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Facebook just doubled the resolution of photos in Facebook Messenger

21 Nov

Photo messaging has been around for a long time, but as smartphone cameras get better and better, this form of ‘visual communication’ is only becoming more common. That’s why, earlier today, Facebook announced a major update to Facebook Messenger that doubles the resolution of the photos you send from 2K to 4K—or, more specifically, to a max of 4096 x 4096 pixels.

“We heard that people want to send and receive high resolution photos in Messenger,” reads the release from Facebook, “and considering people send more than 17 billion photos through Messenger every month, we’re making your conversations richer, sharper, and better than ever.”

And just in case you’re wondering: this resolution bump should not affect speed. According to Facebook, “your photos will also be sent just as quickly before, even at this new, higher resolution.”

Here are a few before and after samples that show what doubling the resolution from the previous 2K looks like IRL.

*The images on the left were reproduced to reflect the previous default resolution at 2K. The images on the right reflect the new default resolution at 4K

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To take advantage of the new feature yourself, update your FB Messenger app to the latest version and every photo you send should automatically go out at up to 4096 x 4096 pixels.

For now, the feature is limited to iPhone and Android users in the US, Canada, France, Australia, the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea. Additional countries will be added ‘in the coming weeks.’

Press Release

Making Visual Messaging Even Better – Introducing High Resolution Photos in Messenger

By Sean Kelly & Hagen Green, Product Managers, Messenger

The way people message today is no longer limited by just text; visual messaging as our new universal language is much more emotional and expressive. Whether you’re catching up over moments big and small — like a recent vacation, an amazing meal at a new restaurant, a new member of the family, or the first snow day of the year — sharing photos of our experiences brings our conversations to life.

We’re making significant investments in how people communicate visually on Messenger. That’s why today, we’re excited to share that people can send and receive photos in Messenger at 4K resolution — or up to 4,096 x 4,096 pixels per image — the highest quality many smartphones support. We heard that people want to send and receive high resolution photos in Messenger — and considering people send more than 17 billion photos through Messenger every month — we’re making your conversations richer, sharper, and better than ever.

Your photos will also be sent just as quickly before, even at this new, higher resolution.

You may be curious how much of a difference 4K resolution makes. Take a look at the before and after examples in the gallery above. On the right at 4K resolution, once you zoom in, the photo is much sharper and clearer so you can see every detail. That’s what we mean by bringing your conversations to life.

To send and share photos at 4K resolution, first update your Messenger app to make sure you have the latest version. Then open a conversation and tap the camera roll icon. Select the photo, tap send, and the person you’re messaging with will receive the high resolution photo.

Starting today, we are rolling out 4K resolution on both iPhone and Android to people in the US, Canada, France, Australia, the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea. In the coming weeks, we’re planning to roll out 4k resolution to additional countries.

We know that every message matters to you, no matter how or what you’re sharing. We appreciate that you continue to use Messenger to connect with the people you care about most.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Analysis: The Sony a7R III is still a star eater

21 Nov

We sent some files to our friend Jim Kasson for analysis, and he confirms that the Sony a7R III is definitely still a Star Eater, despite several claims to the contrary that have been published online over the past week.

Looking at Kasson’s graphs, one can clearly see the noise reduction kick in near Nyquist in Kasson’s energy plots. Indeed, in our own shots of the stars with the a7R III and latest a7R II (firmware v3.00 and above), our final files only show stars that are larger than one pixel with a few neighboring pixels: suggesting that smaller stars are indeed ‘eaten’ or dimmed due to a spatial filtering algorithm.

At a 3.2-second exposure, the ‘spacial filtering’ (Star Eater) is very mild, and won’t affect your stars.
But as soon as you hit 4-seconds, spacial filtering kicks in big time, causing the same Star Eater problems that was seen in the a7R II

This is a missed opportunity for Sony, and something dedicated astrophotographers will want to consider when deciding between the a7R III and other options that don’t have this same issue (a Nikon D850 for example). Other photographers happy with the number of stars still in their shots simply won’t care.

