News

Best photos of the day: a tattooed lady and a Yoda balloon

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights from around the world, including a decorated figurine and a hot air balloon festival

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Categories: News

Eyewitness: Venice, Italy

Photographs from the Eyewitness series

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Categories: News

Throwback Thursday: Minolta's prosumer DiMAGE 7

DP Review News - Thu, 09/02/2017 - 11:00

PMA 2001 was a pretty exciting show for new cameras. It saw the release of the Nikon D1X and D1H, the Fujifilm S1 Pro, Kodak mc3 camera/MP3 player (a camera so bad that I couldn't complete my review) and the impressive Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S75. Along with those was probably the biggest vaporware product of all-time: the Silicon Film EPS-1. A prototype of a full-frame Pentax DSLR was also shown, but whether that's also vaporware is up for debate. 

One of the real highlights was the Minolta DiMAGE 7, a prosumer camera with an unconventional design, a long lens and tons of direct controls. Its 2/3" 5 Megapixel CCD had the highest resolution of any non-pro camera at the time. All of that came at a price: $1500, to be exact.

The Minolta GT apochromatic lens had a manual zoom ring (please, someone do this again on a long-zoom camera!) and a fly-by-wire focus ring. The maximum aperture range was F2.8-3.5 with an equivalent focal range of 28-200mm.  Notably, the lens had a pair of anomalous dispersion elements, which Minolta claimed improved color accuracy. The D7's lens was not stabilized.

The D7's body was made from a single piece of magnesium alloy, though despite that, DPReview's Phil Askey was unimpressed with its overall build quality. The camera had a ton of physical controls, including the quick settings dial you can see above. Images were stored on a CompactFlash slot that supported Type II cards, such as the IBM Microdrive.

The DiMAGE 7 had a status LCD on its top plate, along with a standard-issue 1.8" LCD (with 112k dots). The D7 also had a tilting EVF, a feature that has become increasingly popular in recent years. The EVF used 'ferroelectric' technology and was one of the best out there at the time.

The camera was generally snappy (though AF could be sluggish at times), image quality was good, and the APO lens kept chromatic aberration to a minimum. One unusual thing about the DiMAGE 7 was that it used its own color space, so users would have to convert it to sRGB manually. Once that was done, colors were much more vivid. One niggle Phil brought up in his review was regarding the D7's poor battery life: you needed to bring a spare set of batteries as a backup for your other spare set of batteries.

A year after the DiMAGE 7 arrived, its successor (the 7i) was announced. It had a faster burst rate, more movie options (though it remained at 320 x 240, 15 fps), wireless flash control and a slightly updated design. It was also $500 less. A DiMAGE 7Hi later followed, with a snazzy black body, more manual controls and performance enhancements.

Did you have any of the DiMAGE 7-series cameras? Share your memories in the comments below!

Read DPReview's DiMAGE 7 Review

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Categories: News

Flat metalenses now work with a range of colors

DP Review News - Thu, 09/02/2017 - 10:00

Harvard researchers have made advancements in development of a flat lens known as a metalens – for the first time, it can work with a continuous range of colors rather than one at a time.

Research has been ongoing at the University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, showing last summer that it was possible to create a lens 100,000x thinner than glass that could focus light in the visible spectrum. This metalens uses an array of titanium dioxide nanopillars to direct light, eliminating the need for additional curved glass layers to correct for chromatic aberration caused by traditional lenses. In fact, engineers were even able to design a metalens with reverse chromatic dispersion, showing that such technologies can really break away from the constraints imposed by traditional optical methods.

Varying the shape, size and height of the nanopillars used by the metalens allows it to focus wavelengths from 490nm to 550nm, or from blue to green. This is a promising step toward potentially using flat lens technology in anything from smartphone cameras to VR headsets. 

