Posts Tagged ‘LOOK’

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

16 Jan

Grunge. It’s a great look for gritty, edgy, photos, and you couldn’t have it simpler than doing it in Luminar 2018. In this article, you’ll see how to examine Presets and use elements from those Presets to create your own custom Grunge look. Presets are fantastic, but the best way to improve your processing is through your own creative process. So let’s get started.

Grunge look.

Find the right image for a grunge look

Open the photo you want to process. I have a winter woods scene here. It’s already moody, and you’ll find that using a photo that will benefit from a grunge look is a good place to start. No point starting with happy sunny day shots as it really doesn’t fit the style.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018


As Luminar has a huge number of Presets, you should begin there. If you don’t see the Presets at the bottom, click the Presets panel icon, it’s the third one in from the right on the top toolbar. From the Categories, choose Dramatic. Two of these look appealing for a grunge look; Dramatic Grungy and Dramatic Look.

Dramatic Grungy opens a custom Workspace with three filters: Dramatic, Clarity and Structure.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

You’ll notice that Dramatic Look also uses three Filters. Dramatic is there, but the others are Raw Develop and Vignette.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

The Dramatic Filter is common to both presets, and there are other filters that are in one and not the other, so perhaps a good start is to combine the five filters from both presets into your own custom workspace.

Custom Workspace

You can reset the image by going to Filters panel, clicking on “Custom Workspace” and choosing “Clear Workspace”. This gives you a fresh start to create your own grunge workspace.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Click Add Filters. You can find some of the filters immediately. Raw Develop, Structure and Vignette are in the Essentials section, Clarity is in Issue Fixers and Dramatic is in Creative. If you don’t see a filter immediately, just type a few letters in the Search box at the top of Filters Catalog to restrict the view to match.

You’ve probably noticed that there’s a Clarity slider in Raw Develop, so you could choose to leave out the Clarity filter. But you might want even more Clarity and this allows you to double up the effect, and mask it to only apply to certain parts of the image.

Finally, add one more filter to this set; Cross Processing. This will allow you to color tone the final look.

Raw Develop

The Raw Develop filter is where you use Luminar’s processing to bring out the most from your Raw file. This Raw file (as per most) is a bit flat to start, so needs some tweaking. Reducing Highlights and increasing Shadows will open up the photo a bit more, while decreasing Blacks and increasing Whites will add to the contrast of your photo. At some point, you may want to decrease the saturation of the photo, but for now, use Raw Develop to get the most out of your photo.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

The Photo is still a little cool toned so a bump in Temperature to 6000k will fix that and sit better with the tones in the photo.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

You can leave Clarity at zero here and come back later if you want to add more.


What makes a photo grungy? Think of the things and feelings grunge evokes; dark, moody, edgy, and gritty. The Structure filter can definitely do the Edgy bit. Your Amount slider can go from really soft at -100, to really nasty at +100. 60 seems to look good for this photo.

Softness changes your internal contrast in the photo. A setting of 30 keeps the skin from getting too blown out. Of course, if you want more of the effect in the background you could erase the effect a little on the subject using the masking tools.

The final slider is Boost, which does indeed boost the effect. 60 looks great here. We’re already well on the way to making a grungy photo.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018


Vignette darkens or lightens the corners of the photo via the Amount slider. To draw attention to the center of your photo, you should darken the edges. Your first step should do is click Place Center, then click on your subject. That will target the area for the middle of the vignette to keep lighter.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

To see your Vignette edge easier, set the Feather to 0, with Amount turned way down.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Using Size and Place Center, get the best position and radius for your vignette. Use Roundness to get the best shape; to the left, it’s more rectangular, to the right it’s rounder.

Don’t worry if it looks too obvious, this is just for getting the placement and size right as it’s easier to see this way.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Finally, set the Feather to soften the edge of the vignette, and set Amount to the final darkness you want.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Edge vignette applied.


Contrast darkens shadows and lightens highlights. Clarity tends to work away from these areas and work more in the mid tones. It’s a grit filter, so add your grit here. 100 is way too much, and 40 looks better here.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018


You’ve already gotten quite a bit of drama to the image, so only a hint of this contrast-based filter is needed. The Dramatic Filter is one to play with for this.

If you want to retain color, set Saturation up to full. Adding Contrast and Local Contrast will increase both the darker and lighter aspects of the photo, so Brightness is there to compensate for whichever is stronger. In this photo, you’ll find reducing it is necessary.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Cross Processing

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

While this was originally a way of changing colors by processing film in the wrong chemicals, Cross Processing is now more associated with color toning a photo. Luminar uses city names to define their various toning options.

