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Photomatix Pro 6 launched with more color control and realistic-looking results

13 Jun
Example picture by Ron Pepper

UK software company HDRsoft has released version 6 of its Photomatix Pro imaging application with the promise of more realistic HDR images and better control of picture characteristics. A key new feature allows users to blend an unedited version of a picture with its HDR counterpart so that the overall effect of the process can be moderated if needed.

The software now includes a tool called Tone Balancer that offers a wider range of choices in the render that assist in making HDR images that look less manipulated than usual, while a new brush tool provided the means to select and adjust color values in local areas. Lens and perspective corrections can also be made in this version with new facilities to deal with distortion, and HDRsoft says it has made the workflow easier to manage and follow.

Photomatix Pro can be used to blend multiple images to create HDR images, and it offers controls for removing ghosted moving objects and to correct small movements in the camera between exposures. It can also be used to optimise the dynamic range of single image files. The package can be used as a standalone application or as a plug-in for Adobe’s Lightroom and costs $ 99 for new users. Owners of Photomatix 5 can upgrade for free, while those using earlier versions can get version 6 for $ 29. A free trial is available. For more information see the HDRsoft website.

Press release

HDRsoft announces the release of Photomatix Pro version 6

The latest version of their software application that helps photography pros and enthusiasts create HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos in a large range of styles, from realistic to artistic.

Key benefits in the new release include:

  • More style choice for realistic results. A new HDR rendering method called Tone Balancer adds more options and presets for realistic looking results. It is well-suited to real estate and natural style landscapes.
  • Refining with more control over color. With the new interactive brush tool, users can make color changes to just parts of the image, by painting over those areas. They can also fine-tune the saturation, hue, and brightness of individual colors in a photo. This control is especially useful for removing color casts and enhancing skies and other image features. Images can also be cropped to easily remove distractions or to improve their composition.
  • Avoiding overdoing it. For a more realistic look, users can blend an original photo with the rendered image, either globally or by using a brush to select specific areas.
  • Removing distortion from your photos. A new distortion correction tool makes it easy to straighten photos that aren’t level and fix perspective issues where lines don’t look parallel when they should. These are particularly helpful features for architectural and landscape photographers.

A more intuitive workflow. Both new and experienced users will find it easier to load their images and develop them in Photomatix Pro with a guided workflow. A user can quickly open their images and move through the development process to achieve their results.

Photomatix Pro merges photographs taken at different exposure levels into a single HDR image with options for automatically aligning hand-held photos and for removing ghosts or visual artifacts when moving objects are present in the scene. Merged images can then be adjusted with a range of precise controls and settings or with one-click presets.

Photographers can quickly get the look they desire from natural-looking results to painterly images, from surreal and dreamy photos to ultra-realistic images with increased details.

Photomatix Pro can also be used to enhance a single photo to boost its shadows and enhance its highlights. The program includes a plugin for Adobe Lightroom for users who want to integrate Photomatix Pro into their Lightroom workflow.

“What’s unique about Photomatix Pro is the full range of styles it offers to render HDR photos, and version 6 makes this even better,” said Geraldine Joffre, HDRsoft Managing Director. “Unlike other apps which rely on one HDR rendering algorithm, Photomatix comes with several. Each algorithm can give an entirely different look with enhancing tones and details or fusing multiple exposures together. Photographers will find it useful to have several alternatives for processing HDR photos as things change with different subjects or lighting conditions.”

AVAILABILITY
Photomatix Pro 6 is available now for $ 99 USD for a single-user license. Customers who purchased Photomatix Pro 5 will receive a free upgrade. Earlier versions of Photomatix Pro can be upgraded for $ 29 USD.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Platypod Ultra compact camera support launches on Kickstarter with more features than Pro model

07 Jun

Platypod, the company behind the compact camera support of the same name, has launched a new product on Kickstarter called Platypod Ultra. This latest model is designed for mid-size and mirrorless cameras, unlike the larger Max model and original Pro model. Ultra is compatible with the majority of pro-tier tripod ball heads, according to Platypod, though the device itself is only about the size of a smartphone, making it ultra-compact.

Platypod Ultra is thicker (4.6mm vs 4.0mm) and 10% wider than the original Platypod Pro, making it sturdier, according to the company. The Ultra model comes with four spiked, threaded feet with rubber tips on one end, enabling the device to be used at a variety of angles on both rough and smooth surfaces. The Platypod Ultra also features five threaded holes for greater balancing and positioning options.

The company has also added three new openings to the Ultra plate so that it can be transported on bags using bungie cords or carabiners; there are also three countersunk holes for screwing the plate to a surface, such as a wood post. Finally, the plate also has two belt slots for strapping the tripod to irregularly shaped or vertical surfaces. The company is including a Velcro cinch strap with the kit.

The company is also launching a multi-accessory kit with accessories for both the Ultra and Max models. This kit includes a non-slip pad, 36-inch cinch strap, 3-inch spigot adapter, and a riser for certain tripod ball heads.

