Seagate's 12TB BarraCuda Pro is the fastest, highest capacity desktop drive on the market

DP Review News - Thu, 05/10/2017 - 20:13

As storage needs grow with the rise of VR content and ubiquity of 4K video, it looks like more and more hard drive options are becoming available that boast better reliability and performance at even bigger capacities. Case in point: Seagate has just announced new 12TB versions of its IronWolf, IronWolf Pro, and BarraCuda Pro hard drives, following hot on the heels of Western Digital's recent 12TB drive launch.

These new Seagate drives come in a 3.5-inch form factor, with the BarraCuda Pro drive designed for desktop use, while both IronWolf drives are designed for Network-attached Storage (NAS) devices.

According to Seagate, the new 7200rpm 12TB BarraCuda Pro is "the fastest, highest-capacity and most reliable hard drive for desktop computing available on the market today." The inclusion of Intel Optane non-volatile memory offers responsiveness and performance akin to that of an SSD, as well as twice the load and boot speeds compared to standard drives. This tech allows the drive to offer sustained data transfer rates of 250MB/s and burst data speeds up to 6Gb/s.

The IronWolf drives, meanwhile, are designed for creative professionals and others who prefer centralizing data onto a NAS unit. Both of the new 12TB drives support Seagate's IronWolf Health Management software, which is designed for use with the Asustor NAS, Synology DiskStation NAS, and QNAP NAS units and helps to protect data with 'prevention, intervention, and recovery' solutions.

The IronWolf 12TB drive has a sustained data transfer rate of 210MB/s and the IronWolf Pro 12TB has a sustained transfer rate of 250MB/s. Both the IronWolf and IronWolf Pro 12TB HDDs are listed on Newegg for $470 and $540, respectively. Unfortunately, the 'world's fastest' of the bunch, the BarraCuda Pro 12TB drive, isn't currently listed, but you can probably expect a price north of $600.

Press Release

Seagate Expands Guardian Series Portfolio With 12TB Drives For NAS And Desktop Computing

12TB IronWolf™, IronWolf™ Pro and BarraCuda® Pro deliver highest capacity, reliability and performance available on the market

CUPERTINO, CA - Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ: STX) announced today its IronWolf™, IronWolf™ Pro and BarraCuda® Pro hard drives are now available at capacities up to 12TB. Offering the highest capacity, reliability and performance in the industry among network-attached storage (NAS) and desktop HDDs, Seagate’s 12TB IronWolf and BarraCuda Pro drives further extend the capabilities of the leading Seagate Guardian Series to meet the growing data needs of large enterprise business, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), and creative professionals.

Across the globe, we are experiencing a massive increase in the volume of data created, with a recent study by IDC and Seagate finding that data creation will swell to a total of 163 zettabytes (ZB) by 2025, 10x more than today. Seagate’s latest portfolio of 12TB drives are designed for today’s media storage needs – including augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), 4K resolution and 360-degree videos – and offer scalability for the future with increased space and speed.

“Our storage hungry customers and partners continue to ask for our latest and greatest technology along with increased capacity and performance in our purpose built products,” said Matt Rutledge, senior vice president of Business Marketing at Seagate Technology. “With the 12TB Pro products, Seagate buyers are overcoming capacity constraints in their systems and can access vast amounts of digital data anytime, from anywhere.”

12TB BarraCuda Pro Desktop Drive
Seagate’s 12TB BarraCuda Pro HDD is the fastest, highest-capacity and most reliable hard drive for desktop computing available on the market today. With 12TB of capacity – double the space of its closest competitor – the BarraCuda Pro can meet any number of demanding data management needs from creative editing workflows to gaming to desktop computing. The drive’s high speed means that data-intensive activities like large file transfers and photo-editing are faster when using BarraCuda Pro.

12TB IronWolf and IronWolf Pro for NAS
Offering the highest capacity, reliability, performance and system scalability in the industry, Seagate’s 12TB IronWolf and IronWolf Pro HDDs empower customers to centralize their data onto NAS systems to ensure round-the-clock access for multiple users. At 12TB and in only a 3.5 inch form factor, IronWolf and IronWolf Pro offer more capacity in less space, meeting the needs for file-sharing, remote access and backup for SMBs, enterprises and creative professionals.

“Whether it’s storing your family photos, collaborating on important documents at work, or protecting your home with our video surveillance solutions, Synology NAS enthusiasts will be excited by the addition of Seagate’s 12TB IronWolf drives,” said Alex Wang, CEO of Synology America Corp. “By working together, Seagate and Synology are providing great ways for people to safeguard their digital lives and get the most out of their private cloud.”

The new 12TB drives also support Seagate’s leading IronWolf Health Management (IHM) software. Designed to operate on enabled Synology DiskStation NAS, Asustor NAS, and QNAP NAS, populated with Seagate IronWolf or IronWolf Pro drives, IHM improves the overall system reliability by displaying actionable prevention, intervention or recovery options for the user and will be available within the next quarter with NAS partners.

“We are excited with Seagate’s launch of the industry’s largest capacity NAS drive – the 12TB IronWolf and IronWolf Pro,” said Meiji Chang, general manager of QNAP, adding, “QNAP has collaborated with Seagate for many years on product and technology enhancements, working with them to create the best hard drives for NAS users. We believe that Seagate’s new IronWolf family provides the performance, reliability, and capacity needed to dependably store the vast data generated by virtualization, high-resolution media workflows, the Internet of Things, and other applications driven by modern QNAP NAS solutions.”

The 12TB versions of IronWolf, IronWolf Pro and BarraCuda Pro are now shipping to customers worldwide. For more information on the Seagate Guardian Series, please visit

Categories: News

Female perspectives of the first world war revealed in new photo exhibition

No Man’s Land to show never-before-seen images taken by women on the frontline as well as modern work from a former soldier

An exhibition opening this weekend will offer rarely-seen female perspectives on the first world war and feature photographs by women on the frontline that have never before been exhibited or published.

