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NVIDIA researchers have published a new paper detailing their latest artificial intelligence work, which involves generating photo-realistic portraits of humans that are indistinguishable from images of real people. The technology revolves around an alternative generator architecture for generative adversarial networks (GANs) that utilizes style transfer for producing the final result.

Though GANs have improved substantially in only a few years, the researchers say in their paper that the generators 'continue to operate as black boxes, and despite recent efforts, the understanding of various aspects of the image synthesis process, e.g., the origin of stochastic features, is still lacking.' That's where the newly developed alternative architecture comes in.

The team's style-based architecture enables GANs to generate new images based on photos of real subjects, but with a twist: their generator learns to distinguish between separate elements in the images on its own. In the video above, NVIDIA's researchers demonstrate this technology by generating portraits based on separate elements from images of real people.

"Our generator thinks of an image as a collection of 'styles,' where each style controls the effects at a particular scale," the team explains.

Image elements are split into three style categories: "Coarse," "Middle," and "Fine." In terms of portraits, these categories include elements like facial features, hair, colors, eyes, the subject's face shape, and more. The system is also able to target inconsequential variations, including elements like texture and hair curls/direction.

The video above demonstrates changes involving inconsequential variation on non-portrait images, which includes generating different patterns on a blanket, altering the hair on a cat, and subtly changing the background behind a car. The style-transfer GANs offer superior results to traditional GAN generator architecture, the researchers conclude, with the photo-realistic results underscoring their assessment.

The latest work further refines a technology that has been growing rapidly over only a few years. Though GANs have been used in the past to generate portraits, the results were far from photo-realistic. It's possible that technology like this could one day be offered as a consumer or enterprise product for generating on-demand life-like images.

Posted: December 18, 2018, 8:53 pm

Free Raw photo-processing software RawTherapee has been updated to version 5.5, gaining a new Shadows/Highlights tool, a striping and banding tool, unbounded processing and numerous other updates. In addition to the new features, RawTherapee 5.5 brings a number of bug fixes, feature improvements, and speed enhancements.

RawTherapee 5.5 includes a Haze Removal tool that strips haze from images and a new Soft Light tool for boosting saturation and contrast in images. The old Shadows/Highlights tool was removed and replaced with an updated version and users now have Grid and Regions color toning options. The main histogram has three scaling methods now as well, and there's a new Flexible tone curve type.

RawTherapee 5.5's new artifact filter removes the striping artifacts that result from Sony's Phase Detection Auto Focus, as well as the banding artifacts resulting from Nikon's in-camera PDAF correction. At this time, the filter supports the Nikon Z6 / Z7 and the following eight Sony cameras:

  • Sony DSC-RX1RM2
  • Sony ILCE-6000
  • Sony ILCE-6300
  • Sony ILCE-6500
  • Sony ILCE-7M3
  • Sony ILCE-7RM2
  • Sony ILCE-7RM3
  • Sony ILCE-9

As always, RawTherapee is free to download on Mac, Windows, and Linux. The full v5.5 changelog detailing the new features and improvements is available here.

Posted: December 18, 2018, 7:38 pm

Over the years, Leica has partnered with LEGO multiple times to create brick-made versions of its popular rangefinder cameras. Now, a new set is available, a pair of LEGO Leica M camera sets.

The LEGO Leica M cameras come in a black and brown variety. Like their respective real-life counterparts, the cameras feature all of the important details you'd expect from a Leica rangefinder: a clear viewfinder, various dials, a shutter, a rear display and even camera strap mounts.

All that's missing is the iconic red dot. But a red permanent marker would get the job done. Alternatively, these could be the LEGO equivalent of Leica's P-series cameras, which forgo the iconic red dot for a more subtle approach.

The cameras are currently listed on the Leica Store Miami website. Both sets retail for $45 USD. The Black/Gray version is available for pre-order while the Brown/Gray version is available for purchase.

Posted: December 18, 2018, 6:06 pm

A new macOS app called photos2webgallery lets you create HTML web galleries from your Photos library. The resulting HTML output can be shared in many ways, including via upload to your own web server or shared via USB-drive.

Thanks to HTML5 support photos2webgallery works with all modern browsers. An integrated HEIC to JPG image format converter makes sure even images captured in the Apple-specific format will be displayed. Videos are embedded as well.

Alongside the images and videos the output galleries also display metadata information, such as date and time as well as the capture location with a Google Maps link. In the user interface users can select the albums they want to share and a range of slideshow effects is available, too.

The app is now available for download at the photos2webgallery website for a reduced price of $31.99.

Posted: December 18, 2018, 4:45 pm
Screenshot from World Press Photo's video interview, embedded in full below.

Award-winning photojournalist Lu Guang, 57, was arrested near China's far western region Xinjiang, Chinese police officials have confirmed to the photographer's family. News of Lu's disappearance first surfaced last month via his wife, Xu Xiaoli, who told the New York Times she had lost contact with him around November 3, the day he was travelling to Xinjiang.

As reported last month, Lu, who lives in New York with his wife and son, was invited to visit Xinjiang's capital Urumqi to lead a week-long photography workshop. Xu lost contact with Lu around November 3, and the New York Times cited "local sources" who claimed he and his local host were detained by security services around the same time.

Weeks had passed without official information about the photographer's location, but a new report from the New York Times states Lu's family was given confirmation of his arrest. Neither written confirmation nor the reason for Lu's arrest were provided, however. The friend who invited Lu to Xinjiang was reportedly also arrested.

Xinjiang has been subjected to intense surveillance and police activity in recent years as the Chinese government attempts to crackdown on what it claims are terrorist threats from the region's Muslim Kazakh and Uighur populations. A recent report revealed the existence of forced labor within Xinjiang's re-education and 'training' camps, fueling international condemnation.

Below is a video interview conducted by World Press Photo back in 2011.

Though Lu's past work has included documenting China's marginalized groups and the issues they face, Xu told the New York Times that she doesn't believe her husband was in Xinjiang to cover its ongoing problems. Rather, Lu was reportedly touring the region as a first-time visitor with plans to hold a workshop for local photographers.

Lu's condition remains unknown.

Posted: December 18, 2018, 2:58 pm

Have your say: Best gear of 2018

For the past few weeks, our readers have been voting on their favorite photographic gear released in the past year in a wide range of categories. Now that the first round of voting is over, it's time to reveal the winners.

Remember, it isn't over just yet! It's time now to pick an overall winner. Don't miss your chance to cast your ballot – this one's for all the marbles.

Best prime lens - Runner-up: Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM

The 50mm F1.2 is a lovely, sharp lens for Canon's fledgeling full-frame mirrorless lineup. It's the lens we were most excited to get our hands on when the system made its debut, and it did not disappoint. Clearly, our readers agree that it's a standout.

Best prime lens - Winner: Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM

As impressive as the RF 50mm F1.2L is, Sony ultimately came up with the prime lens that our readers liked the best this year. The FE 24mm F1.4 GM is truly worthy of its 'G Master' designation, and best of all – it's lighter than Canon and Nikon's equivalent offerings. Lighter in weight and big on optical performance turns out to be a real winning combination.

Best zoom lens - Runner-up: Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM

The RF 28-70mm F2L is an ambitious lens – and likely a hint of things to come for Canon's full-frame mirrorless system. In use the 28-70mm F2 has impressed us with excellent image quality throughout its range, and our readers were clearly impressed too.

