Archive for June, 2020

A decade of sun: NASA captured 425 million photos of the sun and made a time lapse

30 Jun

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has been very busy capturing images of the sun over the last decade. From June 2, 2010 through June 1, 2020, the SDO captured 425 million images of the sun. Per NASA, the team amassed about 20 million gigabytes of images of the sun in the past decade and with that data, NASA compiled 10 years’ worth of images into the amazing timelapse video above.

Using three primary instruments, the SDO captures an image of the sun every 0.75 seconds. One of these instruments, the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), captures images every 12 seconds at 10 different wavelengths of light. In the timelapse video published by NASA, we see photos of the sun captured at the extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 17.1 nanometers. This wavelength allows us to view the sun’s outermost layer, called the corona.

Generally, the hour-long timelapse video features a compiled image from each hour of every day for the past 10 years. Although, there are a few exceptions. There are dark frames caused by the Earth or moon eclipsing SDO as they pass between the spacecraft and the sun. There was also a week-long outage of the AIA instrument in 2016. Any off-center images of the sun are due to periodic instrument calibration.

As you can imagine, the SDO has witnessed many interesting events during its period of observation. In the video above, at 6:20, you can see a prominence eruption from the lower right area of the sun from June 7, 2011. At 12:24, you can see the transit of Venus across the face of the sun on June 5, 2012. This event won’t occur again until the year 2117. On July 19, 2012, a brilliant display of looping plasma showed a complex event in the sun’s magnetic field, this can be seen at 13:06. About six weeks later, on August 31, 2012, the ‘most iconic eruption of this solar cycle’ occurred, witnessed at 13:50 in the video.

Jumping ahead to 36:18, you can view Mercury as it transits across the face of the sun on May 9, 2016. It is more difficult to spot than Venus, but you can learn more about it here. Mercury appears again at 57:38, as it transited the sun again on November 11, 2019. This will Mercury’s last transit until 2032. A full list of interesting events you can witness in the video can be found in the description on YouTube.

‘An X8.2 class solar flare flashes in the edge of the Sun on Sept. 10, 2017. This image was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows a blend of light from the 171 and 304 angstrom wavelengths.’ Image and text credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO

Scott Wiessinger (USRA) was the lead producer on the video above. Tom Bridgman (GST) was the lead data visualizer. Leading scientific writing was Mara Johnson-Groh (Wyle Information Systems). The music, ‘Solar Observer,’ was written and produced by Lars Leonhard.

If you’d like to learn more about NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, you can find a wealth of fascinating information by clicking here.

Earlier this year, NASA published a shorter video that covered 10 of the most important things scientists have learned during SDO’s first decade in space. You can check that out below.

Image credit: Images via NASA/GSFC/SDO

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Starting with Off-Camera Flash in Photography: Techniques

30 Jun

The post Starting with Off-Camera Flash in Photography: Techniques appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

Starting with off-camera flash feature image

In my last post, I showed you what equipment you needed when starting with off-camera flash. This time, I am going to be looking at the technical side and what you actually need to learn in order to take great photos using off-camera flash.

It’s hard

This is the part where you need to really get to grips with how this all works. When starting with off-camera flash, this will be something that frustrates you. I’m not going to lie, it involves hard work and practice to get right.

In order to start, you really should have a good idea of how to shoot in manual mode, or at least a good awareness of aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

For someone new to off-camera flash, the technical aspects are the part that is the most daunting. Not only are you working with the camera in manual mode, but you are also adding things such as flash power and flash-to-subject distance. Then there is a model for an extra layer of pressure. That said, a good model is vital.

Fuji camera close up showing dials and shutter button
It’s time to move to manual mode. It’s not that scary. Promise

Working with a model

Finding people to pose for you while you learn is always hard. For this article, I managed to get an awesome model. She is incredibly patient and did exactly what I asked her to do every time. Here she is:

A mannequin is great when starting in off-camera flash. This image is shot with a soft box against a blue background.
Always hits her mark perfectly and never complains. A great investment.

Honestly, a mannequin head is a great investment when starting with off-camera flash. I only paid £4 for this hairdressers mannequin on an Amazon flash sale. Using a mannequin really allows you to build confidence and test lighting setups without worrying about annoying friends, family or models. 

You can always use other inanimate objects, especially if you are not interested in portraits, but a hairdresser mannequin is one of the best investments you can make to help you master off-camera flash for portraits.

Learn the technical rather than letting the camera do it

With modern cameras, flashes and triggers, you can easily stick with letting the camera do all the hard work. Call me old school, but I think it is hugely important to learn off-camera flash manually. By doing this, it is easier to understand how everything works. It also means you are in total control of what is happening.

Just like learning to photograph in manual mode, using off-camera flash manually allows you to get the exact results you want every time. Even if you then go on to shoot in auto mode, you will have the knowledge to still get the shot when the camera plays up (which they tend to do when you need them to do it least).

As you shoot more, you will become more confident, so I would always suggest using an inanimate object whilst you practice. There is nothing worse for knocking your confidence than having your subject in front of your camera and having a total mental meltdown, because you changed the position of the flash but you can’t remember how to adjust the exposure in your camera to make it look right. 

Modern Cameras are incredibly smart. But getting started in off-camera flash requires you to do the hard work.

The five variables

Unlike shooting in ambient light, where you only have three variables that can control the image, shooting flash ramps this up to five.

However, it is simply a case of working through them methodically. With practice, it becomes easier. However, your first few times, it may be trial and error (and possibly frustration). 

The five variables are:

  1. Shutter speed
  2. Aperture
  3. Flash power
  4. ISO
  5. Flash-to-subject distance

Let’s start with the two elements that are present in every photograph: shutter speed and aperture. 

