Archive for May, 2018

You Should See what You’re Missing – Disadvantages of Shooting JPGs

31 May

In this article, learn about some of the disadvantages of shooting JPGs. It’s easy to see issues when they are in plain sight, but it’s much more difficult to see things when they are hidden. This situation applies to photographic images containing deep shadows and bright highlights.

When the tonal balance of a scene is unbalanced, some of the critical detail and even emotion of the photo can get lost in the process. The balance and distinction of all five tone-zones (highlight, quarter, middle, three-quarter, and shadow) are critical to image clarity.


Two Ladies Dresden - You Should See what You’re Missing - Disadvantages of Shooting JPGs

The above shot was captured in Dresden Germany while my camera was in Manual Mode (all the settings must be manually balanced). Obviously, my choice of exposure settings was horribly wrong. For that, I offer no excuses.

When something like this happens and you don’t have the chance to retake the image, you can still salvage most of the colors and tones if your camera was set to capture RAW images. Then you can judiciously adjust the tonal settings in RAW interpreter software (you can see my adjustments for that image below).

Two Ladies CR - You Should See what You’re Missing - Disadvantages of Shooting JPGs

My normal mode of shooting is to capture both JPEG and RAW images for this very reason. Had I only captured the JPEG file, recovery attempts would have been ugly. RAW files capture a latitude of tones well beyond the limited range of JPEGs.


Mirror - You Should See what You’re Missing - Disadvantages of Shooting JPGs

Imagine trying to either shave or put on makeup in front of a fogged mirror. This would be a recipe for disaster. As long as water droplets remain on the mirror, the light waves are disrupted and the clarity is diffused. Mirrors, like good photos, rely on clarity. And in photography, clarity is always a product of contrast.

When clear distinctions are not present in the tonal range, detail gets lost. In this case, both the highlight and shadow are indistinct. There is no clear distinction between the highlights (the very lightest zone in the picture) and the shadows (the very darkest zone in the picture).

High Contrast Scenes

This reenactment of Shakespeare’s Macbeth at Atlanta’s Renaissance Festival took place at high noon on a very bright and sunny day (images below.

Renaissance image - You Should See what You’re Missing - Disadvantages of Shooting JPGs

Original image

While the camera correctly recorded both the strong highlight and the deep shadow, the contrast was so intense that detail was lost in both the highlight and shadow areas of the image. High contrast scenes often occur during daylight hours under cloudless or even partly cloudy skies.

The sun’s light was so intense that entire areas of the image are brightly illuminated while others are quite dimly lit. While our eyes can adjust to a wide gamut of light, the digital camera sensor cannot adjust to both extremes at the same time.

Renaissance image after - You Should See what You’re Missing - Disadvantages of Shooting JPGs

After editing

While detail is the product of contrast; I’m not talking about overall contrast, but internal tone-zone contrast. For a full range picture to display detail, there must be a clear separation of these five zones.

5 Zone Histogram

“Tone-zones” is a term I use to describe the five easily identified tones in a digital photograph. Almost all photos contain all five zones. The only exceptions are extreme high-key and extreme low-key photos.

The same lack of detail can be observed in very high contrast scenes; ones whose lighting range covers everything from black to white. The photo below shows a scene typically found in strong sunlight situations. The drama of contrast certainly makes the picture attractive, but significant detail is missing, and it’s missing in broad daylight.

Lost in the Shadows

In the image below left, the camera’s exposure setting averaged the exposure between the darkest and lightest values in the scene. Unfortunately, the strong sunlight cast dark shadows beneath the walkways and the image sensor had no way to distinguish these tones. The image on the right is after processing.

The most common challenge that we all face is when an image is bathed in light and perfectly exposed, but areas of deep shade conceal detail. The camera averaged all the light in the scene but could not compensate for the strong shadows. The image sensor captures the full range of light between highlights and shadows. But it cannot alter the internal contrast of the overall range, as it cannot discern what human eyesight perceives as “balanced” lighting.

Genoa Bridge before - You Should See what You’re Missing - Disadvantages of Shooting JPGs

The bridge pictured above is a prime example of the camera encountering too much light or dynamic range.

