New infrared image of Orion Nebula surprises ESO researchers

DP Review News - Tue, 12/07/2016 - 15:53

ESO/H. Drass et al. Music: Johan B. Monell (

A new image from the European Southern Observatory in Chile is making researchers reconsider what they thought they knew about the Orion Nebula. The image comes courtesy of the Very Large Telescope's HAWK-I infrared imager, and provides the deepest view of the nebula ever recorded. According to ESO, the imagery 'reveals many more very faint planetary-mass objects than expected.'

Multiple infrared exposures were layered to get this new look into the nebula, and you can see a comparison of how the infrared images compare to visible light. ESO has made the videos available for download in resolutions up to 4K.

Categories: News

Les Rencontres d'Arles 2016 review – twin towers and sub-Saharan slums

Arles, France
Festival director Sam Stourdze gathers a powerful response to the 9/11 attacks, while African photographic talent is showcased – and rightfully awarded

The Arles photography festival has been in transition for several years, looking forward to the medium’s exciting but uncertain post-digital future while also looking back at its past. This year, there are homages to veterans such as Don McCullin, Sid Grossman and Peter Mitchell, but much more work that questions the very idea of old-fashioned observation.

We live in an age where the emphasis is on process – image manipulation, performance, collage, archival appropriation – so it is perhaps unsurprising there is now a tendency towards elaborate over-curation. In this context, a group show entitled Nothing But Blue Skies is a lesson in the power of a single unifying subject ambitiously explored: the 9/11 attacks on the twin towers.

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Take a look around: traditional stills versus VR in Iceland

DP Review News - Tue, 12/07/2016 - 14:44
Introduction Time to relax - does VR capture lower the barrier for creating memorable vacation content? Let's take a look. Nikon D810 + Nikon AF-S 35mm F1.4G @ F2 | 1/8000 sec | ISO 200. Photo by Carey Rose

Back in April, two friends and I took a trip to Iceland, spending eight days circumnavigating the island via its famous ring road. Happily, around that time we were looking for some updated content for our review of the Nikon D810, so I took one along and wrote up a shooting experience.

In general, though, I enjoy documenting my travels even when I'm just traveling for fun. I find it to be a nice creative recharge, simply photographing for myself, in my style, with my choice of equipment. Of course, the D810 I borrowed wasn't my personal equipment, but it was near-ideal for the sorts of situations I found myself in (plus, handling-wise, it isn't quite so different from the D700 I was originally planning on bringing).

But now we've got VR technology beginning to make waves in the consumer electronics industry. What's more, capture devices are getting more accessible: the Ricoh Theta S retails for just $349, making it a cheaper proposition than most DSLRs, as well as my secondhand X100 and Ricoh GR, which are my usual go-to cameras for casual photography.

The Ricoh Theta S carries an MSRP of $349, and offers full 360 stills and video capture as well as smartphone integration.

At its core, the act of taking a photograph requires some translation of the 360-degree setting in which the photographer stands into a two-dimensional window, for viewing on the web or in print. But 360-degree VR capture changes that. When you're literally just capturing the entirety of a scene around you, is there value in it for other viewers? When you've removed one of the most basic creative tenets of capturing a photograph, what are you left with?

During our time in Iceland, my friends and I were lucky enough to have the opportunity to borrow a Ricoh Theta S as well. Without any prior experience, we tried to use it as we did our DSLRs - to see if and how it could offer value to us above and beyond our traditional camera kits.

Click-and-drag on a desktop or laptop to view the 360 footage. All 'traditional' photographs by Carey Rose, and all Theta S 360 images by Jordan Stead.

360-degree viewing methods

Spoiler alert - when viewing the Theta S footage on a 2D viewing device, such as a laptop or smartphone, I find the results somewhat underwhelming. And throughout this article, you will, of course, notice that the files from the Ricoh are a little low-res, and lack some 'pop' that you can see in files from the D810. This shouldn't really be a surprise given the dramatic differences in hardware, so I'll be focusing on the viewing experience concerning the 360-stills rather than outright image quality.

Here's a collection of stills captured on a D810 from a black sand beach outside Vik, in southern Iceland.

The top two images are shot with a 35mm prime, and the bottom two with an 80-200mm F2.8 zoom. Now, as I alluded to in my shooting experience, these may not be your standard picture-perfect postcard images from this setting. But that's okay, because that's not generally how I shoot when I'm shooting for myself. I like to use several different photos to focus on several different aspects of a scene, as opposed to shooting wider-angle 'overall' photos that get more of a sense of place in a single image. Something approaching the latter is what you get when you use the Theta S. 