1. Shutter speed

A model bride shot against a dark backdrop in a dimly lit venue.
The ambient light for this shot was awful, so I removed it. I left my shutter at 1/200th and found an aperture to kill the ambient light. I then set the flash power accordingly to create this.

The main use of shutter speed when using off-camera flash is that you can darken or lighten the ambient light. This includes your background and any other light sources, such as room lights and candles, etc. By using your shutter speed, you can alter the amount of ambient light in the shot without altering any other variable. 

The reason for this is that a flash will put out all of its power in the smallest fraction of a second (as quick as to 1/20000th second on some flashes). Your shutter speed will be less than this and, therefore, will not affect the power of the flash itself.

There is also one other thing that affects the use of shutter speed, the flash sync of your camera.

The flash sync is the maximum speed that you can shoot the flash at. This is usually around 1/200th of a second. There is a technical explanation for this and ways to shoot faster, but I won’t get into it within this article as I don’t want to overload you with information. Just remember, you cannot put your shutter speed faster than your flash sync.

Shutter speed in practice

When thinking about using the shutter in off-camera flash photography, the thing you need to decide is how much of the surroundings you want to include. If shooting portraits outdoors against a beautiful sky or backdrop, you may want to balance the exposure with the flash to make the most of the location.

However, if you are doing an indoor shoot with ugly or unflattering lighting, you may want to totally remove all ambient light. Shutter speed is your key to doing this. 

Let’s look at this with a series of images.

In all of the images, the only thing I will alter is the shutter speed. Everything else will remain identical. The Aperture is f/16, ISO 100. My flash power is 1/4.

For the first shot, I set the shutter speed to the maximum sync speed (1/200th). As you can see in this image, the background is underexposed for effect and the model is lit by the flash.

Starting with Off-Camera Flash in Photography: Techniques
The model is lit by flash. Areas where the flash does not hit are much darker (left side of her face)

As I slow the shutter, this time to 1/100th second, you can see the sky is lighter and the darker areas of the model that are not hit by the flash are less harsh. I have allowed one more stop of light into the camera, but only for the ambient exposure due to the speed of the light coming from the flash.

Starting with Off-Camera Flash in Photography: Techniques
See how the sky is brighter and the darker areas are not quite as harsh. This is due to the shutter allowing more natural light into the camera.

Finally, I slowed the shutter down to 1/60th to give the correct ambient exposure for the sky and using the flash as a fill for any shadows on the model.

A photo off a mannequin used to illustrate getting started in off-camera flash. The doll is shot against a cloudy sky.
With a balanced ambient and flash, the flash fills in any shadows on the model’s face.

Notice how the lighting from the flash has not changed. That is because aperture controls flash exposure.

You can also use your aperture or ISO to increase or decrease the natural light coming into the camera, but remember when you alter them, you will also need to alter your flash power too.

2. Aperture

When starting out. The easiest way to think about things is that shutter speed controls the ambient exposure and your aperture controls your flash exposure. I know it is a little more nuanced than that in reality, but when learning, you want things to be as simple as possible.

We know that your shutter speed controls how long your camera shutter is open. Your aperture, however, controls how much light enters your camera, not for how long.

As flash power is too quick to be affected by shutter speed, you control it by changing the aperture. If the image is overexposed, you need to close the aperture down, and if it is too dark, you need to open your aperture up.

Setting aperture in practice

To show this in action, look at the images below. In all images, I will keep the shutter at 1/200th of a second and my ISO at 100.

Firstly, I set the flash at f/4. As you can see, the image is overexposed. This means I need to close the aperture a little. 

A photo of a doll against a blue backdrop. The image is overexposed.
f/4 is overexposed. I need to change the aperture.

Next at f/8, you can see I have closed the aperture down too far. The image is too dark, so I need to open the aperture a little more.

An underexposed image of a dolls head against a blue background.
At f/8, the image is too dark. I need to change the aperture.

Finally, here is the shot at f/5.6. As you can see, this is the correct exposure.

A dolls head against a plain background exposed correctly
Finally, at f/5.6 I have the correct exposure.

As you can see, I have not changed any other exposure variable, just the aperture. Changing the shutter speed would have no impact because the flash discharges its power so quickly. Now I have locked in my exposure, my lighting will be identical every time.

Bonus round

Here is the same image shot with the same aperture and a shutter of 1/100th of a second. A you can see, the change of shutter speed has made no difference to the exposure.

Starting with Off-Camera Flash in Photography: Techniques
Changing the shutter to 1/100th has made no difference to the final exposure.

3. Flash Power

Flash power is simply how much power the flash can put out. This varies from flash to flash.

In terms of getting started, a Speedlite is more than fine. It will mean not shooting in the brightest part of the day (unless you are in shade), but it is super affordable, and the best way to start with off-camera flash.  

As with shooting in manual mode, you want to learn with your flash in Manual mode. This helps with consistency.

If you set your flash to 1/2 power, every single pop of that flash will be half power. This consistency is key to mastering flash. 

In terms of power, you start with full power, which is sometimes also known as 1/1. This is the largest amount of light that your flash can produce. Most modern flashes work in small 1/3 stops, but to simplify things whilst you learn, you really need to concern yourself with the following outputs:

  • 1:1
  • 1/2
  • 1/4
  • 1/8
  • 1/16
  • 1/32
  • 1/64
  • 1/128

Each of these settings equates to 1 full stop of light the flash produces. So changing the flash from full power (1/1) to half power (1/2) reduces the amount of light coming out by one full stop. Changing it from 1/1 to 1/4 reduces it by two full stops, etc. 

