News aggregator

Primax Electronics to manufacture dual-camera in iPhone 7, reports say

DPReview News - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 10:46

According to a report on the Chinese-language publication Economic Daily News that has been quoted by Digitimes, Taiwanese company Primax Electronics will be the manufacturer of at least some of the dual-camera modules in the upcoming iPhone 7. 

Primax recently increased its production capacity for camera modules by 10 percent and can now supply approximately 12 million units per month. Apparently about 70 percent of the manufactured modules come with a 13MP resolution which could be an indication for where the iPhone is going in terms of camera resolution. That said, Apple is not Primax's only customer. 

After an abundance of camera-related iPhone 7 rumors over the past few months it now seems pretty well established that the smaller 4.7" model will feature a conventional camera with optical image stabilization and the larger 'Plus' model will come with a dual-camera setup. There is no information yet on how the latter will be used but the dual cam could offer optical zoom, as on the LG G5, improve image detail and reduce noise, like on the Huawei P9, or simulate a narrow depth-of-field, like on the HTC One M8 and a number of other dual-camera phones.

Categories: Photo Gear News

DJI opens drone flying and training arena in South Korea

DPReview News - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 10:28

Chinese drone manufacturer DJI has opened a new facility in South Korea that allows drone owners to learn more about flying their craft. The DJI Arena offers 1395 square meters/15016 square feet of dedicated space for education as well as obstacle courses for those wanting to show off and practice their aerial navigation skills. Situated in Yongin 20 miles south of Seoul, the arena will host an academy for pilots between the ages of 8 and 16, as well as individual and group sessions for adults, schools and businesses.

DJI claims it wants to ‘make aerial technology more accessible, reliable and easier to use for anyone who wants to use it’ and to ‘play an important role in building a healthy UAV ecosystem in Korea.’ The company provides drones for those on education programs while others will need to bring their own. Members of the public can book three-hours sessions that cost the equivalent of $13.50 per person.

For more information see a translated version of the DJI Arena website.

Press release:

DJI Arena Officially Opens in Korea

Providing a safe and fun environment for new pilots and aerial enthusiasts DJI, the world leader in unmanned aerial vehicle technology, officially opened its first DJI Arena in Korea to the public today. The facility aims to provide a gathering place for aerial enthusiasts as well as a practice venue for those who are learning about aerial technology such as first time pilots.

“The DJI Arena will help foster the local drone culture and play an important role in building a healthy UAV ecosystem in Korea,” said DJI Korea Country Manager Moon Tae-hyun. “

He continued, “The opening of the DJI Arena is our commitment to the development of the local UAV market. There is huge potential in how UAV technologies can change the way people see the world and create positive impact to people's lives. Our goal is to make aerial technology more accessible, reliable and easier to use for anyone who wants to use it.”

The 1,395-square-meter arena offers an adjustable LED-lit circuit for pilots who want to test their skills, LCD TVs that show spectators the first-person view from the drone, and a maintenance room equipped with charging docks and workstation for minor repairs.

Details on the Different Programs, Fees and Availability:
* Individual & Group Booking: Visitors are required to make reservations via an online application form ( For those visiting from outside of Korea, reservations can be made via by including their full name, expected date and time of arrival, and number of participants. The reservation will be confirmed upon confirmation of the venue’s availability. Each booking session is for three hours and the entrance fee is 15,000 KRW (USD 13.50) per person per session. The maximum capacity of each session is 12 people and will be given on a first come first serve basis. The availability of individual and group booking is 7pm to 10pm on weekdays and 10am to 8pm on weekends.

* Corporate Event Rental: Rental for corporate and special events is available between 10am-8pm all week. The minimum venue rental fee is 500,000 KRW (USD 452) for 30 people and 30,000 KRW (USD 27) per additional participant. Booking must be made two weeks in advanced.

* Flying Academy: Children between ages 8 to 16 can also learn about DJI’s aerial technologies and become a skilled pilot. As part of the program, participants will learn the features of the Phantom 4, safety tips and best practices, and complete a total of eight practice sessions during the course of one month. The Flying Academy will commence later in September.

* Private Training: DJI’s professional pilot will be available for 1:1 training if participants prefer a more tailored program. To start, participants will learn how to fly the Phantom 4, one of the most intelligent and easy-to-fly consumer drone with features such as ActiveTrack, TapFly, Obstacle Avoidance and a Sport Mode.

* School Tours: DJI Arena is the perfect place for students to learn about UAV technologies and a great venue if schools are looking for an educational and fun experience for their students’ next field trip. The program can be tailored for the school with booking done in advance. Each session usually runs for two to three hours depending on the number of participants.

Visitors are required to bring their own drones for individual and group bookings while DJI will provide the Phantom 4 for participants in the educational programs. For corporate events and activities that require special set-up, please contact for more information and availability.

The DJI Arena is located at 441 Mabuk-dong, Giheung-gu, Yongin City, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. The venue will be open for public tours between 5pm - 9pm this Thu Aug 18 and Fri Aug 19.

For more info or reservations, please email or visit

DJI expanded its retail business in Korea just earlier this year with the launch of its first overseas flagship store in Hongdae, Seoul. The Korea Flagship store has become a gathering place for aerial enthusiasts across different demographics, from recreational users to those seeking to start their own business using DJI’s platforms to retirees looking for their next hobby.

