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Plane plunged 4400 feet after pilot's camera became wedged against controls

DPReview News - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 16:36
Re-creation by UK Military Aviation Authority

A military pilot in the UK is reportedly facing a court martial after his camera became wedged against a military transport plane’s controls, causing it to plunge 4400ft/1300m before the captain regained control. The Ministry of Defense is being sued over the matter, which took place in February 2014, by nine soldiers and one civil servant who were in the plane during the incident.

Per the government's investigation of the matter, the cause was determined to be the pilot's Nikon D5300 camera, which at some point during the flight became positioned against the plane's steering control. When the pilot readjusted his seat position, the seat pressed the camera against the control, causing the plan to drop at a rate up to 260ft/80m per second. 

According to The Times, the lawyer representing these ten individuals says they suffer PTSD as a result of the plane's sudden descent; a total of 198 people were onboard at the time of the incident. The pilot has reportedly been charged with negligently performing a duty, perjury, and making a false record.

Via: Quartz

Categories: Photo Gear News

Simon Bruty's Heavy-Medal Cover Shot

The Online Photographer - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 12:17
Although short on photographic details, Sports Illustrated has a pleasant feature about Simon Bruty shooting the cover for this week's magazine. Michael Phelps "helped arrange the medals around the necks of both [Simone] Biles and [Katie] Ledecky, artfully dovetailing the... Michael Johnston
Categories: Photography

Rebel in your pocket: Canon EOS M3 Review

DPReview News - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 10:29

Unbeknownst to many, Canon has been selling mirrorless cameras since 2012, in addition to SLRs and point-and-shoots. Marketing for the EOS M system is starting to pick up - at least in the U.S. - with two models to choose from: the entry-level EOS M10 and step-up EOS M3, which we'll be covering here.

The EOS M3 (left) with its cheaper sibling, the EOS M10.

The EOS M3 is very much like a Rebel T6s stuffed into a compact body that resembles the company's PowerShot models. It uses the same Hybrid CMOS AF III 24.2MP CMOS sensor as the T6s as well as a Digic 6 processor, touchscreen LCD and Wi-Fi with NFC. Unlike the Rebel and EOS DSLRs in general, EOS M bodies use the EF-M lens mount, though EF lenses can be used via an optional adapter.

Trying to figure out where the EOS M3 fits into the mirrorless landscape is tough. Its closest peers, based on price and features, are the Fujifilm X-A2, Olympus E-M10 II and Sony a6000 (we're leaving Nikon 1 cameras out of the list, as we believe the series is no longer being developed.) Like the EOS M3, the Fujifilm lacks a built-in EVF and has an LCD that flips upward 180°. The Olympus E-M10 II and Sony a6000 offer EVFs but don't have the 'selfie' LCD.

Compared to EOS M10 and Fujifilm X-A2

Below is a spec comparison pitting the EOS M3 against its cheaper sibling, the EOS M10, as well as the Fujifilm X-A2, which is one of its closest competitors.

  Canon EOS M3 Canon EOS M10 Fujifilm X-A2 Sensor 24MP APS-C CMOS 18MP APS-C CMOS 16MP APS-C CMOS Lens mount Canon EF-M Canon EF-M Fujifilm X Crop factor 1.6x 1.6x 1.5x Hybrid AF Yes Yes No LCD type Tilting
(180° up/45° down) Tilting
(180° up) Tilting
(175° up) LCD resolution 1.04M-dot 1.04M-dot 920k-dot Touchscreen Yes Yes No Electronic VF Optional No No Control dials 2 1 2 Burst rate 4.2 fps 4.6 fps 5.6 fps Video 1080/30p/24p 1080/30p/24p 1080/30p Mic input Yes No No Hot shoe Yes No Yes In-camera Raw conversion No No Yes Battery life 250 shots 255 shots 410 shots Dimensions 111 x 68 x 44mm 108 x 67 x 35mm 117 x 67 x 40mm Weight 366 g 301 g 350 g

The features that differentiate the M3 vs the M10 are pretty obvious - the M3 offers one more control dial and another for exposure compensation plus a hot shoe (to which you mount the optional EVF), an LCD that can angle downward and superior build quality. All of which suggest Canon has a more committed photography audience in mind. Comparing the M3 versus the X-A2 is a bit more complex, as there are clear tradeoffs for both cameras. One thing is for certain, though: Canon needs to work on battery life - badly.

The EOS-M system The six currently available EF-M lenses from Canon

Despite being around for over four years, there are just six EF-M lenses available from Canon. They include four zooms (11-22 F4-5.6, 15-45 F3.5-6.3, 18-55 F3.5-5.6, 55-200 F4.5-6.3) and two primes (22mm F2 and 28mm F3.5 macro). There are lenses from third party manufacturers such as Tamron and Samyang/Rokinon (which are manual focus).

The EF to EF-M adapter lets you use giant lenses like this 70-200 F2.8L II.

To get access to the full collection of Canon EF and EF-S lenses, you can use an optional adapter, which sells for about $80. As it turns out, there are adapters for nearly every lens mount you can think of, from Leica to Olympus OM.