No Man’s Land will be made up of images taken by women who were inspired by the conflict some 100 years ago but have “historically been excluded”. They include images by nurses Mairi Chisholm and Florence Farmborough, photographs by the UK’s first female official war photographer, Olive Edis, as well as new work by former soldier Alison Baskerville.

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Categories: News

Pixelstick creators unveil the Colorspike: An incredibly versatile LED lighting strip

DP Review News - Thu, 05/10/2017 - 17:24

The inventors of pixelstick have launched a new Kickstarter campaign to fund their latest creation: a strip of LEDs they're calling the 'colorspike.' Like the pixelstick, it can be controlled via an app to produce a range of effects; unlike the pixelstick, the colorspike panel is more about lighting and color than it is about fun effects or light painting.

At about two feet long, the colorspike consists of a strip of LED lights that the user can program to produce a massive range of different colors and pulsating lighting effects. The results, when used in concert with, say, portrait photography, can be striking:

The idea is that stills and video photographers can use these to add easily controlled color to their shoots, while videographers can also include flashing lights to emulate emergency vehicles, fire, lightning and any interrupted lighting.

The colorspike panels are controlled via a smartphone app that allows colors and effects to be selected from an existing menu or to be custom mixed for the occasion (and saved for later use). Finally, groups of color spikes can be controlled together from the app to create more complex set-ups, and users can determine brightness, color and pulsation patterns via the app or the interface on the panel itself.

For on-location shooting, a battery is supplied that the company claims will last at least 45 minutes; and for those working near a mains power supply, a DC adapter also comes included the kit.

The colorspike is being launched on Kickstarter with a price of $270, and kits of four can be had for the discounted price of $1,000. The company, Bitbanger, expects delivery to begin in March next year if the target of $120,000 is reached—and given they've already reached over half of that goal with a full 42 days left in the campaign, chances are good the colorspike will become a reality

For more information on this nifty new lighting accessory, visit the colorspike Kickstarter page or Bitbanger’s website.

Categories: News

Fujifilm releases firmware updates for X-T2, X-Pro2 and two lenses

DP Review News - Thu, 05/10/2017 - 17:05

Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its X-T2 and X-Pro2 camera bodies. The update to version 2.12 on the X-T2 and version 3.12 on the X-Pro2 fixes an issue that could occasionally cause the cameras to lock up when shooting in continuous high speed mode.

The X-T2 and X-Pro2 firmware updates are available to download at the links below:

Additionally, the company released updates for its XF 18-55 and XF 10-24 lenses. The new versions of the lens firmware fix an issue that could cause the focal length to be displayed incorrectly, and/or cause shaking in peripheral parts of images, even with focal length focus fixed.

You can download those updates by clicking on the links below.

Categories: News

From the sidelines to the driver's seat: A photographer's evolution

DP Review News - Thu, 05/10/2017 - 16:31

I have worked as a race photographer, a wedding photographer, landscape photographer; I photographed architecture, food, portraits and hot air balloons.

One of the most incredible things about a photography career is how it has this magical ability to open doors—how my camera has, time and again, taken me from a spectator on the sideline and put me right in the middle of the action.

In my own career, I've experienced this many times. Here are just three of those stories (and some shooting tips along the way).

A teenager at the race track

I was fortunate as a teenager when a race car driver threw me a rag and told me to get under his race car and clean it from the tire rubber that was stuck to the underside. I had gone to the racetrack after spending earlier years building models of these very race cars. I wanted to see the real deal.

From that relationship, I grew to become a professional photographer, since I was lucky enough to sell all of the images from my first roll of film to the drivers at that same racetrack. I always had a desire to drive one of those 200mph “funny cars.”

This wonderful eye-opening experience led me to create work for the NHRA, AP and many racing magazines creating story-telling images of these now 300mph plus vehicles across the country.

Shooting Tips

What is most important to me when capturing cars in the drag racing world is to isolate the car from the distractions near the racecar. Generally, I let the car move down the track, away from the starting line crowds, creating a soft, dimensional background in order to allow the car to stand out.

By using a telephoto lens like my EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x on my Canon 1DX Mark II, I can create a background made of the heat and exhaust, totally drawing the viewers attention to the razor sharp car. Compression is a wonderful tool to use in order to maintain a story-telling image, but first and foremost seeing every detail of the subject: the race car.

Another technique that I use commonly in my motorsports imagery is panning with the moving car as it goes by. Panning emphasizes speed by keeping the camera moving at the same speed as the race car. This then blurs the background, making the car look as if it is moving very quickly.

A slow shutter speed helps illustrate the movement. I may select shutter speeds of 1/30 – 1/500 sec depending upon the speed of the car that I am photographing. For this effect I am choosing to use the TV or shutter priority setting in order to allow me to maintain that certain amount of motion blur. I still try to include some of the race signage to continue that story-telling aspect of your imagery. This image was created with my workhorse EF 70-200mm 2.8L II IS lens.

While capturing the cars on the racetrack is a wonderful way to spend the day, I do look to see what I can do to add some personal element by visiting the drivers as they are strapped in to their cockpits or as they sit peacefully, contemplating their upcoming run.

One of the last tips that I would like to share with you about capturing image of powerful race cars is about the launch. I prefer to stand down track and create interesting edges to frame the main part of the composition. A drag race uses a “Christmas tree” of lights to indicate when to go. Many cars have perfected the weight transfer of the start of the race which lifts the front wheels high in the air.

The fun of flying and photography

Not too long after that amazing career-carving experience of photographing race cars, I drove to Norwalk, Connecticut in order to see and photograph a small hot air balloon festival. A few weeks later, I needed another balloon festival fix and drove north to Glens Falls, NY where I would buy my first hot air balloon ride.

All I can say is "Wow." The hook was in. I would soon become a hot air balloon pilot.

Fast forward to today: I will soon head out to New Mexico for AIBF happening October 7th-15th, 2017. I will be there to both fly and photograph this magnificent spectacle.

5 a.m. comes early in the chilly desert air. My team and I need to be at the launch field for a 6:15 am pilot briefing in order for me and nearly 600 other pilots to take to the air filling the New Mexican blue skies with our colorful fabrics. I will be photographing right up until the time that I need to begin my inflation.

