Thursday, July 30, 2015

Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2015

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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Outdoor Photography magazine has announced that its competition to find the next Outdoor Photographer of the Year is now open. Open to amateur and professional photographers from around the world, the competition covers all genres of outdoor photography – from landscape and adventure to wildlife and the underwater world – and this year the organisers have added a brand new category devoted to seeking out images that capture the spirit of travel. The fee to enter each of the eight adult categories is £8. There is also a free-to-enter category for photographers aged 18 or under. The magazine has once again teamed up with outdoor equipment experts Fjällräven to offer a unique prize: the overall winner will be off to the Arctic on the Fjällräven Polar dog sled expedition in spring 2016. All the winning images will be exhibited at the Telegraph Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show at ExCel, London (11-14 February 2016), and the overall winner will be announced live at the show on the Outdoor Photography PhotoBox stage on Saturday 13 February 2016. The closing date for entries is 2 November 2015.

Sony A7R II Sample Images

Mark Goldstein
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Ahead of our full review, here are 99 sample images, both JPEG and Raw, taken with the new Sony A7R II compact system camera.

We've included the full ISO range from 50-102,400 (indoor and outdoor test scenes), and 71 additional samples taken with five different lenses - the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2, Sony FE 28mm f/2, Sony FE 35mm f/2.8, Sony FE 55mm f/1.8, and Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro.

Many thanks to Hireacamera for providing the 25mm, 28mm and 90mm lenses - they're definitely worth checking out if you want to hire or rent camera kit in the UK.

Canon ME20F-SH

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital Video Cameras
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Canon, today introduced their first multi-purpose camera, the new ME20F-SH, which delivers an ISO sensitivity of over 4,000,000. This multi-purpose camera employs an enhanced version of the 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor for Full HD video use that was originally developed by Canon in 2013. It has a pixel pitch of 19μm, and each of its sensor photosites has a surface area of 361 μm2, which is much higher than the corresponding values of the Canon EOS-1D X (6.94 μm and 48.16 μm2, respectively). Furthermore, similar to Canon’s Cinema EOS System of professional digital cinematography cameras, the ME20F-SH includes Canon Log and Wide DR. The camera employs the same EF mount (Cinema Lock type) as Canon’s SLR cameras and Cinema EOS System-series of professional digital cameras, allowing users to make use of the company's extensive lineup of interchangeable lenses. The Canon ME20F-SH is expected to be available in December 2015 at a suggested retail price of $30,000.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Adobe Camera Raw 9.1.1

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) 9.1.1 is now available through the update mechanism in Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CC. This update - the last one to be offered to Photoshop CS6 users - adds support for the Canon PowerShot G3 X, the Casio EX-100F and EX-ZR3000, the Leica Q (Typ 116, pictured), the Olympus AIR-A01, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 and FZ300/FZ330, the Pentax K-3 II (with certain limitations, the Phase One IQ3 50MP, 60MP and 80MP, the Ricoh GR II, and the Sony A7R II, RX10 II and RX100 IV. It also incorporates sixteen new lens profiles for various Sigma, Zeiss, Zhongyi and Lensbaby optics, plus a number of bug fixes.

A Dream of Humanity

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Events
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The Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) is presenting an exhibition titled ‘A Dream of Humanity’ in Paris. Among the works on display are images by world-renowned photojournalist Reza Deghati as well as photographs from the ‘Faces’ initiative by HIPA which involved photography of and by Syrian children in a refugee camp in Northern Jordan. The exhibition is on view until 15 October 2015, on the banks of the River Seine.

The Astrophotography Manual

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Books
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The Astrophotography Manual: A Practical and Scientific Approach to Deep Space Imaging by Chris Woodhouse is a new title from Focal Press. Beginning with a brief astronomy primer, the book takes readers through the full astrophotography process, from equipment choice and set-up, through image acquisition, image calibration, and processing. Along the way it explains how sensor performance and light pollution relate to image quality and exposure planning. The 288-page paperback is available for $49.95 / £31.99.

Adobe to Release ACR 9.1.1, the Last Update for Photoshop CS6

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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Adobe have announced that the next release of Adobe Camera Raw (v9.1.1) will be the final version available for use with Photoshop CS6. Customers who wish to edit raw image files produced with the newest cameras in CS6 will need to convert them first to DNG format using the free Adobe DNG Converter utility. Subscribers to Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) will continue to receive the latest updates as long as their subscription lasts. The release date for ACR 9.1.1 has yet to be communicated.

Update: Adobe Camera Raw 9.1.1 has now been released.

