Posts Tagged ‘reveals’

DxOMark report reveals just how far smartphone cameras have come in the last 5 years

08 Feb
DxOMark chart shows that overall scores for smartphone cameras have steadily improved over the last 5 years.

If you’re looking for the most drastic and impressive improvements in the world of imaging, the (sad?) fact is, you’ll want to look at smartphone manufacturers. And this is what DxOMark highlights in a fascinating retrospective titled “Disruptive technologies in mobile imaging” that looks back on 5 years of testing smartphone cameras.

Not that the Sonys and Nikons and Canons of the world haven’t made improvements—and who knows when the next generational leap in image sensor technology will take place—but as the saying goes: necessity is the mother of invention. Given the size limitations of our ever-thinner and lighter smartphones, its phone manufacturers who have had to be most creative when it comes to improving image quality.

That, in a nutshell, is what DxOMark breaks down in its retrospective, taking a close look at everything from how smartphones have improved their ability to eliminate noise without losing texture, to exposure improvements, autofocus, video stabilization, zoom, and the recent advancements in bokeh simulation.

Exposure is one of the areas that has seen drastic improvements. These images were captured at just 1 Lux, showing how the 808 PureView falls far short of the iPhone 5s, which in turn falls significantly short of the Galaxy S7 “thanks to better tuning and noise reduction.”

The area where smartphone cameras seem to have improved most is in their ability to toe the line between decreasing noise and maintaining texture. Without simply increasing the size of the image sensor, this is a difficult balance to strike if you’re using just image processing, so newer phones take care of this in three ways:

  1. Optical image stabilization to allow for longer hand-held exposures
  2. Temporal noise reduction (TNR) that combines image data from multiple frames
  3. Multiple camera modules (currently dual, maybe soon triple)

These techniques have helped manufacturers make huge leaps forward in the past 5 years:

This side-by-side comparison shows just how much better the iPhone X is at avoiding and cleaning up noise than the iPhone 5s. But even the iPhone6, which used the same camera module as the 5s, benefitted greatly from improved software.
But the iPhone X isn’t even the best at this trick. Here it is compared to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Google Pixel 2, and Huawei Mate 10 Pro.

DxOMark’s conclusion after sharing all of this data is unsurprising, and one of the reasons why we’re keeping such a close eye on the newest smartphone camera tech:

We can see that camera hardware and image processing have been evolving alongside each during the past 5 years, and at a much faster pace than in the “traditional” camera sector.

DSLRs and mirrorless system cameras are still clearly ahead in some areas, but in terms of image processing, Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and the other players in the DSC market are behind what Apple, Samsung, Google, and Huawei can do. Thanks to their hardware advantages, the larger cameras don’t actually need the same level of pixel processing as smartphones to produce great images, but there is no denying that the performance gap between smartphones and DSLRs is narrowing.

That’s a good summary, but if you want to dive into all of the comparisons—between phones of the past and today, and between the best phones on the market right now—head over to DxOMark and read their full retrospective.

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DJI reveals the winners of the 2017 SkyPixel aerial photography contest

03 Feb
“Above the polar bear” by Florian Ledoux — SkyPixel Photo Contest 2017 Grand Prize winner

Chinese drone-maker DJI and aerial photography website SkyPixel have announced the winners of the 2017 SkyPixel aerial photography contest, which was launched back in October. Winners span three categories—Landscape, Portrait, and Story—split between a “professional group” and “enthusiast group.”

The Grand Prize this year went to “Above the polar bear” captured with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone by Arctic and wildlife photographer Florian Ledoux.

As the Grand Prize winner, Ledoux will receive an impressive collection of gear valued at more than $ 15,000 USD, including a DJI Inspire 2 with a Zenmuse X7 and lens, iPhone X 256GB, Nikon D850 DSLR camera body, and more. The contest also awards thousands of dollars’ worth of gear to other contest winners.

