News

Nikon marks 100th anniversary with new scholarship program

DP Review News - Thu, 27/07/2017 - 15:00

Nikon is marking its 100th anniversary in many ways, including the creation of a new scholarship program for 'future visual creators' in the USA and Canada.

The scholarship will consist of two programs: 'The Nikon Storytellers Scholarship' will award ten college students with academic scholarships of $10,000. In addition, Nikon will identify rising stars on digital platforms and recognize them as a part of a curated 'Nikon100 List.'

Criteria for consideration will be announced later this year, and submissions will be reviewed, selected and awarded prior to the 2018-2019 school year.

Press Release:

NIKON INC. CELEBRATES 100TH ANNIVERSARY WITH SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM FOR FUTURE VISUAL CREATORS AND PLANS TO RECOGNIZE UP-AND-COMING PHOTOGRAPHERS TO NEW #NIKON100 LIST

Imaging Leader Allocates $100,000 in Scholarship Funds to invest in Next Generation of Students Pursuing Photography, Film, Journalism, Visual and Fine Arts Degrees

NEW YORK, NY (July 27, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. EDT) – Today, Nikon Inc. announced two new programs to recognize and support the next generation of visual creators. “The Nikon Storytellers Scholarship” will award ten college students with academic scholarships of $10,000. Additionally, Nikon Inc. will identify rising stars on digital platforms and recognize them as a part of the curated “Nikon100 List.”

“For the past 100 years, Nikon has been at the forefront of optical innovation and exploration,” said Kosuke Kawaura, Director; Marketing, Communications & Planning, Nikon Inc. “We have never been more excited about the future of imaging and are committed to supporting the next generation of photographers and creators that are eager to capture and share their world.”

This fall, Nikon will announce the criteria for students throughout the United States and Canada to be considered for the scholarship program. Submissions will be reviewed, selected and awarded prior to the 2018-2019 school year. Recognizing the value of education and creative collaboration, Nikon is using their 100th Anniversary milestone to celebrate current and future creators.

“Nikon understands the dedication it takes to pursue and become successful in creative fields, and we are honored to play a role in supporting students’ achievement in academic excellence,” added Kawaura.

In addition to the scholarship, Nikon will identify and curate a list of rising stars in photography. The “#Nikon100 List” will identify photographers on Instagram that are creating inspiring work and telling amazing stories. Throughout the 100-day campaign, Nikon will highlight one new photographer to follow each day and will share that individuals’ photos on the Nikon Instagram channel with hashtag #Nikon100.

These new programs build upon the deep commitment Nikon has made to supporting imaging talent. Nikon is the founding sponsor of the Eddie Adams Workshop, an intense four-day gathering of top photography professionals and 100 carefully selected, gifted students. Nikon also has a robust product loan program for students to learn the art of photography at 33 colleges and universities throughout the country. For some students, this is their only opportunity to access photography gear to learn and share their creative point of view. Nikon has also been teaching photographers of all levels for over 30 years through their Nikon School program which offers online and offline courses.

Students interested in the Nikon Storytellers Scholarship and those looking to learn more about the “#Nikon100 List” can follow Nikon on Instagram , Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat (@NikonUSASnap) or visit http://www.nikonusa.com this fall for more details.

Categories: News

The Vertical ELPH: remembering Canon's PowerShot TX1 hybrid camera

DP Review News - Thu, 27/07/2017 - 14:15

Buried among the February 2007 announcements of Canon's PowerShot SD750 and SD1000 Digital ELPHs*, and the A560 and A570 IS was the PowerShot TX1. It took the main features of camcorders at the time, namely the vertical design, rotating display and long-ish lens and put them into a stylish body about the same size as your average Digital ELPH. Add in 720/30p video and it quickly became obvious that the TX1 was created to bridge the worlds of photo and video shooting.

* The SD750 was known as the IXUS 75 while the SD1000 was the IXUS 70 outside of North America.

Behind that metal door was an F3.5-5.6, 39-390mm equivalent lens.

