance is 9.8 inches.

The lens incorporates both “F” Low Dispersion (FLD) glass and Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass in  15 elements in 11 groups. According to Sigma, this construction minimizes chromatic aberration of magnification especially in the edge of the image field.

By placing aspherical elements in the rear of the lens, Sigma said it was able to improve performance when shooting wide open, keeping distortion, flare and chromatic aberration to a minimum.

A full-time manual focusing mechanism lets you switch into manual focusing during autofocus by rotating the lens ring.

Pricing and availability for the new 24mm Art Lens were not announced.

February 10th, 2015

Ricoh Releases Weather-Resistant Pentax K-S2 DSLR

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Ricoh will ship the new Pentax K-S2 DSLR to stores in March. Hailing it as the world’s smallest dust proof and weather-resistant DSLR body, the K-S2 boasts 100 seals to protect its innards from inclement weather.

The K-S2 uses a 20-megapixel CMOS sensor with an anti-aliasing filter simulator which lets users adjust the degree to which anti-aliasing filtration takes place. It offers Wi-Fi, NFC and a rotating LCD 3-inch display with a second shutter button for snapping–what else–selfies.

The camera employs a SAFOX X AF sensor module with  11 sensors, including nine cross-type sensors in the middle. It’s capable of achieving focus in a minimum brightness level of –3 EV.

A new Clarity Enhancement feature is debuting in this DLSR to automatically add more realistic texture impression to photos when shooting in Advanced HDR mode. It can also be set manually when shooting in other modes.

Video is recorded at 1920×1080 resolution with a choice of 24, 25 and 30 fps frame rates. There’s also a 4K interval movie mode that automatically merges a series of still photos taken at pre-selected intervals into a single movie.

Additional features include an optical viewfinder with a 100 percent field of view, in-camera image stabilization, continuous shooting at 5.5 frames per second and a top shutter speed of 1/6000 sec. There are 11 custom image modes, 19 scene modes and 9 digital filters.

The K-S2 is available for pre-order now for $699 (body) or for $799 with a retractable 18-55mm lens which shrinks down to just 1.5-inches when fully retracted. You’ll have your choice of seven colors:  forest green, desert beige, stone gray, white and lime, black and pink, white with a racing stripe, and black with a racing stripe.

Joining the K-S2 will be a new, all-weather flash. The AF201FG flash unit has a guide number of 20 at ISO 100/m and an assignable mode button. It has  five modes: off, P-TTL (leading curtain sync), P-TTL (trailing curtain sync), manual (full), and manual (1/4). The flash accepts two AA batteries is available for pre-order now for $150. It arrives in March.

February 10th, 2015

Nikon D810A Captures the Heavens in a New Light

D810A_14_24_front34r.lowNikon will release a special version of its D810 DSLR, the D810A, that has been modified for astro-photography applications.

The D810A incorporates a modified infrared cut filter that lets the camera capture the red hydrogen alpha gas emissions from stars and nebulae. According to Nikon, the camera is four times as sensitive to light on the 656 nanometer wavelength, enabling it to capture celestial details that would otherwise be missed by conventional digital cameras.

The D810A will also feature a new long exposure manual mode that will deliver exposures as long as 15 minutes. For exposures longer than 30 seconds in live view mode, the camera also offers a Virtual Exposure Preview Mode, which generates a preview of the image on the camera’s display.

To enjoy the full benefits of the D810A, the camera will need to be mounted to a telescope and Nikon cautions that the camera is not recommended for Earth-bound subjects. The D810A is due in May though a price has not been finalized.

In other Nikon DSLR news, the company will release a “filmmaker’s kit” for its D750 DSLR. The kit will combine the camera body, the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED lens, the AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G lens and the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G lens. You’ll also find two additional EN-EL15 batteries, an ME-1 Stereo Microphone, one Atomos Ninja-2 External Recorder, and Tiffen 67mm and 58mm Variable Neutral Density Filters (8-Stops). 

