Archive for August, 2017

How to shoot the solar eclipse: a list of resources for photographers

16 Aug
The first successfully captured photograph of a total solar eclipse was shot on July 28, 1851, by Prussian photographer Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski. Your eclipse photos can look better than this, with a little advice from some of our friends.

If you live in North America or are a citizen of planet Earth, you’ve probably heard chatter about the upcoming solar eclipse starting the morning of August 21st. It’s a rare opportunity for a lot of folks across the United States to see and/or photograph a partial or total eclipse of the sun, and it’s all happening just under a week from now.

We’ve already published our guide to photographing the eclipse (and a plea to consider not photographing it), but the Internet has no shortage of great information on the subject, some of which goes very in-depth. In an effort to provide you with the totality of eclipse photography resources, we’ve rounded up some of our other favorite articles and guides below. Good luck, and remember to protect those eyes and sensors!

Canon eclipse guide – 16 articles on shooting the eclipse

Canon’s guide to photographing the solar eclipse is very impressive and thorough. It features more than 15 articles on the subject. There’s also a nifty ‘Solar eclipse pocket field guide’ PDF you can download and print. The guide is slightly geared to Canon shooters, but we feel the information is useful to all photographers, regardless of brand of choice.

Read Canon’s eclipse guide

B & H eclipse guide- An easy-to-read complete guide

B & H also posted a really thorough guide on everything you should consider to safely and successfully shoot the eclipse. And unlike the Canon guide, these tips are all in one (long) article.

Read B & H’s eclipse guide

National Geographic – The creative side of photographing the eclipse

National Geographic’s guide to shooting the eclipse is less technical nuts-and-bolts and more about planning, composition and creativity. Nat Geo pinged pro shooters Stan Honda and Babak Tafreshi to share their advice on getting the shot.

Read Nat Geo’s eclipse article

Wired – Tips for shooting an eclipse with a smartphone

Smartphones, with their tiny sensors and wide-angle lenses might not seem like the obvious choice for photographing the eclipse, but Wired has some tips for making the most of the camera you likely always have on you. In short, they recommend purchasing an accessory telephoto lens to attach to your phone (there are several decent brands that make them), and stabilizing the rig with a small tripod.

Read Wired’s eclipse article

Nikon – Exposure advice

Nikon put together some useful information on the various types of eclipses, and what kinds of exposures you might use over the course of a total solar eclipse. If you’re a Nikon shooter, the post addresses camera settings for various Nikon lines.

Read Nikon’s eclipse article

Nikon also put together a couple of videos on eclipse gear preparation and shooting advice, for those who prefer to watch instead of read. Watch them here. – Catching the light

This eclipse guide was recommended in our forums by a reader. Written by astrophotographer Jerry Lodriguss, it is one of the most complete and detailed guides to eclipse photography we’ve come across on the Internet. If you are serious about nailing the shot, this is your guide. However, for the more casual/enthusiast photographers, this guide goes a tad above and beyond.

Read the guide

Popular Mechanics – How to photograph a total solar eclipse

Unlike the guide above, Popular Mechanics guide is more enthusiast-geared, but still covers all the core eclipse shooting information. There’s also a nine-minute video that largely covers the same material found in the article. And the author also briefly addresses post-production, something most other guides gloss over.

Read Pop Mech‘s guide

Feel free to share your town eclipse resources in the comments below.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (


New Qualcomm Spectra system brings 3D depth sensing to Android devices

16 Aug

Qualcomm launched the Clear Sight dual-camera system—which was powered by its Spectra ISP and used a combination of RGB and monochrome images sensors—in 2016. Today the company announced the second generation Spectra Module that introduces 3D computer vision to Qualcomm-powered Android devices.

The Qualcomm system is a dual-camera setup that is capable of sensing depth and motion in real time. In a smartphone’s rear camera, this technology could be used in apps to track motion and measure subject distance, which could ostensibly help improve simulated shallow depth-of-field effects.

In a front-facing camera, the Qualcomm system could help improve biometric security through iris scanning or 3D facial recognition. One of the technology’s advantages is the capability to capture and process image data in real time using off-the-shelf parts, unlike Google’s Tango project that relies on specialized hardware.