The PowerShot TX1 was based around a 1/2.5", 7.1MP CCD, which was paired with Canon's DIGIC III processor. While the F3.5-5.6, 10X zoom lens was quite long for that day, it had a focal range of 39-390mm equivalent, so wide-angle work was out. The lens featured Canon's excellent image stabilization system – a necessity when capturing video at long focal lengths. Keeping with the stylish look of the ELPH/IXUS lineup, the TX1's lens hid itself behind a door when powered off.

The 1.8", 114k-dot LCD could rotate a total of 270 degrees, fitting in perfectly with the TX1's camcorder-like design.

Canon had to cram a lot of buttons into a small area on the diminutive TX1. The result was a camera with pretty lousy ergonomics. DPReview's Simon Joinson sums up the TX1's ergonomic issues nicely in this paragraph:

'Sexy looks aside, in use the design is nothing short of a disaster, and has the unique ability to make you feel like you have too many fingers on your right hand. Once you've mastered not blocking the lens the challenge is to take a picture without jolting the camera, change settings without dropping it, or use it to take a vertically orientated picture at all. It's better if you use two hands, but not a lot.'

Ouch. Something that came along with the small body was a small battery. The TX1's CIPA rating of 160 shots per charge was probably the worst I've seen in almost 20 years of reviewing cameras.

The TX1 took SD and MMC cards, and you needed a big one to store more than a few minutes of video.

Ergonomics and battery life aside, the PowerShot TX1 took pretty nice photos. Its resolution was competitive with other 7MP cameras, distortion was relatively mild and its noise levels weren't too bad at ISO 400 (going much higher than that on a compact was a bad idea). As with most compacts, the TX1 had some image quality shortcomings: clipped highlights, purple fringing and redeye were all problems, though the latter could be fixed in-camera.

For those hoping that the TX1 would be a camcorder replacement, it wasn't. Its 1080/30p video is noticeably softer than what you'd get from an HD camcorder and the use of the Motion JPEG codec meant that each second of video took up 4.5MB on your memory card.

Photo courtesy of DCResource.com

The TX1 didn't have an HDMI port (but what camera did then?) so if you wanted to hook into a nicer TV, it took a lot of cables. On the right in the photo above are component video cables, which take up one port on the camera. Naturally, you'd want to listen to the high quality stereo sound recorded by the TX1, which required a second cable: the composite one you see above-left. It ended up being quite the rat's nest.

In the end, the Canon PowerShot TX1 generated a lengthy list of pros and cons and was the recipient of DPReview's 'Recommended (but only just)' award.

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Did you actually have a PowerShot TX1 and want to share your memories? Leave 'em in the comments section below! As always, suggestions for future Throwback Thursdays can be left there, as well.

Categories: News

This video compares a $50 Sony camcorder with a $50,000 RED Epic Dragon

DP Review News - Thu, 27/07/2017 - 14:00

Ever wonder whether a more expensive camera is truly worth the cost? Sam and Niko of Corridor recently set out to compare footage from a $50 Sony HD camcorder and the RED Epic Dragon, a $50,000 6K cinema camera. As you'd expect, the differences are immediately apparent, cost aside, when the two cameras are put side-by-side: the RED camera's lens alone is about the same size as the entire Sony camcorder.

The RED Epic Dragon has proven capable many times throughout its life, with perhaps one of the model's most notable achievements being a trip into space where it was used by NASA astronauts to capture images from the International Space Station. The RED camera has also been used for several major Hollywood movies. The Sony HD camcorder used in the video, however, is a simple model with a low price point aimed at the average consumer.

At nearly 15 minutes in length, the comparison video above runs through several major aspects of both cameras' footage, looking at things like noise level, exposure, low-light performance, post-processing results and more. As expected, the RED camera dominates in each category. More of the team's videos can be found on the 'Sam and Niko' YouTube channel.

