Shirin Neshat on the video art that reconnected her with Iran - The Start podcast

The visual artist reveals how her installation Turbulent built a community among the Iranian diaspora in New York, and expressed her feelings for her homeland

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In 1998, a photographer who made New York her home following the Iranian revolution decided to make her first video installation. Parted from her family for 12 years, absent from the place she grew up in, Shirin Neshat sought out a team of exiled Iranian artists to create a piece that would indulge her nostalgia for traditional music and poetry. The resulting conceptual work, Turbulent, presented ideas rooted in folk culture that commented on women’s isolation in contemporary Iran, and on the creation of art itself.

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Categories: News

'Do you have any ectoplasm? Is it vaginal?' The return of punk artist Linder

Seance trumpets, one-armed flutes, northern cross-dressers … brace yourself for the eerie, dizzying world of Linder and her House of Fame show

The scene: inside Nottingham Contemporary gallery. A dialogue is unfolding between the artist, Linder, and a visitor from Cambridge University Library, who has come bearing an item for the exhibition she is curating. It is a 1920s “spirit trumpet”, part of a collection amassed by the Society of Psychical Research, and now cared for by the library. It is, in effect, a cardboard cone. Its box proclaims that it cost five shillings and was produced in Manchester by the Two Worlds Publishing Company. The box is ripped at one end, as if in eagerness by its original purchaser. It is also rather stained. Which is good: Linder likes stains.

Elsewhere in the exhibition are two paintings by Ithell Colquhoun, the British surrealist and occultist who wrote an essay in 1952 entitled Children of the Mantic Stain, pondering esoteric uses of the Rorschach ink-blot test. Linder is interested in what else lurks within the SPR collection. “Do you have any ectoplasm?” she asks. “I think so,” says Jim Bloxam, the man from Cambridge. “Is it vaginal?” asks Linder, eagerly. “Er, no. It’s a piece of cloth,” says Bloxam.

The one-armed flute is one of the more remarkable exhibits. It was made for a musician who lost an arm and a leg at war

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Categories: News

NEA report reveals photography industry's contribution to US economy

DP Review News - Wed, 21/03/2018 - 19:11

A report from the National Endowment for the Arts sheds light on the photography industry's contribution to the US economy. The report breaks down data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), revealing that the arts overall contributed more to the US economy than warehousing, agriculture, and transportation at $763.6 billion.

Photography and photo-finishing services in particular contributed $10.2 billion of that in 2015, with the industry experiencing a 2.9% average annual growth from 2012 to 2015. The industry's total production, according to the NEA, were 97.7% made up of arts and cultural goods.

The arts industries as a whole employ 4.9 million people across the nation, and they boast a positive trade balance of $20 billion. Further breaking down the numbers, the NEA says the arts added 4x more to the nation's economy than agriculture, also exceeding warehousing and transportation by $200 billion. Jewelry, movies, and television fueled the trade surplus, while web publishing and streaming, architectural service, performing arts, and design saw the fastest growth.

The National Endowment for the Arts offers a tool for viewing the economic contributions of each art industry individually.

Via: PDN

Categories: News

Google reportedly to acquire Lytro for $40 million

DP Review News - Wed, 21/03/2018 - 18:52

Lytro first appeared on the scene in 2011 with its unique light field cameras that allow for refocusing of an image after it has been captured. However, after the concept failed to catch on in the consumer space, the company decided to abandon this market and focus on Light Field video solutions for professional users.

More recently the inevitable happened and Lytro discontinued the platform, which had allowed Lytro users to share their refocusable 'living' light-field images with others online and through Facebook.

Now TechCrunch reports tech giant Google is about to acquire the company. According to unnamed sources, Google will pay approximately $40 million for Lytro's technology and patents. According to the same sources, some Lytro employees have already left the company.

Lytro's technology could be very useful for Google's ventures into the rapidly growing area of virtual reality where it is competing with Facebook's Oculus and a number of other players. A recent example of Google's VR activities is the "Welcome to Light Fields" app on the digital distribution platform Steam. According to the app description, users can "experience real-world reflections, depth, and translucence like never before in VR."

Categories: News

In pictures: look again – the seductive art of Daniel Shea

As a new book and exhibition launched this week shows, the beguiling work of the American photographer Daniel Shea manages to seduce and disconcert in equal measure.

The exhibition 43-35 10th Street, runs at the Webber Gallery, London W1, 22 March to 4 May this year. The book of the same name is published by Kodoji Press.

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Categories: News

Fatma Bucak's best photograph: a teenager in a Turin prison about to be freed

‘He had been sold a vision of paradise and found himself in jail. His release was four days away – he didn’t know if he’d survive outside’

The boy in this photo was only a teenager, but he had been in prison for over a year. Like 80% of the inmates I met in the juvenile jails of Turin in Italy, he was a migrant. The boys weren’t killers: most of them just got caught selling hash, loitering or stealing 10 euros. He had been sold a vision of paradise – and found himself in this strange landscape.