I find viewing the 360 as you see it above in a web browser or on a mobile phone to be somewhat 'distant.' The distortion is strong, and therefore distorts the sense of place, even though you can see everything in the scene. Everything also feels very far away, which ties in with an overall sense of detachment I feel looking at it, even though I know that I'm just a little ways down the beach in the image. You can zoom into the 360 image to reduce the distortion somewhat, but then the experience becomes even less immersive.

The overall feeling I get is of a person quickly taking an eye-level wide-angle photograph of something in front of them (not a criticism of my friend Jordan who was shooting with the Theta - the 360's I took on this trip also had the same feel). Also, if you happen to view it on a phone, by default you 'look' around the scene by reorienting your phone in 3D space, which makes you look very silly if you are looking at it in public.

But then I looked at it through a Galaxy Gear VR headset, and everything changed.

Categories: News

How did you store your memories before the internet?

Show us how you kept your memories before Snapchat and Facebook came into our lives

Our life experiences are now filed away in digital cabinets and the arrival of Snapchat’s new Memories feature isn’t doing any favours for analogue methods of memory-keeping.

But we’re not ready to let go just yet. We want to see photos of your diaries, scrapbooks and family albums. We want to hear stories of how you and your loved ones have collected sentimental objects and documented moments that you wanted to hold on to.

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Tour de France 2016: stages one to nine – in pictures

As the riders return to the saddle after a well-deserved rest day, we take a look back at the best images from the first nine stages

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Best photographs of the day: a Maori on parade and a PM's exit

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights from around the world, including a Bastille Day rehearsal and David Cameron’s last hours in Downing Street

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Watch out, Instagram: new Polaroid app brings a nostalgic classic to your phone

Reverence for the original brand inspired two San Francisco-based Brits to bring back the magic with a modern twist: 3D moving images

Before everyone had a digital camera tucked inside their mobile phone, before the duck-faced selfies and sepia-toned filters of Instagram, before Flickr and Periscope and Snapchat, there was Polaroid.

From 1948 to the early 2000s, that name was synonymous with “instant visual gratification”. Wait 60 seconds, and the photo you just snapped would appear magically before your eyes.

Related: The best iPhone photographs of 2016 – in pictures

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Eyewitness: Mumbai

Photographs from the Eyewitness series

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Is it me you're looking for? Lionel Richie behind the scenes – in pictures

The collection of photographs illustrates the close relationship Alan Silfen has experienced with Lionel Richie from the 1980s to the present day

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Beauty of space: spectacular Australian photographs of the universe

From the hidden colours of the moon to Bonnie Doon, and Tarantula Nebula to Saturn, these spectacular images of the universe are the finalists in the 2016 CWAS ‘David Malin’ awards. The annual competition, which celebrates the best astronomy images taken by Australian photographers, is part of AstroFest 2016. The winners will be announced on 16 July. An associated exhibition opens the following day at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory visitors centre, and a second exhibition will also travel to selected venues around Australia

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8K Helium Super 35mm sensor on the way from RED

DP Review News - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 21:36

Movie camera manufacturer RED has announced that it will be introducing a new 8K sensor that it is calling Helium. At 29.9x15.77mm the new sensor is much smaller than the current 8K Dragon sensor, which measures 40.96x21.6mm, but both sensors have 8192x4320 pixels.

The attraction of the new Helium sensor is that a wider range of lenses will provide sufficient coverage for its shorter diagonal, even though it is slightly larger than the standard Super 35mm format. It should also be easier to make and may take some of the pressure off the company’s difficult delivery of the larger Dragon 8K VistaVision sized sensor. The Helium is designed to operate in the same Weapon camera, but the company’s CEO Jarred Land also let on that a new camera, the Epic-W, will also come with the new sensor.

The announcement was made in a casual way in Land’s July Update on the Red User forum and via pictures posted on Land’s Instagram and Facebook pages, as well as those of the company designer’s Matthew Tremblay. Little technical detail has been released so far, but it is known that the pixels will be just 3.65 microns and that the sensor will be available in ‘coming months’.

For more information see the RED website and REDuser forum.

Categories: News

'She was making her stand': image of Baton Rouge protester an instant classic

Photo which shows Iesha L Evans standing still in the face of two Louisiana state troopers in riot gear has drawn comparisons to other historic protest images

As tens of thousands of people protest with renewed vigor following the police shooting deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling and react to the five Dallas police officers that were killed by a sniper, one photograph has emerged from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as a symbol of the civil unrest that has spread across the nation.

