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.


January 5th, 2016

CES 2016: 360fly Intros 4K Virtual Reality Action Camera

360fly for web

One of the major themes of CES 2016 is unquestionably the exploding field of virtual reality and while recent introductions from the likes of Lytro have focused on high-end, cinematic VR, 360Fly is bringing 360-degree imaging to the action cam masses.

At CES, 360Fly updated its 360-degree camera to offer higher, 4K resolutions. The waterproof VR action cam has four times the resolution of the original model and delivers 2880×2880, 360-degree video at 30fps.

The camera will offer a front-facing mode for shooting 16:9 aspect ratio video at
2560×1440 resolution with a field of view of 178×100 degrees (204 diagonal). There’s also a time-lapse mode with user-selectable intervals of 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 or 60-seconds. The camera has a motion and audio detection trigger to begin filming automatically when it senses motion or sound. An on-board accelerometer can also activate recording when the user shakes the camera.

Additional features include:
* built-in GPS for geo-tagging
* barometer/altimeter
* new color-coded lighting around the OnePush button and bottom of the mounting dock to more easily distinguish camera settings.

Unlike bulky VR rigs, the 360fly uses a single f/2.5 fixed aperture lens and captures a surrounding scene with no stitching required on the part of the user. It pairs with a mobile device (iOS and Android) where 360-degree stills and video can be viewed and shared.

The camera can connect to an optional Micro-HDMI accessory base to
output a real-time full 360-degree HD video stream for live view/live streaming purposes.The camera has a two-hour battery life and footage is saved to 32GB worth of internal memory. It connects to a range of GoPro-compatible mounts, is drop proof up to 1.5 meters and can be submerged in up to 90 feet of water.

It will retail for $499.

Follow PDN’s CES 2016 coverage here.

January 5th, 2016

Seagate Unveils Worlds Thinnest 2TB Portable Drive

Unlike the rest of those early January gym goers huffing on the treadmill, Seagate’s newest portable hard drive can already fit it its skinny clothes–and yours as well.

The company’s new Backup Plus Ultra Slim external drive, introduced at CES, measures in at 9.6mm thick, 50 percent thinner than rival 2TB drives, Seagate claims.

The drive includes Seagate Dashboard software for backing up your laptop or desktop. It also includes 200GB worth of free storage on Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud for two years.

It will come in either a golden or platinum metal finish. Prices haven’t been finalized but the drives are said to ship in the first quarter.


Seagate-owned Lacie made its own CES introduction, albeit it one with a bit more girth.

The new Lacie Chrome desktop storage device features a pair of 500GB SSD drives configured in RAID 0. Together, the drives and USB 3.1 connection can deliver transfer speeds up to 940MB/s or, as Lacie put it, the ability to ingest two hours of 4K GoPro footage in just over a minute.

The Chrome uses the new USB-C connection (learn about USB-C and what it means for photographers here)  and includes a standard USB 3.0 (Type-A) adapter cable if you don’t have the newest USB hardware.

The Chrome enclosure is built from solid chromed zinc and is hand assembled, then chromed to a mirror polish.

The 1TB drive will retail for $1,100 and ships this quarter.


LaCie also unveiled a new line of Porsche Designed drives with the new USB-C connector (and an included Type-A connector cable). The drives will be sold in both mobile and desktop varieties and feature all-aluminum enclosures that’s scratch resistant and dissipates heat.

When the drives are connected to a power supply, they’ll be able to charge any connected laptop over USB, allowing users to both charge their computer and access the drive’s contents simultaneously.

The LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive will be available in 1TB, 2TB and 4TB capacities starting at $110. The LaCie Porsche Design Desktop Drive comes in 4TB, 5TB and 8TB capacities starting at $210. The drives will be available starting in March.


Follow PDN’s CES 2016 coverage here.


January 5th, 2016

Here’s What Canon Brought to CES 2016


Canon’s CES slate was a mostly consumer-oriented affair, with several low-cost ultra-zoom PowerShots introduced alongside a new HD video camera.

The PowerShot SX540 HS boasts a 50x optical zoom lens (equivalent to 24-1200mm) with optical image stabilization and a new 20.3-megapixel CMOS sensor. It incorporates a DIGIC 6 processor, a 3-inch display, Wi-Fi and NFC. Video recording is available at resolutions up to 1920x1080p60.