Notice that both the highlights (top left) are completely blown out and the darkest shadows (inside the tunnel beneath the bridge) are also plugged up. This situation requires human intervention. Careful adjustments to the shadows and highlights via Photoshop’s Highlights/Shadows dialog restored the detail. I converted the grayscale image to RGB and added the sepia look via the Hue/Saturation dialog.

Genoa Bridge After

Your camera and your eyes see differently

The tonality problem stems from the fact that your eyes can see and your mind can process much more dynamic lighting than your camera is capable of doing. The very scene that your mind pictured before you took the shot appeared a whole lot more detailed than the one that showed up on your monitor. So what happened, and why?

Every time you focus your eyes on a subject, your eye adjusts to the lighting in the portion of the scene that you want to see. Your eye’s pupil opens up to see detail in darker areas and closes (like the aperture in your lens) down to filter out the extremely bright light. Your eye has a distinct advantage over a digital camera though because it adapts to the lighting in each portion of the scene almost instantly.

When your attention shifts slightly, your eye adjusts to render the lighting perfectly. Well, almost perfectly. You still have limitations such as you can’t stare directly into the sun and see detail and you can’t distinguish serious detail under moonlight, but you get the idea.

This visual acclimation happens constantly and quite automatically because your eyes see real life pretty much the same way that a video captures motion; scores of individual “still” shots projected onto your mind every second. They appear and are adjusted by your mind so quickly that you don’t even notice that it happens.

Your camera is at a disadvantage

Your camera, on the other hand, captures one frozen moment of time for each picture. And since the camera cannot adjust to different areas of the scene individually, the current exposure setting only captures as much light range as it can within a single shot. Your camera’s limitations are determined largely by the ISO, shutter speed and aperture settings that you dialed in at the time the shot was captured.

This is in addition to the disadvantages of shooting JPGs.

While your camera does have limitations, there are adjustments you can make to both the internal and overall contrast of each image. Making these adjustments will bring your photos much closer in appearance to what your mind perceived when you clicked the shutter.

Low Contrast and Bad Color Balance

No matter how advanced your camera or how experienced a photographer you are, occasionally you end up with an exposure dud like this one. If the subject is important enough, you’ve got to find a way to rescue and restore the image to its full tonal range, color balance, and detail. The interior lighting of this centuries-old castle chapel was mixed and dark.

Your major adjustments are Hue, Saturation, and Luminance. To make the most of these tools I strongly suggest that you capture your images in RAW format and adjust them in a RAW interpreter (Lightroom, Camera Raw, Exposure X-3, ON1 Photo Raw, etc.). The major controls are very similar in each of these packages.


So do not ever be satisfied with what first appears on your monitor. If you captured the image in RAW format, you’ve recorded all the color and light information possible. On the other hand, if you only saved a JPEG file, your adjustments will be quite limited. Learn to move colors and tones around in your RAW images to see what your missing.

Push pixels around and stay focused.

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Skydio R1 autonomous camera drone gets four new cinematic modes in update

31 May

The Skydio R1 aerial “self-flying camera” received its first major software update today, gaining four new cinematic modes: Quarter Lead, Quarter Follow, Car Follow, and Car Tripod. Skydio underscores the new Car Follow mode as the biggest new feature, one that enables the drone to follow vehicles autonomously while capturing footage.

Talking about the software update is Skydio CEO Adam Bry, who said, “With Skydio R1, cinematography becomes a software defined experience. That means we can regularly introduce fundamentally new capabilities over time for all existing and future users.”

The R1 is billed as an advanced autonomous device thanks in part to the NVIDIA Jetson AI supercomputer powering the device. According to Skydio, the Car Follow feature is made possible via neural networks trained using automobile image datasets.

In addition to the new operation modes, R1’s software update optimizes the Skydio Autonomy Engine prediction system to enable more intelligent obstacle handling. The drone’s companion mobile app has received UI improvements that simplify accessing the new cinematic modes, and the update also improves the landing experience by showing operators exactly where the drone will land.

The Skydio R1 is available through Skydio’s website for $ 2,499 USD.

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Camera Plus 2 comes with overhauled UI and new features

30 May

Camera+ was launched almost eight years ago and since then has become one of the most popular third-party camera apps for iPhone and iPad. Now its makers have given the app a complete overhaul and launched Camera+ 2.