We are treated to “Dawn Patrol” when eight to twelve hot air balloons will go aloft into the dark sky about 1 hour before the rest of us do, showing what the winds are doing that day.

Shooting Tips

As most balloon events happen in the still of the early morning, we are treated to the rising sun illuminating the rich, colorful, flowing fabric that can be backlit showing leading lines and the abstract beauty that surrounds them. Wide angle lenses as well as longer telephotos are often used here to create diversely different dimensional images.

As a pilot, I so enjoy the ability to capture images from the air looking down to see so many unique compositions. This image of the “Mass Ascension” shows how you can create gorgeous landscape images as we fly over and into the river for a “splash and dash.” Pilots descend to gently float along in the rivers current.

I choose to fly with the EF 28-300mm 3.5-5.6 IS L lens so I can create images that are either wide angle or zoom in to make a tight composition while carrying only one camera body. My best tip to you when you go aloft in a balloon is to be ready to react with lightning reflexes: images come and disappear quickly as everything is moving in many different directions all at once.

I prefer to use TV or shutter priority in order to use a pre-determined shutter speed that should guarantee sharp images while moving along.

My final tip as you walk amongst the bags of fabric that will soon grow to be a balloon as tall as a 10 story building is to search out a very pretty, colorful foreground that could nicely balance a floating balloon slowly flying past, creating a multidimensional look like the above image captured through the EF 28-300mm IS L lens.

I can create images of hot air balloon events with hundreds of other balloons around me or I can fly in the desert at sunrise or sunset to have a unique perch in order to take some beautiful landscape images. It certainly puts a smile on my face whenever I get to fly, either in a balloon or even a small fixed-wing aircraft, all to enjoy being off the ground as well as seeing images from a different perspective.

Taking to the skies... again

My last story of coming from the sidelines into the driver's seat (or in this case cockpit) would be when I furthered my flying abilities and accomplished my fixed-wing license that would carry me to locations that driving just would not allow in a relatively short time.

My first flight after successfully adding to my airmen’s license was to head to the beautiful island off the Massachusetts coast called Martha’s Vineyard. From my home on Long Island, it would take me 5-6 hours to reach the ferry that would bring you over to the island. I could fly the same route in 45 minutes.

I would do this a few times a year to go have lunch and shoot on the island before heading home for the day, very content. Photographing the beauty, flying and navigating and enjoying some remarkable culinary delights makes for a wonderful day!

Shooting Tips

Whether I'm in a fixed wing plane or a helicopter, I need to select the best lens that will be able to reach out beyond the boundaries of the aircraft to capture what I am looking for.

I will then make sure to remove my lens hood and anything else that could come off the camera while flying along at over 100 mph, and set my ISO high enough to give me a shutter speed of at least 1/1000 sec for the sharpest images.

Personally, I enjoy flying with the EF 100-400 mm f/4 IS L lens because it's both compact and provides a great range of focal lengths. I find it important to crop my photographs in the camera, taking advantage of each and every mega-pixel my Canon gives me. Zoom lenses like this allow me to be exact in my cropping.

I always consider the lighting as a part of the planning of the flight time. I want to be able to fly in the most dimensional light possible. That lighting will provide shadows that will define the landscape below. What a great way to see and create images of iconic locations but from a different perspective.

Shape, shadow and color are very important tools that I make use of as often as possible. It may be the warm light of a sunset on the red rocks of the desert southwest or the cool morning flight over the lava fields of Hawaii. You can reserve any aircraft for the time that you would like to fly, so, select that right time for the image that you see in your mind’s eye.

In order to create the best images of any subject, you need to be intimately familiar with that subject. Throughout my photographic career, I have been able to succeed at photographing anything as long as I had some knowledge of what I was photographing.

Having knowledge of the race cars that I was learning about working on gave me the edge to be able to create story-telling imagery. I then took that and ran in order to be the best that I could be. The same followed when I chose to be a hot air and fixed wing pilot—photography opened the door to be more than a spectator, but then the experience provided me the knowledge and platform to succeed.

So much of being a successful photographer comes down to being knowledgeable of the subject and the relationships that you make along the way. From there, it's up to you to continue to drive to be the best that you can—you are only as good as your most recent project.

I hope that, at least, will be an incentive for you to continue to grow and improve your skills. It certainly worked for me!

Ken Sklute is a multi-talented photographer and Canon Explorer of Light with over 42 years of professional photography experience. Over the course of his career, he's photographed people, professional sports, architecture, weddings and landscapes (among other things).

To see more of his work, be sure to visit his website, or by following him on Facebook and Instagram.

Categories: News

Which is the best desktop PC for photo editing?

The Guardian on Photography Technology - Thu, 05/10/2017 - 15:48

Paul is looking for a desktop PC to edit his photos in Adobe Lightroom. What sort of specification would be best?

I saw your response to a question about a laptop for a photography student and noted the suggestion that a desktop would be a better option in terms of actual capability, not to mention the ergonomic advantages you’ve mentioned in previous articles. What specification would you recommend for someone with a mid-range DSLR using Adobe Lightroom for RAW files, but only as a hobby?

Although I think I probably could build my own PC, I’m not sure I want the additional faff and the risk that some components just won’t talk to each other properly. On my last desktop, built with a friend, I had never-ending problems with the graphics card, which were only fixed once I replaced it.

When I wrote about the best laptop for photo editing a month ago, several readers asked for advice on desktops. As you already know, you want the fastest processor, the most memory, and the fastest hard drives and SSDs that you can afford. The problem is balancing the different requirements.

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Categories: News

The world's natural wonders – in pictures

Stunning images of incredible landscapes inspire wanderlust in DK Publishing’s Natural Wonders of the World but this new book, with an introduction by Chris Packham, also features 3D maps and guides to each location

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Categories: News

Best photos of the day: Formula One and a big smile

A selection of the best photographs from around the world including gymnastics and Lewis Hamilton

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Categories: News

Throwback Thursday: Google Nexus One

DP Review News - Thu, 05/10/2017 - 14:00

On October 4th Google introduced two new smartphones: the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. These phones pack the latest 8-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processors and large displays, along with the impressive AI systems that make these devices stand out from many of their peers.