Categories: News

Hands on with Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 and 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 'G2' zooms

DP Review News - Thu, 09/02/2017 - 08:01
Hands on with Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 and 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 'G2' zooms

Tamron announced two zoom lens updates at this year's WPPI show in Las Vegas - the full-frame SP 70-200mm F2.8 Di VC USD G2 and the APS-C format 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD. Technically, both are 'updates' to older products, but the improvements are fairly significant. This is the 70-200mm F2.8, mounted on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

Hands on with Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 and 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 'G2' zooms

The 'G2' 70-200mm F2.8 now carries the 'SP' designation, which Tamron reserves for its highest-end lenses. The lens has been completely redesigned, and the new optical design consists of 23 elements in 17 groups. These include extra low dispersion and low dispersion elements to reduce chromatic aberrations. 

Hands on with Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 and 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 'G2' zooms

Mechanically, there have been some changes too. Like Nikon's new 70-200mm F2.8E, the Tamron 70-200mm F2.8's zoom ring can be found near the front of the lens, while the focus ring is positioned closer to the camera. Feel free to argue about whether this is a good idea or not in the comments. Minimum focus distance is unequivocally improved, being reduced to 95cm (37.4") from the previous model's 130cm (50.7").

Hands on with Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 and 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 'G2' zooms

Autofocus performance has also been improved, thanks (according to Tamron) to the inclusion of two microcomputers and a new AF algorithm. Vibration Compensation (VC) is enhanced too, and can now compensate up to a claimed 5 stops.

Hands on with Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 and 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 'G2' zooms

The removable tripod collar can be loosened and removed over the lens mount (as opposed to clamshell designs which can be attached and detached when the lens is mounted to a camera). The Nikon mount version of this lens now offers electronic aperture actuation, which is becoming standard on all newer Nikon lenses and should improve exposure accuracy, especially during high framerate burst shooting. 

Hands on with Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 and 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 'G2' zooms

Build quality seems excellent, as we've come to expect from all of Tamron's new generation of 'SP' lenses. Dust and moisture seals (including a grommet around the lens mount) help to keep the 70-200mm safe when shooting in tough conditions. The front element is fluorine coated, which should make it easy to quickly clean off water or oily fingerprints. 

Hands on with Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 and 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 'G2' zooms

And here's the 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD. Designed for APS-C format DSLRs, this wide-angle zoom covers an equivalent focal length range of 15-36mm (16-38mm equiv on Canon).

Hands on with Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 and 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 'G2' zooms

The biggest change in this lens compared to its 2008 predecessor is the addition of Vibration Compensation. Tamron claims 4 stops of compensation, which means that in theory, it should be possible to hand-hold exposures of up to ~1 second at 10mm. Don't quote us on that, though.

Hands on with Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 and 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 'G2' zooms

The 10-24mm zoom features Tamron's new HLD (High/Low torque modulated Drive) AF motor, for smooth and fast autofocus. We've only had a few minutes with a prototype lens, but just anecdotally, focus certainly seems fast. Optically, this new lens differs from its predecessor by offering more elements (16, as opposed to 12) in more groups (11, compared to 9) including one LD (Low Dispersion) lens element, one XLD glass element, one molded glass aspherical element, and one hybrid aspherical lens.

Hands on with Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 and 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 'G2' zooms

Again, the 10-24mm is sealed against dust and moisture, and build quality is excellent. Like the 70-200mm F2.8 G2, versions of this lens for the Nikon mount now feature fully electronic aperture actuation, allowing aperture to be changed during live view.

We're looking forward to getting our hands on a production sample to see whether the various upgrades have made a significant difference to image quality. 

The Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 Di VC USD G2 is expected to arrive in March for $1299. The Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD is slated for availability this spring for $499.

Categories: News

Dennis Morris's best photograph: a boy with a gun at Michael X's HQ

‘He was only 10 but I was scared. He handled the gun with a sense of purpose’

When I was 14, I used to go to a place in London called the Black House, an organisation run by Michael X, who had been a henchman for a slum landlord. When he came round, if you didn’t pay, you got hurt. But then he switched and tried to become England’s answer to Malcolm X – except he was nothing like him.