Qualcomm hasn’t yet announced any manufacturing partners yet, but given the popularity of the Qualcomm platform it’s arguably only a matter of time before we’ll see the technology pop up in the first Android devices.

Press Release

Qualcomm First to Announce Depth-Sensing Camera Technology Designed For Android Ecosystem

— Unveils next-generation Qualcomm Spectra ISP for computer vision, extended reality and computational photography technologies—

SAN DIEGO — August 15, 2017 — Today Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ:QCOM), through its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., announced an expansion to the Qualcomm® Spectra™ Module Program, capable of improved biometric authentication and high-resolution depth sensing, designed to meet growing demands of photo and video for a broad range of mobile devices and head mounted displays (HMD). This module program is built on the cutting-edge technology behind the Qualcomm® SpectraTM embedded image signal processors (ISP) family. Engineered by Qualcomm Technologies from the ground up, Qualcomm Spectra paves the way for future image quality and computer vision innovations in upcoming Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM Mobile Platforms.

“Whether used for computational photography, video recording, or for computer vision applications that require accurate motion tracking, it’s clear that power efficient camera image signal processing has become more important for the next generation of mobile user experiences,” said Tim Leland, vice president of product management, Qualcomm TechnologiesInc. “Our breakthrough advancements in visual quality and computer vision, combined with our family of integrated Spectra ISPs for Snapdragon, are designed to support an ecosystem of cutting edge mobile applications for our customers.”

Together, the new ISPs and camera modules are engineered to support superior image quality and new computer vision use cases that utilize deep learning techniques and bokeh quality image experiences with a faster time to market for smartphone and HMD devices. The next-generation ISPs feature a new camera architecture designed for advancements in computer vision, image quality and power efficiency for the next Snapdragon mobile and VR platforms. The camera module program additions consist of a trio of camera modules, including an iris authentication module, a passive depth sensing module and an active depth sensing module.

Qualcomm Spectra Module Program

Launched last year, the Qualcomm Spectra Module Program was designed to help customers accelerate time to market for devices with stunning image quality and advanced camera technology. Last year’s offerings provided customers with optimized, dual-camera module solutions that make it easy for manufacturers to produce smartphone cameras with improved low light photography and video recording with smooth zoom. Now, the camera module program is being expanded to include new camera modules capable of utilizing active sensing for superior biometric authentication, and structured light for a variety of computer vision applications that require real-time, dense depth map generation and segmentation.

Second-generation Qualcomm Spectra ISP

The second-generation Qualcomm Spectra ISP is the next family of integrated ISPs that utilizes new hardware and software architecture designed specifically for advancements in computer vision, image quality, and power efficiency in future Snapdragon platforms. It features multiframe noise reduction for superior photographic quality, along with hardware-accelerated motion compensated temporal filtering (MCTF), and inline electronic image stabilization (EIS) for superior camcorder-like video quality.

The low-power, high-performance motion tracking capabilities of the Qualcomm Spectra ISP, in addition to optimized simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) algorithms, are designed to support new extended reality (XR) use cases for virtual and augmented reality applications that require SLAM.

The Qualcomm Spectra family of ISPs and new Qualcomm Spectra camera modules are expected to be part of the next flagship Snapdragon Mobile Platform.

About Qualcomm

Qualcomm’s technologies powered the smartphone revolution and connected billions of people. We pioneered 3G and 4G – and now we are leading the way to 5G and a new era of intelligent, connected devices. Our products are revolutionizing industries, including automotive, computing, IoT, healthcare and data center, and are allowing millions of devices to connect with each other in ways never before imagined. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, all of our engineering, research and development functions, and all of our products and services businesses, including, our QCT semiconductor business. For more information, visit Qualcomm’s website, OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (


Oprema Jena seeks to resurrect the legendary Zeiss Biotar 75mm F1.5

16 Aug

The company behind the new Meyer Optik Goerlitz lens manufacturing business has formed a new brand to bring back the Biotar 75mm F1.5 that was made by Carl Zeiss Jena in the 1940s and 50s. Many of the original examples were made in East Germany after WWll and in quite low volumes, so they command high prices for their rarity, but also the extraordinary swirling they create when used at wide apertures.