The Kickstarter campaign has exceeded its funding goal with more than two weeks remaining. The company is offering backers who pledge at least $ 49 a single Ultra unit, while a $ 69 pledge will also include the multi-accessory kit. Shipping to backers is estimated to start this upcoming July.

Via: Kickstarter

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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The new Surface Pro: new processors, boosted battery life and more

24 May

Microsoft’s Surface Pro (they’ve dropped the numbering scheme) looks impressive. In an interview with The Verge, Microsoft’s head of Surface, Panos Panay, claims there are about 800 new custom parts in the Surface Pro.

Battery life is up from 9 to 13.5 hours, it’s got the latest Kaby Lake processors, there are promised sleep/wake improvements (an issue that plagued many Surface Pro 4 users), and the device just looks and feels nicer with more rounded edges as well as a barely visible vent.

The Core i5 now joins the m3 in being fanless (the high-end i7 still has a fan). The new hinge allows the Surface Pro to lie almost completely flat at 165 degrees, which Microsoft calls Studio Mode (after the Surface Studio). This’ll make it easier to use with the Surface Dial.

The Surface Pen gets a sizable update as well: it now has 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt detection (only with the Surface Pro) for better shading and inking accuracy. Perhaps even more important is that it’s more responsive because of a reduction in minimum activation force. Though this time around, it’s a separate purchase.

There’s still no USB-C, and only one USB port (this accessory will help photographers import SD cards to an external drive without a hub, utilizing the Surface’s micro SD port). A new LTE option should be great for those one the go, though a release date for that feature hasn’t been announced.

The new Surface Pro is available for pre-order today starting at $ 799, with the Type Cover coming in at $ 129 and Surface Pen coming in at $ 99. Shipping starts June 15th.

Via: The Verge and Microsoft

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Beyond Human Vision – Seeing More With Photography

20 May

Have you ever been frustrated because you don’t seem to be able to photograph a scene the way it looks to you, with your vision? Maybe you can’t get a sharp image even though the scene is perfectly clear, or perhaps the camera fails to capture the beautiful variety of light in a landscape.

It’s possible that you’re having technical trouble in getting the most from your camera, but it might also be because the human eye and the camera aren’t the same, despite their compelling similarities. For instance, our eyes have a much broader dynamic range than any sensor or film, and our binocular vision gives us amazing depth perception.

But have you ever thought of the ways in which cameras can outperform the vision of your eyes? These aspects of your favorite tool are not obscure quirks, but commonly used techniques that broaden your perception of the world around you.

So let’s dive into the mysteries of the camera! Maybe realizing how photography expands your worldview will make you look at photography (and reality) in a slightly different way.

1. Capturing time

With the camera, you can capture time in different units than your eye does. This, of course, is done by choosing a shutter speed. There isn’t a direct counterpart to shutter speed in human vision, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of the camera’s ability to observe the passage of time beyond our own vision.

Beyond vision 01

A long shutter speed of several seconds lets you see movement that isn’t discernible at all or in the same way by vision alone. Exposure: 1/3rd of a second, f/14.0, ISO 100.

Beyond vision 02

Controlling shutter speed is also what makes light painting possible. Exposure: 134 seconds, f/5.6, ISO 100.

Beyond vision 03

Using a really fast shutter speed lets you transform continuous motion that you see as a blur into a frozen instant. I thought I was photographing a bird sitting on a snowy branch, but all I got was a miniature snow flurry. Exposure: 1/500th, f/2.8, ISO 800.

2. Capturing light

Even though your eyes are better than cameras at distinguishing a wide range of light levels in the same frame, the camera can extend your observation of very dark and very light scenes. You can accomplish this by carefully balancing shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Modern cameras allow for ever higher ISO levels, which increase the light sensitivity and allow you to capture images in really dark scenes.

Beyond vision 04

If you’re lucky, you can see The Milky Way with your naked eye. Capturing it with a camera, though, allows you to see even more details of our galaxy. Exposure: 35 seconds, f/4.0, ISO 1600.

3. Field of view

The human field of view is static, about 190 degrees depending on the anatomy of your face. By using lenses, you can vary that field of view from slightly larger to much smaller.

Beyond vision 05

A wide field of view, but still not as wide as that of most humans. Exposure: 1/13th, f/7.1, ISO 400.

Beyond vision 06

A very small (narrow) field of view. This close-up, or macro, shows the tiny details of a fungus growing. Exposure: 1/25th, f/6.3, ISO 100.

4. Depth of field

Although you can’t control it, your eyes do have a changeable aperture called the pupil. It’s difficult to find information on exactly what kind of apertures the human eye can pull off. But whether the camera can do more or less, the effects of a small or large depth of field differ between eyes and cameras.

Examples of this are bokeh, which is achieved by a large aperture (small depth of field), and the starburst effects caused by a very small aperture (large depth of field).