Best zoom lens - Winner: Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD

Sure, the appeal of a massive, fast zoom like the RF 28-70mm F2L is hard to deny. But there's a special place in our readers' hearts (ours too) for a lens that's versatile as well as small and lightweight. It's not quite as fast as this category's runner-up, but its combination of size and optical performance put it ahead of the competition.

Best compact / fixed-lens camera - Runner-up: Panasonic LX100 II

We're putting the finishing touches on our full Panasonic LX100 II review, but we've seen enough already to know that its image quality is solid. We think the Mark II version builds on what we already liked about its predecessor, and it seems that plenty of our readers agree that it's more of a good thing.

Best compact / fixed-lens camera - Winner: Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI

While there was plenty of love for the LX100 II in our poll, the Sony RX100 VI just couldn't be caught. It's our pick for the best fixed-lens camera of the year too – the RX100 series' strong feature set pairs nicely with a longer zoom lens, making it the first true 'travel zoom' compact in the lineup.

Best entry-level ILC - Runner-up: Canon EOS M50

The Canon M50 offers an appealing combination of size and capabilities, and though its heavily-cropped 4K video leaves something to be desired, it's one of our top picks of the year and it's a favorite among our readership too.

Best entry-level ILC - Winner: Fujifilm X-T100

Our readers' top pick in the category is another camera with a strong still photography pedigree: the X-T100. It combines a built-in EVF, tilting touch-sensitive LCD and the Fujifilm JPEG image quality we know and love so well. It's a total package with a lot of appeal for those inclined toward street shooting.

Best mid-range ILC - Runner-up: Fujifilm X-T3

This was one of the closest races in our 2018 polls, and really, we had no doubt it would be. Coming in just shy of the winning camera is the X-T3 – a fantastic stills camera that happens to record excellent video as well. We think it's one of the best all-around performers in its crop frame class, and our readership seems to agree.

Best mid-range ILC - Winner: Sony a7 III

The Sony a7 III just edged out the X-T3 to take the category, winning by under 3% of the vote. But even in a category of high-quality, versatile cameras, the a7 III stands out. That's because it represents Sony at its best – bringing several generations' worth of features and improvements together in a highly impressive package. It wins a competitive category and is sure to be a front-runner for Product of the Year.

Best high-end ILC - Runner-up: Nikon Z7

Nikon's first step into the high-end, full-frame mirrorless market was a solid one. The Z7 is well-rounded and capable of seriously impressive image quality. In some ways it feels like a first-generation camera, but ultimately it's a highly capable tool and one of the highlights of the year in our readers' eyes.

Best high-end ILC - Winner: Fujifilm GFX 50R

The allure of medium-format, the ergonomics of a rangefinder-style camera and Fujifilm's irresistible film simulation modes likely helped put the GFX 50R at the top of this category. It's smaller and less expensive than the existing GFX 50S, making it one of the most approachable entry points yet to the world of digital medium-format shooting.

Have your say

You helped determine the winners in these individual categories, so now's the time to cast your vote in one last poll! Choose up to three favorites from this list of winners and runners-up between now and January 4th, 2019 at midnight PT when the final poll closes. Watch for an announcement of the winners soon after.

As always, thanks for casting your votes and being a part of our community throughout the year.

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Have your say

Have your say: Best product of 2018
Your answers
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Canon RF 50mm F1.2L
Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM
Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM
Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD
Panasonic LX100 II
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI
Canon EOS M50
Fujifilm X-T100
Fujifilm X-T3
Sony a7 III
Nikon Z7
Fujifilm GFX 50R

Voting is easy - you pick your favorite products by dragging and dropping. You can pick up to three, and rank them in order of priority.

Poll Rules:

This poll is meant to be a bit of fun. It's not sponsored, promoted or paid for in any way and DPReview doesn't care how you vote, so please don't start a flame-war in the comments. Our readers' polls are run on the basis of trust. As such, we ask that you only vote once, from a single account, and don't vote purely just to sandbag another product or brand. Don't be that guy.

Posted: December 18, 2018, 2:00 pm

The 10 most inspiring drone images of 2018

Thanks to camera drones, it's easier than ever to capture stunning photos from an aerial perspective. Whether through careful planning, or clever editing to create interesting art, drones can be used to push the boundaries of creativity. Here, we present the 10 drone images that inspired us most this year.

Above: Reuben Wu

This image is part of musician and artist Reuben Wu's Lux Noctis series. Taken in the Vermillion Cliffs of Arizona at night, Wu used a drone with a powerful DIY LED light attached to it to achieve a halo effect above the peaks.

He set up a digital medium format camera positioned high up from across the pinnacles. A single drone was used so he could operate the camera and flight simultaneously.

Fabien Barrau

French photo editor and photographer, Fabien Barrau, mixes photos taken with his DJI Mavic Pro and stock images to create landscapes that oscillate between reality and fantasy.

Inspired by the phenomenon of pareidolia, he creates animal faces within the elements of the landscape. Barrau spent more than 60 hours in Photoshop to realize this image of the night owl.

Martin Sanchez

What's most remarkable about this image of a group of hippos, taken in Tanzania with a Mavic 2 Pro, is that a drone is the only possible tool that can capture these animals in such close proximity, from above, without disturbing their natural habitat.

Mole Media

Danny, an Australian-based remote pilot from Mole Media, was inspired by legendary photographer Demas Rusli who created a similar image.

He used a Mavic Pro for his take on a classic, found an intersection in Penrose State Forest, shot in RAW, and used Photoshop to individually recreate the seasons and add different layers of objects and clouds. The result, a 4 seasons in 1 day illusion.

Reed Plummer

Reed Plummer happened to capture this school of salmon in perfect circular formation, no post-processing needed. The image was captured on the coast line of Wamberal Beach in New South Wales.

Marc Le Cornu

Marc Le Cornu used a DJI Phantom 4 Pro with an ISO of 100 at 1/1000 shutter speed and f/8 aperture. He wanted to catch his local ferry in full flight for ages, so after some careful timetable planning, he flew from a rocky point close to the shipping lane and managed to race out to get in position as the ferry approached.

There was only one chance to capture the perfect top down due to the speed of the ship. When he initially edited the shot in Lightroom, he thought it resembled a starship. That sparked the idea of creating the illusion of a rocket blasting into space. The final image was created in Photoshop, adding a few stars and lens flare.

Henry Do

Using a Mavic Pro Platinum, Henry Do shot a series of images using Automatic Exposure Bracketing. This process of capturing these shots starts with a horizontal scene at a straight angle, followed by repeatedly turning the lens down slightly and shooting, repeating the process until the camera is pointing down at 90 degrees.

Do uses a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop to merge these images into a portrait, splits individual images, such as day and night in this view of Barcelona, and merges them again to create this effect.

Micah Fitch

Micah Fitch perfectly captured this image of a recent Space X launch with an Inspire 2, Zenmuse X5S, and the 25mm f/1.8 Olympus lens (50mm equivalent on the X5S's M43 sensor). He took 3 shots as quickly as possible in the 4:3 aspect ratio and stacked them vertically, overlapping about 30% from shot to shot.