Categories: Photo Gear News

Samsung uses brain-inspired processors to create digital camera 'vision'

DPReview News - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 10:05

Samsung has used IBM’s neuromorphic computer processors, built under the latter company’s TrueNorth project, to create digital ‘eyes’ that see in real time. The IBM TrueNorth processors are composed of 4096 small cores that simulate brain neurons, the primary advantage being faster data processing with lower comparative energy usage. Combined with Samsung’s Dynamic Vision Sensor, the technology functions somewhat like a digital eye, perceiving the world by changing each pixel independently of the others to record movement.

Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology’s VP of Research Eric Ryu detailed the technology at an IBM Research event in San Jose last week. Unlike ordinary cameras, this DVS-based camera only changes pixels when necessary to record the movement of specific objects while other pixels remain unchanged. Because of the unique pixel technology, this camera can process video at 2000 fps while using only about 300mW of energy. 

The combination of super high frame rates and exceptionally low energy consumption makes the technology useful for other types of technology, including self-driving cars, robots, gesture-recognizing gadgets, and more. Samsung envisions projects that utilize many of these chips stacked together; a 16-chip stack would be akin to utilizing nearly 86 billion brain neurons.

Via: CNET, Inilabs

Categories: Photo Gear News

Last Fuji Sale Before the Price Hike

The Online Photographer - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 07:21
Fuji is about to raise prices across the board. Fuji has also conditioned us to wait for its regular sales to make purchases. Two days ago Fuji announced the last sale based on the old prices. It's logical to assume... Michael Johnston
Categories: Photography

Canon and Sony dominate EISA awards for photographic equipment

DPReview News - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 15:19

The European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) has awarded Canon and Sony four titles each from the 19-strong list of photography products it has held up as the best of the year. The European DSLR Camera award, which is the main photography title, went to the Canon EOS 80D, while the EOS-1D X Mark ll won the European Professional DSLR category. Canon also picked up awards for its EF 35mm F1.4L II USM lens (Professional Lens of the Year) and for its imagePROGRAF Pro-1000 printer.

Sony’s awards came in the Premium Compact  for the Cyber-shot RX1R II, Professional Compact System Lens for the FE 85mm F1.4 GM, Prosumer Compact System Camera  for the a6300 and Photo & Video Camera for the a7S II categories.

Sigma collected the DSLR Zoom Lens title for its 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens, while Tamron won the overall DSLR Lens award for the recent SP 85mm F1.8 Di VC USD. Other notable awards are Prosumer DSLR of the Year for the Nikon D500 and Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 collecting the Professional Compact System Camera title. The Photo Innovation award went to Panasonic’s DUAL IS system as demonstrated in the GX80.

The EISA Awards have been running since 1982 when the only title was Camera of the Year – which went to the Minolta X700. Today’s awards are decided by the 14 editors of the Photography Experts group who represent weekly, monthly and bi-monthly photography magazines from 14 countries across Europe.

For more information visit the EISA website

Categories: Photo Gear News

1956 Stereo-Nikkor 3.5cm F3.5 lens auction goes live on eBay

DPReview News - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 10:56

A Stereo-Nikkor 3.5cm F3.5 lens said to be in mint condition has been put up for auction on eBay. This speciality lens was designed for the Nikon S-Mount rangefinder to produce stereoscopic 3D images on a single photograph. The lens is being offered as part of a full kit that also includes a brown Nikon leather case, a Nippon Kogaku lens cap, original silica gel, Nikon Stereo Prism, and original Nikon Stereo L 38 filter.

According to the eBay seller, there’s a chip in the prism’s glass and ‘very tiny scratches’ on the lens, but otherwise the items are said to be in excellent condition. Unfortunately, not much information about the Stereo-Nikkor exists; the product was introduced in December 1956 and discontinued in 1961 or 1962, according to Mir.com. Estimates place Stereo-Nikkor manufacturing at between 100 and 200 units during its brief production.

Though the auction currently has $1,125 in bids, it has not reached its minimum reserve amount. The product is located in Vienna, and has a $300 shipping rate.

Via: PetaPixel

Categories: Photo Gear News

Brooks Institute announces closure

DPReview News - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 10:42

The California-based Brooks Institute, which offered degrees in photography, media and visual arts for 70 years, announced that it will close its doors this fall. In a statement released by the institute, the for-profit college cites the negative impact of recent stricter guidelines on career college programs introduced in 2011.

The guidelines require that at least 35% of for-profit institution graduates be repaying their student loans, in addition to meeting debt-to-earnings requirements. Colleges that operate for profit are targeted in particular, as students who attend them represent a disproportionally high number of student loan borrowers, and in 2011 they accounted for 46% of student loan dollars in default.

As of January of this year, Brooks Institute calculated the cost of its 3-year professional photography Bachelor's degree at $81,330 for tuition and fees, with an additional $10,000 in books and supplies. Brooks stated that the median amount borrowed for the program was $15,584 in Federal loans, and that the job placement rate was 80%.

For the time being, classes continue at Brooks for currently enrolled students, and the college says it will continue offering administrative support through the end of October. 

