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Cropping has the potential to turn a good photo into a great one, or even save a shot that would otherwise have ended up in the digital trashcan. Software company Polarr has now launched a new AI-powered app for iOS that should make finding the perfect crop much easier.

Deep Crop's algorithms have been trained to find the most interesting elements in a photo using

using 200 million cropping data points from real photographers.

Source image Crop 1
Crop 2 Crop 3

The company also says it has achieved an 20x efficiency boost in RAM and power usage for offline AI- systems, allowing for the app to run locally on your iPhone. This means there's no need for internet connectivity and your image material won't be uploaded to any external servers.

When you launch the app, all images in your camera roll will be displayed, and tapping on a photo will show you suggested crop options. By default, you'll see smart crops of various ratios but it is also possible to specify an aspect ratio.

If you don't like the apps' suggestion you can repeat the process as many times as you like to see more crops. Once you like the result it can be exported or shared in the usual ways.

Source image Crop 1
Crop 2 Crop 3

In its current state Deep Crop is pretty much a one-trick-pony but we'd expect the technology to be integrated into one of Polarr's more comprehensive applications, such as Photo Editor, at some point in the near future. In the meantime the app can help you achieve better crops or simply discover new perspectives when viewing your own images.

Polarr Deep Crop is available on the Apple App Store now.

Posted: September 19, 2018, 7:52 pm

In June, Loupedeck launched an update to its editing console, including a physical redesign and added Capture One compatibility. Now, a big new software update aims to make the device attractive to an entirely new user group – the Loupedeck+ is now compatible with Adobe Premiere Pro CC, allowing for its use in video editing.

Configuration of the controls is customizable to adapt to your workflow, and configuration setups can be exported for sharing or use across multiple consoles. It is possible to create several LUTs (color lookup tables) for fast and efficient alteration of color and the system also supports flexible timeline navigation, content trimming and clip adjustment.

If Adobe Premier isn't your video editor of choice, you might still be able to use Loupedeck in the future, as the company says it will be rolling out mode video software integrations later this year.

Loupedeck chief Mikko Kesti said in a statement:

"Our mission is to keep on improving the editing workflow, so it's only fitting our next step is in the video editing space. Just like we developed the Loupedeck+ exclusively from community feedback, we felt it was imperative to listen to what our users had to say and make the device's functionality even more well-rounded, providing all the same editing functions that photographers have at their fingertips to videographers. Users can now count on Loupedeck+'s intuitive design and user-friendly approach to enhance their video editing quality and increase their output. Our ongoing partnership with Adobe made introducing these new capabilities with its Premiere Pro CC suite an easy decision."

Posted: September 19, 2018, 7:42 pm

British photographic engineer MTF Services is claiming to have created the world’s first third-party lens adapters for the new Nikon Z system, with a collection of four units designed to allow cinema lenses to be mounted on the mirrorless full frame bodies. The adapters are made with stainless steel and HE30 aluminum, and feature a toe support with steel helicoil 1/4" threads.

The lenses the adapters are aimed at are PL, Panavision, B4 and Arri bayonet, so they are intended to appeal to filmmakers and broadcasters. The adapters come pre-shimmed, and spare shims will be included.

The PL to Nikon Z version is available to order on the company’s site for £350 + VAT (approx $460), and the other models are expected to follow soon. For more information see the MTF Services Lens Adapter website.

Posted: September 19, 2018, 6:02 pm

Think Tank Photo has released the latest versions of its Hydrophobia rain covers and introduced a new pair of compact rain covers it calls the Emergency Rain Cover.

The Hydrophobia V3.0 Rain Covers come in five different configurations to fit various DSLR cameras and Sony full-frame mirrorless camera setups. In Think Tank Photo's own words, the Hydrophobia V3.0 Rain Covers are 'considered the most protective weather protection on the market.'

Hydrophobia V3.0 Rain Covers are made of a three-layer material and feature a DWR coating for extra protection against moisture. The stitches across the entire cover are seam-sealed and a rainproof front element cover is included so your lens doesn't get splashed when sitting idle.