The goal was to also frame the Huntington Beach Pier in the foreground to add a sense of scale. Micah combined 3 RAW files using Lightroom's panorama mode, matching the exposures up. The overall intention for this image was to edit it so it would mirror what he saw with his own eyes.

Costas Spathis

Costas Spathis created this image with a Mavic Pro. The settings he used were ISO 100, shutter 320, and a f/4 aperture. The original capture was a simple line of ships located in a calm Marina in Greece.

To create this particular illusion, Spathis used a tool called Polar Coordinates in Photoshop. Much of his work is inspired by the sea and his love of symmetry.

Kristina Makeeva

Moscow-based photographer Kristina Makeeva creates magic with her images, many where she relies heavily on Photoshop to produce surreal effects.

What makes this image particularly remarkable, besides the fact that she placed one person with a yellow raincoat in the center of a fall-color-lined street for a striking, unique composition is that she used Automatic settings on her Phantom 4 with minimal editing. This image was taken in Ontario, near Toronto, Canada.

Posted: December 18, 2018, 12:00 pm

In September, DJI introduced a new Pro brand targeted at professional photographers and videographers. Details about the brand were slim when it was first revealed, but the company is back with more information on its newly launched DJI Pro website.

'DJI Pro is dedicated to professionals using DJI’s advanced aerial and gimbal technologies, such as the Inspire and the Ronin series,' the company said in a statement today.

A screenshot from the website showing off a few of the BTS videos detailing DJI products in action.

The new DJI Pro website offers content across five categories, including product education, product information, examples of DJI's hardware being used on film sets, information on workshops and events and the DJI Masters Program. Under the program, users are given the opportunity to learn from experts, including Tom Fritz, Hoonigan Media Machine, and Rufus Blackwell.

Ti Xie, DJI's director of public relations had the following to say about the new website and platform:

Since the creation of the first Phantom to the Inspire and Ronin series, DJI has been dedicated to creating intuitive tools for every level of filmmaker. With the launch of the DJI Pro website, we now have a dedicated location where customers can learn about the application of our professional products and we also provide a learning-based platform for users to receive the latest information. We will continue to make more reliable, industry-leading tools for our growing customer base.

Tour the website at pro.dji.com to find out more and browse through the content.

Posted: December 17, 2018, 8:51 pm

As it promised it would back in November, Fujifilm has published the firmware updates for its X-T3 and X-H1 cameras, as well as a little firmware update for the Fujinon XF 80mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro lens.

Fujifilm X-T3

Firmware version 2.0 for the X-T3 addresses a number of issues and features present in firmware version 1.02. Most notably, it's now possible to record 4K HDR video in Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) when shooting in 10-bit H.265 (HEVC) mode and simultaneously output Film Simulation while capturing F-Log footage under certain conditions. Other small additions include the ability to display the color temperature on the EVF and LCD displays in Kelvin and compatibility with ALL-Intra and maximum bitrate 400Mbps in 8-bit, H.264 mode.

The update is available on Fujifilm's X-T3 firmware download page.

Fujifilm X-H1

Firmware version 2.0 for the X-H1 also addresses the color temperature display, but focuses on one feature in particular — image stabilization. With firmware version 2.0, the X-H1 will now work better when used with optically stabilized lenses. Fujifilm says in the update notes that '[Firmware version 2.00] has a new image stabilization algorithm to allow the in-body image stabilization to work in all 5 axis and to achieve more than five-stops (up to the equivalent of 5.5 stops) image stabilization by cooperative control according to the types of frequency and blur amount.' The X-H1 can also now shoot video files larger than 4GB without splitting the file up, so long as the SD card being used is 64GB or bigger.

The update is available on Fujifilm's X-H1 firmware download page.

Fujinon XF 80mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro

In addition to the two major firmware releases, Fujifilm also threw in a small update for its 80mm F2.8 macro lens. Firmware version 1.11 adds improved compatibility between the in-body stabilization of the X-H1 and the optical stabilization inside the Fujinon XF 80mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro lens when used in conjunction with firmware version 2.00 for the X-H1.

The update is available on Fujifilm's XF 80mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro firmware download page.


Update (December 17, 2018): A previous version of this article said the X-T3 has received updated support for recording larger file sizes. This functionality is present in firmware version 2.0 for the X-H1, not the X-T3 and has been updated accordingly.

Posted: December 17, 2018, 7:40 pm

Huawei has announced the latest model in its range of smartphones, the Nova 4. It's the brand's first device with a "hole-punch" front camera, that is mostly hidden behind the display and does away with the display "notch" found on many other high-end phones.

The Nova 4 isn't the first phone with a "hole-punch" camera - that honor goes to the Samsung A8s - but it looks like its 25Mp front camera is peeking through a smaller-diameter hole than the Samsung's, minimizing the "display disruption".

Huawei sub-brand Honor has also already pre-announced its VIew 20 phone which seems to have a lot in common with the Nova 4. For starters, there's the same "hole-punch" design and the two devices also share the same 48MP primary cameras on the rear.

The Nova 4 comes with a triple-cam setup, however, including a 2MP depth-sensor, while the main camera setup of the View 20 is still unknown. In terms of chipset the phones are going down different paths, though. The Nova 4 is powered by last year's Kirin 970 processor; the View 20 phone will use the newer Kirin 980.

The Nova 4 display measures 6.4 inches and comes with a 2310 x 1080 resolution. 8GB of RAM are plenty and 128 of built-in storage offer space for a good number of images and video.

For now the Nova 4 has only been released in China where it will cost approximately $490 (3,399 yuan) but, like previous Nova models the phone will likely make it to other regions soon. If you don't want to spend quite as much, there is also a cheaper variant ($450) that replaces the 48MP primary shooter with a more modest 20MP unit.

Posted: December 17, 2018, 4:23 pm

Introduction

Sony had the full-frame mirrorless market to itself for nearly five years. And, while it's been doing clever and interesting things with the likes of the a9, it's the more basic a7 models that have had the most impact. The original a7 was the least-expensive full-frame camera yet launched, which helped make the format look more accessible than it had been since the film era.

They're all good cameras but there are practical differences

But it's no longer alone, with both Nikon's Z6 and Canon's EOS R both arriving priced in the $2000 region. The Canon stands out a little, costing 15% more and, with its simpler control system, not being so overtly aimed at committed enthusiasts. But in most respects, these cameras are direct competitors.

Before going any further, we should make clear that they're all good cameras (most modern cameras are), they're all very well built and can all take great photos, so don't listen to anyone who says any one of them is terrible. However, there are practical differences, so we're going to look at what each offers in different shooting situations.

Loyalty and inertia

This article primarily looks at the cameras themselves, but lenses should play a fundamental role in any decision. If you have no commitment to an existing system, you can skip ahead to the next slide, but if you already own some lenses, does that mean you have to stay on-brand?

It might be worth taking stock of how committed you really are to your existing lenses

Owners of Nikon lenses can adapt them to work on Sony cameras (and, in theory, someone enterprising could develop an F-mount to Canon RF adapter). But Nikon's complex legacy of autofocus and aperture actuation systems mean adapting them to other bodies often gives a pretty poor experience. This gives the Nikon Z6 a bit of an edge for F-mount shooters but even then, any lens without its own AF motor is rendered manual focus only on the Nikon.

