Posts Tagged ‘serious’

Autel unveils the EVO drone, serious competition for the DJI Mavic Pro

12 Jan

Autel Robotics released something pretty exciting at CES this week, although it’s stayed (ironically enough) somewhat under the radar so far. Meet the EVO: a folding, portable drone that looks like it could be the first serious competitor for DJI’s extremely popular Mavic Pro.

When DJI first introduced the Mavic Pro—and later bumped up the battery live with the Mavic Pro Platinum—the company liked to say it had “revolutionized personal flight.” The thing is, DJI kind of had a point: the Mavic Pro was both extremely portable and extremely capable, opening up the joys of droning to a whole new range of potential consumers.

But with the debut of the Autel EVO, DJI might want to watch its back.

At first, the EVO seems like an almost shot-for-shot remake of the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum. The folding drone looks very similar, both sport a 3-axis gimbal, both boast intelligent flight modes and obstacle avoidance, they both offer 30 minutes of flight time, and both feature a max operating distance of 4.2 miles (7 km).

Where the EVO manages to rise above (see what I did there…) the Mavic Pro Platinum is exactly where it counts: in the camera and remote control department.

The stabilized camera can shoot at 4K/60p (DJI maxes out at 4K/30p) and the remote comes with a built-in 3.3 inch OLED screen that gives you a live feed at up to 720p—no need to plug your phone into your drone’s remote controller. Finally, the EVO also maxes out at a speed of 20 meters per second (44 miles per hour), which is just a hair faster than the Mavic Pro can handle.

Unfortunately, Autel isn’t quite ready to commit to a specific release date for the EVO, but they did say it will arrive “very soon” and will cost $ 1,000 USD—that’s $ 100 cheaper than the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum, or the same price as the standard Mavic Pro, which can’t quite keep up on battery life.

With DJI suffering from some PR problems of late, Autel has a real opportunity to steal some Mavic market share here. For our part, we’re going to try and get an EVO in the office for testing as soon as possible.

To learn more about the Evo, check out the full release below or head over to the Autel Robotics website.

Press Release

Autel Robotics Announces New Aircraft EVO at CES 2018

At CES 2018, Autel Robotics USA announced its new flagship aircraft line, the EVO.

EVO is a portable camera drone with foldable arms and a sleek, compact form factor. We’re incredibly excited about this product, and after showing it off at CES, are eager to get it out into the wild for our customers to enjoy.


  • 4K UHD 60FPS camera equipped on a 3-axis gimbal
  • Front & Downward (Computer Vision) and Rear (IR Sensor) Obstacle Avoidance Systems
  • 3.3 Inch built-in OLED screen remote controller with 720p live video
  • 30-minute flight time
  • Speeds up to 20 meters per second
  • 4300 mAh Li-Po Battery, 1.3 hour recharge time
  • 7km (4.2 mi) Range
  • Autel Explorer app allowing for intelligent flight features & more

We’ve been both humbled and honored by the overwhelmingly positive response to our announcement of the EVO. The EVO’s expected price point at launch is $ 999.00 USD. The launch date for the EVO will be announced as we close in further on our release timeline.

While we are close to launching, we want to ensure that we deliver products that provide the utmost quality and reliability for our customers.

Last year at CES we set some expectations that we did not achieve. We were not able to deliver a high quality, reliable offering with the Thermal and 1” Sensor for our X?Star series. There are many reasons that these units did not come to fruition.

We realize that a big part of meeting our delivery goals for our customers is refining our messaging to ensure that we can always do what we say we will do.

Moving forward with EVO we will focus on that goal of communicating clearly and never overpromising. As such, all we can say for now as to EVO’s release date is “very soon”. We’ll publish details on our website and social media as soon as they are available.

Thank you for all of your support and feedback!

The Autel Robotics Team

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Sony packed serious phase detect AF into these new 4K palm-style camcorders

16 Sep

If you’ve used a palm-style camcorder to try and film action at any point over the past several years, you’ve probably noticed an issue: most of these camcorders are god awful at finding and holding focus, usually relying exclusively on contrast detect AF or simply the deep depth-of-field their small sensors made requisite. Well, not anymore.