We’ll drop in one of our sample photos shortly for your pixel-peeping pleasure. But for now, we can say this with confidence: while a lot of stars still survive ‘Star Eater’, the a7R III continues the trend of noise reduction that dims or erases small stars at exposure longer than 3.2s.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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DJI AeroScope demo shows drone tracking tech in action

21 Nov

In October, DJI introduced a new technology called AeroScope that makes it possible for law enforcement and other officials to track drones that broadcast info. The system was launched to address growing concerns about drones being operated in forbidden locations, such as near airports or over wildfires. AeroScope works by picking up telemetry and ID data broadcast by DJI drone.

The Verge recently shared a video showing AeroScope in action.

The system, which is a box-shaped device that includes a touchscreen display, issues an alert when it detects a drone nearby. Officials can pull up the ID and telemetry info the drone is broadcasting and potentially use that to identify the operator. A explained in the video, AeroScope shows the operator’s email address, which officials can message for direct contact.

Speaking to DIY Photography, DJI said that email addresses were displayed to users in a beta version of the AeroScope software, and that such abilities won’t be included in the final version.

There are some limitations to the AeroScope system. For example, drones that aren’t registered won’t provide info that helps officials identify the operator. As well, the system is localized, meaning it can only detect drones within a couple miles of the device. DJI previously explained that it chose this localized tracking method to prevent drone data from being easily amassed in government databases.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Sigma’s high-end Art lenses get $100 Black Friday discount

21 Nov

Sigma has announced its Black Friday sale, and fans of the company’s high-end Art line will want to pay attention. This ‘unprecedented’ Art sale takes up to $ 100 off both prime and zoom Art models, and runs from now until November 30th.

Buyers will need to order the lenses through Sigma’s website or shop through a Sigma authorized dealer in the US to get the discounted pricing.

The Black Friday sale covers eight prime and five zoom Art lenses (below), plus the MC-11 mount converter. All of the lenses are discounted by $ 100, with the exception of the 30mm F1.4 | Art lens, which is only discounted by $ 50. The lens converter is also discounted by $ 100.

Here’s the list of all 13 lenses on discount starting today:

High-Performance Art Prime lenses

  • 14mm F1.8 DG HSM Art ($ 1,599 Retail Price) World’s First F1.8 Ultra-Wide Angle – $ 100.00 off
  • 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art ($ 899 Retail Price) Bright & Sharp Wide-Angle – $ 100.00 off
  • 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art ($ 849 Retail Price) Front Filter Compatible, Fast-Aperture Wide Angle – $ 100.00 off
  • 30mm F1.4 DC HSM Art ($ 499 Retail Price) A Low-Light Pro for APS-C – $ 50.00 off
  • 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art ($ 899 Retail Price) A Groundbreaking Flagship Wide-Angle – $ 100.00 off
  • 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art ($ 949 Retail Price) Redesigned for High Megapixel DSLRs – $ 100.00 off
  • 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art ($ 1,199 Retail Price) Award-Winning Ultimate Portrait Lens – $ 100.00 off
  • 135mm F1.8 DG HSM Art ($ 1,399 Retail Price) Award-Winning Prime with Reach – $ 100.00 off

Versatile Premium Art Zooms Lenses

  • 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art ($ 1,599 Retail Price) Ultra-Wide Zoom Excellence – $ 100.00 off
    18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art ($ 799 Retail Price) The First and Fastest of its Kind – $ 100.00 off
  • 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art ($ 999 Retail Price) Prime Performance, Zoom Versatility – $ 100.00 off
  • 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM Art ($ 899 Retail Price) Exceptional Usability for High-Resolution Cameras – $ 100.00 off
  • 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM Art ($ 1,099 Retail Price) Larger Aperture and Long Reach for your APS-C Sensor – $ 100.00 off

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Moment releases new case and lenses for Apple iPhone X

21 Nov

Moment has launched a new photography case and lenses for the iPhone X, all of them currently listed for preorder on the company’s website. The protective case, which is simply called Photo Case, is black with a canvas or optional walnut wood backing, and is joined by wide-angle, macro, super fisheye, and telephoto lens options.

The lenses attached directly to the Photo Case.