The image, taken by Jonathan Bachman for Reuters, shows a woman, who has been identified as Iesha L Evans, standing in a long dress in the face of a line of Louisiana state troopers dressed in riot gear outside of police headquarters. Evans looks calm and poised and almost seems to repel the two officers who are charging towards her.

Related: Why we can't stop listening to the families of police shooting victims

This photo was taken at the #BatonRouge protests. Wow.

extraordinary moment from Baton Rouge, photo by Jonathan Bachman @reuters #BlackLivesMatter

Powerful image of protester being detained near HQ of the Baton Rouge PD. via @reuters

Jonathan Bachman of @Reuters is doing such strong work in #BatonRouge. Powerful images.

This photo made by Jonathan Bachman of Reuters from the protests in Baton Rouge is incredible.

Mugshot released of Ieshia Evans, 35, whose Baton Rouge protest pic went viral (Jonathan Bachman of @Reuters)

@RohdeD @nprscottsimon @Reuters History and what we can bend at the root with love instead of fear humbles me

When you see this image you think thank God America won the Cold War and defeated tyranny


Behold Lady Liberty #LeshiaEvans

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Sport picture of the day: Portugal fans welcome home Euro 2016 heroes

Thousands of fans lined the streets of Lisbon as the victorious national football team flew home after defeating France to become Euro 2016 champions and claim their first major trophy

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2016 iPhone Photography Award winners announced

DP Review News - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 20:16
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The organizers of the iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS), one of the longest running mobile photography contests, have announced the winners of the 2016 competition. The grand prize this year goes to an image titled 'The Man and the Eagle' by Chinese photographer Siyuan Niu.

“The brave and wise Khalkhas live along the mountains in the south of Xinjiang and are companions with the eagles. They regard eagles as their children and train them for many years to hunt. This 70 year old man is rigid and solemn in front of family and friends, but when he is with his beloved eagle, the corner of his mouth would curve up. When the eagles reach mating age, although he is very reluctant, the man releases the eagles back into nature so that they can thrive. A mild heart and exquisite love are covered by his weather-beaten face. He is a tough man with a tender heart.”

The contest covers a wide range of categories and winning images were selected from thousands of submissions made by photographers from 139 countries. In the gallery above you can see the grand prize winning shot and some of the category winners. Head over to the IPPAWARDS website to see all winning images.

Categories: News

Photographer captures kayakers with help from drone-mounted Speedlites

DP Review News - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 19:05

Australian adventure photographer and Canon Master Krystle Wright is the subject of a new video from Canon in which she details photographing kayakers with the EOS-1D X Mark II. Wright captures the kayakers dropping down a 60ft waterfall in near darkness with help from a drone rigged with two 600-EX Speedlites.

'With the way the world is these days, there’s so many images being produced,' she explains, 'you really have to push hard to create something that is unique.' We'd say the unique approach definitely paid off with some memorable shots.

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Euro 2016: the best images from the tournament – gallery

With Euro 2016 having now drawn to a close with Portugal crowned kings of Europe, we take a look back at some of our favourite images from the 51 matches at the month-long football fest in France

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The day I got naked for Spencer Tunick

As we stripped off in the small hours of Saturday morning, a sea of 3,200 naked strangers in Hull, one question struck me: what if I’m dyed Avatar blue forever?

Standing naked in the centre of Hull in the small hours of the morning is not something I ever expected to be doing. But that’s where I found myself on Saturday, wearing nothing but my own skin, painted blue, alongside 3,200 other like-minded people, shivering slightly in the dawn breeze.

As soon as I heard about Spencer Tunick’s vision for his latest artwork, Sea of Hull, back in March, I registered to take part. I’m not even from Hull – I’m a recent graduate living in the countryside outside York – but I couldn’t pass up the experience of posing naked for a world famous photographer.

An early morning cyclist almost fell off his bike as he saw us. Who ever said the British were prudes?

Related: Nudity is the ultimate test of self-acceptance. Why are we so afraid of it? | Monica Tan

Home and washed. The most surreal but brilliant experience of my life #seaofhull #spencertunick #nudeart

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Categories: News

Sony Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Sample Gallery

DP Review News - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 14:21

Sony has just announced its Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens, a high quality normal for its E-mount Alpha line of cameras. At a shooting event in San Diego, we had a chance to go hands-on. It's a formidable lens, smaller than the 85mm GM with its 72mm filter thread, but significantly larger than the FE 55mm F1.8 ZA already available for the system.