You should try each one with the Amount slider up high to find one you like. After looking at all the cities, I came back to Tokyo, which I’d found pleasing immediately. Then you can dial the effect back using the Amount slider until you find the look you want.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018


The image is now suitably dark and gritty, but probably a little too dark. A quick trip back to Raw Develop to bump the Exposure slider will fix this.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Saving Presets or Workspaces

Now is the time to save what you’ve set up. If you like your work, you should consider creating either a Preset to repeat the exact look you have here or set up a Workspace to have all the filters open for you to begin working from scratch (or both).

To save your Preset, click Save Filters Preset at the very bottom right corner of the screen. A dialog appears allowing you to name and create your new preset. This will allow you to apply all the same filters and settings to any image with one click. Of course, you can always adjust any of them to suit the image or dial it back using the amount slider on the preset.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

To save your new Workspace, go to the top of Filters, then click on Custom Workspace. From the drop-down menu and choose “Save as New Workspace”.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

Name the Workspace and create it.

How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

The new Workspace will now appear in the Workspaces list and will be selected (check mark next to it). Now it is available for you to use with any image. Clicking it will open those same five filters but not apply any of the settings.

Other options

Here is the before and after to show the full grunge effect.


Grunge look.

With the look solidified, you could potentially add a texture to add even more grit to your photo. So, check out how to do this in our article How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar.

As you’ve seen, Luminar 2018 has great tools that you can use to achieve your processing goals quickly and repeatedly. Now, go out and grunge!

Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a dPS advertising partner.

The post How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018 by Sean McCormack appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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A closer look at the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN for Micro Four Thirds

12 Jan

We’ve got a pair of Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN lenses in the office: one for Micro Four Thirds and the other for Sony E-mount. In this article we have some impressions of the MFT version, as well as some other lenses in this class worth considering.

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The 16mm F1.4 acts as a 32mm equivalent lens on the Micro Four Thirds platform. It’s an interesting focal length to end up with: not quite 28mm equiv., which many people would consider the gateway to wide-angle, but also noticeably wider than the near-normal of 35mm equiv. I didn’t expect it to make any difference but found myself constantly fighting against too much stuff creeping into the edges of the frame in a way that I don’t with a 35mm.

In terms of handling, I felt the 16mm worked best when mounted on the larger Micro Four Thirds camera that feature prominent hand grips: its comparatively long length feeling a little unbalanced on the smaller, rangefinder-style boxes, though it’s light enough that it doesn’t end up feeling too front-heavy. The lens’s only control point is a large by-wire focusing ring. It’s a little under-damped for my tastes, rotating fairly freely but it was effective on the few occasions I ended up having to manual focus (turns out LED Christmas lights and autofocus do not always play nicely with one-another).

Optically, I was pretty impressed with the lens, the F1.4 (F2.8 35mm-equivalent) aperture gave me plenty of control over depth-of-field and sufficient light for low-light work. Sharpness seems good if not necessarily stellar and with what appears to be pretty good cross-frame consistency, until you reach the extreme corners. As you’d expect, the performance gets better if you stop down a couple of notches. The 16mm is pretty resistant to flare, even when given significant provocation, with good levels of contrast maintained even in contre jour images with veiling flare.

Autofocus was snappy to the degree that I didn’t ever really have to think about it. Only the aforementioned Hybrid AF/LED Christmas light mismatch caused me to even give it a second thought. It’s fast and quiet to the degree that you just don’t notice it, and can concentrate on composing your shot instead.


My impression is that the Sigma is sharper, two thirds of a stop faster and comparably priced to the Olympus 17mm F1.8. However, I don’t think it’s quite as easy a win as that makes it sound. The Olympus is significantly smaller and features the lovely snap-back manual focus clutch and linear manual focus system (faux-cus by wire, perhaps?), both of which are definite bonuses. So, while I’d find it hard to choose between the two, I probably wouldn’t rush out to replace a 17mm if I had one, not least because I personally prefer the narrower angle-of-view that the extra 1mm brings.

