News

Free learning provider Alison launches build-your-own camera drone course

DP Review News - Wed, 01/03/2017 - 17:00

Online e-learning platform Alison has launched a new course aimed at those who want to build their own camera drones. Over four modules the course claims to teach students about the components that go into a drone and their functions, as well as how to assemble, check and fly your own quadcopter.

The course uses video tutorials that already exist on Drones Garage but adds step-by-step summaries and introductions to guide students through the information. Students must take an assessment at the end of the course to ensure knowledge has been retained and a score of 80% has to be achieved to pass. Those who pass can buy a certificate or download a free PDF that shows a record of what courses have been taken and passed.

The course is free to take after sign-up as most of the content already exists and pre-roll adverts fund the site. For more information see the Alison e-learning website.

Press release

Aerial photography and exploration: Discovering drone technology
  • Alison launches free course on building your own drone
  • Hobbyists use the course to build drones and use them to take stunning aerial photos and video
  • Multinationals and governments are piloting the use of drones for deliveries, surveillance and much more

Alison, one of the world’s largest free e-learning platforms, has announced the launch of a new course teaching people how to build their own drones. Aimed at beginners, the course is taught by experts through a series of videos.

Mike Feerick, CEO of Alison, said: “On a personal level, I find the ever-expanding field of drone technology absolutely fascinating. The opportunity for UAVs to transform industry is extraordinary; from providing new sources to journalists and delivering orders, to criminal surveillance and assisting the emergency services with search and rescue operations.”

The course teaches students how to build a Rush 4 drone for the first time. The curriculum involves learning about the process of preparing the motors, electronic speed controllers and power distribution board. Learners are also guided on how the first-person view is attached in order to film while flying the drone.

Finally, students learn about the steps that need to be taken before flying a drone, and introduced to the software tools that can prepare the drone for flying.

Mike added: “I’m excited by the idea of giving people the ability to put something this powerful together with their own hands, but also by the beauty it can capture – from photographing the coastline at angles that were previously impossible, to taking videos of kids’ birthday parties. There is a seemingly endless range of uses for these devices.”
The course is available here.

About Alison

Alison is one of the world’s largest free online learning platforms, providing free education to more than 10 million registered learners worldwide. Alison is a for-profit social enterprise with a goal to drive the cost of education and skills training to zero.
Headquartered in Galway, Ireland, Alison was founded by CEO Mike Feerick, social entrepreneur, Ashoka fellow (2010) and Harvard MBA. Alison has over one million registered learners in the United States, United Kingdom, and India with 180,000 registered learners in Ireland.

Awards
* UNESCO Award for Innovation in ICT for Education (2011)
* World Innovation Summit for Education Award (2013)
* Finalist ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ World Economic Forum/Schwab Awards (2016)

Categories: News

Nikon D5600 review: making connectivity a snap?

DP Review News - Wed, 01/03/2017 - 14:00

The D5600 is the company's mid-range DSLR and it's the smallest and best-connected, yet.

Nikon has been on something of a roll, making solid DSLRs with good ergonomics, dependable metering, some of the best image sensors, often very good (often industry-leading) autofocus and a JPEG engine that gives results that lots of people like.

However, falling camera sales and rivalry both from smaller mirrorless models and the convenient, perpetually available smartphone means that producing a really good little DSLR isn't quite enough. The D5600 aims to address this by making it as painless as possible to get the images from the camera to your phone, meaning that you get the huge benefit of a large sensor camera but with as small an energy barrier as possible.

As such, the addition of SnapBridge is virtually the only change between this and the older D5500. It may sound like a minor change but, to us, we feel it's likely to be the making or the downfall of this model and perhaps it makes more sense than adding an array of clever but bewildering additional features and modes, as many rival makers seem to do.

Key Features:
  • 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 39 point AF sensor with 9 central cross-type points
  • 2,016-pixel RGB sensor assists AF tracking and metering
  • Up to 5 fps continuous shooting
  • 'SnapBridge' Bluetooth/Wi-Fi communication
  • 1080/60p video capability
  • Time-lapse movie feature
SnapBridge

At its heart, SnapBridge is primarily a Bluetooth-based system which uses a low-energy connection to stay connected to your smart device (and sidestep the hurdles that mobile OSs might otherwise place in your way) and to transfer images. Although the camera is Wi-Fi capable, that capability is used solely for remote live view operation and video transfer.

We weren't very impressed the first time we encountered SnapBridge: it seemed unfinished and not very well suited to the D500 where it first appeared. The high likelihood of the photographer wanting full resolution files and the camera's propensity for generating lots of images made it a poor fit for that camera. However, on the mass-market D3400 it seemed much more likeable: you take the photos and 2MP versions appear on your phone shortly afterwards.

The needs of the D5600's users are likely to lie somewhere between these two extremes, so we'll see how well it does.

Review based on a camera running firmware v1.0. All SnapBridge commentary amended to reflect the behavior of firmware v1.1 and both iOS and Android app version V1.20
Categories: News

Best photos of the day: a Putin selfie and Rihanna

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights from around the world, including President Putin in Krasnoyarsk and the Harvard University humanitarian of the year award

Continue reading...
Categories: News

Kebabs, butterflies and pearly queens: the dawn of 2017 – in pictures

24 photographers who met at art school in London decided to document each New Year’s Day for 24 years, resulting in a poignant and serendipitous series of images as their lives take different paths. They began in 2004 – here is their work from 2017

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Categories: News

CP+ 2017: the weird, wonderful, and everything in between

DP Review News - Wed, 01/03/2017 - 11:00
Best of CP+ 2017 in Japan

While there weren't a lot of new announcements at CP+, the theme of the show seemed to be glass: Sigma launched four new lenses, Tamron showed off two, Pentax announced the development of two full-frame primes, Fujifilm showcased a line of affordable cinema primes for Sony E-mount users and a ton of third-party brands had their latest glass creations on display.