I’m Kurdish but grew up in Turkey. My father was jailed for political reasons when I was very young so I’ve always been interested in the emotional complexity of imprisonment, in finding out more about life inside. When I first arrived at this prison, I was surprised. It was so colourful, so unlike what I had expected.

I felt awkward. It was like watching a scene from an execution – as if he was to be hanged

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Categories: News

Bathing monkeys and a Brexit fish protest – Wednesday's best photos

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights from around the world, including a humanoid robot with citizenship and cherry blossom in China

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Categories: News

Sony a7 III studio scene published

DP Review News - Wed, 21/03/2018 - 13:00

The Sony a7 III is a 24MP full frame mirrorless camera with a BSI CMOS sensor. It's the third generation of Sony's entry-level full frame camera but it comes with a significant number of the features and improvements introduced with the pro sports a9 model.

On paper, at least, the specifications look like an impressive all-rounder, with very little in the way of corner-cutting to keep the camera down to a certain price or capabilities omitted to avoid cannibalizing the sales of more expensive models.

Key Features:
  • 24MP full frame BSI CMOS sensor
  • 93% AF coverage (693 phase detection points, 425 for contrast detection)
  • Oversampled 4K/24p video taken from full width 6K (cropped-in 5K for 30p)
  • In-body image stabilization
  • 10 fps continuous shooting
  • 2.36m dot OLED viewfinder
  • AF joystick
  • Touchscreen
  • Larger, 'Z-type' battery
  • Dual SD card slots
  • USB 3.1 Type C

The move to a BSI CMOS sensor, combined with the adoption of the latest technologies, such as dual gain design promises improved low light performance, compared with the somewhat under-performing chips in the previous models. The addition of Sony's additional 'Front End LSI' processor allows a significant increase in shooting speed, too, with the a7 III able to shoot at 10fps, rather than its predecessor's five. This takes it into what used to be the preserve of pro sports cameras, significantly expanding the types of photography it can lend itself to.

The Eye AF function, which finds and focuses on eyes within the scene also makes extremely simple to shoot in-focus portraits, leaving you to worry about lighting and composition.


The a7 series is the last in Sony's lineup to receive 4K video capture, but gets one of the best implementations, as a result. It can read the full width of its sensor (roughly 6000 x 3375 pixels) then process and downsample the footage, resulting in higher detail levels than would be possible shooting with a 3840 x 2160 pixel sensor. This

Beyond this, the a7 III has all the other video support tools and features Sony tends to include: focus peaking to aid manual focus, zebra warnings to help guide exposure and the ability to display a corrected preview when shooting Log footage.


The a7 III gains the same body as the a7R III, giving it a more substantial grip and an autofocus joystick on the rear plate. There's also an extra custom button on the left rear shoulder. By default this acts as a 'Protect' button for ensuring your favorite images don't get deleted but there's also the option to assign it to rate images, with a menu option to select how many rating steps are used.

As with the other recent Sonys, you can assign different functions to each custom button for stills, playback and video modes, meaning it's much more likely that you'll be able to set the camera up the way you want it to work, without having to compromise if you shoot pictures both moving and static.

There's also a touchscreen, primarily used for setting the AF point, either as a touchpad, when the camera is to your eye, or for direct selection when it isn't.

Compared to its peers:

The Sony a7 III has crept up in price, compared with its predecessor, putting it in competition not only with the most basic of full frame rivals but also up against more full-rounded models such as Nikon's D750 and Ricoh's Pentax K-1 Mark II. We've also shown what you lose out on, relative to Sony's more expensive a7R III.

Sony a7m3 Sony a7m2 Sony a7Rm3 Nikon D750 Pentax K-1 II MSRP (body only) $2000 $1700 $3200 $2300 $2000 Pixel Count 24MP 24MP 42.4MP 24MP 36.4MP CMOS type BSI FSI BSI FSI FSI Stabilization In-body
5 stops In-body
4.5 stops In-body
5.5 stops Lens only In-body
5 stops Cont. shooting rate (fps) 10 5 10 6.5 4.4

Rear LCD res dots/ pixels

0.92m dots
/ 640 x 480 1.23m dots
/ 640 x 480 1.44m dots
/ 800 x 600 1.23m dots
/ 640 x 480 1.04m dots
/ 720 x 480


Yes No Yes No No Rear LCD articulation Tilt up/down Tilt up/down Tilt up/down Tilt up/down Tilt up/down Viewfinder magn. 0.78x 0.71x 0.78x 0.70x 0.70x Viewfinder res (dots) 2.36m 2.36m 3.69m N/A N/A Highest video res UHD 4K/30p 1080/60p UHD 4K/30p 1080/60p 1080/30p (as 60i) Max bitrate 100 Mbps 50 Mbps 100 Mbps ~24 Mbps ~20 Mbps Log video? S-Log2, S-Log3, HLG S-Log2 S-Log2, S-Log3, HLG No No Mic / Headphn Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Battery life (CIPA) 710/610 350 650/530 1230 670 Weight (inc battery + card) 650g 600g 657g 840g 1010g
Categories: News