Camera+ 2 is a universal app and as such provides the same user experience across all compatible iPhone and iPad models. Unlike on the original app, all features and tools are included from the start, without the need to acquire some function via in-app purchase.

The redesigned interface includes manual controls, raw shooting and editing, depth capture, and other advanced features. In shooting modes parameters such as shutter speed, ISO or white balance are controlled via on-screen dials. Owners of dual-camera devices can switch between wide angle and macro lenses. If you prefer things simpler, many settings can also be hidden.

When shooting in depth capture mode, depth information is saved alongside the image, allowing for the application of depth effects in the editor. In addition a range of filters can be adjusted in terms of strength and layered for customized effects.

There are also a few new shooting modes. Smile mode triggers automatically once a smile is detected on your subjects. Stabilizer mode triggers when the camera is held steadily enough for a sharp picture and a slow shutter mode allows for long exposures, even in bright light.

On the editing side of things, Camera+ 2 now offers full Photo Library integration with editing support. If you are the owner of an iOS device running version 11 or later of the mobile OS, you can download and install Camera+ 2 from the App Store for $ 2.99.

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5 Landscape Photography Mistakes That Keep Your Images From Standing Out

30 May

Shooting landscapes is one of the most popular genres of photography. Photographs of landscapes typically capture the presence of nature and can inspire you. Outside towns and cities, you are surrounded by beautiful scenery. However, taking a good photo of those epic views is not as easy as you think. Are you making these landscape photography mistakes?

Here are some tips to help you uncover why your landscape photos are not working for you and how you can turn unsatisfying pictures into your best ever images.

5 Landscape Photography Mistakes That Keep Your Images From Standing Out - HDR of Brecon Beacons

1. Including too much detail in the frame

Have you ever been on an amazing trip, gazed at a glorious landscape and captured the incredible scenery on camera only to find out your picture doesn’t stand out? There are several reasons why this is happening.

Including too much in the frame is one of the reasons why your photograph is not appealing to you. Perhaps the trees you have included are overwhelming the scene and making the view too broad. If so, eliminate these objects from the frame. Crop inwards slightly and simplify the field of view.

5 Landscape Photography Mistakes That Keep Your Images From Standing Out - field of tall grasses

2. Wonky horizons

One common mistake some photographers regularly make is to capture a scene with uneven horizon levels. You can become so engrossed in enjoying a breathtaking view that you can overlook this aspect.

Make sure you pay attention to ensuring the horizon line is straight when photographing your next landscape image. Don’t leave it until you get home to find out that your pictures are unbalanced or crooked.

Lauca - 5 Landscape Photography Mistakes That Keep Your Images From Standing Out

3. Taking the picture without thinking

Another mistake people make when photographing landscapes is to start snapping away without giving any thought as to what they are capturing. It is easy to get carried away with an incredible view in front of you. But if you take the time to consider why your photographs are not working for you, your results will improve.

poppy field and mountains - 5 Landscape Photography Mistakes That Keep Your Images From Standing Out

Take a view of the location with just your eyes, think what you would like to capture, and then take your photo. This approach of “seeing the scene” first can help you to take better pictures rather than just picking up your camera and taking a shot without thinking about what you are photographing.

green field with a rainbow - 5 Landscape Photography Mistakes That Keep Your Images From Standing Out

4. Shooting flat, uninteresting scenes

Imagine your dream landscape scene is right in front of you. You’re standing at the top of a magical mountain, alongside a beautiful flowing river, or above some rolling hills in the countryside, for example, and you start photographing the beautiful view.

When you check your images you discover they look dull and uninteresting. So you ask yourself why they are not standing out?

A major factor that can make or break an image of that stunning panorama is light. Without directional sunlight in your shots, the images can look flat and lifeless with few textures and tones. Below is an image where the sun catching the hills adds warmth to the image to make it more interesting.

golden hills - 5 Landscape Photography Mistakes That Keep Your Images From Standing Out

On your next landscape photography trip, I recommend paying attention to the light and trying to take pictures of more illuminated scenes. I suggest taking a photograph in no light and comparing it with one captured in some light.

Look at the differences and see how the images vary. Ask yourself how do they contrast? Is one better than the other? What makes it stand out?

5. Including distracting elements

Once you have found a visually compelling location and have some nice light, give some thought to the composition. Consider what subject matter looks interesting and only include that.

