Exclusive interview: Olympus R&D on continued E-M1 Mark II development

DP Review News - Wed, 01/02/2017 - 10:00
Conference room to conference room: Setting up for a cross-Pacific meeting.

Over the years, Olympus has steadily released firmware updates to its previous flagship, the OM-D E-M1. It currently sits at firmware version 4.3, and in the interim, updates have added features such as Live Composite and Live Boost II, and also included functional improvements to such aspects as continuous autofocus performance, image display lag time and more.

Bearing this in mind, it stands to reason that Olympus would be planning a similar treatment with regards to the E-M1 Mark II. Since its surprise reveal at Photokina 2016, and particularly since we've published our full review, we've emailed back and forth with both feedback and feature requests for Olympus Tokyo to consider in future firmware updates. This all culminated in an international video conference call last week, where we learned a great deal about just what Olympus' has in store.

"I would like to promise that we will be improving and evolving [the E-M1 Mark II] with firmware upgrades." - Mr. Takao Takasu, E-M1 Mark II Product Development

It's important to point out that the Olympus engineers we met with are understandably unable to confirm specifics such as when (or if) certain improvements will come to the E-M1 II, but they are at the very least committed to confirming some items that they are 'working on.' The most notable of these include:

  • Adding 'Auto ISO' capability to manual video shooting
  • Allowing for control of autofocus racking speed while shooting video
  • Clarifying and enhancing customizability of continuous autofocus behavior beyond the current -2 to +2 'tight to loose' scale
  • Working on the AF algorithm to improve tracking performance
  • Enable the ability to enter playback and menus while the buffer is clearing

To see considerations as significant as refinement of the autofocus algorithm this early in a product cycle is encouraging. Olympus is adamant (and, given what we've found in our full review, rightfully so) that the E-M1 II is part of a system that can appeal to professional shooters looking for a more compact kit without sacrificing anything in terms of overall speed. Admittedly the smaller Four Thirds sensor lags behind many cheaper APS-C and Full Frame solutions with regards to low light and noise performance, but no other camera offers 18fps Raw burst shooting with continuous autofocus, and the smaller sensor in the E-M1 II is precisely what allows the camera to do so.

"We will try to [allow] playback during data recording."- Mr. Katsuhisa Kawaguchi, Continuous Shooting

In addition to letting us know what they're working on for future firmware upgrades, Olympus gave us some further insight into some of the E-M1 II's headline capabilities.

With regard to autofocus during burst shooting, the camera is able to capture and analyze phase-detection autofocus information of the image that has just been captured to use it in tandem with Live View autofocus information for more accurate prediction of subject movement - this is all meant to improve tracking performance.

The in-body image stabilization system currently allows around 5.5 stops of image stabilization at 40mm (80mm equiv.) focal length, with shorter focal lengths reducing overall effectiveness, as with shorter focal lengths, you have ever lengthening exposure times where body shake - as opposed to hand shake - becomes dominant (this is true of all IS systems). Smaller amplitude and higher-frequency shaking from hand shake is far easier to engineer for in terms of sensor movement than high amplitude, slow-frequency shake from a photographer's whole body.

"Our [image stabilization] is becoming very, very sensitive. But we are not satisfied with the current performance and will continue to improve it." - Mr. Hisashi Takeuchi, Image Stabilization System

There are, of course, reports of users getting sharp shots at shutter speeds ranging from 2-10 seconds, though these users are also bracing against larger body movements by leaning on a wall, or placing elbows on a desk.

As with its predecessor, weather sealing and durability was a big point of emphasis on the E-M1 Mark II.

That being said, the engineers stated that they are aiming to push image stabilization technology even farther than the 6.5 stops afforded when the E-M1 II is paired with an image stabilized lens, such as the 300mm F4 Pro or 12-100mm F4 Pro. We asked them how they aim to do this, and were greeted with a wry smile or two - certainly indicative of some confidence in their ongoing development. 