Moment’s system gives the iPhone X—and select other phones—a sort of interchangeable lens system, enabling photographers to quickly attach and remove various lenses to the device as needed. The Photo Case doubles as a slim protective case, featuring microsuede on the inside, a thin rubberized body, and support for an optional wrist strap.

The lenses, meanwhile, are made with glass and feature Moment’s new bayonet system for locking the lens to the case. Moment explains that its lenses are durable due to the use of “aerospace grade metal” and a unique hardening process. The company offers a 12-month warranty for their lenses.

The Moment for iPhone X is available to preorder at the following prices:

  • Photo Case: $ 30
  • Wide Lens: $ 100
  • Superfish Lens: $ 90
  • Macro Lens: $ 90
  • Tele Lens: $ 100

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Sigma releases full-res sample photos captured with 16mm F1.4 DC DN lens

20 Nov

The new Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN | Contemporary lens made for APS-C E-Mount and M43 cameras has a lot of crop-sensor shooters very intrigued. Sigma says this lens boasts quality on par with its Art lens lineup, and our own hands-on at PPE 2017 was very positive. But before you order the lens—which ships at the end of this month and costs a very tempting $ 450—you’ll want to check out the gallery below.

Sigma Global has finally released official, full-resolution sample photos captured with the new lens. Despite the lens being made primarily for APS-C E-Mount, Sigma shooter Wataru Nakamura used a Sony A7RII to capture these samples in the camera’s 3:2 crop mode (17.8MP resolution).

Check them out for yourself below, or head over to the Sigma Global website to download the samples yourself:

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Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Top 10 sample galleries of the year #5: the Fujifilm X-T20

20 Nov

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We’re counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and we’ve at last cracked the top 5 (see the other winners below). Sitting pretty in the #5 spot is a little number we like to call the Fujifilm X-T20.

The little brother of the mighty Fujifilm X-T2, the X-T20 uses the same sensor and image processor, but packed in a smaller, lighter body. We think it’s a beautifully designed mirrorless camera that is also pleasure to use – it even earned a silver award in our review.

We’ve got four sample galleries left to go, and the final four represent some of our absolute favorite products launched this year. Stay tuned!


Top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017:

#10: Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art
#9: Fujifilm GFX 50S
#8: Nikon D7500
#7: Olympus Tough TG-5
#6: Sigma 85mm F1.4
#5: Fujifilm X-T20
#4: To be revealed on 11/21
#3: To be revealed on 11/22
#2: To be revealed on 11/23
#1: To be revealed on 11/24

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Treat yourself 2017: the ultimate holiday gift guide for that special person (you)

20 Nov

2017 Treat Yourself Buying Guide

The holidays are all about giving, so why not give back to the most important photographer in your life? That’s right, I’m talking about you.

At this time of year there are plenty of gift guides out there geared toward buying for others, but at the end of the day, your own photographic spirit needs nurturing. Also, camera gear can be pretty pricey and no matter how much they love you, your significant other/siblings/parents/friends might not be able to spring for that $ 1600 item on your wish list.

In this guide, we’ve rounded up a list of gear designed to pamper you and your creative spirit. From the ultimate pocket compacts, to nicer ways of carrying your camera, to the perfect rugged, portable hard drive – we’ve got you covered.

Peak Design Everyday backpack, 20L black

Peak Design Everyday backpack, 20L | $ 260 | PeakDesign.com

Treat yourself to one of the most technical and well-thought-out camera backpacks on the market: the Peak Design Everyday backpack. It comes in both a 20L and 30L capacity.

Weather-proof with plenty of ways to expand its carrying capacity including luggage straps, this bag is also real slick-looking. We’re big fans of the origami-style Flex-Fold dividers used to organize the bag’s interior, and we also appreciate the many interior pockets.

DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo

DJI Mavic Pro more combo | $ 1300| DJI.com

There are smaller, cheaper drones than the DJI Mavic Pro out there, (like the DJI Spark) but we recommend treating yourself to the Pro because it offers a great balance of portability, features and image/video quality. The Mavic Pro can shoot 12MP Raw files and 4K video and offers 27 minutes of flight time, 3-axis gimbal stabilization and can fly at up to 40 mph. It’s also pretty easy to pick up and start using, especially in beginner mode, though there is a slight learning curve.