You will not be making the most of a scene if you include unsightly aspects of the surroundings such as telegraph poles or overhead electricity cables. If you have no choice but to capture these elements in your composition, you can always remove them in post-processing.

Below is an example where I have eliminated distracting elements after taking the picture, in the post-production phase.

foggy scene before - 5 Landscape Photography Mistakes That Keep Your Images From Standing Out


foggy landscape scene after -5 Landscape Photography Mistakes That Keep Your Images From Standing Out

After editing.

Editing the photo to remove the unsightly wires enhances the image and helps to focus attention on the church, trees, and the mist.


With this article, I have identified five key landscape photography mistakes as to why your images might not standing out, and to help you take better pictures at your next photography outing. Now it’s time for you to put these tips to the test, so get out there and capture your greatest ever landscapes.

Do you have any tips you would like to share?

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Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 for E-Mount Sample Gallery

30 May

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The Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD has a lot going for it. It’s sharp, lightweight and at €829 / $ 799, is far cheaper than Sony’s own 24-70mm F2.8 GM. We’ve got our hands on a production model and are putting it through a full review, but in the meantime, we’ve been shooting with it around town to get a feel for its performance.

Take a look through our gallery to see for yourself how the lens lends itself to everything from landscapes to portraits (of both humans and, of course, cats).

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The Importance of Light While Shooting in a Studio

30 May

One of the most  important things about professional photography is lighting. Light is the one  element that can make or break a photo shoot. Having the correct lighting at the right time is of the utmost importance. Yet, many photographers, especially beginners, tend to overlook this fact.  Every aspect of photography relies heavily on lighting. After all, light is the Continue Reading

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Leica M7 film camera comes to an end

30 May

Leica has discontinued its M7 film camera after 16 years of service. According to the Red Dot Forum, which is run by the Miami Leica store, the last of the M7 standard and ‘a la Carte’ bodies has been built and no more will be made. The Miami store lists the camera as ‘Out of Stock’ but models will remain in circulation elsewhere until they are sold through. The UK Leica stores have stock listed at £3900 and New York at $ 4795 – the same price as the Leica MP and £/$ 100 more than the M-A film bodies.

The M7 caused a bit of a stir when it arrived with features that required battery power to operate – particularly the electronic shutter. Without power users are restricted to shutter speeds of 1/60sec and 1/125sec, whereas models before the M7 had used an entirely mechanical shutter and could therefore continue working in the event of a flat battery- or no battery.

The M7 also brought aperture priority to the M range, a feature that has found a place in a number of M bodies, but not all, since, and it was the first M to feature a DX code reader to automatically set the ISO for the internal metering system by ‘reading’ a code printed on the film cassette.

Ironically, while the slightly modern M7 will descend in to history with its new-fangled electro-wizardry, two perhaps less helpful film models will continue the previous traditions of fully mechanical shutters and all-manual operation. The MP and the M-A remain on the product list, though the MP seems to be widely listed as Out-of-Stock in official Leica stores.

For more information see the Red Dot Forum and the Leica website.

Red Dot statement

Leica M7 Film Camera Discontinued

Today marks the passing of a legend, the venerable Leica M7. First introduced in 2002 as the follow-up to the M6, the Leica M7 brought a more modern aperture priority mode and electronically-controlled shutter to a classic mechanical M design. The M7 was also the first M camera with a built-in DX code reader for ISO detection. The camera has been well-loved for over 15 years, but all good things must come to an end.

Effective immediately, Leica will no longer produce any more new M7 cameras, in black or silver. There still might be a handful in stock at various dealers, but once sold out, no more will be coming from Wetzlar. The same goes for the a la Carte program. No M7-based configurations will be accepted or built for customers wanting a custom camera.

While this is certainly sad news for analog lovers, fear not. The Leica MP and Leica M-A film cameras remain current items in the catalog and will continue to be produced.

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Thoughts and Field Test of the Fujifilm X-H1 Camera

30 May

This spring, the Fujifilm X-H1 was released to the masses. It’s touted as the company’s camera with the most video features to date, even topping the popular X-T2. As long-time owners of the Fujifilm X-Pro2, my husband and I jumped on the X-H1 bandwagon early, sending in our preorder the day it was announced.

