Friday, February 28, 2014

Reviving the Camera Obscura

Zoltan Arva-Toth | General
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A Kickstarter project started by Les Cookson and Ken Higginson aims to resurrect the great-grandfather of all cameras - the camera obscura. Weighing in at less than 1kg this camera obscura is about 15cm x 15cm x15cm in size. Hand-built with your choice of maple or walnut hardwood, the product features an uncoated spherical glass lens about 38mm in diameter, encased in a brass tube, a ground-glass screen for viewing and a clear screen that's used with a piece of tracing paper to trace the image. If you'd like to make a donation or simply learn more about the project, visit the camera obscura's Kickstarter page.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2014

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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The Royal Observatory Greenwich, in association with Sky at Night Magazine, have launched their 2014 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. Now in its sixth year, the competition attracted a record-breaking number of entries last year, with spectacular images submitted from around the world. Mark Gee won with his extraordinary image depicting a star-riddled Milky Way alongside the beam from a lighthouse on Cape Palliser in New Zealand (above). Entries to this year's competition must be submitted by 24 April 2014, and the winning images will be showcased in the annual free exhibition at the Royal Observatory Greenwich from 18 September 2014 to February 2015.

Transcend Releases M.2 and mSATA SSDs

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Transcend has released its SATA III 6 Gb/s N8S750 M.2 and MSA340 mSATA solid state drives (SSD). The N8S750 SSD's space-saving 80 mm M.2 form factor is designed to meet future market demands of ultra-thin and light mobile devices that require an SSD, including Ultrabooks, notebooks, tablets and smartphones. The company's MSA340 mSATA SSD is 78% smaller than a standard 2.5" SSD and measures a mere 50.8 mm x 29.85 mm x 4.0 mm. As a result, manufacturers can benefit from greater design flexibility when developing space-restricted mobile solutions. Transcend's SATA III 6 Gb/s N8S750 M.2 SSD is available in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities while the SATA III 6 Gb/s MSA340 mSATA SSD is available in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB editions.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Review

Mark Goldstein
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The Fujifilm FinePix S1 is a new weather-proof bridge camera with a massive 50x, 24-1200mm zoom lens. The Fujifilm S1 also offers built-in wi-fi, full 1080p movies at 60fps with stereo sound, a 3 inch vari-angle LCD screen, 10ps burst shooting and a 16 megapixel back-illuminated EXR sensor with RAW support. Read our Fujifilm FinePix S1 review to find out if this is this the only camera you'll ever need...

Meet the Kenro Team at The Photography Show

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The Kenro team will be exhibiting a range of new products at the inaugural Photography Show in Birmingham. Visitors to the stand will have an exclusive preview of the Nissin i40 flash, the new Braun ActionMaster Camera (pictured), a collection of Benro Falcon Camouflage Rucksacks, a smartphone scanner and a Super 8 film scanner from Reflecta, and much more. You can meet the Kenro team at stand L65.

Eizo ColorEdge CG277 and CX271

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Eizo has launched two updated 27” monitors, the ColorEdge CG277 and CX271. The EizoColorEdge CG277 is targeted at professionals in digital photography, prepress, video editing and post production. It features a sensor that is housed inside the monitor and swings up onto the screen for self-calibration. The ColorEdge CX271 houses an internal correction sensor that maintains the calibration results after the monitor has been calibrated with an external sensor. The ColorEdge CG277 and CX271 include the advanced features of their predecessors while offering a new wide-gamut IPSpanel that reproduces 99% of the Adobe RGB colour space. Other common features include a10-bit display, 16-bit look-up table, DisplayPort, HDMI, and DVI-D input terminals, stable brightness chromaticity and tone characteristics within seven minutes after power on, and an ergonomic stand with 25° tilt, 344° swivel, portrait mode, and 151.5 mm height adjustment. The ColorEdge CG277 and CX271 will be shipping in the UK from 1st April 2014 Both monotors will be on display at The Photography Show.