Legacy DSLR lens compatibility
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses Sony/Minolta A-mount lenses
Canon EOS R Full function (+ optional control ring or filter) Unproven or limited* Unproven or limited*
Nikon Z6 Unproven or limited* Full function with AF-S, AF-P and AF-I lenses. Others MF only Unproven or limited*
Sony a7 III Full Function with Sigma MC-11 or Metabones adapters Unproven or limited* Full Function
*While such adapters are theoretically possible, most that exist at the time of writing are simple adapter tubes with significant limitations in terms of focus and aperture control.

Canon EF lenses work similarly well on the EOS R and on the Sony a7 III, so need not be a deciding factor in making that choice (though long teles work better on the EOS R). If you own any other Canon accessories, that might tip you towards the EOS R, but if anything, Canon's forward-thinking in the 1980s means EF lens owners have the most flexibility.

However, especially if you're coming from APS-C, it might be worth stopping and taking stock of how committed you really are to your existing lenses. That prime lens you like so much on APS-C won't fulfill the same role on full-frame. And if you only have one really great lens, you may find its second-hand value allows you to switch systems without too much of a loss.

Native lenses

With its five year headstart, Sony has a wider range of native lenses available for its E mount. Sony advocates point to the sheer number of lenses when trying to point-score, and it's true that the company has developed some small lenses with fast, well optimized autofocus. But the E-mount is a relatively young, raw system and some of those lenses (the 28-70mm F3.5-5.6, the 85mm F1.4, 35mm F1.4 and 24-70s, for instance), possess various quirks in terms of optical quality or AF speed. Others, such as the 24-105mm F4 and 24mm F1.4 are fantastic, though.

These are all young systems so, as well as checking whether the lens you want exists, it's probably worth researching their performance

However, it's not safe to assume Canon and Nikon will steer clear of these same pitfalls. Canon's 24-105mm F4 seems very good. It's fast and quiet to focus and has been well optimized for video (presumably for some future body that's good at video). But its 35mm F1.8 and 50mm F1.2 aren't as snappy, either because they have a long focus throw (the 35mm is a Macro), or because they use ring-type focus motors better suited to DSLRs.

It's a similar story with Nikon. The 24-70mm F4 is a solid all-round zoom but the bokeh on the 50mm F1.8 isn't exactly attractive, which is disappointing on a 50/1.8 costing $600. Also, it's interesting to note that the native Z-mount lenses appear to focus more slowly than some F-mount lenses designed for DSLRs. There's a chance that from a future perspective, these early Z lenses will stand out as the ones to avoid if you want full AF performance on Z cameras.

Sony's willingness to share its mount specs means an increasing degree of third-party support

Sony's headstart, but also its willingness to share its mount specification means it has an increasing degree of third-party support. This spans the range from dedicated, full-function mirrorless-specific designs, such as Tamron's 28-75mm F2.8 and Samyang's 35mm F2.8, through to the modified DSLR lenses from Sigma and a host of niche manual focus lenses from smaller makers, such as Venus Optics. It'll be interesting to see which of these get reverse-engineered to work with the RF and Z mounts, but neither camera maker seems supportive of this process.

Ultimately these are all young systems so, as well as checking whether the lens you want exists, it's probably also worth doing some research into their performance, to ensure you're not paying to be a guinea pig for a large corporation. You might also consider whether a good F4 zoom gives you much of a benefit over an F2.8 on APS-C. Or perhaps choose to wait to see how each system develops.

Core features

The three cameras have some similarities but there's also a divergence of spec that suggests none of the camera makers have yet worked out who the target photographer is, and what they need.

The Sony and Nikon both offer 24MP sensors (which are likely to be pretty similar other than, perhaps, differences in phase-detection layout and masking). The Canon offers a variant of the 30MP Dual Pixel chip used in the EOS 5D IV. The difference between 24 and 30MP is pretty small: 11% in each direction, but that Dual Pixel design offers something distinctive.

The Sony has more control dials (three plus a dedicated exposure comp dial), while the other two have top-plate settings displays, which appear to be making an unexpected comeback. All three cameras are solidly built and have pretty comfortable hand grips, and each promises some degree of environmental sealing. The main handling difference is how the cameras let you choose your AF point:

AF Joystick Touchscreen AF Touchpad AF
Canon EOS R No Yes Yes
Nikon Z6 Yes Yes No
Sony a7 III Yes Yes Yes

However, while the a7 III's (somewhat laggy) touchscreen can be used for AF point control, it's the least well utilized for other functions. Both the Canon and Nikon provide more extensive touch control of menus and settings, giving a more consistent experience.

One of the other big spec differences is that the Sony still uses a 2.36M dot viewfinder and 0.9M-dot rear screen, while the Nikon and Canon both go to 3.68M-dot finders and 2.1M dot touchscreens. Finally, the a7 III has a much larger battery than the other two, giving it a huge advantage.

But, rather than dwelling on specifications, we want to look at how the three cameras have performed in different shooting situations.

Portraits

Our choice: Sony a7 III

Anyone arriving from DSLRs is likely to be impressed by any of these cameras for portrait shooting. They can all focus precisely, even when using off-center AF points with a level of consistency that DSLRs can't match, and will do so even if you choose to shoot with shallow depth-of-field.

The Sony is the easiest of the three to shoot portraits with. Eye-detection AF has existed for a while but Sony's push-button implementation is hugely impressive for its ability to identify and tenaciously follow your subjects' eyes. Canon's Pupil Detection isn't quite as dogged and only works for single AF acquisition, requiring that your subject stays much more still. It'll happily focus the 50mm F1.2 wide-open, though, so it does its job.

All three cameras focus precisely, even when using off-center AF points in a way that DSLRs can't match

The Nikon is weakest in this regard. Its Face Detection doesn't focus specifically on eyes, so can leave focus mis-placed when working at wide apertures. Its small AF point is effective in some situations but the smaller 'Pinpoint AF' system is contrast-detect only, which can be too slow, both to position and to focus, so you'll need much more patient subjects.

The Sony has the fastest flash sync speed, at 1/250th second but modern high-speed sync and the other cameras' compatibility with their respective radio-frequency flash triggers may outweigh this small, 1/3EV advantage.

Historically Canon's JPEG skintones have been widely admired (though the other two brands are closing this attractiveness gap). This may make no difference to you at all, though, if you have a well-honed Raw workflow.

The slightly smaller size of a Sony a7 III with something like the 85mm F1.8 might make it a touch less intimidating than the other, larger cameras, but it's really the Eye-AF that makes the Sony stand out from the crowd for portraiture.

Sports and Wildlife

Our choice: Sony a7 III

None of these cameras is primarily intended as a sports or wildlife camera but it's fair to consider how well they can dabble at it.

Sony's subject tracking system is the best polished and most reliable of the three. The Canon also does well, albeit at a much slower frame rate, while the Nikon Z6 wrestles with an awkward interface and somewhat unreliable subject recognition. In more simple modes, trying to manually keep an AF point over your subject, the performance is more similar, and all three do a reasonable job of refreshing the viewfinder to let you follow action.

The Sony and Nikon both do a good job of balancing shooting speed and buffer depth, despite the Sony depending on the generally slower SD format. The Canon shoots away quite happily but at around half the speed of the other two.