Our main intention was to use it to support our new venture into videography. In the short couple of months that we’ve been shooting with the Fujifilm X-H1, we’ve found it to be not only a superior camera for video but for still photography as well.

Here are our thoughts so far. This camera is most comparable to the Fujifilm X-T2, which is already a respectable video performer. We don’t have the X-T2 but will make some comparisons to the X-Pro2 that we do have.

fujifilm x-h1 mirrorless camera

Key Specs

  • First announced in February 2018
  • 24-megapixel X-Trans APS-C sensor
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS)
  • Touchscreen rear LCD with 2-axis tilt
  • 3.69M-dot OLED viewfinder
  • DCI and UHD 4K video capture at up to 200 Mbps
  • Slow motion 1080p (from 120 and 100 fps)
  • Internal F-log capture
  • New film simulation – Eterna
  • 24-bit audio capture
  • Timecode
  • Dual UHS-II compatible SD card slots
  • Anti-flicker shooting mode
  • Built-in Wi-Fi with Bluetooth
  • Currently priced at $ 1899 USD for body-only; $ 2199 when bundled with the VPB-XH1 vertical battery grip.

What’s New?

Physical Body

Compared to most other Fujifilm cameras, such as the X1ooF and X-Pro2, the X-H1 is much bulkier, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Much of the bulk comes from the camera’s larger hand grip and buttons, making it much easier to carry the camera.

The X-H1 also ads an AF-On button for those who prefer using back-button autofocus. It also has top-panel LCD similar to a DSLR. In practice, the top-panel LCD seems unnecessary, especially since it takes the place of the Exposure Compensation dial that is present on the X-Pro2 and X-T2.

fujifilm x-h1 mirrorless camera

New Quiet Shutter Mechanism

This is among our favorite features of the X-H1: its shutter is whisper-quiet, offering a soft yet audible click when a photo is taken.

Not only is the shutter quiet, it also allows the camera to offer an Electronic First Curtain (EFC) shutter mode. EFC allows you to reduce the risk of shutter shock without increasing the risk of rolling shutter.

5-Axis In-Body-Stabilization (IBIS)

For videomakers, in-camera stabilization is key for helping capture smooth footage. The X-H1 is Fujifilm’s first camera to include IBIS and right off the bat, we’re impressed with its performance.

When activated and used with an image-stabilized lens, capturing smooth hand-held video footage is easier than ever before. As an added bonus, IBIS also helps you shoot still photos at low shutter speeds.

fujifilm x-h1 mirrorless camera - sunset shot

Improved Video Performance

Although based on the same sensor and processor as the X-T2, the Fujifilm X-H1 boasts significantly improved video features. Shooting options have been extended to include DCI 4K and UHD 4K shooting. If you’re unfamiliar with the two terms, here’s a quick summary. DCI (short for Digital Cinema Initiatives) 4K is 4096 x 2160, while UHD (Ultra High Definition) 4K is 3840 x 2160. For videos winding up on YouTube or TV, UHD is fine. But for videos that will be projected in theaters, DCI 4K is a better choice.

The X-H1 also allows for recording F-log footage internally. In video-terms, shooting in log format is like shooting in RAW. Your log footage tends to be less saturated and less detailed so that you can color grade (post-process) the video footage to your liking later. F-log made its debut on the X-T2, but it could only be done via an external recorder. The X-H1 is Fujifilm’s first camera that allows for the recording of F-log directly to an SD card in 4K.

Another vital video feature making its Fujifilm debut on the X-H1 is 120 fps slow motion video. It can only be recorded at full HD, but the slow-motion video quality has been stellar, especially when paired with IBIS.

fujifilm x-h1 mirrorless camera - shot of a car in the mountains

New Eterna Film Simulation

Fujifilm has long been known for their excellent color reproduction, even back in the days of film photography. Thankfully, that is passed down in Fujifilm digital cameras in the form of film simulation modes. They’re similar to the color profiles offered in digital cameras from Canon, Nikon, and Sony.

Until recently, Fujifilm had six unique film simulation modes on its cameras: Provia, Velvia, Astia, Classic Chrome, PRO-Neg STD, and PRO Neg HI. The X-H1 is the first camera to ship with Fujifilm’s seventh film simulation, Eterna.

