For our latest Field Test video we took the Sony a7R II not-quite south of the border to Marfa, Texas and into Big Bend National Park.
There we met photographer Theron Humphrey (Maddie on Things, This Wild Idea) and his internet-famous dog Maddie to help us test the a7R II with a collection of Sony FE lenses. Despite the oppressive heat and rough roads, the impressive sunsets and incredible starlit night skies were well worth the trip. You've read our full review of the Sony A7R II - now see how it performs out in the field in a range of shooting situations.
Alien Skin Software plans to release a new 'nondestructive' photo editing application called Exposure X by the end of the year. Exposure X is the successor to Exposure 7, the company's film emulation software, and will include several changes over the previous version, including improvements to the user interface, file management tools, and new keyboard shortcuts.
Exposure X was first announced in late September, and Alien Skin has occasionally posted new details about the software on its blog. According to a post from last month, Exposure X won’t use a catalog file in an effort to keep things simple and fast. For this reason, the application doesn’t require photos to be imported, instead it uses any folder the user selects to access photos and save image edits. In a new post published today, the company detailed how new brushing and layers features will work.
The software will be available as a standalone application or as a plug-in. Among the interface changes is the option to rearrange and hide panels; there's a new Detail panel with sharpening and noise reduction, and the Basic panel has had Tint, Temperature, and white balance eyedropper tools added. Additionally, Exposure X supports file management, including renaming and moving images, and offers organization tools like star ratings, flags, and colors.
Exposure 7 owners will receive Exposure X as a free update. Retail pricing isn't clear at this time.
Via: Photo Rumors
We've been producing more video content than ever before, including tons of content from our recent PIX show, our ongoing series of long-form Field Tests, overviews of the latest cameras and lenses, as well beginners' technique guides and interviews. We post videos right here on our homepage when they're first uploaded, but the best way of not missing anything is to subscribe to DPReview's channel on YouTube.
We've organized our content into playlists, so you can head straight for the stuff that most interests you, whether that's long-form gear reviews or interviews, short overviews of the latest cameras and lenses, or beginners' technique guides.
As far as advanced fixed-lens compacts go, it doesn't get much more enticing than the Sony RX1R II. Like its predecessor, it couples a full-frame sensor with a fast, wide-angle prime, but this time it's equipped with a 42.2MP chip to complement its 35mm F2 lens. Autofocus has seen a major upgrade, addressing the RX1R's sluggish AF performance with 399-phase detection point covering 60% of the frame along with 25 contrast points. Despite some of the coldest temperatures of the season so far, we were pretty darn excited to get outdoors with the RX1R II and see what it can do.
Capital Man, 2011, from the portfolio Focal Points. Photo by Tom Goodman
In 2007, after taking a 25 year break from photography, Tom Goodman started taking pictures again and hasn't stopped since. With a background in art history and fine art, he took a break from photography earlier in his career to run an agency representing artists and photographers. Having returned to creating images, he says he has 'no time to lose' and hasn't looked back. Goodman is a regular DPReview reader, and the work we're sharing here represents several of his highly focused portfolios. Take a look at a sample of his imagery, read our Q&A and head to his website to see more of his photography.
Would you like to be featured in an upcoming Readers' Showcase? Let us know! Be sure to include your DPR user name and a link to your online portfolio.Readers' Showcase: Tom Goodman
Bundled, 2014, from the portfolio Scanned. Photo by Tom GoodmanFirst, where are you from and what's your history with photography?
I was born in Baltimore, MD, in 1948. After graduating from Wesleyan University in 1969 with honors in Art, I received an MFA from the University of New Mexico in Photography in 1974. In 1975 I was hired by the University of Texas at San Antonio to develop the photography program. Three years later I moved to Philadelphia to teach at the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts). I later taught art history at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. During this period I began Tom Goodman Inc., an agency representing photographers and digital illustrators for commercial assignments. I ceased photographing during this period.
In 2007 I began to photograph again for the first time in nearly 25 years and in 2009 I dissolved my corporation to devote myself full-time to photography.Readers' Showcase: Tom Goodman
Noodles #5, 2013, from the portfolio Scanned. Photo by Tom GoodmanWhat do you shoot with?