Sony has just debuted three new 4K camcorders with advanced, relatively large sensors aimed at three different tiers of users. But all of them have one thing in common: blazing fast, 273-point phase detect autofocus systems similar to (and, in fact, a bit more advanced than) the system found in Sony’s new RX10 IV. More advanced because the camera allows you to further customize features like AF Drive Speed, Tracking Depth Range and Subject Switching Sensitivity to make sure you nail every shot. We’re also told the focus ramping is more sophisticated, if you ask the autofocus to rack between two subjects. The hi-res touchscreen LCD should make focus easy and intuitive as well.

All three palm-style camcorders feature this same autofocus system, a 1-inch type stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor, and support 4K ‘Instant HDR’ recording using Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) technology. However, not all three are meant for the same user. The AX700 is for serious amateurs, the NX80 for semi-pro video shooters, and the Z90V packs in some interesting broadcast capabilities such as XAVC L format recording, 3G SDI connectivity, and other features the support news reporting.

Of course, at $ 1,900 for the ‘cheapest’ model, it was obvious from the get-go that Sony wan’t aiming for the entry-level crowd with this release.

The most beginner-friendly model, the FDR-AX700, arrives in October for the aforementioned price of $ 1,900. The two higher-end models, the HXR-NX80 and PXW-Z90V, both arrive in December for $ 2,300 and $ 2,800 respectively. To find out more about any of these camcorders, read the press release below or visit the Sony 4K Palm website.

Press Release

Sony Unveils First Camcorders with Phase-detection AF

Sony’s newest camcorders are its first to feature phase detection Auto Focus (AF), and expand its line of 4K and HDR-capable tools for shooting applications ranging from video enthusiasts to corporate and events to broadcast news and TV production.

The three new palm-style models are the XDCAM PXW-Z90, the NXCAM HXR-NX80 and the Handycam FDR-AX700. The camcorders’ Fast Hybrid AF system ensures highly accurate focusing and tracking — especially useful during 4K shooting — delivered by 273 phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 84% of the shooting area, high-density placement of autofocus points and a newly developed AF algorithm. In movie recording mode, the appearance of phase-detection AF frames indicates the focused area and easily allows users to monitor a subject that is in focus.

Each camcorder combines fast and reliable AF adapted for video shooting with a 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor. The new camcorders support 4K HDR recording with Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) offering an Instant HDR workflow to produce high-quality HDR content smoothly. The Instant HDR Workflow enables simple shooting, editing and viewing of HDR content in HLG, without the need for color grading during post production.

The new camcorders feature a high-resolution OLED viewfinder (0.39-type OLED, 2,359k dots) and advanced touch screen operation, on the 3.5-type large LCD screen (1,555k dots), to allow users to quickly switch focus from one subject to another, while the AF Drive Speed, Tracking Depth Range and Subject Switching Sensitivity can all be configured as required for different subjects and content styles.

Simple, multi-camera live production

The PXW-Z90, HXR-NX80 and FDR-AX700 camcorders all work seamlessly with Sony’s MCX-500 live producer, a compact, cost-effective switcher that makes it easy for one operator to run a multi-camera live event. With the switcher and Sony’s RM-30BP controller, a Tally icon appears on each camera’s LCD panel and viewfinder. A red icon indicates when the shot is live (PGM) while Green indicates preview mode (NEXT).

The MCX-500 supports mixing between eight video sources, four stereo embedded audio channels plus two XLR Inputs, and a dedicated Title Input, up to nine video inputs, and five stereo inputs including XLR. Internal recording and live streaming is also possible via Ustream, Facebook Live and YouTube Live.

Users can also synchronize timecode among multiple camcorders using Sony’s free Content Browser Mobile 3.0 app with optional CBKZ-WTCL upgrade and devices running iOS® (9.0 – 10.3) or Android® (4.4 – 7.1) operating systems.

Versatile Shooting Capabilities

The new camcorders enable the following key technology and features to support versatile shooting, including:

  • 4K full-pixel readout without pixel binning using an enhanced BIONZ X™ image processing engine
  • Super Slow Motion recording up to 960fps, which is industry leading among palm categories and Slow & Quick Motion Full HD recording up to 120fps.
  • S-Log3/S-Gamut3 capabilities for users to create and work with images as they desire.
  • 29mm wide-angle ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* 12x optical zoom lens and 18x Clear Image Zoom
  • Less image distortion (rolling shutter phenomenon), in comparison to conventional models, when shooting moving subjects in motion

Workflow efficiency benefits such as proxy recording, relay recording and simultaneous backup recording are also delivered thanks to the new camcorders’ dual memory card slots and multi-camera operation capabilities supported by TC (time code)/UB (user bit). The new camcorders also have REMOTE terminals, Multi-Interface Shoe™, and HDMI Type A for enhanced operability.