Categories: Photo Gear News

Picturelife shutters service, user content migrates to SmugMug

DPReview News - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 10:15

Photo storage and management service Picturelife has shut down after a few years of operation, citing 'a challenging economic environment' as the cause. All of Picturelife's products have already been shuttered, however users' photos and videos have not been lost. 'A few weeks ago,' the company explains, 'we reached an agreement with SmugMug to provide you with a way to recover your photo and video memories.'

Picturelife’s now-former users can access their photos and videos for free through SmugMug’s service without obligation here; the Picturelife account login information is required. The content is made available for free under SmugMug’s two-week trial, after which point the service is available at various prices. Picturelife users are being offered a discounted $2/month subscription option for their first year of SmugMug service.

Speaking about the migration, SmugMug’s CEO Don MacAskill said, ‘For us, this is not about customer acquisition, it’s about doing the right thing and helping the photography community keep their photos safe. We weren’t interested in acquiring Picturelife’s business, but wanted to help our fellow photographers, and so we offered our services to help make that happen.’

Categories: Photo Gear News

Blog Note

The Online Photographer - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 06:15
TOP gets underway for the Fall season tomorrow, Wednesday, August 24th. (I had earlier said today, but you know—day late, dollar short....) —Mike, TOP chargé d'affaires Michael Johnston
Categories: Photography

One iconic moment, two viral photos: Rio photographers capture Bolt's smile

DPReview News - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 04:00

The Rio Olympics have come to a close, and there's no doubt that these summer games have been memorable. World records were smashed, heroes were made and the best sports photographers in the game captured it all. But what may go down as one of the most memorable images from the games is actually two photos, captured by two photographers a fraction of a second apart.

Photo by Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuter's. Embed from Getty Images

Cameron Spencer of Getty Images and Kai Pfaffenbach of Reuter's snapped nearly identical photos of Bolt and his grin as he neared the finish line of the 100m race. It's not easy to spot the difference until you notice that Bolt's right hand is sharp in one image and blurred in the other.

Naturally, the nuance was entirely lost on the internet, particularly on Twitter where the photos quickly became the subject of countless memes. As is the way with memes, both photos went viral without credit to either of the photographers who took them. The dual photos even confused a well-meaning Sports Illustrated writer who gave credit to Spencer while tweeting the photo taken by Pfaffenbach. After the error was brought to his attention he issued an apology.

Most news coverage used (and credited) Spencer's photo. Articles that document the popularity of the meme mostly reference the Getty photo as well, even though Pfaffenbach's photo appears to have been used more widely.

Did you notice the different photos in circulation? Why do you think one photographer got more attention and credit for his photo? Let us know in the comments.

Categories: Photo Gear News

Canon applies to patent double-sided micro lenses designed for better edge performance

DPReview News - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 12:51

Canon engineers have developed a new design for the micro lenses it uses on imaging sensors that it claims will reduce vignetting and false coloration at the edges of the picture. The new designs have a bi-convex lens that uses the upper surface to collect light and the lower to channel the light more effectively to the photodiode. The patent application shows the lower face of the micro lenses with a convex surface featuring an off-center vertex. Canon says these would be placed at the edges of the sensor to direct light approaching from a steeper angle. The idea is to direct more of the light toward the photodiode than can be achieved with standard single-micro-lens designs.

As pixels have depth it can be difficult to channel light from the camera’s lens down the ‘well’ to reach the photodiode unless it approaches straight-on. When a pixel is positioned at the edge of the sensor array it becomes more difficult because light approaches from an extreme angle and can miss the photodiode, as the refractive index of the micro lens isn’t high enough to bend it directly down the well. Since certain colors experience different refractive indices, some wavelengths of light don't make it to the photodiode either. Thus, pixels outside the central area can report less light – and false colors – compared to those in the middle of the sensor.

Canon’s new dual micro lens design aims to take more control of the light as it enters and exits the micro lens, and to channel it in a more vertical direction down the well so that less is lost. This should in theory improve both vignetting and false coloration nearer to the edges of the image.

For more information see Canon's full patent application.

Extract from the patent:

The lower surface 102 of the microlens 103 has an asymmetrical shape with a position nearest to the photoelectric conversion device 104 (a position at which the thickness from a center plane 130 of the microlens 103 is the maximum) shifting from the center position of the microlens 103 to the central side of the pixel array 110A. The lower surface 102 of the microlens 103 has a convex shape with respect to the photoelectric conversion device 104.

Each microlens 103 is formed from a material having a higher refractive index than a material in contact with the lower surface 102 at a position between the microlens 103 and the photoelectric conversion device 104. The microlens 103 is formed from, for example, a color filter material.

The upper surface 101 of each microlens 103 has a convex shape with respect to the incident side of incident light. The incident light 111, incident light 121, and incident light 131 entering the microlens 103 from the same direction as that of the straight line 115 each are refracted by the upper surface 101 of the microlens 103 and focused onto the photoelectric conversion device 104. In this case, if the upper surface 101 of the microlens 103 lacks in refractive power with an increase in curvature radius, the lower surface 102 of the microlens 103 compensates for the refractive power to cause the incident light 111, 121, and 131 to enter the photoelectric conversion device 104. At this time, the refractive power of the lower surface 102 of the microlens 103 is larger than that of the upper surface 101 of the microlens 103. As described above, the microlens 103 can focus incident light onto the photoelectric conversion device 104 by using the upper surface 101 having a convex shape extending upward and the lower surface 102 having a convex shape extending downward with respect to the center plane 130.