Olympus was also able to tell us that the E-M1 II was 'benchmarked' against competitors' models, with a concerted effort being made to improve upon them. In this vein, particular attention was paid to speed of image playback (which is blazingly fast, and highly important considering the burst speeds), JPEG tonality, noise reduction and overall quality (important for quickly filing photos on, say, breaking news assignments), and run-and-gun movie capability, especially in terms of movie image stabilization.

"We have achieved high quality 4K video shooting without the need for a tripod or stabilizer." - Mr. Kazuhiro Haneda, Video

It's clear that Olympus is proud of the E-M1 Mark II, and is serious about tackling its shortcomings with firmware upgrades wherever possible. One thing they won't be able to fix with firmware is one of the E-M1 II's biggest criticisms: the price remains prohibitively high for many. 

But given what Olympus is already aiming to tackle, those investing in the Olympus system for the long term are likely to be rewarded. It's become more common practice over the past few years to bring updates to camera models (particularly flagships) throughout the product cycle. It's encouraging to see Olympus continue this going forward, not only in terms of usability and technical improvements, but perhaps new features as well - we'll just have to wait and see.

Categories: News

This instant camera is made almost entirely of cardboard

DP Review News - Wed, 01/02/2017 - 09:00
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A Ukrainian startup is looking to fund mass production of Jollylook, a camera made mostly of cardboard and paper that accepts Fujifilm Instax mini cartridges. The camera exists in prototype form now, and contains no electronic parts – a specially designed shutter and hand crank used to start the development process are operated manually. 

Jollylook folds up into an ordinary-looking cardboard box (a little bigger than the box an iPhone comes in, its developer says) when not in use. To start using it, the front unit containing the lens is extended. Set the aperture, raise the viewfinder, frame your shot and fire.

Jollylook's makers state that Kickstarter funds will be used to create molds for the camera's lenses, organize production and help with marketing efforts. They're closing in on their $15,000 goal fast with a full month to go. Backers who pledge at least $35 are promised one Jollylook camera and an Instax mini film cartridge. Shipping is estimated for June 2017.

$(document).ready(function() { SampleGalleryV2({"containerId":"embeddedSampleGallery_3471604241","galleryId":"3471604241","isEmbeddedWidget":true,"standalone":false,"selectedImageIndex":0,"startInCommentsView":false,"isMobile":false}) }); Jollylook - The First Cardboard Vintage Instant Camera!

Jollylook is a simple fold out camera for analog photos, made entirely from recycled paper and cardboard. No electronics, batteries or chargers - some paper, a pair of lenses and a cartridge for instant mini photos. Environment friendly - Jollylook uses less materials than used in the packaging of a regular camera. The camera body, the shutter and aperture are made of thick paper and laminated cardboard. Jollylook is as dangerous to the environment as a banana peal!

On January 31st, 2017 - Jollylook, a Ukrainian team of instant photography enthusiasts, starts a 30-days crowdfunding campaign on, to bring Jollylook - The First Cardboard Vintage Instant Film Camera to instant photo lovers.

Oleg Khalip, co-founder and author of the idea: “Once I was showing my son what's inside the analog camera and how analog photography works, I thought then - "what if the package itself transformed and fulfilled the function of the camera and the picture turned out immediately?!” There was no problem with instant photos technology, people solved this problem long time ago. What remained to create was an analog camera that would be simple and contained in the package, worked properly and allowed to take pictures and get instant results. I had to study the structure of many analog cameras, before being able to make the shutter - the most difficult part in the development was the shutter (no existing structure worked for Jollylook, so I had to invent a new shutter). After picking the right lens and calculating the aperture, we created a folding "accordion" camera body from paper, then the case where the instax cartridge is placed, and we moved to the design, here there where no doubts - it had to be retro with a little steampunk look. Then we had difficulties with the unit for getting the photo out from the cartridge but after testing many options, we achieved a perfect result, photographs are now developed and pulled out with a rotating handle.”

“When moments of life that we see freeze on paper - it is magic!” – says Oleg.

The crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $15 000 will last for 30 days and the first mass produced Jollylook cameras are expected in June 2017.

The advantages of Jollylook:

Vintage Design - retro with a little steampunk.

Foldout and Compact - a little bigger than an iphone box.