If you don't feel like carrying an all-out solution for keeping your gear dry, Think Tank Photo has also released a new thinned-out version of its rain covers. They're called Emergency Rain Covers and as the name suggests, they're a more compact, lightweight solution for keeping your gear safe from the elements in emergency situations.

Emergency Rain Covers come in two sizes: small and medium — and they weigh just 99g/3.5oz and 114g/4oz, respectively. Compared to the approximately 300g/10.5oz of the full-size Hydrophobia Rain Covers, it's quite the weight savings.

The small is meant to keep a gripped or standard camera body protects with smaller primes or zooms attached. Specifically, Think Tank Photo mentions 16–35mm F2.8, 14–24mm F2.8, 24–105mm F4 and 24–70mm F2.8 lenses, but it's safe to say most super-wide to standard lenses (35-70mm) should work fine. The medium Emergency Rain Cover can also keep a gripped or standard camera body protected with a 24–70mm F2.8 or 70–200mm F2.8 lens attached. Again, there are plenty of other lenses that would work beyond the two Think Tank Photo mentioned.

All of the rain covers are currently available to purchase through Think Tank Photo's online shop. The Hydrophobia Rain Covers start at $115 for the 24-70 size and go up to $150 for the massive 300-600 version. The small and medium emergency rain covers retail for $35 and $40, respectively.

Posted: September 19, 2018, 3:50 pm

Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you'll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effects of different lighting conditions.

The X-T3 boasts a brand-new 26MP BSI image sensor, which is likely to appear in the next generation of Fujifilm cameras. We've added the X-T3 to our studio test scene comparison to take a first look at how the new sensor compares to the competition.

Read our Fujifilm X-T3
First Impressions Review

Posted: September 19, 2018, 2:00 pm

Of the four lenses launched alongside the Canon EOS R earlier this month, the RF 50mm F1.2L USM was one that we were excited to get our hands on. As soon as it landed in our office a few days ago we got started on a dedicated gallery, shot in Raw mode on the new Canon EOS R.

You'll notice that quite a lot of the images in this gallery were shot at F1.2, because, well, why not? This is lens is seriously sharp wide open and a lot of fun to shoot with. See for yourself how it performs.

View our Canon RF 50mm F1.2L gallery

Posted: September 19, 2018, 1:00 pm

Last year, Nikon announced plans to end its sales in Brazil as part of a "global scale restructuring," a decision that went into effect on December 31, 2017. Though product sales ended, the company maintained its Brazil-based customer and technical support business segments in the nation, but that too has come to an end.

In a statement last week, Nikon Brazil revealed that it is ending all of its activities in the country. Nikon Group will still offer technical assistance and warranty repairs for valid warranties, but photography equipment owners will need to submit those requests through the Nikon Brazil website. Any out-of-warranty requests will be handled by Nikon USA.

Since the shuttering of its e-commerce sales in December 2017, photographers seeking Nikon gear in Brazil have had to rely on parallel imports brought into the country through non-official channels, without valid warranties.

Via: PetaPixel

Posted: September 18, 2018, 9:05 pm

Two-and-a-half years after it announced plans to keep Packfilm alive, CatLABS of JP has announced it's no longer continuing its efforts.

Typically known for its impressive collection of analogue photography products, CatLABS of JP announced in March 2016 that it had plans to revitalize Packfilm — an endeavor further expedited by Fujifilm's discontinuation of its Packfilm offerings. Over the next two years, CatLABS of JP spent a great deal of time and capital looking for the puzzle pieces it needed to keep Packfilm alive.

'We had begun a globe-trotting effort to secure things for the future, and met (sometimes secretly) with top executives from companies all around the world, (Japan, Germany, France, China and the US),' says CatLABS of JP on its update page. 'We visited factories, warehouses and dungeons, walked knee deep in dust and detritus to try and uncover some long lost or forgotten piece of technology we hoped would aid us in this quest. We met with suppliers, designers, chemists and engineers and secured what would potentially be the base upon which a new production line would be built.'

As you can imagine, it wasn't a cheap process. After two years of research, travel and communications, CatLABS of JP realized its efforts and capital would be better spent elsewhere. Thus, the effort to keep Packfilm alive is officially over.