The new models also feature dual XLR audio input, a detachable handle, and access to Content Browser Mobile a supporting smartphone application to enable Wi-Fi® monitoring, Camcorder remote control and wireless timecode sync between multiple cameras.

The PXW-Z90 also includes several features to suit broadcast-specific production requirements: XAVC L format recording, which provides high-quality images at 4:2:2 10 bit (HD) and 4:2:0 8 bit (QFHD) in addition to conventional broadcasting MPEG2HD format recording; 3G SDI connectivity for compatibility with existing broadcasting equipment; and networking functions to support news reporting, such as compatibility with XDCAM® air, Sony’s cloud-based ENG subscription service. The HXR-NX80 and FDR-AX700 adopt XAVC S, an extended format of XAVC for consumer use.

The following is planned availability and suggested list pricing for the new models:

  • FDR-AX700 – October 2017, $ 1,899 USD
  • HXR-NX80 – December 2017, $ 2,299 USD
  • PXW-Z90V – December 2017, $ 2,799 USD

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Serious speed: Sony a9 real world samples gallery

27 Apr

The Sony a9 made headlines shortly after its announcement due in no small part to its laundry list of impressive specifications. With 20fps burst shooting, 693 autofocus points and a 3.7m dot electronic OLED viewfinder with no blackout at all in continuous shooting, this camera’s got some serious specs and Sony has made some serious claims about its performance.

During our time in New York for the announcement, we were able to learn the ins-and-outs of the camera while photographing hockey players, figure skaters, and a full-on track meet to see just how the camera fared – and it fared well. But don’t take our word for it, check it out for yourself in our real world samples gallery. The AF system combined with 20 fps allowed us to nail the exact moment, while the excellent JPEG engine retained detail and minimized noise even at ISOs in the thousands.

See the Sony a9 real world samples gallery

But we’ve also been hard at work digging into the Sony a9 as much as we could, given our limited time with it and lack of Raw support. Our shooting experience has been updated with impressions of both JPEG image quality and autofocus performance.

DPR’s updated impressions of the Sony a9

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Interview: Fujifilm talks GFX, X100F and getting serious about video

24 Jan
 Makoto Oishi, Billy Luong and Yuji Igarashi from Fujifilm

Following the launch of the GFX 50S, the X100F and the X-T20, we spoke to Fujifilm executives about their models, their ambitions and what we might be able to expect in the future in terms of medium format, the XE range and video. 

We spoke to Makoto Oishi, manager of Fujifilm’s Sales and Marketing Group, Optical Device and Electronic Imaging Products division, Yuji Igarashi, general manager of Fujifilm’s Electronic Imaging Division, and Billy Luong, Manager for the Technical Marketing and Product Specialist Group. They answered our burning questions as best they could: Will the GFX series gain phase detection AF? Will it ever have a fixed lens model? How is the X-E series faring?

GFX 50S: who is it for, and what’s next?

As you’d expect, we started by discussing the GFX 50S and who it’s for. ‘Fashion, commercial and landscape photographers are the main targets,’ says Oishi. ‘And especially when it comes to landscape, it’s not just professional photographers, but also amateur photographers.’

‘The tonality and dynamic range also mean it’ll appeal to wedding photographers,’ adds Luong. ‘And architecture,’ says Oishi: ‘But you can see from the weather sealing that we want landscape and outdoor photographers to feel confident using this camera.’

Consequently, these users groups will direct which lenses the company creates for the system. ‘We’ve already announced our first six lenses but we’re thinking about what comes next,’ says Oishi: ‘We have some ideas but haven’t decided yet. For example maybe a wide-angle zoom for landscape photographers or maybe something like a 200 or 250mm and so on. We want more feedback from users about what to make next.’