Beyond vision 07

Snow and ice crystals creating bokeh. Exposure: 1/100th, f/4.0, ISO 160.

Beyond vision 08

Starburst over a snowy sea. Exposure: 1/500th, f/20.0, ISO 100.

5. Color

Although cameras have been designed to capture the same colors that we see, some can detect color in a very different way, including sensors used mainly by scientists to detect ultra-violet, infrared, or other parts of the non-visible spectrum.

The ability of some film to capture black and white offers us a new way to see the world, focusing on tones rather than colors. You can also make black and white photographs with a digital camera, though this is almost always a conversion from color to monochrome, either in-camera or in post-processing (there are a couple of monochrome digital cameras available on the market, but they are neither common nor cheap).

Beyond vision 09

A monochrome vision – this photo was taken as a color image, then converted to black and white in post-processing. Exposure: 1/80th, f/4.0, ISO 1250.

Conclusion

Can you come up with more things that the camera can do but you can’t? Do you think your camera helps extend your vision – both literally and metaphorically? I’d love to hear from you and see some of your creations in the comments section below.

The post Beyond Human Vision – Seeing More With Photography by Hannele Luhtasela-el Showk appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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‘That article was more like gossip’ Panasonic’s head of cameras talks downsizing, GH5 and the 8K era

08 May
 Yosuke Yamane: Division President, Imagine Network Business Division

Yosuke Yamane, the Director of Panasonic’s imaging business visited DPReview on a recent trip to the United States. He spoke to us about the GH5, the promise of 8K, reports of downsizing and why we haven’t seen on-sensor phase detection in one of the company’s cameras.

Initial response to the GH5

Given it’s the company’s latest product and that Yamane arrived after visiting the video-focused NAB Show in Las Vegas, we started off asking about the GH5.

Early response has been positive, he says, pointing out that it immediately topped the sales chart at one of the US’s largest dealers. ‘The sales were more than we’d originally planned for,’ he says: ‘It depends on the region: some regions sold three times more than we planned and others it was one-point-five times. We’re very satisfied with the result.’

‘Based on our survey, the first customers are mainly videographers,’ he says. But he expects this mix to change: ‘The GH5 provides the best still picture as well as the best moving picture quality ever in any Lumix, so we expect hybrid photographers and videographers to be 50:50.’

‘For video users, the specifications of the video are very important whereas the stills photographers tend to want to evaluate the image quality, based on pictures taken with the camera. In that sense, more and more photographers will come to the GH5. That’s what we expect.’

Who is buying the GH5?

We pressed Yamane on whether he thought the GH5 was selling beyond existing GH4 owners. ‘We don’t have any specific numbers,’ he says: ‘but my gut feeling is that many GH4 users are upgrading to the GH5, this is a decent portion of our first buyers. But, beside GH4 users, maybe it’ll be Canon EOS 5D III and IV users, or Alpha 7S Mark II users. Especially, my feeling was that EOS 5D Mark III users are very much interested in GH5.’

‘The majority of GH5 sales have been body only: that means lots of GH4 users are buying GH5. But also, at the introduction of the Sony a7S, it took share from the Canon EOS 5D Mark II because of the size. I think the same tendency is happening here: Canon EOS 5D Mark III customers are coming to the GH5 because of the compact size and the quality.’

‘The professional camcorder users coming to the GH5 because of the 4:2:2 10-bit video. 4:2:2 10-bit capable cameras are usually very expensive. It’s a feature mainly incorporated in cameras costing over $ 10,000 but we realized these functions for the GH5, so it can easily become part of their workflow at a very affordable price.’

Stumbling over Log?

On the topic of high-end video users buying the camera, we asked about the popularity of the paid upgrade to add V-Log. ‘We started selling V-Log as an upgrade with the GH4,’ explains Yamane: ‘We don’t know the exact attachment ratio but I know we sold more V-Log packages than we expected. When it comes to the GH5, because the stills side is improved, we don’t know if the attachment rate will be higher or not.’

Yamane was very open about the reasoning behind selling the V-Log feature as a paid upgrade: ‘If we incorporated it into the camera, we would have to charge a higher price for the GH5. As of now we believe it’s appropriate to offer V-Log as an option.’

‘It’s not a cost issue, it’s that Log is recognized as having a certain value in the market. If we want to add that value into this camera, we need to keep the value of Log video to the industry.’

Improvements to be made

With the GH5, Panasonic took the unusual decision to launch the camera with the promise of more features that would come after a few months. Yamane confirmed that the delay to introducing 4:2:2 All-Intra recording was simply because it wasn’t ready in time for the planned launch, though it’s noticeable that the V60 cards guaranteed to support its 400mbps write speed aren’t widely available yet. However, he confirms the engineering team is working on more than just delivering the promised features: there will be an update to improve movie autofocus.

‘Now we are brushing up the smoothness of DFD for video. We don’t know when we can announce it but there will be firmware.’