So take a peek through our gallery for a rundown of the best of CP+ 2017... and some other stuff we found along the way.  

Fujifilm GFX 50S

While not newly announced, CP+ 2017 was the first time we were able to shoot with a final production Fujifilm GFX 50S medium-format digital camera. As you might expect, it's an absolute peach to use. Barney and I spent most of the time in Japan fighting over who'd get to use it, which should tell you all you need to know. Simply put, we both found its form factor to be fabulous (it's surprisingly light), and as for image quality - well, take a look for yourself.

Sigma 14mm F1.8 DG HSM

Sigma announced four new lenses at CP+, three of which join the growing 'Art' series. They include a 24-70mm F2.8, a 135mm F1.8 and the one we are most excited for: a 14mm F1.8. In addition, the company also launched a 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM lens which is part of the company's more modestly-priced 'Contemporary' series. 

But back to the 14mm F1.8. It's the fastest 14mm in existence, yet despite its wide angle of view, distortion appears almost non-existent. It also appears to be crazy sharp! We've been able to post some pre-production sample images to prove it. 

Nikon D5 100 Year Anniversary Strap

Nikon didn't launch any new products at CP+, but as part of its continuing 100th year anniversary celebration, it did unveil several special edition 100 year anniversary items including this swanky leather strap (and a gunmetal grey edition D5 and D500). We have no idea if these straps will eventually be for sale, or if acquiring one also means buying a D5/D500, but we'd hang them round our necks.  

HandeVision Iberit 75mm F2.4

We stumbled on a bunch of cool mirrorless lenses from HandeVision, including this matte grey Iberit 75mm F2.4 (shipping versions will be finished in chrome or black). Build quality seems good, and at just over $700, it's a semi-affordable option for mirrorless (and Leica M) manual focus shooters. On crop sensor bodies it gives a 112mm effective field of view. Check out the other lenses HandeVision had on display. 

Sigma 135mm F1.8 DG HSM

In addition to the 14mm F1.8, Sigma also dropped a 135mm F1.8 at this year's show. It's pretty large, and a little heavy, but it sure is pretty, especially that big front element. The lens mount also has a rubber gasket to keep dust and water out, something not offered in previously released Sigma's 'Art' series lenses. A 9-blade aperture should ensure attractive bokeh and hopefully nice sunstars, too. Simply put, we're pretty jazzed to get it in the office and get shooting. 

Exploded gear/gear cut in half

There was a lot of bisected and exploded gear at this year's show (as always). As has become tradition, we made this gallery to highlight some of the best examples. 

Ricoh Pentax D FA* 50mm F1.4

Ricoh added two new full-frame prime lenses to its lens lineup this year, including this 50mm F1.4 as well as an 85mm F1.4. The 85mm wasn't on display, but we were able to lay eyes (and our cameras) on a mockup of the new 50mm, tucked inside a very reflective and very secure plastic case. Details about the lens are forthcoming, but it's certainly large. 

Canon EOS 77D

We didn't get our hands on Canon's new EOS 77D at the show, mainly because of the sizable crowds in the Canon booth, but we'd already seen it a few weeks ago back in the US. The EOS 77D is built around a 24MP APS-C sensor, Digic 7 processor and 45-point AF system. Take a look at our hands-on for more info. 

Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Art

We've included all three new Sigma Art lenses in this gallery because frankly, they're all really enticing. The 24-70mm F2.8 is impressively small and light weight (for an Art-series lens). And like the 135mm it has a rubber gasket at the base to keep dust and moisture out. Even more impressive: it's stabilized. Check out our hands-on for more. 

Pigeon camera

Every year, in the back corner of CP+ is a small camera museum exhibit. And one of my absolute favorite cameras on display was the Michel Pigeon Camera, which is exactly what it sounds like. Though the pigeon is no longer with us (we assume - it could just be very well-trained), the camera still looks pretty functional. You can read more about the Michel Pigeon Camera here

Used camera fair

Another fixture of CP+ is the used camera fair, which takes place upstairs. A great place to find weird old rangefinder lenses, camera cases, obscure film compact cameras. As such, a great place to spend money. We were disappointed when we missed the end of the fair when we returned on Sunday, but to be honest, it was probably for the best. 

Voigtländer Macro APO-Lanthar 65mm F2

Voigtländer unveiled three new manual focus Sony E-mount lenses at CP+ including this 65mm F2 macro. The build quality on these lenses, as you might expect, is marvelous. And unlike some older Voigtländers, these lenses have electronic contacts, so they'll communicate with the camera body to which they are attached. The 65mm F2 offers a 1:2 max magnification. Take a look at the other two lenses Voigtländer announced in our hands-on slideshow. 

Canon EOS Rebel T7i

Canon's flagship Rebel, the T7i is the first in the series to incorporate Canon's Dual Pixel AF. Take a look through our previously-published hands-on to find out more.

