Thursday, December 6, 2012

PowerProducer 6

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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CyberLink today launched PowerProducer 6, a comprehensive Blu-ray and DVD authoring solution for home users. New video format support in version 6 includes high-definition MKV, FLV and popular 3D video formats. For slideshows, new raw support lets users include high-quality DSLR photos in movie disc productions. Output disc formats include VCD, DVD, AVCHD, and Blu-ray, with side-by-side 3D video options for DVD, AVCHD and Blu-ray discs. Available in: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean; CyberLink PowerProducer 6 comes in two flavours, Ultra and Deluxe, priced at £64.99 and £39.99 respectively.

Nokia Lumia 620

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Camera Phones
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The Nokia Lumia 620 is the third and most affordable in Nokia’s new range of Windows Phone 8 smartphones. On the photography front it offers a five-megapixel camera with a 28mm equivalent f/2.4 lens, LED flash, 3.8” WVGA screen, 720p HD video and a “Smart Shoot” mode that creates a single shot from multiple images, even removing unwanted objects from the picture. Estimated at $249 excluding taxes and subsidies, the Nokia Lumia 620 will begin selling in January 2013 in Asia, followed closely by Europe and the Middle East before expanding further.

Winners of EEF Photography Awards 2012 Announced

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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The winners and runners-up of the EEF Photography Awards 2012 have been unveiled at an exclusive ceremony at the House of Commons in London. The theme for this year’s competition was Made in Britain and entrants were challenged to submit photos that championed the spirit of manufacturing in Britain. The winner of the professional category was Mike Smith’s ‘Precision’ (above). ‘Manufacturing a Filter’ by Robert Watkins, from Warrington, was the winner of the amateur category: a black-and-white image of a welder applying the finishing touches to a filter at Crofts Engineering Services.

The Digital Zone System

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Books
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The Digial Zone System by Robert Fisher is a new title from Rocky Nook. The Digital Zone System is an innovative methodology for editing digital images that mimics the Zone System created by Ansel Adams. With this book, author Robert Fisher presents a practical guide for editing digital images with a level of control previously unattainable without significant manual work. This book covers how to use the Digital Zone System for editing colour images, converting images to black and white, and tone mapping HDR images. Distributed by O’Reilly Media, the 160-page volume is available in print form ($39.95) and as a downloadable PDF ebook ($16.95) via the website below.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nikon Coolpix S01 Review

Gavin Stoker
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The Nikon Coolpix S01 is a tiny point-and-shoot compact camera that's actually smaller than a credit card. Featuring a 3x zoom lens, 10 megapixels, 2.5 inch touch-screen LCD and 720p HD movies, is the Nikon S01 too small for its own good? Read our in-depth Nikon Coolpix S01 review to find out...

PhotoZoom 5

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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BenVista has released its new photo resizing software PhotoZoom 5. The program specialises in enlarging and downsizing digital images while preserving their original quality. This update comes with a redesigned user interface, and offers the option to combine cropping and resizing into one process. Another workflow improvement is the new option to create “resize profiles”. Demo versions of PhotoZoom Pro 5 and PhotoZoom Classic 5 can be downloaded
directly from the BenVista website.

Cokin Pure Harmonie Filters Now Available

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Announced two months ago, Cokin’s new Pure Harmonie range of filters are now available for purchase. Billed as the lightest and thinnest photo filters in the world, Cokin Pure Harmonie filters are multi-coated with EVERCLEAR 5 Coating Technology boasting Water Repellent, Anti-Oil, Anti-Dust, Anti-Soil and Scratch Resistant characteristics. With a thickness of 3.3mm for the Multi-Coated Anti-UV (UV MC), 4.5mm for the Circular Polarizer (C PL) and 9.5mm for the Variable Density Neutral Gray (ND X), Cokin Pure Harmonie filters are super-lightweight and cause no vignetting. The new line-up is now available in stores.