The filmmaker’s kit ships at the end of this month for $4,000.

 

February 9th, 2015

PDN Video Pick: Office Scene (“Today, I’m going to let them touch me”)

Photographer Endia Beal’s video “Office Scene” demonstrates how it is possible to make strong, compelling video with almost nothing, if you’re smart about it.

The video is a foray into the discomfort zone of inter-office race and personal relations. Beal, who is African American, heard rumors around a corporate office she worked in that several of her white male colleagues were fascinated by her hair. So she decided to let them touch it–on the conditions that they really dig their hands in, and agree to talk on tape afterwards about how the experience felt to them. Amazingly enough, they agreed. “I transform into a voyeuristic actress fulfilling the desires of my male colleagues,” Beal explains. She uses just two video shots to tell the story. By focusing her camera on the banal and stripping the visuals down to a minimum, she’s able to use the audio to maximum effect, leaving much to the imagination of the viewer.

Beal projected this video, along with her more recent (and equally compelling) “9 to 5″ video, at the National Geographic Photography Seminar last month in Washington, DC.

She explained at that seminar that her work is intended to push conversation about the experience of women of color in corporate America, particularly about issues that people are afraid to talk about. Beal credited Tod Papageorge with pushing her to use photography to explore her own experiences while she was enrolled in the MFA photography program at Yale.

“I said, ‘[Those experiences are] so intimate and personal to me,’” she recounted. “He said, ‘Those are the stories that need to be told.’ So I took the risk. I had no idea that something so personal and private could be universally translated, that other people could understand, that a minority woman could speak to the universal.

“The history of photography for minority women is still being written,” she continued. “I think about Deborah Willis, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Deana Lawson, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson–all these wonderful women. But our book is really short. If I can add a couple of photographs to that narrative, then I’ve done my job.”

Related:
Look3: Carrie Mae Weems on Race, Sexuality, History and Finding Meaningful Work

February 6th, 2015

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

From "Last One Standing," a story by Newspaper Photographer of the Year Brad Vest about families living in the Foote Homes housing development in Memphis. ©Brad Vest/The Commercial Appeal

From “Last One Standing,” a story by Newspaper Photographer of the Year Brad Vest about families living in the Foote Homes housing development in Memphis. ©Brad Vest/The Commercial Appeal

Brad Vest of The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tennessee has won Newspaper Photographer of the Year honors at the 72nd annual Pictures of the Year International competition. Vest’s portfolio stood out for its journalistic and esthetic quality, POYi organizers said in a statement released on Friday evening.

Runners-up for the award were Michael Robinson Chavez of the Los Angeles Times, who won second place; and Lisa Krantz of the San Antonio Express-News, who took third place.

Judging for the POYi competition began at the University of Missouri on February 2, and will continue through February 20. Judging for the News Division categories ends later today.

Winners of other News Division categories so far include Bulent Kilic, who won first place in the Spot News category for his dramatic photograph of an air strike against ISIS militants near the Turkish border; and Alexey Furman, first place winner in the Portrait category for his photograph of a woman who survived the shelling of her home in eastern Ukraine.

Philip Montgomery won first place in the Feature category for an image from the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, while Evgeniy Maloletka won top hones in the General News category for a graphic image from the scene of the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine last summer.

Organizers will officially announce the names of all winners after the judging is complete on February 20.

Winners PDN was able to identify of categories judged so far in the News Division include:

Feature: Philip Montgomery (1); Toni Greaves (2); Kevin Frayer (3)
General News: Evgeniy Maloletka (1); Andreas Bardell (2); unidentified* (3)
World Health: Pete Muller (1); unidentified* (2); John Moore (3)
Portrait: Alexey Furman (1); Philip Montgomery (2); Asa Sjöström (3)
Portrait Series: Victoria Will (1); Marcus Trappaud Bjørn (2); Pieter ten Hoopen (3)
Spot News: Bulent Kilic (1); Moises Saman (2); Anastasia Vlasova (3)
Human Conflict: William Daniels (1); Bulent Kilic (2); Andrey Stenin (3)
News Picture Story–Newspaper: unidentified* (1); Marcus Yam (2); Marcus Yam (3)
Issue Reporting Picture Story–Newspaper: Brad Vest (1); Lisa Krantz (2); unidentified (3)
Feature Picture Story–Newspaper: Stiller Ákos (1); Spencer Heaps (2); Mads Nissen (3)
Photographer of the Year–Newspaper: Brad Vest (1); Michael Robinson Chavez (2); Lisa Krantz (3)

Judging for sports category entries began over the weekend, and ends today (Monday). Reportage Division entries will be judged later this week, while Editing Division entries will be judged during the week of February 16.

*Readers: Please help us identify these winners.

February 5th, 2015

Canon 5Ds Takes Aim at Medium Format with 50-Megapixel Sensor

HR_5DS_5DS_R_COMBINATION_CLAfter making their obligatory appearance on the Internet rumor mill, Canon officially launched the 5Ds and 5Ds R, a pair of high-resolution DSLRs based on the 5D Mark III, in advance of the CP+ Show in Japan.

The new 5Ds and 5Ds R will have mostly the same build and feature set as the 5D Mark III but will use a 50-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor of Canon’s own design. The 5Ds R will have a low pass filter cancellation affect to soak up even more resolution (more on that in a minute).

According to Canon, the cameras will offer a 4.14 micron pixel pitch, giving them roughly the same pixel density as the new 7D Mark II. However, the new 5Ds and 5Ds R won’t offer the low light performance of either the 7D Mark II or the 5D Mark III — instead, they’ll top out at a native ISO of 6400, with  a high setting of 12,800 and a low of 50. Canon says that noise levels in the cameras will fall short of the performance of the 5D Mark III or 1-Ds but be comparable to the 7D Mark II, as will the dynamic range.

Powered by a pair of Digic 6 processors, the 5Ds and 5Ds R will offer 5 frames per second continuous shooting as well as 1080p video recording at 30 fps. However, Canon was quick to emphasize that the video capabilities of the new cameras will be sharply limited compared to the 5D Mark III. They won’t offer movie servo AF, clean HDMI output or headphone jacks.

Movie makers won’t be completely neglected however. Canon is debuting a new time-lapse movie mode in these cameras that lets you select how many frames you want in the movie as well as the interval between those frames.

HR_5DS_EF24-70_3Q_CLBoth models will feature a 3-inch display, a CF and SD card slot (with newly added support for UHS-1 cards), and USB 3.o connectivity. Sharpness settings have also been enhanced. Photographers can now adjust sharpness along three specific vectors — strength, fineness and threshold. Automatic white balance has been improved with the addition of ambience or white priority.

As mentioned above, both the 5Ds and 5Ds R will be built from the 5D Mark III’s body with a few subtle tweaks designed primarily to keep the camera as stable as possible during shooting. The mirror will be motor driven, not spring driven, to soften its impact when it moves internally. The mirror lock setting has also been upgraded. In prior Canon cameras, to lock the mirror you had to tap the shutter twice. While that setting is still available, there’s also a menu to set a delayed automatic second shutter. You can designate the interval between when you lock the mirror and when the shutter releases a second time. The ultimate effect, Canon says, is to reduce vibrations when using a tripod.

Finally, the internal chassis, base plate and tripod socket have been reinforced to make the cameras rest more securely on tripods.

The 5Ds R will have a specialized “low pass filter cancellation effect” that increases the apparent sharpness of its images relative to the 5Ds. Canon didn’t ditch the low pass filter entirely, they said, in order to avoid a costly redesign of the camera body. As such, the 5Ds R will be aimed especially at landscape photographers who want a super-sharp image and who don’t shoot repeating patterns as the lack of a low-pass filter will make the 5Ds R more susceptible to moire, Canon warned.