So what does that extra heft and glass get you besides top notch build quality and ergonomics? Have a look at our gallery where we've posted a smattering of real-world portraits at fast apertures shot using Eye AF on the 42MP Alpha 7R II, some shallow focus shots at various apertures to get an idea of axial CA, as well as some infinity horizons at various apertures for the assessment of sharpness (day scene) and coma (night scene).

We're duly impressed by the lens' sharpness across the field wide open, lack of axial CA (green/purple fringing just outside the focal plane), and pleasing bokeh, but to keep things objective, we'll be following up soon with a brief comparison of these attributes against the already stellar FE 55/1.8 ZA. Look for updates to this gallery as well in the coming days.

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Categories: News

Hands-on with Sony's wireless flash system, arriving in August

DP Review News - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 14:00
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Sony's wireless radio flash trigger system, introduced back in March, is headed to retailers this August. The system is comprised of a 'commander' (FA-WRC1M) and a receiver (FA-WRR1). There can be up to 5 groups, each of which can contain 15 flashes. A standard sync port on the receiver allows for control of studio strobes with ease, though of course you'll lose TTL capabilities. High Speed Sync (HSS) is also supported. The system has a maximum range of 30m/98ft, and the commander unit sports a large LCD with an intuitive user interface.

What we like

At a recent shooting event in San Diego, CA, I got some brief hands-on time with the new transmitters and receivers, and was pleased with how intuitive the user interface was (not something you can always take for granted with flash systems). For the shot below, I used E-TTL with three flashes (groups) - one (A) at camera right for some harsh side-lighting, one (B) front left of model Eliza as the key, and one (C) directly in front of her for a tiny bit of balance to the overall light. I dialed in my exposure manually to ensure ambient was drowned out, then varied the ratios of groups A, B, and C on the transmitter's LCD with ease until I got the lighting just as I wanted it. Essentially, it all worked just as I'd expect it to. Adjust flash ratios, groups, Manual power, Flash Exposure Compensation are all very intuitive and direct. Furthermore, the option of triggering studio probes was very handy. Studio shooters: rejoice.

What we're less pleased with

If you're an event shooter, I was less pleased with the lack of an AF assist beam on the transmitter. This speaks to a larger problem with Sony mirrorless: no Sony E-mount camera will trigger any off-camera AF assist beam. Red/IR AF assist beams are a boon to any event photographer; for example, I rely on it for fast AF at dim wedding receptions, where all my flashes are off-camera for dramatic lighting. In such scenarios, AF assist beams on transmitters allow the camera's AF system to focus in near-darkness, obviating the need for a heavy flash on-camera. Sony's continued lack of any support of off-camera assist beams on transmitters or flashes is unfortunate, given Sony's desire for acceptance by pros, and considering that in our own lab tests, Sony's a7R II and a6300 focus incredibly well with red/IR assist beams triggered by Canon/Nikon systems (contrary to the belief of many that on-sensor phase-detect AF systems can't 'see' these beams).

While one can fault both Canon and Nikon for similar oversights in their latest radio triggered flash systems, we find the omission increasingly unforgivable given that 3rd party options like Phottix and Yongnuo do offer AF assist beams on their radio triggers. Yet while these 3rd party options do at least work on Canon and Nikon DSLRs, they fail entirely to trigger AF beams on Sony FE cameras, due to Sony's continued lack of support of AF assist beams (save for the largely useless one built into the camera).

We're hopeful that this is something Sony will address in the future. It's by no means a deal-breaker though for what appears to be a very capable radio trigger system that should find a way into your kit if you shoot with Sony flashes.

Both the commander and receiver will be available in August at $350 and $200, respectively.

Pricing and Availability – New FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS G Master lens. Teleconverters and Wireless Lighting Control System

Today, Sony has also released pricing and ship timing for the FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS G Master lens, 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters plus their new wireless lighting control system. All products were introduced earlier this year.

One of the most eagerly anticipated lenses of the year, the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS G Master lens takes its place as the flagship telephoto zoom in the Sony lens lineup. Featuring built in Optical Stead Shot (OSS) and a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture across the zoom range, the lens will be an ideal fit for nature, sports, travel, fashion, beauty and wedding photographers. This lens will ship this July for a retail price of $2,500 US and $3,300 CA.