SMS Photo Contest Submission Deadline Looms

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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A sea view photography competition, run by the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society (SMS), is still on the hunt for the UK’s ultimate sea view as the deadline looms. Having already seen a wave of entries, the competition, which is in its second year, will be judged by a panel of experts:  Matt Havercroft, editor of Discover Britain Magazine, Kate Westaway, a marine photographer and TV producer and Commodore Malcolm Williams, the Charity’s chief executive. The prize, donated by P&O Ferries, will be a five-day return crossing on their Dover to Calais route for a car or caravan and up to nine passengers. The deadline for entries to the competition is 7 August 2015.

Cuba: This Moment, Exactly So

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Books
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Cuba: This Moment, Exactly So by Lorne Resnick is a new title from Insight Editions. During more than fifty trips to the island over the past twenty years, Resnick has sought to capture the experience of being in Cuba; the result is a collection of moments filled with passion, friendship, love and laughter. Featuring over 250 colour and black-and-white photos, this deluxe coffee-table book is organised around thirty-two lyrical micro-stories by Pulitzer Prize–nominated author Brian Andreas, works inspired by Resnick’s Cuba photography and Andreas’s own visit to the island alongside the photographer. Releasing in November, Cuba: This Moment, Exactly So is priced at $75.

Learning to See Creatively, Third Edition

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Books
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Amphoto Books are set to release the third edition of Bryan Peterson's classic guide, Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color, and Composition in Photography. Fully revised with all new tips, photos, and exercises drawn from his international workshops at the Bryan Peterson School of Photography, veteran instructor Peterson takes a radical approach to creativity by explaining how it is not just an inherent ability but a skill that can be learned and applied. Using inventive images from his own portfolio, he details the basic techniques that go into not only taking a particular photo, but also provides insights on how to improve upon it — helping readers avoid the visual pitfalls and technical dead ends that can lead to dull, uninventive photographs. On sale from 4 August 2015, the 160-page paperback is priced at $25.99 USD / $30.00 CAN.

PhotoScissors 2.1

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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TeoreX, the company famed for its BatchInpaint, FolderIco, Inpaint, iResizer and PhotoSticher applications, has released PhotoScissors 2.1. Targeting users who don’t want to learn secrets of retouching, PhotoScissors makes background removal easier than ever. Now the user can remove the photo's background, and immediately replace it with another one. Additionally, the "Shadow" option first introduced in PhotoScissors 2.0 has been further enhanced in the new version of the program. Now, a user can choose the colour of the shadow to create eye-catching visual effects. And for better presentation of the cut out objects, the new release features updated and improved image edge handling. The price for a single license of PhotoScissors is $19.99. PhotoScissors is available both for Windows and Mac OS.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

BenQ and Adobe Launch Joint Promotion

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories, Software
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BenQ has partnered with Adobe to launch a new promotion for creative professionals. Those purchasing a new BenQ 24” PG2401PT colour critical monitor can now get a one-year membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography (worth £102). The Creative Cloud Photography plan combines the creative power of Adobe Photoshop CC with the management and enhancement tools within Adobe Lightroom CC. This new BenQ / Adobe offer is available to purchase through leading photography retailers and is distributed exclusively by Colour Confidence in the UK, Poland, France, the Nordics and Spain.
 

Calumet Celebrates 20 Years in Glasgow

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Events
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To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Calumet Photographic store in Glasgow (Oakbank Ind. Estate, Glasgow) is hosting a week of special events featuring experts from leading photography brands to offer advice and product demonstrations; from Tuesday 4 until Friday 7 August. On Tuesday, Profoto will offer some hands on demonstrations with their new range of flash equipment. On Wednesday, the much acclaimed Pentax 645Z will be under the spotlight, with Eizo also demonstrating its professional monitors, and Colour Confidence advising on the importance of correct colour. Thursday will see Fujifilm showing off the new X series cameras and lenses, as well as demonstrating how simple it is to produce top quality framed canvas prints at a fraction of the price of the commercially available variety, with the help of Epson. The week will end with a pro video day: Canon will demonstrate an extensive range of pro cameras and lenses with microphones and headphones from Sennheiser; stability will be added by Manfrotto; Global Distribution will handle sound recording with its range of Atomos recorders, also showing backup solutions from G-Technology; and keeping everything on track, Konova will demonstrate its tracks and sliders. All events are taking place from 10am until 4pm on each day; admission is free.