A total of 18 other winning images were announced, three per group in both the professional and enthusiast categories. SkyPixel also revealed nine nominated images and 10 “Popular Prize” images. Overall, more than 40,000 people from 141 countries entered images in the contest.

You can check out all of the winners for yourself in the gallery and list below:

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Landscape – Professional Group

1st Prize: Sun’s Up, Nets Out by Zay Yar Lin
2nd Prize: Comet into Darkness by Drone Hikers
3rd Prize: Santa Maddalena village in front of the Geisler or Odle Yolo… by Valentin Valkov

Landscape – Enthusiast Group

1st Prize: Lobsters Farm by Trung
2nd Prize: GEOMETRY OF LIQUID GOLD by Javier del Cerro
3rd Prize: Raising Ducks by caokynhan

Portrait – Professional Group

1st Prize: Balmoral Ball by Petra Leary
2nd Prize: ???? by ??
3rd Prize: The Rebirth by andrea

Portrait – Enthusiast Group

1st Prize: Dancer by cocoanext
2nd Prize: Free Wheeling by nigelkwan
3rd Prize: ??? by ????

Story – Professional Group

1st Prize: ????”——??????? by ????????
2nd Prize: ??????? by ??
3rd Prize: ??? by lalienware

Story – Enthusiast Group

1st Prize: 1??????? by ???
2nd Prize: ???????? by ???
3rd Prize: The Long Ride by Jesper Guldbrand

Nominated Entries:

Landscape: The Path of Camels across the Sands by Abdullah Alnassar
Landscape: ELEMENTS by olivier…
Landscape: ??????? by LENG_VISION
Portrait: FANCY FINISH by Martin Sanchez @ zekedrone
Portrait: Lost in by Marc Lamey
Portrait: Untitled by Bobo
Portrait: ?? by ????
Story: Elemental by Max Foster
Story: ??????? by ???

Popular Prize – Top Ten

?????????? by ?????
????? by 7555486
???????? ????“??” by ???
????? Pointing to the light tower by henter liu
???? by Anter
?? by ?????
????????????–??? by ????????
Plane in the Forest by mark calayag
white wonderland by Eberhard Ehmke
Barcelona by David

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Shutterfly reveals plans to buy Lifetouch for $825 million

01 Feb

Shutterfly—the massive online retailer of personalized photo-based products such as calendars and photo books—has announced plans to acquire Lifetouch, a professional photography company. The acquisition, which isn’t yet finalized, will cost Shutterfly $ 825 million according to Star Tribune, who broke the news.

Speaking about the business deal to Star Tribune, Lifetouch CEO Michael Meek revealed that the company’s growth hasn’t been sufficient enough to generate the cash needed for new tech investments, among other things. Shutterfly presents the solution, with its CEO Chris North explaining that the company will bring its products and cloud-based management system to Lifetouch.

“We’re focused on growing both these businesses,” North explained. “We’re just now bringing the two teams together.”

Of course, this isn’t a one-way deal—Lifetouch has a lot to offer Shutterfly, mainly the prospective business of its 10 million-or-so customers, many of whom may turn to Shutterfly post-acquisition for their photo product needs. “Lifetouch is [an] expert at photography and we provide online tools,” says North. “Each company will operate separately to serve their customers, but each company has things the other can use.”

Assuming everything goes according to plan, the companies anticipate the acquisition to close in the second quarter of this year.

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Wedding photography inspiration: MyWed reveals 2017 Award winners

18 Jan
Photo by Ken Pak, MyWed Photographer of the Year 2017

MyWed has announced its MyWed Award 2017 winning wedding photographers and their award-winning images. Awards span 21 different categories, including ones like “Cake Cutting,” “Getting Ready,” “Wedding Guests,” “Rings,” and more.

Photographer Ken Pak ultimately won the contest’s “Photographer of the Year” award, receiving a Nikon D5 camera and some serious bragging rights as his prize. The series below won Pak both the Best Wedding Story category, and the title of Photographer of the Year (you can see the full photo series here):

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MyWed Award 2017 ran from October 1st to November 2nd, 2017, later revealing its shortlist and judging rounds before ultimately announcing the winners on December 20th.