The new version is being redesigned by the company that owns the Meyer Optik Goerlitz brand, but as it will not be made in Germany this time a new name has been conceived—Oprema Jena, in recognition of the location of the original factory. The attempted lens resurrection launched this morning on Kickstarter:

As the Kickstarter describes, this lens is a rarity:

The Biotar 75/1.5 is probably the most legendary lens ever produced in Jena, Germany.

It is a six lens gauss type optical scheme whose design dates back to the year 1927 when famous lens designer Willi Merté developed his first Biotar which was designed for cinematography.

In the 1930th Merté continued to improve the Biotar lenses among which the 75mm/1.5 reached legendary status. The Biotar 75/1.5 was first introduced in 1938, sales began to pick up with a presentation at the Leipzig Spring Fair in 1940.

But due to second world war and to its high price at the time it remained a very special lens for the selected few. Until today it has become one of the most expensive vintage lenses easily selling for over a thousand dollars – if you get a usable one.

The original Biotar (left) next to the Oprema Jena version (right) currently being funded on Kickstarter.

The lens is being designed by Dr Prenzel who works with Meyer Optik on its reinvented lenses, and by Andre de Winter, a former Leica engineer. All the manufacturing will be done in Japan by Tokina, so that this new line doesn’t interfere with production of the Meyer lenses.

The company’s goal is to “maintain the exact Biotar characteristics while carefully improving the mechanical aspects and making it feasible for modern camera equipment and different mounts.” That means a tack-sharp center with “dramatic but not overly-aggressive” swirly bokeh when shot wide-open.

Thanks to new lens technologies, high-quality glass, advanced coatings and more, Oprema Jena is confident they’ve avoided some of the disadvantages of the classic Biotar without sacrificing any of the lens’ advantages.

Launched on Kickstarter this morning, the lens is already fully-funded and the total funding ($ 107,000 as of this writing) goes up with every page reload. Fortunately, there are still some great deals to be had if you hurry over to the Kickstarter page now.

The ‘Crazy Deal’ earlybird special will snag you a Biotar 75mm F1.5 in any mount for $ 950. Once those are gone, Super Early Bird deals are $ 1,000, Early Bird are $ 1,050, and the regular Kickstarter price is $ 1,100. The lens is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony-E, Leica-M (rangefinder coupling supported), Fuji X, and M42 mounts.

To learn more or put down a pledge and claim your own Biotar, head over to the Kickstarter page.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (


Macphun unveils Aurora HDR 2018: Will come to Mac and PC with new tools and UI

16 Aug

Macphun today announced the upcoming release of Aurora HDR 2018, the latest version of its popular HDR creation software created in collaboration with photographer Trey Ratcliff. After 1.7 million downloads on Mac computers since its launch in November 2015, Aurora HDR will now for the first time be available for Windows PCs as well.

New tools and improvements include a lens correction filter that is capable of removing all kinds of lens distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting, a redesigned user interface, up to 4x improvement in RAW image processing and up to 200% faster merging and masking performance.

Here are some screenshots of the new UI:

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And a few Before and After images created by Trey Ratcliff, to show what Aurora HDR 2018 can do:

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Aurora HDR 2018 will be available for pre-­order starting September 12th, and the released date is scheduled for September 28th. Current users of Aurora HDR will be able to upgrade at a special pre­-order price of $ 50—the pre-order price for new users is $ 90.

You can find more information and sign-up for the pre-order announcements on the Aurora HDR 2018 website.

Aurora HDR 2018 comes in September as the ultimate cross-platform HDR photo solution

Award-winning Aurora HDR, co-developed with Trey Ratcliff, brings major updates that will be available for both Mac OS and Windows users.