He got some funding, though, and some donations from John Lennon and Yoko Ono, to create a community centre for young black kids. It was a very militant organisation, constantly being raided by the police, who thought there were lots of drugs and guns on the premises. It eventually closed because of the pressure. Michael then went to Trinidad and set up a commune. He went crazy and killed two people there, including the daughter of a British MP, and was hanged.

Related: Growing up black: Dennis Morris's portrait of the 70s

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Categories: News

Blackmagic Web Presenter makes it easy to use any camera for live webcasting

DP Review News - Thu, 09/02/2017 - 08:00
Have you ever wanted to use your DSLR, mirrorless, or other high quality camera for live video streaming on platforms like Facebook Live, Skype, or Periscope? If so, you’ve probably discovered how challenging it can be to get some of these programs to work with something other than a webcam or smartphone camera.   This week, Blackmagic Design announced what appears to be a great solution to this problem. The Blackmagic Web Presenter is a device that captures video from any camera and relays it to your computer, making the video appear as though it originates from a webcam. Blackmagic claims that it should work with Mac, Windows, Linux, and even Chromebook computers automatically without installing any drivers. The Web Presenter supports video output from cameras up to Ultra HD resolution. The device scales output signal down to 720p for web streaming using Teranex conversions, which should result in very high quality scaling. It supports both HDMI 2.0 and 12G-SDI connections, and also includes XLR and component audio-in.   If you’ve longed to use your favorite DSLR or mirrorless camera instead of a mediocre webcam or smartphone for live webcasts, the Web Presenter looks like it could be a great option.   The Blackmagic Design Web Presenter is available now for $495.   Press release: Blackmagic Design Announces New Blackmagic Web Presenter

Now it’s possible to make any SDI and HDMI video source appear as a USB webcam for high quality streaming on the internet.

Fremont, California - February 6, 2017 - Blackmagic Design today announced the new Blackmagic Web Presenter, which allows customers to use their professional SDI and HDMI video sources with streaming software and services such as YouTube Live, Facebook Live, and more.

Featuring 12G-SDI and HDMI connections, Blackmagic Web Presenter will down convert any SD, HD and Ultra HD sources and make them look like a 720p USB webcam. As all streaming software works with webcams, Blackmagic Web Presenter also makes it easy to work with any streaming software, but with dramatically higher quality. Streaming in 720p ensures customers get the quality of HD and a 16:9 aspect ratio, but with very low data rates so uplinking streams to the internet is easy from any computer.

Blackmagic Web Presenter can also live switch programs using its built in 2 input production switcher when the optional Teranex Mini Smart Panel is installed, making it a full live production solution for location broadcast.
Blackmagic Web Presenter is available now for US$495 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

Blackmagic Web Presenter is the fastest and easiest way to get high quality video directly on the web for a new generation of web broadcasting. It replaces expensive and hard to set up dedicated streaming encoders and lets customers or broadcasters use professional cameras to stream high quality video through their favorite software and websites. Because Blackmagic Web Presenter looks like a simple webcam, any webcam compatible software will be able to capture this USB video and audio from any broadcast quality source without the need for additional drivers.
Blackmagic Web Presenter is designed for both the high end broadcaster as well as a new generation of web broadcasters. Traditional broadcasters can use Blackmagic Web Presenter to get content online quickly to a global audience from any location. AV professionals can create high quality live streams of seminars and conferences, educators can stream school performances and recitals to family members around the world, and gamers can share their gameplay with massive online communities of players.
Blackmagic Web Presenter also completely revolutionizes online webinars because customers can use it as a full featured, professional live production switcher simply by adding the optional Teranex Mini Smart Panel. That means they can create webinars using multiple sources so the finished program looks better and is far more dynamic than ever before.
Blackmagic Web Presenter features Teranex conversions that provide high quality image scaling for incredible looking web video. Incoming SD, HD and Ultra HD sources are automatically converted to 720p and output via USB to the computer for streaming on the internet. Converting sources to 720p is ideal for streaming because it delivers HD resolution and incredible quality at the lowest possible data rate. If the streaming software detects a slow internet connection, it can command Blackmagic Web Presenter to reduce the frame rate to 20, 15, 10 or even 5 frames per second.
Customers using Blackmagic Web Presenter don’t need to install any additional drivers because it is a standard UVC and UAC compatible USB video device. That means Mac, Windows, Linux and even Chromebook computers will automatically recognize Blackmagic Web Presenter as a standard webcam. This allows customers to use professional cameras to get far superior video quality, while maintaining compatibility with all of their existing software because the computer sees it as a simple webcam. Blackmagic Web Presenter works with software such as Open Broadcaster and XSplit Broadcaster, as well as popular sites like YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Skype, Twitch.TV, Periscope and more.   When used with the optional Teranex Mini Smart Panel, Blackmagic Web Presenter can be used as a broadcast quality, 2 input live production switcher. The panel adds push button controls, an LCD screen and spin knob for quickly cutting between sources. Blackmagic Web Presenter features re-synchronization on the HDMI input, so cutting between sources is always smooth and glitch free. For example, customers can connect an SDI camera and an HDMI laptop, and then use the front panel to switch between them while broadcasting live on the internet, complete with smooth, professional looking dissolves.