You have to be a real phone aficionado to remember the Nexus One - Google's first smartphone (codeveloped with HTC) - which debuted in 2010. In 2017 terms the One's specs are almost laughable, with its single-core processor, half gigabyte of RAM, 5MP rear camera and whopping 3.7" display. The Nexus One actually had two different displays. It initially shipped with a PenTile AMOLED display but later switched to a Super LCD that promised better power efficiency and color accuracy (though saturation and deep blacks got worse as a result). It also had a trackball reminiscent of Blackberry phones of that era.

The phone launched with Android 2.1 (Eclair) preinstalled and supported voice-guided navigation and voice-to-text transcription. Not long after the One got upgraded to Android 2.2 (Froyo), which added support for Adobe Flash (which was short-lived), a new home screen and Wi-Fi tethering. The final update the Nexus One received was to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), as its hardware couldn't keep up with subsequent versions.

Were you one of the lucky few who owned a Google Nexus One? Let us know in the comments.

View our Google Pixel 2 launch coverage

Product mockup by Zach Vega.

Categories: News

Grizzlies and a ghostly paddle in Canada – in pictures

In our weekly glimpse at the world through three images from a traveller’s Instagram feed, Shanna Baker visits the Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia

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Categories: News

The future of art – in pictures

A utopian dentist, disappearing streets, kids with shotguns … the Other Art Fair is a showcase for hot new names in contemporary art – and this year more than half its participants are women. Here is a selection of their best work

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Categories: News

Google Clips is an AI-enabled hands-free camera that costs $250

DP Review News - Wed, 04/10/2017 - 20:21
Meet Google Clips

After some expected hardware update announcements, Google's "one more thing" turned out to be Clips, a tiny, hands-free camera designed to automatically capture everyday moments.

Meet Google Clips

Small and lightweight, Clips is sold with a case that, uh, clips to things. Demo objects included toys and books. Point it at you and your loved ones, and Clips will do its thing without you ever needing to push the shutter button (although you can still push the shutter button if you want).

Meet Google Clips

Clips uses AI to identify and remember frequent subjects. When it detects a familiar subject smiling, for example, it will capture a burst of images. What's more, Google says that it gets smarter over time, capturing more of the moments you want and fewer moments you'll ultimately throw away.

Meet Google Clips

Clips works with the Pixel 2, naturally, but a rep we talked to said it will also work with an iOS app. It captures bursts of images from which videos (without audio) or stills can be extracted. Clips can be trimmed in the accompanying app, and they can be exported as GIFs as well.

Meet Google Clips

Clips will sell for $250, and eager customers can join a pre-order 'waitlist' now.

Categories: News

Google Pixel 2 trumps iPhone as 'best smartphone camera' with highest DxOMark score ever

DP Review News - Wed, 04/10/2017 - 20:14

It's been a couple weeks of amazing camera phone tests over at DxOMark. First the iPhone 8 Plus beat all former phones with a score of 94. Then the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 came in and earned the same overall score, beating the iPhone 8 Plus in the Photo category but falling short in Video. And now... now we have a new proper king.

After testing the brand new Google Pixel 2, DxOMark has awarded the flagship phone its highest ever marks for a smartphone camera with an overall score of 98.

As usual, you can read the full review over on DxOMark's website, where they pit the Pixel 2 against its main rivals in a few head-to-head challenges, but the overall score results can be seen below:

In the Photo category, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is still the best phone out there, besting the Google Pixel 2's score of 99 by a single point. But when it comes to video, the Pixel 2 is totally and completely unmatched. Its Video score of 96 makes Samsung's paltry 84 seem a bit weak, and even Apple's respectable 89 is nowhere close.

Ahead of doing our own tests with these phones, we've been looking closely at the results in the DxOMark tests, and we are very intrigued to say the least. Some of the numbers themselves are rather subjective, and we don't entirely agree with DxO's assessment in every category.

For example, in their outdoor bokeh comparison, the new Pixel 2 fares the worst:

Google Pixel (original) Portrait mode: 5MP sRGB JPEG.

The original Pixel simulated lens blur well (note the circular appearance of out-of-focus highlights), but did so at a resolution cost (you only got 5MP files). You also had to move the camera upward while taking the photo - problematic for moving subjects. There are artifacts present if you look closely.

Google Pixel 2 Portrait Mode: 12MP sRGB JPEG.

The new Pixel 2 fares the worst in this comparison, with multiple aritfacts throughout the image. At least it's instantaneous (no need to move camera) and a full 12MP now though. Hopefully Portrait mode fares better in other situations.

iPhone 8 Plus Portrait Mode: 12MP DCI-P3 HEIF (10-bit).

The iPhone 8 Plus uses dual cameras to create the most artifact-free blur. It's more Gaussian in nature than like a true lens blur (whichthe original Pixel simulated quite well). It's also worth noting Apple is encoding images in higher bit-depth wider color space using the High Efficiency Image Format.

Something else overlooked by the DXO assessment: Apple now saves images in a new image format: HEIF, which allows for a wider color gamut (DCI-P3) and higher bit-depth (10-bit). That means the potential for more vivid images with less posterization compared to the conventional 8-bit sRGB JPEGs even the new Pixel phones (and most phones / cameras) continue to use today. In fact, even some of the colors in the iPhone 8 Plus image above are outside of the sRGB color space. Point: Apple.

Another point of contention we have: the sometimes overly tonemapped (flat) images HDR+ renders may or may not suit your taste. The Pixel 2 vs. HTC U11 high contrast scene demonstration shows the Pixel 2 preserving more overall detail in shadows and highlights, but doing so at the cost of global contrast. With the display capabilities of wide gamut, high brightness/contrast OLED displays that are technically capable of HDR display, that may not always be the optimal result. The iPhone X will likely be first device to show how good photos can look when you pair HDR capture with HDR display. We're a bit disappointed that Google didn't even mention HDR display, despite the devices' displays clearly being capable of it.