Remember, the stops it refers to are your aperture, as this is what controls flash exposure. If you look at the table below it will explain it more clearly.

FLASH POWER 1/1 1/2 1/4 1/8 1/16 1/32 1/64
APERTURE f/16 f/11 f/8 f/5.6 f/4 f/2.8 f/2

As you can see, if the flash at full power gives you a correctly-exposed image at f/16, half power will bring you down to f/11 and so on. This relationship is the key to mastering flash. Half the power = 1 stop of light. 

4. Where does ISO fit into all this?

Shooting a flash at full power is less than ideal. There may be some circumstances where you cannot avoid it, but it will kill your batteries quicker, take longer to recharge between shots, and, in some cases, it may overheat the flash, causing it to not work at all. Ideally, you want to be working at 1/2 power or less.

ISO is where you can make that happen.

By doubling your ISO, you allow one more stop of light into the camera. Therefore, you can reduce the flash power and still get the look you wanted. For example, an image at ISO 100 and a flash power or 1/1 will be the same as an image at ISO 400 and 1/4 flash power.

ISO in practice 

I have decided I want to shoot at f/8 and ISO 100. To do this, the flash has to be at 1/1. To get to 1/4, it means I will lose two stops of flash power.

When starting in off-camera flash, your ISO is something you need to reduce flash power. Here is an example at ISO 100 and flash power or 1/1
Here is the image at ISO100 and flash power 1/1.

To keep the same aperture, I turn my ISO from 100 to 400, therefore, giving me two more stops of light into the camera. The image is virtually identical

Starting with Off-Camera Flash in Photography: Techniques
At ISO 400, the exposure and the flash at 1/4 power, the image is almost identical.

It is all a juggling act, and ISO is there to help you fine-tune. However, upping your ISO comes with more noise. But, most DSLR and mirrorless cameras can easily go up to ISO 800 and still be of great quality.

ISO can also help with getting the correct ambient exposure whilst keeping a required shutter speed – especially as light drops. A simple tip is – if you need to double your ISO to get more ambient light, drop your flash power by one stop to compensate.

5. Flash-to-subject distance

I have saved this for last. This is the most technical when it comes to understanding flash (and involves the laws of physics). 

The distance of your flash to your subject is governed by The Inverse Square Law. This law states:  

The intensity of an effect such as illumination or gravitational force changes in inverse proportion to the square of the distance from the source.

Now, I am sure you are reading this thinking, what the heck does that mean? Well it means the amount of light is reduced by distance. See the diagram below courtesy of Wikimedia:

Starting with Off-Camera Flash in Photography: Techniques
Every time the distance doubles, the power drops by 3/4.
Image: Borb / CC BY-SA (

The easiest way to look at this in a photography sense is every time you double the distance between your light and the subject, the amount of light will be reduced to 1/4 of what it was.

What also happens is that every time you double that distance, you get more space to work in. This is really useful if you are doing a group shot. Again, whilst this is hard to explain with words, look at the diagram below.

A diagram of off-camera flash and how distance is affected by the inverse square law.
If you are doing a group shot, you want to get the flash further away from the subjects to avoid issues with exposure across the image

Flash-to-subject distance in practice

Now we understand the inverse square law, we can use it to our advantage. All of the images will be shot on the same blue background.

For both images, I will set the exposure at 1/200th, f/16 at ISO 100. I will keep the exposure the same by changing the flash power. The model is 1.5m from the background.

I start with the flash close to the subject (30cm). You can see the background is black. This is due to the light being close to the subject. Therefore, the difference in exposure between the subject to the background is huge due to the inverse square law. 

A dummy head showing the inverse square law in action. The head is close to the flash darkening the background
With the flash 30cm away from the model, the background gets virtually no light due to the inverse square law and light fall-off.

Now, as I move the light back, the difference in the power of light between the subject and the background is much less due to the inverse square law.

The distance between the model and the light is now around 2m.

To keep the exposure the same, I have had to increase the power of my flash a whopping 6 stops. In this example, it has gone from 1/128 power to 1/2 power to keep the same exposure. 

As you can see in the image below, the final model and background are both well-exposed due to moving the light further back.

Starting with Off-Camera Flash in Photography: Techniques
With the flash further from the background, the exposure covers the model and the background.

Let’s recap

So hopefully, you now have a good understanding of the basics for getting started with off-camera flash. But let’s recap the basic points to remember:

  • Aperture controls the flash exposure
  • Shutter speed controls the ambient light
  • Doubling or halving the power of your flash moves the power of the flash by one stop of light. 
  • When the flash is close, the light falls off incredibly quickly
  • As you move further away, the fall-off is much slower.
  • Get yourself a model that isn’t human to practice on. Try the model head or bottle of whiskey.
  • Practice, practice, practice. 
  • It isn’t easy to get your head around, but I promise that one day it will just click. The only way for this to happen is if you practice. So, what are you waiting for?

There are more variables you can throw in, such as modifiers, high-speed sync, etc. but right now, that isn’t what you need to learn.

Master these basics and then push things further. The only thing I would suggest to add is an umbrella to diffuse the light and give more flattering results.

Now it’s time to practice

An article about starting with off-camera flash that tells you to shoot fully manual. You might be thinking “I can’t do this.” You can – you just need to practice.

It may sound daunting to some of you, but I promise it is easier than you think. I always compare starting with off-camera flash to learning your time tables. When you are learning them, they feel really difficult. Then it clicks, you suddenly understand it and you wondered why it took so long.

All together class, sing along. Two times two is four…

Do you have any other tips or questions you’d like to share? Please do so in the comments.