On the page announcing the end of its efforts, CatLABS of JP thanks its supporters, saying 'we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us along the way. We got thousands of emails and phone calls, and while [we were] not able to respond to all of them, know that we took each and every one of them to heart - it has meant the world to us to know there is a strong and active analog community out there.'

Despite the ending of its own efforts, CatLABS of JP ends its update with a call to action for analog photographers around the world — get out there and buy what Packfilm remains in an effort to show how many photographers around the world still use it.

'Those who have been lamenting the demise of Packfilm (FP100c) and those just jumping onboard now, should know that Packfilm was and still is readily available around the world (and probably will still be available for the next few years), says CatLABS of JP. 'Everyone should go out and buy some now, buy lots of it and go shoot. Its the only way to keep the industry going.'

CatLABS of JP even links out to another effort to keep Packfilm alive, a revival aptly named Save Packfilm. In addition to an online community full of resources to show support, Save Packfilm is also launching a Kickstarter in two days to help crowdfund its efforts. To find out more information and to be notified when the Kickstart goes live, head on over to the Save Packfilm website.

CatLABS of JP ends its farewell with a simple request 'as always - BUY MORE FILM. SUPPORT THE INDUSTRY.'

Posted: September 18, 2018, 3:39 pm

The GoPro Fusion is a small, tough camera designed to make it easy to capture 360-degree video and stills with minimal editing. We took the Fusion out recently on a typically hot Seattle summer day to see what it can do.

Joining DPReview's Carey Rose was adventure photographer Aly Nicklas on a day that took in everything from a hottub boat to Seattle's famous 'gum wall'.


This is sponsored content, created with the support of Amazon and GoPro. What does this mean?

Posted: September 18, 2018, 2:00 pm

Our updated gallery features a mix of full-production Nikon Z7 samples as well as pre-production shots from our initial launch coverage. Dive on in for a mix of out of camera JPEGs as well as Raw conversions. We'll be updating this gallery frequently as our Nikon Z7 review comes together – so check back soon.

See our Nikon Z7 gallery update

Posted: September 18, 2018, 1:00 pm

A new Kickstarter campaign seeks funding for Chroma Chrono, a programmable RGB camera flash that emits multiple colors during long exposures. Users can program the flash using a web interface accessible on any device with a web browser and WiFi; the system enables users to choose the flash colors and the on/off duration for each color.

Sample image via Chroma Chrono

Chroma Chrono features a high-intensity RGB LED, a WiFi-enabled microcontroller, and three AA batteries. Users can connect the flash to a standard hot shoe or trigger it remotely via a Prontor-Compur adapter. The camera flash currently exists as a final production prototype with anticipated manufacturing if the Kickstarter is successful.

Backers are offered an early bird Chroma Chrono flash for pledges of at least £120 / $164.

Via: Kickstarter

Posted: September 17, 2018, 8:54 pm

Think Tank photo has launched a new line of protective lens cases it calls Lens Case Duo. The six cases in the lineup feature a soft, padded liner and two zippered access points: one from the top of the case and one from the side.

Each of these cases can be used on their own or together as a modular system. The two methods of accessing the lens inside make it easy to pair with either a belt system or stuffed inside a backpack — whatever your setup requires. The larger cases, designed for massive primes and telephoto lenses, include a shoulder strap in the event you prefer to carry it as a sling of sorts.

Currently, the Lens Case Duo comes in six different sizes: 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 and 40. The smallest of the cases (5) is meant to hold a small prime or kit lens. On the other end of the spectrum, the biggest case (40) can hold telephoto zoom lenses, such as Canon and Nikon 70-200mm F2.8. You can find a full list of suggested carrying capacities on Think Tank Photo's announcment page. Each of the bags come in black and green colorways, feature a water-repellent coating, and have two small neoprene pouches on the front.

These bags bear a striking resemblance to Think Tank Photo's waist belt lens pouch line-up, so it's nothing new, really. The only notable difference we see is the ability to access the pouch from the side in addition to the top. Also, these don't feature a built-in rain pouch like Think Tank Photo's belt system pouches do.

The Lens Case Duo 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 and 40 are available for $21, $22, $27, $29 and $33, respectively.