A new Story Highlights feature automatically builds a highlight reel of your images in-camera. A Hybrid Auto mode records a short video clip before each still photo and compiles them together to make a short highlight reel.

The PowerShot SX540 HS will ship in March for $400.

If you need a bit less reach, the PowerShot SX410 IS offers a 42x optical zoom lens (equivalent to 24-1008mm) with image stabilization and a 20-megapixel sensor.

The camera features Canon’s DIGIC 4+ processor, Wi-Fi and NFC plus 720p video recording and a 3-inch display. It ships in February for $300.

HR_VIXIA_HF_G40_3Q_CLThe VIXIA HF G40 video camera records 1080p60 in either MP4 or AVCHD formats and features a built-in 20x zoom lens.

It features:
* an HD CMOS PRO Image Sensor
* the same DIGIC DV 4 Image processor used in Canon’s XA35 and XA30 pro video cameras
* five axis image stabilization system with a dynamic mode to reduce distortion while walking
* a 3.5–inch OLED touch panel screen
* a tilting EVF , user-friendly, high resolution color Electronic View Finder (EVF).
* Zebra stripes, color bars and test tone
* focus peaking
* two SD card slots
* 1200x slow motion recording
* custom function buttons

Canon has also added new Looks settings, including Highlight Priority which delivers an HDR effect, and a Wide DR Gamma mode that boosts the dynamic range to 600 percent compared to the 300 percent on its predecessor. Both modes will help videographers reclaim details ordinarily lost to over or under-exposure.

The HF G40 will ship in February for $1,399.

The company will also add three new consumer camcorders in its Vixia RF lineup and reaffirmed its commitment to low cost, compact digital cameras, unveiling several new Digital Elphs. You can read about them here.

Follow PDN’s CES 2016 coverage here.

January 4th, 2016

Photographer Sues Richard Prince Over Instagram Rip-offs… At Last

"Rastafarian Smoking a Joint" ©Donald Graham

“Rastafarian Smoking a Joint” ©Donald Graham

Photographer Donald Graham has sued appropriation artist Richard Prince and his gallerist Lawrence Gagosian for copyright infringement of a photo that appeared without Graham’s authorization on Instagram, and then in a gallery exhibition of Prince’s appropriation work.

Prince drew public complaints and vitriol last year for unauthorized reproduction, display and sale of a series of 67 x 55-inch inkjet prints of Instagram “screen saves” of images by other artists and photographers. But Graham is the first to sue.

The Los Angeles-based photographer filed suit in federal court in New York on December 30, alleging unauthorized use of a 1996 photograph (shown here) of a Rastafarian man lighting a joint. Graham alleges in his claim that a third party posted his photograph on Instagram without permission, and that Prince copied and enlarged that unauthorized photo and displayed it as part of his 2014 “New Portraits” exhibition.

Graham’s complaint calls Prince out for “his blatant disregard for copyright law” and goes on to say that “Mr. Prince consistently and repeatedly has incorporated others’ works” into his own works, without permission, credit or compensation. Read the rest of this entry »

January 4th, 2016

CES 2016: DJI Debuts Phantom 3 4K and New Inspire 1 Drones

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 3.10.47 PM

DJI got a jump on CES with new versions of its Phantom and Inspire 1 photography drones.

First up is the Phantom 3 4K, the newest member in of Phantom fleet. It is closely related to the existing Phantom 3 Professional in the specs department, but uses a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi video downlink  with a range of 0.75 miles. That’s less than the Lightbridge downlink available on the current Phantom 3 Professional, which has a range of 3.1 miles.

The video preview signal will also be lower quality on the new Phantom 3 4K  (480p30 vs. 720p30 on the Phantom 3 Professional). The new Phantom 3 4K has a slightly better flying time–it’s rated for 25 minutes vs. 23 minutes for the Phantom 3 Professional. It will retail for $999.

You can view a complete comparison of the Phantom 3 lineup here.

The higher-end Inspire 1 drone has also been updated with two new versions that will carry DJI’s newest Zenmuse X5 and X5R cameras aloft.

The Inspire 1 Pro ($4499) will include the X5 camera, which features a Micro Four Thirds lens mount and 16-megapixel MFT-sized sensor. Since the camera/gimbal are heavier than the original X3 camera introduced on the Inspire 1, the Inspire 1 Pro will have a slightly shorter flying time at 15 minutes.

The Inspire 1 RAW will come with the X5R camera, which is similar to the X5 but incorporates an option for RAW video recording to SSD memory. Flight times are pegged between 13-15 minutes. Pricing wasn’t available on the X5R.