Still, DxOMark's conclusion doesn't skimp on the superlatives... except that they're running out of them:

We’re in danger of running out of superlatives when describing the major image quality attributes of the Google Pixel 2. That makes sense for a device that tops our scoring charts —up from the 94 of the Apple iPhone 8 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 to a record-setting 98. So for just about any Photo or Video " href="">use case, it recommends itself as the phone camera with the best image quality.

To read the full review for yourself, head over to the DxOMark website by clicking here.

Categories: News

Here's Google's impressive OIS + EIS video stabilization demonstrated

DP Review News - Wed, 04/10/2017 - 19:47

Optical image stabilization is a welcome update in the Google Pixel 2, but what's really impressive is that it can be used in tandem with electronic stabilization in video mode. If Google's demo at its launch event today is any indication, it's pretty darn effective and makes for super smooth clips that look like they were shot with a steadicam. While we've seen this in the traditional camera space in 1"-type compacts from Sony and Canon, as well as ILCs like the Canon M5 and Olympus E-M1 II, it's a first for smartphones.

We got a chance to see this same video in person; it was certainly impressive. We're eager to give it a try ourselves when we get our hands on a review unit.

Categories: News

Google unveils Pixel 2 phones: Adds OIS, Dual Pixel powered Portrait Mode and more

DP Review News - Wed, 04/10/2017 - 19:32

Ever since the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X were announced, we've been waiting for Google's response. When the original Google Pixel came out, it quickly became one of the most raved about smartphone cameras in the world... would the Pixel 2 follow suit? The short answer, at least according to Google, is yes.

Just this morning, we sat down in the SF Jazz Center and, after an hour of other updates, Google finally unveiled the 5-inch Pixel 2 and 6-inch Pixel 2 XL.

The new phones house a 12.2MP sensor with 1.4um pixels, Dual Pixel phase detect autofocus and an F1.8 lens on the back, and an 8MP camera with 1.4um pixels, fixed focus and an F2.7 lens on the front. The newer 1/2.55" sensor is smaller than the previous-gen's 1/2.3" sensor, but the brighter aperture nearly perfectly compensates.* Video specs for the rear camera max out at 4K 30fps (sorry, no 4K/60p like the new iPhones) while the front camera can do up to 1080p at 30fps. The camera units are now raised above the back glass surface, which remedies the nasty flare issues the previous Pixels had.

As we hoped, the whole phone is encased in an IP67 water and dust resistant aluminum unibody, and is powered by the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor.

More impressive than the base specs are how Google uses its hardware in concert with software and machine learning technology to deliver a better photography and video experience.

Instead of opting for a dual camera on the back of the phone, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL uses just one camera, and combines this with Dual Pixel technology (split left/right pixels) and computational photography to create the now-ubiquitous fake bokeh Portrait Mode effect. And since stabilization is incredibly important, they've worked out how to use both optical and electronic image stabilization at the same time when you're shooting video, which should deliver incredibly smooth footage. (more on that from San Francisco shortly...)

Unfortunately, in our brief time with the cameras so far, we discovered that Portrait mode is still not rendered live on either camera... it seems there are downsides to using a single camera instead of a dual cam setup, or in Google's (we think correct) choice to use a more computationally intensive 'lens' blur as opposed to the more Gaussian (smooth) blur that Apple opts for.

Finally, no modern smartphone is complete until you look at the display your photos and videos will be viewed on.

Unfortunately, Google made no mention of color management or proper display profiles—which caused issues with the previous Pixel smartphones—but the new AMOLED (for the 5-inch model) and pOLED (for the 6-inch model) displays are wide-gamut. The Pixel 2 claims 93% DCI-P3 coverage while the Pixel 2 XL claims full 100% coverage of the same standard.

We bring this up because last year's Pixel phones also offered a wide color gamut and high contrast ratio, thanks to their OLED display technology, but often displayed wildly inaccurate colors due to the lack of color management. It's still possible the displays will come calibrated properly for the P3 or sRGB color spaces, but without any explicit mention of calibrated display modes that the OS automatically switches between based on the color space of the content (as Apple claims to do), we remain skeptical.

The lack of any talk of HDR display of video or photos was also a disappointment after the announcement of iPhone X's support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision video, and HDR display of photos. The latter should make HDR photos pop on the bright contrasty OLED display of the iPhone X, rather than give them the flat tonemapped look we're often used to. It seems Google has chosen to go the traditional method of compressing a high contrast scene into a flatter image, rather than take advantage of the HDR display capabilities of its OLED display.

We're currently spending some time with the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in person today at the Jazz Center, so stay tuned for our hands-on impressions as the designated photography nerds at this event.

In the meantime, you can find out more about either of these phones on the Google Store, check out our Live Blog to see what we were thinking as the announcements were going up, or argue about your Apple vs Google allegiance in the comments.

* At least for low light performance, but perhaps not dynamic range. The discussion is complicated by the use of computational photography, of course, so it's difficult to speculate on the overall impact of the smaller sensor / brighter aperture.

Categories: News

Camera+ 10 update brings depth editing and HEIF support

DP Review News - Wed, 04/10/2017 - 17:42

Third party camera apps are a great way to customize your mobile photo experience and expand the feature set of your smartphone camera; however, with mobile imaging technology advancing at lightning speed, app makers are constantly playing catch up.

Case in point: the markers of Camera+, one of the most popular third party camera apps for the iPhone, have just released an update that takes full advantage of Apple's newest operating system and the hardware advances in the iPhone 8 Plus. With the release of version 10, the Camera+ app brings support for Apple's new HEIF image format and selective depth editing.

The latter makes use of the dual-camera features on the iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus and lets you sharpen, tint and otherwise edit different depth levels in an image that contains depth information. Additionally, there is now a new “Smile to shoot” trigger mode, and a completely overhauled camera interface that incorporates these new features.

Camera+ 10 is available now for $3 on the Apple App Store.

Categories: News

Sigma to reveal new lens at PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2017

DP Review News - Wed, 04/10/2017 - 16:43

Lens maker Sigma will showcase its full range of Sigma Global Vision lenses, Cine high-speed primes and zooms as well as the Foveon sensor-based sd Quattro and Quattro H cameras at the upcoming PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2017 Expo trade show in New York City later this month, but that's not all they're doing.