Spot the halo: saintly sightings in suburban America – in pictures

From Jesus on a jukebox to a decadent backyard shrine, Bruce Wrighton’s vintage photographs taken in New York churches and barrooms explore how the sacred and the mundane collide

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Categories: News

Alive with artisans: Cairo’s al-Darb al-Ahmar district – a photo essay

Amid the historic quarter’s busy streets, a thousand workshops maintain centuries-old craftmaking traditions. These workers’ ancient skills are celebrated in a new exhibition at London’s Royal Geographical Society

“Whatever manufactured items there are in the world,” wrote the Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi in 1671, “the poor of Cairo get hold of them, set them out and trade in them.” Nearly 350 years later, this tradition lives on in al-Darb al-Ahmar. This neighbourhood of 100,000 people, south-east of central Cairo, is said to be home to a thousand workshops. The place teems with artisans crafting everything from tents, books, boxes and brass lanterns to glass bowls and silk carpets.

It is impossible to conceive of all the elements that you find in al-Darb al-Ahmar

The children of the neighbourhood are so interested. When they walk past, they ask questions, they want to learn

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Categories: News

Nimbus Data ExaDrive pushes SSD capacity record to 100TB

DP Review News - Tue, 20/03/2018 - 20:33

Only a few weeks ago Samsung set a new record for SSD-drive capacity with its latest 30TB model. The achievement didn't stand for long; US company Nimbus Data just shot past Samsung's benchmark with the launch of a gargantuan 100TB drive.

The company says the “ExaDrive DC series raises the bar in SSD power efficiency, density, and write endurance”. At a 85% lower claimed power consumption than the competition (0.1 Watts/TB) the new drive is the world’s most efficient SSD which, according to Nimbus, means a 42% reduction cost of ownership per terabyte.

With a mean time between failures (MTBF) of 2.5 million hours, or over 285 years, longevity of the drive should be ensured as well but the the ExaDrive's selling point is of course capacity. According to the Nimbus press release the drive has “capacity to store 20 million songs, 20,000 HD movies, or 2,000 iPhones worth of data in a device small enough to fit in your back pocket.” As a photographer you're unlikely to ever run out of space, even when shooting high-resolution Raw files or recording 4K video footage.

The ExaDrive DC100 comes with the same 3.5" form factor, SATA interface and plug-and-play capability as most standard hard drives, allowing for easy installation. The ExaDrive DC100 will be available this summer. No pricing information has been provided yet but given it's targeted at datacenter use the new drive likely won't be cheap. More information is available on the Nimbus website.

Press Release:

Nimbus Data launches the world’s largest solid state drive – 100 terabytes – to power data-driven innovation ExaDrive DC series raises the bar in SSD power efficiency, density, and write endurance

Irvine, CA, March 19, 2018 – Nimbus Data, a pioneer in flash memory solutions, today announced the ExaDrive® DC100, the largest capacity (100 terabytes) solid state drive (SSD) ever produced. Featuring more than 3x the capacity of the closest competitor, the ExaDrive DC100 also draws 85% less power per terabyte (TB). These innovations reduce total cost of ownership per terabyte by 42% compared to competing enterprise SSDs, helping accelerate flash memory adoption in both cloud infrastructure and edge computing.

“As flash memory prices decline, capacity, energy efficiency, and density will become the critical drivers of cost reduction and competitive advantage,” stated Thomas Isakovich, CEO and founder of Nimbus Data. “The ExaDrive DC100 meets these challenges for both data center and edge applications, offering unmatched capacity in an ultra-low power design.”

Optimized to Maximize Flash Storage Capacity and Efficiency

While existing SSDs focus on speed, the DC100 is optimized for capacity and efficiency. With its patent-pending multiprocessor architecture, the DC100 supports much greater capacity than monolithic flash controllers. Using 3D NAND, the DC100 provides enough flash capacity to store 20 million songs, 20,000 HD movies, or 2,000 iPhones worth of data in a device small enough to fit in your back pocket. For data centers, a single rack of DC100 SSDs can achieve over 100 petabytes of raw capacity. Data centers can reduce power, cooling, and rack space costs by 85% per terabyte, enabling more workloads to move to flash at the lowest possible total cost of ownership.

Plug-and-Play and Balanced Performance for Diverse Workloads

Featuring the same 3.5” form factor and SATA interface used by hard drives, the ExaDrive DC100 is plug-and-play compatible with hundreds of storage and server platforms. The DC100’s low-power (0.1 watts/TB) and portability also make it well-suited for edge and IoT applications. The DC100 achieves up to 100,000 IOps (read or write) and up to 500 MBps throughput. This equally-balanced read/write performance is ideal for a wide range of workloads, from big data and machine learning to rich content and cloud infrastructure.