Read more:

Hands-on with the Inspire 1 Drone

December 31st, 2015

Great Photo and Filmmaking Reads for Your First 2016 Weekend

Michael Beckwith | Flickr

Michael Beckwith | Flickr


As we look forward to the new year, we’ve gathered up several good reads from around the web that caught our eye this week. Happy New Year!

The Best Photojournalism of 2015: How the Images Were MadeThe Guardian

What the Revenant Producer Tells First Time FilmmakersIndieWire

The Future of Computational PhotographyLens

An Honest Look at Rejection for FilmmakersShoHawk

How Photography and Science Grow Hand-in-HandFinancial Times

The Tech That Will Shape How You Work in 2016Rangefinder

See past Weekend Reads here.


December 29th, 2015

In Memoriam: John Chervinsky, Physics Engineer and Photographer, 54

John Chervinsky, an engineer whose photographs exploring the nature of time were exhibited around the U.S., died December 21 at the age of 54. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer, according to the Griffin Museum of Photography, which administers a scholarship in his name.

Chervinsky balanced his loves of art and science while pursuing two careers. He ran a particle accelerator at Harvard University for 18 years, and then went to work for Harvard’s Rowland Institute for Science. Long interested in photography, he primarily shot street photos until 2001. In that year, a series of tragedies inspired him to spend more time in a studio he set up in his attic, as he told Lenscratch in a 2011 article. In 2003, he enrolled in Photography Atelier, a program for emerging to advanced photographers then offered through Lesley University in Boston. He began fashioning images that explored and expanded the camera’s ability to freeze a moment time. His images have been exhibited at CordenPotts Gallery, Blue Sky Gallery, PhotoEye Project Gallery, the Griffin Museum of Photography and other exhibition spaces.

In a 2013 interview with photographer Barbara Davidson for Framework, the photo blog of the Los Angeles Times, Chervinsky explained the method he used to create the still-life images in his “Studio Physics” series.

“My process is as follows:
1) Compose and photograph a still life.
 2) Crop a subset of the image and send it to a painting factory in China.
3) Wait for an anonymous artist in China to complete an actual oil painting of the cropped section, and send it to me in the mail.
 4) Reinsert the painting into the original setup and re-photograph.”

By the time he re-photographed the set up, the elements of his still life—an arrangement of fruit or bundles of flowers—would have begun to rot and fade. In his series “An Experiment in Perspective,” he used an overhead projector to project shapes onto a wall that he would then trace with chalk. “If I stood at just the right spot with my camera, it appeared to be hovering in a different plane out from the surfaces of the walls,” he explained. He then combined his markings of circles, squares and cylinders with real, three-dimensional objects.

As he told Aline Smithson of Lenscratch, “Conceptually, the work deals with the divide between rational or scientific explanations of existence and man’s need to explain the world around him with various systems of belief.”

(This week, Lenscratch published reminiscences of Chervinsky by colleagues and friends, “John Chervinsky, Celebrating a Life.”)

Chervinsky’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Portland Museum of Art in Oregon, List Visual Art Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Santa Barbara Museum of Art and other public and private collections.

The Griffin Museum administers the John Chervinsky Emerging Photographer Award, which each year provides a photographer tuition-free enrollment in Photography Atelier, an exhibition at the Griffin Museum, and a photo book selected from Chervinsky’s personal library.

© John Chervinsky

An Experiment in Perspective, John Chervinsky’s self-published book. © John Chervinsky

December 29th, 2015

The Bestselling Item in Amazon’s Camera Department During the Holidays Was Film


That’s right.

Amazon has released its holiday sales recap, filled with fun facts like: “customers purchased enough women’s boots this holiday season that, if stacked on top of each other, they would be high enough to reach the orbit of the International Space Station” and “during Cyber Monday, Amazon.com customers purchased one Adele CD every three seconds.”

Just as dramatic, a pack of film took top honors in the camera department. Fujifilm’s INSTAX Mini Instant Film Twin Pack – White was the top seller, followed by the GoPro Hero4 Silver and a head strap for the GoPro.

It’s a fairly striking dichotomy and further proof, if it was needed, that film is not dead.

Read More:

Meet the FilmToaster, Like No Film Scanner You’ve Seen

Surprise: People Really Want Instant Film Cameras

Inside the Mind of a Film Shooter Today