Categories: Photo Gear News

How To Turn Pictures into a Project

The Online Photographer - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 09:16
I was only in Albany for a few hours last week. I headed out with a camera and took a bunch of pictures. Occasionally I post the results of these little outings...you might remember when the tree service came or... Michael Johnston
Categories: Photography

Canon EOS 80D vs Sony a6300: vying for the stills/video hybrid crown

DPReview News - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 04:00
Introduction

The Sony a6300 and Canon EOS 80D are visually very different cameras. One looks like Canon DSLRs always have, the other looks a lot like Sony's original NEX line of mirrorless cameras.

Yet, despite their clearly distinct roots, dig a little deeper and you find hints of convergent evolution. The on-sensor phase detection of the a6300 helps it offer autofocus that can compete with DSLRs, while the dual-pixel design of the EOS 80D helps it offer better live view operation and focus than any previous Canon DSLR.

What's true of both is that they're their maker's offering for the stills enthusiast who might want to try their hand at video. In many respects they're still as different as they are similar, but their relative strengths and weaknesses aren't necessarily quite as you'd expect. All of which can make it hard to know which one to choose...

DSLR vs Mirrorless

Some of the differences between the cameras come down to the fact that one is a DSLR while the other is mirrorless. No matter how much technology closes the gap in performance between the two systems, the DSLR structure allows the provision of a TTL optical viewfinder, while a mirrorless camera is more likely to include an electronic viewfinder.

Many people, in part as a consequence of familiarity, prefer an optical viewfinder, but there are advantages to each approach. The a6300's viewfinder is able to show a corrected preview when working with the super-flat S-Log gamma profiles, as well as being able to overlay focus peaking and exposure warnings into its viewfinder, in a way that can't be done with an optical viewfinder. This is on top of the ability to visualize the exposure and white balance of the final image.

Finally, an electronic viewfinder need not be constrained by the size of the sensor format, as the optical view of a DSLR's mirror is. In this instance, the a6300's finder is around 20% larger than that of the Canon. Its fast refresh means it's better able to help you follow the action than ever before, but that's an area that's still 'advantage DSLR' for now.

DSLR vs Mirrorless

However, one of the traditional advantages of a mirrorless camera is that they can be smaller and the a6300 certainly has the edge in that respect. Its kit zoom may not be the best-loved or most consistent lens on the market, but it does a great job of keeping the size of the overall package down.

There's a well worn adage that the best camera is the one you have with you and all but the most dedicated photographers are likely to find the a6300 much more convenient to carry with them. Disregarding macho nonsense about carrying the weight of a DSLR, the a6300's much smaller form factor may well be the difference between you keeping a camera with you and only bringing it along when you expect to need it.

That said, the 80D's optical viewfinder means it doesn't have to have its screen on all the time. This certainly helps towards it having a CIPA battery rating 2.4x greater than the Sony (960 shots per charge, vs 400 on the Sony or 350 through the electronic viewfinder).

Handling

Some of the differences between the two cameras don't directly stem from the DSLR/mirrorless distinction. There are plenty of mirrorless cameras that offer DSLR-like control points, but the a6300 doesn't follow that path.

While Sony has increasingly stepped away from its innovative but simplistic NEX interface, the a6300 doesn't offer the level of at-your-fingertips control that you'd usually get for this much money. There are two command dials but both of them are operated with the same digit, and the one on the rear face of the camera requires you to move your hand out of a shooting grip (which makes it unnecessarily fiddly). The camera does at least give plenty of customization of its buttons and Fn menu, so you can choose which options to get fast and semi-fast access to, but there remain features we want access to that are unassignable, and we've sometimes found ourselves running out of assignable buttons. I don't think even its most strident supporter would consider the a6300's handling to be amongst its strengths. 

By contrast, the Canon does a great job of blending its well-worn stills control layout with a simple but effective level of touchscreen control, making the 80D a much more engaging and direct-feeling camera to shoot with. Yes, it's very traditional approach, but it works well for stills and has been adapted pretty well for shooting video, too. And I doubt many people would have guessed that it'd be Canon, rather than Sony, that brought touchscreens to its enthusiast cameras first.

Autofocus

The days of being able to simply say 'DSLRs are better at focusing' is long gone, but that isn't to say that all cameras are now equal - different technologies have different areas of strength.

The EOS 80D's through-the-viewfinder focus is generally good when shooting approaching subjects but seems to struggle at the camera's highest frame rate. The hit rate falls further if the camera has to track subjects moving around the frame. Like most DSLRs, it can also exhibit some focus imprecision on close-up, shallow depth-of-field photos.

By comparison, the a6300 offers excellent autofocus in a lot of circumstances. Its subject tracking is generally very good and will follow a single, clearly defined subject around the frame as it moves, though it's not reliable enough to use in lieu of manually positioning the AF point over a subject. This is a pity because, without a touchscreen or joystick, the manual positioning of an AF point is rather slow and clunky.

Eye AF, which you'll need to assign to a custom button to gain access to, is superb though. Point the camera at your subject, hold down the Eye AF button and the camera will generally stick to its target well, even as you and your subject move around. It's particularly good with fast primes where you can be fairly confident of your subject's eye being perfectly sharp. That said, it's not without its limitations, jumping off to other subjects from time to time.