‘The most important part of video autofocus is not just speed but also the smoothness. We need to find a concession point for the smoothness of autofocus and the speed of autofocus. First we realized fast AF on the stills side using depth-from-defocus (DFD). Now we are brushing up the smoothness of the DFD for the video category. We are working on it right now. We still don’t know when we can announce it but there will be firmware.’

Why not adopt the phase detection approach used by many of its rivals, we asked. ‘On-sensor phase detection doesn’t work any darker than F8, [which can be a problem in video]. It’s not necessarily true that phase detection is better than DFD plus contrast detection.’

‘We think our DFD is going to be better than [the best of our rivals]. That’s our target.’

‘We are also aware of other brands’ excellent [phase detection-based] autofocus: we really respect the quality of their sensors and their technology. But if we wanted to do the same; to make our own sensors [using a comparable technology], we’d have to apply those sensors to all of our cameras. The development costs for this kind of sensor would be huge.’

‘Our DFD system is not dependent on a specific sensor, so from the viewpoint of expandability, we should probably go with DFD technology.’

‘But,’ he says: ‘we think our DFD is going to be better than [the best phase-based AF]. That’s our target and we want to realize that accurate autofocus.’

Engine of change

This bold claim is likely to stem from Yamane’s confidence in the GH5’s underlying hardware. This was the most difficult aspect to develop, he says. ‘Really at the core of the camera is its performance, which comes from the LSI’s development: the new processing engine. I truly believe this is the most special engine in the entire industry. This is not only for DSC but also for consumer and professional camcorders.’

He gave examples of all the things that are asked of the processor: ‘4:2:2 10-bit codec is 64x as much data as before. 4:2:0 8-bit at 60p. Also the DFD system’s speed, Dual IS stabilization, the best image quality for Lumix all need to be calculated in a very short time.’

The challenge extended beyond simply making a powerful processor, he says: the chip has to be efficient so that it allows good battery life and doesn’t generate excessive heat. ‘The heating issue was very tough to overcome. How to make the most efficient engine and how to dissipate heat was the most difficult part of the product development.’

Lenses for a hybrid camera

The Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm / F2.8-4.0 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. is the first in a range of F2.8-4.0 zooms for the Micro Four Thirds system

Moving on from the GH5, we expressed our surprise that the company would introduce a range of variable aperture zooms alongside such a capable video camera.

‘We are not just targeting GH5 customers,’ he explains: ‘we’re targeting all the other Micro Four Thirds cameras users. We’ve also taken other cameras’ sizing into account, and it also fits on the G85 and the GX85 and some other Micro Four Thirds cameras.’

‘The benefit of Micro Four Thirds style is that it can be smaller and lighter. If we made constant aperture F2.8 lenses, they’d be more expensive and bigger. Considering the benefit we can provide stills photographers we decided to go with F2.8-4 and give rather smaller lenses at reasonable prices.’

The lenses include stepless apertures, to minimize any impact on video while zooming, and, he suggests, for anyone concerned about changes in exposure while video shooting, there are workarounds: ‘Videographers can use them as a constant F4: I think we can also give videographers a solution in that way. I agree that in the future we need to offer lenses that best suit videographers but this camera is targeting hybrid users, both videographers and stills shooters, so we decided with this direction for the next three or four lenses.’

Ambitions and focus

It’s unusual for camera makers to talk much about the future, but during our discussion, Yamane set out some pretty bullish ambitions. ‘For Lumix, the United States is a very strategic market. Our target is to double the business volume by 2020.’

We asked him how this would be achieved.The current business in the United States is 30% mirrorless and 70% compact camera,’ he says: ‘though nearer to 50:50 if you count interchangeable lenses as well.’

‘For the future, to double the business, we’re going to focus on high end product: mirrorless cameras and high-end compacts. We expect a decent increase of the compact market to be sustainable.’

In addition to this, he says: ‘We’re also going to strengthen our product for the high-end video market.’

But, initially at least, this is going to be through cameras like the GH5: ‘firstly we’ll focus on the hybrid form factor. Also help photographers interested in making additional income from providing video. I think this camera will help this kind of photographer.’

In terms of compacts, we’ll focus on the ZS (TZ) series, such as the ZS100. Then the LX series, we’d like to strengthen. In this category the Sony RX100 series is very important, we have to directly compete with that. Our strength comes from ZS series. We’ll focus on that strength and FZ series long zoom.’

One camera he didn’t mention was the LX100, which we know to have an avid following. Should we expect a successor, we asked. ‘As I said, RX100 competes directly with LX10 but LX100 is one step higher. So as the customer expects LX200 we will also strengthen the successor of LX100. How will we answer to the passionate customers of the LX100? We will study how we’re going to answer these customers.’

Trickle-down of technology?

Yamane (center) was accompanied on his visit by Terry Takabayashi (left), General Manager, Merchandising Department and Kazuki Sugahara (right), Manager, Americas Section, Imaging Marketing Group.