Ricoh Pentax KP

We were able to get closer look at the insides of Pentax's latest APS-C DSLR. How cool is it to see the pentaprism cut right down the middle? In many respects a miniature Pentax K-1, the KP is well-featured, and weather sealed (when it hasn't been cut in half). Also in the Pentax booth was a pretty cool demo showing off the company's image stabilization. You can find a short video of that here. And for more on the Pentax KP, check out our hands-on

Tamron SP 70-200mm F2.8 Di VC USD G2

There's a lot of buzz surrounding Tamron's 2nd generation SP 70-200mm F2.8 lens and we were pretty excited to check it out in person. Compared to its predecessor, Tamron promises faster autofocus and better stabilization. It also offers a completely overhauled optical and mechanical design. Available in Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts, this high-end telezoom will only set you back about $1500, making it a bargain compared to it's non-third party counterparts.

Tamron was also showing off its new 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD. You can read more about both lenses here

This poor man

It was freaking hot on the tradeshow floor! And this poor man had to spend all four days dressed in what seemed like fairly un-breathable getup all while posing with anyone who passed by and wanted to get a photo. Did he lose a bet? We have no idea.

Fujifilm MK cinema lens series 

Fujifilm is entering the affordable cine lens market with the launch of the MK series for Sony E-mount (and X mount, coming later). These lens are an affordable alternative to much more expensive cinema lenses and cover a Super 35 or APS-C imaging area. The lenses include an 18-55mm T2.9, and a 50-135mm T2.9. 

We recently made a short video using the MK18-55 T2.9. Take a look

Sony a7S rig for the International Space Station

Did you know that the International Space station has a Sony a7S mounted on it for low-light photography? Here's a copy of the rig it sits in, in while flying around the Earth at 17,150 miles per hour. 

Mini space station

And just for reference, here's a full-size model of the ISS. It's smaller than you expect.

Categories: News

Syngenta photography award 2016-17 exhibition – in pictures

This year’s theme is Grow-Conserve and entries will be on show in Somerset House, London, from 9 to 28 March. Winners will be announced on 8 March

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Categories: News

DPReview to produce regular segment on The New Screen Savers

DP Review News - Wed, 01/03/2017 - 09:00

We’re excited to announce that DPReview is partnering with the TWiT Network (named after its flagship show, This Week in Tech) to produce a regular segment for The New Screen Savers, a popular weekend show hosted by technology guru Leo Laporte.

On this week's show, DPReview editor Dale Baskin joins Leo and guest host, Iain Thomson of The Register, to talk about the Panasonic GH5. Tune in to the entire episode to also learn about the discovery of a solar system with 7 Earth-sized planets that could potentially support life, a large internet security bug, and a report on the new Nintendo Switch.

You can watch The New Screen Savers live every Saturday at 3pm Pacific Time (23:00 UTC), on demand through our articles, the TWiT website, or YouTube, as well as through most podcasting apps.

Categories: News

OPPO 5x smartphone zoom system sample images

DP Review News - Wed, 01/03/2017 - 08:01

Yesterday smartphone maker OPPO announced an innovative 5x zoom system for smartphone cameras that uses a dual-camera in combination with a prism and periscope-style lens design. It's only 5.7mm tall, and therefore could fit into even the thinnest smartphones. Unfortunately, OPPO did not release too much technical information but there are a few prototype devices available to shoot with at the OPPO both at the Mobile World Congress. We gave the camera a quick try, and had a closer look at the sample images and embedded EXIF to find out more.

The camera app on the prototype phones is kept very simple, with the main feature being a big zoom button. One tap on the latter makes the camera jump from wide-angle to a 2x zoom factor; a second tap jumps to the full 5x magnification. There are no intermediate zoom settings. The sample images below were taken at those respective lens settings and show a well-illuminated test scene at the OPPO booth.

 Wide-angle, ISO 189, 1/189 sec  2x zoom, ISO 115, 1/100 sec  5x zoom, ISO 111, 1/50 sec

The camera produces 12MP images and in the EXIF data aperture at all zoom settings is reported as F2.0. At ISO 189, sensor sensitivity is the highest at the wide-angle setting. It decreases to ISO 115 at the 2x zoom setting and ISO 111 at the 5x setting. Shutter speed is reported at 1/100 sec at the wide-angle and 2x setting and 1/50 sec at the tele setting.

There is no way of knowing if the reported EXIF is accurate but, looking at the scene and considering the tele-portion of the lens construction is optically stabilized, it could well be the case that at the tele settings the light fall-off on the OPPO system is much less significant than on a conventional zoom with changing apertures. The image quality of the samples seems to support the ISO data, with the zoomed images not showing noticeably more image noise or less detail than the wide-angle shot.

Of course, we are looking at a prototype device here and the image output of an eventual production phone might look very different. Nonetheless, the sample images out of the prototype do look promising and we hope to see an OPPO device with the 5x zoom system being launched soon.

Categories: News

Sex symbols: what does a blue hankie in your left back pocket mean?

Hal Fischer took the language of the instruction manual and applied it to the jocks and leathermen of gay San Francisco in the 70s. He explains the code

In one of the first photographs Hal Fischer composed for Gay Semiotics, we see two sets of male buttocks, each clad in high-cut, form-fitting Levi’s. One sports a blue bandana in the left back pocket, which, according to the overlaid text, “indicates that the wearer will assume the active or traditional male role during sexual contact”. The other has a red bandana in the right back pocket, indicating that “the wearer takes the passive role in anal/hand insertion”. But, the text cautions dryly, “red handkerchiefs are also employed in the treatment of nasal discharge and in some cases may have no significance in regard to sexual contact”.