Categories: Photo Gear News

ThinkTank updates Shape Shifter camera bags and offers 'naked' option

DPReview News - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 10:27
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Thanks to their use of individual pouches for camera bodies and lenses and the ability to expand their size, ThinkTank's Shape Shifter camera bags are known to be among the most versatile in the business. Now ThinkTank has funneled years of feedback from photographers into an update and released a new generation Shape Shifter line.

The series consists of three models: the Shape Shifter 15, the Shape Shifter 17, and the Naked Shape Shifter 17. Like their predecessors all new bags compress down to only three inches when empty and can be expanded in line with the amount of gear you carry on a shoot. They also come with a detachable water pouch, YKK RC-Fuse zippers, a removable waist belt, a tripod attachment and a rain cover. 

The Shape Shifter 15 holds a 15" laptop, a DSLR, three lenses and a 12-inch tablet plus accessories. The larger Shape Shifter 17 is good for a 17-inch laptop, up to two DSLRs, four lenses, tablet and all the cables, lens caps and other accessories you need. The Naked Shape Shifter 17 is even more versatile, as you can configure the bag in exactly the way you prefer by inserting ThinkTank's Skin Pouches and Lens Changers. The Shape Shifter 15 is available now for $250, the 17-inch model is $280 and the Naked version will set you back $220.

Categories: Photo Gear News

Pentax K-70 firmware 1.10 now available

DPReview News - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 10:15

Ricoh has released firmware version 1.10 for the Pentax K-70 camera. The update is a small one, bringing general stability improvements alongside a couple of minor changes. The download for Windows and Mac, as well as the installation instructions, are available here. The changelog lists the following updates:

  • Enabled ISO sensitivity to change during multiple exposures.
  • Optimized performance when attaching new lens HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mmF4.5-6.3ED PLM WR RE.
  • Improved stability for general performance

Pentax K-70 owners can check their camera’s current firmware version by pressing the menu button, followed by [Set-up 5], then [Firmware Info/Options]. In the Firmware Info menu, press the camera’s four-way controller to the right. 

Categories: Photo Gear News

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II: What you need to know

DPReview News - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 04:00

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is Canon’s flagship DSLR aimed at pro photographers, with a lineage dating all the way back to 2001’s EOS-1D. As usual, this iteration of the line is full of new and updated technologies designed to make it one of the top performing cameras in the world.

A quick glance through the headline features will tell you that this is a pretty amazing camera, and unsurprisingly that's pretty much what our review uncovered. But let's take a look at what impressed us most, what surprised us, and maybe even what disappointed us a little bit.

Touch screen innovation - conservative UI

The EOS-1D X II gains a touchscreen, which we've seen work well in conjunction with the excellent live view focus that Canon's Dual Pixel AF can bring. Sadly, and presumably in the name of backwards compatibility, its use is extremely limited.

Thus, you can customize the arrangement of the Q.Menu but can't operate it by touch. You can use the touchscreen to specify the AF position in live view mode, but the camera can't then track the subject and, unlike its Nikon counterpart, you can't double-tap to zoom nor swipe to switch images.

In fairness, the 1D X II is designed as the zenith of what the conventional DSLR can do. It's a traditional, sports-shooting super camera that will be immediately familiar to existing users of the series. But is that a reason to limit the utility of a feature that its new owners are having to pay for?

Autofocus needs careful configuration

The EOS-1D X II's autofocus is excellent, as you'd expect for a camera whose first major outing was to cover the multitude different sporting challenges of the Rio Olympics.

Configuration is easier than on the likes of the EOS-1D IV: you now need only choose from six preset use cases, then adjust them if they're not giving you the results you want, rather than just being confronted with the 75 different combinations that the settings allow.

However, in our testing, we found that it needed a bit more of a hand than Nikon's D5 for it to anticipate the type of movement it needed to shoot. And that, once suitably configured, it was less adaptable to other shooting situations. Which isn't to suggest it's not up to the job, just that it requires a little more user input to avoid situations such as this one, where biasing the predictive algorithm toward more erratic movement led to 6 out-of-focus shots because the camera confused a 2nd subject passing in front of the main subject as the main subject suddenly accelerating forward. 

We were also hoping the higher resolution metering sensor would increase the accuracy, of the camera's iTR focus tracking system. Sadly, the system still felt imprecise and tended to jump off the subject entirely. It works, but it's not as effective as the 3D autofocus on the Nikon D5, which may leave many users shooting their 1D X II the same way they always have - good old trustworthy single point AF.

Quick, easy video

The 1DX II can shoot DCI 4K video at 60 frames per second. It's the first stills camera we've seen that can do this and we were very impressed with the quality, detail and how little rolling shutter it exhibits. So, while we don't expect many people to buy this camera for video shooting, it does put very good quality video into the hands of photojournalists and sideline shooters (so long as TV rights deals don't prohibit it, of course).

And, beyond thinking of it as video, this means the 1D X II can shoot 8MP JPEGs at 60 frames per second with the camera refocusing as you shoot. Suddenly, rather than just using the touchscreen to rack focus between subjects, you can ask it to track subjects as you record and have a great chance of capturing your decisive moment.