1mm in the opposite direction is the Panasonic 15mm F1.7. It usually retails for around $ 100 more than the Sigma, despite being rated as half a stop slower. Again it’s smaller than the Sigma, meaning it handles better on a smaller camera body. Similarly, the 15mm offers a neat operational advantage over the DN, at least for Panasonic shooters: the lovely Leica M lens style front aperture ring (worth the extra $ 100 on its own, in my opinion and well worth lobbying Olympus for firmware support for, if you’re on that side of the system). Optical performance is perhaps a step up from the Sigma, leaving the 16mm F1.4 DN DC as an attractive extra option for Micro Four Thirds but not an absolute must-have, from my perspective.

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Take a look inside Hasselblad’s camera factory in Sweden

02 Jan

Take a look inside Hasselblad’s camera factory in Sweden

Hasselblad’s factory is located in Gothenburg – Sweden’s second largest city. The company has operated in Gothenburg since 1841, but it only became a camera manufacturer in 1941. Today’s HQ, down the river from the city centre, is where the company makes both the H-series cameras and the newer X1D mirrorless model.

During a recent visit I was shown around the factory and was lucky enough to get permission to photograph the production line in detail. They knew I was coming so any secret stuff was tucked away safely out of sight, but it was just as interesting speaking to the staff and finding out about the components of the cameras, what they do and seeing how they are made.

There were three things that really struck me about the factory. The first is that it is a lot smaller than other similar plants I’ve visited in the past. I was escorted almost all the time I was there, but there was no reception desk where I had to sign in, and I didn’t even have to wear a visitor’s badge – I guess because everyone knows everyone else and strangers stand out. The company employs 180 people worldwide, with only 40 people at the factory – and 30 of them working in production.

The second thing that caught my interest is the number of components that have been designed to be used in both H6D and X1D, thus making manufacturing more efficient. The third is the hand-made nature of the products. I’m used to factories powered by robots and automation, but this was a world of hand-tools and humans.

Click through this article for a tour.

The factory floor

This is the main area of the assembly line where the H6D and X1D are produced. I had expected to see the processes in a linear fashion from start to finish, but actually it seems different components are assembled as they are needed and each worker performs a range of tasks. This photo doesn’t show the whole factory, as there is an R&D area that I couldn’t go into, but this is where the current shipping products are put together. Hasselblad designs all the components itself but has most of them made by external suppliers, mostly from Sweden.

In this picture an X1D’s audio system is being tested in the foreground, and to the left a H6D body is being put together. In the distance, shutter units are being made.

Making the shutters

The shutter units start with a moulded ring of plastic onto which the components are attached. The company makes two sizes of shutter unit, both of which can be used in HC and XCD lenses for the H cameras and the X1D. The smaller, a 20mm shutter, uses one piezo-electric motor to open and close the iris, while the 28mm version has two.

A detailed shot of shutter unit, mid-assembly.

Making the shutters

So far the XCD lenses have only used the 20mm unit, but I’m told future lenses will use the larger one as well. The upcoming fast 80mm XCD lens will be a candidate for the larger shutter as its maximum aperture will be wider than f/2.

Measuring tension

The worker assembling the shutter units tests the tension of the shutter release mechanisms with her thumbs, as over time she has come to know what the right tension feels like. Once she thinks she has it right she tests each switch with a meter to verify her instincts.

After hand-testing the shutter release tension, the technician checks with a measuring tool.

Building the iris

Each blade of the lens iris is riveted by hand. It is then cleaned and attached to the main shutter mechanism.

Testing shutter accuracy

Each shutter unit is tested for accuracy and consistency of performance using a collimator and a device that measures the shape and size of the iris opening. Each aperture setting is tested multiple times, as is each shutter speed. If the unit isn’t up to scratch the operator on the testing desk either fixes it or sends it back a stage for investigation.

This shows a short sequence from a shutter accuracy test, measuring the shutter opening time and iris size. Other long term tests are carried out about once a week, and involve a shutter unit being put in a machine that triggers it for days on end. I was told the shutter life of Hasselblad lenses is quoted as over 1 million actuations.

H6D handgrips

The day I was at the plant, handgrips for the H6D were being made. There’s quite a lot of circuitry to fit into a small space.

50MP back for the A6D aerial camera

Here is the back of an A6D aerial camera being assembled. The main parts that go into the back are the 50MP sensor unit, the processing board and the control board. I was amazed that the company uses 32GB micro SD cards in these backs, but was told the calibration and firmware files the back uses are very big.

The ribbon cables and the boards are all connected by hand and fitted into the back during a delicate, pains-taking process.