One method for refreshing models might be through the trickle-down of technology, Yamane suggested: ‘After we introduced the GH4, which was the world’s first 4K mirrorless camera, this 4K technology has been applied in models like G7, G8 and LX100. For the development roadmap, the new technology will first appear in the flagship and then, looking at price and value for money, we will expand the range.’

‘we would like to expand the [GH5’s] technology to other models’

The rationale is pretty straightforward, he says: ‘R&D development of technology requires a lot of investment. So to amortize that investment we have to apply that technology to other models to expand the volume and realize a return on our investment. After we get a return on that investment we have to reinvest that return in new technology: we have to continue that kind of cycle to evolve our product.’

This means using the GH5 technology more widely, without under-selling it, he says: ‘With GH5 also we would like to expand the technology to other models, looking at striking a balance between offering good value for money and at the price zone at which a customer can expect that technology.’

All of this comes back to a phrase that recurred throughout our talk: the use of features such as 4K and 6K Photo modes to ‘create a new photo culture.’

Nikkei, restructuring and gossip

This all sounds very ambitious for a company reported to be considering scaling back its camera business. Yamane says customers shouldn’t worry too much about what the Nikkei, which published the story, said.

‘That article was more like gossip, saying the business may be moving towards the smaller side in the restructuring,’ he says, before explaining what’s happened.

‘Panasonic has four companies. The camera division used to be in the AVC Networks business but, as of the first of April, we moved Digital Camera and Camcorders to the Appliances company.’

‘I’m really proud of the engineering groups that made this camera available to the market’

Moving cameras and camcorders away from the pro video division and into the same company as refrigerators may seem odd, but Yamane explains the logic: ‘The Appliances business is much more consumer focused than the AVC group, which has a significant business-to-business component.’

‘The move will bring our marketing, manufacturing and R&D departments together in one place, so we gain better integration [by moving]. We’ll still co-ordinate across with the AVC business on advanced technologies but [the restructuring] means our R&D and marketing efforts are together.’

The coming of the 8K era

Along with its ambitious targets for US sales, Yamane says the company has ambitious targets for hardware, too. ‘Towards the year 2020, 4K will evolve to 8K. Panasonic has supported the Olympic Games for a long time and in 2020, when the games are in Tokyo, the era of 8K will start, [and] we will develop the hardware to develop the 8K picture.’

This doesn’t necessarily mean 8K video, though: ‘As far as for the customer category, we don’t know if we will be able to record all of the output from 8K video. So the question is how we utilize 8K information and create a new photographic culture’

‘In 2020, when the [Olympics] are in Tokyo, the era of 8K will start: we will develop the hardware to develop the 8K picture’

‘8K Photo will completely change the photo shooting style with 33MP resolution. Whether that’s a 4K crop from 8K or 2K cropping from 8K or it’s 33MP images on the stills side.’

But Yamane makes clear that he’s not just interested in the technology: he’s interested in its photographic benefits to users: ‘Based on the customer voice and the customer opinion, we will make the maximum effort to develop strong products to answer the needs of the customers.’

A team effort

Yamane is immediately clear about what’s going to enable the company to achieve these ambitions: when asked what he was most proud of, he was quick to give credit. ‘The engineers who make the product: my team. As the director of the imaging group I’m really proud of the engineering groups that made this camera available to the market. I am proud of every single feature and I respect the engineers who made each function. As long as those talented and reliable engineers are with me, I believe we can make even more innovative products.’

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Olympus firmware update brings support for Profoto remote and more to E-M1 II, EM-5 II and PEN-F

08 May

Olympus has announced major firmware updates for its E-M1 Mark II, E-M5 Mark II and PEN-F, as well as a pair of lenses. The camera updates add support for Profoto’s TTL flash system and provide plenty of new features, detailed below.

The first new feature is support for the Air Remote TTL-O (‘O’ for Olympus) radio trigger from Profoto. Pop it on the hot shoe and you can use a simple interface to control off-camera Profoto Air TTL flashes in both TTL and HSS modes.

Other major features include AF Target Spot Metering (E-M1 II only), the ability to set a minimum shutter speed in Auto ISO (PEN-F only), improvements to the AF touchpad function on the PEN-F for left-eye shooters, the ability to use High Res Shot and Focus Stacking modes when shooting with non-Olympus flashes, improved color reproduction on the E-M1 II’s EVF, and more.

Two lenses also receive updates: the 12-100mm F4 IS Pro and 300mm F4 IS Pro. The updates boosts sequential shooting performance when IS is turned on when using the E-M1 II and also improve 5-axis Sync IS with the E-M5 II and the original E-M1.