“The release of such a high capacity flash device that is fully compatible with HDD form factors opens up the opportunity to turbo charge big data platforms while at the same time improving reliability, significantly reducing device count, increasing data mobility, and lowering the TCO of multi-PB scale storage platforms,” said Eric Burgener, research vice president of Storage at IDC. “Devices of this class will allow flash to cost-effectively penetrate a broader set of use cases outside of tier 0 and tier 1 applications.”

Superior Reliability and Complete Data Protection

The ExaDrive DC100 is protected by an unlimited endurance guarantee for 5 years. By doing away with confusing drive-writes-per-day restrictions, the DC100 offers peace of mind, reduces hardware refresh cycles, and eliminates costly support renewals. Embedded capacitors ensure that buffered data is safely protected if there is a sudden power loss. Encryption, multiple ECC processors, and a secure-erase feature ensure data security. The DC100 offers a mean time between failures (MTBF) of 2.5 million hours.

Availability, Certifications, and Pricing

The ExaDrive DC series includes both 100 TB and 50 TB models. It is currently sampling to strategic customers and will be generally available in summer 2018. Nimbus Data has qualified the DC series in storage and server enclosures from major vendors. Pricing will be similar to existing enterprise SSDs on a per terabyte basis while offering 85% lower operating costs. Overall, the ExaDrive DC series will cost 42% less per terabyte over a 5-year period compared to existing enterprise SSDs. This TCO advantage factors in the superior endurance, balanced read/write performance, power savings, cooling savings, rack space savings, component reduction, and lower refresh costs.

Categories: News

DJI Phantom 5 leak hints at interchangeable lens camera system

DP Review News - Tue, 20/03/2018 - 20:29

Update: Comparing this image to the size of previous DJI lens mounts, and noting the 3:2 aspect ratio of the sensor, we're confident the leaked image shows a 1"-type sensor, which typically lend themselves well to fast readout for video. It would be the first time since Nikon's 1 System that we've seen a ILC system based around a 1"-type sensor.


A pair of images show what may be the upcoming DJI Phantom 5 drone featuring an interchangeable lens camera. The drone model hasn't yet been announced and details about it aren't yet officially available. However, leaks and rumors surrounding the drone have increased in past weeks, one of the most recent coming from Twitter user OsitaLV.

A drone said to possibly be the DJI Phantom 5 is featured in two tweeted images. The drone itself is mostly blurred, the only exception being a dark armature and what appears to be a silver or grey body. The drone's camera, however, is featured front and center, appearing to reveal the presence of an interchangeable lens system.

The same user claimed in a later tweet, "DJI said that the leaked photo of the [Phantom 5] is a customized drone for designated users, not for sale." The user expressed skepticism about that claim, but no official statements have been made. OsitaLV again tweeted a leak later on, that one a sketch featuring a drone said to be the Phantom 5.

An interchangeable lens camera isn't beyond the realm of possibility. In October, DJI introduced the X7 camera, a Super 35/APS-C system created specifically for aerial use. Rather than build on an existing platform, DJI engineered its own camera, lens mount, and four cinema primes for the system at launch. Though we usually think of DJI as a drone company, it's now a camera company as well, and it's reasonable to assume it will leverage that expertise across additional products.

According to the tweet containing the image above, the DJI Phantom 5 drone features an aluminum shell, a plastic GPS antenna cover, and plastic landing gear. The leaker's credibility as a source isn't clear, however. It's expected that DJI will announce the Phantom 5 model later on this year.

Via: PhotoRumors

Categories: News

RIP Canon's Chuck Westfall, 1952-2018

DP Review News - Tue, 20/03/2018 - 17:00
Chuck Westfall, pictured in front of our studio test scene on a visit to DPReview to show us the EOS 7D Mark II, in 2014.

We were sad to learn that Chuck Westfall, 35-year veteran of Canon USA and friend of the site, passed away last week. At the time of his death he held the position of Product Planning Advisor for Canon's Imaging Technology & Communications Group.

After DPReview moved to Seattle in 2010, Chuck became our primary point of contact for technical questions and product briefings on high-end products in the USA. His pride in Canon's portfolio of cameras and lenses and his very genuine love of photography was undimmed, even after more than 30 years at the company. During this time he played a key role in the development of countless flagship products, both film and digital.

A legendary figure within our industry, probably the nearest Chuck ever came to being a household name was as a result of the briefly-famous 'fake Chuck Westfall' blog of the late 2000s - which could not have been further from the character of the man himself. The real Chuck Westfall was polite, reserved and unfailingly professional.

While we didn't work with him for as long as some of our US-based peers (we'd recommend reading Dave Etchells' heartfelt tribute at Imaging Resource) all of us at DPReview have benefited from Chuck's expertise in one way or another. He didn't talk about his illness and it didn't stop him working; he was a welcome presence at product briefings and trade-shows until relatively recently, and he will be greatly missed by everyone here at DPReview.