Designed for videographers, Eterna is characterized by more muted, subdued colors and rich shadow tones. Our observations so far are that Eterna is designed for further color grading in post-production, and also to attract the video viewer’s eye to the action in the scene and away from the rest of the frame.

fujifilm x-h1 provia film type - car next to a field

What could be improved

One of many things to love about Fujifilm is that they really listen to their customers. Kaizen firmware updates are frequent and they add useful features that build on the cameras. Here are a few things we’d like to see rolled out in firmware updates, or in the next version of the X-H1.

Physically, the chunky handgrips and the bigger buttons are appreciated for improved ergonomics. However, the missing exposure compensation dial is a big disappointment. Also, the rear LCD having only a two-axis tilt is limiting; it needs to be able to fully swivel to appeal to the vloggers and also make it easier to shoot from different angles.

Finally, battery life and video recording limits on this camera leave much to be desired. The X-H1 limits 4K video recording to 15-minute clips. This can be extended to about 29 minutes of shooting in 4K if you use the optional battery grip. However, the battery grip adds lots of bulk to the camera, making it less pleasant to shoot with.

fujifilm x-h1 mirrorless camera

Hopefully, Fujifilm will take a cue from Sony and their new NP-FZ100 battery, which arguably is the best-performing battery for mirrorless cameras at the moment.

In Conclusion

The Fujifilm X-H1 is the first of a new line of cameras that make the bold statement that Fujifilm is a viable alternative for videomakers. This camera builds on the already credible video features of the X-T2 by taking it a step further with the addition of features such as Eterna film simulation and 5-axis IBIS. If you’re a serious video maker, keep an eye on the X-H series. It will only improve more with each new release.

Overall Rating: 9/10

To hear more about our experience with the X-H1 and how it compares to the X-Pro2, check out the video below featuring the main Fujifilm shooter of the two of us: my husband Martin.


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NASA photographer Bill Ingalls’ camera melted in fire caused by rocket launch

30 May
Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Last week, a tweeted image of a melted camera belonging to NASA photographer Bill Ingalls caught the Internet’s attention. In a statement clarifying the matter, the space agency explained the story behind the image, saying, “His creativity and efforts to get unique images are well known within the agency and to those who follow it.”

Ingalls has worked as a NASA photographer for 30 years. In its statement published Friday, NASA explained that Ingalls knows where to setup his cameras, and that a grass fire caused by the GRACE-FO launch on May 22 was behind the damage. Though Ingalls had placed two cameras outside of the launch pad safety perimeter, the melted camera was one of four placed within the perimeter.

Speaking with NASA, Ingalls said, “I had six remotes, two outside the launch pad safety perimeter and four inside. Unfortunately, the launch started a grass fire that toasted one of the cameras outside the perimeter.”

Despite the camera casualty, NASA says the memory card within the camera survived the fire. The space agency published a GIF of the fire as it moved toward the camera, which recorded its own demise. NASA says it’ll “likely” display the melted device at its Washington DC headquarters.


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Sony reveals faster, higher-res OLED viewfinder display

30 May

Sony has unveiled a faster, higher-resolution OLED panel for use as an electronic viewfinder. The UXGA panel gives a 1600 x 1200 pixel resolution (5.76m dots) for those of you who don’t still think in terms of 1980s PC monitors. This is a 25% increase in each direction, compared with the panel used in the likes of the Panasonic GH5 and Sony a7R III. Despite the resolution increase, Sony says the panel uses the same amount of power.

The panel can be run either progressively (with one row being shown after another), at 120 fps or in a dual-line progressive mode that we expect to halve the vertical resolution in return for a 240 fps mode to give a more lifelike preview.

A redesigned structure places the color filter array directly on the light-emitting silicon, maintaining the angle of view, despite the move to smaller pixels. Sony says it has also designed a circuit to mitigate some of the voltage and consistency drawbacks of the move to finer pixels.

Unusually, Sony specifies a sample price for the panel: ¥ 50,000 (~$ 460). We suspect this price will come down once production ramps up, especially for orders of tens or hundreds of thousands of panels, but it hints at the costs of including a high-res viewfinder in a camera, and why the a7 III misses out on the 3.69m dot display used in the more expensive a7R III.