However, the EOS 80D is based around a Dual Pixel AF sensor, which means it can offer depth-aware phase detection autofocus across much of its sensor if you're willing to use the rear LCD and shoot in Live View. This is especially good at identifying and following faces (or other objects) within the scene, meaning it can compete pretty effectively with the a6300's Eye AF mode, even with a fast prime lens.

a6300 - the videographer's choice

What really sets the two cameras apart is their approach to video. Not just in terms of specifications, but how you shoot. The Sony has the upper-hand on paper, since it can shoot 4K video, but it's not as simple as all that.

The a6300 is very well equipped when it comes to video. It can shoot UHD 4K at up to 100 Mbps. It includes adjustable zebra patterns for helping you set exposure. It also includes focus peaking and during-capture magnification to help you confirm and adjust focus, and it also offers a huge variety of video-centric gamma responses including Log curves and a mode that gives an ITU 709 preview while shooting log. 

Which is lovely, if you know how to make use of all of those things. And knee, and master pedestal. But, while it can be fun to learn, it's a little daunting at first, though you're free to ignore such options. Autofocus in video is good with minimal hunting, but is not immune to losing your subject and focusing on undesired subjects, like the background, in auto area modes. And, without a touch screen, moving the focus point is impractical.

The Sony can sometimes, especially in warm conditions, overheat before reaching its 29:59 limit. This and the more involved shooting technique needed to get the very best from the its frankly stunning 4K quality means isn't suited to every type of shooting. Its 1080 is also oddly disappointing. But if you put in the work, it's sensational.

EOS 80D - the still photographer's video cam

The EOS 80D is a really interesting camera, when it comes to video, and its limitation to 1080 shouldn't see you write it off. The Canon can't compete with the Sony's video quality or its laundry list of support features. But what it does offer are simple autofocus and ease-of-use.

The 80D's dual pixel autofocus really comes into its own for video shooting. Touch on the screen and the camera will refocus with absolute confidence. Set a target and the camera will keep your subject in focus. You can dictate the focus speed and be confident that the camera will do what you want, without the constant wobble or occasional catastrophic mis-focus that most of its rivals will deliver.

That ease-of-use is perhaps taken a bit far at times - you don't have shutter- or aperture-priority exposure modes for movie shooting. On top of this, being a DSLR, you can't resort to using the viewfinder when it's bright outside.

The footage isn't great, even by the standards of 1080 video, but it's more than usable and is just so easy to shoot. The lack of exposure monitoring tools is also a pain, but overall, the 80D a great camera for stills shooters who want to shoot video without having to learn how.

Lens choice

While Canon's APS-C lineup isn't quite as complete as its offerings for full frame, it's still pretty comprehensive, especially when you include those full frame lenses that remain useful on the smaller format. The native APS-C range includes a variety of zooms at different price levels, an a 24mm F2.8 STM prime if you're trying to keep the overall size down.

The same can't be said for Sony's E-mount lineup. There are some useful lenses, including stabilized 35 and 50mm primes for APS-C and a 28mm F2 that makes an effective normal, but it's certainly worth checking that the lenses you need exist, affordably, in the Sony range before you commit to the system.

That said, the short flange-back distance of the E-mount means that all sorts of lenses can be adapted to work on the Sony (some of them with AF), which is especially valuable for video work.

Overall

It might seem tempting to draw the conclusion that you buy the Sony for video and the Canon for stills, but it's not quite that clear-cut. The ease of shooting video with the Canon, along with the very capable autofocus of the Sony mean that both cameras have something to offer in what  you might otherwise assume to be the other's areas of strength.

The a6300 has a slight edge in terms of image quality and huge advantage in terms of video quality. However, the EOS 80D is undeniably a more enjoyable camera to shoot with. It would be hard to choose a winner in terms of autofocus (heretically it's the 80D's live view AF that keeps it in the hunt), meaning a lot of it comes down to personal priorities.

If you want probably the most capable camera that's easy to keep with you, then the Sony is the easy choice. But if you want a more traditional or hands-on shooting experience and still want some of that stills/video flexibility, then the Canon might be the better choice.

Yet again, the simple idea that most modern cameras are great is true. But that doesn't mean they'll all be equally good for you.

Categories: Photo Gear News

What the Weather's Like (OT)

The Online Photographer - Sun, 08/14/2016 - 08:53
I'm a bit mystified. It's 77°F and cloudy in the vicinity of Penn Yan New York this morning, and so far August has been...delightful. First I heard how bad the Winters here are, and this past Winter was mild with... Michael Johnston
Categories: Photography

6 tips for better wildflower photos

DPReview News - Sun, 08/14/2016 - 04:00
Tips for better wildflower photos

Shooting wildflowers can be an intimidating endeavor, especially if you're looking to capture grand scenes and vistas. Navigating the crowds, finding the perfect composition and nailing the shot can all be overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be that way – in this article I'll help you navigate these challenges so you can enjoy the experience and make the most of peak wildflower season.

Choose the right gear for the job

This isn't a one-size-fits-all gear list as it really depends upon how much hiking you have to do to get to your desired location. That being said, I've highlighted some of the most important items from my kit in this list.