Via: iso1200

Categories: News

Best photos of the day: Madonna and 700 teddies

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights from around the world, including Madonna on stage in Saint-Tropez and teddy bears on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral

Continue reading...
Categories: News

The tongue-sucking genius of Masahisa Fukase – in pictures

Pierced by pins, tormented by ravens, obscured by bathtub bubbles … the great Japanese photographer created astonishing, disturbing and highly personal images of himself, his family – and his beloved cat Sasuke the Second

Continue reading...
Categories: News

New TSA procedure requires cameras to be placed in a separate bin

DP Review News - Wed, 26/07/2017 - 22:15
Photo by Josh Hallett. Licensed under Creative Commons

Photographers who fly frequently in the US may want to finally pay for TSA Pre-check status. New rules state that in standard security lines, cameras will need to be placed in a separate bin for screening. According to new procedures announced by the TSA today, any electronic device larger than a cell phone will need to be removed from its case or bag and placed in a bin with nothing above or below it.

Now, not only will your laptop need its own bin, but potentially every camera body, lens, flashgun and tablet in your carry-on bags will need to be placed in bins for X-ray screening. A photographer traveling with a full complement of gear for a shoot is going to need to budget a little extra time for all of the un-packing and packing at the airport.

TSA mentions that the heightened security requirements come as a response to 'an increased threat to aviation security.' The new procedures are already in place at ten airports and will be phased in to all airports in the 'weeks and months ahead.' There's also no change in what items are permitted through security.

Anyone enrolled in TSA's Pre-check program will be able to keep their electronics in bags just as before. If you do a great deal of flying through the US with photo equipment, that's probably going to sound pretty appealing.

Here are the airports where the new rules are already in place:

  • Boise Airport (BOI)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Colorado Springs Airport (COS)
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport (LBB)
  • [Las Vegas] McCarran International Airport (LAS)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  • [San Juan] Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU)

Have you flown through any of the airports with the new regulations in place? Let us know about your experience in the comments.

Categories: News

New photos appear to show Nikon D850: Illuminated controls, tilting LCD, no built-in flash

DP Review News - Wed, 26/07/2017 - 18:52
This image, obtained by nikonrumors.com purports to show Nikon's forthcoming DSLR, the Nikon D850. If genuine, the pictures indicate that the D850 will offer illuminated controls and a tilting LCD screen, but will lack a built-in flash.

Images have been obtained by nikonrumors.com that seem to show Nikon's forthcoming D850 DSLR, the development of which was announced this week. If genuine, the pictures indicate that the D850 will offer illuminated controls and a tilting LCD screen, but no built-in flash. While some photographers won't be sorry to see the flash deleted, we hope that if it does indeed lack this feature, the D850 includes some kind of option for built-in wireless flash triggering.

We're still waiting for detailed specifications on the new camera, but in the meantime, we put together a wish-list of features we'd like to see. Perhaps we can check a couple off the list...

Click here for what we hope to see in the forthcoming Nikon D850

Categories: News

Lomography unveils chrome-plated Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens

DP Review News - Wed, 26/07/2017 - 18:30

Early last year, Lomography launched its then-new Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. The funding campaign was successful, and Lomography has decided to release a new version of the lens because of that success: the Chrome Plated Edition. The chrome plating lends the Art Lens a 'classic, timeless look' that is 'stunning on both analogue and digital cameras,' according to Lomography.

The Daguerreotype Achromat Art Lens offers an F2.9 to F16 aperture range alongside a 64mm focal length, minimum 0.5m focusing distance, and construction that features 2 elements in 1 group. This particular lens model was designed by Lomography based on the lens used with the Daguerreotype camera in 1839; it includes a Waterhouse Aperture Plate and can be used for effects ranging from 'silky soft focus' to 'crisp sharp shots.'

The Chrome Plated version of the lens is being offered in Nikon F and Canon EF mounts, though Lomography notes that support expands beyond those with the use of adapters. The lens is available now through Lomography's online store as well as Gallery Stores across the world for $499/€499.