Designed exclusively to fit the 70-200mm F2.8 G Master lens, the new 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters (models SEL14TC and SEL20TC) will both be sold for the same retail price of about $550 US and $700 CA, and will ship this July.

The versatile new wireless flash and control system – comprised of the FA-WRC1M wireless radio commander and the FA-WRR1 wireless radio receiver – was designed to meet the growing demands of professional Sony photographers. With a maximum range of 30m (approx. 98 feet) and the ability to control a maximum of 15 separate flash units in 5 different groups, it offers a flexible wireless flash shooting experience with exceptional performance.

The FA-WRC1M commander will be sold for about $350 US and $480 CA. The FA-WRR1 receiver will be sold for about $200 US and $280 CA. Both products will ship this August.

The new lenses, teleconverters and wireless lighting system will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.

Categories: News

Sony announces FE 50mm F1.4 ZA prime lens

DP Review News - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 14:00
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Sony has announced its new Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens. This full-frame fast prime features an 11-blade aperture for circular out-of-focus highlights even as you stop down, 'Advanced Aspheric' and ED lens elements and Zeiss' T* coating. Sony says that the lens' Planar design minimizes distortion. 

The lens is similar in construction to the FE 35mm F1.4. It's weather-sealed and uses Sony's Super Sonic Wave Motor for quick and quiet autofocus. A clicked aperture ring can be de-clicked if desired for smooth aperture control in video.

At a recent shooting event in San Diego, we had a chance to go hands with this fast prime (view our gallery here). Despite being a bit heavy, the lens handles beautifully. We were very impressed by sharpness: subjects placed far off-center remained sharp even wide open, despite the 42MP Sony a7R II sensor resolution. Indeed, MTF curves indicate an impressive 60% response is maintained across the frame wide open even at 40 line pairs / mm. Our initial shots also indicate that axial chromatic aberration (green and purple fringing) are very well controlled, and bokeh appears very smooth, both of which add to this lens' appeal over options like the Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA.

The FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens will be available this month at a price of $1500.

Sony Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA specifications Principal specificationsLens typePrime lensMax Format size35mm FFFocal length50 mmImage stabilizationNoLens mountSony FEApertureMaximum apertureF1.4Minimum apertureF16Aperture ringYesNumber of diaphragm blades11OpticsElements12Groups9Special elements / coatings2 aspherical + 1 ED element + Zeiss T* coatingFocusMinimum focus0.45 m (17.72″)Maximum magnification0.15×AutofocusYesMotor typeRing-type ultrasonicFull time manualYesFocus methodInternalDistance scaleNoDoF scaleNoPhysicalWeight778 g (1.72 lb)Diameter84 mm (3.29″)Length108 mm (4.25″)SealingYesColourBlackFilter thread72.0 mmHood suppliedYesHood product codeALC-SH143

Press Release:

Sony Releases Full-Frame FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Prime Lens

A quintessential wide-aperture 50mm “normal” lens, the new ZEISS® Planar F1.4 offers high resolution, high-contrast and overall exceptional performance

SAN DIEGO, July 11, 2016 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today introduced a new full-frame lens for their E-mount camera system, the Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA (model SEL50F14Z).

This 50mm prime lens features a large F1.4 maximum aperture that offers impressive contrast and outstanding resolution that are hallmarks of the ZEISS® brand. It produces these consistently strong qualities throughout the entirety of the frame – from center to corner – and at all aperture settings, even while shooting wide open at F1.4. The cutting edge optical structure includes high-precision AA (Advanced Aspherical) and ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements that reduce spherical and chromatic aberration, as well as a ZEISS® T* Coating that minimizes flare and ghosting creating the classic ZEISS® clarity. Additionally, its Planar design ensures minimal distortion.

The large F1.4 maximum aperture of the FE 50mm F1.4ZA lens provides a level of brightness and speed that are advantageous for dimly lit indoor shots, night scenes, and portraits, while its 11-bladed circular aperture allows for stunning “bokeh”, or background defocus, in images. The lens also features an aperture ring with an adjustable ON/OFF switch, an AF/MF focus mode switch, and a dust and moisture resistant design¹, further increasing its functionality.

The new lens is also equipped with a ring drive SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) system, which allows it to efficiently lock focus with speed, precision and in near silence, making it particularly useful for shooting movies.

Pricing and Availability – FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Lens

The new FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens will ship this July for a retail price of $1,500 US and $1,950 CA. The new FE interchangeable lens will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.

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