Remembering Chuck Westfall

Barnaby Britton, Senior Editor

The first time I came across Chuck Westfall was in 2000 or 2001, when researching the purchase of my first professional SLR. Being a student, I couldn't afford the then-current EOS-1V, so I had my eye on a (much) used EOS-1. I sent off for archived magazine camera reviews from the late 1980s and 90s (remember when you could still do that?) and spent hours searching around in obscure corners of the Internet for any information about that long-discontinued model.

During the course of my research I dug up an incredibly detailed technical paper on the EOS-1's flash metering and autofocus systems. In terms of informational content, it was far more informative than any review I'd been able to find, while still being readable. The author was Chuck Westfall.

Although it was years before we met in person, the way that paper was written said a lot about Chuck as a person.

Chuck Westfall, pictured with photographer Adam Jones during the filming of DPReview's first long-form 'field test' video, featuring the EOS 7D Mark II, in late 2014. I took along an original EOS D30 as a conversation piece, and to shoot behind-the-scenes images.

During my time with DPReview I have met and spoken to Chuck on countless occasions about Canon's latest digital cameras. In late 2014 I spent a few days with him in Montana, during the filming of a long-form video that featured the then-new EOS 7D Mark II. I had limited access to the camera before the shoot, and his help was invaluable when it came to navigating the camera's menu systems and custom options, while (equally as important) speaking coherently about them on-camera. I took my treasured EOS D30 along to shoot some behind the scenes images of the production, and I peppered Chuck with questions about his memories of the early days of digital imaging at Canon - a hugely important period when it seemed like new technologies were being unveiled almost every week.

For as long as I knew him professionally, I never stopped asking him Chuck about the cameras I used to aspire to owning when I was still a kid. Cameras like the T90, the EOS-1, the D30 and Canon's first-generation professional DSLRs. I'll miss those tangents, which invariably came in the middle of what should have been an interview or a briefing about some or other new Canon camera or lens.

Chuck was a key figure at Canon during one of the most important periods in the company's history, and his breadth of experience was just one of the reasons he was so valuable both to Canon, and to the journalists and analysts that he worked with. If you've shot with a Canon camera at any point in the last 30 or so years, the chances are that you've benefited from his expertise. We'll miss him.

Please note that comments have been enabled on this article to enable our readers to share their memories of Chuck. Please be respectful.

Categories: News

The Game: football through the lens of Stuart Roy Clarke – in pictures

Veteran football photographer Stuart Roy Clarke has been covering the game for the past 30 years. His favourite shots are on show at the National Football Museum from 23 March 2018

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Nikon D850 Filmmaker's Kit includes Atomos Ninja Flame, three lenses and two microphones

DP Review News - Tue, 20/03/2018 - 14:00
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Nikon looks to be positioning its D850 as a serious video rig with today's announcement of a D850 Filmmaker's Kit. The kit includes the camera body, three AF-S Nikkor lenses (20mm F1.8G ED, 35mm F1.8G ED, 85mm F1.8G), an Atomos Ninja Flame external recorder, ME-1 shotgun and ME-W1 wireless mics and an extra EN-EL15A battery.

Purchased separately, these items cost nearly $6300, so the kit's MSRP of $5499 is a nice discount. The Filmmaker's Kit will be available for purchase in late March and, as of now, will only be sold in the U.S.

Press Release

For the U.S. market, Nikon Inc. is excited to announce the all-new Nikon D850 Filmmaker’s Kit, a custom bundle specifically designed for content creators and filmmakers looking to take full advantage of the D850’s extensive video capabilities and controls. The key component of the kit, the award winning Nikon D850 offers incredible features, including full-frame 4K UHD video capture at 24/30 fps, 8K and 4K time-lapse, focus peaking, zebra stripes, HDMI output and enhanced audio control.

The Nikon D850 Filmmaker’s Kit will include three prime NIKKOR lenses which are ideal for content creation, and exhibit the clarity and sharpness needed for 4K Ultra HD video; AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED, AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED, and the AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G. The kit will also contain an external 4K Atomos Ninja Flame recorder/monitor (with power kit, docking station and coiled HDMI cable).

The Nikon D850 Filmmaker’s Kit will be available in the U.S. for the suggested retail price (SRP) of $5,499.95 and will go on sale at the end of March 2018.