The updates are available immediately from the Olympus support website in your region. See the press release below for all of the changes in these updates:


Press Release:

PLUG IN AND POWER UP: OLYMPUS® FIRMWARE UPDATE DELIVERS NEW CAPABILITIES FOR OM-D® AND PEN® CAMERAS

Expansive New Performance Updates for the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, OM-D E-M5 Mark II and PEN-F Include TTL and HSS Compatibility with Profoto AirTTL Flashes

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., May 8, 2017 — Today, Olympus announces a series of powerful new firmware updates that enhance the performance of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, Olympus PEN-F and select M.ZUIKO® PRO and PREMIUM lenses. The updates are available immediately and are designed to bolster Olympus cameras and lenses with the latest functionality, including true compatibility with the new Profoto Air Remote TTL-O, to strengthen the performance for the professional and enthusiast photographer.

Olympus is dedicated to providing ongoing product functionality and performance improvements to expand the capabilities of their cameras. The E-M1 Mark II, Olympus’s latest flagship camera designed to withstand the rigors of professional use and deliver outstanding images, is upgraded to Version 1.2. The E-M5 Mark II, a high-performance compact system camera that features Olympus’s advanced in-body 5-Axis Image Stabilization, is upgraded to Version 3.0. And the PEN-F, a beautifully crafted camera with creative functions ideal for street shooters and those with an affinity for sophisticated industrial design, is upgraded to Version 2.0.

The recent updates are comprehensive and go beyond compatibility with the Profoto Air Remote TTL-O. The E-M5 Mark II has been enhanced with features that include “Save Settings and Mysets” for saving camera settings on a computer, and a midtone adjustment function has been added to Highlight & Shadow Control for even greater control over the tonal quality of images. The PEN-F now offers touch-to-select Art Filters while viewing the effect in real time, and users can set the slowest shutter speed allowed before the camera raises the sensitivity in ISO AUTO. For the E-M1 Mark II, High Res Shot and Focus Stacking Modes are now compatible with non-Olympus flashes, and AF HOME settings are saved when the camera is turned off.

Firmware Version 1.1 for the M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS PRO and Firmware Version 1.2 for the M.ZUIKO Digital ED 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO improves silent sequential shooting performance when image stabilization is active on the E-M1 Mark II. Firmware Version 1.1 for the M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS PRO also improves 5-Axis Sync IS performance when paired with the E-M5 Mark II and the E-M1 Mark II.

Main Features

  1. Compatibility with Profoto Air Remote TTL-O

The latest firmware upgrade delivers compatibility between the Profoto Air Remote TTL-O and the E-M1 Mark II, E-M5 Mark II and PEN-F models. The Profoto Air Remote TTL-O wirelessly integrates the Profoto Air TTL Flash with these cameras, providing Olympus users with seamless integration with products from one of the leading manufacturers of lighting and light-shaping tools.

Simply attach the Profoto Air Remote TTL-O to the hot shoe for quick remote control of all functions. For more information on which functions can be used, please see the Profoto website: http://profoto.com

  1. “Save Settings and Mysets” function saves camera settings on the user’s computer

The convenient “Save Settings and Mysets” function has been added to the E-M5 Mark II and PEN-F to easily save the user’s customized settings on their computer and restore them on the camera when necessary. This feature is useful for applying the same settings to multiple cameras and saving complex settings when upgrading firmware.

  1. Midtone adjustment function added to Highlight & Shadow Control

The new midtone adjustment function has been added to the Highlight & Shadow Control on the E-M5 Mark II to provide control over bright and dark sections of a subject and to give users complete control over the tonal properties of the image.

  1. AF Target Spot Metering provides spot metering at the focus point

AF Target Spot Metering is now available on the E-M5 Mark II to effectively link the AF Target position and spot metering area.

  1. Touch to select Art Filters while viewing sample images on the screen

Sample images that demonstrate the effects of the Art Filter are now shown at the bottom of the PEN-F’s screen. Users can simply view and touch the sample Art Filter image on the screen to instantly activate that option.

  1. Set the shutter speed to begin raising the ISO sensitivity in ISO AUTO

It is now possible to control the lowest shutter speed setting on the PEN-F. This allows users to predefine a minimum shutter speed so that the ISO sensitivity increases in low-light situations rather than slowing down the shutter speed. This is convenient for handheld shooting in low-light environments.

  1. Improved AF Targeting Pad on the rear LCD monitor

The firmware update makes it possible to use touchpad operations on the PEN-F even if your nose touches the rear LCD monitor while looking through the viewfinder. The AF Targeting Pad provides the freedom to move the AF point on the rear LCD monitor using touch operations while keeping your eye on the viewfinder.

  1. High Res Shot and Focus Stacking Mode compatibility on non-Olympus flashes

The E-M1 Mark II’s powerful 50MP High Res Shot and Focus Stacking Modes are now supported with both Olympus flashes and flashes from other manufacturers.

  1. Automatic switching to rear LCD monitor when shooting with the viewfinder

When shooting through the E-M1 Mark II’s viewfinder during Rec View, the camera now automatically switches to the rear LCD monitor for image playback when the eye is moved away from the viewfinder.