Tilt and shift adapter

Here’s a HTS 1.5 tilt and shift adapter being put together. The adapter provides ‘large format’ movements for six of the company’s H system lenses. It allows up to 18mm of shift in both directions and 10° of tilt, while multiplying the focal length by approx. 1.5x because of its thickness.

Tilt and shift adapter

Again, the device is assembled by hand, with each screw being secured in place with thread-locking glue.

Assembling the auxiliary shutter

Between the mirror box and the sensor of the H series cameras there’s an auxiliary shutter that has to be sprung with exactly the right tension. Again this shutter unit is assembled by hand from a number of small components and then tested by touch while the tension is adjusted.

The man working at this station told me he needed the tension to be about 0.9 Newtons, and then tested the one he had just made to find he was only 0.02 N out. He said it took a few months of continuous manufacturing for him to be able to get the tension right by touch.

Adding the AF module and shutter mechanism

The aluminum chassis of the H6D is made at a foundry not far from the factory and has remained very much the same since the original H1. The final assembly of the body looks very complicated, as there is a mass of ribbon cable to fit between the boards, as well as the auxiliary shutter, the mirror mechanisms and the AF module. The chassis, the steel mount and the body shell are all made in Sweden.

The shot on the left shows the AF module of the H6D, which sits behind the main mirror. The last shot shows the chassis loaded with electronics and ready to be fitted into the body and to have the handgrip attached.

Mechanical tests for the H6D

In this picture, H6D bodies await mechanical testing and measuring. The length of the body can’t vary by more than 0.02mm in order for the autofocus to work. This machine is used to measure the position of the AF module and the AF mirror, and to match the view of the viewfinder with the sensor via the position of the mirror.

Each body is then attached to a metal block for the orientation sensor to be calibrated – a process that helps facilitate the company’s True Focus feature. This feature measures the angle the camera moves during a focus-lock-and-recompose routine, so that the added distance between the image plabe and the subject can be compensated for in the focusing.

Calibrating the H6D

In a clean room each H6D undergoes its individual calibration procedure. First the sensor and filters are checked for dust and dirt, and cleaned until they are spotless. Then the sensor is checked for dead pixels and the color characteristics, dynamic range and brightness response are measured.

Calibrating the H6D

Each camera has its own calibration program which is loaded onto the body and fired up every time the camera starts. The calibration data is saved at the factory should it ever need to be reloaded to the camera.
It takes about an hour to calibrate each body.

X1D mechanical tests

Once assembled the cameras go through a series of mechanical and systems tests to ensure they are functioning correctly. Operators take a series of pictures with each model and check the audio system, among other things.

X1D mechanical tests

The technician looking down a long dark box is checking there’s no light leaking from the side of the rear LCD panel.

Profiling X1D bodies

Color response is recorded and adjusted so that the camera will produce ‘Hasselblad Color’. As with the H6D, each X1D body has its own tailor-made calibration which is loaded to the internal memory. That’s why the cameras take a couple of seconds to start up.
Each camera takes about 700 pictures during the calibration process.

Profiling X1D bodies

Here an X1D is being calibrated, and the monitor shows the characteristics that are being checked with. As can be seen, in this example the sensor (which is CMOS, not CCD as marked) isn’t aligned within tolerances, so it will be adjusted.

Final checks and cleaning

The last part of the process involves a bright light and a high powered magnifying glass. A lady personally inspects every model that leaves the factory for dirt, dust and marks. She cleans each body very carefully, rubs and polishes, before she is satisfied and it can be boxed.

Final checks and cleaning

X1D bodies towards the end of the production and checking process, before being boxed and shipped to customers all over the world.

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A Fresh Look at Learning Photographic Composition

02 Jan

Popular teaching about photographic composition says to learn the rules and then break them. I prefer to encourage the people who join our photography workshops to learn the rules, understand them well and put them into practice so frequently they become second nature.

If you can apply the rules without even consciously thinking about them you will create more dynamic, interesting photographs which convey more feeling.

A Fresh Look at Learning Photographic Composition

Why do we have rules?

Rules are important as they are the underlying structure of composition. Much like scales are to musicians. Much like grammar is to language.

Successful musicians have typically spent long hours going over and over the same scales until they know them so well they do not need to think about them. When we learned our first language, our “mother tongue”, we never consulted the textbooks to study the grammatical structure of the language, we just absorbed it, (most frequently from our mothers.)

A Fresh Look at Learning Photographic Composition

Some people will have more difficulty learning the rules of composition and applying them effectively than others. Very much like some people can learn to play musical instruments or learn new languages easier.