The company has also announced it will reveal one completely new lens at the show, teasing us with this little detail without revealing anything else about the upcoming glass.

Additionally, a number of photographers and other imaging professionals will take the stage at the Sigma booth and talk about how they use Sigma products in the areas of aviation, editorial, glamour, landscape, travel and wedding photography.

As if those weren't enough reasons to pay a visit, PPE 2017 attendees who visit Sigma's booth (#837) will also have a chance to enter and win a Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens. Something to think about if you happen to be in New York at the end of October...

Sigma Reveals its PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2017 Line Up and a Brand New Lens
The breakthrough year for Sigma Global Vision Art, Contemporary and Sport lenses on display; brand new lens addition to be unveiled; Sigma Pros light up stage with new presentations

Ronkonkoma, NY – October 4, 2017 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading still photo and cinema lens, camera, flash and accessory manufacturer, will showcase its full line up of Sigma Global Vision lenses, including a brand-new addition to the line, at the upcoming PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2017 Expo held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City from October 26-28, 2017 (booth 837).

The company will also have on hand its breakthrough optics for the cinema market – the Sigma Cine high-speed Primes and Zooms – as well as the Foveon sensor-based sd Quattro and Quattro H cameras.

“Sigma has had a landmark year with the introduction of seven new lenses across our Global Vision and Cine product lines,” states Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America. “Our research and development team is dedicated to creating superior optics that meet the ever-growing requirements of today’s high resolution cameras, taking advantage of every possible design and element to capture the greatest picture detail for both still and moving images. We look forward to showcasing the culmination of what has been a remarkable year in optical advancements for Sigma at this year’s PPE event.”

Sigma 2017 introductions include the award-winning 14mm F1.4 DG HSM Art, 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Art, 135mm F1.8 DG HSM Art, 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Sigma Global Vision lenses and the new Sigma Cine FF High Speed 14mm T2 and 135mm T2 prime lenses.

Sigma Special PPE Presentation – Sigma Pro Phenom Jen Rozenbaum
Sigma Pro Jen Rozenbaum will take the PPE stage on Wednesday, October 25, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM to deliver a PPE Master Class on “How to make every woman look amazing.”Jen will share with attendees her vast experience in boudoir photography, providing top tips and secret tricks - from wardrobe to posing - that flatter all women. Jen’s presentation will help attendees understand how to best dress and pose any woman of any size and shape as well as gain confidence behind the camera whether they are shooting boudoir, wedding or seniors!

Master Photographers Take the Sigma Stage
Showcasing the very best in photography craft, the expanded Sigma Pro family will headline the Sigma stage and offer attendees a behind the lens look at the techniques and technology that captured some of the year’s most outstanding photographs in the areas of aviation, editorial, glamour, landscapes, travel and weddings.

This year’s prestigious Sigma Pro PPE stage line-up includes outdoor sports and adventure travel photographer Liam Doran, aviation photo expert Jim Koepnick, renowned bird and travel photographer Roman Kurywczak, fearless woman photographer Jen Rozenbaum, and glamour and wedding photographer Jim Schmelzer.

The exciting topics include (listed by Sigma Pro) and showcase lenses from Sigma Global Vision Art, Contemporary and Sport lines:

For the Sigma Pro presentation schedule days and times, please visit:

Sigma Super Giveaways at PPE 2017
PPE 2017 attendees who visit Sigma at booth 837 will have a chance to enter and win a Sigma grand giveaway – a 24-70mm F2.8 Art – an MSRP value of $1299.00 USD!

Re-engineered and introduced in 2017, the newly updated 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens is Sigma’s workhorse zoom lens. It touts a brand new Optical Stabilizer (OS), Hypersonic Motor (HSM) for highly efficient and fast autofocus, as well as a dust- and splash-proof mount with rubber sealing.

The 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens embodies all the technical qualities and finesse that define the high-performance Sigma Global Vision Art series. A popular industry focal range covering a wide array of shooting scenarios, the 24-70mm’s optical design also includes three SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements and four aspherical elements to ensure image accuracy and sharpness. The 24-70mm F2.8 Art aspherical elements use Sigma’s thicker center glass design and highly precise polishing process, delivering stunning images and bokeh effects. The lens’ purpose-built structure boasts a new metal barrel for optimal durability with TSC composite internal moving components designed to resist thermal contraction and expansion. Available for Canon, Nikon and Sigma camera mounts.

Categories: News

Live coverage of the Google Pixel 2 launch on DPReview

DP Review News - Wed, 04/10/2017 - 16:24
10:45am PT

That's all folks! You can learn more about these products on the Google Store right now. As for us, we'll be running over to get our hands on the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in person, and see if they really are the world's best smartphone camera. Stay tuned or our hands-on take later today!

10:43am PT

The Google Clips camera looks for clear moments to capture. You can clip it anywhere. It features an F2.4 lens, 130° field of view, and captures short 'clips' that can be saved as motion photos, videos, or high res stills. You can choose which high-res still to save by navigating through a clip. When reviewing clips on your phone, just swipe right to save any one.

Will cost $250 and is "coming soon."

10:40am PT

"A camera that takes photos for you, so you can enjoy the moment and get shots you could never get before."

Starts with an AI engine at the core of the camera. Google Clips looks for "moments" by analyzing the scene and capturing photos automatically, so you can be part of the moment you're capturing.

Google Clips: new camera that works with Pixel. Takes photos for you.

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 10:38am PT

One more photography update, having to do with candid photography that lets you be part of the moment as the photographer.

Meet Google Clips: a new lifelogging-style camera designed with parents and pet owners in mind.

10:37am PT

Here's something they did NOT mention when talking about the new screen: the new Pixel 2 wide gamut display claims to offer "100% DCI-P3 coverage." While OLEDs often offer close to full DCI-P3 coverage, our Technology Editor Rishi Sanyal is a bit skeptical of the 100% figure and wants to see an actual CIELAB diagram. Some estimates 'cheat' by counting extended gamut outside of the P3 space in one color to make up for the lack of gamut coverage in another color. We'll have to wait and see, but most OLED coverage estimates max out at 99% DCI-P3 coverage.