The post Starting with Off-Camera Flash in Photography: Techniques appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

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Venus Optics releases the Laowa 9mm F5.6 rectilinear lens for full-frame mirrorless cameras

30 Jun

Venus Optics has announced the release of the Laowa 9mm F5.6 FF RL, a lens that takes the title of the world’s widest rectilinear lens for full-frame camera systems.

The lens features a 135-degree angle of view and is constructed of 14 elements in 10 groups, including two extra-low dispersion elements. It isn’t one of Venus Optics’ ‘Zero-D’ lenses, but it features ‘very low’ distortion, which makes it a solid option for landscape, architecture and real estate photography.

A comparison photo showing the difference between a 15mm and 9mm focal length on a full-frame sensor.

In addition to the ultra-wide field of view, the lens also features an incredibly short minimum focusing distance — just 12cm (4.72”) and uses a five-blade aperture diaphragm. The lens measures 60mm (2.4”) in both length and diameter and weighs just 350g (12oz).

Below are a few sample images from Venus Optics:

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The Laowa 9mm F5.6 FF RL is available in Leica M, Sony FE, Nikon Z and L-mount. This marks the first time Venus Optics has designed a lens for Leica M-mount and to celebrate the occasion, Venus Optics is releasing the M-mount version in black and silver varieties. the Leica M-mount version costs $ 900, while the Sony FE, Nikon Z and L-mount versions costs $ 800.

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Fujifilm adds Raw video output, gimbal support and Film Simulation modes to GFX100

30 Jun

Fujifilm has issued firmware updates to the GFX100 and GFX 50 models, with the 100MP camera gaining the most significant improvements.

The GFX100 will gain the ability to output a Raw video stream that can be encoded in Apple’s ProRes RAW format by an Atomos Ninja V recorder. This provides a much wider degree of processing latitude than the gamma-encoded, compressed files the camera saves internally.

In addition, the firmware expands the camera’s USB control protocol, giving more control over the camera’s settings when shooting tethered, and allowing remote control of various camera features when mounted on a drone or gimbal.

Face and eye detection AF is said to be improved, as is the performance of phase detection AF in low light. New focus bracketing options have also been added.

Finally, the GFX100 gains the Classic Neg and Eterna Bleach Bypass Film Simulations introduced since its launch.

GFX 50S and 50R users also gain Classic Neg, along with the original Eterna Film Simulation mode in an update to their cameras. This update also adds the subtle skin-smoothing feature from the GFX 100.

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Fujifilm GF 30mm F3.5 R WR sample gallery

30 Jun

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Fujifilm’s GF 30mm F3.5 R WR is a relatively compact, weather-resistant wide-angle prime lens for the company’s GFX medium-format cameras. It’s roughly equivalent to a 24mm F2.8 lens in full-frame terms, and in our shooting on both 50 and 100 Megapixel camera bodies, we’ve found it to be an impressive performer. From the Cascade foothills to Puget Sound, click through our gallery to see how it looks for yourself.

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Fujifilm’s GF 30mm F3.5 R WR lens to ship in late July

30 Jun

Fujifilm has announced that its GF 30mm F3.5 R WR wide-angle lens will ship in late July or early August for $ 1699. The lens, which has been on the G-mount roadmap for several months, is equivalent to a 24mm lens when mounted on a GFX body.

The GF 30mm F3.5 has a total of 16 elements, including aspherical and extra-low dispersion glass. Focusing is internal and the lens has been designed to minimize focus breathing. It’s lightweight and compact (relatively speaking), weighing in at 0.5kg (1.1lbs). The ‘WR’ in the product name indicates weather-resistance, and Fujifilm says that the lens can operate at temperatures as low is -10°C (+14°F).

View our GF 30mm F3.5 sample gallery

Press release

Fujifilm Launches FUJINON GF30mmF3.5 R WR Lightweight, High Resolution Lens

Valhalla, N.Y., June 30, 2020 – FUJIFILM North America Corporation today announced the launch of the FUJINON GF30mmF3.5 R WR (GF30mmF3.5 R WR), a wide-angle prime lens with a focal length equivalent of 24mm (in the 35mm film format) for the FUJIFILM GFX System of large format*1 digital cameras.

With its dust and weather-resistant design, the GF30mmF3.5 R WR caters to a variety of shooting styles including landscapes, architecture, as well as casual snapshots on the move. “This lens is a great compliment to our existing series of GF lenses and gives image-makers a great wide-angle option for landscapes, architecture, or wide environmental portraits,” said Victor Ha, senior director, marketing and product management with the Electronic Imaging Division of FUJIFILM North America Corporation. “We are really excited to see the images our community will make with this lens.”

Main product features:

Image quality

The lens consists of thirteen lens elements in ten groups, including two aspherical elements and two extra-low dispersion (ED) elements. The high-performance lens groups are positioned to control various aberrations, especially distortion to which wide- angle lenses are prone, to achieve edge-to-edge sharpness. The lens is able to resolve an impressive amount of detail, compatible with 100MP sensors — “enabling the photographer to re-create the atmosphere of each scene with a sense of visual honesty and feeling,” said Ha.


This compact lens weighs approximately 18 ounces (510g) and measures 3.9 inches (99.4mm) with a maximum diameter of 3.3 inches (84mm). In addition, the slim design balances well on a GFX System camera, making it a perfect lens to carry on-the-go.


The new GF30mmF3.5 R WR lens uses an internal focusing system, offering fast and quiet autofocus (AF). Focus breathing is just 0.05%, making it a great lens for recording video. Like all of Fujifilm’s lenses in the GF family, the GF30mmF3.5 R WR incorporates Fujifilm’s optical design and production technology processes to achieve a sub-micron level precision lens surface. This allows the lens to bring out the full potential of the FUJIFILM GFX 50S and GFX 50R mirrorless digital cameras, as well as the 100MP image sensor of the FUJIFILM GFX 100.