I think it is because we are all creatively gifted in different ways. If you are gifted with a visual creativity you may find it easier to compose photographs than say someone who is gifted with a musical creativity and finds it easy to play the guitar or trumpet for example.

A Fresh Look at Learning Photographic Composition

I do like what the famous American photographer Edward Weston had to say about learning and implementing the rules of composition:

“Now to consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravity before going for a walk.”

I doubt any of us can recall studying the law of gravity before we learned to walk. But we certainly knew about it.

A Fresh Look at Learning Photographic Composition

Know them at a subconscious level

Knowing the rules is important as they will help guide our creative thinking, but applying these rules rigidly will generally lead towards making rather static and lifeless photographs. As you learn the rules and know them so well you can incorporate them into your photographs intuitively you will find your images may take on a whole new dynamic. Very much like walking and talking, it’s good to be subconsciously aware of the rules and laws as they are there for good reason.

A Fresh Look at Learning Photographic Composition

Practice constantly

Reading about and studying the rules of composition will help you gain a good understanding of them. Practicing them frequently is the most effective means of consistently integrating them into your photographs. Practice them even when you don’t have your camera with you.

Begin to see in the rule of thirds, discover leading lines and strong diagonals, look for frames and how you can use symmetry. One side effect of seeing like this will likely be that you start taking your camera everywhere with you.

Fill the frame

When I first started working in the photography department of a newspaper it was impressed upon me to “fill the frame”. This encouragement has stuck with me and I am aware, consciously or subconsciously, of wanting to effectively achieve this with every photograph I make. This was important in the newspaper in order to convey the story effectively, (and so sub-editors had less flexibility to horribly crop your photos).

A Fresh Look at Learning Photographic Composition

Filling your frame does not mean that in every photo your subject must be pressed out to the edges of your viewfinder. It means however you are choosing to compose your photograph, make sure whatever is within the four corners and edges is relevant to the picture you are making.

A Fresh Look at Learning Photographic Composition

If empty space is relevant and adds to your composition, use it well. If cropping in so tight that part of your subject is cut off makes a stronger image, then crop tight.

However you decide to compose your image, be happy with it. Don’t get hung up on the rules. But do have a solid understanding of them and explore how you like to incorporate them into the creative photographs you are making. And, if you so come up with any new rules, please do let me know!

Here’s a little video talking about this concept of composition.

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2017 in review: a look back at December

31 Dec

December brings with it colder weather and early much-too-early sunsets (at least here in Seattle), as well as a chance to look back on the last twelve months. 2017 saw the continued rise of the smartphone coupled with uncertainty in the interchangeable lens and compact camera market. Will there be fewer camera manufacturers a year from now? We’ll find out soon enough.

As you might imagine, December a quiet month for camera announcements. Information about the next generation of smartphones started to trickle out, including news of the upcoming Snapdragon 845 processor and the Huawei P11, which may feature three cameras. December also marked the arrival of the iMac Pro that, fully loaded, will set you back more than $ 13,000. Speaking of Apple, Final Cut Pro X received a much-needed update, adding HDR, VR and curves support.

2017 saw the continued rise of the smartphone coupled with uncertainty in the interchangeable lens and compact camera market

The end of the year brings with it lots of “best of” competitions, and some like National Geographic’s Nature Photographer of the Year, Sony World Photography Awards and the always entertaining Comedy Wildlife awards are worth a look. We joined the competition parade and shared our favorite products of the year, which were drawn from our latest Buying Guides. We also pitted the Nikon D850 against the Sony a7R III and compared the portrait modes of the Google Pixel 2 and Apple iPhone X.

For those seeking more pretty pictures, we posted galleries for the Olympus 45mm and 17mm F1.2 Pro lenses, the Rokinon AF 50mm F1.4 FE and, naturally, the iPhone X. We also cranked out two reviews, of the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III and G9 X Mark II.

See all December content

Leica, Leica, Leica

In addition to announcing a special red edition of its M (Typ 262) body, the company also reported a 6% increase in revenue compared to the last fiscal year.

Read more about the red Leica M

Read more about Leica’s earnings

And, in drone news…

December was a busy month for drone regulation. In a not very surprising move, the Federal Aviation Administration banned drone usage near US nuclear facilities. Over in Holland, the country’s drone-catching eagles are being retired due to a lack of demand and training difficulties. A shame, since that would’ve been fun to watch.