Huge files, dual formats

High frame rate 4K isn't an unalloyed benefit, though. The 1D X II doesn't (or can't) compress video into a compact video format, instead taking the unusual route of using the huge, inefficient Motion JPEG format.

It's true that Motion JPEG gives slightly higher quality individual frame grabs even than All-I H.264 (where each frame is recorded individually), but the size cost for that gain is tremendous.

And this draws attention to the 1D X II's decision to use two different memory card formats. You'll need to use a CFast card to capture video at the camera's highest rate, just as you will to maximize the camera's buffer when 14 fps shooting. In which case, what do you use the second slot for? Even choosing to record JPEGs to the physically similar Compact Flash format while shooting Raw to a CFast risks slowing the camera down. Perhaps Canon should have been brave and made a dual CFast camera, even if that meant also offering a slower dual CompactFlash version.

Image Quality

The area we had least concern about was image quality (though the JPEGs seemed a little muted, by default.) Despite splitting every pixel in two and increasing the amount of circuitry, the 1D X II outperforms its predecessor in low light. That's not enough to quite match the best sensors we've seen but hey, you also gain that simple autofocus in video.

The other area in which the Mark II gains an edge over the original model is dynamic range. A move to on-sensor analog-to-digital conversion means that you get Raw files will more processing latitude at low ISOs. You can push, pull and manipulate your Raw files more than before without having to worry about noise becoming visible. Which is especially useful in unexpected or challenging light the X is likely to encounter.

Take Home Message

The EOS-1D X II exceeds its predecessor in just about every way, though not without a few compromises along the way.

We love the additional dynamic range we get out of the Raw files on this camera; it makes it a much more flexible tool in challenging lighting. We also love the CFast card slot, though we kind of wish Canon had gone all the way and just put in two of them. Also, while AF is blazing fast, there are enough customization options to make you dizzy at times; practice and familiarity will pay off.

Our biggest surprise was how much we liked the 1D X II as a video camera. Thanks to Dual Pixel autofocus, it's really easy to capture beautiful footage, even for someone who's not a video pro. This could be a real game changer for photographers who need to capture both stills and video from the same event, or extreme action photographers that will benefit from 60 fps 4K stills (JPEG) capture, with responsive AF no less!

What's your experience? Have a favorite feature or surprise from this camera? Tell us in the comments below?

Categories: Photo Gear News

World Photography Day

The Online Photographer - Sat, 08/20/2016 - 10:35
Yesterday was World Photography Day. It commemorates August 19th, 1839, when France released the patent for the Daguerreotype, the first viable photographic technology. As a curmudgeon-in-training I should be cynical about such things. However, I like World Photography Day. In... Michael Johnston
Categories: Photography

BREAKING! Colossal SNAFU! Epochal Breakdown! Scandal!

The Online Photographer - Sat, 08/20/2016 - 08:15
[Mike is on semi-vacation this week so TOP is on half-speed till Wednesday the 24th.] "Michael Phelps, the crown jewel of Under Armour's Olympic athletes, is wearing Nike sweatpants, swoosh and all, on the cover of the latest Sports Illustrated... Michael Johnston
Categories: Photography

Review: Simple Booth Event Edition photo booth app

DPReview News - Sat, 08/20/2016 - 04:00
Simple Booth Event Edition iOS App
$60/£45 | 

Photo booths are a pretty popular item to have at your event these days. Weddings, parties, fundraisers – you'll find a photo booth at many of them. From a simple camera on a tripod with a remote to fancier automated systems that take multiple images and print instantly, people seem to love being able to control their own image making. Could it be the result of selfie-obsession on steroids? Or is it nostalgia for the chemical-photography based photo booths of our past? Either way, people are fascinated by them. Because of this, having the ability to set up your own booth could make you the star of your office holiday party, PTA fundraiser, or child's birthday.

Into that popularity steps Simple Booth. Simple Booth is an iOS app designed to place all of the software you need to take, layout, share and print photo booth images into the hardware of your iOS device. There are four versions of the app with varying capabilities (one for the iPhone and three for the iPad): iPhone, Event Edition, Pro Edition 2, and Enterprise. Simple Booth Event Edition is the version I focus on in this article. It is the best choice for a photo enthusiast who wants to set up a photo booth. The iPhone version is pretty limited and while the Pro and Enterprise versions offer a number of additional options, they are probably overkill for anyone who isn't running a photo booth business.

What does Simple Booth do?

When you start the Simple Booth app, you are presented with a setup screen with a number of options for how the app will work and your images to be laid out. You can choose 2/3/4 image photostrips for the classic booth style. For a more modern look, there are also a number of other multi image options in square or rectangular layouts. You have are options for setting background color, auto cropping, custom logos, and even Instagram-style film effects. You can also give your users the ability to crop, change the layout, and apply effects once the photos are taken. Though, to be honest, this doesn't lend itself to the quick in-and-out pace of photo booths and I would suggest leaving that option off. I tend to feel the same way about the "retake" option, it encourages picky people to monopolize the booth trying to get the perfect photos.