The lens is sealed at nine locations to make it dust and weather-resistant. It can also be used in temperatures as low as 14°F (-10°C), offering photographers peace-of-mind when shooting in inclement weather or dusty environments.

The GF30mmF3.5 R WR lens will be available in late July or early August in the U.S. and Canada for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of USD $ 1699.95 and CAD $ 2299.00. For more information, visit us/products/lenses/gf30mmf35-r-wr/ .

*1 Fujifilm’s large-format GFX System digital cameras include an image sensor that measures 55mm diagonally (43.8mm x 32.9mm), with an area approx. 1.7 times that of a full-frame 35mm sensor.

Fujifilm GF 30mm F3.5 R WR specifications

Principal specifications
Lens type Prime lens
Max Format size Medium Format (44x33mm)
Focal length 30 mm
Image stabilization No
Lens mount Fujifilm G
Maximum aperture F3.5
Minimum aperture F32
Aperture ring Yes
Number of diaphragm blades 9
Elements 13
Groups 10
Special elements / coatings 2 aspherical + 2 ED elements
Minimum focus 0.32 m (12.6)
Maximum magnification 0.15×
Autofocus Yes
Focus method Internal
Distance scale No
DoF scale No
Weight 508 g (1.12 lb)
Diameter 84 mm (3.31)
Length 99 mm (3.9)
Materials Magnesium alloy
Sealing Yes
Colour Black
Filter thread 58 mm
Hood supplied Yes

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Exclusive: Sony confirms a7S II successor this summer – “Everything is new”

30 Jun
Kenji Tanaka, VP and Senior General Manager of Sony’s Business Unit 1, Digital Imaging Group. Pictured at the 2019 CP+ show in Yokohama, Japan.

With the photo industry still mostly hunkered down, and offices temporarily closed all over the world, ‘business as usual’ is still a distant dream. But we’re not in stasis – cameras and lenses are still being released, and plans are still being put in place for future product development. Recently we spoke to Kenji Tanaka of Sony, on video chat (with a little help from his ZV1) about the impact of COVID-19 on his business, the growing market for video and – yes – the successor to the a7S II.

The following interview has been edited lightly for clarity and flow.

What impact has COVID-19 had on your operations worldwide?

It has definitely had an impact on production, and on procurement of supplies. But we’re working with all of our suppliers to minimize this. We have two manufacturing bases though – China and Thailand, which helps, and most of the supply and logistics issues have now been resolved. Operations at our factories have resumed.

What do you think the effect of the pandemic will be on the photo industry as a whole?

I think there will be very little long-term impact on production and logistics, but demand [for cameras] has been decreasing. The entire world is affected by COVID-19. However there are a lot of positive signs. For example in China, sales at June 18 shopping gala were higher than last year. We experienced strong demand for our premium lines, like the Alpha 7 Mark III and Alpha 7R Mark IV. So China is getting better, but in other areas the situation is different, obviously. Demand in the market is starting to recover in most regions though, and I’m not worried about demand [for our products] in the long-term.

Where do you see Sony’s biggest opportunities in today’s market?

Video is a big opportunity, and full-frame. In China especially, the full-frame mirrorless market is growing. We’re also going to continue to expand our lens lineup to meet the needs of professionals around the world. Those are our biggest opportunities, I think. Full-frame mirrorless and video. Demand for video is now growing in every region of the world.

The Sony ZV-1 (left) is one of a new generation of cameras intended to appeal to vloggers and video content creators, alongside the likes of the Canon PowerShot G7 X (right) and the new Panasonic Lumix G100.

You released the ZV-1 in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis – how important is the vlogging and live-streaming market to Sony?

The content creator market is expanding rapidly, and the ZV1 was purpose-built to meet the needs of video creators at all skill levels. With the impact of COVID-19, a lot of people want to record their experiences with video. Demand for this kind of product is increasing, and with the ZV-1 we had an opportunity to meet this need. A lot of people will also enjoy the ZV-1 as a webcam when connecting it to a PC via USB. We will deliver a new Desktop application in July to enable this.

I can confirm that a successor to the Alpha 7S II will be coming, later this summer

Will the Alpha 7S Mark II be replaced, or has the ‘S’ line been superseded by the a7 III and a7R IV?

We’ve received many requests, especially from professional video content creators, and I can confirm that a successor to the Alpha 7S II will be coming, later this summer. Right now we’re focused on the launch of the new camera, and it will be a complete redesign of the whole system, including the image sensor. Everything is new. We hope it will meet and exceed the expectations and requests of our customers. I’m very confident that our new model will meet their demands.

The ‘S’ originally stood for ‘sensitivity’ but now I think it should stand for ‘supreme’ in terms of image quality, and expression. It comes from having really big pixels. I think that many professionals and high-end users will enjoy the new camera.

What were the major requests from a7S II users?

Mainly things like 4K/60p, 10-bit 4:2:2… really what you’d expect.

We’re seeing Raw video being added to more and more consumer cameras – do you think there’s a need for it?

We’re aware that there is a certain amount of demand for Raw video. As you know, our customers include a lot of professionals, so we’re working hard to be able to deliver Raw data capture to these people.

Mr. Tanaka confirms that the long wait for an a7S II successor is almost over – just don’t call it a Mark III (yet).

What can Sony offer professionals right now that your competitors can’t?

Technology and innovation. These are our strengths, and that’s what we want to deliver. We have strong in-house technologies. We have very advanced technology for both stills and movies. I am proud of the speed, the performance and the richness of the images [from our products] in various conditions. And also portability of the system.