Read more about new FAA regulations

Read more about drone-catching eagles

Canon EOS 7D Mark III on the way? (Of course!)

The rumor mill is buzzing about an update to Canon’s venerable EOS 7D series of APS-C DSLRs. Rumor website CanonWatch says that the third revision is coming before next summer, which even if the rumor itself isn’t based on any solid facts, still seems like a pretty safe bet. We made a wish list of what we’d like to see in the next 7D, as well.

Read more about Canon 7D Mark III rumors

Photographing the Northern Lights

Photographer and DPReview contributor José Francisco Salgado teamed up with our own Dale Baskin to share tips on how to capture this amazing phenomenon.

Read full article

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2017 in review: a look back at November

30 Dec
This shot from Dan’s Gear of the Year writeup wasn’t taken in November but it seemed apt for an overview article.

November is usually a fairly quiet time for the industry: all the cameras the manufacturers are hoping will sell around Christmas have been announced. Well, except for Leica, which always likes to set itself apart – this time by launching a new model in mid November. Still, there was plenty going on in the wider world of photography:

The internet has always made rather more liberal use of other people’s images than is legally allowed but it’s generally only the egregious examples that tend to get pursued. US TV network CBS bucked that trend by going after a photographer who’d used a screengrab from a forty-year old TV show on social media. Meanwhile, another photographer took action against pop star Bruno Mars for using one of her photos on social media without seeking the appropriate license.

The UK’s National Air Traffic Service published a video showing the knock-on effects of breaching drone rules

Speaking of licenses, the UK’s National Air Traffic Service published a video showing the knock-on effects of breaching drone rules, after four planes and their passengers were diverted to other airports in response to one incidence of careless droning. It’s probably no surprise that tighter rules may be implemented in the UK, and that DJI has the ability to track its drones.

Meanwhile Eastman Kodak announced more job losses, just four years after a bankruptcy restructuring that saw it exit the photography market. However, at the same time, the company also gave an insight into the work it’s doing to recreate its Ektachrome filmstock.

But, just because all the camera makers were able to put their feet up until after Christmas*, that didn’t mean we could do the same. Instead, we worked to test and evaluate the a7R III and put together the best-informed review we could, only for it to really complicate our Gear of the Year and DPR Award choices. But those are a topic for next month…

* I mean, I’m pretty sure that’s what happens.

Sony a7R III review

We put a lot of effort digging into the a7R III’s performance. The sensor was common to both this camera and the Mark II but enough changes had been made that we wanted to make sure we’d experienced and captured those differences and improvements. And what improvements…

A first look at the Leica CL

The Leica T and TL series cameras have tended to split opinion, with their minimalist design and touchscreen interfaces. The CL is a much safer product, though: traditional controls and pared-down classic styling. Barney took a closer look.

Canon 85mm F1.4L IS USM

An 85mm F1.4 has long been one of the glaring omissions from Canon’s lens lineup. Not content to just fill that gap, Canon decided to make an image stabilized version worthy of its ‘L’ designation. As you can imagine, we were pretty excited to get out shooting with it.

New Fujifilm Raw-conversion software

Fujifilm released a Raw converter but one with a difference: all the processing is done by the camera.

Take a closer look

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2017 in review: a look back at October

30 Dec
Leica’s Thambar-M 90mm F2.2 costs $ 325 per aperture blade – and it has 20 of them.

October – in America anyway, the month of costumes, changing leaves and inebriated frights. This year, I dressed up as a sheep for halloween (apologies to anyone who saw that), so the ‘frights’ part is pretty suspect. Anyway, I digress.

This past October was also a great month for gear releases as well. As you see above, we have Leica’s Thambar 90mm F2.2, as well as Olympus’ 17mm and 45mm F1.2 Pro lenses. Sigma released a 16mm F1.4 ‘Contemporary’ lens for both Micro Four Thirds and Sony E-mount, and Google released two new Pixel phones that offer groundbreaking (for phones) photographic results. Last, but not least, Canon released a new PowerShot flagship in the G1 X Mark III.

We published our full review of the Nikon D850, as well as a review of Fujifilm’s very likable X-E3

And while the camera companies were busy, so were we. We published our full review of the Nikon D850, as well as a review of Fujifilm’s very likable X-E3. And our own Dale Baskin looked back on the Samsung NX1 for one of our most popular editions of Throwback Thursday.