The Nikon D850 Filmmaker Kit includes the following:

  • Nikon D850 DSLR (with supplied accessories)
  • AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED lens
  • AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G lens
  • AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED lens
  • Extra EN-EL15A battery
  • ME-1 Stereo Microphone
  • ME-W1 Wireless Microphone
  • Atomos Ninja Flame External Recorder (with supplied accessories)
  • Custom foam inserts (can be used in hard case for transporting, hard case sold separately)
Categories: News

Martin Parr's The Great British Seaside – a photo exhibition

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich commissioned the photographer Martin Parr to take pictures for its forthcoming exhibition the The Great British Seaside, which opens on 23 March

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Categories: News

Trump in flames and a roo crossing: Tuesday's best photos

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights from around the world

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Categories: News

Alien Skin Exposure X3 review

DP Review News - Tue, 20/03/2018 - 07:01
Alien Skin Exposure X3 3.5
$149 | | Buy Now

This review is based on use of Exposure X3 and a beta version of Exposure X3 Complete Workflow Update for Mac.


We’ve reached the point with image editing software that most basic features are covered. Correcting for exposure, saturation, and other settings are the expected baseline, which means applications need something more to differentiate themselves.

Some, like Skylum’s Luminar or Serif’s Affinity Photo (see Review: Affinity Photo 1.5.2 for desktop), are competing on price, along with the fact that they don’t require subscription plans.

Add to the mix Alien Skin Software’s Exposure X3. It’s competitive on price—$149 on its own, or $199 for a bundle that includes a couple of the company’s utilities, with no subscription—but it also includes several unique features that demonstrate the company is willing to tailor the software experience to how its customers use the product.

Differentiation in organizing

Like Adobe’s Lightroom family of products, Exposure X3 is both an image editor and an organizer for managing your photo library. You can preview thumbnails, rate and flag photos, assign keywords, and fill in basic IPTC metadata such as Title, Caption, Copyright, and contact information.

People who capture many images at a time and need fast turnaround will appreciate Exposure X3’s ability to import from multiple connected memory cards at once. You can rename files at import, specify custom destinations (and create presets for folder structures), and apply keywords and metadata during the ingest process. What it doesn’t do, surprisingly, is let you preview thumbnails of what’s coming in to cull shots before they’re copied to disk. It also doesn’t let you specify how to treat Raw + JPEG image pairs; you get both shots as separate images.

Import photos from multiple sources in the same batch.

Reviewing photos is aided by Exposure X3’s Quad and Six layout views, especially when you have several photos from the same capture burst where the subject is similar in each one. Four or six adjacent images in your library are displayed in a grid so you can compare differences between them, such as the expression on a person’s face. (There are also options to compare two or three images at a time.) If one stands out, you can pin it to the screen and compare it to others. The views are synchronized, so zooming in on one zooms them all at the same location in the image.

Compare four similar images at a time in the Quad view.

An important distinction about Exposure X3’s asset management features is that they’re directory-based, not catalog based. Applications such as Lightroom and Apple’s Photos keep track of where your photos are located on disk—sometimes all within the same library file or folder, set up by the software—and store metadata and edits about the images in a central catalog.

The advantage to this approach is that, as long as you continue to use that application to manage everything, all that data is more easily accessed by the software. You don’t need to worry about managing files, because the application does it for you. On the other hand, it means the metadata and edits don’t live with the image files. If you move an original Raw file on disk to a new location, for example, any edits you made would not go along with it. And in the case of Lightroom, moving the file in the Finder or Windows Explorer confuses Lightroom because it’s lost track of the image.

Exposure X3 doesn’t use standard XMP files, as many applications do

Exposure X3 takes a different tack. It reads images from the folders in which they’re stored, and writes edits to a separate sidecar file that lives in the same directory as the image file. When you view a photo in Exposure X3, the software also reads the information in the sidecar file and displays the edits noted there.

However, Exposure X3 doesn’t use standard XMP files, as many applications do. Within every directory of images, it creates a folder hierarchy, “Alien Skin > Exposure X3,” that contains metadata files ending in “.exposurex3” created for every image you edit. Those files use the same structure as XMP files, but can also include editing instructions that only Exposure X3 understands.

Some directory viewing software is just a visual way to traverse the folders on your disk, but Exposure X3 does use some centralized know-how to help you organize photos. The Collections feature lets you create virtual albums to group related photos that may exist in separate directories, such as shots from a single client captured over several photo shoots. Adding photos to a collection doesn’t move the files on disk.

Differentiation in editing

Before Alien Skin released Exposure as a stand-alone application, it was known for its presets that simulated the looks of film stocks and other effects. Those are all there in Exposure X3, and the results are quite good.

Exposure X3’s many presets simulate the looks of old photo processes, favorite film stocks, and more.

Want to preview how a preset will look before you apply it? Mousing over the preset thumbnails reveals the effect on your image, but you can also “audition” up to four presets at a time by selecting an image and dragging the presets you want to open slots.

Compare presets to the same image before applying your pick.

In addition to the basic editing adjustments (tone, color, and so forth), Exposure X3 also includes controls for controlling grain and creating vignettes that introduce variation such as distortion and lump size for more organic results. An IR panel introduces the soft hazy signature look of infrared photos with sliders to control color contrast and the degree of halation (light spread). A Bokeh panel includes a multitude of controls for adding selective focus. Exposure X3.5 brings the Color tools into the present with the addition of granular Hue, Saturation, and Luminance controls, as well as white balance controls listed in Kelvin units and with camera Raw presets.