Made in 1977, when Fischer was in his 20s, the Gay Semiotics series is a wonderfully poker-faced portrait of queer male culture in San Francisco’s Castro and Haight-Ashbury neighbourhoods at their carefree apogee. As well as deciphering the codes of hankies, key chains and earrings, Gay Semiotics guides us through archetypes, street fashions and various BDSM practices. Forty years on, the images can now be seen at Project Native Informant in London, along with other Fischer works from the 1970s.

Continue reading...
Categories: News

Nikon D3400 and D5600 firmware updates now available

DP Review News - Tue, 28/02/2017 - 22:11

Nikon has released firmware updates for the Nikon D3400 and the Nikon D5600, both of which have received a very small improvement that addresses the same bug: "Fixed an issue that resulted in unreliable connections between the camera and the iOS 10.2 version of the SnapBridge app."

The Nikon D3400 firmware is updated to version 1.11 and is available here; the Nikon D5600 firmware is updated to version 1.01 and is available here.

Via: NikonRumors

Categories: News

Hasselblad to introduce 120mm macro for the X1D with three more lenses to follow

DP Review News - Tue, 28/02/2017 - 21:59

Medium-format camera manufacturer Hasselblad has announced that it will introduce four new lenses over the next twelve months for its X1D mirrorless model. The new lenses will be a 22mm wideangle, a 65mm moderate wide, a 120mm macro and the system’s first zoom – a 35-75mm.

The first lens to arrive will be the XCD 120mm F3.5 macro that will have a maximum image scale of 1:2 and a closest focus distance of 0.43m from the camera sensor. The focal length on the X1D sensor will deliver the angle of view we’d expect from a lens of just longer than 90mm on a 135 format system. As you’d expect, the lens has an integrated shutter and will be able to achieve synchronisation with flash at shutter speeds of up to 1/2000sec. The lens uses 10 elements in 7 groups and an internal floating focusing mechanism. It will weigh 970g and will measure 150mmx81mm.

Hasselblad says the flat field reproduction makes the lens ideal for accurate macro work, but that the moderate telephoto focal length will also suit portrait photographers. The autofocusing system is effective throughout the entire distance range, and the smallest aperture available will be F32.

While the 120mm macro is due to arrive in June there is no date yet for the release of the other lenses, but the company expects to make them available within the next twelve months. No technical data has been provided other than their focal lengths. Pricing will also be released closer to the availability dates. For more information on the Hasselblad XCD lens range visit the Hasselblad website.

 Hasselblad XCD lenses  Approx equiv focal length  Existing lenses    45mm F3.5  35mm   90mm F3.2  70mm  30mm F3.5  24mm  New lenses    22mm 18mm  65mm  50mm  120mm F3.5 Macro  95mm  35-75mm  28-60mm

Press Release

Hasselblad announces four new XCD lenses for the X1D

Combining Compact Format with the Highest Optical Quality

Following the hugely successful launch of the ground-breaking X1D in 2016, Hasselblad is delighted to introduce four new XCD lenses. The XCD 120mm Macro lens is the first to complement the existing XCD lens family, and will be available at the end of June 2017.

The exceptionally high performing 120mm F3.5 lens brings together the compact format of the XCD range with the maximum optical quality across the frame with a flat image field. Providing a new versatility to the X1D user, the lens is suitable for both close-up work up to a 1:2 image scale, and also as a mid-range telephoto lens for portrait or other photography requiring a longer focal length. Auto or manual focusing goes from infinity to 1:2 without the need for extension tubes.

Like the other XCD lenses, XCD 120mm Macro lens has an integral central shutter offering a wide range of shutter speeds and full flash synchronisation up to 1/2000th second.

Hasselblad Product Manager, Ove Bengtson commented: “The XCD 120mm Macro lens complements the existing XCD dedicated autofocus lenses which were developed to support optical quality and portability. This is the first addition to the X1D range of lenses in 2017 and we are excited to launch more lenses later in the year.”

Over the next 12 months, Hasselblad will also launch the XCD 35-75mm Zoom*, XCD 65mm*, and XCD 22mm Wide Angle* lenses. By the beginning of 2018, the X1D will have access to seven dedicated XCD lenses and all twelve HC/HCD lenses using the XH lens adapter.

XCD 3,5/120mm Macro Technical Specification 

  • 3.5/120 mm Macro
  • Focal length: 120 mm
  • Max aperture: F3.5
  • Min Aperture: F32
  • Image scale: 1:2
  • Angle of view: (diag/hor/ver): 26°/21°/16°
  • Integral central shutter
  • Full flash synchronisation up to 1/2000 sec
  • Size: diam 81 mm, length 150 mm
  • Filter diameter - 77mm
  • Weight: 970 g

Specification subject to change without notice.

Categories: News

Best photos of the day: masked men and a US dam

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights from around the world, including the Carnival de Binche and the damaged Oroville spillway

Continue reading...
Categories: News

Sony FE 85mm F1.8 sample gallery and first impressions

DP Review News - Tue, 28/02/2017 - 13:00

The Sony FE 85mm F1.8 joins Sony's full-frame E-Mount lineup as the most affordable native lens that offers a short telephoto focal length. Other full-frame systems have had comparably low-cost 85mm lenses for quite a while, and it's nice to see Sony filling in some of the gaps for budget conscious users.

