Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Motorola Spearheads Development of Modular Smartphones

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Camera Phones
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Motorola has partnered with Phonebloks to develop a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones. "We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software: create a vibrant third-party developer ecosystem, lower the barriers to entry, increase the pace of innovation, and substantially compress development timelines," Motorola's Paul Eremenko wrote in a blog post. The envisioned modular smartphone would consist of an endoskeleton and several replaceable modules. This way, if you only wanted to upgrade your phone's camera or battery, you could do so without having to purchase a whole new handset. Motorola is currently recruiting 'scouts' from all over the world to join their Ara project, which coordinates the development efforts.

Sigma SD1 / SD1 Merrill Firmware Update

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital SLR Cameras
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Sigma has posted a firmware update for the Sigma SD1 and SD1 Merrill cameras. Version 1.11 for the SD1 and version 1.06 for the SD1 Merrill enable chromatic aberration correction with the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM lens, which is especially useful for images shot at or aroud f:1.8. You can download the firmware upgrade from the websites below.

Website: Sigma SD1 Firmware Update

Website: Sigma SD1 Merrill Firmware Update

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ricoh Theta Review

Mark Goldstein | Accessory Reviews
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The new Ricoh Theta camera takes a fully spherical photo with just one click of a button. The Theta uses two lenses to captures the scene around, above and below you, and then automatically stitches everything together into a 360-degree image. Is this unique ability enough to justify the £329 / $399 price-tag? Read our Ricoh Theta review to find out...

Olympus Stylus 1 Hands-on Photos

Mark Goldstein | Digital Compact Cameras
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Want to see exactly what the new Olympus Stylus 1 premium compact camera looks like in the flesh?

Check out our extensive hands-on gallery of 47 photos of the Olympus Stylus 1 compact system camera, including a side-by-side comparison with the Olympus OM-D E-M1, on which it's clearly styled.

Olympus Stylus 1

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital Compact Cameras
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The Olympus Stylus 1 is an advanced superzoom compact with a 1/1.7-type 12-megapixel sensor, fully retractable 28-300mm (eq.) f/2.8 lens and a 1.44-million-dot EVF. The large-diameter lens features a powerful, built-in VCM image stabilisation mechanism and a constant maximum aperture throughout the zoom range. The customisable analogue / digital Hybrid Control Ring on the front lets you assign the parameters you adjust most frequently (e.g., aperture, shutter speed, exposure time and program shift) to the ring or subdial on the top of the camera. Fast AF and shoot-and-share WiFi round off the specifications list. The Olympus Stylus 1 will be available for £549.99, from late November 2013.

Portrait Lens for Android

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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Websiteam has released Portrait Lens, a photo manipulation app for Android 2.3 and higher. The application uses a special algorithm to blur backgrounds and provide better subject isolation. If necessary, you can adjust settings such as sharpness, blurring and saturation separately for the background and your subject. You can save the output photo at a resolution of up to three megapixels. Portrait Lens is now available on Google Play.

Photographers Create First Artworks in Google Street View

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital
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Photographer and artist, Sylvia Grace Borda, has created the first explorative artworks in Google Street view in partnership with John M. Lynch. Entitled 'Farm Tableaux', the series captures farmers in Surrey, B.C. (Canada) enacting a routine activity, but unlike conventionally staged photographs, the observer can explore these framed compositions within an interactive Google Street View landscape. These choreographed scenes enable notions of expanded cinema to be encountered by the online viewer. Click through / scroll down for links to some of Borda's completed artworks.

Facing East - Photos from the Heart

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Books
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Facing East - Photos from the Heart by photographer Roger Morgan is a new title from Xlibris. In this book, the author presents a collection of photo portraits of the people who live in the shadow of the Himalayas and their extension ranges. The portraits were shot in Sichuan, China during June 2009, in Sichuan and North West Yunnan during May/June 2011, in Ladakh, Northern India during September 2011, in Pakistan during May 2012 and Nepal during October/September of the same year. The 226-page volume is available for AU$55 (hardback version: AU$65). You can also purchase Facing East - Photos from the Heart as an ebook for AU$3.99.

Voigtländer VM to E-Mount Adapter

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Voigtländer has unveiled a new adapter, which allows M-mount lenses to be attached to Sony E-mount bodies and reduces the lenses' minimum focus distance courtesy of a 4mm helicoid extension. Weighing in at 125g, the new Voigtländer adapter has a diameter of 62.7mm and a 24x36mm frame coverage, making it fully compatible with the full-frame Sony Alpha A7 and A7R cameras..The company has also published a handy table showing the change in focusing range across a number of Voigtländer and Zeiss lenses. The adapter will go on sale in December.

Mobile Photography Awards 2013 Open for Entries

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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The third annual Mobile Photography Awards (MPA) are open for entry to photographers and artists worldwide. The MPA is an international open call for photographs and images created on mobile devices (phones and tablets). The competition has twenty photo categories and an array of prizes valued at over $15,000. Entry fees remain the same as last year: $20 for 3 images, $30 for 5 images, $50 for 9 images and $100 for 20 images. The MPA/DIPTIC Photo Essay is a separate $25 entry with its own $500 prize and gallery exhibition. For more information and to enter, visit the website below.