Check out all of the 21 winning images in the gallery below:

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To see all of the winning images, visit the MyWed Awards website, or click on any of the links in the list below to visit individual photographer and category pages:

Jorge Romero, the winner of the Engagement category
Gustavo Liceaga, the winner of the Getting Ready category
Vormkrijger Be, the winner of the Details category
Soven Amatya, the winner of the Wedding Guests category
Andreu Doz, the winner of the Ceremony category
Aleksandr Vasilev, the winner of the Rings category
Roman Matejov, the winner of the Family Portrait category
Egor Zhelov, the winner of the Heroes of the Day category
David Hofman, the winner of the Wedding Party category
Alejandro Gutierrez, the winner of the First Dance category
Jorge Romero, the winner of the Bouquet Toss category
Soven Amatya, the winner of the Cake Cutting category
Pablo Macaro, the winner of the Gadgets category
Vinci Wang, the winner of the Camera Angle category
Arjan Van Der Plaat, the winner of the Moment category
Vinci Wang, the winner of the Framing category
Aleksey Malyshev, the winner of the Recognizable World’s Places category
Rino Cordella, the winner of the Traditions category
Ilya Rikhter, the winner of the Rotated Photographs category
George Stan, the winner of the Higher and Higher category
Ken Pak, the winner of the Best Wedding Story category

All photos courtesy of MyWed

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Hasselblad reveals the winners of the 2018 Masters Awards

10 Jan

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Eleven lucky photographers will be receiving a Hasselblad medium format kit after winning their categories in the Hasselblad Masters Awards 2018 competition. The company says the number of photographers that entered the contest increased by 175% this year, and a total of 31,500 images were submitted.

Ten categories were set with a generally open brief, with an additional section for photographers 21 years and younger. For the first time an aerial category was included, which was won by Jorge de la Torriente, a photographer from the USA. The USA produced three winners—the most from any one country—with other entries coming from Europe, Asia and Australia.

Entries were accepted taken on any brand of camera, with the only stipulation being that entrants should have been professional photographers for at least three years (other than for the under-21 category, of course).

For more information, and to see all the winning images, scroll through the gallery above, check out the video below, or visit the Hasselblad website.

Press Release

Hasselblad Announces Winners of the Masters Awards 2018

Hasselblad Masters is widely acclaimed as one of the world’s most prestigious professional photography competitions. The winners are chosen through a combination of a public vote and a professional Masters Jury – comprised of internationally renowned photographers and imaging experts.

Every Hasselblad Masters award winner will hold the title of ‘Hasselblad Master’ and be a brand ambassador for two years. In addition, they will receive a brand new Hasselblad medium format camera and be invited to shoot for a collaborative project with Hasselblad.

This project will be printed and released in the bi-annual Hasselblad Masters book.
Winners will receive their awards, medium format cameras, and trophies at a special Photokina 2018 ceremony in Cologne, Germany this September.

Bronius Rudnickas, Hasselblad Marketing Manager: “Over 30 000 images were submitted to this year’s competition and that was a record, we are glad to see the competition is growing every year.”

Masters Jury member and professional photographer Tom Oldham said: “It really struck me how progressive many of the entries were this year and how far the entrants were willing to push the brief. These were the photographers who caught my eye – the ballsy, out-there risk-takers who make compelling pictures that refuse to be ignored. I’m proud to have helped to get this great kit into their hands – their images deserve it.”