Posted: September 17, 2018, 3:50 pm

It took them a while but Canon and Nikon finally entered the full-frame mirrorless market this summer with the launch of two brand-new lens mounts. Canon's RF mount is the company's first 35mm format lens mount since 1987, and Nikon's new Z mount replaces the almost 60 year-old F-mount, as the company's main standard going forward.

Including Leica's SL line (but not its legacy M mount), this makes four full-frame mirrorless systems currently on the market. Of the legacy DSLR makers, Ricoh is now the only company not to offer a mirrorless solution, while Fujifilm, Olympus and Panasonic continue to bypass full-frame, developing their larger (Fujifilm GFX) and smaller-format (APS-C and Four Thirds) mirrorless platforms in favor of developing new mount standards.

Kenji Tanaka of Sony nailed it when he predicted that both Canon and Nikon would enter the full-frame mirrorless market within a year

Back in spring, fresh from the CP+ tradeshow in Japan, I went back through the interviews that we conducted in Yokohama, looking for additional insights and common threads that might indicate where the industry as a whole was heading. One consistent message from almost all of the executives that we spoke to was that more full-frame mirrorless systems were coming, and soon. Kenji Tanaka of Sony nailed it when he predicted that both Canon and Nikon would enter the full-frame mirrorless market within a year. In fact, it would be less than six months from that conversation that the RF and Z mounts were announced.

Read our roundup of executive interviews from CP+ 2018

It's been obvious for some time that beyond a certain point, mirrors and prisms would become barriers to technical innovation in digital cameras. The question was not if but when that point would be reached. Mr Tanaka again: "If cameras are going to develop, [...] manufacturers are going to have to develop mirrorless technologies". And this makes sense, as sensor technologies are developing far faster than the outdated technologies behind secondary AF and metering sensors or mechanical shutters.

Over the past few years we've seen the messaging around mirrorless change from claims of a size and weight advantage compared to DSLRs (which was always a bit of a stretch, once wide-aperture lenses are introduced into the equation) to a more technical argument, based around the inherent benefits of getting rid of that pesky mirror - and that even peskier prism. The four big ones are, in no particular order: more useful viewfinders, faster maximum frame-rates, potential for more advanced (and more accurate) autofocus with intelligent subject recognition, and seamless video integration. Some of those advantages are of course interrelated.

As Canon and Nikon enter the marketplace, Sony's APS-C and full-frame mirrorless lineups are already very established.

Both Canon and Nikon had been laying the required groundwork for a serious mirrorless system for years, but it was left to the likes of Sony, Olympus and Panasonic (and - lest we forget - Samsung) to really push the limits of what mirrorless cameras could do in actual, shipping, cameras. The headline performance features in cameras like the Sony a6000-series, a7R/a9, Olympus E-M1 II and Samsung NX-1 for example would simply not be possible if they were constrained by traditional DSLR design.

Remember when I said a few months ago that the Nikon 1 System wasn't dead? Well, it's definitely dead now

To be fair, the same could be said of the Dual Pixel autofocus system in (say) Canon's EOS M50, or the rapid capture rates and fast on-sensor AF of the V models in Nikon's 1-System lineup, but neither the EF-M nor 1-System were ever aimed seriously at enthusiasts or professional photographers. Oh, and remember when I said a few months ago that the Nikon 1 System wasn't dead, it was just sleeping? Well, it's definitely dead now.

What's that you say? Enough of the preamble? You're starting to think that you already read this article several times already? Fair enough.

In that case, you'll remember that back then I did something that no sensible technology writer should ever do, and indulged in some light prediction-making. Here's how things turned out.


Prediction #1: The announcement of 4K-capable full-frame mirrorless cameras from one or both of Canon and Nikon before Photokina.

100% correct. Notwithstanding some debate over whether or not the EOS R is really a capable 4K camera, thanks to its ~1.8X crop and rolling shutter issues. We're disappointed to see such limited 4K video features in the EOS R, but not completely surprised. The video capabilities of Nikon's Z6 and Z7 on the other hand did surprise us, and represent a confident step by the company in the direction of becoming a serious manufacturer for enthusiast videographers. Nikon even surprised us by introducing incredibly capable video AF, a compliment reserved up until now for only Canon Dual Pixel AF. Not anymore.