Categories: News

Nikon updates firmware for D600, D610, D750 and KeyMission 80

DP Review News - Wed, 26/07/2017 - 17:23

Nikon has updated multiple camera models with new firmware, bringing many bug fixes, as well as some new lens support and improvements to the D600 (version 1.03), D610 (version 1.02), D750 (version 1.12), and KeyMission 80 (version 1.2). All four updates are available to download now from the Nikon website. The full update changelogs are listed below:

Nikon D600 v1.03

  • Added support for the following features of AF-P lenses:
    • If the standby timer expires after the camera has focused, the focus position will not change when the timer is reactivated.
    • In manual focus mode, the focus indicator in the viewfinder (or in live view, the focus point selected in the monitor) will flash to show that infinity or the minimum focus distance has been reached by rotating the focus ring.
  • Added support for AF-P DX lenses.
  • Fixed the following issues:
    • Optimal exposure would sometimes not be achieved in photos taken in live view using a lens with electromagnetically controlled aperture (type E lenses).
    • When used to take pictures after an option was selected for Custom Setting d10 (Exposure delay mode) in the CUSTOM SETTING MENU, Camera Control Pro 2 would sometimes display the error “The camera was not able to take a picture.” despite having actually taken the picture.

Nikon D610 v1.02

  • Added support for the following features of AF-P lenses:
    • If the standby timer expires after the camera has focused, the focus position will not change when the timer is reactivated.
    • In manual focus mode, the focus indicator in the viewfinder (or in live view, the focus point selected in the monitor) will flash to show that infinity or the minimum focus distance has been reached by rotating the focus ring.
  • Added support for AF-P DX lenses.
  • Fixed the following issues:
    • Optimal exposure would sometimes not be achieved in photos taken in live view using a lens with electromagnetically controlled aperture (type E lenses).
    • When used to take pictures after an option was selected for Custom Setting d10 (Exposure delay mode) in the CUSTOM SETTING MENU, Camera Control Pro 2 would sometimes display the error “The camera was not able to take a picture.” despite having actually taken the picture.

Nikon D750

  • Added support for the following features of AF-P lenses:
    •  If the standby timer expires after the camera has focused, the focus position will not change when the timer is reactivated.
    •  In manual focus mode, the focus indicator in the viewfinder (or in live view, the focus point selected in the monitor) will flash to show that infinity or the minimum focus distance has been reached by rotating the focus ring.
  • Fixed the following issues:
    •  When pictures were viewed after shooting with Overflow selected for Role played by card in Slot 2 in the PHOTO SHOOTING MENU, the camera would sometimes display the second-last picture taken.
    • Microphone sensitivity would sometimes not be correctly adjusted when movies were recorded with Auto sensitivity > Microphone sensitivity.

Nikon KeyMission 80

  • Improved an issue that interfered with pairing or resulted in unreliable connections when the camera was used with the Android edition of the SnapBridge app.
Categories: News

Idaho in the spring: 9 must-shoot spots

DP Review News - Wed, 26/07/2017 - 17:18
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It probably hasn't made your landscape photography bucket list just yet, but there's a good reason to visit Idaho. In fact, there are many good reasons, and photographer Michael Bonocore spent this spring traveling around his new home state, capturing the grandeur of the local landscapes.

Using the Visit Idaho website as his guide, Bonocore trekked all over the state and found nine 'must-see' destinations for all of the photographers out there. Especially in the spring, these spots offer "a perfect mix of still snow-capped mountain peaks, vibrant wildflowers and warming temperatures."

From Sun Valley, to the town of Stanley (population 62), to Redfish Lake and beyond, he put his findings and some stunning photographs together into a photo essay, which you can read over on Resource Travel. And if you want a taste before you jet off, check out the slideshow above.