A Great Gift - can be used immediately and instantly.

A Great Toy - Jollylook is a great teaching toy for children. Your kid can take it apart and see how it works.

A Great Souvenir - even after use Jollylook is beautiful on the shelf!

Fun - entertaining and positive emotions.

Beautiful Photos - using Instax mini film you get 10 instant classic color or monochrome analog unique photos. (the cartridges can be changed many times easily and quickly )

Environment friendly - easily recyclable, as dangerous to the environment as a banana peal!


  • Lens - a meniscus lens with a focal length of 110 mm (4.33 in), allows to take photos from portrait to landscape. Can be moved up to shoot through the pinhole.
  • Viewfinder - a Fresnel lens
  • Aperture - a switchable diaphragm with manual adjustment for the seven values: f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22; f/32; f/45; f/64 + pinhole.
  • Shutter - automatic with shutter speed of 1/250 or 1/160 and manual shutter mode with the possibility to control the exposure time manually.
  • Pinhole - a round hole in a copper foil 0.6 mm (0.023 in) in diameter, located on the diaphragm disk
  • 10 shots per instax mini cartridge (the cartridge can be changed many times)
  • Storage conditions - store in a dry and dark place at room temperature.
  • Conditions of use - use at temperatures between 10 - 35 °C (50 -95 ℉) in dry weather.
  • Size when folded 85 x 127 x 48 mm (311⁄32 x 5 x 157⁄64 in)
  • Takes Fujifilm “instax mini” instant film cartridge
  • Photo size 46(W) x 62(H) mm
Categories: News

Challenge of Challenges 2016: pick your favorite DPR challenge winner

DP Review News - Wed, 01/02/2017 - 08:01

We've picked some of our favorite images from last year's DPReview challenge winners – and now it's your turn. Nearly 1000 images won challenges last year, so we've whittled it down to a manageable 25. Pick your top 5 and check back soon to see which images win the ultimate challenge! Voting is open through Friday, February 17th.

If you're feeling inspired, take a look at challenges running now for your own shot at a little fame and glory. 

Explore and vote for the best
challenge-winning images of 2016

Categories: News

Coney Island, baby! The romance of mid-century New York – in pictures

With their carefree joy tempered with moments of poignancy, Harold Feinstein’s shots of ordinary New Yorkers helped kickstart the street photography boom

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Categories: News

Urban burqa: challenging 'knee-jerk' judgments – in pictures

Australian photographer Fabian Muir’s 2014 series Blue Burqa in a Sunburnt Country was a response to the Abbott government’s proposal to impose a burqa ban in Australia. In 2017, Muir’s Sydney-shot sequel, Urban Burqa, is released in a drastically changed world: new US president Donald Trump has introduced a US travel ban affecting predominantly Muslim countries; 49% of Australians say Muslim immigration should be stopped; and the refugee crisis in Europe continues unabated. The world has changed but, says Muir, the intent of this series remains the same as its predecessor’s: ‘to protest against blanket judgments based on beliefs, origin or appearance’

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Categories: News

Canon releases downloadable EOS-1D X Mark II AF Setting Guidebook

DP Review News - Tue, 31/01/2017 - 19:07

Canon has released a downloadable 100MB PDF guide book for the EOS-1D X Mark II camera’s AF system. According to the company, this guide 'will clarify many of the details about' this AF system, including menu settings, the effect of various AF Cases, and more.

Canon goes on to point out that most of the information found in this guide is also applicable to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV camera's 61-point AF system, which features the same AF sensor as the EOS-1D X Mark II. Canon says of the guide 'We're confident having access to this file, on your computer or in a mobile device will answer many of the questions which may arise as you use either of these cameras.'

The PDF can be downloaded directly here.

Via: CanonRumors

Categories: News

Unable to recover from failed Kickstarter project, Triggertrap announces it will close shop

DP Review News - Tue, 31/01/2017 - 18:22

Triggertrap, one of the pioneers in the area of smart camera triggers, has today announced that it will cease operations within approximately a month. Triggertrap was founded in 2011, following a successful Kickstarter campaign. The initial product offered a wide range of trigger options, including, sound and motion sensors and an intervalometer.