For output, you can set up a printer (more on that option below), send to various social media services, email, or sync to dropbox. You can also tell the app to save each individual image taken to the camera roll as well as saving the photostrips. Honestly, the print option is the winner here. The social media options require people to mess around logging into their accounts, thus taking up time in the booth when others are waiting, and the email has to use the iOS mail app. Now, if you have an extra iPad handy, you can use Simple Booth's free companion app Live Booth Lite to create an "out of the booth" interface for people to use for emailing, sharing, and even printing. In order to connect with any of the social or output options, you will need to have access to an active wifi network. One odd thing for a photo app in this day and age is that there is no Instagram sharing option. The Simple Booth crew explains that this is because Instagram doesn't offer an API that would enable uploading. You can choose to use either the front or rear camera on the iPad but there is no option to use an external camera. In all honesty, the front-facing camera is the one you are going to want to use. Using the rear camera has advantages as far as resolution and image quality, but it means that someone has to stand there operating the booth because users will not be able to touch the screen to do so themselves. And if you are having someone standing there, you might as well have them take the photos with a real camera. Part of the allure of a photo booth is that it can operate unattended. 

Once you have decided on your initial settings, you put the app into booth mode, and it's ready to go. Users cannot get back to the settings page and muck things up. Okay, well that isn't completely true, if they think to double tap the home button and shut down the app, then restart it, they could get to the settings. But that is why you will probably want to use Guided Access to limit the iPad to just running Simple Booth.

From the user POV, the app is really quite simple. Clear "tap to start booth" and "look here" messages instruct them on what to do. A visible countdown timer and beeps mark the pace between the images being taken. Once complete, the photostrip appears on screen with the various edit/print/sharing options. If anything can be described as foolproof in the digital age, at least as user interface for the end user, Simple Booth is pretty darn foolproof.

What equipment will you need? 

At the very least, you will need an iPad. The newer iPads with improved cameras will have better resolution and low light performance. But just about any recent vintage iPad will work. A tripod and mount capable of holding your iPad will make interacting with the app much easier for your subjects and safer for your iPad. You'll need a neutral backdrop of some sort, though a plain wall could be used as well. And you will probably want some lights. Unless you are outdoors in open shade on a bright day, you will likely find ambient light to be too dim for the iPad's camera. This is one area where having the ability to use a DSLR would be an improvement, both for the improved low light performance and ability to connect to strobes. But as is, you can solve the problem with something as simple as a couple clip on fluorescent work lights.

Using a printer...

While the social media sharing features are handy in this day and age, having a printer on site is really the way to go with a photo booth. You increase the smile and fun quotient 1000% when someone is able to walk away from the booth with an image in their hand. While an inkjet printer will work, as any event photographer can tell you, a dye-sublimation printer is the way to go in this situation. The speed and toughness that dye-sub prints can offer over inkjets is significant in an event environment. 

When looking at dye-sublimation printers, you have options on either end of the market, and not much in between. Both offer excellent prints, but at vastly different prices. At the one end is the Canon Selphy series of printers. At around $100, the compact Selphy 1200 won't break the bank. With wifi connectivity and AirPrint, connecting to iOS devices is easy. Print speed is a somewhat slow 47 seconds and it can only hold 18 sheets at a time. Finally, print prices are a fairly inexpensive $0.28 cents per 4x6.

At the other end of the market is the $1000 DNP DS620A. Designed for the high volume, high speed needs of event photography printing, the DS620A prints a 4x6 in as little as 8.3 seconds and can print up to 400 images without needing the paper roll replaced. The dye transfer is all done internally and the image only pops out once it is completely done. This makes it perfect for an unmanned both, you can set the DS620A up and leave it running all night. Print prices for a 4x6 work out to $0.14 a piece.

Inkjet or dye-sublimation connecting Simple Booth to a printer needs to be done in one of two ways. If you have an AirPrint compatible printer, like the Canon Selphy 1200, the app can connect directly to the printer as long as both are on the same Wi-Fi network. If you have a printer that isn't AirPrint compatible, such as the DNP DS620A, you'll need to connect it to a computer and run an app to make it available via AirPrint. I used Printopia, a dead simple $20 utility app that works perfectly for sharing a printer with your iOS devices. 

How does it work in the real world?

While I was working on this review, my son received an invitation to a classmate's birthday party. So, I offered to bring along a Simple Booth setup and printer (in this case, a DS620A) for the kids to play with. Partially, I was just helping a dad-buddy put on a party. But I also wanted a chance to see how Simple Booth worked in real life with people who had never played with it before. Would 6-8 year olds be interested in something as retro as a photo booth? Would they have trouble operating it? Would the printer jam or run out of paper? 

Since this was a sunny summertime party, I had been planning to just set up a backdrop and tripod in some open shade and let the kids have at it. But my friend is a carpenter and decided at the last minute that he wanted to knock together a real "booth". A few trips to the hardware store later and we had a low rent copy of an old school photo booth. It was nothing fancy, but the ipad was mounted and the printer delivered the print through a slot into the grubby over-sugared hands of the party goers. 

Did it work? It couldn't have worked better. Being an old-man tech-nerd, I insisted on showing the first group how to do it. But with much eye-rolling, they made it clear that I might as well have been teaching them to drink a glass of water. They had no problem understanding how to make it work. The DNP DS620A printer was outstanding for this sort of use. Having a print in their hands in less than 10 seconds was pretty exciting for the kids and knowing that I could go hundreds of prints without having to reload the printer was pretty relaxing for me. The kids piled in and out of the printer in group after group. They giggled, laughed and loved it completely and all went home with handfuls of photo strips.

What's the bottom line?