Kenji Tanaka, Senior General Manager of Sony's Digital Imaging Business Group, pictured in Yokohama for the 2018 CP+ show where he accurately predicted that Canon and Nikon would join Sony in the full-frame mirrorless space within a year.

Prediction #2: Canon will make a relatively simple adapter for EF lenses to its new mount, Nikon will have a more difficult job.

In fact, Canon made three adapters, one a simple EF-RF adapter, and the other two to add a control ring and drop-in CPL/Vari ND filters, respectively. The latter two certainly don't count as 'simple', but Canon's engineers' lives were undoubtedly made easier by the fact that EF was already a fully-electronic lensmount.

Nikon meanwhile did face a more difficult task, but actually exceeded my expectations. The FTZ adapter allows full or partial compatibility with a very large number of F-mount lenses, including older lenses with mechanical aperture actuation. Given the challenges of adapting a 60 year-old mount standard to a new mirrorless platform, this is no easy trick to pull off, even if users of many non-AF-S lenses will be disappointed to lose autofocus.

Prediction #3: Nikon might use the open Sony E-mount standard.

Well, I got that one dead wrong, didn't I? In fact, we're glad that Nikon didn't go down this route (which in fact, wiser heads have since told me might not even have been an option in the first place). The Z mount is both wider and offers a shallower flange-back distance compared to E, which has advantages when it comes to adapting lenses from other mounts, as well as potentially for future native Z lens development.

The new Nikon Z mount features an internal mount diameter of 55mm and a very short flange back distance of 16mm.

Prediction #4: Neither Canon nor Nikon will attack the pro market with their initial mirrorless cameras.

I was half-right on this one. Neither company released a truly 'professional' model in the same mold as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II or D5, but the Nikon Z7 is a bit more camera than I expected, and for some photographers (not by any means all) it could replace the excellent D850. Where the Z7 falls down is when it comes to autofocus. Performance doesn't look like it's up there with the best 3D tracking implementations in Nikon's DSLRs, and the UX is very different. Prosumer maybe, but 'pro'? Not quite.

The Canon EOS R, showing off its single card slot. The Nikon Z7 (which uses XQD media) has been criticized for offering similarly limited redundancy.

Canon meanwhile, bless their hearts, did exactly what we thought they'd do. The EOS R is not the mirrorless 5D IV that a lot of people were hoping for (despite sharing a sensor) and is, in fact, more of a 6D-class product, albeit with some unique features. It would be a mistake to think that the EOS R represents the pinnacle of Canon's mirrorless ambitions, and we fully expect more pro-oriented cameras to follow it over the next couple of years.

I've written elsewhere that the camera I am reminded of most when looking at the EOS R is in fact the 30 year-old EOS 650 - a midrange SLR that nonetheless, had a huge impact on the consumer photography market. And the EOS 650 didn't even have a single card slot! Can you imagine such a thing?

Prediction #5: A slow build-up of core native lenses will follow the new cameras, and development will ramp up towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Nikon's Z-mount roadmap shows what the company has in the pipeline for the next couple of years through 2020 - an important year for both Canon and Nikon thanks to the Tokyo Olympics.

Nikon launched the Z system with a small range of what look like excellent, but not exactly flagship lenses, alongside a roadmap that fills out the lineup into - you guessed it - 2020. Nikon's roadmap contains some much more serious-looking glass, albeit nothing longer than 200mm, for now.

Canon meanwhile has not released a lens roadmap (in fact I don't think Canon has ever published such a thing) but launched the EOS R alongside a brace of very impressive wide-aperture lenses, including an L-series 28-70mm F2 and 50mm F1.2. Lenses which, going by their size and price alone, are probably not destined to be purchased by many EOS R shooters.


As predictions go, I'd call that a respectable showing, but there's a lot we don't know. I'd love to find out, for example, what Canon's plans are for expanding its RF lens lineup over the next few months, but since Canon doesn't 'do' lens roadmaps we can only guess (and hope). I think we're all eager, too, to see truly 'professional' mirrorless cameras from both Canon and Nikon to compete with the likes of Sony's sports and action-focused a9.

