Monday, December 9, 2013

Macphun Focus 2

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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Macphun Software has released Focus 2, a program which enables photographers of all skill levels to easily add selective focus, creative blurring and miniature effects to photos. A Custom Focus setting provides even greater control when applying focus and blur to images. Users can set the centre focal point and amount of blur, while Vividness and Vignette features provide a professional finishing touch to images. “Focus and lens blurring effects are among the most popular techniques photographers use to draw attention in their images, but high quality results are often difficult to achieve without expensive  lenses,” said Paul Muzok, co-founder and CEO of Macphun Software. “Focus 2 allows anyone to achieve a perfect focus and blurring effect with a few clicks.” Focus 2 is available now from the Mac App Store for a special introductory price of $9.99.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Ilford Photo Announces New Photographic Papers

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories, Film
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UK-based Ilford Photo has announced a new range of variable-contrast Baryta Fibre Base papers, a completely new and improved Multigrade FB and a new Cooltone FB paper to complement the existing Multigrade FB Warmtone offering. The new paper is available in Glossy and Matt surfaces and offers sharper images, improved maximum density and shorter exposure times. The new Multigrade FB Classic has also been developed to better respond to traditional toning techniques.

VSCO Cam for Android

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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VSCO Cam is now available worldwide in the Google Play Store for most devices running Android 4.0 and higher. The app includes a default set of presets and tools with adjustable strengths, allowing for precise editing and customisation. Additional presets and tools can be purchased separately. Photographers can easily share their images via multiple outlets, including VSCO Grid, Google Plus, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Weibo, Gallery and email.

Chasing the Light Issue 23

Zoltan Arva-Toth | General
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Issue 23 of David Noton’s Chasing the Light eZine is now available. In this month’s edition, David takes us to the Yukon, sharing with us the next installment of his fascinating photo trip to this location. In How it’s Done, David talks us through his approach to and method of selecting focal points for shooting the landscape, and in this month’s installment of Seeing the Light he considers the challenges and rewards of photographing the cityscape at night. For its Guest Feature the magazine rounds up the current Formula 1 season with an article from brilliant F1 photo specialist Peter J Fox, as he introduces readers to a ‘weekend in the life of’ an F1 photographer at the classic Monza racetrack. Do note that the full contents of Chasing the Light online magazine is available to f11 subscribers only.

Timeless Portraits

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP) has announced its latest photography competition, 'Timeless Portraits." The judges are looking for great expressions, good lighting, pleasing poses and a clear narrative. The quality of post-production is also an important factor. The deadline for entries is 31 December 2013.

Booq Python Slimpack Camera Bag

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Booq has revealed its latest product, the Python slimpack. Intelligently designed to pack all the necessary essentials photographer’s need to get the job done, the Python slimpack stores two DSLRs and up to four mid-size lenses, as well as one large zoom lens, tripod and a up to a 10-inch tablet. “The days where a camera was the only tool a photographer carried are long gone,” says booq’s Lead Designer, S. Kema Subsomboon. “Nowadays they carry a tablet with them, chargers, multiple lenses, their phone, and even more than one camera on occasion... The Python slimpack was designed with this in mind, keeping things divided with a multitude of pockets and padded walls, as well as dividers.” The Python slimpack is available today for $149.95 at the website below.

Samyang 10mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS CS

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Lenses
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The Samyang 10mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS CS is a new manual-focus, rectilinear ultra-wide angle lens for cameras with APS-C and FourThirds sized sensors. With an optical formula comprising fourteen elements in ten groups, the Samyang 10mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS CS offers an angle of view of 109.5° on Fuji, Nikon, Pentax, Samsung and Sony bodies, 105.9° on Canon DSLRS and CSCs, and 93.4° on (Micro) Four Thirds models. Other key features include a nano-crystal anti-reflex coating, a manual aperture ring, an integrated hood, one extra-low dispersion and two aspeherical lens elements, a close-focus point of 25cm and a six-bladed iris diaphragm. The lens will be available from the end of January 2014. The suggested retail price for the Nikon version, which has a CPU to enable open-aperture metering and the use of various non-manual exposure modes, is £469.99. All other fittings carry a suggested retail price of £429.99.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Review

Mark Goldstein
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The Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA is a fast standard prime lens for Sony's new 35mm full-frame E-mount camera system. The FE 55mm offers an extra-bright F1.8 maximum aperture, 9-blade circular aperture, dust and moisture resistance, and a unique T* surface coating. Is the Carl Zeiss FE 55mm the perfect partner for the Sony A7/7R cameras? Read our Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA review to find out...

Sony A7 vs A7R

Mark Goldstein | Compact System Camera
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After extensively reviewing both cameras at the same time, here's our real-world comparison of the exciting new Sony A7 and Sony A7R full-frame compact system cameras. We've outlined the main differences between the two models, both on paper and in reality - you might be rather surprised by our findings...

Sony A7 Review

Mark Goldstein
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The Sony A7 is the second mirrorless camera in the World to offer a full-frame sensor, but this time it's a slightly more modest 24 megapixels, rather than the A7R's 36 megapixels. The cheaper Sony A7 also offers a more innovative and potentially quicker hybrid AF system, faster flash sync and burst shooting speeds, and a quieter electronic shutter. Is the Sony A7 just as good as its big brother? Read our Sony A7 review to find out...

