Monday, March 3, 2014

Zenfolio Introduces Raw File Storage

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Websites
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Zenfolio now allows its paying members to upload and store raw image files. Available to all account levels beyond Basic, the new Raw File Storage service includes 2GB of free storage for your raw images. Beyond that, there's a fee of USD / GBP / EUR / AUD 0.085 per Gigabyte per month, based on average storage over a billing period of one month. The maximum file size limit is 2GB per individual file.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Saturday Spotlight: The Fujifilm X100S Black Edition

Mark Goldstein | Compact System Camera
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We're trying something new today. Saturday Spotlight is an irregular look at products that don't quite warrant a full Photography Blog in-depth review, but are very interesting none-the-less. This week we take a look at the drool-worthy new Fujifilm X100S Black Edition...

Manfrotto Unveils New 055 Series

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Manfrotto has just revealed its new 055 collection of tripods. Featuring a Quick Power Lock system, which applies significantly increased locking power to the leg section cuffs, the new Manfrotto 055 tripods have a vertical-horizontal column mechanism hidden inside the tripod’s top casting until it is needed. Both the head and the camera are now closer to the central casting, making the tripod even more rigid and further improving image sharpness, the company says. When required, the touch of one-finger lifts the 90° column mechanism out of the casting, allowing the centre column to swing to the horizontal position, with no disassembly and without removing the head or camera. Supporting up to 9kg payload, the new Manfrotto 055 is available from £199.95 SRP.

Manfrotto Spectra 1X1 Panels

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Manfrotto has released its new Spectra 1x1 panels aimed at professional videographers. These versatile LED units provide a soft light with high colour rendition (CRI>90); thereby all colours are reproduced accurately, with no tone shift towards green. A knob on the back panel of the Manfrotto Spectra 1x1 LED panel allows users to regulate the light output level from 0 to 100%. The sister model Spectra 1x1 FT additionally enables videographers to toggle between cold white (5600°K) and warm white (3200°K) colour temperature settings. The Spectra 1x1S and Spectra 1x1F panels are daylight-balanced fixtures, emitting light respectively with a narrow and wide beam angle. The LED lights mount easily on light stands through a removable yoke with a standard 5/8” attachment and are compatible with all Manfrotto Baby Light stands. The Manfrotto Spectra 1X1 panels are available from £719.95 SRP.

Manfrotto X-Pro 3-Way Head

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Manfrotto today launched its new X-pro 3-way head (£114.95) for photographers who want maximum precision from a compact size. "Carrying a complete tripod and head takes up a lot of space in a photographer’s bag and means extra weight to carry," the company says. "This is why the new X-pro 3-way head has been designed to occupy as little space as possible, with retractable levers that can be extended when needed, but remain extremely compact when not in use." Measuring 13x13.5x13.5cm, the Manfrotto X-pro 3-way head weighs in at 1kg and has a maximum load capacity of 8kg.

Gitzo Updates Mountaineer Range

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Twenty years after launching the Mountaineer tripod family, Gitzo unveiled an updated version of the range. Now stiffer and stronger than ever, with newly developed Carbon eXact tubes and a refined top spider design; the new Mountaineer tripods are also faster and easier to use with evolutions in the G-lock system, Ground Level Set mechanism, and leg angle selectors. The new models feature G-lock Ultra, a redesigned version of Gitzo’s signature leg lock system G-lock. G-lock Ultra has even more comfortable operation and reduced risk of debris entering the tubes and locking mechanisms. There are ten tripod leg sets and three complete tripod and head kits in the new Mountaineer range, covering Gitzo’s Series 0 (the smallest) up to Series 3. Each series has three and four section models available, priced from £479.95 SRP.

Nikon UK Announces Spring Cashback Offer

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories, Digital SLR Cameras, Lenses
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Nikon UK today launched its spring consumer promotion offering up to £120 cashback. Eligible products include selected digital SLR cameras, selected DX lenses, plus the SB-300 Speedlight. The offer is valid through 28 May 2014 and all claims must be received by 30 June 2014. For more details, visit the website below.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS Review

Mark Goldstein
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The Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS is an affordable telephoto zoom lens for Fujifilm X-series compact system cameras. Offering a focal range of 76-350mm in 35mm terms, built-in image stabilisation, a compact and lightweight design, and fast and quiet auto-focusing, is the Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS a worthy addition to your X-system kit? Read our Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS review to find out...

Gary Fong LightBlade Diffuser

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Gary Fong today launched an addition to its line-up of flash diffusers with the introduction of the LightBlade Diffuser.  Designed to accommodate nearly all spedlights, the new LightBlade Diffuser softens the harsh light emitted by the flash tubes, minimises shadows and reduces glare. Attached using the Gary Fong patented strap and band mounting system, the LightBlade Diffuser mounts directly onto the flash head and is then secured with the included Gary Fong Velcro Cinch Strap. The LightBlade Diffuser is available for $34.95 MAP.