Nikon Produces 95 Millionth Interchangeable Nikkor Lens

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Lenses

Nikon today announced that the total production of Nikkor and 1 Nikkor lenses for interchangeable-lens cameras has surpassed the 95-million mark. As the 85 millionth interchangeable Nikkor lens was manufactured in January 2014, this means that Nikon produced no less than 10 million interchangeable lenses in a bit more than 1.5 years. Earlier this year Nikon announced the AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR – the fixed focal length telephoto lens was the first Nikkor lens that adopted a PF lens element, making it the world's lightest lens in its class (read review). Helping Nikon reach the production milestone were the two new professional super-telephoto lenses; the AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4E FL ED VR and AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4E FL ED VR. Also contributing to this achievement was the AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR DX-format zoom lens (read review).

Casio Exilim EX-ZR3000

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital Compact Cameras
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The Casio Exilim EX-ZR3000 is a raw-capable digital compact camera with a 1/1.7"-type back-illuminated CMOS sensor, a 25-300mm (eq.) f/2.8-6.3 lens, plus Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Other highlights include a 3-inch, 921,600-dot LCD screen that tilts up 180 degrees, plus a front-mounted secondary shutter release to facilitate the capture of self-portraits. The camera can record 1080p movies at 30 frames per second, and reduced-resolution videos at up to 1,000fps. The Casio Exilim EX-ZR3000 will become available on 31st July (in Japan) in Black and White. The initial monthly production volume is 10,000 units. There is no word on international availability and pricing.

Casio Exilim EX-ZR60

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital Compact Cameras
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Casio Japan has announced the Exilim EX-ZR60, a 16-megapixel compact camera with a 25-250mm equivalent zoom lens, a 180° tilting LCD screen and a secondary shutter release on the front panel to facilitate the capture of self-portraits. The camera features Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity for easy image sharing via Ripplex's Scene smartphone app, plus a range of "SELPHY Art" modes whose effects can be previewed on-screen. Due to be released on 28th August (in Japan), the Casio Exilim EX-ZR60 will be available in Green, Pink and White. The initial monthly production volume is estimated at 15,000 units. Pricing to be confirmed.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Fantasea FRX100 IV Housing

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Fantasea have announced an upcoming release of an underwater housing for the brand new Sony RX100 IV digital compact camera. Providing full access to all essential camera controls and functions, the Fantasea FRX100 IV housing is depth rated to 60 metres, and features a shock-resistant construction, ergonomic design and double O-ring protection. Free extras include a hand-strap, moisture detector and port cover. Also compatible with the Sony RX100 III, the Fantasea FRX100 IV underwater housing will be available from September 2015 at an estimated retail price of $500.

Unlimited Storage for PhotoShelter Pro Members

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Websites
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PhotoShelter's Pro plan now allows for unlimited file storage. This means that pro members are no longer restricted to 1TB, having the freedom to upload as many images as they like; at no extra cost. "As a PhotoShelter Pro, you'll have full control over what, when, and how you choose to store with us," the company says. "Upload any file format or size, with as many images as you like -- as often as you like -- and rest easy knowing your original files can be accessed anywhere, anytime." The subscription fee is $49.99 / month.

Metabones Canon EF to MFT Speed Booster Adapter Firmware V1.7

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Metabones have issued a firmware upgrade for four of their Canon EF to Micro Four Thirds adapters. Applicable to the Canon EF to Micro Four Thirds Speed Booster  S Adapter  (model number MB_SPEF-M43-BM2, pictured), the Canon EF to Micro Four Thirds Speed Booster Adapter (model number MB_SPEF-M43-BM1), the Canon EF to Micro Four Thirds T Speed Booster  ULTRA 0.71x Adapter  (model number MB_SPEF-M43-BT4) and the Canon EF to Micro Four Thirds T Speed Booster  XL 0.64x Adapter  (model number MB_SPEF-M43-BT3), Firmware Version 1.7 enables auto focus on Panasonic Micro Four Thirds camera bodies and fixes a couple of bugs.

Metabones Canon EF to MFT Speed Booster Adapter Firmware V1.7 for Mac OS
Metabones Canon EF to MFT Speed Booster Adapter Firmware V1.7 for Microsoft Windows

22 Landscape Photography Mistakes

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Books
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PhotoWhoa has released a new ebook entitled, 22 Landscape Photography Mistakes And How to Avoid Them. Offering 22 lessons that promise to help you shoot a landscape "as a veteran landscape photographer would," this publication describes a number of techniques that emphasise and magnify the environment; and shows you how to modify your visual instincts so that you avoid common mistakes. The book is available now from PhotoWhoa, and free for a limited time only.