  • Tripod: A sturdy tripod is a must if you plan on focus stacking, it also comes in handy if you're shooting in conditions that require slightly longer shutter speeds.
  • Lenses: When I'm out shooting wildflowers I always try to cover a focal length of 16-300mm. The majority of my compositions fall in the 16-35mm range, but you never know when you may want to snap an abstract shot or try something new when you're out in the field.
  • Headlamp: You may not plan on staying out late, but losing track of time while shooting an amazing sunset is very easy to do.
  • CPL: The sky in your composition will benefit a great deal from using a circular polarizer and the vegetation's rich colors will be brought out as well.
  • Bug/Bear Spray: This may sound trivial but if you're shooting anywhere in the mountains this is a must. Watch out for ticks as well when you're out shooting. Bears aren't always an issue, but in certain areas they can be a problem so it's definitely best to check trip reports and stay well-informed.
  • Well stocked backpack: A camera backpack or your favorite hiking backpack with a first aid kit, water, extra batteries, wireless remote, cleaning cloths, tripod tools, extra layers (Gortex jacket etc.) and snacks is a must. Anytime you go hiking it's a great idea to be prepared for anything in the field.
  • Maps/GPS: I always bring a map or a guide book in addition to a GPS unit with me to areas that I'm not familiar with.
Check flower reports and scout locations

Before heading out into the field I make sure to scout out locations and check on the condition of the flowers I'm intending to photograph.

  • Check local wild flower reports online – hiking trip reports are great places to look for wild flower updates.
  • Aim to photograph the flowers when they are just starting to peak; this is where checking reports pays off. Staying slightly ahead of the curve will ensure that you will be able to photograph the flowers when they are looking their best.
  • Talking with other local photographers is a great way to network and to get an idea of what the flower shooting conditions are like in your area of interest.
  • Scout your location to determine what areas are best for sunrise, sunset and day/night time shooting. Figure out how many miles you'll be hiking and plan accordingly.
  • Remember to give yourself plenty of time to drive to your location, hike in, take photos and hike out.
  • Mark the areas that you're interested in shooting on a map or set waypoints on a GPS to give yourself a guide of sorts to roughly follow while you're out in the field.
Find your composition

Choosing your composition can feel like a tricky task – especially with the added element of flowers thrown into the mix. Here are some helpful tips that can make the process a bit less overwhelming.

  • Look for flowers just approaching the peak of their bloom: Once you have found a nice patch of flowers make sure that they can be incorporated into your composition effectively.
  • Add depth through layers: Flowers can add a really nice foreground element to your photo so try to fill the lower 1/3 to lower 1/2 of your frame with them to give your photo lots of foreground interest and depth. Focus stacking is one way to achieve this look.
  • Let the flowers be your leading line: Sometimes nature can provide you with nice patterns and colors to lead your eye through the frame to your focal point. Look for flowers that can provide that 'line' to your focal point or that offer depth through layers.
  • Don't let the conditions dictate whether or not you choose to go out and shoot: Shooting in foggy and challenging weather conditions can offer up some amazing and unique results!
  • Shoot in both landscape and portrait orientations: Don't get too set on one composition — move around and experiment! This is something that I have to continually remind myself to do.
Get creative: go abstract

When you find yourself surrounded by fields of gorgeous flowers it's very easy to become overwhelmed and bogged down by the seemingly endless photographic possibilities. Finding abstract compositions requires some work, but the results can be very rewarding.

  • Take a step back and look for subtle opportunities to photograph the flowers and vegetation themselves.
  • Look for different kinds of texture and layering in the vegetation.
  • Let the plants and flowers become your composition.
  • Look for natural leading lines, patterns, curves and turns in the plant life.
  • Pay attention to complementary colors and patterns as color can add a great deal of interest to your photo.
Etiquette

This isn't something that's discussed very often in landscape photography, but I think that it's especially applicable for this type of shooting.

  • Show up early and find your composition: One of the biggest issues that I see in the field is dealing with people fighting for compositions. If another photographer was there before you, then respect their space and look for different compositions. Remember that a wide-angle lens covers a lot of real estate, so keep that in mind when looking for alternative compositions. Get there first and you will be rewarded with lots of options for outstanding compositions.
  • Respect the Flowers: This almost goes without saying, but never pick the flowers and move them to improve your composition – this happens more often than you would care to believe. Also, take care not to sit on or trample the meadows when composing your shot(s).
  • Tread Lightly: Chances are that if you're shooting wildflowers you will find yourself off trail at some point. Follow game trails and stick to paths that have already been well traveled. Never create your own trail through a meadow unless you have no other options and always tread lightly. These areas have very fragile ecosystems and see a great deal of foot traffic, so it's important to practice sustainability.
  • Leave No Trace: Surprisingly this is still a huge issue. The bottom line is, if you pack it in, pack it out – don't leave anything behind.
Categories: Photo Gear News

Gone Fishin' (And Print Sale Plans) (And Albany)

The Online Photographer - Sat, 08/13/2016 - 13:13
Albany, New York It appears it's that time again. Most years at this time I go on a short family vacation, and as I had a family situation arise last Thursday that's going to keep me busy for a while,... Michael Johnston
Categories: Photography

The good, the bad and the ugly of aerial photography – part 2: aircraft

DPReview News - Sat, 08/13/2016 - 04:00
My favorite image from the Holuhraun volcanic eruption, Iceland. Not only did I shoot multiple versions, I also asked the pilot to fly as slowly as possible and to return to this angle repeatedly so I could make sure I have the composition just right. This was easily done with the helicopter.