One feature I stumbled upon is the software’s batch editing feature, which resulted in me accidentally making the same adjustments to several shots at once. Instead of making edits to one photo and then copying them to other images, you simply select all the images you want to change in the grid view or the filmstrip at the bottom of the screen. As you make edits to one, the adjustments are applied to all of the others.

When you make any adjustment, as with Lightroom, the effect is applied to the entire image. Unlike Lightroom, Exposure X3 supports multiple layers, enabling you to isolate adjustments on their own layers. In fact, local adjustments such as brush strokes or radial or linear gradients automatically appear as new layers. Each layer has an automatic mask that hides the adjustments until you expose them with the brush or gradient tools.

If your images are stored in a shared location, such as a Dropbox folder, someone else running Exposure X3 can view the photos

The Portrait Touch Up preset demonstrates this: when you apply it, Exposure X3 creates three layers designed to whiten teeth, smooth skin, and enhance a subject’s iris. Paint over the affected areas to reveal the effects. You can’t apply blend modes between layers, as some applications allow, but you can choose an opacity level for each layer.

Remember earlier when I mentioned that Exposure X3 stores metadata in its own sidecar files? All of the editing information is also stored in the same place, creating an interesting collaborative possibility. If your images are stored in a shared location, such as a Dropbox folder, someone else running Exposure X3 can view the photos. The adjustment data exists in the text-only sidecar files that are updated on both machines as they’re changed.

You’ll want to make sure you’re not both editing at the same time, which can overwrite edits, but it allows you to work on an image together over the phone or in alternating sessions without having to send file revisions back and forth.


Working with layers and local adjustments in Exposure X3 is a bit of a mixed bag. When editing Raw .RAF files from my FujiFilm X-T1, there was noticeable lag when using the brush, which meant I became accustomed to painting an area and waiting a beat for the result to appear before moving on. The lag was more pronounced when viewing an image at 1:1 zoom; an onscreen Rendering progress indicator showed up often. Even when reviewing images, I saw pauses as the software processed my Raw files.

This was a surprise, because I came to Exposure X3 with the expectation that it tended to do a better job handling the Raw files from Fuji’s X-Trans sensors. The update from version 3.0.6 to 3.5 did improve performance somewhat, but the lag is still noticeable.

I became accustomed to painting an area and waiting a beat for the result to appear before moving on

I also loaded some Nikon .NEF Raw files from a D90, as well as Sony .ARW Raw files from a Sony a7R III. Performance was just fine on the former, and a little slow on the latter’s significantly larger (86 MB) image files. But the X-T1’s images, which max out at 16.3MP (compared to the larger 24.3MP files from the Fujifilm X-T2, which I didn’t have to test) still performed the slowest.

For context, I tested Exposure X3 on a late-2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, outfitted with 16GB of RAM (the maximum the machine can handle) and the Radeon Pro 460 graphics processor with 4GB memory (the top-line GPU upgrade when the computer was offered). This isn’t the most powerful Mac available, but it isn’t a slouch, either.

With the caveat that I’m not a software engineer, I suspect one possibility for the lackluster editing performance is that Exposure X3 doesn’t seem to be making use of the high-performance GPU. (You can check this by opening Activity Monitor, switching to the Energy tab, and looking at the Requires High Perf GPU column.)

I was also surprised that the Shadows control seems subpar. Yes, it brightens shadow areas, but it does so by flattening the entire image more than you’d expect; it feels like using a blunt instrument instead of a surgical one.

It’s a reminder that even basic features need attention, as well as the differentiating ones.

Pros and Cons


  • Import from multiple sources at the same time
  • Edits and metadata are stored in local files, not a central database
  • Quad layout reviewing
  • High-quality presets
  • Ability to audition presets
  • Fixed price, no subscription


  • Frequent rendering lag using Fujifilm Raw files
  • Shadows control is heavy-handed
  • No thumbnail preview during import
  • Raw+JPEG pairs are treated as separate images
Good for:

Photographers looking for non-subscription software that does more than basic editors.

Not good for:

The impatient.

Categories: News

Alien Skin offers Exposure X3 update

DP Review News - Tue, 20/03/2018 - 07:01

Alien Skin has released a significant update for its Exposure X3 image editor, adding greater precision to adjustment tools and more printing capabilities, among other improvements.

Called the Exposure X3 Complete Workflow Update, this software version introduces hue, luminance and saturation controls for individual colors. New white balance presets and adjustment in Kelvin values is now available, and workflow when copying images from a card to a collection has been improved. Along with new watermark adjustment options and added keyword functions, the update expands camera support and adds pre-sets to match Fujifilm's film simulation modes.