San Diego, CA – August 15, 2017 — Macphun, the California-based developer known for making complex photo editing software simple and fun, today announced the release of Aurora HDR 2018, the one-stop solution for HDR photography. To sign up for pre-order announcements and more, please visit

Aurora HDR, co-developed with the renowned HDR photographer Trey Ratcliff, made the complex task of HDR editing effortless and unintimidating. Aurora HDR became the industry standard for HDR photo editing on Mac and reached 1.7 million downloads since its launch in November 2015.

In less than 2 years over 100 million photos have been edited in Aurora HDR and 72% of current users have made Aurora HDR their primary HDR photo editor, switching from other software. Today, Aurora HDR is the go-to editing software for such well-known photographers as Trey Ratcliff, Serge Ramelli, Captain Kimo and many others.

“Since the launch of Aurora HDR, Macphun has released more than 10 updates containing tons of new features and improved performance,” commented Trey Ratcliff. “Today, I’m very excited to announce the launch of Aurora HDR 2018. It’s completely new, significantly faster and has even more powerful tools. Plus the BIG news is that it’s now available for Microsoft Windows as well. It’s truly the best HDR software for both Mac and PCs”, concluded Ratcliff.

Aurora HDR is not just a tool for merging brackets: it brings countless options to create perfect HDR photos – from one-click presets and advanced tone-mapping, to layers, noise reduction and powerful luminosity masking controls.

A sneak peek into what’s new in Aurora HDR 2018:

  • Lens Correction Tool – The new Lens Correction filter easily fixes all kinds of lens distortion, from barrel and pincushion to chromatic aberration and vignetting.
  • New User Interface – Redesigned from scratch, the modern and responsive user interface brings a powerful, yet joyful experience to HDR photo editing.
  • Speed improvements – Up to 4x improvement in RAW image processing, and up to 200% faster merging and masking performance means that Aurora HDR 2018 is dramatically faster than the last version.
  • Cross-platform version – Aurora HDR 2018 will be available both for Mac and PC users with interchangeable files, enabling mixed-computer households to share the same product key.
  • A complete list of new features will be announced concurrent with the pre-order.


Aurora HDR 2018 will be available for pre-­order on September 12, and released on September 28. To sign up for pre-order announcements and more, please visit


Mixed-computer households can share the same product key for Mac and PC that can be activated on 5 devices.

  • Pre-order:

o Current users of Aurora HDR may upgrade at a special pre­-order price of $ 49

o New users can purchase Aurora HDR 2018 at a special pre­order price of $ 89

o A collection of bonuses will also be included with every purchase

  • Retail price:

o $ 59 for current Aurora HDR users

o $ 99 for new user

Articles: Digital Photography Review (


DJI releases offline mode to calm fears over privacy and security

16 Aug
Photo by Aaron Burden

Earlier this month, drone maker DJI took a huge PR hit when the US Army abruptly stopped using the company’s drones due to ‘cyber vulnerabilities.’ The decision was revealed in a leaked memo, and DJI was left defending its privacy and security practices to a suddenly skeptical public. Today, the company takes its privacy efforts a bit further with the release of a ‘Local Data Mode’ that allows pilots to fly their DJI drones without an internet connection.

The mode was announced yesterday, and it does exactly what it sounds like: when enabled, it stops all data transfer and connectivity between DJI’s apps and the internet. It’s like incognito mode for drones.

DJI uses that internet connection to “ensure a drone has the most relevant local maps and geofencing data, latest app versions, correct radio frequency and power requirements, and other information that enhances flight safety and functionality,” but the company understands that not all customers need or want this functionality to be on all the time.

“We are creating local data mode to address the needs of our enterprise customers, including public and private organizations that are using DJI technology to perform sensitive operations around the world,” DJI Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs Brendan Schulman says in the press release. “DJI is committed to protecting the privacy of its customers’ photos, videos and flight logs. Local data mode will provide added assurances for customers with heightened data security needs.”

Despite the timing of the release, DJI has told the New York Times that the company has not been in touch with the US Army about its security concerns, and besides, this update seems to have been in the works since before the memo in question went public. Still, this ‘offline’ option feels like a win for privacy advocates and the military alike.