In 2013 the company launched another Kickstarter campaign, this time for the Triggertrap Ada, a modular and expandable follow-up version to the original product line. Despite the campaign being very successful, raising more than $500,000, trouble started when the cost of components was higher than originally quoted by some suppliers and in May 2015 Triggertrap had to admit the project had failed and the Ada could not be delivered. 

The company has never been able to recover from this failure and today one of the founders, CEO Haje Jan Kamps, has posted an article on medium, announcing the closure of the company. 

“Triggertrap, like any startup, had some big highs and lows. At one point, we employed 15 staff; a team of photographers, coders, support, marketing, logistics, and operations. Ever since we announced that our Triggertrap Ada Kickstarter project failed, we’ve been in a downward spiral. For the past 18 months, we’ve been operating with just a few team members, who have been working their asses off to keep the lights on. But ultimately, we weren’t able to claw our way out of the hole, and the company now owes the company’s founders around $60k. With no realistic hope of ever paying that money back, and after ten months in a row of struggling to make payroll for our remaining staff members, we decided it was time to give up."

Technical support for Triggertrap products will end with immediate effect. Apps will remain available for download in the respective app stores but are sooner or later likely to run into incompatibility issues with updated operating system . If you are happy to keep using your current mobile OS and rely just on the Reddit-forum for support, you can still buy a Triggertrap device at a hefty discount in the online store.

Categories: News

Best photos of the day: a Berlin protest and a baby anteater

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights from around the world, including Greenpeace in Germany and a new arrival at London zoo

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Categories: News

Spacewalks and moon landings: Nasa archive photos up for auction

A set of photographic prints from Nasa’s archives – selected by Barbara Hitchcock and Peter Riva and approved by several of the astronauts – that include the first moon landing, are up for auction in New York. Originally part of a 1985 Smithsonian Institution exhibition, Sightseeing: A Space Panorama, many of the photos had never before been published by the space agency, and are the only known Cibachrome prints made from original Nasa positives

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Categories: News

Eyewitness: Ituren, Spain

Photographs from the Eyewitness series

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Categories: News

Get to know the Compass Camera, an ultra-compact pocketable film camera from 1937

DP Review News - Tue, 31/01/2017 - 10:00

The quest to make a ridiculously small, yet still fully-featured camera is not a new one. For historical examples, look no further than the Compass Camera. Made by Swiss watchmaker LeCoultre, it was designed by Englishman Noel Pemberton Billing and sold by Compass Cameras of London starting in 1937. It features a collapsible design and accepts 24x36mm plate film (a roll film back was later introduced).

Take a look at the video above for a full tour of the camera. Only around 5000 were produced, and they're now highly sought after by collectors. In fact, you can pick one up now on ebay if you have $7450 to spare.

Categories: News

Benjamin Von Wong takes aim at coal pollution with post-apocalyptic photo shoot

DP Review News - Tue, 31/01/2017 - 09:00
Shot on the Phase One IQ3, Schneider 35mm | ISO400, 35mm, f/8, 1/400 with Broncolor Move & Siros. Photo by Benjamin Von Wong

Benjamin Von Wong's latest project doesn't pull any punches. For this shoot, he collaborated with the Wasteland Warriors – a pair of artists who pay homage to a Mad Max-style post-apocalypse by creating custom clothing and props. Von Wong began planning the shoot months ago, hoping it would bring awareness to the impacts of global reliance on coal. When the political climate in the US shifted and then-President Elect Donal Trump called for a return to coal, it all seemed suddenly very timely.

Shot on the Phase One IQ3, Schneider 35mm | | ISO100, 35mm, f/6.3, 1/200 with Broncolor Move & Siros. Photo by Benjamin Von Wong

The concept envisions a future where oxygen is a precious commodity, controlled and traded by Mad Max-style soldiers. The backdrop is a mining museum in Germany called Ferropolis, and the dramatic setting is complemented by Wasteland Warrior's custom props and elaborate costumes. 