Unsurprisingly, the Sony has the best native telephoto options, with the 100-400mm GM being especially good. The other two cameras do a decent job driving their respective DSLR tele lenses, though.

Overall, we see the Sony as the most reliable performer for sports and wildlife, with the other two falling behind, either in AF reliability or shooting speed.

Wedding and Events

Our choice: Sony a7 III

The price tags and feature sets of these cameras make clear that they're not the dedicated pro cameras in their lineup, but cameras such as the Nikon D750 have raised expectations of what should be possible for the price. As such it's fair to assess how well these will behave as second cameras for a professional wedding shooter or as the primary camera for someone shooting weddings as a side-line.

The once-in-a-lifetime nature of weddings is one of the few strong arguments for worrying about the number of card slots a camera has. Whether it's for separate stills/video capture or the peace-of-mind that redundant backups bring, weddings are one of the areas where the Sony's twin card slots give it an edge.

The once-in-a-lifetime nature of weddings is one of the few arguments for worrying about the number of card slots

Battery life again plays a big role when shooting weddings and events because, while it only takes a second or two to swap batteries, the need to charge-up spares just ends up adding another pre-event task and another thing to go wrong. The Sony can be expected to offer around twice the battery life of the Nikon and nearly three times that of the Canon.

The Sony's AF performance, whether in terms of Eye-AF, subject tracking or low light performance, is the most flexible and dependable of the three. The EOS R continues to work in very low light, which is a major asset for this kind of work, making the EOS R and 50mm F1.2 a tempting option, though probably as a second camera.

Sony's native lens lineup includes more of the classic workhorse lenses than the new RF or Z systems. That said, both the Canon and Nikon are compatible with DSLR-mount versions of these lenses, if you already have them (we wouldn't generally recommend buying DSLR lenses specifically to adapt to a new system).

The Canon and Nikon are compatible with their respective brands' RF and IR flash trigger systems, if you own or are renting strobes. That said, none of the three cameras will fire the focus assist lamp on these flashes, which can be a drawback.

Again, Canon's much-liked JPEG color may play a role in your decision, depending on how much Raw processing your workflow usually entails.

Of the three, we'd feel most comfortable shooting a wedding with the Sony.

Video

Our choice: Nikon Z6

All three cameras promise 4K video, but that's about where the similarities end. The Canon is clearly the weakest of the three in that it derives its video from a 1.83x cropped region of its sensor and does so with significant rolling shutter.

Both the Sony and Nikon use the full 16:9 region of their sensors, giving detailed, significantly oversampled video. Both have features such as focus peaking and zebra warnings, to help monitor focus and exposure, though the Nikon can't do both simultaneously. Both cameras are similarly good at video AF.

The Sony and Canon can shoot Log footage internally but only do so in 8-bit, which can limit the files' flexibility. The Nikon and Canon, meanwhile, will both output 10-bit Log footage to an external recorder over HDMI, giving an advantage in exactly the situations you might need to shoot Log.

The Nikon is the easiest of the trio for switching back and forth between stills and video

The Nikon pulls ahead by retaining separate exposure settings for stills and video. It also gives you the option to use different white balance and color settings. Furthermore, it allows you to define a different i-menu for video and stills shooting. And, in common with the Sony, it lets you define different custom buttons for stills and video. All this makes the Nikon the easiest of the trio for switching back and forth between the two shooting methods.

Ironically, the Canon comes closer to the Nikon in terms of ease of stills/video switching, again maintaining distinct exposure settings and buttons settings, though not distinct white balance settings. Unfortunately, in a camera without in-body stabilization to keep your horizons straight, that offers disappointing resolution, significant rolling shutter and the image quality of a sub-APS-C sensor. Still, it's a positive sign for whatever comes next.

Of course, if you really find yourself getting into video, Sony's E-mount is the only one of these three that currently has pro-grade video lenses and cameras available.

Landscape

Our choice: Nikon Z6 or Sony a7 III

Resolution and dynamic range are the critical image quality factors for landscape shooting. The Canon has the edge in resolution, while Sony (in uncompressed Raw mode, at least) wins out in terms of dynamic range. The Nikon is a fraction behind the Sony in this respect, as slight banding can be revealed from the deep shadows if you try to use its full dynamic range.

Close inspection makes the Nikon appear to have the most substantial weather sealing, but the Canon and Sony also make the same claims. The Sony is the only one that can be powered over USB while being used, somewhat ironically since it's the one that lasts longest on its own battery. All three cameras can be charged over USB.

We've also found the Nikon the easiest of the three to operate while wearing gloves

The Nikon has a pretty sophisticated intervalometer and time-lapse move mode, which the other two lack. We've also found the Nikon the easiest of the three to operate while wearing gloves, with the Sony a little behind. The Canon and Sony don't offer any internal interval shooting controls, which is a particular shame on the a7 III, since it can run from an external USB power source and its predecessor let you install a time-lapse function.

The Canon is alone in needing stabilized lenses if you don't have a tripod, since the other two have in-body stabilization.

Travel

Our choice: Sony a7 III (but they're all pretty good)

Travel is perhaps the most difficult use-case for any of these cameras, since it could require a little of everything. On top of the capabilities already discussed, all three have pretty good Wi-Fi systems for sharing your images with the people back home.

Some of the strongest lenses in all three systems are the 24-something F4 zooms, with the Canon and Sony examples extending out to a more versatile 105mm focal length. Nikon's 24-70mm is smaller as a result of its shorter reach, though. Sony's willingness to share its mount details means Tamron's 28-75mm F2.8 should also be considered. All three cameras with these do-everything lenses make pleasant (if somewhat large) travel companions, though.

Some of the strongest lenses in all three systems are the 24-something F4 zooms, ideal for travel photography

Nikon's weather sealing might be more reassuring when you're out-and-about but its reliance on XQD cards might leave you in a tricky spot if you lose or fill your card on a long trip.

The Sony would probably be our favored travel camera, though. It's the smallest of the three bodies and for now, at least, has a wider choice of small lenses. It's got the most capable (though probably most complex) autofocus system, for shooting whatever you encounter. But, most significantly, it offers by far the best battery life.

Conclusion

Even without thinking about lenses, it's clear that Nikon and Canon still have some work to do to catch up with Sony's half-decade headstart. It's not an insurmountable difference, though and both brands have brought their extensive experience of ergonomics and user interfaces, which Sony should probably be worried about.

The camera body you choose now is likely to commit you to a new lens system for the foreseeable future

All three cameras can produce excellent images but the Sony more readily adapts to a wider range of situations. The Nikon acquits itself well for certain types of photography, while also doing unexpectedly well at video, but the Z6 has the least dependable AF system of the trio, which counts against it. Canon has tried to make an easy-to-use camera, rather than simply mimicking its DSLRs, but, while we're not fully convinced by the results of this first attempt, it's still a very able camera.

Ultimately, though, the decision is likely to come down to what lenses you own, which lenses you plan to buy and how much faith you have in each company to produce camera bodies to match your needs, several years down the road. Because, if you're trying to avoid major costs later, the camera body you choose now is likely to commit you to a new lens system for the foreseeable future.