Both models will arrive in June. The 5Ds will retail for $3,699 and is available for pre-order now. The 5Ds R will set you back $3,899 and is also available for pre-order.

Do these strike you as medium format killers? Let us know what you think.

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February 5th, 2015

Canon Rebel T6s and T6i Take Their Place at Top of Rebel Lineup

HR_T6s_EFS18-135_IS_STM_3QFLASH_CLThe Canon Rebel T6s and T6i will join the compay’s three Rebels currently in the lineup as the new top-of-the-line enthusiast models in April.

The new T6s and T6i will share a number of features, including a new APS-C-sized 24.2-megapixel CMOS image sensor and a Digic 6 processor. The cameras will use an updated Hybrid CMOS AF III technology for speedy autofocus in still and video modes that is similar to the Dual Pixel CMOS AF found on its higher-end cameras (such as the revamped Cinema EOS C100 Mark II).

Additional shared features include:

  • A native ISO range of 100-12,800 with an expansion to 25,600
  • An upgraded 7,650 pixel exposure metering sensor
  • A 3-inch, 1.04 million dot, vari-angle touch screen display
  • Faster live view for stills and movies
  • Continuous shooting at 5 fps
  • 1080p video recording at up to 60 fps with clean HDMI output
  • Wi-Fi with NFC
  • Flicker detection to compensate for sodium and mercury vapor light sources
  • Distortion correction for stills and videos
  • Miniature effect now available when shooting movies
  • An Intelligent Viewfinder that overlays camera data on top of the optical viewfinder.
  • A new Color Tone Detection AF mode that scans 19 AF points and identifies objects with skin tones to focus on instead of simply the nearest available object.

The T6s will add a few additional features to its bill of goods, including servo AF during burst mode in live view, an electronic level, and an HDR movie effect. The T6s body will set you back $850 or $1,200 with an 18-135mm lens.

The T6i will retail for $750 for the body, $899 with an 18-55mm lens or $1,100 with  an 18-135mm lens.

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February 5th, 2015

PDN Video Pick: Vincent Morisset’s Interactive “Way to Go”

Promotional still from "Way to Go"

Promotional still from “Way to Go”

When you travel from point A to point B, what do you see? How does the experience change when the route becomes familiar? These are questions asked in “Way to Go,” a new interactive video project funded by the National Film Board of Canada and premiered at the recent Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier program.

Part film, part game, “Way To Go” takes players through a 3D environment with a 2D character, following a predetermined path through an immersive, interactive environment. Players control a blockheaded animated figure, deciding whether to walk, run, stop, jump, fly, or investigate elements in the environment recorded on video.

“I’m really interested in the notion of space and time,” says Vincent Morisset, the project’s director, “and how we relate to our environment in real life, and if there was a way to transport or put into perspective this really universal premise of going from point A to point B.”

The visuals—art directed by Caroline Robert—are a striking mix of video footage, hand-drawn animation and live GL effects. Morisset captured the live video with a DIY pole-mounted 360-degree camera rig comprised of six GoPro cameras. He’s visible in the game as the black figure holding a pole that follows the main character everywhere through the interactive universe.

“In 2015 it’s less and less easy to get lost, we’re constantly knowing where we are,” Morisset says. “There’s something to the line and the path that resonates with how we deal with our environment.” As the character is confined to traversing the universe along a pre-determined path, the exploration is in the changing perspective—what do you run past, what do you stop and investigate?

The NFB previewed the project at a virtual reality at Sundance’s New Frontier utilizing the Oculus Rift VR headset. While the game is playable on any computer with a Web browser, the Oculus experience took full advantage of the 360-degree camera footage to provide a truly immersive experience.

Sounds are synced to the movements of the character. Composer Phillipe Lambert designed a Euclidean rhythm console so that the complex rhythms interweave seamlessly with the pace and movements of the character.