Plus, we're still waiting to find out if the Pixel 2 phones offer proper color management to provide accurate color on these wide gamut displays. Even the original Pixel phones offered wide gamut displays, but displayed wildly inaccurate colors because of the lack of proper color management and display profiles.

10:30am PT

Worth noting about that DxOMark score of 98: that's an aggregate of Photo and Video scores.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 still beats the Google Pixel 2 in the Photo category, scoring 100 to the Google Pixel's 99. The Pixel's insane Video score of 96 is what gives it that high overall score. In Video, the iPhone 8 Plus scored an 89 and the Note 8 only scored an 84. We're guessing this high score is largely due to the smooth video the combination of optical + electronic stabilization enables.

Here's DxOMark's full review.

10:27am PT

Feature breakdown:

  • Ultra Vivid OLED Display
  • Super Fast Charging
  • Water Resistant
  • The Fastest Fingerprint Sensor
  • Smartest Assistant
  • First Phone with Google Lens
  • Exclusive AR Stickers
  • World's Highest-Rated Camera

Pre-orders start today.

10:23am PT

12MP F1.8 rear camera with OIS. Smaller 1/2.55" sensor though (1/2.3" on last year's models). HDR+ still takes a burst of shorter exposure shots to preserve highlights, then combines (averages) them to reduce noise. The latter essentially simulates the effect of a larger sensor. While this works very well for static scenes, it can be problematic for moving objects like running kids.

Portrait mode in the Pixel 2 uses Google's computational photography tech. No second camera required. Just split pixels on the sensor combined with machine learning. This allows both the front and back camera to use Portrait Mode.

It's actually quite clever: the phone creates a rudimentary depth map using Dual Pixel technology and machine learning. Or, as our Tech Editor explains it, "The pixels are split just like on Canon Dual Pixel sensors. And the Samsung Galaxy. It's used for phase-detect AF (fast focus) as well as to create a rudimentary depth map using the left and right perspectives viewed from behind one lens. Smart."

And you no longer have to move the camera upward while taking a photo in Portrait mode. You can just snap a shot. This would make it work better with slightly moving subjects compared to the original Pixel phones. Sadly, Portrait mode is not simulated in real-time as it is on recent iPhones.

Oh, and the Video mode uses OIS and EIS at the same time. We've seen this on 1"-type compact cameras and some ILCs like Canon M-series and the Olympus E-M1 Mark II, but it's a first for smartphones. This should lead to incredibly smooth video!

10:20am PT

Pixel camera now!

"With Pixel 2, we have reimagined smartphone photography. DxOMark has issued Pixel 2 an unprecedented score of 98."

That trounces the iPhone 8 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 which both scored 94.

10:18am PT

Augmented reality updates now. Very similar to the AR updates we saw with Apple and the new iPhones—inserting furniture or games into the real world through augmented reality.

Something 'exclusive' to Pixel 2 are AR stickers that interact with the world and with each other... because Google needed something to compete with Apple's Animojis.

10:14am PT

Talking about Google Lens now. Using pictures, machine learning technology, and Google Assistant to pull information out of images and tell you all about them. Like pulling phone numbers off a flyer, or... telling the difference between muffins and chihuahuas (their example, not ours).

Google Lens talk now. Grab a phone number from a picture of a flyer.

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017

Muffin or Chihuahua? Recognition is still tough but their tech is 95% accurate.

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 10:10am PT

Squeezing the phone triggers Google Assistant, so you can ask it to take a selfie. And it uses Machine Learning to tell if that squeeze was "intentional."

Still waiting on more comprehensive updates about the camera. Hopefully it's not all software and AI-based improvements. We're really hoping for some hardware updates like OIS and maybe a bigger sensor or better processor.

*fingers crossed*

10:05am PT

Pixel 2: Full HD OLED display on the smaller 5-inch model. 100,000:1 contrast ratio. More than twice the contrast ratio of phones in its class (save for the iPhone X). Comes in three colors: Kinda Blue, Just Black, and Clearly White.

Pixel 2 XL: Less bezel, 'gently curved' screen, wide color gamut display, integrated circular polarizer so you can view the screen through sunglasses, 538 ppi (up from 534 ppi in the first Pixel XL). Comes in two colors: Just Black and 'stylishly simple' Black and White. We're told the screen is optimized for VR, which may mean a pixel arrangement more amenable to high magnification.

"We don't set aside better features for the larger device." OOOO sick burn on Apple.

And yes, they are both IP67 dust and water resistant! On par with the iPhone, but a bit short of Samsung's IP68. That's a big upgrade from the IP53 rating of last year's phones (what do IP ratings mean?).

Here they are. “Bolder” look, sturdy.

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 10:00am PT

Google VP Mario Queiroz on stage, getting ready to talk about a 'smarter' and 'simpler' smartphone.

The Google Pixel 2, designed "with the best of Google built in." Comes in 2 sizes, 5-inch and 6-inch XL. More Google Assistant capabilities and will "continue to offer the best photography."

9:58am PT

One hour later, we're FINALLY about to hear about Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL!!!

9:55am PT

The 12.3-inch Quad HD touchscreen is nice, it's the first laptop with Google Assistant built in, and the laptop comes with the new Google Pen that can be used in concert with Google Assistant. 2,000 levels of pressure sensitivity... wonder how well photo editing in Lightroom on the Pixelbook works with the pen?

Google Pixelbook: part tablet, part laptop. 10mm thin, 1kg weight. 12.3" Quad HD touch display.

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 9:49am PT


Still waiting on the Google Pixel 2 launch. Moving on to Pixelbook from Google Home. It's like they're TRYING to torture the photo nerds. Let's see if there's any photo-centric reasons to be excited about the Pixelbook...

9:35am PT

We're getting a bunch of Google Home updates/announcements. There's a small one now... something about fabric... they needed 100+ tries to find an appropriately grey grey... cool stuff... clearly we're very interested in this part.