Picture Porter Advanced

Zoltan Arva-Toth
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Digital Foci, creator of Picture Porter Advanced, a portable digital picture management tool and high capacity storage device, has launched a campaign entitled, Picture Porter – Essential Digital Photo Manager, to raise $63,000 by 14th December. Picture Porter Advanced boasts a 5" TFT-LCD screen, up to 1 TB of storage via HDD or SSD, and USB connectors for devices ranging from laptops to USB flash drives and external hard drives. Photographers will benefit from the unit's compatibility with a wide variety of memory cards. "This device will change the way people back up, protect, organise, view, and share all of their digital photos," said Charles Huang, Chief Designer of the Picture Porter Advanced. "It is designed to improve every aspect of one’s photo management routine." Interested readers are encouraged to visit Picture Porter Advanced's Kickstarter page.

Landscape Photography Magazine Issue 34

Zoltan Arva-Toth | General
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Issue 34 of Landscape Photography Magazine is now available to download. This edition includes a tutorial on photographing winter landscapes, a review of the book "Colours of the Earth" by David Hay, a free article on women in landscape photography, a guide to starting a photography business, a free advice on the art of concealment, and much more. Do note that the full contents of Landscape Photography Magazine are available to subscribers only.

Eizo Gets Animated Over Christmas

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Eizo has launched a 40-second animated film on its global YouTube channel to help promote its ColorEdge range of monitors. Animation designer Katy Beveridge says, "The inspiration for the Eizo Christmas animation, initially came from early Russian Stop-Motion animation films which used built models and small scale sets. I often find inspiration from the rich and diverse history of the animation industry which extends far beyond the more popular cell, or drawn animation”. Click through / scroll down to view Eizo's Christmas animation.

Christmas Offers from Cities at Dawn Photography

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Events
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Cities at Dawn Photography have announced their Christmas offers on a number of workshops planned for 2014. Those booking a place for one of their £245 London at Dawn workshops will get a complimentary copy of Anthony Epes's book, London at Dawn. Photographers enrolling for the company's £850 Paris at Dawn workshop, held from 19-22 June 2014, will get copies of London at Dawn and Paris at Dawn plus a place on a one-day London at Dawn workshop, for free. The same offer applies to the £850 Venice at Dawn workshop scheduled for 15-18 March 2014.

Thomson Reuters Foundation – Nokia Photography Award

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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The Thomson Reuters Foundation and Nokia have launched a new international photography contest aimed at empowering women around the world through the power of images. Photo entries will be submitted to the public vote and judged by a distinguished line-up of experts from the world of photography, journalism and women’s rights, including: Reuters Photographer and World Press Photo Winner Finbarr O’Reilly; Journalist, Author and Chime for Change Managing Editor Mariane Pearl, Thomson Reuters Foundation Editor-in-Chief Tim Large, and Nokia Imaging Technology Marketing Manager Kristina Bjorknas. Ten finalists will be chosen from the pool of entries and asked to put the new Nokia Lumia 1020 to the test by using the smartphone to create a portfolio of photos that capture the empowerment of women..The winner will receive the first Thomson Reuters Foundation–Nokia Photography Award.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sony A7R Review

Mark Goldstein
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Big sensor in a small body - that's the USP of the new Sony A7R camera. Offering a 35mm full-frame sensor inside a relatively compact body that takes interchangeable lenses, the A7R is a truly unique and genuinely exciting proposition. Is the Sony A7R the ultimate fusion of DSLR technology and compact system camera size? Read our Sony A7R review to find out...

EyeTime 2013 Winners

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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The winners of the EyeTime 2013 contest have been announced. EyeTime 2013 was assembled as a means to publicly promote the research, exploration and investigation currently happening amongst today's emerging talent. Winners include Dean West, Simon Chang, Edward Neumann, Tiberio Ventura, Michael Santiago and Nicholai Go. Jessica Lum Awards winners include Alessandro Falco and Tiberio Ventura. Public winners include Javier Corso and Rainer Weston.

Alayer 1.1 for iOS

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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Delix Software has released version 1.1 of Alayer, an iOS app that promises to "give anyone unprecedented control over the aesthetics of their [smartphone] photos." Now you can clone/duplicate the photo you are working with as a new layer, and choose from  over 100 presets and 15 different blending modes to manipulate the image. Alayer is available for $0.99 on the iTunes App Store.

Celebrating Nature

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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The Society of International Nature and Wildlife Photographers has launched its newest competition entitled ‘Celebrating Nature.’ The challenge this month is to enter stunning images that reflect the beauty of nature and capture the true essence of the world around us. The judges will be looking for  a strong and interesting narrative as well as the highest technical skills. The deadline for entries is 31st December.

iResizer 2.4

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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TeoreX has updated iResizer, a simple yet capable utility designed to resize pictures and remove undesired objects. Version 2.4 adds a feature enabling users to automatically resize their photos for Instagram without cropping. You only need to mark areas on the photo you would like to preserve, and run Instagram resizing. iResizer is available for Windows and Mac OS, priced at $19.99.