Shot on the Phase One IQ3, Schneider 35mm | ISO800, 35mm, f/12, 1/640 with Broncolor Move & Siros. Photo by Benjamin Von Wong

Per usual, Von Wong provides plenty of behind-the-scenes information, including a post-apocalyptic lighting demo. For the shoot he used a Phase One IQ3 and Schneider 35mm lens. And yes, he did use smoke bombs on the set for effect. He acknowledges how this is somewhat at odds with his message, but ultimately decided it was the only way to achieve the right visual impact and paid a voluntary carbon emissions tax.

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In his blog post, Von Wong makes it clear that he doesn't believe this truly the future for the US. 

'To be fair, I don’t expect our country to ever become this polluted. That would be an unrealistic and improbable projection even if President Trump completes his promise to save jobs and bring back “clean coal.”

Yet despite that, coal still presents some very real risks if we ignore what science tells us and turn our backs on developing sustainable, renewable energy.

I think we can all agree that coal is a finite resource that will only carry us so far. Shouldn’t we focus on the future and not dig up the past?'

Does Von Wong's message come through in his photos? Let us know what you think in the comments. 

Categories: News

ONA releases new style bags and accessories for mirrorless users

DP Review News - Tue, 31/01/2017 - 08:01
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Premium camera bag brand ONA has announced a set of new small bags and a wrist strap that are aimed at compact system camera users. The Bond Street is an upright bag designed to hold a single body and a couple of lenses, or three or four lenses while the camera is in use or on a strap. The bag has a large flap-over cover which is secured with a locking clasp, while the padded interior comes with a single adjustable divider. ONA offers the Bond Street in black or ‘antique cognac’ leather, or in a ‘smoke’ grey waxed canvas.

A second bag, called the Beacon, is shaped more like a tripod case, but features a pair of zip-up compartments for lenses, accessories or small cameras. Three dividers allow the bag to be converted from a single compartment to four, so a small tripod can be accommodated or four CSC-style lenses. The case has a carry handle as well as a removable shoulder strap, and is made from black ballistic nylon with leather trim.

The company is also to begin sales of a leather wrist strap called Kyoto, which it says is strong enough to support cameras up to 6lbs – though it has been tested to 10lbs. The underside of the strap, which ONA says is made from the same leather as is used for its bags, is suede-lined for comfort. The Kyoto comes in black, ‘dark truffle, and ‘antique cognac’.

The Bond Street bag is set to cost $219, while the Beacon will be $149. The Kyoto wrist strap will be priced at $49. The Bond Street and wrist strap are available today; the Beacon case will be available on February 15th.

For more information see the ONA website.

Press information

The Leather Bond Street
Camera Bag and Insert
Suggested Retail: $219

Handcrafted with full-grain leather and antique brass hardware, the Leather Bond Street is our most compact bag—for your camera, everyday essentials, or both. Designed specifically for mirrorless and instant cameras, the Bond Street adapts the style and function of our popular Bowery bag into a smaller silhouette that comfortably holds a camera and 1-2 lenses. The Bond Street features a closed-cell foam padded interior, a removable padded divider, and a zip pocket on back perfectly sized to fit your smartphone, batteries or other small goods. Like the Bowery, the Bond Street can also be stowed as an insert in a larger bag by detaching the strap.

Exterior Dimensions: 9”Hx7.5”Wx4.5”D I Weight: 1.7 lbs Colors: Antique Cognac (ONA5-064LBR), Black (ONA5-064LBL). Also available in Waxed Canvas: Smoke (ONA5-064GR)

The Kyoto
Leather Camera Wrist Strap
Suggested Retail: $49

The Kyoto camera wrist strap is handcrafted from full-grain premium leather left over from the material used to make ONA’s premium camera bags. Designed for the photographer who needs their camera at-hand without wanting a traditional strap, the Kyoto wrist strap is lined with suede, reinforced for strength, and padded for comfort. A steel key ring clasp and a leather scratch guard allow for compatibility with most cameras; the strap is intended for camera kits up to 6lbs and has been stress-tested to 10lbs.