I shoot with a Nikon D750 and Sony DSC-RX100 (original version). I also used an Epson Perfection V700 scanner. I am very happy with this gear though I would like to acquire a larger scanner.Readers' Showcase: Tom Goodman
PPA Lot, 2009, from the portfolio Veils. Photo by Tom GoodmanYou've worked on a number of portfolio projects. What, in your experience, makes for a compelling subject for such a portfolio?
I would say serendipity plays a significant part in my choosing subjects. Indeed, it seems more appropriate to say the subjects frequently choose me. The Veils portfolio grew out of a very long-standing fascination with looking through screens, frosted glass and other 'veils' to see things on the other side. I can even point to a single photograph, Andre Kertesz' 'Martinique' as having been seminal although much earlier than that I remember watching a film in which a figure is seen behind a door with frosted glass.Readers' Showcase: Tom Goodman
Noodles #1, 2013, from the portfolio Scanned. Photo by Tom Goodman
(cont.) Many of the images in the Scanned portfolio began during my shopping trips to Asian groceries (I used to cook Chinese food exclusively for eight years). The rows upon rows of noodles were fascinating to me and I thought, 'Why not scan them and see how they look?' The images in the Courtship series evolved after I cleared out my mother's apartment following her death and found every letter she and my father had exchanged. The appearance of the letters themselves, the aged envelopes, postmarks from the period just prior to and during WWII, the quality of the handwriting all made the letters' appearances as well as their content very fascinating to me.Readers' Showcase: Tom Goodman
Raining Jewels, 2010, from the portfolio Rain. Photo by Tom Goodman
(cont.) The Rain portfolio was a direct outgrowth of the Veils portfolio, the drops on windows offering a variation on the notion of an overlay between the viewer and subject. The Trompe l'oeil portfolio is in large measure a tribute to my enduring love of the American painters John Peto and William Harnett as well as my devotion to the northern Renaissance painters such as van Eyck. I was an art history minor in graduate school and have been profoundly interested in art history and criticism most of my life. I write art criticism and reviews as well as make photographs. Samples can be read here: http://www.phlogpa.blogspot.com/Readers' Showcase: Tom Goodman
Ronn's Licking Post, 2010, from the portfolio Focal Points. Photo by Tom Goodman
(cont.) What makes a compelling photograph? Critical theories notwithstanding, a few things always occur when I am presented with a compelling photograph. First, I wish I had made it. Second, failing that, I wish I owned it. And no matter what else, after seeing a compelling photograph I can no longer go out into the world without seeing it anew in at least some way due to having seen this photograph.Readers' Showcase: Tom Goodman
Vine Covered Bike, 2009, from the portfolio Veils. Photo by Tom GoodmanYou mention that you're coming back to photography after a long break. What have you discovered in this latest chapter of your career?
First, and foremost, there is no time to lose. I am 67 years old and more productive and engaged than ever before. I cannot bemoan the loss of 25 years, but I cannot afford to lose any more.
Photography is always evolving. Today, as opposed to when I went to graduate school, it clearly is no longer waging the battle to be acknowledged and accepted in the mainstream art world. That said, the proliferation of photographs has not produced a commensurate increase in compelling ones. Everyone may be a photographer but the number of those whose work merits critical examination has not varied over the years.Readers' Showcase: Tom Goodman
Homage a Caillebotte, 2009, from the portfolio Rain. Photo by Tom GoodmanHow has your study of art history informed your photography?
In a word, 'profoundly'! My interests in art history date to my growing up in Baltimore and visiting the Walters Art Museum, one of America's hidden treasure troves. There was a Flemish altarpiece hanging there that completely enthralled me with its realism and narrative. It was like a diorama presented frieze-like.
I also built models as a child and delighted especially in those that included figures that would give the entire enterprise a sense of scale. I loved illusions whether in pop-up books or diorama at the Natural History Museum. As an undergraduate I thoroughly enjoyed art history (and had a marvelous professor to encourage my interest). In graduate school the MFA program at UNM was three years, not the normal two required everywhere else, and the degree culminated in both a thesis exhibition and written dissertation that was more than a statement on the wall. My professors said my written dissertation, 'The Emergence of Twentieth Century Illusionism', was the finest one ever written by an MFA student up to that time.Readers' Showcase: Tom Goodman
Post One Notice, 2010, from the portfolio Window Dressing. Photo by Tom Goodman
(cont.) I was nominated for an internship at MOMA by my mentor, Ray Metzker, and almost took it - so great was my interest in art history. I was profoundly influenced by the catalog from the MOMA show 'The Art of Assemblage' and by everything done by Joseph Cornell. To this day art historical references abound in my work from the trompe l'oeil painters cited earlier to the work of artists as diverse as James Castle and Lucien Freud.Readers' Showcase: Tom Goodman
Bunkers, 2012, from the portfolio Window Dressing. Photo by Tom GoodmanDigital Filters have earned a bad name with photographers. One of your series uses filter treatments – when do you feel it's appropriate to use a filter? Do you think filters have gotten an unfair reputation?