Categories: News

Adobe accidentally leaks 'Project Nimbus': A cloud-based Lightroom-powered photo editor

DP Review News - Wed, 26/07/2017 - 16:04
A screenshot from the cloud-based photo editor 'Project Nimbus', accidentally leaked by Adobe yesterday. Screenshot: MacGenerations

Adobe announced development of its 'Project Nimbus' cloud-based photo editor last year, but we knew very little about this stripped down 'Lightroom in the Cloud.' Until, that is, yesterday when Adobe accidentally released an internal build of the app to some Creative Cloud users.

French website MacGeneration got their hands on some screenshots that were captured by users before the mistake was spotted and the app was taken down by Adobe.

From what we can tell from the screenshots and MacGeneration's description, the app is a lot like Lightroom Mobile for the iPad. Basic light and color edits, brushes and gradients are all available, and the editing workflow is entirely non-destructive. What sets Nimbus apart is that it's entirely cloud-based: as you edit, your edits and photos are automatically saved to the cloud, and the app comes with 1TB of cloud storage for this very purpose.

Here are a couple more screenshots:

After the app leaked, Adobe released the following statement to Engadget:

We mistakenly shared Project Nimbus with a small group of Adobe Creative Cloud customers. As you will recall from MAX in October 2016, Project Nimbus is next-generation photo editing technology that we have been exploring as part of our Lightroom and Photoshop ecosystems. We cannot share any further details at this time but will keep you posted on future developments.

If you're intrigued by Nimbus, you won't have to wait too long before you can give it a shot. A beta of the app is due out sometime in 2017.

Categories: News

Pursuit: A spectacular storm-chasing time-lapse made from 90,000 photos

DP Review News - Wed, 26/07/2017 - 14:49

Storm chaser and award-winning photographer Mike Oblinski has done it again: he's created a time-lapse that will blow you away. Captured over the course of three months, across 10 states, and involving 28,000 miles of driving and over 90,000 time-lapse frames, Pursuit is the result of utter determination.

Oblinski tells the story behind this time-lapse in the video's description, explaining how this season of storm chasing nearly broke him.

After 12 straight days on the road and away from his family, he left once again, just 24 hours after getting home, to chase another storm on June 12th. But doubt got the better of him, and he found himself 80 miles away from the spot he needed to get to.

"I got back in the car and as I drove, the pain got the better of me and the tears came," he writes. "It may not be easy to understand why, but when you work as hard as I did this spring, a moment like that can break you. I felt like I let my wife down. But mostly I let myself down. I forgot who I was and that's not me. Or it shouldn't have been me. I failed myself. And it seemed like the easy choice to just give up and head for home."

But he didn't head for home, he decided to keep going, got out ahead of the storm, and captured one of the best structures he'd seen all spring.

The result of that decision not to give up, to keep on going even when it seemed like he had utterly failed, is one of Oblinski's best time-lapse films yet... and that's saying something if you know his previous work.

To see more from Oblinski's portfolio, head over to his website or give him a follow on Facebook and Instagram.

Categories: News

Blackmagic Video Assist 4K review

DP Review News - Wed, 26/07/2017 - 14:15

If you find yourself wondering 'why would I even want an external monitor/recorder' then I'd suggest you spend a few moments reading our article on the topic. The short answer is that it's a great way to expand the tools for, and maximize the quality of, video capture on your current camera.

The Video Assist 4K is the larger of Blackmagic Design's current monitor/recorders. It features a 7", 1920 x 1200 pixel display and the ability to capture up to UHD/30p video in 10-bit 4:2:2 quality. It can accept video across HDMI or 6G-SDI inputs and offers outputs for when you want to include it in a more complex setup.

It's been on the market since April 2016 so it doesn't match the spec of the latest 4K/60p capable competitors, nor can it cope with the wider-screen DCI flavor of 4K but, through a series of firmware updates, Blackmagic has been adding features to this sub-$1000 monitor/recorder.

And, since it's likely to be a while before a majority of brands offer cameras capable of 4K/60p, its age doesn't weigh too heavily against it, unless you want to shoot the more cinema-like 1.85:1 DCI aspect ratio.