In the previous article I talked about some of the advantages of aerial photography. Now we'll talk about some logistics, starting with the aircraft. There are two main options here: a light airplane or a helicopter. Yes, you can shoot from a hot air balloon but that’s not really an option in most places, plus it’s far less maneuverable, so I’ll gently disregard it. Also, while drones are taking the world of aerial photography by storm, the considerations discussed in this series don't really relate to them, and so I won't be talking about them at all.

It will probably come as no surprise when I say that a helicopter is the better way to go, by far. It might cost a bit (or a lot) more, but the advantages it offers make for a very different, vastly superior experience. 

Perhaps the greatest advantage is that some helicopters allow the doors to be opened or even completely removed for the flight

A helicopter is a flexible craft: it can fly slower than a plane or even hover in place, which gives you much more time to shoot a desired composition. But that’s not all: perhaps the greatest advantage is that some helicopters allow the doors to be opened or even completely removed for the flight. Once the door is off, you have a huge field of view, and wide-angle shooting is possible. You need to be careful not to have the rotor in the shot, but that can generally be avoided when pointing the camera downward.

The huge field of view also means that you have the option to try the same shot more than once should the first try fail, and you can shoot different angles of the same subject even after you’ve moved ahead. That’s a critical advantage which can make the difference between getting a shot and losing it.

Huge icebergs finally released from Kangia Fjord after floating there for years. Can you spot the (fairly large) boat?

Disko Bay, Greenland.

The most common helicopter for aerial photography is the Robinson R44. It’s a small helicopter fit for a pilot plus three passengers, and you can take both doors off in a minute, which is crucially important for getting crisp images without reflections or aberrations (if the pilot refuses to take the door off don’t even bother). Its small size also makes it relatively cheap to fly and maintain (emphasis on relatively).

What’s considered cheap? Well, one of my R44 flights cost me $850 (around €760) an hour, the other €1500 (around $1670) an hour. It really depends on where you fly, and costs worldwide can vary even more than that in both directions, but primarily upward. In places where a small, cheap helicopter isn't available, costs can rise quite ludicrously. For example, I've recently gotten a quote of $4200 an hour for a larger heli in a place whose name I won't mention. That's $70 a minute. Yes, my reaction was similar to yours.

In the image below you can see a wide-angle shot of the dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia, taken from an R44 helicopter with the doors taken off. It’s quite striking to see these intricate dunes from this angle, and the helicopter allowed me to take a very wide shot and include the entire dune, which is a huge advantage.

Shooting from a light plane is different. You usually shoot from an open window, and that’s in the best case scenario: about a year ago I did a photography flight in Greenland in which I had the dubious pleasure of shooting through a 15cm hatch in the front window. This means that shooting-angle selection was extremely limited (forget about ultra-wide lenses), and that once you pass a good shooting angle, the shot is gone unless you circle back. This disadvantage is emphasized by the faster movement speed, which frankly gives you a feeling of anxiety to be ready and shoot before it’s all gone.

To sum it up, though cheaper than a helicopter, a light plane with a small hatch (as opposed to a large window) is very limited in shooting angles, supplies less opportunities to get the right shot, and as a result yields much less keepers when the flight is done. I’d seriously reconsider before ever doing it again.

A Cessna with a large window you can open is a very different story. Shooting is much more comfortable and angle choice much less limiting. If you lean back (careful not to push against the poor pilot! I know I did that a few times...), no wind interferes with your lens and stability is quite good. I shot from such a Cessna in the Lofoten Islands and the experience was wonderful. 

Kjerkfjord, surrounded by mountains struck by beautiful pink light. Shot from a Cessna during sunset on my Lofoten Islands workshop this January.

In the next article I’ll discuss technicalities and parameter selection for aerial photography.

Erez Marom is a professional nature photographer, photography guide and traveler based in Israel. You can follow Erez's work on InstagramFacebook and 500px, and subscribe to his mailing list for updates.

If you'd like to experience and shoot some of the most fascinating landscapes on earth with Erez as your guide, you're welcome to take a look at his unique photography workshops around the world:

Land of Ice - Southern Iceland
Winter Paradise - Northern Iceland
Northern Spirits - The Lofoten Islands
Giants of the Andes and Fitz Roy Hiking Annex - Patagonia
Tales of Arctic Nights - Greenland

More in This Series:

The good, the bad and the ugly of aerial photography - Part 1: Why shoot aerials?