I'm also curious about the future (assuming there is one) for APS-C mirrorless models from both companies. Canon already has an APS-C mirrorless system, but its decision to develop the RF mount in parallel to its older EF-M standard and without the option for cross-adaptation is interesting, and forecloses the option of a smooth-ish upgrade for existing EF-M customers.

This illustration, from Canon's white paper on the new RF mount, shows how similar the mount dimensions of the new mount are to the existing EF standard. The big difference is the much shorter flange-back. Canon's EF-M mount has a shorter flange-back distance and much narrower throat diameter, which means that EF-M lenses are not adaptable to RF. On the plus side, the larger throat and small flange-back distance of the RF mount allows for large rear lens elements, which can both help keep lenses smaller while reducing many optical aberrations.

Of course, Canon's EF-S lenses can't be mounted to full-frame EF DSLRs, either, but APS-C photographers have always been told that if they were really smart they could save up for EF lenses then upgrade seamlessly to a full-frame camera later. Canon's obvious lack of interest in developing new EF-S lenses over the past decade served as a strong hint, in fact, that the company really wanted its APS-C DSLR customers to do exactly that. Canon's mirrorless customers won't have the option. Will there ever be an APS-C RF or Z-mount camera? I'm not sure, but there's no obvious reason why either company couldn't create a line of APS-C format RF/Z mirrorless cameras in the future.

So what's next? Another prediction that I made back in spring - and a pretty safe one - is that new mirrorless cameras will be followed by new third-party lenses, for both the new mounts and for Sony's existing full-frame E-mount.

Tamron's upcoming 28-75mm F2.8 was the first third-party zoom lens designed natively for full-frame mirrorless cameras. It will not be the last.

With Photokina just around the corner, we're fully expecting new native E-mount Tamron and Sigma lenses, but it might be a while before either company catches up with the new Canon RF and Nikon Z mounts. Why? Because unlike Sony (but true to form) neither mount is 'open'. E-mount isn't open-source (you can't just download the complete specification from Github, for example), but Sony does provide information to certain third-parties like Sigma and Tamron for those manufacturers to use when developing native E-mount lenses.

In order for those third-party lens manufacturers to offer RF or Z-mount lenses, they'll have to reverse-engineer the standard. Anyone who remembers the bad old days of the 90s and early 2000s, where third-party lenses for (especially) Canon would routinely stop working when new camera bodies were released, might not be looking forward to this prospect...

But that's just speculation, not prediction. And its all in the future - for now, let us know what you think of the new Canon RF and Nikon Z mounts in the comments.

Read our complete Canon EOS R launch coverage

Read our complete Nikon Z6/7 launch coverage

Posted: September 17, 2018, 1:00 pm

Introduction

On Wednesday Apple launched its new iPhone models for 2018, the XS, XS Max and XR. The two XS devices come with OLED HDR displays, that offer a 60% improvement in dynamic range compared to the iPhone X (1,000,000:1 contrast ratio). On the iPhone XS the screen measures 5.8", on the Max variant it is 6.5". Both devices come with a dual-camera setup that combines a wide-angle main camera with a 2x tele module.

The iPhone XR is a more affordable model and has to make do with a 6.1" LCD display and a single-camera setup. The iPhone XS and XS Max will be available first, shipping September 21st in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB configurations. The XS starts at $999; the XS Max starts at $1099. The iPhone XR will ship October 26th starting at $749 with 64GB, 128GB and 256GB configurations.

All phones sport the industry's most color accurate, wide color gamut (P3) displays which, combined with best-in-class color management built into the OS, ensures accurate display of photos and videos. When you go to print or share an image online, you can rest assured that color rendition will be consistent.

At first sight the new cameras aren't much different from last year's iPhone X but improvements have been made in terms of hardware, software and features. On the following pages we take a closer look.

Camera hardware

The iPhone XS and its larger sibling XS Max share the same dual-camera setup. On paper the specifications look pretty much identical to last year's iPhone X but there is an important change: the 12MP sensor in the wide-angle camera is bigger, now with larger pixels (1.4 µm, up from 1.22 µm) for improved low light capabilities and dynamic range.

The F1.8 aperture on the 6-element wide-angle remains unchanged and the 12MP tele-module with F2.4 aperture is the same as before as well. The tele comes with six elements as well and both lenses are optically stabilized.