Local Data Mode will be available in DJI’s fleet of apps “starting in the next several weeks”—these include DJI GO, DJI GO 4, DJI XT Pro, DJI Pilot and Ground Station Pro. But be warned, due to some local regulations and/or requirements, it might not be available in all areas.

To find out more, read the full press release below:

Press Release

DJI Develops Option For Pilots To Fly Without Internet Data Transfer

New Local Data Mode Provides Enhanced Data Privacy Assurances

August 14, 2017 – DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, is developing a new local data mode that stops internet traffic to and from its flight control apps, in order to provide enhanced data privacy assurances for sensitive government and enterprise customers.

DJI’s flight control apps routinely communicate over the internet to ensure a drone has the most relevant local maps and geofencing data, latest app versions, correct radio frequency and power requirements, and other information that enhances flight safety and functionality. When a pilot enables local data mode, DJI apps will stop sending or receiving any data over the internet, giving customers enhanced assurances about the privacy of data generated during their flights.

“We are creating local data mode to address the needs of our enterprise customers, including public and private organizations that are using DJI technology to perform sensitive operations around the world,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs. “DJI is committed to protecting the privacy of its customers’ photos, videos and flight logs. Local data mode will provide added assurances for customers with heightened data security needs.”

Because it blocks all internet data, use of local data mode means DJI apps will not update maps or geofencing information, will not notify pilots of newly-issued flight restrictions or software updates, and may result in other performance limitations. However, it will provide an enhanced level of data assurance for sensitive flights, such as those involving critical infrastructure, commercial trade secrets, governmental functions or other similar operations.

“We are pleased about how rapidly DJI’s customer base has expanded from hobbyists and personal drone pilots to include professional, commercial, government and educational users,” said Jan Gasparic, DJI head of enterprise partnership. “As more of these customers have asked for additional assurances about how their data is handled, DJI has moved to address their needs by developing local data mode to provide enhanced data management options for customers who want to use them.”

DJI recognizes the importance of data privacy to its customers. DJI does not collect or have access to user flight logs, photos or videos unless the user chooses to share those by syncing flight logs with DJI servers, uploading photos or videos to DJI’s SkyPixel website, or physically delivering the drone to DJI for service.

DJI publicly committed to protecting its customers’ data privacy in April 2016. In a March 2017 white paper, DJI became the first major drone manufacturer to advocate for protecting the privacy of drone users as the United States and European governments develop regulations to monitor drone flights. No other civilian drone manufacturer there has been as vocal as DJI in protecting the operational and data privacy interests of drone users.

“Local data mode will allow customers to get the most out of their DJI flight control apps while providing added assurance that critical data is not inadvertently transmitted over the internet,” Schulman said. “We are pleased to be able to develop local data mode as part of our drive to serve our customers’ needs as well as advocate for their interests.”

Local data mode has been in development for several months and will be included in future versions of DJI apps, starting in the next several weeks. DJI’s apps include DJI GO, DJI GO 4, DJI XT Pro, DJI Pilot and Ground Station Pro, which run on smartphones and tablets that control the drone or connect to the drone’s remote control unit. The local data mode feature may not be available in locations where an internet connection is required or highly advisable due to local regulations or requirements.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (


Inflatable Interventions: Soft Spikes Bring Roofless Ruins Back to Life

16 Aug

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

A series of architectural installations in Scotland contrast sharply with the centuries-old stone architecture and natural landscapes, featuring spiky white inflatables filling in aged cracks and gaps.

Titled XXX, these designs by Steven Messam add movement to Mellerstain’s House and the surrounding gardens — they are the first part of a series of contemporary exhibitions planned for the Borders Sculpture Park on this historic estate. The white inflatables refer abstractly to old marble sculptures that were originally to adorn the grounds.

“Pointed” emerges from an old gatehouse; “Scattered” is spread across the lake, comprised of floating bubbles; and “Towered” pokes out of an aged laundry column. Each one invites interaction and exploration of the site.

“In the use of historical buildings and the designed landscape, XXX draws on the architectural significance” of the estate, says Messam. “As interventions, the sculptures speak the language of scale – all three are bigger than a house. As studies in scale and form, these artworks have to be directly experienced in the environment to be fully appreciated, so i hope they will encourage even more people to visit this wonderful architectural gem in the Scottish borders.”