The Hasselblad Masters Awards 2018 winners are:

  • Aerial – Jorge de la Torriente – Miami, USA
  • Architecture – Kamilla Hanapova – St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Art – Maria Svarbova – Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Beauty & Fashion – Michal Baran – Trim, Ireland
  • Landscape – Benjamin Everett – Lopez Island, USA
  • Portrait – Tina Signesdottir Hult – Torvastad, Norway
  • Product – Marcin Gizycki – Warszawa, Poland
  • Project//21 – Nabil Rosman – Kota Bharu, Malaysia
  • Street / Urban – Ben Thomas – Kyneton, Australia
  • Wedding – Victor Hamke – Leipzig, Germany
  • Wildlife – Karim Iliya – Haiku, USA

The Hasselblad Masters Awards 2018 jury are:

  • Tom Oldham – Photographer
  • Ali Rajabi – Past Master
  • Martin Hausler – Photographer
  • Katrina Belkina – Past Master
  • Swee Oh – Past Master
  • Lars van de Goor – Past Master
  • Tim Flach – Photographer
  • Kevin Then – Photographer
  • Bara Prasilova – Past Master
  • Damien Demolder – Journalist
  • Blair Bunting – Photographer
  • Hans van Ommeren – Past Master
  • Mads Nissen – Photographer
  • Kevin Raber – Journalist

For more information and images, visit

Full Disclosure: Damien Demolder was one of the judges for this year’s Hasselblad Masters Awards.

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Western Digital reveals world’s smallest 1TB USB-C flash drive at CES

10 Jan

At CES 2018, Western Digital has introduced what it calls the world’s smallest 1TB flash drive, a tiny USB-C model sporting the SanDisk brand. This flash drive isn’t yet available on the market; instead, it’s acting as a demonstration of Western Digital’s latest advances in storage innovation.

The SanDisk 1TB USB-C model has a “classic” long flash drive form factor—not the newer form factor that fits almost entirely within a USB port—but the company managed to squeeze a full terabyte of storage into this still-tiny size, though it hasn’t provided additional details such as speed, cost, or anticipated launch date.

In addition to showcasing the 1TB USB-C drive, Western Digital has launched the SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1 Flash Drive, a model it calls the smallest 256GB USB drive in the world. This drive features a low-profile form factor and a read speed up to 130MB/s.

The flash drive is currently listed on the SanDisk website for $ 150 USD, but is still shown as not-in-stock.

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Tether Tools reveals it used an image without permission, issues public statement and apology

23 Dec

Tether Tools CEO Josh Simons has preemptively apologized for the company’s use of an image without the permission of the photographer who took it. In a letter published on December 14, Simons explained that an image used as a placeholder in concept mockups for the company’s redesigned website accidentally went live on the final site.

Explaining the process that led to this image’s accidental use, Simmons wrote in his letter:

One concept used behind-the-scenes candid images of photographers using Tether Tools’ gear. Behind the Scene Instagram images, similar to what you would see here @tethertools were added For Placement Only (FPO) during the design phase, to show an example of the type of photos that could be rotating regularly on an embedded Instagram API feed. This API mock-up, which included a customer’s Instagram BTS photo, was placed near the footer of one page in the proposed layout.

Over the course of time, through various layouts and edits the design was approved but embedding the Instagram API on this page was overlooked by the web design team. At launch the new website had close to 1,400 pages and finalizing this element on this page was missed. The use of the image was accidental and simply an oversight. The photo was never used in any other way, not in advertising campaigns or print materials, nor to promote any specific product.

Simons says Tether Tools was alerted to the image’s presence by a third-party, and that the company has since removed the image and contacted the photographer. The photographer, who is said to be a Tether Tools customer, has been compensated for the image’s use and was given an apology for the mistake.

In a statement to Fstoppers, Tether Tools said, “Both parties are satisfied and most of all we are gratified by the nature in which everything was handled.”

Via: Fstoppers

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VSCO reveals ‘Messages’ feature, takes on Instagram’s DMs

08 Dec

VSCO X subscribers and free users alike will soon have access to a new direct messaging feature simply called Messages.

VSCO announced the feature earlier this week, bringing its app up to speed with Instagram, which has allowed direct messaging for ages. Using VSCO Messages, users can share text, images, DSCOs, profiles, and journal entries directly with other users who follow them. Direct messages can only be sent between followers, and they’re joined by the ability to leave a conversation, block the user, and/or report them if necessary.