Gary Fong Lightbulb Adapter Kit

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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The new Gary Fong Lightbulb adapter kit contains a Gary Fong Lightsphere adapter, which secures to a light socket adapter with AC power plug or Europlug. Compatible with the new Lightsphere Collapsible Speed Mount (Generation 5) and the new SpeedSnoot the Gary Fong Lightbulb adapter kit fits on any standard-mount light stand. "By taking advantage of the continuous source to pre-visualise the effects of various lighting setups, photographers are provided the professional look of a diffused strobe light without the confusion of syncing, metering and modelling," the company says. The Lightbulb adapter kit will be available in April for $53.95 MSRP.

Technology Alliance Announced Between Bowens, PocketWizard and Sekonic

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories, Global
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In a joint announcement, Bowens, PocketWizard and Sekonic have teamed up to create a complete wireless triggering solution for electronic flashes that will be first introduced in the US market. Most Bowens Gemini monolights will accept an optional PocketWizard module, which enables photographers to wirelessly trigger their flash with PocketWizard radios and Sekonic light meters. Compatible components within the system include Bowens Gemini 500R, 500Pro, 750Pro, 1000Pro & 1500Pro series of monolights with PocketWizard module, all existing PocketWizard radios and the Sekonic L-478DR and L-758DR exposure meters. In addition, other (earlier) Sekonic meters can be used with an optional PocketWizard transmitter. To commemorate the alliance, PocketWizard is introducing a new Plus III Transceiver in the "Bowens' signature yellow" colour.

Raw.Pics.io Launches

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Websites
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Raw.Pics.io is a new online service capable of extracting the embedded JPEGs from certain raw image files. Supporting CR2, DNG and NEF formats, the service does not require users to upload their raw files to a server, as it uses an HTML5-based in-browser application to extract the embedded JPEGs, which can then be saved on their hard disk or shared on Facebook. "One click conversion to JPEG is a first step, expect more in the nearest future," developer Konstantin Shtondenko says. "If you have an idea of what we should implement next — don't hesitate to request features."

Fotospeed Photo Smooth Pearl 290gsm

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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The Fotospeed Photo Smooth Pearl 290gsm is a natural white, heavyweight and instant-dry, resin coated, inkjet paper. " The beautiful pearl finish matches that of the widely acclaimed, and now discontinued, Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl paper; a crisp finish with a superb color gamut," Fotospeed says. "It has a unique ink receiving layer giving an instant dry result straight from the printer." The Fotospeed Photo Smooth Pearl 290gsm will be on display at The Photography Show, along with two other new offerings, the Fotospeed Metallic Pearl 295gsm and the Fotospeed Platinum Etching 285gsm.

Nokia Technology Brings Light Painting to Smartphones

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Camera Phones, General
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The latest work from leading light artists Ian Hobson of Newcastle, UK and Jeremy Jackson from Virginia, USA demonstrate how people can make spectacular light art using a Nokia Lumia smartphone. Armed with a Nokia Lumia 1020, the artists have created a series of images and guide which are intended to inspire a new generation of smartphone light painters. All made possible by the 4-second maximum exposure time and remarkable low light photography capabilities of the Nokia Lumia smartphone cameras with PureView technology. Ian Hobson comments: ‘The Nokia Lumia 1020 is the first smartphone I’ve ever seen that has the capability to capture quality light paintings due to its 4 second shutter speed and its 41mp camera. With the advances of cameras in mobiles, it allows anyone on the go, to try out light painting.’ Click through / scroll down for a helpful video giving hints about how to light paint with a Nokia Lumia 1020.

Akvis OilPaint 2.0

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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Akvis has updated its OilPaint software to Version 2.0. Available as a standalone application and as a Photoshop plug-in, Akvis OilPaint is claimed to offer "an incredible algorithm" for turning photos into oil paintings. The software offers a number of ready to use presets, and allows users to share their favourites with other fans of the oil painting technique. The batch processing feature enables the program to automatically process a series of images in order to create a number of illustrations at the same style or to process all frames in a video. The updated version brings faster image processing, new brushes and other important improvements, and fixes bugs. Registered users of Akvis OilPaint can upgrade to version 2.0 for free.

Nikon Releases Quick-Draw Strap & Quick-Draw Strap S

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Nikon has launched  two new products developed in cooperation with BlackRapid. The Quick-Draw Strap and Quick-Draw Strap S offer great mobility by allowing the camera to slide diagonally up and down the shoulder strap; and a great sense of security with a safety strap that prevents the camera from falling in the unlikely event the fastener comes loose, and a cover that prevents the carabiner that connects the strap to the camera from scratching the camera body. The Quick-Draw Strap, with a wider shoulder pad, is suited to use with digital SLR cameras. The Quick-Draw Strap S, with a narrower shoulder pad, is suited to use with Nikon 1 System cameras and Nikon Coolpix series compacts.

Lowepro at The Photography Show

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories, Events
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Lowepro will set up a 'Loweprofessionals' wall at The Photography Show to wow visitors with an array of beautiful shots from professional photographers. Additionally, there will be two Lowepro-sponsored events at the show, including a talk by photographer Colin Prior and a seminar by Rebecca Litchfield. Throughout the day there will be a chance to win spot prizes on Stand E10, simply by wearing your Lowepro bag to the show and/or picking up a badge from the stand. Opening tomorrow at Birmingham's NEC, The Photography Show is a major new UK event dedicated to the imaging industry.

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.