Image quality and autofocus

In the early days of the X-mount system, the company said it had chosen to prioritize image quality even if it that meant using a design with slightly slower focus. This compromise wasn’t necessary with the GFX, Oishi says: ‘The first priority must be image quality, of course. After our experience with the X-series we’ve developed a series of technologies in lens design as well as autofocus motors.’

The GFX 50S is designed to be relatively small and swap easily from being a studio camera to a field camera. The 50mm-equivalent 63mm F2.8 lens focuses pretty quickly despite the absence of phase-detection elements or a linear motor to drive focus.

‘Some of the first [GF] lenses have linear motors, whereas the 63mm has a different motor, more like the one used in the 23mm F2. The autofocus speed is already very good: we haven’t had any complaints. Instead we’ve had some users surprised by how fast the contrast-detection system is.’

This doesn’t mean the GFX series will never have phase detection, though. ‘This is our first development of this sensor,’ says Oishi: ‘we’d have needed more time to develop on-sensor phase detection. The image quality of medium format is our first priority. From a technical point of view, maybe in the future we might incorporate phase-detection pixels. On the other hand, we’re already developed advanced CDAF algorithms.’ There’s no image quality cost to using phase detection, he says.

‘We’re designing all our GF lenses to work with 100 megapixels, so there’s just as much of a challenge of resolution’ – Makoto Oishi

This need for optimal image quality got us wondering: which is more difficult to design, an F1.4 lens for APS-C or an F2.8 lens with the IQ expectations but less dense sensor of medium format? ‘The fundamental design doesn’t change,’ says Oishi: ‘things like the availability of an appropriate autofocus motor to deal with bigger, heavier lenses in medium format always adds problems. They’re both difficult, both to design and manufacture.’

‘The medium format lens is physically bigger which seems like it should be easier to manufacture but you have to pay just as much attention to how sensitively each element is aligned. I’d say they’re both difficult. Differently difficult.’

‘One thing to remember is that we’re designing all our GF lenses to work with 100 megapixels, so there’s just as much of a challenge of resolution.’

‘As the sensor becomes bigger, that means chromatic aberration becomes bigger: it’s proportional to the size. In GFX we’ve minimized aberrations optically and the used digital compensation only to refine the final result, and it depends on lens.’

Makoto Oishi shows-off the GFX 50S’s 44x33mm sensor

As with the X series, Fujifilm has decided not to use in-body image stabilization. ‘Some of the lenses we’ve already announced have OIS built in,’ Oishi points out: ‘but basically our image circle is perfect for the 44 x 33mm sensor size.’

The undeniable appeal of the X100 series

The discussion then turned to the X100 series and its role in the company’s lineup, now that a 23mm F2 lens is available for the X-mount system.

‘Of course using the 23mm F2 on one of our X-mount cameras, you get the same sensor, the same processor, but they’re two different things,’ says Oishi. ‘The X100 lens and sensor are optimized to work together, [whereas] on the ILCs, the sensor has to work with every lens. This means the X100’s image quality can be very good but the lens remains small. The 23mm F2 [XF] lens is also good, the size is a bit bigger but the autofocus can be a bit faster. Then, of course, the X100 series has the optical viewfinder.’

‘A good proportion of our customers are saying the X100 brought back their passion for photography’ – Billy Luong

‘The X100 also has a leaf shutter and built-in ND filter, which make a big difference,’ says Luong: ‘The faster sync speed is an important difference for anyone using flash. Then there’s the silent operation.’

But the appeal is about the format, as much as the specs, suggests Oishi: ‘The X100 series presents a great opportunity: the body size means it works as a second camera for anyone: not just Fujifilm users. If they fall in love with your system then maybe they’ll consider your cameras in future.’

Luong concurs: ‘It’s an iconic shape, it has a distinctive style. Some customers are at the point where they’re done with interchangeable lens camera, they just want the one focal length.’

 ‘The X100 series continues to perform well. In the US, each generation has sold better than the last,’ says Yuji Igarashi.

So who is the X100 series customer? ‘Normally 30% of buyers are people who already use an X100 series camera. But we’re always attracting new customers, too,’ says Oishi.

‘We look at how we retain our customers,’ says Luong: ‘the X100 is often photographers’ first foray into the Fujifilm system. The size, the weight, the image quality. A good proportion of our customers are saying the X100 brought back their passion for photography. That type of person is very much part of the equation.’