The Video Assist 4K can record in a variety of popular codecs, so that the files are immediately ready for use in Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro or AVID Media Composer. All the Apple codecs and the 220 and HQX versions DNx are captured in up to 10-bit detail.

Apple codecs
  • ProRes Proxy
  • ProRes 422 LT
  • ProRes 422
  • ProRes 422 HQ

AVID codecs
(in either Quicktime or MXF wrapper)

HD Codecs
  • DNxHD 45
  • DNxHD 145
  • DNxHD 220x
4K Codecs
  • DNxHR LB
  • DNxHR SQ
  • DNxHR HQX

It's also a fairly well-connected little beast, though, which makes it easy to hook up to most cameras.

Inputs Outputs Video
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x 6G SDI
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x 6G SDI
Audio
  • 2 x Mini XLR (balanced)
    with phantom power
  • Over HDMI
  • 3.5mm headphone socket
Batteries and storage

Unlike the Atomos recorders, which tend to use Sony L-series-style batteries and write to SSD drives, the Blackmagic uses Canon LP-E6 batteries and writes to SD cards. This use of more photographer-friendly formats has both advantages and disadvantages.

The obvious advantages are that, especially if you already shoot Canon, you may well already have the equipment you need to start shooting. No messing around with cradles to mount the SSD on your computer, you just use the same SD reader you use for stills photography.

The downside is that, until V60 and V90-rated SD cards become more common, even the most expensive U3 cards, for all their promises of transfer rates in the hundreds of MB/s, only guarantee to sustainably write at up to 30MB/s (240Mbps). If you're capturing video, it's this sustained write rate that you need to worry about and 4K can easily exceed this figure.

The Video Assist 4K uses common, Canon-style batteries and fast SD card, both of which you may already own and which are very widely available.

As a result, Blackmagic has to publish a list of SD cards it recommends for its higher frame rates and codecs. For most of the better ones, you'll need a UHS II, U3 card. Given the company's history of adding features to the Video Assist via firmware, the hope has to be that it's possible to offer proper support for V60 and V90 cards, but they wouldn't comment, when asked.

The downside of using the common LP-E6 batteries is that, although pretty powerful in comparison with other DSLR batteries, they're tiny compared to some of the huge L-series blocks you can get. Consequently, you'll need a handful of them if you're planning an extended shoot away from a power supply. I found I was getting 20-30 minutes of capture out of two fully charged batteries. The batteries can be hot-swapped while recording, in the unlikely event of you needing a single clip to last longer than that.

What's it like to use?

The first thing to get used to is how much size and weight shooting with any external recorder adds. The use of such a big screen immediately limits your ability to 'run and gun.' If you're just trying to grab some quick, on-the-move, on-the-fly footage, the Video Assist will slow you down. However, if you have the few extra moments to consider each shot, it increases the chances of you getting it right as well as increasing the quality of your footage.

if you have the few extra moments to consider each shot, it increases the chances of you getting it right

Its weight means that it's not easily mounted on your camera. There are plenty of hotshoe-to-tripod mount adapters available and, given the Video Assist's 928g (2lb) mass (with batteries), we'd recommend the use of the most sturdy ballhead-type adapter you can find. It's much happier if you have some kind of arm to attach it to your tripod or have your camera mounted in a rig, to which you can then add the Video Assist.

However, one of the benefits you gain for this weight is pretty rugged construction. The Video Assist's metal and rubber build doesn't promise any level of shockproofing, but our review unit survived an accidental fall onto pavement and has worked flawlessly since, suggesting it'll stand up to the rough-and-tumble of shooting in the real world.

Touchscreen interface

In terms of actual use, everything on the Video Assist is operated by touchscreen. It's pretty responsive, with only the slightest hint of lag and there are few enough options that you very quickly find your way around and learn it in no time at all.

The Video Assist gives you access to adjustable zebra highlight warnings as well as focus peaking, regardless of whether your camera offers these features.