“World of Circus” Photography Contest

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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The North American Circus Competition has announced its "World of Circus" photo contest. "We are searching for the best images from any era that unequivocallyconvey the deepest meaning of circus," the organisers say. This contest will have one grand prize winner and several other finalists who will receive prizes including $1000 in cash, an Emotiv Insight EEG headband controller (one of only 8000 being produced this year), a Wacom Intuos Pro, and several Wacom Bamboo Stylus pens. The "World of Circus" photo contest opens on 3rd March. Other categories in the North American Circus Competition include "Life is a Cabaret," Circus on Fire" and "Surreal Places".

Epson SureLab D7 Studio

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Printers
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The Epson SureLab D7 Studio is a scalable and flexible commercial photo production microlab / self-service order terminal. Available from June 2014, the SureLab D7 Studio can produce premium quality prints, panoramics, folded displays and cards, on a wide range of media, including  paper-based matte, glossy and lustre media, and in a range of sizes. The SureLab D7 Studio includes a self-service, touch screen order terminal and up to two printers. A further three extensions can be added, increasing the number of printers linked to the terminal, up to a total of eight. Featuring Micro Piezo printhead technology and UltraChrome D6-S ink, the Epson SureLab D7 Studio will make its UK debut at The Photography Show (Stand L50).

A Fresh Take On Wall Murals

Zoltan Arva-Toth | General
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Wall mural company Photowall and picture agency Noll Images have teamed up to create a joint wall mural collection. “We have a great many skilled photographers working for us. Thanks to the collaboration with Photowall our images are scaling new heights – so much more happens when they’re expanded into large format,” says Dennis Blomberg, founder of Noll Images. The collection comprises 36 carefully selected, unexpected and surprising motifs representing everything from coloured circus tents to laughing plastic whales. You can check out the collection at the website below.

Epson SureLab D700

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Printers
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Epson has announced the SureLab D700, its first compact six-colour photo production printer, which offers a wide range of media and format options. The SureLab D700 uses Epson’s highly flexible inkjet technology to print multiple sizes (from 4inches up to A4 wide and from 3.5- 39 inches long) on a wide range of media including glossy, lustre and paper-based matte media.  Martin Johns, market development manager, Epson UK, says: “After the successful introduction of the SureLab D3000 for high-volume photo production, the compact SureLab D700 for small to medium production runs or kiosk printing is a logical next step for Epson. It combines high quality, lots of flexibility, speed and impressive reliability with overall low cost of ownership in a very flexible mobile lab solution that can be used to print on-site at all sorts of events and for school photography with no compromise on print quality and media.” The SureLab D700 printer will be shown for the first time in the UK at The Photography Show (Stand L50).

Olympus Sensor Cleaning Booth at The Photography Show

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In addition to their main stand, Olympus UK will have a separate booth at The Photography Show offering free sensor cleaning to Olympus users. "We all know that the [SSWF] anti-dust system is so good you do not really need it, but time has its effect with our polluted world, and this is a lovely free service we are happy to offer," says Mark Thackara, National Marketing Manager, Consumer Products, Olympus UK. Interested photographers should go to the main Olympus stand to book their kit in. The Photography Show will be held from 1-4 March 2014 at the NEC in Birmingham - PhotographyBLOG readers have until tomorrow to buy their tickets online at a discounted price using our special promotion code.

DxO Optics Pro 9.1.3

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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DxO Labs have released DxO Optics Pro 9.1.3 for Mac and Windows. This latest version adds support for the Nikon D3300, the Canon EOS M2, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 the Samsung NX1000 and NX1100. Additionally, DxO Optics Pro has been enriched with 264 new Optics Modules including camera/lens combinations for Nikon, Samsung and other brands. Photographers who acquired a DxO Optics Pro 8 license on or after 1 September 2013, are entitled to a free upgrade to version 9.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

DxO Licenses its EIS Technology to Alcatel

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Camera Phones

DxO has licensed its Electronic Image Stabilisation (DxO EIS) technology to Alcatel Onetouch. Developed for mobile phones, digital cameras and professional video cameras; DxO EIS performs full rigid motion plus electronic running shutter estimation and compensation. "The embedded imaging technology DxO will now deliver into our handsets sets a new benchmark in putting high image quality and professional-looking video results into the hands of our consumers, delivering an incredible camera experience," says Dan Dery, CMO, Alcatel Onetouch. "This is integral to our vision of creating smartphones that combine simplicity of use with best in class functionality."