Could these same benefits be applied to medium format, we asked. ‘Of course it could be an idea for medium format,’ says Oishi: ‘it depends on demand and the market. The GFX 50S is one style: the ‘S’ means ‘SLR-style.’ Another way to do it would be a rangefinder style camera. Maybe an ‘R’ could be a rangefinder: we’re always considering other options and possibilities.’

‘If mirrorless interchangeable lens camera is too big as a rangefinder style, a fixed lens camera could be smaller, like the GF670.’

X-T20: putting X-T2 image quality in a smaller body

The SLR-style has wide appeal, Luong explains: ‘The SLR style targets a wider audience. We find pro and enthusiast photographers gravitate towards the SLR-style camera. Back to the GFX camera, that’s why we went with the SLR style.’

What does this tell us about the X-T20 target customer, then?

‘There will be a lot of X-T2 and X-T1 users wanting a second body,’ says Luong. ‘Then, of course, there’ll be people wanting X-T2 image quality in a more compact body. It could be a step up from the X-A series or a step over from an entry-level DSLR to a mirrorless type camera.’

‘We wanted to expand the range of users with the X-T10,’ says Oishi. ‘The X-T20 has more capability than ever before, in autofocus, for instance. For casual users, AF speed is important, especially compared with other cameras, such as DSLRs.’

Touchpad AF

However, the X-T20 doesn’t offer the increasingly popular ‘touchpad’ function to control the AF point with the camera to your eye. Mr Oishi explains why: ‘It’s possible. We know some people have difficulty with their nose operating the focus. We think our eight-way joystick is better in many circumstances but we’ll listen to feedback about a camera like the X-T20.’

The FujiFilm X-T20 offers X-T20 image quality in a smaller body. Despite having a touchscreen, it can’t offer touchpad AF control. For now…

This makes us wonder how the company decides which models feature touchscreens and which don’t. ‘It’s a question of the customer response,’ Oishi says. ‘The X100 has an optical viewfinder so it doesn’t make sense to put a touchscreen behind that. Maybe the joystick is better. With the X70, though, it’s a much smaller camera and you have to use the screen so it made sense to control with the screen.’

‘On the X-T20, we were trying to keep the camera small, so there wasn’t room for a joystick. So it depends on the product. It’s not about whether it’s seen as professional or not: the GFX has one.’

‘Product design for each model is focused on certain priorities,’ explains Luong: ‘X100 is about design. Even making it a couple of millimeters thicker to incorporate a touchscreen or tilt screen would make a big difference. It could change the design completely.’

‘We always think about the real target user’s priorities,’ says Oishi. ‘What does the target user want to use?’

Don’t count the X-E series out

The release of three SLR-style cameras in a row (X-T2, X-T20 and GFX 50S) doesn’t mean the company is abandoning the rangefinder style, though. ‘XE is an important series for us,’ Oishi says: ‘There are so many XE1, 2 and 2S users in the world. We are always thinking about the next model, whether that’s XT, XE or X-Pro. Obviously we can’t confirm anything at this point but we are aware there are many requests for this type of camera.’

Unmet needs?

With the X-series lineup looking increasingly mature, both in terms of lenses and bodies, what unmet needs remain?

‘Video is a big growth area for us,’ acknowledges Luong: ‘Our latest cameras such as the X-Pro2 and X-T2 show there’s a lot we’ve learned.’

 The Fujifilm X-T2 is a significantly more capable video camera than we were expecting.

And there’s an audience for video, he says: ‘If you look at who’s producing material, there’s a generation of YouTube content providers. People are increasingly watching content on their computers, on YouTube, rather than traditional TV.’

‘In Japan the developers worked very closely with production studios. A lot of their feedback shaped the outcome of the X-T2’s video quality and the way it operates.’

‘Features like Film Simulation, taking them from stills to video they found really useful but things such as bitrate, file format and compression, that came from us listening to feedback.’

‘Video is a big growth area for us, the X-Pro2 and X-T2 show there’s a lot we’ve learned’ – Billy Luong

There are challenges, though, says Oishi: ‘Movie AF is very difficult: it depends on the subject. Sometimes you want it to be quick, other times you want it to be slower and smooth.’