  1. AF HOME settings saved when camera is turned off

Previously, AF HOME settings were reset after the E-M1 Mark II was turned off. The firmware upgrade saves the user’s AF HOME settings even if the camera is turned off. 

Additional Improvements

  • Improved viewfinder color reproduction during shooting for the E-M1 Mark II lets users compose their image while viewing color more accurately.
  • Improved stability for battery level display for the E-M1 Mark II.
  • Lens firmware upgrade improvements:

(1) M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS PRO Firmware Version 1.1 and M.ZUIKO Digital ED 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO Firmware Version 1.2 improves silent sequential shooting performance when image stabilization is active on the E-M1 Mark II.

(2) M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS PRO Firmware Version 1.1 improves 5-Axis Sync IS performance when paired with the E-M5 Mark II and E-M1 Mark II.

Camera Bodies – New Functions and Improvements

  E-M1 Mark II
Ver 1.2
E-M5 Mark II
Ver 3.0
PEN-F
Ver 2.0
Compatibility with Profoto Air Remote TTL-O X X X
“Save Settings and Mysets” for saving camera settings on a computer Already available X X
Midtone adjustment function added to Highlight & Shadow Control  Already available  X Already available
AF Target Spot Metering provides spot metering at the focus point Already available X Already available
Touch to select Art Filters while viewing sample images X
Set the shutter speed to begin raising the ISO sensitivity in ISO AUTO  Already available X
Improved AF Targeting Pad on the rear LCD monitor Already available X
High Res Shot and Focus Stacking Mode available on non-Olympus flashes X Already available Already available
Automatic playback on rear LCD when using Rec View in the viewfinder X Already available Already available
AF HOME settings saved when camera is turned off  X Already available Already available
Improved viewfinder color reproduction X
Improved stability for battery level display X

M.ZUIKO Lenses – New Improvements

  E-M1 Mark II  E-M5 Mark II E-M1
M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS PRO Firmware Ver 1.1 and M.ZUIKO Digital ED 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO Firmware Ver 1.2 improves silent sequential shooting performance when image stabilization is active  X*
M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS PRO Firmware Ver 1.1 improves 5-Axis Sync IS performance Already available X X

* E-M1 Mark II must be upgraded to firmware v1.2

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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EXIF.co uses smart watermarks and more to protect photographers’ images

29 Apr

EXIF.co is a new service offering photographers paid photo hosting that automatically applies smart watermarks and other protections to images uploaded to the platform. It aims to allow photographers freedom to embed and share their images on the web while limiting the risk of someone re-using their work without attribution – or flat-out stealing it.

EXIF.co enables customers to share their photos using an embed feature or to share it with others directly via a sharing tool. Anyone who tries to download the photo will be blocked, presented with copyright information, and/or a watermark will be automatically applied to the saved photo, depending on the photographer’s preferences.

Users can opt to apply ‘smart watermarks’ that appear when someone tries to download or screenshot an image, add photo credits, block embeds on websites, enable sharing with websites and track the number of online views each photo receives. The service appears simple to use, requiring customers to first upload their images, then add details to them such as credits. The user sets the permissions they want for each image, then saves it to their account.

You can see it in action below:

 

The service is free to sign up for, and it is priced on a per-thousand views basis. The rate for 10,000 to 99k views is $ 0.30 per 1,000 views, the 100k to 499k rate is $ 0.25 per 1,000 views, the 500K to 999K is $ 0.20 and the 1m or greater rate is $ 0.15. For example, EXIF.co says 10,000 views of a photograph will cost the subscriber $ 3. Individuals who sign up for the beta service will receive 1,000 credits for free.

The company acknowledged in a blog post yesterday that it’s service certainly isn’t foolproof. It stresses that its goal is to ‘add some friction’ to protect against casual theft. Would you find a service like this valuable? Let us know in the comments.

Via: PetaPixel

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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More videos added to product overviews and getting started guides

26 Apr

Are you shopping for a new camera? Or just looking for some advice about how to use your current favorite model? We’ve just added several new informational videos to our range of product overviews and getting started guides, including guides to how to get started with the Fujifilm X-T20 and Nikon D3400.

You can find all of our recent overview and getting started guide videos from the links below, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to ensure you never miss a new video!

Watch our series of product overview videos

Watch our new ‘Getting Started Guides’ 

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Apple is releasing its Live Photos API, which means more moving photos in more places

21 Apr

Apple has revealed the API for its Live Photos feature, meaning more app and web developers will be able to support the company’s short 1.5 second video ‘moving photo’ video clips. Apps like Facebook are already able to display Live Photos for users running iOS 9, but making the API available will allow any developer who wants to put a Live Photos viewer on their website or in their iOS app to do so.