It's always appropriate to use filters. Sometimes they work and other times they don't. The 'bad name' is an argument that holds absolutely no interest for me. I use any tool I can to discover what I can. I first used a painting filter (since discarded by Adobe PhotoShop CC) simply because it was there and I said to myself, 'I wonder what this does?' I don't care if photographers or painters like it. Indeed, at least one painter friend of mine hates my images in the Filters & Buckets portfolio. I am not trying to pass them off as paintings. I liked the effect.Readers' Showcase: Tom Goodman
4th & Fulton, 2012, from the portfolio Window Dressing. Photo by Tom Goodman
(cont.) As for the 'Buckets' part, that is the paint bucket. I use that tool extensively, especially when refining the backgrounds of many of the scanned images. One day I accidentally wandered into the image area itself and was stunned and pleased by the result. Now I use it in a controlled manner to deliberately alter an image. It amuses me (slightly) that people take issue with the use of filters, especially in a world that has seen Picasso, Duchamp, Rauschenberg et al enter into the canon.Readers' Showcase: Tom Goodman
5th Street, 2011, from the portfolio Veils. Photo by Tom GoodmanWhat's some of the best advice you've received as a photographer?
This answer is simple. As a young photographer I struggled with the notion that I wanted to know what the outcome of making an image would be before I made it. (One might say the opposite of Gary Winogrand's 'I photograph in order to see what something looks like photographed.') Ray Metzker, my mentor in graduate school said this to me (I paraphrase):
It is the artists's lot to accept, indeed embrace, not knowing in order to begin the journey of discovery and achieve some breakthrough.Readers' Showcase: Tom Goodman
Spruce Street Cyclist, 2009, from the portfolio Rain. Photo by Tom GoodmanWhat's the next challenge for you as a photographer?
To continue to follow that advice.
It's certainly a rare occasion when a photographer is forced to choose between carrying a bow and arrow or a camera, but that's just the dilemma Kiliii Fish faced. He's made a personal project of joining and photographing a growing movement of modern individuals learning primitive survival skills, and while preparing for an excursion in the North Cascade mountains found that he could carry either the bow and arrow or the camera, but not both.
We're glad he chose the camera. His photos of the group hunting, relaxing and thriving in an unforgiving and untamed environment are nothing less than stunning - see a selection below and watch his PIX 2015 talk to find out more about his project and background.
Sigma is getting Black Friday started early this year, offering discounts on five of its lenses online now through Monday, November 30th including the 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art. Savings range from $100 up to $300 off individual lenses - and considering the current results of our readers' poll, a few of you may be interested.
With over 1300 votes so far, 27% of readers who responded to our question 'It's the time of year for bargains, what's on your list?' said that they were considering a new lens. If you're in that 27%, here's what Sigma's offering bargain hunters:
- 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art - $100 off (originally $949, now $849)
- 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM - $250 off (originally $549, now $299)
- 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM - $250 off (originally $669, now $419)
- 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM - $250 off (originally $1399, now $1149)
- 105mm F2.8 Macro EX DG OS HSM - $300 off (originally $969, now $669)
Found another good Black Friday deal? Share it in the comments.
Press release:Sigma Corporation of America Unveils its Black Friday Savings
Deals on popular lenses for pro, student and enthusiast photographers
RONKONKOMA, NY — Nov. 20, 2015 — Sigma Corporation of America, a leading DSLR lens and camera manufacturer, announces Black Friday deals on five of the company's top lenses, including the popular 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art from the industry-renowned Global Vision line which was named Imaging Resource's 2014 Prime Lens of the Year. Offers of up to $300 off are valid starting today, Nov. 20, and can be found on sigmaphoto.com/lp/black-friday-2015 through Cyber Monday, Nov. 30.