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

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Super fast, tiny Samsung T5 portable SSD hits 540MB/s, can handle raw 4K video

16 Aug

Samsung has introduced a new ultra-fast, teeny-tiny solid-state-drive called the Samsung Portable SSD T5. This model boasts up to a 2TB capacity alongside transfer speeds that reach up to 540MB/s, making it suitable for editing raw 4K footage and other large files. This drive is notable for its use of Samsung’s 64-layer V-NAND technology, the driving force behind the rapid transfer speeds of this lightweight, pocketable model.

Compared to the company’s own testing with an external 500GB HDD, Samsung says its T5 SSD model is nearly 5 times faster, this despite measuring in at only 3 x 2.3 x 0.4-inches / 74 x 57.3 x 10.5mm. The South Korean company has also boosted the SSD’s durability by using a shock-resistant internal frame, one capable of handling drops from heights as high as 6.6ft / 2m.

The drive features USB-C, and is shipped with two cables, one featuring a USB-C connector and another featuring a USB-A connector.

The T5 drive is offered in two finishes: Alluring Blue, which comes in 250GB and 500GB capacities, and Deep Black, which comes in 1TB and 2TB capacities. All four models feature AES 256-bit hardware encryption and are joined by a companion app that makes them compatible with Android mobile devices.

The models are available as of today starting at $ 130 USD.

Press Release

Samsung Electronics Introduces New Portable SSD T5 – The Latest Evolution in Fast, Reliable Storage

Built with V-NAND technology, drive features industry-leading transfer speeds with encrypted data security in a compact and durable design

Samsung Electronics today announced the introduction of the Samsung Portable SSD T5 the newest portable solid state drive (PSSD) that raises the bar for the performance of external memory products. The T5, built with Samsung’s latest 64-layer V-NAND technology, delivers industry-leading transfer speeds with encrypted data security in a compact and durable design, making it easier than ever for consumers to access their most valuable data anywhere, at any time.

“Samsung has been pushing the envelope of what is possible in portable storage and solid state drives for years, and the Portable SSD T5 continues our legacy of leadership and innovation,” said Un-Soo Kim, Senior Vice President of Brand Product Marketing, Memory Business at Samsung Electronics. “We are confident that the T5 will exceed consumers’ expectations for external storage by offering faster speeds and a solid design that is lightweight and conveniently pocket-sized. It is the ideal portable storage product for consumers and professionals who are in search of a fast, durable and secure device.”

Delivering stunning speeds of up to 540 MB/s1 – up to 4.9 times faster2 than external HDD products – the new T5 is designed especially for content creators, business and IT professionals as well as mainstream consumers to give instant, easy access to data. Also, the T5 is smaller than an average business card at 74 x 57.3 x 10.5 millimeters (3.0 x 2.3 x 0.4 inches) and incredibly lightweight at a mere 51 grams, comfortably fitting in the palm of your hand. The aluminum exterior comes in two distinct metal finishes – Deep Black (1TB and 2TB models) and Alluring Blue (250GB and 500GB models).

With no moving parts and a shock-resistant internal frame, the T5 offers users peace of mind as it can withstand accidental drops of up to 2 meters (6.6 feet)3. The Samsung Portable SSD Software4 for PCs and Macs based on the AES 256-bit hardware data encryption makes it easy to configure security settings and receive the latest firmware and software updates. A mobile app5 is also available for Android smartphones and tablets for even further convenience. In addition, the T5 includes two connection cables – USB-C to C and USB-C to A – for enhanced compatibility across numerous devices.6

The T5 comes with a three-year limited warranty and will be available globally Aug. 15 with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) starting at $ 129.99 for the 250GB model. For more information, please visit