Exposure X3 Complete Workflow Update is available now; current owners of Exposure X3 can download the update for free. Exposure X2 and earlier customers can upgrade for $99, while new customers will pay $149.

We've been given an early look at the update – take a look at our Exposure X3 review.

Alien Skin Software Announces Exposure X3 Complete Workflow Update for Photographers

Update for Exposure X3 includes hue and luminance color controls - Kelvin-based temperature and tint controls - printing - enhanced watermarks, keywords, and side-by-side view - expanded camera support

Raleigh, NC (March 20, 2018) - Alien Skin Software today announced the release of the Exposure X3 Complete Workflow Update, the latest version of their non-destructive RAW photo editor. The award-winning Exposure combines powerful organizational tools and accurate photo processing into a single intuitive solution. Enhancements to this latest version make Exposure the ideal solution for handling the full photography workflow.

Photographers can easily organize, edit, retouch, export, and print their photos using Exposure’s efficient workflow. Exposure’s intuitive design streamlines image management and backups. Its support of cloud-based storage enables multi-computer and collaborative workflows.

The Exposure X3 Complete Workflow Update introduces numerous creative and organizing enhancements.

“This latest update to Exposure X3 provides photographers with additional creative and organizational control, and handles their printing needs as well,” said Alien Skin CEO Finley Lee. “Exposure’s speed, stability, and power makes it the fastest way for photographers to bring their vision to life.”

Improvements to the color controls enable photographers to adjust hue, luminance, and saturation for specific colors. In addition, users can can easily target specific colors in their image for detailed adjustments.

For RAW images that record white balance data, photographers can now specify precise Kelvin values to correct for lighting conditions and unwanted color casts. New white balance presets provide a quick way to set the Kelvin temperature for a specific type of light.

Photographers can now print their photos directly from Exposure. New print capabilities include numerous preview and margin options, output sharpening, integrated watermarks, grid capability for printing contact sheets, and more.

Collections see several refinements. New images copied from a photo card are now placed in a Last Copy From Card collection. Optionally, when copying images from their camera card, photographers can choose to add images to any existing collections. Also, when creating a collection, it’s possible to add any images that are currently selected.

Keywords have been improved with the ability to remove all keywords from a photo and to add and remove keywords from a set. It’s also now possible to import keyword sets from other applications like Lightroom.

Exposure’s watermarks now have new metadata options, a watermark preview in the Export dialog, and improved control when moving and rotating a watermark.

A number of miscellaneous improvements include expanded camera support, the ability to backup photos to a second location when copying images from a card, a six image side-by-side layout, a new uninstaller, 15 new presets that mimic Fujifilm in-camera film simulations, and more.

About Exposure

Exposure is a RAW photo editor that provides photographers with all the tools they need to complete their workflow: from first copying images to their computer, culling and organizing, creative edits and retouching, and finally exporting and printing.

Exposure’s beating heart is its advanced rendering engine, which handles the demanding task of accurate film emulation and provides exceptional processing quality and performance. Exposure handles the most sophisticated edits. Its extensive library of customizable presets makes hundreds of iconic film looks and other styles available to photographers. Extensive editing, layering, and retouching tools make it easy to refine images, as well as to blend subtle or bold creative looks.

Powerful organizing tools enable photographers to manage even the largest photo collections.

All of Exposure's tools work together in a carefully designed, customizable user interface, resulting in a seamless workflow for a wide range of photographers.

Exposure also works as a creative editing plug-in with other editors, such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

Pricing and Availability

The Exposure X3 Complete Workflow Update is available now from for $149. The update is free for current owners of Exposure X3. Upgrade pricing is available to owners of Exposure X2 and earlier versions for $99.

The Exposure X3 Complete Workflow Update is also the centerpiece in the Exposure X3 Bundle. This integrated collection bundles Exposure with Alien Skin’s award-winning Blow Up and Snap Art tools to add high-quality upsizing and natural media special effects. It is available for $199. Owners of one or more of the current apps in the Exposure X3 Bundle can purchase for $119. It is free for current owners of the Exposure X3 Bundle.

A 30-day fully-featured free trial of Exposure is available. Visit to learn more and download the trial.

Host Requirements

The Exposure X3 Complete Workflow Update may be used as a standalone program or as a set of plug-ins. When used as a set of plug-ins, it requires one of the following host applications:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS6 or Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 or newer
  • Adobe Lightroom 6 or Adobe Lightroom CC 2015 or newer
System Requirements
  • Apple Mac: OS X 10.10 Yosemite or newer
  • Microsoft Windows: Windows 7 64-bit or newer
  • An Intel Core 2 processor or compatible
  • A monitor with 1280 × 768 resolution or greater
Categories: News

Sony world photography awards 2018 – in pictures

Belching volcanoes, a boy cuddling his goat, an upside-down car … here are some of the winners in the national and open competition categories of the world’s largest photography competition

• The Sony world photography awards exhibition is at Somerset House, London, 20 April-6 May

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Categories: News
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