Sigma Corporation of America's line of award-winning lenses includes recent recognitions such as American Photo's 2014 Editor's Choice, Popular Photography's 2014 Outstanding Product, PCMag's 2014 Editor's Choice, and more.
This year's Black Friday deals include:
50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art (#311) - $100 OFF
Originally $949, now $849
- Completely reengineered, the ultimate standard fast prime, at the best holiday season pricing
- Designed for super-resolution DSLRs and tested with Sigma's exclusive super-resolution MTF system
18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM (#883) - $250 OFF
Originally $549, now $299
- High-performance and versatile, perfect one-solution lens for on-the-go photography and whatever happens next on your family adventures
- With an easy twist of the zoom dial, get wide-angle for group shots, telephoto for action shots and close ups for details
- Compact, fitting easily into a day bag to capture and preserve family moments
17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM (#583) - $250 OFF
Originally $669, now $419
- Compact, constant aperture standard zoom perfect for wedding and portrait photography
- Class-leading performance featuring OS for low-light and one hybrid aspherical lens for sharp images with great contrast
- Step up from the kit lens to a wide, standard zoom designed for APS-C DSLRs at a great price
70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM (#589) - $250 OFF
Originally $1,399, now $1,149
- Optically stabilized and highly versatile
- Pro's choice for sport, portraiture and documentary photography, priced for enthusiasts and students
- Fast, constant F2.8 aperture is perfect for capturing action and sports
105mm F2.8 Macro EX DG OS HSM (#258) - $300 OFF
Originally $969, now $669
- Large aperture macro lens featuring 1:1 magnification, optical stabilization and fast, quiet HSM for advanced performance of close-up photography
- Excellent correction for all types of aberration and distortion
- Fast F2.8 prime lens for high-quality performance at a great price
Earlier this month, Sony announced firmware v2.0 for the Sony a7 II, now available for download. This update gives the Sony a7 II the ability to shoot uncompressed Raw (which can be toggled on and off in the menu) and better autofocus performance with adapted lenses. Previously, the a7 II could only use Contrast Detect AF to acquire focus when using adapted glass, resulting in quite a bit of hunting. The update enables the on-sensor phase detection system to work with adapted lenses, bringing the a7 II closer in line with the flagship a7R II.
We took a couple of updated Sony a7 II bodies out to Seattle's Chihuly Glass Museum to put this new firmware to the test in some low light and high contrast shooting scenarios. Several of the images in the gallery were also shot using an adapted Canon 50mm F1.2L lens.
We've included Raw files for download with each image, in addition to several Raw conversions.
Accessories manufacturer Manfrotto has introduced a new series of backpacks designed for photographers who fly drones. The Aviator D1 Drone Backpack is big enough to hold a medium sized quadcopter such as the DJI Phantom 3 along with all the accessories that go with it, as well as a DSLR, a laptop and a tripod.
The bag offers a quick-carry feature that allows the drone to be transported without it being taken apart so it can be moved between locations quickly. The body fits inside the bag while the blades pop out of the front flap, which is secured to the main section of the bag with clips. With the propellers removed the whole quadcopter will fit inside the bag with nothing sticking out.
Manfrotto says that the bag is extra-lightweight, water resistant and extremely spacious. The camera section is designed to hold a DSLR and two lenses, while the laptop compartment can accommodate a model with a 17" screen.
The Aviator D1 Drone Backpack will retail at £159. For more information visit the Manfrotto website.
Manfrotto, world leader in the photography, imaging equipment and accessories industry, announces the new D1 DRONE BACKPACK, the first all-in-one carry system in a brand-new range of products designed to carry a quadcopters like DJI Phantom 3 and its remote controls as well as a DSLR camera, laptop and tripod. It is engineered to offer maximum protection, comfort and lightness: key features of all Manfrotto Bags.
Part of the Aviator Collection, the Drone backpack is dedicated to professional and advanced photographers and videographers looking for an excellent solution to carry their flying cameras, mount them quickly and change location fast.
3 KEY FEATURES
This backpack safely carries a quadcopter with its remote control and all its accessories as well as a camera and a tripod. A single bag that is the perfect tool for shooting videos with drones but also for capturing backstage scenes with a tripod-mounted camera.