WPPI Announces 16x20 Print and Album Competitions

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) has announced that submissions are now being accepted for its annual Awards of Excellence 16x20 Print and Album Competitions. Photographers are encouraged to submit their 16x20-inch Print entries for consideration into the following categories: Wedding, Portrait, Commercial, Composite and Photojournalism. In addition, they can submit a series of digital images presented as a story for consideration in the WPPI Award of Excellence Album Competition. The categories are as follows: Event/Informal, Engagement, Wedding and Videography. For more information, visit the websites below.

Ilford Webinar: Choosing a Paper Surface for Your Inkjet Prints

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Events
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Ilford has announced a webinar for tomorrow, 6th December on choosing the best paper surface for fine art photography.  Hosted by Joe Brady, the presentation will focus on the properties and considerations, such as weight, brightness and surface texture, that go into selecting the best paper for your inkjet print. The webinar, Choosing a Paper Surface for Your Inkjet Prints, is scheduled to start at 1:PM EST (12 PM CST). You can sign up for the event via the website below.

Website: Ilford Blog

DxO Optics Pro v8.1

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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DxO Labs have released DxO Optics Pro v8.1. This update offers color management and sharpness enhancement when printing, an output option for reducing EXIF data, as well as numerous improvements to its interface. It also adds support for five new cameras including the Sony NEX-6 (pictured), the Canon PowerShot S110 and G15, and the Olympus Pen E-PM2 and E-PL5. Plus, the software now provides support for additional Canon, Olympus, and Sigma lenses for Canon, Olympus, and Sony cameras in the form of nearly 150 new DxO Optics Modules. This upgrade is free for all owners of DxO Optics Pro 8, as well as for all photographers who purchased a license for DxO Optics Pro 7 after 1 September 2012.

Adore Noir Magazine Issue 11

Zoltan Arva-Toth | General
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The eleventh issue of Adore Noir Magazine is now available for purchase. Adore Noir is a fine art photography magazine available exclusively in digital format. Featuring surreal abstract photography by Gillian Lindsay, city- and landscapes by Jeff Alu, an essay by Sandra Djak Kovacs, subjective images of Manhattan by Peter Liepke, photographs from The Night Journey series by Susan Kae Grant, portraits by David Lykes Keenan, seascapes by David Fokos; this issue reinforces the magazine’s commitment to high-quality black-and-white imagery.. The latest issue of Adore Noir is available for $2.95 from the website below.

Website: Adore Noir

Bataflae 18L Backpack

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Gura Gear has introduced its new Bataflae 18L photo backpack. “The Bataflae 18L is unique in its ability to easily tote multiple full-size professional and medium format camera bodies, a 300mm lens, or up to a 70-200mm attached to a body while maintaining the small compact style is what makes this bag the ultimate camera backpack for any level of photographer,” the company says. “Its full 6.5” interior depth allows for larger lenses, bodies, and other equipment that does not fit in traditional small backpacks.” Featuring a padded compartment for laptops up to 13” in size, the Btaflae 18L backpack is claimed to “fit worldwide carry-on requirements.” The bag is available for pre-order in black, grey, and limited production of tan.

Canon Pixma MG6320, MG5420, iP7220 / CanoScan 9000F Mark II

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Printers, Scanners
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Canon has launched a range of new Pixma printers and an updated version of the CanoScan 9000F photo scanner. The Pixma MG6320 ($199.99) and MG5420 ($149.99) Wireless Photo All-In-One and Pixma iP7220 Wireless Photo printers feature a stylish and compact design, built-in wireless connectivity and smartphone/tablet support. The Pixma MG6320 and MG5420 incorporate individual dye-based colour and pigment black ink tanks which are part of the ChromaLife100+ ink system. Building on the success of the Pixma iP4920, the new Pixma iP7220 single-function printer ($99.99) has faster output speeds and is capable of producing a 4x6-inch borderless photo in approximately 21 seconds. The CanoScan 9000F Mark II Photo Scanner ($199.99, pictured) comes with a Film Adapter Unit making it capable of scanning 35mm film strips in addition to prints.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR Review

Mark Goldstein
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The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR is a new standard zoom lens that can be used with both full-frame FX and cropped DX Nikon DSLR cameras. Featuring a constant maximum aperture of f/3.5, the Nikon 24-85mm is an affordable partner for new DSLRs like the D800 and D600. Read our full Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/4G ED VR review to find out if it's a bargain or not...