‘Whether it’s an algorithm that recognizes a tap on the screen should be a smooth focus pull, or potentially a custom setting, we’re very serious about getting it right,’ says Luong.

Does this mean we could expect an even more video-centric camera, given that all the X-series lenses are essentially in the Super 35 format?

‘We already have cinema lenses that are Super 35,’ Luong reminds us. ‘We’re continuing to develop video features, so we’ll continue to investigate.’

‘There’s a market there,’ Luong says.

Listening to customer feedback

Since the idea of user feedback had come up so often in the discussion, we ended by asking what the company’s process was for collecting feedback.

‘Our X Photographers: professionals who use the camera day in, day out, that’s the first line of feedback,’ says Luong: ‘It’s quite a large group. With the GFX we had something like 50 photographers around the world using pre-production cameras.’

‘We also monitor the comments on our YouTube channel and I personally scour through DPReview and try to work out which things are a must and which are ‘would be nice’.’

‘We don’t systematically seek feedback from our existing users,’ says Igarashi: ‘but we try to listen to everyone and evaluate those opinions.’

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Serious resolution: Phase One XF with IQ3 100MP back tested

03 Oct

Phase One XF with IQ3 100MP back tested

Phase One has enjoyed two significant updates since we last tested the company’s medium format offering: the 645DF+ body has been replaced by the more modern XF, and the IQ2 series of backs has been replaced by the updated IQ3 series. Added to that, Phase One has introduced a 100MP sensor to the IQ3 range. The new 100MP sensor is of the 54 x 40mm format, so somewhat larger than the previous 50MP 44 x33mm sensor. What is also significant is that it is a CMOS sensor and comes with all the flexibility that technology brings to these big and bulky cameras.

Phase One says that it has developed the sensor alongside Sony, and that a new design has introduced a range of benefits, including helping to increase the ISO range that can be offered, improving color accuracy and boosting dynamic range.

When I spoke to Lau Nørgaard, the head of R&D at Phase One, and asked him whether anyone needs 100MP he replied that the obvious customer base was anyone who needs to make big prints that will be inspected close-up.

Less obvious perhaps are the workflow advantages such resolution brings. He cited an example of someone photographing a car and then having to shoot all the details individually. With a 100MP back you shoot the whole car once and cut out all the detail shots from that image. Online clothing retailers like to provide roll-over enlargements of garments that show the texture of the fabric, and this back is ideal for that  – the weave of the finest fabric can be shown even from a full length shot that includes three or four models. The resolution also presents less of a risk of aliasing. Museums, galleries and aerial surveyors are obvious customers, as they need the detail, but Lau also explained that images of anything from this back will benefit from the pixel count even when downscaled – noise is reduced, and the superior color and tonal information is retained.

The new XF body

The Phase One XF is a 645-style medium format SLR body that’s designed to accept digital backs, with the company encouraging photographers to use its IQ1 and IQ3 series backs with resolutions of 40, 50, 60, 80 and 100 million pixels. Phase One has given its body a complete make-over and while it remains much the same basic form factor as the previous model, it is now much less mechanical and clunky, and features a number of dramatic improvements.

Key new features Phase One XF:

  • Shutter and mirror dampening
  • Electronic first curtain
  • Touch screen top plate display
  • Improved integration with the IQ3 backs
  • New handling layout
  • Metering in camera rather than in prism
  • Accepts waistlevel finder
  • Seismograph built-in
  • Separate battery from back – but can power share
  • Built-in wireless flash sync via Profoto Air Sync

There are so many really key improvements to this body that it is hard to know where to start. The experience of using the XF is dramatically different to using the 645DF+, which is why I think Phase One has given it a completely different name instead of making it a ‘Mark II’ or ‘X’.

Let’s start with the new shutter and mirror mechanism. The mirror action is still more violent than you’d encounter with a 35mm-style DSLR but the impact created when it flips up and down is a good deal reduced compared to the previous model. The shutter action is also much smoother, so when the shutter is tripped the whole operation is quieter. In the previous camera the mirror and the shutter were connected in the same mechanical set-up, but now the two operate as individual units – so in mirror-up mode the shutter can re-cock itself without the mirror having to flip back and forth.