Perfect for quickly changing location, the drone safely attaches onto the outside of the pack by simply opening the front zip, making it very easy to quickly get out or put away when necessary. The camera stays safely inside and the propellers fit outside the bag. The backpack also features an internal laptop and media compartment, enabling users to organise their work and share it right away.
With the new All-in-One DRONE BACKPACK BY MANFROTTO, you can rely on an efficient backstage at hand wherever you go!
In July, Panasonic revealed plans to launch a feature it calls Post Focus for select camera models via a firmware update. Panasonic today announced that firmware update will be available via the Lumix Global website next Wednesday, November 25 at 01:00 GMT. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, DMC-G7, and DMC-FZ330 will be supported.
The feature, simply called Post Focus, utilizes Panasonic's Depth from Defocus technology to capture 4K-resolution video at 30fps while shifting focus through the frame. Once the capture is completed, photographers can use Post Focus to specify the desired focus point, and the camera will extract the still frame with the corresponding plane of focus. The video above shows the feature in action, and demonstrates that focus peaking can be used after capture to help determine the best point of focus for macro shots.
Press release:Panasonic Frees Photographer’s Creativity with New 'Post Focus' Technology
LUMIX DMC-GX8, DMC-G7 and DMC-FZ330 enable any area of a photograph to be in-focus after shooting
Panasonic is encouraging photographers to shoot first and focus later with a new technological function called ‘Post Focus’. After taking a picture, the function enables photographers to select whichever part of the image they want to be in-focus with an easy one touch operation. Developed with Panasonic’s existing 4K Photo technology, Post Focus not only prevents out-of-focus misshots but also offers greater creative freedom, and is now available via a firmware update for the LUMIX DMC-GX8, DMC-G7 and DMC-FZ330.
Post Focus has been made possible by combining the high-speed, high-precision DFD (Depth from Defocus) auto focus technology and Panasonic’s 4K technology, made possible by the Venus Engine. Burst images in 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) are shot at 30 fps while detecting up to 49 areas of a frame for focus points at different depths of field.
Operation of the Post Focus function is straightforward and easy. Turn on post focus, compose and take your picture. Then, while reviewing the images simply touch the area you want the focus to be and a new image with the selected focus area will be produced as a separate photo.
In addition, this function can be used for creative purposes in different types of photography such as portrait, landscape and especially macro, where the optimal control is needed. Focus peaking, 5x magnified zoom and other fine adjustment settings can be used for even greater focus control. Several different impressions can be taken out of one picture by changing the focus and defocus within the image to select the desired subject. This assures that the photographer can select the best shot instead of out-of- focus misshots.
The Post Focus firmware update will be available at 01:00 GMT on 25th November, 2015 on the LUMIX Global site (http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/) for the LUMIX DMC-GX8, DMC-G7 and DMC-FZ330.
This roundup is a little unusual, in that the cameras in this price bracket span both flagship and entry-level products. Specifically, several flagship APS-C and Micro Four Thirds cameras, and a handful of entry-level full-frame options. We’ve called out major differences where they exist but be aware that while the jump in image quality from sub-full-frame to full-frame is significant in terms of value for money, in more than a few cases you’ll get more features - and often better video specification - from the APS-C and Micro Four Thirds cameras listed here. As such, in the conclusion page of this roundup you’ll find our final recommendations split between full-frame, and sub-full-frame.
The following cameras are included in this roundup:
A portable photo printer called LifePrint, now seeking funding on Kickstarter, creates 'living' photos by combining a printed photograph with a digital video. An augmented reality app makes this possible, so that when a print is viewed through a smartphone's camera, the video appears where the photo is located, making it seem as if the image - called a HyperPhoto - has come to life. Read more
German camera manufacturer Leica has added another rangefinder body to its M system that has a pared-down feature set, an extra quiet shutter unit and a lower price than the M Typ 240. The new Leica M Typ 262 is very much the same as the other M bodies, but does not offer video or live view shooting, even though it uses a CMOS sensor. Read more
Photographer and author Tim Grey argues that sometimes the difference between getting a good picture and a great picture can be as simple as taking a few steps to the right. His PIX 2015 talk highlights 13 smalls changes photographers can make that can add up to some huge improvements in their images. Read more