Presidential Picture Stories

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Books
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Presidential Picture Stories: Behind the Cameras at the White House is a new book by veteran White House photographer Dennis Brack. From JFK to today, Dennis Brack has photographed the presidents of the United States for Life, Newsweek and Time. "I've worked the White House as a news photographer for about 50 years," he says. " It was time to write the old stories down." And the stories are extraordinary indeed: from coating the wet plates of Mathew Brady to blowing up a brand new hotel with flash powder to using pigeons to carry film; Dennis Brack has a lot to say about how photographers handled the tools of their day. Presidential Picture Stories is available from Amazon priced at $21.24.

‘Unscripted’ by Karen Fuchs

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Events, Photographers
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Unscripted is a retrospective exhibition of works by photographer and Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) alumnus Karen Fuchs. Hosted by TheGallery, the exhibition will take place from 13 March - 24 April 2014. ‘Unscripted’ was first shown at M&C Saatchi, London during the 2012 Olympic Games and features a rare collection of unseen Usain Bolt images from 2004-11. Karen is the only photographer who extensively captured unique images of five-times IAAF World Athlete of the Year champion before he really shot to fame as one of the most successful athletes in the world. AUB is located two miles from the centre of Bournemouth, on the border between Bournemouth and Poole. Admission is free.

NEC Solutions Showcase 2014

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories, Events
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NEC has announced that the 6th NEC Solutions Showcase to take place at The Velodrome, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th May 2014. Collaborating with over 50 hardware manufacturers and software providers, NEC hosts a unique opportunity to get hands-on with display solutions representing the future of the industry. At the event visitors will experience bigger and higher resolution displays, multi-touch displays, multi-screen and interactive projection, 4K ultra-high definition (UHD) displays as well as laser and laser-hybrid projectors and much, much more. For more information and to register, vist the website below.

Official Nikon D4S Sample Images

Zoltan Arva-Toth
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Nikon Europe and Nikon Japan have posted an assortment of full-resolution sample photos taken with the new Nikon D4S digital SLR camera. Captured with a variety of lenses including the new AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR and AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, as well as the venerable AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED and AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR, these Nikon D4s samples were taken at sensitivity settings ranging from ISO 200 to ISO 1000.

Leica X Vario Silver Edition

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital Compact Cameras
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The Leica X Vario will now be available with a silver body as an alternative to the standard black version. The Leica X Vario is a large-sensor compact camera with a 16-megapixel imager and a 28-70mm (eq.) f/3.5-6.4 lens. Billed as "the world's first compact camera to combine a large, APS-C format, CMOS image sensor with a zoom lens," the Leica X Vario is capable of shooting high-resolution stills as well as 1080p Full HD videos. The Leica X Vario in silver finish can be purchased from Leica Authorised Dealers.

Nikon Issues Service Advisory to D600 Users

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital SLR Cameras
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Nikon has issued a service advisory to Nikon D600 owners. More than a year ago, Nikon already posted a product notice in which the company acknowledged that a number of Nikon D600 cameras may have been shipped to customers with dirt on their low-pass filters, but at that time they would not say explicitly that the affected cameras would be cleaned free of charge. This time around, Nikon USA says it "is making available to all owners of D600 cameras (even if Nikon’s product warranty has expired) [a] customer-service measure which includes the inspection, cleaning and replacement of the shutter assembly and related parts of your camera, free of charge as well as the cost of shipping D600 cameras to Nikon and their return to customers." Click through / read on to learn what steps you need to follow in order to take advantage of this offer.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Review

Mark Goldstein
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The AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II is the newest standard kit lens for DX-format DSLRs. Offering a retractable design, 4-stop vibration reduction and a Silent Wave Motor, does the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II offer good enough image quality to keep its place on your DSLR? Read our in-depth AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens review to find out...