The FE 85mm balances superbly on Sony's a7-series bodies, and though it's no G Master lens, it feels solid enough. Focusing is silent and fairly quick (contrary to Sony's 'nifty fifty' FE 50mm F1.8), and it has excellent sharpness wide open, even well off-center. It's even sharper by F2.5, seemingly peaking by F4. Bokeh appears very smooth. There's an awful lot of purple and green fringing wide open though, as you'll see in our gallery, but this is to be expected, and is indeed common, in lightweight fast primes (they're far less distracting by F4.5). Careful software corrections might be able to take care of most of it (remember: it's lateral CA that's easy to remove, not axial), albeit typically at a cost to other areas of the image - download a few of the Raw files to see for yourself. Needless to say, we're itching for a proper shootout vs. the Batis 85mm, but having shot both, we can confidently say the FE 85 is no slouch in comparison.

On an a7R II, this lens focuses wide open, quickly and accurately.

Of particular interest is our observation that this lens, currently, focuses wide open* on an a7R II (or, technically, opens up to F2 if you've selected an aperture smaller than wide open). This addresses one of our largest complaints with recent Sony lens releases that focus stopped down, often slowing focus in low light or forcing otherwise capable phase-detect AF systems to revert to contrast detect-only. It appears that, at least for now, Sony's recent 100mm STF and 85mm F1.8 lenses address this issue, and without an image cost to boot: take a look at our aperture series with our LensAlign target here (please choose the option to 'Open Link in New Window'), and you'll note no focus shift as we stop down (the lens was focused once wide open, then switched to MF for the series). You can also judge problematic apertures for axial CA in this series, as well as how circular out-of-focus highlights remain as you stop down the 9-bladed aperture.

Oddly, the same doesn't hold true on other Sony bodies: the lens focuses stopped down at the shooting aperture on an a7 II, a7S, and a6300/6500. Oddly, this sometimes leads to slight front-focus at smaller apertures on those cameras, though it's not a huge deal as the focus shift is often masked by the increased depth-of-field. It's interesting from an academic standpoint though - as focusing at the selected aperture should increase focus accuracy, not decrease it. We have our hypotheses, but for now, we've reached out to Sony for comment. 

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See our Sony FE 85mm F1.8 sample gallery

 *Note this only holds true for AF-S and for initial focus acquisition in AF-C, after which the lens stays stopped down, presumably to avoid having to constantly open and close the aperture during continuous drive. We still wish this weren't the case, as (1) AF-C is often useful even in Single drive mode, and (2) DSLRs are fully capable of opening and closing the aperture in between shots, even at 14 fps. There may be other nuances we're missing that explain why Sony chooses to focus stopped down, but the inconsistencies between bodies is confusing. Rest assured, we are in constant discussion with Sony engineers about this issue.

Categories: News

Ricoh R Development Kit 360 degree camera will be available for pre-order in May

DP Review News - Tue, 28/02/2017 - 12:58

Ricoh has released pricing and full specifications for the Ricoh R Development Kit 360 degree live streaming camera that was first shown to the public at CES earlier this year. The company has also announced it is starting to take pre-orders for the device on the Ricoh R website starting in May. The kit will be available at a price point of $499.

The RICOH R Development Kit is capable of live-streaming fully spherical, 360-degree video in 2K resolution at 30 frames per second. The footage is stitched on the device in real time to fit the standard Equirectangular Projection Format. Streaming video can be output via HDMI or USB, and, when using a power adapter, continuously up to 24 hours. The camera can also record onto a micro SD card. 

The kit consists of the camera, camera stand, a software development kit (SDK) as well as image-control tools and source code. Thanks to an open API the camera is controllable via USB. Ricoh says potential applications include live streaming of events, telepresence, computer vision and surveillance. Full specs are available on the Ricoh website

Press Release:

Announced at CES 2017, RICOH R Development Kit delivers up 24 hours of fully spherical live streams

TOKYO and BARCELONA (Mobile World Congress 2017, Hall 8.0 J3), February 27, 2017-Ricoh today announced it is taking pre-orders of the RICOH R Development Kit, featuring the industry's first camera capable of delivering up to 24 continuous hours of fully spherical, 360-degree live video streams. Showcased at Mobile World Congress 2017, the camera can be pre-ordered from http://ricohR.ricoh, with shipments scheduled to start in May 2017. The sales price will be $499.

Using Ricoh's fully spherical imaging technology, the RICOH R Development Kit can live-stream fully spherical, 360-degree images in 2K resolution at 30 frames per second. Unique to RICOH R technology is the stitching of video within the camera in real time to the Equirectangular Projection Format, which is the standard format for fully spherical images. Video is then output via HDMI® or USB, and—by using an AC power adapter– continuous, live streaming up to 24 hours is possible. The camera records onto a micro SD card, which enables the body to be extremely thin and lightweight.

The RICOH R Development Kit consists of the camera, camera stand, downloadable software development kit (SDK), plus image-control tools and source code. Using the camera's open API and the "RICOH R Console" image-control tool source code available through GitHub, the camera can be controlled via USB, which will enable its use in a variety of environments and industries such as telepresence and computer vision.

Categories: News

CP+ 2017 Canon interview: 'We want to be number one in the overall ILC market'

DP Review News - Tue, 28/02/2017 - 12:00
Mr. Mizoguchi and Mr. Tokura took the time at CP+ 2017 to discuss Canon's future with us. 

Just prior to CP+ 2017, Canon announced three new consumer cameras in the mirrorless EOS M6, the DSLR EOS 77D and EOS Rebel T7i . We had the chance to catch up with Canon while in Japan covering CP+ and discussed the company's current state of affairs, as well as its future (in relation to mirrorless).