Sony Releases 0.5-type OLED Microdisplay with Top-of-Class UXGA Resolution, Featuring the World’s Smallest Pixel Pitch of 6.3µm

Tokyo, Japan—Sony Corporation today announced the upcoming release of the ECX339A OLED Microdisplay featuring UXGA (1600 x 1200 resolution), the highest in class for a 0.5-type. This product achieves the world’s smallest pixel pitch of 6.3?m by leveraging Sony’s OLED display technology and miniaturization technology, enabling a resolution 1.6x higher than the previous model*1. By employing a new drive circuit design that operates on half the voltage of the previous model*1, the new product achieves the same level of low-power operation as its predecessor but with much higher resolution. When paired with Sony’s original driving system*2, a frame rate up to 240 fps is supported—double that of previous product*1.

0.5-type OLED Microdisplay ECX339A
Model name Sample shipment date Mass-production shipment date (planned) Sample price (excluding tax)
ECX339A 0.5-type OLED Microdisplay January 2018 November 2018 50,000 JPY

Enhancing the resolution on microdisplays has traditionally presented problems such as deteriorating image quality due to decreased pixel pitch and inferior viewing angle properties. The new product features optimized transistors layout and process to address uneven characteristics and loss of withstand voltage, the issues associated with transistor miniaturization. The Sony original variation compensation circuit also enhances picture quality. Additionally, the color filter is deposited directly on the silicon substrate, reducing its distance from the light emitting layer, and the filter’s color array has been modified. This helps to secure the viewing angle properties while achieving high resolution.

OLED Microdisplays are widely used in digital camera electronic viewfinders (EVF) for their superior high contrast, high color gamut, and high-speed responsiveness. Sony, having achieved this high resolution and high frame rate, now offers even more realistic image display and accurate capture of subjects for use in high-end cameras that demand extremely high image quality.

Going forward, Sony expects this high-definition OLED Microdisplay to be employed in a diverse range of fields and applications such as AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) head-mounted displays.

Comparison of images on OLED Microdisplays. New product (UXGA, left) and previous product (QVGA, right)

Main Features

  • 1.High-resolution UXGA in a 0.5-type
    The new product has achieved the world’s smallest pixel pitch of 6.3?m by leveraging Sony’s proprietary OLED display technology and miniaturization technology, and has superior resolution 1.6x higher than the previous model*1. Generally, transistor miniaturization results in characteristic variation and reduced withstand voltage. This product uses a Sony original compensation circuit and optimized layouts and process for each individual transistor to address these adverse effects. Furthermore, the color filter is deposited directly on the silicon substrate, reducing its distance from the light emitting layer, and the filter’s color array has been modified to secure the viewing angle properties while achieving high resolution.
Measures to secure viewing angle even with smaller pixel pitch
New product (UXGA, left) and previous product (QVGA, right)
  • 2.High-speed frame rate
    A new drive circuit design supports a high frame rate of up to 240 fps*2, nearly double that of its predecessor*1. This has made it possible to capture fast-moving subjects in the viewfinder with higher accuracy, so users will not miss a photo opportunity, delivering a more comfortable shooting experience. In head-mounted display devices, this will help to improve image delay issue for items superimposed on real-world vision of AR and to avoid motion sickness during usage of these kinds of devices.
  • 3.Low power consumption
    By employing newly-designed peripheral circuits that operate on half the voltage of previous model*1, the new product delivers the same low-power operation as its predecessor when operating at the same frame rate, despite the nearly 1.6x increase in the number of pixels.

Key Specifications

Name ECX339A
Display Size 0.5 type (12.6 mm Diagonal length)
Resolution UXGA?1600×RGB×1200?
Pixel pitch 6.3?m
Max. frame rate 120 fps (progressive) / 240 fps (dual-line progressive)
Power consumption (200cd/m2) 310 mW @ 60 fps (progressive) / 120 fps (dual-line progressive)
Video interface LVDS/Sub-LVDS
Max. luminance 1,000cd/m2
Contrast 100,000:1 or higher
Color gamut (u’v’) sRGB ratio: 110%


  • *1 Compared with the Sony OLED Microdisplay ECX337A (0.5-type QVGA (1280×960)).
  • *2 Driving method of dual vertical line simultaneously (“Dual-line progressive” driving technique)

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