Below the Knees

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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PhotographyBLOG has teamed up with ViewBug to launch a new photography contest entitled, “Below the Knees.” Judged by London based music, fashion and portrait photographer Tom Barnes, this competition challenges you to submit your best photos (up to two) taken below knee height. The deadline for entries is 24 April 2013. The winner will receive a chic Epiphanie Plum Stella camera bag that accommodates a camera body with attached lens, a flash, battery charger and more. Five exterior pockets give you easy access to small items like memory cards, your cell phone, keys and business cards. Plus, the top People’s Choice will win a one-year PRO Membership on ViewBug.

Website: ViewBug | PhotographyBLOG Presents Below the Knees Photo Contest

MindShift Gear Launches “rotation180° professional” Kickstarter Campaign

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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MindShift Gear, the new outdoor backpack company co-founded by Think Tank Photo and conservation photographer Daniel Beltrá, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund its rotation180° professional backpack. “The rotation180° professional backpack brings camera access to a new level,” the company says.  “Its rotating waist pack allows nature and adventure photographers to maintain creative momentum by offering immediate access to primary photo equipment in even the most precarious situations without having to take off the pack, sling it over one shoulder, or even stop hiking.” Featuring two customizable gear carrying compartments, a lower rotating belt pack and upper pack which is accessed from either the top or back panels; the rotation 180° professional backpack has a volume of 37.5 litres and weighs in at 2.5kg. For more information, visit the product’s Kickstarter page via the link below.

Sony World Photography Awards 2013 - Last Call for Entries

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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The World Photography Organisation (WPO) has announced the countdown to the close of the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards. There is just one month remaining for professional and amateur photographers from around the world to select and enter their best images of the year.  Professional photographers will compete for the coveted title of L’Iris d’Or/Sony World Photography Awards Professional Photographer of the Year 2013, plus a $25,000 cash prize.  Amateur photographers will contend the Open Photographer of the Year 2013 title, plus $5,000.

LeicaImages Annual Photography Contest 2012

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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LeicaImages have just announced their annual photography contest for 2012. The theme is “A story with available light” so the challenge is to create “a dramatic image which is enhanced by the use of available natural or artificial light,” as the organisers put it. There are no fees or exchange of services required to participate but do note that the competition is open to members of the LeicaImages community only. Thanks to Tony Rose, the owner of PopFlash.com , a USA Authorised Leica dealer, the winner will receive a new Leica X2 camera (pic.

Perfect Effects 4

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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onOne Software has released Perfect Effects 4 Premium Edition and Perfect Effects 4 Free Edition. Both programs offer a library of photographic effects and tools for image enhancement and creative stylisation. Each may be used as a standalone application, as an external editor for Apple Aperture, Adobe Lightroom, or as a Photoshop plug-in. The main difference between the two editions is that Perfect Effects 4 Premium Edition provides photographers with more than 400 photographic effects sorted into more than 40 categories, whereas the free version includes 70 photographic effects while maintaining core functionality and usage without the restrictions of a traditional 30-day timed trial or the addition of watermarks to images. Both Perfect Effects 4 Premium and Free Editions are now available from onOne Software. New users may purchase Perfect Effects 4 Premium Edition for $99.95. Owners of Perfect Effects 3 or PhotoTools 2.6 and earlier may upgrade for $69.95.

Free UV Filter with Sigma’s 18-250mm DC Macro OS HSM Lens

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories, Lenses
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Sigma UK has introduced a short-term special offer that enables anyone who purchases Sigma’s 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM lens to claim a free Sigma 62mm UV DG filter worth over £40. Benefiting from a special multi-layer lens coating, developed to counteract the highly reflective characteristic of image sensors, the Sigma 62mm UV DG filter protects your lens’ vulnerable front element from damage and eliminates the harmful effect of ultraviolet light. For more information on this offer, contact your local photographic retailer.