Specifically, we spoke with Go Tokura, Executive Officer and Chief Executive for Image Communication Business Operation and Yoshiyuki Mizoguchi, Group Executive of ICB Products Group, Image Communication Business Operation.

Please note that this interview was conducted through an interpreter, and has been edited slightly for clarity and flow.

What is Canon’s main strategic focus going forward into the next product cycle?

We can break down our focus into two areas: improving our network connectivity and video. We still have a lot of room to grow in the video area in terms of what we can offer. And in terms of customer strategy, we want to continue to build new users, specifically enticing more entry-level users.

Where do you see most demand for 4K, and are you beginning to see beginners ask for 4K video?

Whether you’re a professional or at the entry-level, you likely want high-quality video. And we think there is potential for the entry-level to grow. So we will obviously be looking at introducing our 4K technologies down to the entry-levels at some point.

But introducing 4K to the entry-level is linked to the 4K TV market. How quickly that takes off and penetrates will tell us how and when we should introduce 4K to more affordable cameras. 

Looking at 4K TV saturation, what kind of time-frame does that suggest and when do you think it will be necessary to have 4K in every part of your product line?

We obviously have to look at the technical feasibility of it, cost-wise, as well as [the challenge of power consumption]. Those factors will tell us how we will introduce 4K technologies going forward.

We will continue to challenge and overcome these technical hurdles that we are seeing at moment in introducing 4K into our entire product lineup. But it is important to keep in mind that we don't want to harm the original inherent concept of these products. 4K should compliment, rather than hinder.

The Canon EOS Rebel T7i was announced earlier this month. It shoots 1080/60p. Will we ever see a Rebel with 4K video? Probably, it's just a matter of when.   Does Canon have any ambitions to become a manufacturer of high quality monitor displays for enthusiasts and consumers?

We don’t have any plans to enter the consumer display panel market.

We’ve seen companies creating affordable cine lenses for mirrorless videographers. Do you see an opportunity in that market segment?

The Cinema Lens market, including for mirrorless, is a great market. When it comes to cinema lenses you have demand for everything from the professional to the affordable. Overall we’d like to increase the breadth of our share of the market on the affordable end. So we will continue to spend our efforts on that.

The EOS M series continues to expand. What is the long term goal of the M series in terms of market share?

That is a difficult question to respond to with a simple answer because we don’t have a particular number set in terms of getting the market share for the mirrorless market. This is because we are a company that produces [both mirrorless and DSLR], as a total package.

Our intention is to become number one in the overall ILC market: mirrorless and SLR. Different regions would have different penetration and different market share of mirrorless products.

The EOS M5 is Canon's flagship mirrorless camera.  Specifically, which markets are leaning more toward mirrorless and which more toward SLR?

In the Southeast Asian market we’re seeing a real high demand for mirrorless, while the US has the least mirrorless penetration. In terms of the Japanese market we’re seeing a slight majority [of] mirrorless at this time. But having said that, compared to two years ago we’re now seeing a slowing down of mirrorless taking over. We were expecting to see more mirrorless taking off, keeping that momentum, but that has not happened.

Do you think there could be a professional-level EOS M model sometime in the future?

Obviously we think it could be possible, there is a potential, but we do not want to put a time frame on that.

Do you think in a similar way, we may begin to see the L-series lens line expand into EF-M?

The demand for that is still quite limited and so we won’t be able to say. But obviously as people start to look for more professional-level quality and performance, we will extend our lens line to respond to what the customer is looking for.

Canon has yet to introduce a Dual I.S. system into its mirrorless cameras for fear the stabilized sensor will increase the size and weight. If the EOS M series begins to eat away at sales of Rebel DSLRs, do you regard that as a good thing or a bad thing, or is it just inevitable?

We’re letting the customer, market and demand tell us how we should go about approaching different regions. Because if you’re looking at a market with a high level of mirrorless penetration, we would obviously look to push forward with the EOS M series in that region. And we will watch and see: are Rebel users moving on to the EOS M? Frankly, if that becomes inevitable, it is something we will support. Having said that, overall we are looking to simply be number one the combined SLR and mirrorless market, offering a total package.

Has there been any demand from customers to introduce something like Dual IS into Canon’s mirrorless cameras?

We do get customers saying they want more and better IS. However, in the mirrorless market for us, it's all about satisfying the desire for a small, light-weight camera. In terms of introducing sensor-based stabilization into our EOS-M series, I think it will add weight, which might deter some of our mirrorless customers. Which is why we think optical IS is the way to go for us.

That said, we are aware that our competitors have already introduced this style of sensor-based stabilization. And we do see the merits of having optical and sensor based IS working together. What we’re looking at is trying to evolve ourselves in terms of developing technology so that we can downsize and reduce the weight of a sensor-based IS system.

You’d mentioned Wi-Fi capability being an area of focus in the future. Is that a result of user feedback? If so, what kind of feedback have users given?

Yes that is the result of direct user feedback, like that from our customer service centers. Most responses are regarding “how to use” Wi-Fi, which implies that many customers find it difficult to use. Overall, we can summarize what customers are looking for, regarding connectivity, is overall ease-of-use. To respond to that demand, we’re working to make connecting simpler and have incorporated Bluetooth technology into some of our cameras.

Do you have any plans to enter the VR or 360 markets?

We’re always looking to see what sorts of new visual means of expression we can offer to our customers, 360 imaging included. So, yes, we are considering how we can leverage 360 technology.