However, the more you think about the way the interface works, the less sense it makes: three of the six button arrayed along the top of the main screen take you to the same menu, some options have left/right arrows with the Off option at the far left, others just have On and Off buttons, with Off on the right. The monitor and audio setup menu is accessed by pressing the 'Card' button. Even by the standard of camera menus, it feels like more and more has been added onto the system without any thought given to what a blank-sheet design would look like.

You can select what triggers recording from the main screen but toggling false color, peaking or zebras is an extra button-press away

Some of this may be down to my inexperience, of course. Perhaps more experienced users constantly need to change which input triggers recording or change codec mid shoot, but I find myself needing to toggle False Color on and off far more frequently, and I have to visit a separate menu page each time I want to do so. Revising this design would speed up operation of the Video Assist considerably.

It's also a little disappointing to see that you can only magnify the central portion of the scene: there's no way of moving the focused region around, which is awkward if your composition requires an off-center point of interest.

The Video Assist 4K can capture Log footage but apply a LUT to the image it displays. This GIF approximates the effect of applying the F-Log/F-Gamut -> WDR/BT 709 LUT available from Fujifilm.

Overall, though, the Video Assist is really easy to use, even for a novice like me. It was easy enough to upload a LUT using the desktop-based software, meaning I can shoot Log but with a comprehensible preview. Equally, once you get used to shooting with False Colors, it's awkward to live without them. Which brings us to...

Scopes

In keeping with its history of adding features via firmware, Blackmagic Designs recently released the long-promised update that brings 'scopes to the Video Assist. This is a big deal, since scopes are a very powerful way of interpreting the tonal and color distribution in the footage you're capturing.

The Vectorscope shows you how the color in your image is distributed.

The latest update brings a luminance waveform, an RGB waveform/parade (though only represented in white, so a little hard to interpret) and a vectorscope.

The implementation is not great, however. All scopes are accessed by tapping the histogram at the lower left of the panel and they all take up the whole screen. Two tiny, tiny buttons inconsistent with the rest of the interface let you control over how the waveforms and video appear. The right-hand button brings up two sliders that adjust how bright the video feed is shown in the background and how bright the waves are displayed.

Waveform Waveform overlaid Video PiP

The second acts as a toggle to show the video feed as a small picture-in-picture window, but no way of showing the scopes themselves on anything but the full width of the screen, so you may find you have to toggle them on and off, rather than leaving them open to monitor as you shoot.

Despite this slightly rough-round-the-edges implementation, the addition of scopes is a significant addition to the Video Assist, especially as they're tools that are generally lacking from the cameras we tend to review. They're also a free upgrade to any existing owners and coincide with Blackmagic Designs offering a significant temporary price cut on the device, so we're not going to be too critical of the slightly imperfect integration.

Conclusion

For many people it won't be obvious why they should go out and spend $900 on an accessory that does something their camera tries to do already: preview and capture movies. However, for a certain kind of videography, the Video Assist makes life a lot easier (and the peace of mind it brings, in terms of knowing that your footage is going to be correctly shot is immense).

With a simple L-shaped bracket, you can make a relatively hand-holdable combination with some small cameras (though you'll need to think pretty hard about stabilization).

And, despite a couple of gripes about its operation, the Video Assist 4K is still a very easy-to-use, well specified device. It means that, for less than the cost of a new camera, you can maximize the quality of the footage you're capturing from your current one while also gaining access to a host of useful tools it almost certainly hasn't got.

In addition, shooting in formats such as ProRes and DNx means your footage is in and edit-friendly format, straight out of the recorder, potentially removing a time-consuming transcoding step from your workflow.

$900 isn't a trivial amount of money but, for a great many photographers, it's an amount they'd be happy to spend on a new lens. And, like a lens, it's a purchase that will probably outlive your current camera and work happily with whatever you're shooting in a few years time. Only the lack of 4K/60p or DCI 4K capture and the uncertainty over fast SD card support casts a doubt over its future-proof-ness.