*insert Jeopardy waiting music here*

Google Home announcements now. It’s small. We’re patiently waiting for the main event...

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 9:21am PT

Next generation of Google devices are "fast" and "easy to use" and "anticipate your needs." Products that get faster and more helpful over time thanks to machine learning.

Rick Osterloh on stage now underscoring the AI/hardware/software combo approach the company has been taking to its new products.

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 9:19am PT

Rick Osterloh: "Pixel had the best and top rated smartphone camera. We're really proud with how well the Pixel did as our first generation smartphone."

He's not wrong. But there's a lot of room to improve...

Rick is talking about the challenges facing hardware development. So Google is going to take a "different approach" to smartphone [photography] advances by living at "the intersection of AI, software and hardware."

9:12am PT

Pichai is confident that Google is at the forefront of driving the shift to this AI-first future.

One of the major leaps forward Google has made, is in Object Detection, which he says is now at 45% accuracy! The company is using this tech in Google Lens and, says Pichai, in the Google Pixel smartphones.

Pichai talks of advances in AI object detection and its applications. Mentions that we’ll hear more about Google Lens in a bit.

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 9:05am PT

Google CEO Sundar Pichai on stage. Started with a somber note about the horrifying tragedy in Las Vegas, and the natural disasters around the world.

Now talking about how Google is using machine learning technology to improve everything from Google Maps, to parking difficulty prediction, to Google Translate. Pichai is "excited about a shift from a Mobile-first to an AI-first world."

This shift will no doubt have a major impact on the future of mobile photography.

Here we go. CEO Sundar Pichai on stage opening with comments on recent tragedies, moving on to discussion of power of machine learning.

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 8:59am PT

Are you ready? The Google DJs are winding down the music.

T minus 5 minutes to new Pixel phones. In the meantime, it’s kind of a clubby breakfast scene here, complete with DJ.

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017 8:45am PT

We're officially inside the SF Jazz Center waiting for the presentation to start! A few things we're hoping for: optical image stabilization, better depth of field simulation with live preview, and a much more durable Pixel 2/XL on par with the iPhones (IP67 rating) or even Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 (IP68 rating).

8:30am PT

Hot on the heels of Apple's own smartphone announcement, Google is taking on the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X with its own release. In T-minus 30 minutes, Google is set to unveil the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL (among a few other things) and we'll be covering the launch live from San Francisco on Twitter and on this page.

Watch the livestream with us, and keep refreshing this page for up-to-the-minute takes on all things photography related from the Google event.

We're on the scene at the SF Jazz Center! Stay tuned here for live updates from Google's launch event.

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017
Categories: News

Adobe unveils Photoshop Elements 2018: Can open closed eyes, find your best photos and more

DP Review News - Wed, 04/10/2017 - 15:44

A before and after of Photoshop Elements' new Open Closed Eyes featured at work.

While the professional photography market waits with bated breath to see what Adobe has in store for us at AdobeMAX, the company behind Lightroom and Photoshop unveiled something that appeals to a bit broader of an audience today: Photoshop Elements 2018 and Premiere Elements 2018.

The new, user-friendly versions of Adobe's photo and video editors come with some really creative and easy-to-use features that the company says are aimed at "memory keepers." The idea was to create two programs that make finding, enhancing and sharing the precious memories hidden away inside random memory cards, hard drives and (most likely) smartphones almost totally automatic.

Photoshop Elements 2018

Photoshop Elements 2018 tackles the same problem that everyone—Google's Photos App, Apple Photos, etc.—is trying to tackle: how do you help the typical shutterbug find their best images out of the thousands they take every week on their smartphone, and enhance those images so they look 'professional' and worth sharing on social media?

As with everybody else, Adobe is leaning heavily on machine learning and computer vision (different types of 'AI') for this trick.

It starts with an easy-to-use Organizer view and something called Auto Curation, which uses computer vision and some nifty algorithms to guess (because it can't REALLY know, can it?) which of your images are the best. So if you have a group of 200 images, you can ask Photoshop Elements to cull those down automatically to just 15.

Once you've selected your shots, you can use the program's new Guided Edits and a new feature called Automatic Selection to do things like drop in a new background, create a double exposure effect using two of your images, or add 'artistic' overlays.

The coolest feature, though, has to be Open Closed Eyes, which allows you to select two frames, and replace the closed eyes in one with the open eyes from another. The results are incredibly lifelike given that whole thing can be done in a matter of seconds.

Premiere Elements 2018

Like Photoshop Elements, Premiere Elements 2018 also leans heavily on AI-powered features to make video editing as automatic and pain-free as possible.

Smart Trim does for videos what Auto Curate does for photos, namely: it asks you what 'style' of video you want to create, tries to intelligently find the best clips that match this style, and tosses out the rest to create a coherent clip.

Another interesting addition is a feature called Candid Moments, which tries to find the best candid 'photo' hidden within a video clip and pull it out for you. With new smartphones like the iPhone 8 Plus shooting gorgeous 4K 60p, we could see this feature being a huge hit with those 'memory keepers' Adobe is all trying to target.

Admittedly, neither Photoshop Elements 2018 nor Premiere Elements 2018 are really targetted at more professional photographers out there (read: many of the people who enjoy reading DPReview). But as these beginner-focused programs get more and more powerful, amateur photographers who are allergic to the subscription model and don't like to do much post-processing anyhow might actually enjoy using Photoshop and Premiere Elements 2018.

Of course, that's not to say we won't be keeping a very close eye on AdobeMAX this year.

To learn more about Photoshop Elements 2018 and Premiere Elements 2018, head over to the Adobe blog by clicking here, or visit their dedicated landing pages by clicking on the program names above. Both programs are available now for $100 new or $80 as an upgrade. You can also buy them together for $150 new or upgrade both programs at once for $120.

Categories: News

Sisters in step: your art on the theme of women

For last month’s readers’ art assignment Cynthia Corbett invited you to share your art on the theme of women. Here are some of her favourites, with captions by the artists themselves

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Categories: News
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