Colors: Antique Cognac (ONA062LBR), Black (ONA062LBL), Dark Truffle (ONAO62LBL)

The Beacon
Lens Case
Suggested Retail; $149

The Beacon lens case is a first-of-its-kind, combining the silhouette of a vintage lens case with the function, style and flexibility of ONA’s camera bags. The Beacon is designed to protect up to four lenses and small accessories, utilizing a close-cell foam interior and customizable padded dividers. For the photographer or creative who needs more flexibility, the Beacon can also hold select camera bodies, 360 and action cameras and small tripods. Highly durable and water-resistant, the Beacon is handcrafted from premium 1050D ballistic nylon and features full-grain leather accents and solid brass hardware. It features two large zippered openings, a small accessories pouch and a removable strap to protect your lenses in a suitcase or attached to a larger bag.
Exterior Dimensions: 4"Wx18"Lx6"H (with handle) I Weight: 1.7 lbs
Colors: Black Nylon (ONA5-058NYL)

Categories: News

Going to the dogs: the fall of modern Spain – in pictures

Inspired by Cervantes and Velázquez, British photographer Richard Page travelled around Spain documenting a country struggling to recover from economic disaster

All photographs © Richard Page

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Categories: News

Hoops, wheels and moose heads: playtime in the world's most inhospitable places

How do children play in refugee camps, aboriginal reserves and places ravaged by war? Photographer Mark Neville found out

You seldom see a smile in Mark Neville’s photographs of children. Even in glorious circumstances, among the mud and smoke of a well-run adventure playground, children appear stern and serious: deeply focused on whatever business is afoot. In what Neville calls “oppressed space” – at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya or in bomb-damaged east Ukraine – they gaze into his camera quizzically, as if briefly awoken from a more absorbing inner world.

Child’s Play, an exhibition opening this week at London’s Foundling Museum, brings together images from 15 years of Neville’s photography. From Afghanistan to Pittsburgh, London, Corby, Port Glasgow and the Isle of Bute, he noticed that his big, socially engaged series all featured strong images of children. These are now part of a wider campaign to raise awareness about the importance of play in children’s development.

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Categories: News

Tasmanian Tree Projects: an intimate portrait from an impossible perspective

The Guardian on Photography Technology - Tue, 31/01/2017 - 04:43

The Tree Projects team spent 67 days documenting one eucalyptus regnans in the Styx valley of Tasmania. Using a combination of tree-climbing and elaborate arboreal rigging techniques, they produced an intimate portrait from an impossible perspective of one of the world’s largest individual flowering trees, which goes by several common names. These photos document the process that resulted in an extraordinary ultra high-definition photograph.

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Categories: News

My beautiful commute. Your journeys to work – in pictures

To bring some cheer to a chilly commute, we asked readers via GuardianWitness to share pictures of their journeys to work. Here are some of our favourites

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Categories: News

DPReview and the TWiT Network team-up to talk cameras

DP Review News - Mon, 30/01/2017 - 19:42

On Saturday, DPReview made a guest appearance on The New Screen Savers, a popular show from the TWiT Network (named after its flagship show, This Week in Tech) hosted by technology guru Leo Laporte and guest co-host Andy Ihnatko of the Chicago Sun-Times.

In this episode, DPReview editor Dale Baskin joins Leo and Andy to discuss the resurgence of analog technologies like film and instant prints.

What topics would you like to see us discuss in the future? Let us know in the comments!

Categories: News

Adobe Creative Suite 6 has been officially retired

DP Review News - Mon, 30/01/2017 - 19:21

Adobe has officially put Creative Suite out to pasture, making Creative Cloud the exclusive means by which consumers can acquire Photoshop, Illustrator, and other Adobe creative applications. The move was inevitable, but not without its controversy. Confirmation of the transition comes from Adobe itself, which updated the CS6 Web page to announce that the product has been retired.

The Web page now states that, ‘Adobe creative apps are available exclusively through Creative Cloud.’ The page also reveals this change officially took place on January 9. Adobe announced its transition to a subscription-based model in 2013, and in 2015 provided the last CS6 Camera Raw update

For the moment, Lightroom 6 is still available for purchase as a standalone application. It's priced at $149 for a full license.

Categories: News
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