We’re continuing to evolve, to bring the performance of our products to a new level. We’re really not developing products in an attempt to compete with other manufacturers. We want to satisfy consumers, and surprise them – and create a ‘wow!’ reaction.

Can we expect to see Stacked CMOS sensor technology make its way into more Sony cameras in future?

Of course, it’s a unique, cutting-edge technology, and we want to make maximum use of these kinds of technologies.

How will your autofocus technologies evolve in future?

Increased detection speed and accuracy are what’s being demanded by our users, including professionals. And with demand for video booming, autofocus in movie shooting is very important. Right now we’re dedicated to developing autofocus technology further and further.

How will AI influence future products?

Right now we’re further developing Eye-AF, and we’ve added other detection technologies, like Animal Eye-detection. Object recognition using AI is very, very important for the future.

What do you think will be the next major technological leap, in the camera industry?

We’re very invested in AI technology, as I mentioned, but photography and videography need lenses, and the autofocus actuator in lenses is very important. For video, for example, if the actuator doesn’t work, doesn’t move quickly enough, that’s a problem, and if it makes noise, that affects the quality of the footage. So this is something we’re also investing in a lot, as we’re planning for the future.

In ten, twenty, fifty years I expect that computational photography will be doing a lot of things that traditional lenses do now

With computational photography technologies becoming more advanced, do you think that lenses of the future will look like the lenses of today?

I’m very positive about computational photography technologies, but glass has a lot of advantages. In ten, twenty, fifty years I expect that computational photography will be doing a lot of things that traditional lenses do now. But in the near future – five years, say – glass will still be superior.

In some devices, like smartphones or cameras designed to be easy to use, computational photography could be very useful. But if you want to create a masterpiece, or commercial work, real glass is better. And glass can evolve, a lot. For example with our lenses, some of them are very small but the quality is high. There’s a lot of technology inside our lenses. We’ll continue to innovate with our lens technologies.

Do you think in the future that smartphones will start to work more like cameras, or cameras will start to work more like smartphones?

Nobody knows that! But I think it’s good to have options, and choices.

Editors’ Note: Barnaby Britton

It’s always nice to speak to an optimist, especially these days. With predictions of doom and gloom from almost all corners, Mr. Tanaka strikes a rare note of positivity. The situation is improving, sales are recovering and demand looks solid in the medium term. For Sony, at least.

The wider long-term impact of the global pandemic remains to be seen, but despite the challenging environment, Mr. Tanaka is confident that Sony has what it takes to thrive as a camera and lens manufacturer. The reasons for his confidence are simple: Sony has a lot of very advanced technology, and has shown a proven willingness to innovate with it.

The biggest news to come out of this interview is confirmation (following some heavy hints) that after a long wait, an Alpha 7S Mark II successor is coming – and coming quite soon. Mr. Tanaka didn’t give away many details (it remains to be seen even if it will be called a ‘Mark III’) but reading between the lines, we’re excited.

Everything from Mr. Tanaka’s description of features like 4K/60p, and 10-bit 4:2:2 recording as merely “what you’d expect” to his mention of wanting to create a “wow!” reaction suggests that Sony intends to pull out all of the stops. Whether or not the camera will offer Raw video capture is uncertain, but given Mr. Tanaka’s remark that Sony is “working hard to be able to deliver Raw data capture to [professionals]” I wouldn’t bet against it.

Assuming that the a7S Mark II’s successor will represent the company’s best efforts, I’m sure that a lot of video pros will consider that it was worth the wait.

According to Mr. Tanaka, Sony sees video as a crucial opportunity for growth in the future, alongside the development of artificial intelligence and computational imaging technologies. Assuming (as seems reasonable) that the a7S Mark II’s successor will represent the company’s best efforts in all three areas, I’m sure that a lot of video pros will consider that it was worth the wait. Meanwhile, with demand for video products increasing globally, products like the new ZV1 are aimed at entry-level videographers and content creators who just want a small, simple and effective tool for personal expression. Or for Zoom calls.

Other exciting hints included the possibility of further optical development – both in terms of traditional lenses and computational approaches. Interesting times ahead, then – certainly worthy of some cautious optimism, I think!

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ON1 announces ON1 360 cross-device workflow solution, new ON1 Photo Mobile app

30 Jun

ON1, the creators of the ON1 Photo RAW editing software, has announced ON1 360, an all-new photography workflow solution designed to allow photographers to capture, edit and sync images across multiple computers and mobile devices. Alongside the new ON1 360 workflow solution, ON1 has also announced updates to ON1 Photo RAW 2020 and released the new ON1 Photo Mobile application for iOS, iPadOS and Android.

Alongside today’s announcement, ON1 hosted a live stream showcasing the workflow possibilities available with ON1 360, which can be viewed below. ON1 360 connects ON1 Photo RAW 2020.5 on macOS and Windows computers with the new, free ON1 Photo Mobile app. Via this connection between devices, users can sync files, control storage methods and access new managing and editing capabilities.

Using ON1 360, users can choose to sync their original Raw files, or alternatively, utilize ON1’s new compressed-Raw file format in order to save space without a noticeable loss in image quality. This feature, called Editable Previews, allows photographers to view, edit and share compressed Raw files without needing to take up cloud storage space with larger original Raw files.

In the new ON1 Photo Mobile app, users can capture Raw images. The app includes a camera mode, which ON1 states works similarly to the built-in camera application on your device. In addition to capturing images, you can also edit using the app. ON1 Photo Mobile uses the same proprietary Raw processing engine as the desktop ON1 Photo RAW application. Mobile users can adjust parameters such as exposure, contrast, shadows, midtones, highlights, whites, blacks, white balance, noise and sharpening. The app also includes built-in filters. ON1 Photo Mobile is available to all users and is free.