Simple Booth is a pretty amazingly full featured solution to creating a photo booth out of gear that many photographers already own. It is simple enough for children or technophobes to use, but offers enough options to allow customization of layout and operation.

At $59.99, it is likely more expensive than most any other iOS app that you own. That said, when you consider what you are getting and what it would cost you to figure out a way to do it without Simple Booth, it starts to look like a bargain. Perhaps more importantly, the proof is in the pudding. Even our hastily knocked together photo booth was a huge hit with the kids at the party – plenty of smiles and laughs and threats of tantrums if I didn't print out duplicates for the kids in the group shots.

Tired of bringing meatloaf to your local block party every year? Bring Simple Booth and a printer instead and watch yourself turn into the neighborhood hero. 

What we liked:
  • Easy to set up
  • Customizable layouts
  • Pretty fool-proof in operation
  • Saves individual images as well as the "photo booth strips"
  • Print, email, social media integration
What we didn't like:
  • iPad front camera offers limited resolution and quality, using higher resolution rear camera eliminates the viewing screen
  • No options for flash lighting, must use constant lights
  • While inexpensive for a photo booth, somewhat expensive for an app

Categories: Photo Gear News

DPReview celebrates World Photo Day with our favorite shots of 2016

DPReview News - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 16:24

World Photo Day celebrates the Daguerreotype process, which the French government released to the public on August 19th, 1839. The World Photo Day project started in 2009 and encourages users all over the world to share their pictures online.

To celebrate, we took a look back at all our sample galleries from 2016 and cherry-picked some of our favorite shots. Within this gallery you'll find a wide range of gear represented as well as images from everyone on staff. And when your done looking through be sure to grab your camera and spend some time out shooting, because World Photo Day only comes along once a year.

Categories: Photo Gear News

Tamron announces SP 90mm F2.8 Di Macro and TAP-in console for Sony A-mount

DPReview News - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 15:39

Japanese optical manufacturer Tamron has announced it is to launch its exciting 90mm macro lens in a Sony A-mount, and that Sony users will now be able to update and customise some of their Tamron lenses using the company’s TAP-in lens console. The Sony version of the SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 USD will be the same as the versions produced for Canon and Nikon users, but will not feature Tamron’s Vibration Correction system as Sony cameras have their own in-body stabilization.

The TAP-in console allows customers to tune focus, update firmware and customize features such as focus limiters and full-time manual focus in those lenses that offer them. The console is compatible with the latest batch of Tamron fixed focal length lenses, including the 85mm f/1.8 which the company has yet to launch in Sony mount.

The SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 USD and the TAP-in console will be available from 25th August. Although the press release doesn’t mention prices, the console for Canon and Nikon users currently sells for $60/£55 and the lens for $749/£579.

For more information visit the Tamron website.

Press release:

Tamron announces the launch of the SP 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 USD (Model F017) for Sony mount

August 18, 2016, Saitama, Japan – Tamron Co., Ltd. (President & CEO: Shiro Ajisaka), a leading manufacturer of optics for diverse applications, announces the launch of the SP 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 USD (Model F017) for Sony mount.

Model F017
MACRO 1:1 USD (Model F017) for Sony mount*
Date of Launch: August 25, 2016

*The Sony mount model does not include VC (Vibration Compensation), since the bodies of Sony DSLR cameras include built-in image stabilization functionality. The name of the Sony mount model is “SP 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 USD” without the VC designation

Product Highlights

Built upon the outstanding optical performance of the legendary Tamron 90mm Macro

Inheriting the optical design of the previous 90mm Macro lens (Model F004), the new Model F017 delivers the same excellent resolving power and remarkably soft background blur effects (bokeh). The advanced construction includes one LD (Low Dispersion) glass element that maximally limits the dispersion properties of light and two XLD (eXtra Low Dispersion) glass elements that correct dispersion properties to an even greater extent. The special elements optimally compensate for on-axis and lateral chromatic aberrations from macro shooting range to infinity. Furthermore, the design ensures the best imaging performance at any range by adopting the Floating System which shifts the location of a group of elements to the best possible position as the focusing group travels relative to shooting distances. From 1:1, life-size close-ups to the most distant horizon, this new 90mm Macro lens achieves outstanding image quality.

Optimized for spectacular background blur effects (bokeh)

Earlier models of Tamron’s 90mm macro lens received high acclaim for their spectacular blur effects, and the new 90mm macro builds upon this legacy. To continue this commitment, thorough optical simulations were conducted. Careful examinations were performed to minimize any blurring with a doubled image appearing for a single line because that phenomenon has a considerably negative impact on background image quality. As a result, the lens achieves both sharp, vivid images and spectacular background blur effects. This combination is highly prized by portrait photographers.

Moisture-Proof and Dust-Resistant Construction

Areas of possible ingress surrounding switches and the boundary between the focus ring and the lens barrel are protected by special seals. These provide stronger protection against the intrusion of dirt, dust and moisture compared to the Moisture-Resistant Construction used previously. This additional protection assures even more wide-ranging opportunities for using this lens.

A durable Fluorine Coating on the front element repels water and fingerprints

The water and oil repellant coating applied to the front element surface allows instant removal of dirt or smudges with ease. The coating also provides a reasonable level of durability, and will sustain its effectiveness for years. The Fluorine Coating technology that Tamron developed for use in industrial optics applications was first used on the SP 15-30mm which was introduced in 2014.