What we like:
  • Captures the best of your camera's output
  • Adds hugely useful tools to support video capture
  • Durable build
What we don't:
  • Question mark over future SD card support
  • Increasingly convoluted interface
Categories: News

Marrie Bot's best photograph: bath-time on an ancient pilgrimage through Andalucía

‘We were out on the trail for three days with no shops and nothing to eat. And all I had with me was my camera, 20 rolls of film and a T-shirt’

I’ve been taking photographs on the El Rocío pilgrimage for 40 years, and it’s still just as intense an experience as it was the first time. Each year, more than 100 brotherhoods travel to the hermitage at El Rocío from all over Andalucía. I had heard that the Brotherhood of Triana was famous for its richness and its beauty, so in 1976 I decided to travel with them.

I went to their district in Seville, where they start their journey, and it was overwhelming: all the women in these beautiful flamenco dresses; the men just as beautifully dressed up; the horses; the oxen; the heavily decorated hooded wagons, or carretas each family travels with; the silver carreta out front, carrying the simpecado, the banner without sin, that some people venerate even more than the Virgin herself. I didn’t know whether to look left or right, in front or behind.

There is constant sing and when you pass a river everyone gets baptised

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Categories: News

Fujifilm GF 110mm F2 sample gallery

DP Review News - Wed, 26/07/2017 - 13:30

Fujifilm's GFX system is growing fast, and among the company's latest lenses is the GF 110mm F2 R LM WR. With a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 87mm, it's very close to the 'classic' 85mm portrait lenses offered by other manufacturers. It's weather sealed, focuses internally and quickly, and is quite large, especially with the optional hood attached.

But good gravy, this is one beautiful lens. It's capable of outstanding sharpness and buttery-smooth backgrounds at wider apertures. And though it's positioned as the GFX system's standard portrait lens, we didn't just shoot portraits with it. Check out our gallery to see what this $2800 lens can do.

See our Fujifilm GF 110mm F2
sample gallery

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Categories: News

Dressing the part: Jack O'Connell portrait shows actor in different light

Photograph commissioned by National Portrait Gallery challenges image of star renowned for being angry and naked

He has gained a reputation as an angry young man, both in character and real life, and is this week making headlines for spending a large chunk of his current West End play naked.

But a newly commissioned photograph of the actor Jack O’Connell shows a different side: calm, reflective, vulnerable – and dressed.

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Categories: News

Best photos of the day: a Chile demo and a king cobra

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights from around the world, including a pro-abortion demonstration in Santiago and a smuggled snake

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Categories: News

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2017 shortlist - in pictures

The Milky Way, the Northern Lights and hurtling asteroids feature in the shortlist for the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year award. The winners will be announced on 14 September, and an exhibition of the winning images will be displayed in a free exhibition at the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Centre from 16 September

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Categories: News

Captive by Jo-Anne McArthur: plight of animals in captivity – in pictures

McArthur’s book of photographs puts the spotlight on ethics of zoos around the world. Accompanied by essays by Born Free Foundation’s Virginia McKenna and philosopher Lori Gruen, the images and stories are also shared online through A Year of Captivity. Images from both projects will be exhibited at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre from 7 to 10 September

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Categories: News

'Keeping Grandpa alive': the internet's photographic treasure hunt

After finding his grandfather’s old travel photos, Australian David Tomkins used the public’s help to track down exactly where they were shot. Now his attempt to retrace Grandpa’s steps is nearing its conclusion
• Tap or click on the photos to see then and now

From the moment he discovered a box of intriguing colour photographs tucked away in his grandfather’s cupboard, David Tomkins felt compelled to learn more about his relative’s life and travels. Where exactly had he been? And what were his adventures like?

They were questions to which he thought he might never know the answers – his grandfather, Stephen Clarke, having been unable to recall them before his death in 2013.

I had no idea that Grandpa had travelled or that he was into photography

When I talk to people about this project we very quickly get to their story and their grandpa or grandma’s story

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Categories: News
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