In a sense, it’s the perfect drone for the first-time-flyer, long-time-photographer who wants to shoot more than HD video or JPEGs with their drone. We recommend you spend the extra cash on the controller – using your cellphone alone provides a very limit flight range and mediocre flight experience. But there are few things better for changing up your photographic perspective than owning a flying camera.

Affinity Photo for desktop

Affinity Photo for desktop | $ 50 | Affinity.Serif.com

Affinity Photo for desktop is a nifty piece of editing software that rivals Photoshop, all for a one time payment of $ 50.

In our review of Affinity Photo, we found the software more than capable at handling the majority of our re-touching tasks. Editing is mostly non-destructive and there are tools for batch processing, Raw processing, tone mapping, creating panoramas and focus stacking. Plus, if you’re coming from Photoshop, the learning curve is pretty shallow.

Affinity Photo for desktop is available for both Mac and PC.

Polaroid OneStep 2

Polaroid OneStep2 + i-Type film pack | $ 146 | PolaroidOriginals.com

The ultimate treat yourself: Take a step back from the technical nitty-gritty of this modern digital world and try shooting just for composition – it can do wonders for your creative spirit. To get into this mindset may we suggest one of the coolest instant cameras on the market, the Polaroid OneStep2?

The OneStep2 is a modern rebirth of the classic Polaroid OneStep. The controls on this camera are purposely limited: there’s a shutter button, a flash on button and a self-timer. It shoots Polaroid i-Type film which is similar to the original Polaroid 600 film and substantially larger than the Instax film offered by Fujifilm.

The camera itself is pretty affordable ($ 100), but it’s the film cost that’ll get you – at ~$ 2 a shot it’ll definitely have you shooting decisively. Nothing wrong with that!

Sandisk Extreme 500 portable SSD 500 GB

Sandisk Extreme 500 portable SSD 500 GB | $ 170 | ShopSandisk.com

This tiny portable SSD drive is both drop-proof and weather-proof and it weighs less than 80g. For the traveling photographer with limited space, it’s an invaluable piece of gear – one that won’t fail if dropped or knocked around. It also offers super fast transfer speeds and runs cool and quiet.

So treat yourself and your data to peace of mind and pick up what we consider to be the most sensible rugged hard drive currently on the market.

Ricoh Theta V

Ricoh Theta V | $ 430 | us.Rioch-Imaging.com

360-degree photos and videos are pretty darn cool and the technology required to make decent looking 360/VR content is finally coming down in price. Why not get in on the fun and treat yourself to one of the nicest stand-alone 360-cameras on the market in the form of the Ricoh Theta V?

We’ve found found the Theta V to be both easy-to-use and capable of impressive quality stills and video. It offers 4K video capture and shoots 14MP stills. Connectivity and audio capture have both been improved over the previous model, and the camera itself has a slick, Apple-like design.

Olympus Tough TG-5

Olympus Tough TG-5 | $ 450 | Get.Olympus.com

The budget compact may be dead but the rugged compact is still very much alive. And the Olympus Tough TG-5 is a DPReview favorite. We already recommended it as a great gift option for others, but if you’re into outdoor activities it’ll make a great compact option alongside your main camera. In fact, DPR’s Carey Rose deemed it the ‘best rugged compact you can buy right now,’ based on his shooting experience.

The camera offers a 25-100mm equiv zoom lens and the body is completely sealed, making it waterproof down to 50ft, drop proof from 7ft, crush proof up to 220lb and freezeproof to 14F. It also shoots Raw and is capable of surprisingly good image quality. Other features include 4K video capture and 20 fps burst shooting.

There’s something to be said for a go-everywhere-camera that you don’t have to worry about dropping, breaking or soaking. And there’s none we’d recommend over the Olympus Tough TG-5. Treat yourself!

Sony RX100 V

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V | $ 950 | Sony.com

Speaking of compacts, the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V is arguably the most advanced high-end pocket camera to ever exist, jam packed with a dizzying array of technology and features. The creme de la creme of small cameras, for many it is a want-to-have, not a need-to-have. To that we say… treat yourself!