USD actuator maximized for macro photography is fast, accurate and quiet

The control software program for the USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) actuator has been revised to provide substantially improved focusing speed and accuracy when using AF. The USD quickly addresses any out-of-focus condition caused by back-and-forth camera movement (which commonly occurs during macro photography) ensuring better results when shooting at close range.

Advanced coating technology reduces flare and ghosting

Two advanced coating technologies, both providing outstanding anti-reflection performance, are applied to critical element surfaces for maximum light transmission. eBAND (Extended Bandwidth & Angular-Dependency) Coating boasts outstanding anti-reflection performance across nearly the entire range of visible rays, and BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) Coating utilizes traditional multi-layered, anti-reflection technology. This combination virtually eliminates extraneous reflections and substantially reduces ghosting and flare which enables the lens to achieve flawless, crystal clear images.

Use of circular aperture to achieve beautiful, rounded blur effects (bokeh)

When shooting a scene that includes a point-source of light in the subject background, marvelously tuned blur (bokeh) can be obtained without generating undesirable polygonal shapes of aperture patterns thanks to the circular aperture. The 9-blade diaphragm retains a nearly perfect circular opening even when stopped down by two stops.

Focusing options perfectly suited to a macro lens

The new 90mm macro has a focus limiter that makes it possible to shorten the time for accurately focusing on a subject when the working range is known. The lens also features an Internal Focusing system, so the overall length of the lens never changes, not even when focusing. As a result, the user is assured of a comfortable working distance of at least 139mm (5.5 in) from the front of the lens. In addition, the lens is equipped with a Full-time Manual Focus override mechanism which makes it possible to flexibly choose focal points. Even with the AF driving system in action, it is possible to instantaneously override it to make manual fine focusing adjustments without switching the AF-MF mode back and forth.

Compatibility with TAMRON TAP-in Console™

Always as new as tomorrow: You can update firmware, customize autofocus positions and adjust the mechanical setup and preferences of the 90mm lens by simply attaching it to the TAMRON TAP-in Console and connecting it via USB to a personal computer. (The TAP-in Console is an optional accessory.)

TAMRON TAP-in Console™ (Model TAP-01)
Sony mount model launched

Tamron Co., Ltd. (President & CEO: Shiro Ajisaka; Headquarters: Saitama City), a leading manufacturer of optics for diverse applications, announces the launch of the TAMRON TAP-in Console (Model TAP-01), a lens accessory that enables firmware updating and customized setups for selected Tamron lenses, for Sony cameras (Sony A mount model).

For the first time, customers can update firmware in selected Tamron lenses and customize various lens functions to meet their needs simply by attaching a TAMRON TAP-in Console and running the TAMRON TAP-in Utility software on their PC or Mac.

Previously, firmware updates could be performed only at a TAMRON Customer Service Center. Using the new accessory and an internet connection, customers can access a dedicated website and update firmware themselves anytime, anywhere. In addition, selected lenses can be customized by changing various settings (described below) to match the customer’s preferences based on how they like to use the lens, making it even more versatile and user-friendly.

Custom Options

With a TAMRON TAP-in Console, customers can do the following things.

  • Update firmware
  • Update the firmware of compatible lenses
  • Update the firmware of the TAP-in Console itself
  • Customize functions of selected lenses
  • Focus adjustment
  • Focus distance limiter customization (only for lenses that have the Focus Limiter feature)
  • Full-time Manual Focus override customization (only for lenses that have the Full-time Manual Focus feature)
  • Save customized data files

Because Tamron lenses compatible with Sony cameras are not equipped with the VC (Vibration Compensation) system, the Customize function for VC adjustment, which is available for the Nikon and Canon mount models, is not available for the new Sony mount model.

TAMRON TAP-in Utility Software
Customers download the free TAMRON TAP-in Utility and install it on their Mac or PC. Updating firmware and customizing various lens functions is as easy as connecting the TAP-in Console with a USB cable and making selections. An internet connection is required for firmware updates.

Updating Firmware
Customers can update firmware of selected Tamron lenses using this utility software. Additionally, the firmware in the TAP-in Console unit can be updated as needed. Using an internet connection and the utility software, users can access a dedicated website and easily confirm that the lens attached to the TAP-in Console—and the Console itself—have the most up-to-date firmware. If a newer version is available, updating is quick and secure.

Customization of Selected Tamron Lenses
Various lens functions can be customized, depending on the lens model and built-in features.

(1) Focus adjustment
Focus can be adjusted in three distance regions: close, intermediate, and far ranges. For zoom lenses with variable focal length ranges, adjustments can be made for up to eight segments, which means that focus adjustment for a combined total of up to 24 regions is possible. Fixed-focal length lenses have only one segment, so customization for the three distance regions is possible. The conditions and range of possible adjustments may differ according to the lens model.

(2) Focus distance limiter customization
For lenses equipped with a Focus Limiter switch, it is possible to adjust the autofocus drive range by setting the near and far limits according to user preferences. If the Focus Limiter switch has three positions, setting the middle position is also possible. Only lens models equipped with the Focus Limiter function can be adjusted. The conditions and range of possible adjustments may differ according to the lens model.