Blackmagic Web Presenter features 12G-SDI and HDMI 2.0 connections for working with all formats up to 2160p60, loop out to send the input signals back out to other devices such as a projector, and a program output to send full resolution SDI to a recorder or monitor. It also has XLR and RCA HiFi inputs for connecting microphones and other audio devices, along with a built in 90V - 240V AC power supply so customers don’t have to carry around extra power bricks or cables.
Blackmagic Web Presenter is portable enough to take anywhere so customers can broadcast wherever there’s an internet connection. The compact 1/3 rack unit size is perfect for equipment racks and can be placed alongside other equipment such as Teranex Mini Converters, HyperDeck Studio recorders and even ATEM Television Studio HD.
“Blackmagic Web Presenter lets customers create incredible looking online broadcasts using their professional SDI equipment and HDMI sources such as cameras, laptops and gaming consoles,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “The exciting part about it is that there are no drivers, it just works with all of the most popular webcam software and sites such as Open Broadcaster, XSplit Broadcaster, YouTube Live, Twitch.TV, Facebook Live and more. Plus, it can be turned into a full featured live production switcher simply by adding a Teranex Mini Smart Panel. Blackmagic Web Presenter is revolutionary because it makes global broadcasting available to anyone, which has been our dream for a long, long time!”
Blackmagic Web Presenter Key Features
  • Converts any SDI or HDMI source to USB webcam video in 720p HD format.
  • No drivers required, works with popular streaming software such as Open Broadcaster, XSplit Broadcaster, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Periscope, Twitch.TV and more.
  • Supports all SD, HD and Ultra HD input sources up to 2160p60.
  • 12G-SDI input with 12G-SDI loop output.
  • 12G-SDI program output, ideal for recording masters when doing live switching.
  • HDMI 2.0 input with independent HDMI loop output.
  • HDMI video input re-sync for live switching.
  • XLR balanced mic/line level audio input.
  • Consumer HiFi connections for 2 channels of audio input.
  • Teranex quality down converter.
  • Built in 2 input switcher when used with optional Teranex Mini Smart Panel.
  • Desktop design or can be rack mounted using the Teranex Mini Rack Shelf.
Availability and Price
Blackmagic Web Presenter is available now for US$495 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.  
Categories: News

A taste of freedom: black America in the 19th century – in pictures

An archive made public by Cornell University goes beyond the cliches of cotton-pickers to show African Americans embracing life after slavery

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Categories: News

Google AI adds detail to low-resolution images

DP Review News - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 20:07

It seems intelligent enhancement of image detail is currently high on the agenda at Google. Recently the company brought its RAISR smart image upsampling to Android devices. Now, the Google Brain team has developed a system that uses neural networking to enhance detail in low-resolution images.

The system uses a two-step approach, with a conditioning network first attempting to map 8×8 source images against similar images with a higher resolution and creating an approximation of what the enhanced image might look like. In a second step, the prior network adds realistic detail to the final output image. It does so by learning what each pixel in a low-resolution image generally corresponds to in higher-res files.