ON1 Photo Mobile includes ON1’s Raw processing engine in addition to numerous image editing tools. The application also allows users to capture images and organize their existing photos. Image credit: ON1

For those unfamiliar with ON1 Photo RAW 2020, it is a photo organizer, Raw processor, layered image editor and effects application. ON1 Photo RAW 2020 is available as a standalone application and as a plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom Classic and Apple Photos. In addition to offering powerful Raw editing tools and a layers-based workflow, ON1 Photo RAW also leverages artificial intelligence for various features, such as generating masks, matching in-camera looks and styles, and automatically editing your photos.

Subscriptions for ON1 Photo RAW 2020.5 plus ON1 360 start at $ 7.99 USD per month with 200GB of storage. Image credit: ON1

ON1 360 is available via a subscription plan. ON1 360 plans are available with storage and ON1 Photo RAW 2020.5 combined or as a service add-on for existing ON1 Photo RAW 2020 users. The former option starts at $ 7.99 USD per month or $ 89.99 per year and includes 200GB of storage. For existing ON1 Photo RAW 2020 owners, ON1 360 can be added for as little as $ 5.99 per month or $ 59.99 per year. ON1 Photo RAW 2020 will continue to be available as a perpetual license product separate from ON1 360 as well. For additional information on plan options and pricing, head on over to ON1’s website.

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Japan Camera Hunter now has a YouTube channel full of film camera geekery

30 Jun

Despite having claimed the channel name back in 2011, film photography expert Bellamy Hunt, better known as Japan Camera Hunter across the internet, only recently started posting videos to the Japan Camera Hunter YouTube channel. Much like the Japan Camera Hunter website, the Youtube channel is dedicated to all things film photography and in just the past two months, Hunt and his team have gotten out nine videos to help kickstart the channel.

As it stands, the channel currently consists of nine concise ‘Camera Geekery’ videos, which are quick summaries of cameras (and one lens) Hunt has sitting around his shop. The videos range from just under a minute to over three minutes and highlight unique features and historical backgrounds for each of the cameras. They’re quick to get through, but provide wonderful insight into just a few of the many cameras Hunt has on hand. Below are three more of the nine videos on the channel at this time:

Canonet QL17 GIII

Yashica Mat 124G

Plaubel Makina 670

In a blog post announcing the YouTube channel, Hunt notes the videos ‘are a work in progress,’ and goes on to say there are already ‘more cameras in the pipeline and [they are] are always open to (reasonable) suggestions.’ To view the rest of the videos and to subscribe, head on over to the Japan Camera Hunter YouTube channel.

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H&Y Revoring variable step-up rings allow filters to fit multiple lens thread sizes

30 Jun

Filter manufacturer H&Y has launched a series of new step-up adapter rings that have variable thread sizes to allow users to fit a single screw-in filter to multiple different sized lenses. Using a sprung iris the thread size of the Revoring can be altered to fit a range of lens sizes via a rotating ring on the adapter. The idea is a single screw-in filter can be switched between different lenses very quickly without the need for changing adapter rings.

There are four sizes of Revoring to cover lens threads of 37-49mm, 46-62mm, 67-82mm and 82-95mm. The 37-49mm ring, for example, takes a 52mm filter. Once attached to the Revoring that filter can be switched between lenses that use filter thread sizes of 37mm to 49mm, by twisting the revolving ring to adjust the size of the adapter’s thread.

Twisting the adjustable ring closes the iris to its smallest size, and releasing it allows the thread to expand to fit the lens in use. The adapter holds in place immediately, but can be screwed in for extra security. To take the adapter off the lens the ring is turned to again contract the iris so it comes free of the lens.

Each of the sizes comes as a stand-alone ring for users to attach their own filters, or a second version is available that has H&Y’s variable ND filter with a circular polariser already built-in. The variable ND ranges from ND 3-1000 covering light reductions of 1.5-10 stops.

I’ve had couple of the rings for a while and thought a video would explain them a little better.

H&Y says the Revorings are made from architectural building-grade 6063 aluminum giving them strength while maintaining a light weight – the 67-82mm ring weighs 64g/2.25oz – and that the metal is protected with a matte black anodised coating.
Revorings are being launched via a Kickstarter campaign that runs until August 8th.

Post-campaign RRP:

37mm – 49mm REVORING: Accommodating 52mm filters – $ 35
46mm – 62mm REVORING: Accommodating 67mm filters – $ 35
67mm – 82mm REVORING: Accommodating 82mm filters – $ 40

37mm – 49mm REVORING Variable Neutral Density ND3-1000 + CPL – $ 184.00
46mm – 62mm REVORING Variable Neutral Density ND3-1000 + CPL – $ 189.00
67mm – 82mm REVORING Variable Neutral Density ND3-1000 + CPL – $ 199.00

The 82-95mm Revoring will be a ‘stretch goal’ that will be made available should the campaign raise $ 500,000. Should it reach $ 750,000 the 82-95mm ring will be released with the variable ND and CPL option. Reduced prices during the campaign will start at $ 23 for the 37-49mm Revoring and $ 139 for the same size with the filters built-in. For more information see the H&Y website or the Revoring Kickstarter campaign page.

Press release:

H&Y Announce The REVORING: A Revolutionary Adapter with a Twist

Imaging innovation campaign now live on Kickstarter

H&Y Digital Company Limited has announced the launch of a brand new Kickstarter campaign for the innovative step ring adapter, the H&Y REVORING and REVORING with Variable Neutral Density ND3-1000 & Circular Polariser combined filter, for use with DSLR, mirrorless and video camera lenses.