VSCO X subscribers are getting access to the feature first, but free users will get Messages in the near future.

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Pixelmator reveals Pixelmator Pro, an Adobe competitor for Mac users

02 Dec

Pixelmator’s new high-end Mac photo editor Pixelmator Pro, which the company partially revealed back in September, is officially live and available to purchase through the Mac App Store.

In case you’ve forgotten, Pixelmator Pro is a nondestructive single-window application with some editing features powered by machine learning, GPU-based image editing tools, and what the company describes as “an incredibly intuitive and accessible design.” Users get a fully native Mac experience, says Pixelmator, which designed Pixelmator Pro with a look inspired by macOS.

Thanks to Core ML framework, Pixelmator Pro also features integrated machine learning to power features like automatic horizon detection and layer naming, intelligent quick selection, and realistic object removal.

Ultimately, the company is hoping that Pixelmator Pro will represent the perfect marriage between pro-tier features and accessible design.

Other notable features include full Mac integration, including support for iCloud, compatibility with Adobe Photoshop, support for raw images and multiple raw layers, HEIF compatibility, and vector tools, among many other things. And if you feel that a major feature is missing, you’ll be happy to know that multiple free updates bringing major new features are already in the pipeline for release in the near future.

Until then, you can pick up Pixelmator Pro 1.0 is through the Mac App Store for $ 60 USD.

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Kodak reveals how and when it’s bringing back 35mm Ektachrome film

17 Nov
Photo: Kodak

Kodak first announced the rebirth of Ektachrome way back in January at CES. Along with Kodak Alaris—who will distribute the 35mm Kodak Professional Ektachrome film for stills shooters—the company said it would bring back Ektachrome by the end of 2017… and then promptly stopped talking about it.

But if you were worried that Kodak had given up on the idea, fear not: in a new episode of the Kodakery podcast, a few of Kodak’s higher ups (including Marketing and Product Manager Diane Carroll-Yacoby) updated the world on the progress of the Ektachrome reboot, how they’re making it, and what testing still stand between your hands and a fresh 36-shot roll of the stuff.

You can listen to the entire Kodakery podcast update below:

The first half of the podcast is mostly a photography and history lesson: discussing the origins of Ektachrome, its ‘characteristics’ (read: limitations), and how Kodak has managed to bring it back to life after discontinuing it in 2013. But if you want to get into the “how and when” of the matter, you’ll want to skip to the 22 minute mark.

That’s where we get to learn about how difficult it is to bring back a film like Ektachrome—which is made up of 80 ingredients, some of them no longer available to purchase—and how Kodak is making the economics of Ektachrome work by creating it in smaller, more sustainable batches.

You’ll want to listen to the discussion to really get the details of how the film is made, but here are a few of the most interesting tidbits about the revival process (for us anyway):

  • Kodak has managed to either find or manufacture all 80 ingredients required to make Ektachrome.
  • Much of the process so far has involved retooling the formula so it will work on the machines available to them, because they no longer have all of the equipment they had when Ektachrome was being developed previously.
  • They’ve already produced some ‘pilot coatings’ that they are testing to ensure they’re ready to mass produce Ektachrome that’s up to snuff.
  • When they’re ready to go, they will be making rolls using a coater that produces the film on sheets that are 4 feet wide and 6,000 feet long. The first of these ‘wide’ rolls will be produced before the end of 2017, and will be used for internal testing.
  • Kodak will be making a single (4ft x 6,000ft) roll for the first production run, so they don’t have to hold on to too much inventory at one time.
  • Kodak Ektachrome’s market release is planned for 2018.

Eastman Kodak itself will produce all of the film and plans to distribute the Super 8 cinema version of Ektachrome, while Kodak Alaris will distribute the 35mm slide film for stills shooters. For now, we still don’t know exactly when Ektachrome is coming back in 2018, but as soon as we do, we’ll let you know so you can mark your calendars.

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