Posted: December 17, 2018, 2:00 pm

When the V40 ThinQ was launched back in October it wasn't the first triple-camera phone (that honor goes to the Huawei P20 Pro which combines a main camera with a tele and monochrome sensor), but it was the first to offer three different focal lengths.

Since then more triple-focal-length phones have arrived on the scene, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Huawei's 2018 flagship, the Mate 20 Pro, but you're still looking at a pretty exclusive list if you're after focal length flexibility.

LG V40 ThinQ sample gallery

The V40 ThinQ's camera combines a primary 27mm equiv. module, a super-wide-angle with 16mm equivalent focal length and a 'tele' lens that offers a 52mm equivalent focal length.

So does the triple-cam really offer a noticeable advantage over a phone with one or two lenses? In my experience using the phone on a week-long hiking trip and a few other occasions, I indeed found the added flexibility in terms of focal length to be a real benefit.

Key specifications:

  • Triple camera
  • 16MP Super Wide (1/3.1"-type, F1.9 / 16mm equiv, no AF)
  • 12MP Standard (1/2.6"-type F1.5 / 27mm equiv, OIS, dual-pixal PDAF)
  • 12MP Telephoto (1/3.4"-type F2.4 / 52mm equiv, OIS, PDAF)
  • Dual front-camera with 8MP Standard (1/4"-type F1.9 / 26mm equiv) and
    5MP Wide (1/5"-type F2.2 / 22mm equiv)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset
  • 6.4-inch QHD+ OLED display (3120 x 1440 pixels)
  • 6GB RAM / 64GB or 128GB internal memory / microSD slot
  • 3300mAh battery

Using the V40 ThinQ is not to dissimilar to shooting with a DSLR and three prime lenses, but without the bulk. It is possible to zoom to intermediate positions between the native focal lengths but image quality suffers as digital zoom is applied and it's simply more convenient to tap on the zoom icon of your choice than worry about pinch-zooming or using the zoom slider.

But even if you stick with the native equivalent focal lengths – 16, 27 and 52mm – they offer a higher level of creative freedom than we've ever seen on smartphones. At the press of a button you now have the ability to completely modify the way a scene is captured.

The three images below were captured from the same location, but the change in angle of view makes for very different image results between the three available focal lengths.

Landscape shot, 16mm equivalent
Landscape shot, 27mm equivalent
Landscape shot, 52mm equivalent

The ability to choose between focal lengths is also very useful when shooting portraits. In the past mobile photographers had to get used to being limited to wide-angle portraits when shooting people pictures.

With devices like the V40 ThinQ you now have the option to go super-wide and capture even more of the background and the subject-surrounding scenery, or use the phone's tele-lens and produce something more similar to a 'traditional' portrait.

Unfortunately even at the LG's longest focal length and relatively short subject distances there isn't much bokeh to speak of, though, and the background is still almost entirely in focus.

The background-blurring Portrait Mode can produce nice results with very good background-segmentation but it uses the main camera's 27mm equivalent focal length, so you can't combine the DSLR-like background blur with the camera's longest focal length. That's a shame, since it would arguably be the lens most suited to portrait photography.

Portrait, 16mm equivalent
Portrait, 52mm equivalent
Portrait, 27mm equivalent, Portrait Mode

In low light the usefulness of the triple-cam is unfortunately a little more limited than in bright conditions. In low light both the super-wide-angle and wide-angle show noise increases and the levels of detail are reduced. That's only really noticeable when zooming in to a 100% view, however. Color and exposure remain solid down to very low light levels. The 27mm equiv camera, with its bigger sensor and brighter aperture is the stronger option as the light levels drop.

The tele-lens on the other hand is completely deactivated in dim conditions. Instead, the camera uses the main sensor to capture the image and applies digital zoom to keep the exposure bright enough and control noise to some degree. The resulting images show very low levels of detail.

The LG is not the only device doing this – we've seen the same behavior on the first iPhones with tele-lens and some other Android devices. It means however that low-light tele shots are best avoided if you are planning to view or display them at larger sizes.

Night Shot, 16mm equivalent
Night shot, 27mm equivalent
Night shot, tele setting (shot with 27mm equivalent camera and with digital zoom)

The different image output sizes (16MP for the super-wide-angle, 12MP for the other two cameras) are slightly unusual but not really a problem. The same can be said for the fixed focus of the super-wide-angle camera. With virtually unlimited depth-of-field there isn't really a need for an autofocus system.

On all three cameras image detail capture is only average and many images show pretty strong chromatic aberration but again, these flaws are only visible at larger magnifications and most smartphone images are never viewed at full size. Other than that there isn't much to criticize about the V40 ThinQ's triple-cam general image quality. Color and exposure tend to be very good in most shooting conditions.

Conclusion

Did I like shooting with the LG V40 ThinQ triple-cam then? The answer is a resounding yes! The iPhone 7 Plus was my first tele-cam-equipped smartphone and I remember how incredibly useful I found that longer lens while shooting on a tourist trip to New York, despite its shortcomings in low light.

The LG V40 ThinQ takes things one step further by adding a super-wide-angle to the mix. Gone are the days of difficult decisions between longer reach or a wider angle of view when buying a new smartphone. Now you can have it all in one device that easily fits into your pocket, and also gives you the ability to instantly edit and share.

Triple-cam-smartphones really are the final nail in the compact camera's coffin

Is there still room for improvement? Of course there is. The tele-lens could perform better in low light and an even longer focal length would be nice (the Huawei Mate 20 Pro already offers a 3x optical zoom) but the additional creative freedom offered by the V40 ThinQ and similar devices is already a huge leap forward when compared to conventional single-lens smartphones.

If we still needed one, triple-cam-smartphones really are the final nail in the compact camera's coffin, and we can be pretty certain device manufacturers won't stop here. New hardware developments in combination with computational imaging techniques are likely to lead to even longer focal lengths and wider zoom ranges on smartphones in the very near future.

Gallery

There are 52 images in our LG V40 ThinQ sample gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.

Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution.

Posted: December 16, 2018, 2:00 pm

Renowned UK-based landscape photographer Nigel Danson has been using DSLRs for years. In this video, created exclusively for DPReview, Nigel discusses his experience using the Nikon Z7 and why he's excited about mirrorless cameras. (Spoiler... beautiful scenery ahead.)

If you enjoy this video, visit Nigel's YouTube channel where you'll find dozens more, including topics such as Master your telephoto lens photography and improve fast and Why you don’t need perfect light to shoot the best photo.

Visit Nigel Danson's YouTube channel

Posted: December 16, 2018, 1:00 pm

Tenba has announced the arrival of Ridged Lens Capsules, a collection of five individual lens cases designed to keep lenses safe and sound in storage and travel, as well as a pair of Gear Pouches, both of which feature a clear window on the front to identify what gear is stored inside.

Ridged Lens Capsules are available in five sizes, from compact pancake lenses, all the way up to a 200-400mm zoom. The Lens Capsules feature moulded tops and bottoms and include a dedicated secure loop strap that makes it easy to attach them to MOLLE webbing on backpacks or directly onto various belt systems. Each of the Lens Capsules feature an included microfiber cloth that's hidden inside a pocket on the lid.

Tenba uses YKK zippers, a padded interior, a soft lining and include a dedicated handle on the top for easy removal and transport. There's even an included microfiber cloth in a secure pocket on the lid of each Lens Capsule.