We would, of course, be remiss to ignore the release of the new silver edition of the Leica Q. Like so many Leica ‘special editions,’ its could be easy to dismiss, but we’re big fans of the highly capable Q and also fans of the new design – even though it comes at a $ 245 premium over the all-black model. Maybe silver paint is more expensive than we thought.

Photo Plus Expo 2017: Full coverage

This year’s PPE saw new releases from several manufacturers, from more or less conventional compact cameras to some really out-there products (ahem – Leica Thambar…). As usual, DPReview was there with full coverage

The California Coast with the Canon EF 28mm F2.8 IS

We spent some quality time with Canon’s compact EF 28mm F2.8 IS USM on the California coast in October – read how it performed.

Read our Canon 28mm F2.8 IS shooting experience

Looking (further) back at the PowerShot G5

As Canon announced the newest G-series flagship in the G1 X III, Barney looked back at the PowerShot G5 – a remarkable camera that he picked up for the princely sum of $ 9 at a local thrift shop.

Read about Barney’s thrift shop PowerShot G5

Check out our full D850 review to find out why it’s just so darn good.

See the Nikon D850 review

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2017 in review: a look back at September

29 Dec
Hey look, it’s our whole planet, just a tiny speck floating in a vast nothingness. This image is courtesy Cassini, a spacecraft we sent to its demise in September. Photograph copyright NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

September is the month when we finally accepted that 2017 was really happening and it wasn’t all a bad dream. We also found out what it looks like when you don’t heed the advice given in a thousand articles about photographing the eclipse. Spoiler alert: you get melted aperture blades.

As they are wont to do, more than a few photos went viral. That ridiculous lawsuit over the monkey selfie finally ended, may we never type the words ‘monkey selfie’ again, and we talked to photographer Justin Hofman about his much-shared photo of a seahorse clutching a Q-tip. Oh, and Cassini plunged toward Saturn and burned up in its atmosphere, but it was supposed to do that. Thanks for all the cool photos, Cassini!

What’s old is new again – and for sale at Nordstrom right next to the handbags

The Sony RX10 IV and the Fujifilm X-E3 were the most notable conventional cameras launched in September. A little company called Apple also announced some new photo-taking-devices: the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X. To top it all off, RED announced more details about its Hydrogen One phone, which actually doesn’t cost much more than an iPhone X.

On the other end of the technological spectrum, Polaroid rode the analog nostalgia wave with the OneStep 2 instant camera. What’s old is new again – and for sale at Nordstrom right next to the handbags.

See all September content

Hands-on with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV

The RX10 IV, as the name suggests, is the fourth in Sony’s series of 1″-type sensor, long zoom compacts. The Mark IV is the first to offer phase detection autofocus alongside a series of changes designed to boost the speed and capability of the camera, for both stills and video shooting.

See our Sony RX10 IV hands-on

Hands-on with new Fujifilm X-E3

In early September, Fujifilm took the wraps off the X-E3. Successor to the X-E2S, we’ll admit that the X-E3 took us rather by surprise. After the release of the X-T10 and X-T20 we had assumed that the rangefinder-style X-E line was all but dead.

See our Fujifilm X-E3 hands-on

iPhone X: What you need to know

Apple’s iPhone X wasn’t much of a surprise by the time Tim Cook told us all about it, but there’s still a lot going on inside the all-screen-all-the-time device. Here’s a recap of the major photography-related highlights.

Learn more about the iPhone X’s photo capabilities

Monkey selfie, monkey do

Ah, monkey selfie, the story that just wouldn’t go away.

Read the full article

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2017 in review: a look back at August

28 Dec
This may not be your favorite photo from August, 2017, but it’s mine. A scene in which five Richard Butlers debate the merits of five Fujifilm X100’s in a conference room.

We were really busy in August. Not only were there important announcements, but it was also nearing the end of the sunny season in Seattle – and even that late into the summer, we were out taking photos all the time, from sunup (around 6am) to sundown (around 9pm).

Without a doubt, the announcement of the month was Nikon’s D850. With 45.7 million pixels, revamped ergonomics, really good 4K video and up to 9fps burst speeds with the battery grip, the D850 is an astoundingly good camera. Yes, it’s big. But so is its full-frame sensor. If you like an optical viewfinder, it really is the camera to own for just about any type of photography.