Phase One has introduced a seismograph to the body that measures the amount the camera is vibrating, and displays the results as a moving graph on the top plate display. This helps to ensure the user trips the shutter when the camera is at its steadiest, and the incorporation of ‘vibration delay’ allows the camera to trip itself automatically when internal vibrations have died down. 

Further help towards reducing vibration comes in the form of an electronic first curtain mode that works when the mirror is already up – similar to that used in DSLRs like the Nikon D810. Phase One’s Lau Nørgaard told me that the company’s engineers studied the acceleration and rate of travel of the second curtain and mirrored that with the read-out progress of the electronic first curtain to ensure that the whole frame would be evenly exposed.

The new handling arrangements also make this a significantly easier camera to use, with a touch screen on the top plate that provides direct access to the shooting and exposure modes. Three dials controls shutter speed, aperture and ISO, while a mini-menu is controlled via a pair of Leica-style long silver buttons. In short, pretty much anything that you’ll need to access quickly and regularly has a short and direct path from the right-hand grip.

In the 645DF+ metering was handled through the prism of the camera, but in the XF it has moved to the body to allow exposure reading when using the new waist-level finder. There is an additional flash sync socket on the IQ3 backs for when the waist-level finder is in use, as the main one is on the prism head.

The XF body is light years ahead of the 645DF+, and a good deal more advanced than the Hasselblad H5D series cameras. It feels very modern for a medium format DSLR, and is so much easier to use and navigate as a consequence of the mass of new features.

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Serious spec: HTC 10 camera review

17 Jun

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DPReview smartphone reviews are written with the needs of photographers in mind. We focus on camera features, performance, and image quality.

The 10 is HTC’s latest flagship model, and while its predecessors that we tested were frankly disappointing in the camera department, the new model’s imaging specs show the 10 has potential to turn things around for the Taiwanese manufacturer.

The main camera specification is centered around the same 1/2.3-inch 12MP sensor that we have seen on several recent top-end smartphones. Light is captured through a very fast F1.8 aperture and an optical image stabilization system keeps things steady in low light. The AF uses both contrast detection and a laser that measures the distance to the subject and for those who like optimizing images in post production the camera offers a 12-bit Raw mode. In video mode footage can be recorded in 4K resolution and the front camera is the first of its kind to come with optical image stabilization. At 1.34µm it also offers unusually large pixels and again a fast F1.8 aperture. 

All other specifications, including the 5.2-inch Quad-HD display and Snapdragon 820 chipset are in line with the current crop of flagship devices, making the HTC 10 a possible mobile photography alternative to devices like the Samsung Galaxy S7 or LG G5. Read the full review to find out how it performed in our test.  

Key Photographic / Video Specifications

  • 12MP 1/2.3-inch sensor with 1.55µm pixels
  • F1.8 aperture
  • OIS
  • 12-bit Raw
  • 4K video
  • 720p, 120fps slow-motion video
  • 5MP front camera with OIS, F1.8 aperture and 1.34µm pixel size

Other Specifications

  • 5.2-inch QHD screen
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32 or 64GB storage
  • microSD slot
  • 3,000mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0
  • Hi-Res audio

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CP+ 2016: Nissin gets serious with radio-triggered flash solutions

28 Feb

CP+ 2016: Nissin Stand Report

Flash manufacturer Nissin offers some compelling alternatives to on-brand flashes, and they’ve recently updated their lineup with the announcement of the i60A, pictured in the middle here. The i60A features a Guide No. of 60 at at 200mm (ISO 100), which is more powerful than the company’s flagship Di700A, which has a GN of 54 under the same conditions. Impressive, given the flash’s overall smaller size. It also features High Speed Sync (HSS).

Possibly the most compelling feature of the i60A (and the flagship Di700A)? Integrated 2.4GHz radio wireless control in conjunction with the Air 1 commander and Di700A flash. Off-camera event flash photography’s best friend. They’re ergonomically fantastic as well. Read on as we dig a little deeper into these products.

CP+ 2016: Nissin Stand Report

The i60A is significantly smaller than the Di700A (illustrated in grey here) – Nissin’s flagship and the flash that introduced the 2.4GHz radio wireless control system. At only 98mm tall, the i60A is significantly smaller than the 140mm tall Di700A. It’s lighter too: 300g (without batteries) vs. the Di700A’s 380g. And yet it provides brighter flash output. Nice.