Key Specifications

Category Samsung Portable SSD T5
Capacity 2TB/1TB (Deep Black), 500GB/250GB7 (Alluring Blue)
Interface USB 3.1 (Gen 2, 10Gbps) backwards compatibility
Dimensions (LxWxH) 74 x 57.3 x 10.5 mm (3.0 x 2.3 x 0.4 inches)
Weight 51 grams (1.8 oz)8
Transfer Speed Up to 540 MB/s
UASP Mode Supported
Encryption AES 256-bit hardware data encryption
Security Samsung Portable SSD Software9
Certifications CE, BSMI, KC, VCCI, C-tick, FCC, IC, UL, TUV, CB
RoHS Compliance RoHS2
Warranty Three Year Limited Warranty10

Articles: Digital Photography Review (


FrontRow is a life-logging camera in the shape of a necklace pendant

16 Aug

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Company Ubiquiti has announced the launch of FrontRow: a pendant-shaped life-logging camera designed to record your life experiences automatically. As with other life-logging cameras, FrontRow doesn’t require user interaction; instead, it faces outward from your necklace and records everything that takes place in front of you automatically. The content is then assembled with a mobile app and can be shared with the world at will.

Life-logging cameras are not new, and they are arguably not very popular either, leaving Ubiquiti with an uphill battle if it hopes to see any substantial success with FrontRow.

Unlike past life-logging cameras, FrontRow is designed to dangle from a lanyard rather than clip onto a shirt or backpack strap—a design that is ostensibly more convenient when you’re talking about something that is supposed to be worn all day or for many hours at a time.

FrontRow features an 8MP F2.2 main camera with a 148-degree FOV, as well as a 5MP F2.0 reverse camera. Unlike some other life-logging cameras, FrontRow also boasts a round touchscreen display not unlike what you’d find on a smartwatch. The display has a 640 x 572 resolution with full color and multi-touch support.

Other features include USB-C, a stereo microphone, 1W integrated speaker, Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi, a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

This camera is compatible with both Android and iOS, and supports both live streaming video and creating time-lapses as part of its ‘Story Mode’—supported platforms include YouTube Live, Twitter Live, and Facebook Live. FrontRow is currently listed as ‘coming soon’ on its product website, where both Black and Rose color options are presented with a $ 400 USD price tag.

Whether consumers will be willing to pay such a high price for what is essentially a novelty camera is yet to be seen. Previous life-logging cameras from other manufacturers have largely struggled to survive in a market dominated by smartphones, and they have been the subject of fierce criticism over their perceived threat to the privacy of both users and anyone who comes into contact with them.

Press Release

Introducing FrontRow: The Camera Re-Invented

NEW YORK—Ubiquiti Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: UBNT) today announced FrontRow, a new camera technology enabling the effortless capture and sharing of life’s experiences.

Truly Wearable

FrontRow’s sleek, 55-gram (less than the weight of a typical smart-watch) form-factor was specifically designed to wear conveniently. Unlike traditional cameras and smartphones requiring manual operation, FrontRow can operate fully autonomously — allowing one to capture life’s experiences while completely staying in the moment.

The Design

A subtle interlocking connector provides the flexibility to wear FrontRow using the included stylish lanyard or multi-purpose magnetic clip, or third party chains. Upcoming accessories include a car window mount and flexible coil mount. FrontRow features cameras on both sides of the device. The primary camera features a 140 degree wide-view lens (roughly double that of a typical smartphone) that, combined with FrontRow’s microphone array, allows for more complete capturing of experiences. The device features a speaker for local playback and an easy-access clickable media button that can be used to quickly start and stop many of FrontRow’s capture functions. FrontRow has a standby time of up to 48 hours and is capable of capturing in Story Mode (time-lapse capture of experiences) for up to 16 hours and in Live-Streaming Mode for up to 2 hours. With its USB Type-C connector, the device can be charged on the go using other Type-C smartphones and has a quick-charge time of around 20 minutes.