That said, we’re already seeing a lot of 360 cameras out there in the market. There are many players at the moment, but none have actually achieved big, great success. I think that’s telling, [and suggests that] that there is something lacking. In other words, if we were to come out with a Canon 360 camera, we would need to have Canon-like added value, ideas and concepts. Unless we do that I think there’s no meaning.

Do you think 360 is going to become the next 3D, where people talk about it for a few years, then it just goes away?

There is a lot of hype at the moment. But in terms of new visual expression, I think there is a value 360 technology adds to the visual world. i don’t think it will die out as 3D did.

Another way to look at it is 360 technology is not just about taking the photo, or the satisfaction of making an image , but how to display it, and how to leverage what you’ve actually taken. I think there has to be a total package for 360 technology to advance into the future. 

Will Canon introduce a VR camera like Nikon did with the KeyMission 360? Only if they see it adding value to the market. We’ve seen several brands put out retro-style cameras in recent years. Canon has a long history in the analog camera market. Has there been any talk of launching a product that is a throwback to Canon’s film heritage?

I can't give a detailed answer to this question, but we do have these customer demands and we’re hearing them. But it's not to say we’ll be shifting a lot of focus onto such a product, but its rather we are feeling out of what the customer is looking for at the moment.

However I don’t think making such a camera is just about the retro design, it's about having a retro look and feel, but with the evolution of features Canon currently has to offer.

Tokyo Olympics are coming up in 2020, obviously we’ll see Canon and Nikon DSLR lenses on the sidelines. but how long do you think it will be before we see mirrorless cameras shooting major sporting events?

It's difficult to project into the future. Looking at mirrorless and it's current state at the moment, and the timeframe between now and 2020, I don’t think I can envisage mirrorless at the Olympic games.

People [like Reuters, AP etc.] who come as press to something like the Olympics and bring their own gear, obviously they can’t make mistakes - its a once in lifetime opportunity. So my guess is the majority will still be using the cameras they are used to for the time being. In other words, DSLRs.

Film sales are up in 2017. Has there been any talk of perhaps introducing a new Canon film camera? Like an EOS 1V Mark II?

I can say in terms of new products: doubtful. But there are people who still love film and we still offer the EOS-1v from our existing line of film cameras.

Editor's note:

We've interviewed Mr Tokura on several previous occasions, and we were pleasantly surprised with the responses what we received to a lot of questions. 

Specifically, it is encouraging to hear just how much Canon values the feedback of its customers. It seems like a lot of decisions about the future are based, at least in part, on customer feedback. All the more reason to be a vocal consumer!

On the same point, it's exciting to hear that Canon is beginning to regard 4K video capture as something that perhaps it needs to offer in all ILC products, regardless of price. I just hope it makes its way to the Rebel series soon. 

Canon's response to our question about a potential entry in the VR realm was interesting. Essentially, they feel that it is something they will only commit to if they truly feel like they can launch a 360 product that will do right by their customers. 

On a similar note, though we may never see an a digital reincarnation of the AE-1, it's pretty cool to hear that Canon is aware of a customer desire for a retro-designed Canon camera, but (unsurprisingly) won't make one unless it marries current tech with old-school design principles. 

That said, we were a little disappointed to see Canon continue to view mirrorless as a consumer technology and not as something with a potential, in the near future, to be something pro sports and photojournalists reach for.

Canon is a brand with a strong identity, and while we at DPReview may feel like perhaps they entered the mirrorless market a little on the late side, Canon's caution into jumping into industry trends too quickly doesn't seem to have done the company any obvious harm. But please, give us 4K at the consumer level. 

Categories: News

Opinion: Nikon's 'back to basics' approach is a no-brainer

DP Review News - Tue, 28/02/2017 - 10:00
Well-rounded, polished and reliable: mid-to-high end DSLR cameras have been Nikon's bread and butter for years.

In its first public statement since the DL series' cancellation, Nikon has stated to the Japanese press (Google translated here) that it will be focusing chiefly on 'mid-to-high end SLR cameras and lenses and mirrorless cameras that can make the most of their strengths.'

Good gravy, it's about time.

A rough patch

Sure, 2016 was the year of the D5 and widely adored D500 DSLRs, but those two cameras stand against a pretty dismal backdrop.

That backdrop includes the continued release of low-end Coolpix cameras into a market segment that's been obliterated by smartphones (though admittedly Nikon isn't alone in this regard), the ailing Nikon 1 series which hasn't seen a new camera body in almost two years or a new lens in almost three years, and the KeyMission series, which has had a tepid reception at best (and personally, I wish they'd taken whatever development costs the KeyMission ate up and poured those into the DL series instead).

Ah, the Coolpix A300. This 2016 release features a 1/2.3" sensor, 720p video and a low-resolution 230k-dot rear screen. Please Nikon, why?

On most recent occasions when the company has stepped outside of its traditional DSLR realm, Nikon has stumbled somewhat. To illustrate, imagine for a minute that these various camera market segments are house parties (that's a bit of a stretch these days, but bear with me here).

The Nikon 1 series got stuck in traffic on the way to the mirrorless party, and finally arrived only to realize it totally misread the dress code. As for the KeyMission series, it's way past fashionably late to the action camera party, and brought a twelve-pack of what everyone's already sick of drinking.

And the DL series, well, it seems to have just pre-funked too heavily and didn't make it out at all.