As you can see, the system already works pretty well. In the series of samples above, the images on the left show the 64 pixel source images, while the ones in the middle show the output image that the Google Brain algorithm has produced from them. The images on the right show higher-resolution versions of the low-res source images for comparison. While the results are not perfect yet, they are certainly close enough to provide value in a variety of scenarios. Eventually we might even be able to extract high-resolution images from low-quality security-cam footage a la CSI.

Categories: News

Hands-on with Sony 100mm F2.8 STF G Master and FE 85mm F1.8 lenses

DP Review News - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 19:42
Hands-on with Sony 100mm F2.8 STF G Master and FE 85mm F1.8 lenses

Sony announced a pair of short telephoto prime lenses at this year's WPPI show in Las Vegas - the FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS and the FE 85mm F1.8, both intended for use on the company's a7-series mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras.

Here's the FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS, which joins Sony's growing 'G Master' lineup, as one of the company's flagship lenses. 

Hands-on with Sony 100mm F2.8 STF G Master and FE 85mm F1.8 lenses

The 100mm F2.8 has a complex optical design, featuring 14 elements in 10 groups, including ED and aspherical elements. Somewhat unusually, this lens is a 'Smooth Trans Focus' (STF) design, which incorporates an APD (apodization) element. The APD element acts as a radial gradient filter, which - in simple terms - improves the quality of out of focus areas, by diffusing bokeh circles. Traditionally, we've seen APD elements in lenses specifically aimed at portraiture, for obvious reasons.

Unlike the Minolta-designed 135mm F2.8 [T4.5] STF lens that Sony still offers for A-mount cameras, the 100mm F2.8 STF is an autofocus lens.

A 'macro' switch enables the lens to be focused down to 0.57 meters (a little under 2 feet), and built-in stabilization should enhance its usefulness when hand-held.

Hands-on with Sony 100mm F2.8 STF G Master and FE 85mm F1.8 lenses

Eleven aperture blades means an almost perfectly circular aperture even when the 100mm F2.8 is stopped down. This isn't the sole determinant of bokeh quality but it goes towards ensuring out-of-focus highlights remain circular.

Hands-on with Sony 100mm F2.8 STF G Master and FE 85mm F1.8 lenses

The FE 100mm F2.8 features a 'manual' aperture ring. It's not mechanically linked, and offers an 'A' position to transfer aperture control to the camera body. The ring can operate either as a conventional 'clicked' dial with third-stop detents, or 'declicked' for smooth, stepless operation. For video work, 'declicking' allows for much more practical brightness adjustment during shooting. 

Hands-on with Sony 100mm F2.8 STF G Master and FE 85mm F1.8 lenses

Like all of Sony's G Master lenses, the 100mm F2.8 is built to a very high standard, and features dust and moisture sealing. A rubber grommet runs around the circumference of the lens-mount, to help maintain the seal between camera and lens. Despite the complex optical construction and high standard of build, the lens is relatively lightweight, weighing in at 700 g (1.54 lb).

Hands-on with Sony 100mm F2.8 STF G Master and FE 85mm F1.8 lenses

Much lighter though, is the new FE 85mm F1.8, a budget short telephoto prime aimed at enthusiast Sony FE shooters who don't need (or can't quite justify) the GM 85mm F1.4. This affordable prime weighs in at 371 g (0.82 lb).

Hands-on with Sony 100mm F2.8 STF G Master and FE 85mm F1.8 lenses

The optical design of the FE 85mm F1.8 is much simpler in comparison with the 100mm F2.8, comprising 9 elements in 8 groups. The button above the AF/MF switch can be customized and assigned together with functions in the camera body. On most bodies it's a focus hold control by default, but you could for instance assign it to EyeAF.

Hands-on with Sony 100mm F2.8 STF G Master and FE 85mm F1.8 lenses

Sony makes life easy for camera journalists by writing some key spec directly onto the lenses. Here, we can see that the filter ring is 67mm and minimum focus distance is 0.8m (2.6ft). Compared to the 100mm F2.8 this isn't great (it's pretty standard for a short tele prime) but it's fine for mid-length portraiture, of the kind that lenses of this type are ideally suited to.