Selected articles by Erez Marom:
Categories: Photo Gear News

The good, the bad and the ugly of aerial photography – part 2: aircrafts

DPReview News - Sat, 08/13/2016 - 04:00
My favorite image from the Holuhraun volcanic eruption, Iceland. Not only did I shoot multiple versions, I also asked the pilot to fly as slowly as possible and to return to this angle repeatedly so I could make sure I have the composition just right. This was easily done with the helicopter.

In the previous article I talked about some of the advantages of aerial photography. Now we'll talk about some logistics, starting with the aircraft. There are two main options here: a light airplane or a helicopter. Yes, you can shoot from a hot air balloon but that’s not really an option in most places, plus it’s far less maneuverable, so I’ll gently disregard it. Also, while drones are taking the world of aerial photography by storm, the considerations discussed in this series don't really relate to them, and so I won't be talking about them at all.

It will probably come as no surprise when I say that a helicopter is the better way to go, by far. It might cost a bit (or a lot) more, but the advantages it offers make for a very different, vastly superior experience. 

Perhaps the greatest advantage is that some helicopters allow the doors to be opened or even completely removed for the flight

A helicopter is a flexible craft: it can fly slower than a plane or even hover in place, which gives you much more time to shoot a desired composition. But that’s not all: perhaps the greatest advantage is that some helicopters allow the doors to be opened or even completely removed for the flight. Once the door is off, you have a huge field of view, and wide-angle shooting is possible. You need to be careful not to have the rotor in the shot, but that can generally be avoided when pointing the camera downward.

The huge field of view also means that you have the option to try the same shot more than once should the first try fail, and you can shoot different angles of the same subject even after you’ve moved ahead. That’s a critical advantage which can make the difference between getting a shot and losing it.

Huge icebergs finally released from Kangia Fjord after floating there for years. Can you spot the (fairly large) boat?

Disko Bay, Greenland.

The most common helicopter for aerial photography is the Robinson R44. It’s a small helicopter fit for a pilot plus three passengers, and you can take both doors off in a minute, which is crucially important for getting crisp images without reflections or aberrations (if the pilot refuses to take the door off don’t even bother). Its small size also makes it relatively cheap to fly and maintain (emphasis on relatively).

What’s considered cheap? Well, one of my R44 flights cost me $850 (around €760) an hour, the other €1500 (around $1670) an hour. It really depends on where you fly, and costs worldwide can vary even more than that in both directions, but primarily upward. In places where a small, cheap helicopter isn't available, costs can rise quite ludicrously. For example, I've recently gotten a quote of $4200 an hour for a larger heli in a place whose name I won't mention. That's $70 a minute. Yes, my reaction was similar to yours.

In the image below you can see a wide-angle shot of the dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia, taken from an R44 helicopter with the doors taken off. It’s quite striking to see these intricate dunes from this angle, and the helicopter allowed me to take a very wide shot and include the entire dune, which is a huge advantage.

Shooting from a light plane is different. You usually shoot from an open window, and that’s in the best case scenario: about a year ago I did a photography flight in Greenland in which I had the dubious pleasure of shooting through a 15cm hatch in the front window. This means that shooting-angle selection was extremely limited (forget about ultra-wide lenses), and that once you pass a good shooting angle, the shot is gone unless you circle back. This disadvantage is emphasized by the faster movement speed, which frankly gives you a feeling of anxiety to be ready and shoot before it’s all gone.

To sum it up, though cheaper than a helicopter, a light plane with a small hatch (as opposed to a large window) is very limited in shooting angles, supplies less opportunities to get the right shot, and as a result yields much less keepers when the flight is done. I’d seriously reconsider before ever doing it again.

A Cessna with a large window you can open is a very different story. Shooting is much more comfortable and angle choice much less limiting. If you lean back (careful not to push against the poor pilot! I know I did that a few times...), no wind interferes with your lens and stability is quite good. I shot from such a Cessna in the Lofoten Islands and the experience was wonderful. 

Kjerkfjord, surrounded by mountains struck by beautiful pink light. Shot from a Cessna during sunset on my Lofoten Islands workshop this January.

In the next article I’ll discuss technicalities and parameter selection for aerial photography.

Erez Marom is a professional nature photographer, photography guide and traveler based in Israel. You can follow Erez's work on InstagramFacebook and 500px, and subscribe to his mailing list for updates.

If you'd like to experience and shoot some of the most fascinating landscapes on earth with Erez as your guide, you're welcome to take a look at his unique photography workshops around the world:

Land of Ice - Southern Iceland
Winter Paradise - Northern Iceland
Northern Spirits - The Lofoten Islands
Giants of the Andes and Fitz Roy Hiking Annex - Patagonia
Tales of Arctic Nights - Greenland

More in This Series:

The good, the bad and the ugly of aerial photography - Part 1: Why shoot aerials?

Selected articles by Erez Marom:
Categories: Photo Gear News

Kipon introduces reducer to fit Nikon F and Leica R lenses to Micro Four Thirds bodies

DPReview News - Fri, 08/12/2016 - 12:14

Chinese lens and accessory maker Kipon has introduced a pair of focal length reducers that allow users to mount Nikon F and Leica R lenses to Micro Four Thirds cameras to give a 1.4x crop factor. The company says that the Kipon Baveyes NIK-m4/3 0.7x and Baveyes L/R-m4/3 0.7x reducers make a 50mm lens designed for full-frame systems act as a 70mm equivalent once the focal length doubling effect of the Micro Four Thirds system is taken into account. Kipon also claims that the reducer makes the mounted lenses a stop faster too.