There are several things that are disappointing about this. With the 1 series especially, Nikon has had years and years to flesh out a lens lineup to really make the most out of that small package and incredibly fast sensor (remember, they could shoot 60 fps Raw bursts years before the likes of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, and had incredible on-sensor PDAF to boot). The company has simply let the whole line stagnate into obscurity. This stands in stark contrast to the company's DSLR line, which has used the same basic lens mount for the last fifty-eight years. So it clearly shouldn't have issues with commitment.

The KeyMission is also, in my opinion, an ill-conceived scheme – after all, they've come about just as GoPro's stock and sales are tanking in the wake of competent and ever cheaper Chinese competitors. The KeyMission line is literally years too late, the rocky VR market in 2016 didn't do the 360 model any favors. I can understand Nikon's desire for some form of diversification given the state of the camera market as a whole, but this just wasn't the right way to go.

Sure, the KeyMission 170 is ruggedized without a case, but it's entering a very crowded and very competitive market. Picking back up

But perhaps what's most disappointing about all this is that, contrary to the views most keyboard warriors seem to espouse these days, Nikon is capable of true greatness, and even some spurts of innovation. It's just that most of that is wrapped up in the DSLR world of the D5 and D500

Those two cameras remain in our possession, with Nikon's permission, as the current autofocus tracking benchmarks against which most other cameras are measured; 3D Tracking was an incredible innovation with the D3 that has been steadily evolving ever since, and it changes the way you shoot for the better. The D5 / D500's use of XQD slots combine with incredible overall responsiveness to ensure that you are never waiting for those cameras; they'll only be waiting for you. They're the first DSLRs with Automatic AF Fine Tune, bringing DSLR autofocus one step closer to the accuracy of on-sensor autofocus systems in mirrorless cameras. There's also the AF-S 105mm F1.4G, a world's-first lens for the company's venerable DSLRs.

Now that's a nice combo.

In short, if Nikon's DSLRs are so competent already (QC issues such as the D600 fiasco notwithstanding), it'll be interesting to see what the company can do with more focus and more resources available for their development. One thing's for sure; we're all hoping for some new 'professional' DX lenses to go with the 'professional' D500, but even taking this new statement into consideration, I'm not holding my breath.

The rest The Nikon 1 V3, the latest 'enthusiast' offering in the 1-series lineup, was announced nearly three years ago.

Stepping aside from the world of DSLRs, Nikon's statement foregoes any specific claims concerning the KeyMission series (hmmm...), and promises a renewed focus on 'mirrorless cameras that can make the most of their strengths.' What that really means is anyone's guess, though the stagnation of the 1 series indicates Nikon will be heading a different direction than continued development of the 'CX' system.

The brief statement closes with the mention of a high-class compact in the future, but given the incident with the DL series, the company will 'judge the next development carefully.'

Coolpix A Mark II, please. But maybe with a name other than 'Coolpix.'

Categories: News

Godox's Witstro Pocket Flash AD200 is a pocket-sized powerhouse

DP Review News - Tue, 28/02/2017 - 08:01
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Small but mighty, Godox's Witstro AD200 speedlight offers wireless support with Godox's 2.4G X system and 200Ws / GN 52 output. That's pretty incredible – for comparison, many speedlights struggle to put out just 100Ws.

The unit is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack rated for 500 full power flashes, and provides TTL support with Canon, Nikon and Sony systems when used via wireless control. Output can be adjusted in eight steps, and the AD200 can be used with a number of accessories and diffusers.

The AD200 looks to be available for pre-order from Adorama under the FlashPoint brand for $330.

Categories: News

Sigma 14mm F1.8 DG HSM Art pre-production sample gallery

DP Review News - Tue, 28/02/2017 - 08:01

The newly announced Sigma 14mm F1.8 DG HSM Art has the low light shooters on our staff all excited. Super-wide lenses with such fast maximum apertures are rare, and we've got high hopes for one with Sigma's 'Art' designation. We jumped all over the chance to take a pre-production version of the lens out for a spin in Yokohama, Japan during CP+ 2017. We're looking forward to spending more time with the lens, but for now here are some initial samples. 

See our Sigma 14mm F1.8 DG HSM Art
pre-production samples

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Please note that all samples in this gallery were taken with a pre-production lens

Categories: News

How the producer of James Bond built one of the world's greatest photography collections

Looting Haitians, dining Hussars, a stroll in Sniper’s Alley … two of the world’s most influential photography collectors, including 007 producer Michael G Wilson, give us a rare look inside their archives

Michael G Wilson has been the man behind every James Bond movie since Moonraker in 1979. But the 74-year-old hasn’t limited his role to being producer or executive producer. Wilson has also notched up no fewer than 18 cameos in 007’s various adventures, as pall-bearer, doctor, man in a corridor, police chief, army general, casino gambler, Nasa technician, Greek priest and Soviet security council member.

Wilson cuts a similar figure in the world of photography: hugely influential, yet content to remain an eminence grise. Since the 80s, his enthusiasm for collecting photographs has grown enormously, in tandem with the prices such works can now fetch at auction. This once underpriced commodity has now spawned a legion of speculators, dealers and collectors. These days, it’s not uncommon for a print to go under the hammer for more than a Turner watercolour.

But why would you want to live with war pictures?

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Categories: News

Sony world photography awards 2017 shortlist

The shortlisted and commended entries for all categories of the Sony world photography awards will be announced on Tuesday. More than 227,000 images from 183 countries were submitted and the winners will be revealed on 20 April

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Categories: News
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