The REVORING is a true first in the image-making world. Its revolutionary design overcomes the need for multiple filters and step-up rings, saving photographers and filmmakers both time and money.

REVORING: The last word in filter adapters

The REVORING arrives as a completely new type of filter adapter. With its patent-pending variable and tough retractable blade technology, it can fit any lens with filter thread sizes between 37 – 49mm, 46mm – 62mm or 67mm – 82mm, accommodating either 52mm, 67mm or 82mm screw-in filters for the sizes available at launch. This versatility negates any need for photographers, cinematographers and content creators to carry multiple step-up rings, which can make for messy kit bags and adding unnecessary extra weight.

REVORING Variable ND + Circular Polariser combination

In addition to the standard REVORING, H&Y’s Kickstarter campaign includes another brand new REVORING which combines the REVORING’s adapter technology with the brand’s market-leading Variable Neutral Density & Circular Polariser combination filter. This heady combination creates a truly unique and complete product for image-makers everywhere.

Completely eradicating the need to invest in multiple filters for each lens or multiple step rings to adapt existing filters, the REVORING Variable ND + Circular Polariser combination system will adapt to fit a wide range of lenses, improving handling and boosting workflow speed to the next level.

H&Y’s REVORING Variable ND + Circular Polariser combination will quickly become an essential tool for shooting both moving and still images, giving a wealth of dynamic range to the user’s fingertips with the added bonus of a high-quality H&Y Circular Polariser onboard.

Kenny Leung, CEO of H&Y, said: “Almost 3 years of research and development, along with field testing, have been applied to bringing the REVORING that much closer to reality. The manufacturing process ensures that the materials used match the quality that their customers come to expect from H&Y. We are confident that image-makers across the globe will fall in love with this new concept and the REVORING systems will quickly become an indispensable partner for many photographers and filmmakers.”

The REVORING’s variable neutral density offers an incredible dynamic range of ND3 to ND1000, which equates to a minimum of 1.5, through to 10 stops of light control. However, due to the vast range, the stops achieved will vary based on different focal length. Full details can be found on the H&Y website, and also in the product guide, which will be included with every REVORING.

Japanese Nitto polarising film has been applied to produce the Circular Polariser section of the filter, which offers up to a near-comprehensive 99.9% polarising efficiency.

Market Leading Quality Meets World-Class Innovation

Key to the REVORING’s unique design is in the innovative, retractable & variable diaphragm. This precision-engineered feature allows the REVORING to make 1 filter applicable to multiple lenses, and with the potential for an expansive 4 size options, filter thread sizes from 37mm through to 95mm are all covered.

The REVORING has been manufactured entirely from architectural building-grade 6063 aluminum, making it incredibly strong and lightweight. Finished in a matte black anodised coating, further protecting it from adverse weather conditions, the REVORING is truly a ‘go-anywhere’ solution that will serve for years to come.

Anti-Fingerprint & Waterproof Nano-Coating Technology has been applied to the REVORING to preserve the glass from the unpredictable factors that all photographers and filmmakers face when shooting outdoors. The coating helps with beading and any excess droplets can be easily removed with a lens cloth without the fear of eliminating any of the coatings and without leaving stubborn smears on the glass.

The German Schott B270® glass also includes Anti-Reflective coating, which virtually eliminates all flare and reflections from the front and rear surfaces. This helps visible light to pass through the glass by removing unwanted reflections, giving the user the best possible light transmission, (up to 97%) optimizing images for the sharpest possible outcome. Whether shooting at 16mm or 400mm, the glass and coatings used in the REVORING produce sharp images, even at 10 stop exposures.

The H&Y REVORING Kickstarter Campaign

A number of additional features have been confirmed ahead of the campaign launch and will be included in the final product. These include:

  • A HARD stop at the MAX point shown on the filter ring, restricting the movement of the VND filter beyond the maximum 10 stops (ND1000).
  • An additional guide, fitted to the VND frame filter, meaning you can control the VND and CPL positions more easily.
  • New laser markings will be introduced to the outer edge of the VND ring. These new markings will be calculated and applied based on the maximum focal distance before any crossfade appears, helping image makers set up their shot more efficiently. There will be a live chart on the H&Y website offering guidance with a variety of lenses and sensors.

Campaign Pledge Levels

  • 37mm – 49mm REVORING: Accommodating 52mm filters
  • 46mm – 62mm REVORING: Accommodating 67mm filters
  • 67mm – 82mm REVORING: Accommodating 82mm filters
  • 37mm – 49mm REVORING Variable Neutral Density ND3-1000 + CPL
  • 46mm – 62mm REVORING Variable Neutral Density ND3-1000 + CPL
  • 67mm – 82mm REVORING Variable Neutral Density ND3-1000 + CPL

PLEASE NOTE: A further size of 82mm – 95mm for REVORING and Variable Neutral Density + CPL combination will unlock as a stretch goal as the campaign progresses and reaches a specific level of backing.

Pricing and availability

The H&Y REVORING Kickstarter campaign will begin on June 29th 2020 at 2pm GMT and 9am EST, 9pm HK time and will run for 40 days until August 8th 2020.

  • Standard REVORING will retail between USD $ 35 – USD $ 45
  • REVORING Variable Neutral Density + Circular Polariser combination will retail between USD $ 184 – USD $ 239.

Disclaimer: Remember to do your research with any crowdfunding project. DPReview does its best to share only the projects that look legitimate and come from reliable creators, but as with any crowdfunded campaign, there’s always the risk of the product or service never coming to fruition.

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