The User-Experience

FrontRow’s user experience is unlike any camera brought to market. Built around a custom 2-inch circular hi-resolution touch screen, FrontRow’s user interface allows instant live streaming on social networks including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, as well as integration with a variety of popular applications like Dropbox, Spotify, and more. Fast Bluetooth allows effortless connectivity to smartphones running the FrontRow App (iOS and Android compatible) and provides seamless captured media transfer along with powerful remote control capabilities. The device can also be accessed (even remotely) through the Internet using the web UI controller at

Not Just a Device, A New Platform

Although FrontRow’s user experience and graphical user interface are unique, its underlying operating system was designed to be Android-compatible in an effort to open up 3rd party application development. Users and developers are welcome to openly discuss new applications and shape the future of the platform — directly with the FrontRow’s engineering team on

FrontRow is available now on and A full press kit is available for download here. Follow FrontRow on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (


How to shoot classic beauty product photography on a budget

16 Aug

Dustin Dolby of Workphlo is back with another simple step-by-step tutorial that shows you how to create professional-looking magazine-quality product photography using affordable gear—in this case, he uses two speedlights inside strip boxes, and could have used just one.

For this shoot, Dolby is tackling beauty care products, which he decided to place on white plexiglass because of the subtle reflection this creates. From there, he brings out his trusty strip lights (two of them) and some diffusion material, and begins to “build” his composition. Over the course of five minutes he captures seven different lighting variants and a silhouette (which he uses as a mask):

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He then combines these images to taste in Photoshop, using the mask to cut out his products and picking a color from within the product itself to use as a solid background. The final image looks just like any other classic beauty care shot you might see in a popular magazine:

Check out the video at the top to walk through the tutorial step-by-step. And if you like Dolby’s style you can find more of his tutorials on his YouTube channel.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (


Synology launches ‘budget-friendly’ 4-bay NAS that can handle up to 40TB of storage

15 Aug

Data storage solutions manufacturer Synology has added a new, lower-cost NAS to its DiskStation j line that has a maximum capacity of 40TB, and is aimed at the home user and photography enthusiast.

The DS418j has 4 disk bays, each of which can accommodate HDDs or SSDs of up to 10TB. Data is controlled via a new 64-bit dual-core processor and the device has been fitted with 1GB of DDR4 RAM—doubling the memory of the previous model.

Synology claims the DS418j can read at 112MB/s and write at 87MB/s encrypted and in RAID 5, providing fast data storage and retrieval, and allowing high resolution media streaming and synchronisation in domestic or small office environments. The case has a single RJ-45 1GbE LAN port and a pair of USB 3.0 sockets, and can support wireless access via a dongle.

The DS418j comes with a two-year warranty and is available now for £284/€312/$ 330. For more information see the Synology website.

Press Release

Synology® Introduces DiskStation DS418j

Powerful entry-level 4-bay NAS for home data backup and multimedia streaming

Synology® Inc. today launched the new DiskStation DS418j, a budget-friendly 4-bay NAS server designed to help home and individual users to manage, protect and share data effectively.

DS418j is powered by a brand-new 64-bit dual-core CPU and delivers an outstanding encrypted file transfer performance at over 112 MB/s reading and 87 MB/s writing under a RAID 5 configuration in a Windows® environment. Equipped with a 1GB DDR4 memory, which is twice the size of its predecessor, and over 40TB single volume raw capacity support, DS418j brings flexible storage management in addition to smooth performance.

“In the digital era, photos, videos, and digital assets are being generated faster than ever. For home and individual users, it is essential to have a private storage solution that can satisfy the needs for both large storage capacity and secure data sharing,” said Michael Wang, Product Manager at Synology® Inc. “Combining hardware innovations and rich applications, the 4-bay DS418j allows users to enjoy cloud synchronization and multimedia streaming at a competitive price.”

Designed with user experience and energy efficiency in mind, DS418j is equipped with adjustable front LED indicators, allowing users to precisely control and schedule the brightness in four levels. In addition, the model consumes only 21.22 watts in full operation and as little as 8.97 watts in HDD hibernation.

DS418j runs on DiskStation Manager (DSM), one of the most advanced and intuitive operating systems for network-attached storage devices which offers a wide range of applications from backup to multimedia for home and personal use. With DSM, Synology® has received numerous media accolades, including PC Mag Readers’ Choice for seven years in a row.

For more information, please visit

Synology DiskStation DS418j is available worldwide immediately.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (

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