(3) Full-time Manual Focus override customization
For any lens with a Full-time Manual Focus override system, you can set the mode to ON or OFF. In addition, you can optimize the sensitivity of the focus ring to your preference relative to its angular rotation anywhere between High and Low, when setting the manual focus mode menu button to ON.

Compatible Tamron Lenses (As of August 2016)

  • SP 85mm F/1.8 Di VC USD (Model F016) for Sony: To be launched soon
  • SP 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 VC USD (Model F017) for Sony: To be launched on August 25, 2016
  • SP 45mm F/1.8 Di VC USD (Model F013) for Sony
  • SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD (Model F012) for Sony
Categories: Photo Gear News

Datacolor releases Spyder5CAPTURE PRO color calibration kit

DPReview News - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 10:36

Datacolor has announced the launch of its new Spyder5CAPTURE PRO color calibration kit for photographers. The kit includes the maker’s SpyderLENSCAL, SpyderCHECKR, SpyderCUBE and Spyder5ELITE to cover all the aspects of camera calibration, including autofocus, display, colors, contrast and white balance. 

The company lists each product as having the following features:

  • SpyderLENSCAL allows users to calibrate camera and lens combinations, resulting in accurate auto-focus.
  • SpyderCHECKR and SpyderCUBE provide the user with reference tools to allow control of contrast, white balance and color when editing images.
  • Spyder5ELITE calibrates displays to an industry standard, ensuring that on-screen colors of images are accurate and match photo prints every time.

According to Datacolor, the Spyder5CAPTURE PRO kit brings more than 30% savings versus buying the items individually. At launch, the bundle is priced at $269.99 USD, though that rate will increase to $369.99 USD after September 30. 

Via: Datacolor

Categories: Photo Gear News

World record camera collector now has over 4500 – and a short film about himself

DPReview News - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 09:43

Indian Dilish Parekh has once again beaten his own world record for having the largest camera collection, with his personal museum now housing 4500 exhibits. In August 2013 DP Review reported that he had 4425 cameras, but in the intervening three years he has grown his hoard by 75 more models.

Filmmaker Dheerankur Upasak visited Dilish, who has held the Guinness Book of World Records title since 2003, at his home in Mumbai to make a short about the man and some of the models in his collection. Dilish says that he started collecting in 1970 when his grandfather gave him cameras as gifts - and things went from there. He never spends more than $15 on a camera, but has still managed to accumulate quite a number of rare and expensive bodies, such as the Leica Reporter GG 250. Only 950 were made and one sold with a motor drive at the '100 Years of Leica' Westlicht auction for €576,000 in 2014.

The collection spans only the years between 1890 and 1960 and includes all of Canon’s rangefinder models. Dilish isn’t for selling the collection, though he says he gets lots of offers, and he has instructed his sons not to sell once he passes away.

Dheerankur filmed the piece on a Canon EOS 5D III with Pentax 50mm f/1.2, Tamron 90mm macro and Tair 11-133mm f/2.8 lenses.

Categories: Photo Gear News

Pentax K-70 real-world sample gallery

DPReview News - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 07:00

It's a bit of a shame the K-70 didn't arrive in the middle of winter. The weather-resistant design would have made it the perfect companion for braving the inevitable Northwest rain, and the famed in body "Shake Reduction" would have helped in overcast light conditions, as well. Nevertheless, when it arrived we took the refined 24MP DSLR out in the hot summer sun for a bit of a sample shakedown.

Categories: Photo Gear News

Firmware update for Sony a7R II improves stability, adds support for radio controlled flashes

DPReview News - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 11:05

Sony has released a firmware update for its a7R II full-frame mirrorless camera which improves camera stability while adding support for the company's new radio controlled lighting system.

The official list of improvements in version 3.30 include:

  • Support for Radio Controlled Lighting System
  • Improved stability in picture shooting mode (by optimizing temperature control)
  • Allows for HDMI output while using Remote Camera Control software
  • Improves overall stability and operability of the camera

The firmware is now available and can be downloaded right here.

Categories: Photo Gear News

Instagram profiles reveal user depression in new machine learning study

DPReview News - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 10:36

A team of researchers with the University of Vermont and Harvard have published a new study detailing Instagram profiles and the hidden clues they may hold about the photographer’s mental state. Using machine learning, the team was able to identify signs of depression based off an Instagram profile’s photos, metadata, and things like facial recognition. The study looked at 43,950 photographs from 166 individual Instagram users, and had a 70-percent accuracy rate when identifying users with clinical depression.

The artificial intelligence system ultimately proved more capable of detecting depression than general practitioners, which have been found to have somewhere around a 42% accuracy rate. Hints about the photographer’s mental state lie in many things the researchers refer to as 'markers': the type of lighting used in the photographs, for example, and the colors of filters applied to photos. 

Dark and gray colors are often signs of depression, as well as gap in posting frequency which may indicate a depressed mental state. The number of times a photo is ‘liked’ and commented on, as well as the number of faces detected in the photos, are also notable markers. Interestingly enough, the study found that depressed Instagram users are less likely to use any photo filter, but if they do, they tend to go with 'Inkwell.'

Via: Digital Trends

Categories: Photo Gear News


The Online Photographer - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 07:55
[Mike is on semi-vacation this week so TOP is on half-speed till Wednesday the 24th.] I'm sure all of us have had the experience of coming across an article that mentions photographic technical details where it's immediately obvious that the... Michael Johnston
Categories: Photography
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