The various sizes of Ridged Lens Capsules are as follows:

9x9cm (3.5x3.5in) — £18 ($20.95 USD)
13x9cm (5x3.5in) — £20 ($22.95 USD)
15x11cm (6x4.5in) — £31 ($35.95 USD)
23x12cm (9x4.8in) — £32.50 ($37.95 USD)
30x13cm (12x5in) — £38.50 ($44.95 USD)

The two new gear pouches are small bags designed to hold anything from small lenses to cables and audio equipment. Both pouches feature a clear TPU window to make it easy to see what's packed inside.

The two Gear Pouches, which come in 19.05cm (7.5in) and 29.21cm (11.5in) sizes, are blue and sold in a set for £20 ($24.95 USD).

You can find the new products and more at Tenba's online shop.

Posted: December 15, 2018, 10:45 pm

There are plenty of ways to spend well over $250 on photography gear, but we've picked out some standout accessories that are sure to wow the photographer on your shopping list.

Posted: December 15, 2018, 2:00 pm

Tune in this week to see Chris and Jordan's review of the Nikon Z6 full frame mirrorless camera, and also find out what Chris thinks of the popular 35mm focal length. (Rant alert!)

For more information you can read our in-depth First Impressions Review of the Nikon Z6.

Nikon Z6 First Impressions Review

Get new episodes of DPReview TV every week by subscribing to our YouTube channel!

Posted: December 15, 2018, 2:00 pm

On its developers blog today, Facebook disclosed a major photo API bug that left the private images of millions of users exposed to third-party apps. The bug, which has been fixed, was live from September 13, 2018 to September 25, 2018. During that time, some third-party apps may have had permission to access images uploaded to the service but not posted, as well as photos shared outside of the user's timeline.

Facebook users can grant third-party apps permission to access images they've shared on the platform, but that permission is "usually" limited to photos the user published on their timeline, according to the company. The photo API bug may have given some third-party apps permission beyond timeline images, however, also including ones uploaded to the platform but not published, Facebook Stories content, and images shared on Marketplace.

As of its initial disclosure on December 14, Facebook said, 'Currently, we believe this may have affected up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers.'

Facebook plans to alert users who were potentially affected by the bug. A new Help Center page on Facebook's support website provides a tool that shows users whether they have used any apps that potentially had access to their private images. As well, the company will provide app developers with a tool "early next week" that shows whether their apps were affected by the photo API bug.

"We are also recommending people log into any apps with which they have shared their Facebook photos to check which photos they have access to," the company said in its disclosure.

The bug is the latest in a growing number of privacy debacles at Facebook. Earlier this year, the company suspended hundreds of third-party apps during its Cambridge Analytica scandal, which had revealed that data on 87 million Facebook users had been harvested and improperly used.

Posted: December 14, 2018, 7:33 pm

Loupedeck has announced its Loupedeck+ editing console now supports Photoshop CC 2019. The new support is the result of feedback from Loupedeck customers, according to the company, and joins the Adobe Premiere Pro CC compatibility released in September. With this new support, Photoshop CC 2019 users can edit their images using the software and Loupedeck+ console.

The updated Loupedeck+ editing console was launched in June, adding support for Capture One and Aurora HDR in addition to hardware improvements. With this latest compatibility update, Loupedeck+ can be used with multiple Adobe Creative Suite products, including Lightroom Classic CC, Premiere Pro CC, and Photoshop CC 2019.

The new Photoshop support provides editors with direct access to the photo software's tools and functions, as well as layer control, configurable buttons for custom actions, smart filter access, and more. Loupedeck+'s hardware controls include buttons, dials, and wheels.

Loupedeck+ is available now for $249 USD.

Loupedeck+ Announces First Integration with Adobe Photoshop

The photo & video editing console continues to evolve based on community feedback, now even more adaptable to photographers’ needs

HELSINKI, Finland – December 14, 2018 – Loupedeck, the custom photo & video editing console built with an intuitive design that makes editing faster and more creative, has announced its first integration with Adobe Photoshop CC 2019. This compatibility further expands the product’s utility for editing in several Adobe Creative Suite applications, including: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

After this year’s launch of the Loupedeck+, the decision to integrate with Photoshop is exclusively based on feedback from Loupedeck’s invested community, many of whom utilize the imaging and graphic design software in their editing workflow. The Loupedeck+ will permit more intuitive and faster editing, providing more accuracy on controlling Photoshop’s functions.

New Adobe Photoshop editing functionalities of the Loupedeck+ include:

  • Total flexibility with Photoshop CC, allowing image editors to configure Loupedeck+ to match their personal workflow
  • Intuitive features that make editing faster: swap between current and previous tools, reset blending or to fit image on screen by just a press of a button
  • Ability to focus on the image instead of navigating: minimize mouse pointing, list scrolling and target practicing with tiny icons
  • More direct access to tools, functions, layers and other Photoshop options to save time
  • Excellent layer control by moving, grouping, merging, adjusting opacity, fill, visibility or masking
  • Ability to run smart filter with Loupedeck+'s configurable buttons
  • Custom mode that gives even more possibilities for mapping different Photoshop functions on Loupedeck+
  • Ability to create your own actions and run them with Loupedeck+'s configurable buttons

“In our ongoing mission to make the editing processes of both professional and amateur photographers more intuitive and efficient, we continually work to integrate Loupedeck+ with the editing suites they utilize and cherish most in their workflows,” said Mikko Kesti, Founder and CEO of Loupedeck.

“Members of our dedicated user community emphasized their eagerness to use the console to edit with Photoshop and we listened. Following Loupedeck’s original integration with Adobe Lightroom and recent foray into video editing by way of Adobe Premiere Pro, this next stage of our partnership will continue to support photographers worldwide.”

In addition to its Adobe integrations, Loupedeck+ is compatible with Skylum Aurora HDR while future integrations with Skylum’s other products, including Skylum Luminar, are expected as well.

The device is available for purchase in the Loupedeck Online Store, B&H Photo and Amazon.com for $249. For more information visit www.loupedeck.com.

About Loupedeck

Loupedeck, the company behind the Loupedeck+, is the only editing console custom-built to improve the Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Premiere Pro CC, and Skylum Aurora HDR experience, with an intuitive design that makes editing faster and more creative. It allows both professional and amateur photographers to improve the ergonomics of editing, comfortably increasing output. Loupedeck’s hands-on and highly intuitive console minimizes the use the mouse and keyboard, and it works seamlessly with Apple and PC operating systems.

Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, Loupedeck was founded in 2016 with a highly successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that exceeded its original target by 488 percent. For more information, visit www.loupedeck.com.

Posted: December 14, 2018, 6:03 pm

YouTuber Casey Cavanaugh, whose work has been featured before on DPReview, has produced a handy video guide for those looking for buy their first film camera. Posted on his GxAce YouTube channel Casey runs through five top tips for checking over some of the essential functions of an old film body and lens to make sure it is going to be worth buying.

He shows how to check shutter speeds and ways to spot problems, as well as pointing out the importance of the integrity of the camera’s light seals. He also has useful information on examining the condition of a lens and discussing what is repairable and what should be avoided. Buyers should take a spare battery and a flash light/torch with them, Cavanaugh says, to ensure lenses are clean and that the camera is functioning normally.