CP+ 2016: Nissin Stand Report

The i60A is Nissin’s second flash to work with the company’s 2.4 GHz radio wireless control system, meaning you can trigger it off-camera with the Air 1 commander (on right) or Di700A flash on-camera. It can even act as a radio trigger itself in commander mode. Radio triggering can be essential for fast-paced, unpredictable scenarios, like at a wedding reception or dance floor where objects might momentarily block off-camera flashes triggered optically or via infrared.

While Canon has had their own solution in the 600EX-RT flash and ST-E3-RT emitter, Nikon has only just recently announced their radio solution, and Sony has no such solution at all. Given the intuitive on-board control of manual power or auto TTL flash exposure bias on both the Air 1 commander and any flash units, the Nissin solution is quite attractive, even mandatory if you’re looking for radio-triggered flash on a Sony system.

CP+ 2016: Nissin Stand Report

So you’ve seen the Air R in a couple of photos now and are probably wondering what it is. It’s a receiver for Nissin’s 2.4GHz radio wireless control system, meaning you can attach it to flashes without radio control to have them join Nissin’s system. There are versions for Nissin, Canon, and Nikon flashes.

CP+ 2016: Nissin Stand Report

The Nissin i60A has a tiltable, rotatable head, capable of rotating up and down 90°, and left and right 180° in either direction. This is great for creating a softer bounce flash effect, either on or off-camera. The flash is powered by 4 AA batteries, which should provide 220 full power bursts.

Every version of the i60A helpfully comes with the ability to act as a Canon, Nikon, or Sony radio slave, triggered by an Air 1 commander. That means that you can have a Canon version of the Air 1, mounted to a Canon body, fire a Nikon version of the i60A off-camera. Cool.

CP+ 2016: Nissin Stand Report

Pictured here is the i60A in comparison to the Di700A. As we’ve said before, the i60A is significantly smaller. The downside? The i60A is missing the red AF assist beam. It does, however, have a small LED light that can be used for AF assist, though its far more annoying to subjects than a red assist beam.

Speaking of AF assist, it’s important to note that the Sony versions of these flashes can only fire AF assist beams on Sony Alpha SLT cameras, not Sony E-mount cameras. That means the assist beams are useless on the popular a7 and a6000-series cameras. We confirmed with Nissin that this is due to Sony E-mount cameras failing to send a signal over the hot-shoe connection when the shutter button is half-depressed. That’s a shame, because pros need focus ability in extremely low light conditions – the dance floor of a wedding reception, for example. I told Nissin we’d stress this with Sony, and their response was ‘please, please do’.

Sony: your move.

CP+ 2016: Nissin Stand Report

We mentioned favorable ergonomics earlier on, and here’s why. Take a look at the user interface of the Air 1 commander. You’ve got visual indicators for manual power and flash exposure compensation (TTL), for each group. It’s simple to use the dial to bias these. No menu digging. The Di700A has a similar display, though the i60A’s truncated display means it can’t show quite as much information. 

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Can the iPad Pro be a serious editing tool for imaging professionals?

03 Oct

When the original iPad was launched, speculation began about when tablets would replace laptops for most users. That has yet to happen, and in the hands of photographers tablets are more often used for presentation rather than image editing. The iPad Pro has the hardware to become a serious image editing device, but will it become one in reality? Lars Rehm weighs in. Read more

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The Beauty of Serious Work

29 Sep

Mensch bei der Arbeit.

Andreas Meichsner dokumentiert in seiner Serie „The Beauty of Serious Work“ Prüfvorgänge beim deutschen TÜV in Nürnberg. Wir stellen seine Serie vor, die nicht nur über den Charme der Norm informiert, sondern auch die gesellschaftliche Bedeutung von Sicherheit hinterfragt.
kwerfeldein – Fotografie Magazin | Fotocommunity

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Serious zoom: Sony Cyber-shot RX10 II shooting experience

26 Aug

We’ve been toting around the Sony RX10 II for a little while now, testing its ability to capture 4K video, high speed stills and super slow motion video clips. And while a superzoom may not be DPReview writer Dan Bracaglia’s first choice for his favored rock-and-roll and street subjects, he ultimately came around to the impressive capabilities of this camera. Read more

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