Lambert, Robert and Morisset, along with Édouard Lanctôt (a developer and technical director), make up AATOAA, Morisset’s Montreal-based digital studio. Their commercial clients include Red Bull and Google, and they’ve produced an interactive video for Arcade Fire’s “Just a Reflektor.” “Way to Go” is the team’s second personal project; their first, “BLA BLA,” was an interactive short film exploring human communication.

To experience “Way to Go” yourself, visit a-way-to-go.com. For more on the interactive projects produced with support from the National Film Board of Canada, visit: www.nfb.ca/interactive.

Promotional still from "Way to Go"

Promotional still from “Way to Go”

February 5th, 2015

Ricoh Full Frame DSLR to Be Shown at CP+ Show, New Lenses Too

Visitors to the CP+ Show in Japan next week will get a glimpse at a forthcoming Ricoh full frame DSLR.

Details about the new camera were sparse. Ricoh said it would be a K-mount camera compatible with DA-series lenses using a cropping function. We can expect it by the end of this year.

pentax70Ricoh was more forthcoming about a pair of new K-mount telephoto lenses that will hit the market next month.

First up is the HD PENTAX-D FA* 70-200mm F2.8ED DC AW, a constant aperture lens that Ricoh claims will offer the highest image quality of any of its lenses thanks to a new optical design. It employs Aero Bright Coating II to minimize reflectance, four super-low dispersion glass elements and two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements.

It also features a pair of new Super ED glass elements to combat chromatic aberration.

The lens is dustproof and uses 13 seals to keep nasty weather at bay. It uses an internal focusing mechanism and an AF limiter switch to improve autofocus response time. You can use a Quick-Shift focus system to dial in focus manually after the lens has autofocused. The system features three modes: QFS/A, QFS/M and MF. Set to QFS/A  and you can switch to manual-focusing only when autofocus is finished. In QFS/M you can manually focus the lens at any time. Finally, in MF mode you can jump into full manual focusing with a twist of the lens ring.

The 70-200mm will cost $2,300.

Next up is the HD PENTAX-D FA 150-450mm F4.5-5.6ED DC AW, which delivers a 35mm equivalent focal length of 230-690mm. It uses three ED elements and one super-low dispersion glass element to reduce spherical and chromatic aberration.

According to Ricoh, the image circle is optimized to cover even the image size of 35mm film-format SLR cameras. As the result, it will be able to mount to the company’s future full frame DSLR “without modifications.” It employs 21 seals to protect its innards from inclement weather as well as the Quick-Shift focus system detailed above. There are four AF buttons on the lens barrel — one at every 90 degrees — so you can quickly focus no matter what position you’re holding the camera in.

The 150-450mm lens will set you back $2,500 and is available for pre-order now. Have at look at this monster below.

DFA150-450

February 5th, 2015

The Samsung NX500 Brings NX1 Guts to Smaller Body

EV-NX500_007_Right-Angle_BlackSamsung has taken some of the core functionality of its flagship NX1 mirrorless camera and squeezed it into a more compact body in the new NX500.

Like the NX1, the NX500 uses an APS-C-sized 28-megapixel backside illuminated CMOS image sensor with a native ISO range of 100 to 25,600 (expandable to 51,200). It records 4K (4096×2160) movies at a cinematic 24 fps, UHD (3840×2160) video at up to 30fps and 1920×1080 HD video at up to 60fps using the new HEVC codec. The camera will output a 1080/30 fps 4:2:0 signal from the HDMI port, but is unable to output 4K or UHD video via HDMI.

The NX500 won’t be quite as fast as the NX1 but it will still crank at a very respectable 9 fps with a maximum shutter speed of 1/6000 sec. The camera will sport a 3-inch, Super AMOLED touch screen display that flips up for — you guessed it — selfies. There’s also Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity on hand for pairing with mobile devices.

Design-wise, the NX500 is far more consumer-oriented than the weather-sealed and dialed bedecked NX1 (a review of which will appear in the March issue of PDN).

The NX500 is available for $800 and includes a 16-50mm power zoom lens. It will be sold in brown, white and black bodies. It’s available for pre-order now.

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