Without the lenses in the reducer a 50mm Nikkor lens mounted on a Micro Four Thirds camera would behave as a 100mm due to the smaller size of the system’s sensors, so the wide-angle elements in the adapters reduce the apparent crop factor applied to the adapted lens. The company gives an example of a 35mm lens mounted via the adapter producing the angle of view one would expect from a 49mm lens on a full-frame body.

The price of the adapters has only been released in Japanese Yen, and is quoted as ¥23,000 plus tax, which is approximately $230/£180.

For more information see the Kipon website and a translated version the press release.

Categories: Photo Gear News

Getty employs robots for underwater shots in Rio

DPReview News - Fri, 08/12/2016 - 10:37

Prior to the start of the games in Rio we got a glimpse of the gear that Getty photographers are using to cover the Olympics. This week, we've seen a couple more of the tools the organization is using – a pair of robotic underwater camera housings. 

Veteran Getty photographer Al Bello talks about using the robotic camera housing with CNN Money, and says that they give an obvious advantage over the static underwater systems that they've used in the past. The robotic system allows him to pan, tilt and zoom a Canon EOS-1D X II enclosed safely in the housing as athletes pass by overhead, eliminating the guesswork that the static system required. 

It was this close. #Swimming #Rio2016

Categories: Photo Gear News

Cascable remote control app adds support for 50 cameras

DPReview News - Fri, 08/12/2016 - 10:19

Cascable, a Wi-Fi-based camera remote control app for Apple devices, has been updated to version 2.0. This update is a major one, adding both new features and additional support over the previous version. Most notably, Cascable 2.0 now supports 50 camera models from Sony, Canon, Nikon and Olympus. It also adds a new Night Mode dark theme, faster image previews and better photo management.

According to Cascable, user feedback indicated that version 1.0's photo preview method was too cumbersome. To remedy this, Cascable 2.0 automatically provides a preview of a shot as soon as it is taken, though at a lower resolution than the original photo. Photo management has also been improved by showing the most recent photos first, and any photo can now be quickly previewed using Force Touch or a tap.

Finally, Cascable says the latest software version has better handling of RAW + JPEG workflows, namely via the elimination of duplicate images. Users can zoom into images at a 1:1 resolution, and metadata with a histogram is now presented during fullscreen photo viewing.

Cascable 2.0 uses a different payment structure compared to the 1.x versions, being made available as a free base app with ‘Pro’ feature packs that cost $9.99 individually (there are three total) or $24.99 as a bundle. The update is free to all existing customers. Cascable 2.0 is available to download now from iTunes.

Via: Cascable Blog

Categories: Photo Gear News

A photographer's guide to Cuba

DPReview News - Fri, 08/12/2016 - 04:00
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Veteran traveler and photographer Michael Bonocore returned from a recent trip to Cuba thoroughly enchanted by the country. Photographers have long been drawn to Cuba's breathtaking scenery, historic architecture and friendly locals, and in the U.S. in particular, interest in traveling to the island nation is at a high as restrictions on travel have been relaxed somewhat.

It's becoming easier than ever to get to Cuba, but a few pointers can help set travelers in the right direction – especially those looking to photograph the country's vibrant towns and landscapes. Bonocore has shared some tips for getting around the country and making the most of your time there over on Resource Travel. Even if you're not planning a trip to Cuba, you might find yourself seriously considering one after you've looked through his photos.

Resource Travel: The Untold Culture of Cuba

Have you photographed Cuba? Have any tips to share? Leave them in the comments below.

Categories: Photo Gear News

SpaceVR wants you to see the earth from space, in VR

DPReview News - Thu, 08/11/2016 - 10:44

SpaceVR is a startup that is planning to shoot VR cameras into space, so that subscribers to their service back on earth can see the planet from an astronaut's point of view, in full 360-degree VR glory. The company has made a huge step towards reaching this goal by signing an agreement with aerospace company NanoRacks which, if all goes to plan, will launch the first SpaceVR camera satellite, called Overview 1, into space sometime in 2017. 

Overview 1 is a small cube satellite that carries two 4K image sensors with super-wide lenses. Video footage from the two modules would be stitched into a 360-degree spheric video panorama and transmitted to earth where it would be accessible via a wide range of VR viewing devices, including Oculus Rift and smartphones. The satellite will be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) with the SpaceX CRS-12 Mission in 2017. NanoRack will then then deploy it into a low earth orbit using its CubeSat deployer. Once in place SpaceVR will have full altitude and flight control over the satellite. 

This is all good news for SpaceVR after initial attempts to raise funds for the project on Kickstarter had failed in 2015, and plans to install a more ambitious 12-camera system directly on the ISS had to be abandoned. If you've always wanted to see the earth through an astronaut's eyes, and have sufficient faith in the project, you can pre-order a one-year subscription to the service on the SpaceVR website now.

Categories: Photo Gear News
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