If you have an eye on a second hand film body this might help you avoid buying a dud.

Posted: December 14, 2018, 4:44 pm

If you're looking for a photography gift that's a bit more substantial than a stocking stuffer, we've got some suggestions that should fit the bill.

Posted: December 14, 2018, 2:00 pm

Chinese optics manufacturer Kipon has added the Nikon Z and Canon R mounts to its range of medium format to full frame camera adapters. The company claims the adapters ‘virtually eliminate any crop factor’ by way of optics within the adapter that compensate for the difference in imaging areas of the full frame and medium format systems, and says the diagonal angle of view is maintained.

The eight Baveyes focal reducers use a five-element design and work with a number of popular medium format brands, namely Pentax, Mamiya and Hasselblad.

These adapters already exist for Sony full frame, Leica M and Leica SL cameras.
The new adapters will cost $695 and can be ordered from this week.
For more information see the Kipon website.

Press information

KIPON start to deliver 8 models new Baveyes/focal reducer for new Nikon Z mount & Canon R mount cameras

KIPON start to deliver 8 models new 0.7x Baveyes/focal reducer for new Nikon Z mount & Canon R mount cameras, increased Baveyes lineup for using medium format lenses on full frame cameras from 24 to 32 models.

  • Baveyes Pentax645-Nikon Z 0.7x
  • Baveyes Pentax67-Nikon Z 0.7x
  • Baveyes MAMIYA645-Nikon Z 0.7x
  • Baveyes Hasselblad V-Nikon Z 0.7x
  • Baveyes Hasselblad V-EOS R 0.7
  • Baveyes MAMIYA645-EOS R 0.7x
  • Baveyes Pentax67-EOS R 0.7x
  • Baveyes Pentax645-EOS R 0.7x

KIPON Baveyes introduces a line-up of the world's first lens adapters that bring the famous medium format optics to Sony E, Leica SL and Leica M, Nikon Z, Canon R 35mm full frame cameras, virtually eliminating any crop factor image loss and maintaining diagonal angle of view.

The transformation results in a 0.7x factor to the original lens focal length with a gain of one stop in lens speed. Foremost in the advanced adapters, is the custom designed five element multicoated formula by German optics research institution, with the ability to use full frame SLR lenses on crop sensor camera bodies and mirrorless cameras.

Many medium format lenses are legendary for contrast, flare resistance, color saturation, bokeh and are in a class of their own compared to even the best 35mm format glass. And the Sony, Leica, Nikon, Canon image sensors, in the heart of their robust camera bodies, give new life to these medium format legendary lenses.

The retailer price for these optic focal reducer is 695USD,can order from Amazon Japan and Tmall China and Ebay factory shop from this week.

Posted: December 13, 2018, 9:58 pm

Palette, a modular collection of buttons, dials and sliders designed to give photo editing a more tactile experience, has received an update making it compatible with Capture One 11 and 12 on MacOS computers.

The new support, which comes in the form of a software update to the proprietary PaletteApp, gives 'access to hundreds of Capture One function items.' Like their Adobe counterparts, Capture One users can now use the modular sliders, dials and buttons to adjust nearly every detail of an image with a more tactile approach.

On its FAQ page, Palette Gear addresses the lack of Windows support saying, 'Simply put, the macOS release of Capture One offers developer tools that the Windows release does not. Our aim is full Capture One support on both platforms; we don't play favourites. After careful consideration, we made the decision to offer Capture One support for macOS users while continuing to advocate for Windows support.'

Palette Gear also points out that while Palette does has 'limited support' on Capture One 9.3 and 10, it recommends using Capture One 11 or 12 for the best possible experience. Below is a list of Capture One functions Palette includes 'comprehensive support' for as well as the hundreds of other functions:

• Tonal adjustments: exposure, white balance, levels, high dynamic range, and more
• Detail adjustments: clarity, sharpening & noise reduction, grain, and more
• Tagging and rating: Assign a specific tag or rating with a single button press; Increment ratings and cycle through color tags
• Universal control: Use a single Palette dial to adjust any C1 slider, simply by hovering over it
• Slider module support: Palette sliders can now be assigned to C1 functions; Set custom range for each slider
• Multi-function dial support: Press and turn for coarse control, press to reset

In addition to a software update to bring Capture One compatibility to older Palette kits, Palette Gear has also created a new Capture One Kit that includes one core with a color screen, four buttons, four dials, and two sliders. Like other kits, it's entirely plug-and-play via Micro USB. It's currently priced at $349.99 and will eventually get bumped hip to $409.96, according to Palette Gear's product page.

For more information on the update, head over to Palette Gear's dedicated Capture One product page.

Posted: December 13, 2018, 6:11 pm

A few months ago NetSE, the German company behind the Meyer Optik Görlitz, Emil Busch A.G. Rathenau, Oprema Jena, C.P. Goerz, Ihagee Elbaflex and A. Schacht brands filed for bankruptcy, leaving many consumers who had backed the company's brands on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms out of pocket and without a product.

It looked like NetSE's iconic brands would vanish for eternity but now it appears at least the Meyer Optik Görlitz brand will survive. Another German company, OPC Optics (Precision Components Europe GmbH), announced it has acquired the trademark rights to Meyer Optik Görlitz at the insolvency procedure of NetSE in Koblenz.

OPC Optics, a manufacturer of prototypes and small series of spherical and aspherical lenses, is planning to use the brand as a vehicle to enter consumer markets. The company says it will streamline the current Meyer Optik Görlitz lens portfolio and market lenses through traditional sales channels, so no more crowdfunding or pre-ordering.

In a press release the company also says that unfortunately it can't take on any of NetSE's obligations which means if NetSE hasn't delivered your crowdfunded lens, OPC won't do so either. It's good to see a traditional live on but given all the negative news around Meyer Optik Görlitz in recent months, OPC's move could be a risky one.

Posted: December 13, 2018, 3:41 pm

Shopping for a photographer? We've got some gift ideas for all budget sizes, but here you'll find our budget-friendliest suggestions – just right for stockings.

Posted: December 13, 2018, 2:00 pm

A pair of crowdfunding campaigns are raising funds for Replica Surfaces, a series of photography backdrops that imitate various surfaces, including wood, concrete and marble. Unlike the real materials, Replica Surfaces backdrops are lightweight at 907g (2lbs), highly portable with a 3mm (0.12in) thickness, and can be assembled upright using small plastic stands.

Replica Surfaces are described as "hyper-realistic" backdrops featuring glare-free, stain-proof surfaces made with three-layer construction. Each backdrop measures 58cm x 58cm (23in x 23in) and is designed to slot into small 3D-printed plastic stands in an L-configuration. The end result is a flat surface and upright backdrop for product photography.

The product's crowdfunding campaigns are offering six initial designs: white marble, ship-lap, concrete, rose marble, weathered wood, and cement. Replica Surfaces was funded on Kickstarter and Indiegogo; interested buyers can pre-order the boards and stands in various bundles from CrowdOx starting at $20.


Disclaimer: Remember to do your research with any crowdfunding project. DPReview does its best to share only the projects that look legitimate and come from reliable creators, but as with any crowdfunded campaign, there's always the risk of the product or service never coming to fruition.

Posted: December 12, 2018, 10:18 pm

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