It’s got a useful and sharp 24-70mm equiv. F1.8-2.8 zoom lens and can shoot at up to 24 fps with AF and auto exposure. Plus, it uses an impressive 315-point phase detect AF system. But that’s not all: it’s capable of outstanding 4K video and class-leading stills. The RX100 V also offers built-in Wi-Fi, a pop-up electronic viewfinder and a pop-up flash (read our full review).

The RX100 V has come down a tiny bit in price since launch, but if it’s still too expensive, you should consider some of the other also excellent, but more affordable RX100-series cameras.

Fujifilm X100F

Fujfilm X100F | $ 1300 | Fujifilm.com

We’ve enjoyed using every camera in the Fujifilm X100-series, and the X100F is the latest and greatest iteration. A beautifully-designed, retro-looking camera, the X100F offers a fixed 35mm F2 equiv. lens and tons of direct controls.

The X100F gains a higher-resolution 24MP sensor, an AF joystick and improved AF performance. We especially like the hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder. And unsurprisingly, we gave the X100F a gold award in our review.

In short, we think it’s among the nicest-designed compact cameras around and a great companion for travel, or documenting friends and family. So treat yourself to retro-elegance in this fixed-lens beauty.

Canon 85mm F1.4L IS USM

Canon 85mm F1.4L IS USM | Canon.USA.com | $ 1600

If you’re going to buy a portrait lens, you might as well buy one of the nicest primes released this year. We’re talking of course about Canon’s new 85mm F1.4L IS (see our sample gallery shot with it). Sharp, fast and stabilized, this lens is capably of seriously excellent image quality. It’s also dust and weather-sealed and features a 9-blade aperture.

At $ 1600, it’s priced pretty competitively, but Sigma’s stabilized 85mm F1.4 is also excellent, and somewhat cheaper at $ 1200.

Nikon D850

Nikon D850 | $ 3300 | NikonUSA.com

Perhaps you already shoot Nikon, but maybe you are invested in another DSLR system, or you shoot mirrorless. Regardless of the camera your are currently shooting with, we’d urge you to take a look at the best DSLR currently on the market: the Nikon D850. As we stated in its gold award winning review…

‘Offering an impressive 45.7MP of resolution, 7fps burst shooting, full-width 4K video and a focusing system derived from the flagship D5, it looks as though Nikon’s thrown just about everything they’ve got into the D850, and priced it well to boot. Competitors with similarly specced megapixel counts such as the Sony a7R II and Canon EOS 5Ds R may be cheaper at this point in their lifetimes, but they also fall short of the D850 in a number of ways that may make a difference in the way you shoot.’

If that doesn’t have you convinced the Nikon D850 is the ultimate treat yourself purchase, maybe our sample gallery will.


That’s all the self-gifting advice we have for you this year. We certainly don’t expect you to pick up everything on our list, but hopefully there is something here that’ll make you, or a special someone smile.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Top 10 sample galleries of the year #6: the Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art

19 Nov

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We’re counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Our #6 gallery was looked through more than 1.3 million times. So what product attracted this number of eyeballs? Why, the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DH HSM Art lens of course.

Oh the portraits you will take! This lens is capable of outstanding image quality – read our full review and find out why we gave it a gold award. Not only that, it’s one of the most affordable 85mm F1.4 lens available. So peak through our gallery and see just what all the hype is about.


Top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017:

#10: Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art
#9: Fujifilm GFX 50S
#8: Nikon D7500
#7: Olympus Tough TG-5
#6: Sigma 85mm F1.4
#5: To be revealed on 11/20
#4: To be revealed on 11/21
#3: To be revealed on 11/22
#2: To be revealed on 11/23
#1: To be revealed on 11/24

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Photography gifts for every budget

19 Nov

Shopping for a photographer? Whether you are one yourself or not, chances are you could use some ideas. From stocking stuffers on up, we’ve got some photography gift suggestions for every budget.

2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Under $ 50

2017 Holiday Gift Guide: $ 50-200

2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Over $ 200

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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