Sony’s RX0 large-sensor action camera cruised onto the market, and we got our hands on Ricoh’s new Theta V

On the opposite end of the size spectrum, Sandisk introduced a MicroSD card with 400GB of capacity – never has it been so easy to lose so many photos at once between the couch cushions. Nonetheless, the 100MB/s speed is solid, and the card gives suitably equipped smartphone users a valuable option for maximizing their phone’s storage capacity.

Sony’s Cyber-shot RX0 large-sensor action camera cruised onto the market, and we got our hands on Ricoh’s new Theta V. Olympus brought out the OM-D E-M10 Mark III, which we were big fans of for its combination of beginner-friendly guides, as well as enthusiast-friendly ergonomics. Canon had a good month as well, releasing the Gold-winning EOS M100 and a new stabilized EF 85mm F1.4L lens.

And, just in case you’ve missed it, Richard penned an opinion piece on how marketing isn’t a dirty word, which is the excuse reason for the image at the top of the page.

Portrait shootout: Sony a9, Canon 1D X II, Nikon D5

After watching this video ourselves, we still don’t agree on which of these cameras is the best. What do you think?

We had an eclipse

This is highly un-recommended.

This year included a total solar eclipse visible across parts of the USA, unfortunately not including Seattle. We did, however, get a partial eclipse, and we took plenty of photos of both the sun and the strange things that those around us were also doing.

Click here to see our Eclipse coverage

The upscale yet entry-level OM-D E-M10 III

Olympus really impressed us with the OM-D E-M10 III. This is an entry-level camera with a reasonable price, super-stable 4K video, great image quality, and tons of controls. It’s a great option for beginners and advanced users alike.

Check out our launch coverage of the E – M10 III

World Photo Day

To mark World Photo Day in August we wanted to show off some of our favorite images.

See our World Photo Day slideshow

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2017 in review: a look back at July

27 Dec

July is traditionally a slow month for product announcements, and this year, the only new camera to be released was the Leica TL2. The TL2 has a higher resolution sensor, more power under the hood and a refined design. Nikon released a new 70-300mm lens and also teased its D850 full-framer, which was officially announced to great fanfare at the end of August.

There were some cool non-announcements in July, as well. A Sony a7S II beamed down 4K video from the International Space Station (which can now be explored using Google Street View), Adobe leaked what would later become the ‘new’ Lightroom CC and a NASA study pointed out the obvious: that noise from drones is worse than that of cars. Okay, maybe that last one isn’t so cool after all.

The sun finally came out in the Seattle area in July, so it was time for us to hit the streets and take some photos

The sun finally came out in the Seattle area in July, so it was time for us to hit the streets and take some photos with the latest and greatest lenses. On the ultra-wide side of the spectrum we shot with the Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5, Sigma 14mm F1.8 and Panasonic’s 12-60mm F2.8-4 lenses. Our own Carey Rose also shared his experiences using the Panasonic Leica 15mm F1.7 Micro Four Thirds lens. We also took some shots with the very impressive Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 as well as the Tamron 18-400 F3.5-6.3 and medium format Fujifilm 110mm F2.

We managed to squeeze in a few reviews as well, including those for Nikon’s excellent D7500 and Fujifilm’s slightly more pedestrian X-A3. We also took a look at Fujifilm’s Instax Square instant printer, and Carey professed his love for the Olympus TG-5 rugged camera. We also took a closer look at dynamic range measurements from Canon’s EOS 6D Mark II, and Dan made mojitos.

See all July 2017 content

Nikon announces development of D850

One of the most anticipated cameras of the last year (or more) is a replacement to the Nikon D810. In July the company said that the D850 was coming and that it could capture 8K time-lapses, but that was it until the official reveal the following month.

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Nikon and Sony patent lenses for curved sensors

Nikon and Sony revealed patents on the very same day, both for possible future lens designs built for curved sensors. Only time will tell whether or not they turn into real products, but in the meantime they certainly sound very interesting. Sony’s design covers a monster 400mm F2.8 medium format lens, while Nikon’s patent describes a more modest 35mm F2.

Read more about Nikon patent

Read more about Sony patent

TSA requiring passengers to remove cameras from bags

Photo by Ralf Roletschek

The days of keeping your camera in your carry-on bag may be over in the US, as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is requiring passengers in standard security lines to put anything bigger than a smartphone into a separate bin. Those with PreCheck status are not affected by the change.

Read full article

Shooting stars with the Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art

Photographer Jose Francisco Salgado took Sigma’s new 14mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens to the Badlands of South Dakota to shoot the stars. The results are pretty stunning.

View the gallery

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