Magix Photostory 2014 Deluxe

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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Magix has released Photostory 2014 Deluxe with 4K Ultra HD support. Other features include a redesigned user interface, new templates, a HDR effect to optimise your footage, quick audio dubbing with over 400 songs and sounds, and more. Magix  Photostory 2014 Deluxe is available now for £69.99 from Amazon and magix.com.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Review

Mark Goldstein
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Introducing the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. Is it a camera? Is it a phone? No, the Galaxy S4 Zoom is Samsung's attempt to bring both together in one device - but have they succeeded? Read our Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom review to find out...

Amateur Photographer Wins $10,000 in Scoopshot Competition

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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Tony Cork has won $10,000 in a photography competition organised by Scoopshot – a service for buying and selling photos captured using the Scoopshot app for iOS, Android and Windows Mobile. Cork’s photo of his son and granddaughter playing in the ocean beat more than 18,000 other entries to bag the $10,000 prize in the competition, which asked photographers to share photos summing up their summer. The photograph was taken using the Scoopshot app on a Samsung Note 2 smartphone while enjoying a quiet day on the beach by the Atlantic Ocean with his wife, two sons, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters.

Epson Exhibition Watercolor Paper Textured

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Epson has announced the newest addition to its portfolio of Signature Worthy media. The new Epson Exhibition Watercolor Paper Textured is designed to deliver a distinctive feel along with rich blacks, a wide colour gamut and smooth tonal gradations. In addition to the 22 Mil caliper and 310 gsm, Exhibition Watercolor Paper is 100 percent cotton fibre and acid, lignin and OBA-free. The paper will be available in November through Epson Authorised Resellers in roll widths of 17, 24 and 44-inches, and 8.5” x 11”, 13” x 19” and 17” x 22” cut sheets. Click through / scroll down for prices.

Friday, October 25, 2013

J. R. Eyerman Rediscovered

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Events, Photographers
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Daniel Blau gallery has just announced its two upcoming shows, happening simultaneously in Paris and London in November 2013. The gallery is collaborating with the estate of renowned LIFE photographer J.R. Eyerman to showcase images from his personal collection. These photographs of Hollywood stars from the 1940s, 50s and 60s are being shown to the public for the first time. The Paris show (6-23 November) will take place at Galerie Meyer Oceanic Art on the occasion of the Festival Photo Saint-Germain-des-Pres, in parallel to Paris Photo. The London show (9 November – 7 December) will be held at our London gallery on Hoxton Square. 

Wacom Sponsors High-End Photo Retouching Series

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Events
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Wacom is sponsoring the Train to Create and Pratik Naik photo retouching series that consists of a seminar at and a one-day intensive workshop. Taking place from 15th-17th November in London, the world-renowned beauty retoucher will share his techniques including his use of Wacom tablets, as well as provide hands-on mentoring to attendees. The workshop is held over the weekend and attendees can choose which day to attend. Focus will be given to retouching beauty and fashion shots to make them look perfect, while not being digitally obvious. There are a limited number of tickets currently available for the workshop. For further information, visit the website below.

Zeiss Touit Instant Savings Promotion

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Lenses
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Zeiss has announced an Instant Savings Promotion for its Touit lenses.  The value of the instant saving for the Touit 2.8/12 lens (pictured) totals $251 and effectively reduces the list price on the lens to $999. On the Touit 1.8/32 lens, the instant saving totals $180, reducing the list price to $720. The Instant Savings Promotion is valid on all purchases from an authorised Zeiss dealer from 24th October 2013 through 31st January 2014. The third lens in the Touit family, the Touit 2.8/50 Macro, will begin shipping at the end of 2013.

PrimeCircle XE Silver Series

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Lenses
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PrimeCircle has designed a special Silver Series of its PrimeCircle XE cine-style lenses for Blackmagic Production Cinema Cameras. Incorporating world-class Zeiss optics, these lenses feature calibrated cine-style expanded focus scales for precise follow-focus work, electronic aperture control and standard cinema 95mm Front Mounts with an anti-reflective surface. Available focal lengths range from 15mm to 100mm.

Project Imaginat10n Festival

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Events
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Canon U.S.A. and two-time Academy Award winner Ron Howard  have officially launched the “Project Imaginat10n” Film Festival. Following yesterday's premiere of ten short films at Lincoln Center in New York City, screenings will be held in Los Angeles, CA hosted by Bryce Dallas Howard, the first graduating director of Canon’s Project Imagin8ion as well as in Brooklyn, NY hosted by James Murphy, a celebrity director for Project Imaginat10n. Yahoo Screen will continue celebrating the Film Festival from today through the end of the year where consumers can view each of the 10 films including "...And She Was My Eve” by Jamie Foxx, Celebrity Director,  “Out of the Blue” by Eva Longoria, Celebrity Director, “A Dream of Flying” by Georgina Chapman, Celebrity Director, “Little Duck” by James Murphy, Celebrity Director, “Evermore” by Biz Stone, Celebrity Director, “Dominus” by Arrius Sorbonne, Winning Director, “Chucked” by Jared Nelson, Winning Director,  “Here and Now” by Julian Higgins, Winning Director, “A Day in the Country” by Kálmán Apple, Winning Director and “Filter” by Ronnie Allman, Winning Director.

Canon Winter Cashback

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Canon has launched a new cashback promotion in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The offer gives you a chance to receive up to £70 cashback on your purchases, plus an extra £35 bonus if you ‘Mix and Match’ by buying two promotional products at the same time. The offer runs until 26.January 2014 for eligible products purchased from UK or Republic of Ireland retailers excluding grey/parallel imports. Click through / scroll down for the complete list of eligible products.