In contrast to the more expensive Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8, the Sony isn't stabilized. However, unlike the similarly unstabilized 85mm F1.8s from Canon and Nikon, the Sony FE 85mm F1.8 can be used with the second-generation a7 series cameras, which offer in-body stabilization.

Hands-on with Sony 100mm F2.8 STF G Master and FE 85mm F1.8 lenses

Despite its lower cost and lack of 'GM' designation, the FE 85mm F1.8 is also dust and moisture sealed, although we don't know whether the amount of sealing is equivalent to Sony's high-end lenses. Like the FE 100mm F2.8, the 85mm features a rubber grommet around its mount, to help keep dirt and moisture out of the lens throat. 

Both lenses are expected to ship in March. The FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS will cost $1500, while the FE 85mm F1.8 will sell for around $600.

Categories: News

Westcott introduces one-of-a-kind Omega 360, a 15-in-1 reflector

DP Review News - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 19:28

Photography lighting accessory company Westcott has introduced a new Omega reflector product, the 15-in-1 Omega Reflector 360. Unlike the previous Omega reflector, this model offers 15 different usage scenarios, a world’s first according to Westcott. The reflector features a removable 13in / 33cm center disk, as well as multiple diffusion fabrics (white, silver, sunlight, black and 1-stop), a hanging hook, and a carrying case.

The Omega Reflector 360 is a 40in / 102cm ring-shaped reflector made with a spring steel riveted frame, pure white and black nylon, and double-laminated reflective cloth. The unit weighs only 2.5lb / 1.1kg, and can be collapsed down to a third of its open size. The 13in inner disk attaches to the reflector ring using Velcro.

Westcott is offering the Omega Reflector 360 now through its website for $130.

Categories: News

The incomparable Gordon Parks – in pictures

A new book celebrates the breadth of photographer and film-maker Gordon Parks’s work, including his images of a racially divided south in the 1960s, his fashion work for Life and Vogue, and the heartbreaking poverty of a Harlem family. I Am You is published by The Gordon Parks Foundation, c/o Berlin and Steidl

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Categories: News

Has a new champion been crowned? Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art lens review

DP Review News - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 15:00

The Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art hasn't been on the market long, but it has already begun to make some serious waves. Lenstip and DxO have rated it the sharpest 85mm lens ever created, beating out even the legendary 85mm F1.4 Zeiss Otus, which isn't something that we take lightly. We were lucky enough to get our hands on the lens back in mid-November and we were very impressed to say the least, so much so that it took top honors for the 'Best Prime Lens of 2016' as chosen by our staff.

It has, without a doubt, been a pretty big topic of discussion not only amongst our staff members, but also amongst portrait photographers around the world. With that said we just had to get our hands on it to see how it really performs and to see how it holds up next to some very stiff competition at 85mm. The Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM is a very formidable competitor and arguably the best modern 85mm F1.4 on the market (behind the manual focus Zeiss Otus, of course). With that in mind, the question is; can the Sigma hold its own? Our review will answer that question and more.

APS-C   

With an equivalent focal length of 136mm and an equivalent aperture of F2.2, this lens can be used on an APS-C camera. Even with its slightly longer focal length, it does still fit into the focal range that's often used by portrait photographers and the fast aperture does allow for it to be used in low-light situations as well. However, its size, weight and price makes it worth considering 85mm F1.8 lenses instead.

Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art headline features
  • F1.4 maximum aperture
  • 85mm max fixed focal range
  • 2 SLD glass elements
  • 1 aspherical element
  • Canon EF, Nikon (FX) and Sigma SA Bayonet mounts
Specifications Compared   Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art  MSRP $1800.00  $1199.00  Lens Type Prime Prime  Focal Length 85mm  85mm   Filter Thread 77mm 86mm Image Stabilization No No Lens Mount  Sony FE Canon EF, Nikon (FX), Sigma SA Bayonet  Aperture Ring Yes (w/ d-click feature) No Maximum Aperture  F1.4 F1.4 Minimum Aperture F16  F16 Minimum Focus  0.80 m (31.5″) 0.85 m (33.46″) Diaphragm Blades  11 9 Elements  11  14 Groups  8 12 Special Elements/Coatings  1 'Extreme Aspherical' element, 3 ED elements and 'Nano AR' coating 2 SLD glass elements and 1 Aspherical element Autofocus  Yes Yes Motor Type  Ring-type Supersonic Wave Ring-type Hypersonic Full Time Manual  Yes Yes Focus Method  Internal Internal Distance Scale  No Yes  DoF Scale  No Yes Full Weather Sealing  Yes No (dust and splash proof) Weight 820g (1.81 lb) 1131g (2.49 lb)  Dimensions  108 mm (4.23″) x 90mm (3.52″) 126mm (5.0") x 95mm (3.7") Hood  Yes ( ALC-SH142) Yes

As you can see the lenses are fairly different in terms of build and design. The Sony 85mm has a manual aperture ring that can not only function on its own, but the aperture can also be adjusted with the camera by switching the ring to 'A'. This ring also features a special de-click feature for smooth, silent aperture changes while shooting video. The Sigma 85mm lacks the weather sealing that the Sony has and there's also a fairly substantial difference in size and weight as the Sony 85mm is a fair bit smaller and lighter. The price point is one area of the where the Sigma really prevails over the Sony, on paper, at least.

Specifications are fun to look at, but the real question is how do these lenses perform? Read on, to find out.

Categories: News

Best photos of the day: firefighters and protests

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights from around the world, including firefighters in Athens and a protest in Argentina

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Categories: News

Real life CSI: Google's new AI system unscrambles pixelated faces

The Guardian on Photography Technology - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 12:08

Company reveals technology capable of increasing picture resolution 16-fold, effectively restoring lost data – but results still an educated guess

Google’s neural networks have achieved the dream of CSI viewers everywhere: the company has revealed a new AI system capable of “enhancing” an eight-pixel square image, increasing the resolution 16-fold and effectively restoring lost data.

The neural network could be used to increase the resolution of blurred or pixelated faces, in a way previously thought impossible; a similar system was demonstrated for enhancing images of bedrooms, again creating a 32x32 pixel image from an 8x8 one.

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Categories: News

Eyewitness: Havana, Cuba

Photographs from the Eyewitness series

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Categories: News

Moment rolls out Kickstarter for redesigned lens and new cases for iPhone 7 / 7 Plus

DP Review News - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 09:00
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Mobile photo accessory provider Moment is introducing two iPhone 7 / 7 Plus cases via Kickstarter: a battery case for storing extra charge, and a standard case. Both cases are compatible with a new wide-angle attachment lens designed specially for the 7 and 7 Plus.

The Battery Photo Case offers a two-stage shutter release button. When used with Moment's camera app a half-press will acquire focus. Apple's stock camera app will only recognize a full press and shoot accordingly. The case does not use Bluetooth to communicate with the phone, unlike previous Moment cases. Instead, it uses the Lightning connector, which the company says is 75% faster.

Moment's new Photo Case is a cheaper alternative without the shutter button or backup battery. It's slim and offers basic protection from wear-and-tear, and offers an attachment for a wrist strap.

Both cases provide a mount for the new Wide Lens (as well as an adapter for existing Moment lenses), which can be positioned over the phone's wide and telephoto lenses. Moment says the lens has been re-designed considering the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus' wider aperture lenses. The slightly larger lens is also lens prone to vignetting cause by misalignment. 

Planned MSRP for the Wide Lens is $100, the Photo Case is $30 and the Battery Photo Case is $100. The company is well on its way to its $500,000 Kickstarter goal, and is offering discounts to early backers. As with any Kickstarter project things might go awry, but if all goes to plan Moment will ship the new cases and lenses starting the end of May.