Live Photos debuted in 2015 with the iPhone 6S. Owners of recent iPhones including the 7 and 7 Plus can capture the moving images in the stock camera app, and anyone running iOS 9 or later can play the video clip by pressing and holding the image.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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7 Ways to Become More Spontaneous with Your Street Photography

16 Apr

As you become more experienced and comfortable doing street photography, you will notice that the way you shoot will begin to change. You will notice more, focus more on what you like, and your work will improve significantly. At this point, it can be important to embrace spontaneity in the way that you shoot.

street photography NYC

So often the first shot of a scene that you take will be the best, for reasons I can’t explain, except that your gut and instinct are something to embrace with this type of photography. The more experienced you become, the more vital they will be.

Here are some tips that have helped me to shoot in a more spontaneous fashion.

1. Choose your camera settings so that you can forget about them

The first step is to figure out your camera settings so that you can forget about them. You don’t want to worry about your camera or changing settings as you’re shooting. When you’re feeling good, it often feels like the camera isn’t there.street photography

If it’s a shady day and the lighting is consistent, then it’s easy to choose your settings and not have to worry about them. But it becomes tough when you are shooting in direct sunlight, where some areas are lit with extreme light and others are in the shadows.

For these situations, what I will do is change my camera to Aperture Priority mode, around f/8, and I will put my ISO up high, to around 1600. I will make sure that when I point my camera at shady areas it will still give me a fast enough shutter speed, like 1/250th of a second, to freeze motion in people. Then, when I point the camera in sunny areas, the shutter speed will be something insane, maybe 1/1000th or more of a second.

Obviously, these settings are not perfect for sunny areas since the ISO is high, but with newer cameras, ISOs of 1600 look beautiful. I prefer to shoot with these settings because it allows me to forget about my settings regardless of what light I walk into. It makes the day much more fun and relaxing, and I can spend more energy looking around.

2. Slow down and shoot quick

street photography NYC

When I work with newer photographers, I often seeing them run from place to place, searching for that elusive spectacular moment, as if the more ground they cover will yield more of those moments. Those moments will occur whether you are moving fast or not. Except when you are moving fast, you’re not focusing on the area that you’re in at the moment. There are interesting photos everywhere, particularly in places that you might have previously disregarded.

The slower you move, the faster you will be able to react when something happens. By increasing your awareness, you will allow yourself to be more spontaneous. You will have more gut feelings to follow. This will allow you to react much quicker when actually capturing the photograph.

3. Spend more time looking with your eyes than the viewfinder

street photography scene

In street photography, your eyes should be the real viewfinder. Focus your energy on looking around. It’s actually hard to do, especially if you are easily distracted or going from place to place. Notice the potential for something to happen with your eyes and get in position, then the viewfinder and camera will follow. But it should almost feel like the camera isn’t there – the hard work is done before you even bring it up to your eye.

4. Figure out how to take good photographs anywhere

street photography - garbage

Stop taking things for granted. The more you think an area will not provide you with a good photograph, the more you should try to get a good one there. Much of the time you’ll get nothing, but you will be surprised how often this works out, and it’s a fantastic way to train your eye.

This will also allow you to create unique and interesting photographs. By shooting in areas where not many others photograph, your good shots will be unexpected. They will stand out.

5. Go with your gut

street photography - crosswalk

We’ve talked a lot about going with your gut already, but what does that really mean? When you’re out there shooting, you’re going to get feelings that moments are about to happen. Most people wait to actually see something happen before they shoot, and often the moment has disappeared by then.

When you feel something good is about to occur, capture the moment in a quick and spontaneous way. Go for it instinctively – use your instincts to your advantage and develop them. While many of these shots will turn out to be nothing, when you hit one at the perfect moment, you will be left with an incredible image that you could not have captured otherwise. Be spontaneous.

6. Don’t worry about perfection

street photography

It is common for newer photographers to worry about cutting people’s feet off, something getting in the way, or the shot being skewed. I have heard so many comments about wishing that a person, group, or object wasn’t in the background or in a certain location. This is, of course, important stuff to consider. But when I hear these comments being made, I detect that the reason they find these things annoying is because they ruin the perfection of the image.

Have you ever shown an image to someone and the first thing they notice is this random background detail that’s barely noticeable? This is part of having too much focus on perfection, and it can drive you crazy. You’re trying to get the most perfect and clean image possible, and that is rarely possible in street photography. You take what is given to you, and an interesting moment is an interesting moment.

Street photography is supposed to feel real, and so many of those imperfections can add to that feeling of it being a spontaneous moment. They can improve an image just as much as they can ruin it. Try to embrace these imperfections when you can as being part of a real and special moment.

7. Don’t be afraid to take weird photographs

street photography - weird

These photographs are for you. You don’t need to take photographs that appeal to everyone, and not everything has to be perfect, grand, and pleasing. Capture photos that are not standard, off in some way, and weird. Focus on what interests you and try to foster that. This is where the voice in your work will begin to shine.

The post 7 Ways to Become More Spontaneous with Your Street Photography by James Maher appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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