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House of horrors: the shows putting a macabre twist on domestic bliss

The booby-trapped bedroom, the mysterious mincing machine, the body under the patio … why the sudden spate of shows taking a creepy view of home life?

Domestic life as a subject for art suggests a smug casserole of Cath Kidston prints and sentimentality: hints of amateurism, family portraits, tasteful still-life paintings. But a number of current exhibitions offer a more oppressive – even macabre – vision of domesticity, in which the home appears as a site of burden and confinement. That these sinister depictions of family space arise in exhibitions featuring a large number of female artists is by no means coincidental, but the experiences they draw on are as varied as the works themselves.

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Categories: News

Sunshine coasts and heights of beauty in Australia – in pictures

Photographer Gab Scanu, 20, has amassed a huge following on Instagram with his aerial shots of Australian landscapes and coastlines. He spoke to us about his work

  • See Scanu’s work at a new exhibition running 9–20 February in Sydney

Gab Scanu works alone, with a special operating licence for his UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority in Australia. The 20-year-old’s drone photography shows a new perspective on well-known locations such as Sydney’s Bondi beach, Mona Vale and other famous coastlines on the country’s east coast. He has also travelled abroad and shot the LA coast at Malibu.

I feel shooting from a top-down point of view is the most unique perspective as it is one that you don’t see every day and one that very few people have the opportunity to experience for themselves.

I tend to gravitate towards shooting the coastal landscapes as the colours and textures take a completely different form from what you get at ground level. Shooting from the sky for me is almost like creating a digital watercolour.

I think the most appealing aspect is the adrenaline and excitement of operating such an amazing piece of technology.

I don’t tend to do much preparation or research when shooting. I prefer to explore places spontaneously and capture them for what they are in the moment. The most research I will do for a shot is probably Googling a location or having a look at an aerial view from Google Maps, to gauge if there are any interesting patterns/textures or colours.

Unless I am working on a commercial job, I usually just take things as they come. If I think something could look cool or interesting from above, I’ll get the drone up to have a look. I tend to go to beaches and other areas to swim or just relax and if I think there is a photo opportunity I will take it. I never place too much stress on setting up a shot or creating something specific. The more open you leave your ideas the more natural the image tends to turn out

The Bronte rock pool shot is definitely my favourite. The water colour, the people, the textures. Everything just screams summer in Australia and my experience of it. Summer for me in Australia is all about the beach and swimming in the ocean and in these amazing rock pools so yes I definitely have spent my fair share of time in Bronte rock pool.

My post production set up is quite simple. I use Adobe Photoshop for editing and Adobe Lightroom for colour. Once I have made my image adjustments in Photoshop I take the file to Lightroom where I play with the colour. Most of the time the colour is simply what I see but each image is different and requires its own colour adjustments to make the image pop. I am currently developing a set of Lightroom presets which will be available for download soon.

I recently stayed in Malibu for a month over the summer and where we were staying had its own private beach. We would go down to the beach on a nice afternoon and just hang out. It was a popular surfing spot for the other residents of the area and so I thought I would try and capture that sense of the summer lifestyle in my image.

For me, actually shooting the landscape is just the first step in my creative process. What I do digitally to my images afterwards is what breaks the boundary between photography and art.

I have worked previously in America and throughout Europe and have a lot of travelling planned this year starting with LA again so working outside of Australia is a certainty.

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Max Dupain's Sunbaker: Australian artists respond to celebrated photograph – in pictures

The Sunbaker is Australian photographer Max Dupain’s most famous work: a low-angled, black-and-white image of a man’s head and forearms as he lies on a New South Wales beach.

Under the Sun: Reimagining Max Dupain’s Sunbaker is a new exhibition presented by the Australian Centre for Photography. Fifteen artists, including William Yang, Sara Oscar, Nasim Nasr and Yhonnie Scarce, have created new works in response to Dupain’s classic image, reinterpreting and commenting on its representation of Australian culture, 80 years after the original photo was taken.

Under the Sun: Reimagining Max Dupain’s Sunbaker opens at the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, on 18 February, followed by the Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne, from 6 May

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