The most affordable of the new devices, the iPhone XR, comes with the same wide-angle camera as the XS and XS Max but has to make do without a tele-lens.

And though this has less to do with hardware, it's important to note that images shot in HEIF will capture and display a wider range of colors extending to the P3 color space. This makes for vibrant images, preserving more of the reds, yellows, greens and cyan tones that are visible to us by the naked eye.

New Neural Engine and ISP

The new iPhone's A12 Bionic processor has been upgraded in several areas compared to its A11 Bionic predecessor. It comes with faster and more efficient processing cores and a more powerful GPU. More importantly, though, the 8-core Neural Engine is now more directly involved in image capture and processing and strongly linked with the image signal processor (ISP).

For example, the Neural Engine helps improve facial recognition and image segmentation. The latter helps distinguish the subject from the background and plays an important role in Apple's bokeh mode portrait images. Facial landmarking means the engine can identify facial features and apply different processing - like red eye reduction - to different areas of the face. And generally speaking, scene detection allows the ISP to optimize processing of different scene elements individually.

The processor's additional speed also allows for more image information to be captured and processed. This has enabled the Apple engineers to create the new Smart HDR feature, which they claim is faster and more accurate than the HDR mode of previous iPhone generations. The company says that the device is capable of performing one trillion operations on each image that is captured.

Bokeh-effect in Portrait mode

A background-blurring bokeh effect has been available in the iPhone's Portrait Mode for some time now. In the new models the feature has been refined, however, and now offers adjustment of depth-of-field for stills in the native camera app.

At launch, this will only work in post-processing after the photo has been taken, but a software update this fall will enable a real-time preview at the point of capture. You can set the aperture on a virtual slider on your screen from F1.4 to F16 and see the results instantly, allowing for easy optimization of that portrait look.

Thanks to the updated Neural Engine, Portrait mode is now also better at distinguishing subject and background. Advanced depth segmentation allows for a more realistic bokeh effect with fewer artifacts.

In the iPhones XS and XS Max the camera can make use of both the wide and tele lenses for parallax-based subject segmentation. The iPhone XR has to make do with a single-camera setup but is still capable of generating a convincing portrait look.

On the XR the camera uses the sensor's focus pixels for parallax and then segmentation masking. Thanks to the device's processing power, the depth effect is still visible in real time but currently only works with faces.

Smart HDR

Smart HDR is another new camera feature made possible by the new iPhones' beefier processor and updated Neural Engine. Smart HDR is quite similar to Google's approach to HDR on its Pixel devices and continuously captures a four-frame buffer while the camera app is open. This means when the shutter is pressed the image is captured instantly, with zero shutter lag.

In addition, Smart HDR captures several interframes at different exposures - including long exposures for added shadow detail - and intelligently combines all frames of the same scene. The system picks and blends the best parts of each frame in order to create the final image. This helps reduce ghosting artifacts on moving subjects and create a well-balanced HDR look with good detail in both highlight and shadow areas.

Additionally, thanks to the HDR displays on the XS and XS Max, HDR photos will appear more vibrant, with more colors but also with increased contrast. Typically HDR capture can result in flat images with bright shadows and darker skies, but HDR display of HDR images expands the displayed range by making dark tones darker and bright tones brighter. This yields more realistic appearing HDR images. To date, Apple iPhones are still the first and only consumer devices in the world to bring the concept of HDR display as it is known in the video industry (Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG) over to the stills sector.

Video

The new model also come with improvements in the video department. As before, the new models can shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second and 1080p Full-HD at up to 240fps, allowing for smooth slow-motion footage with good detail. We found the iPhone X 4K/60p video to be remarkably detailed and relatively free of artifacts when shooting in the HEVC format, so we expect similar high quality video from these phones. Apple claims that the 2x faster sensor readout allows for better video stabilization this time around.

When limiting the frame rate to 30 fps, the camera can extend the dynamic range of video capture, presumably by shooting at 60 fps and combining two frames of varying exposure per final frame of video. Ideally such HDR capture would also be displayed in a native HDR format (HDR10, HLG) on the HDR displays of the XS and XS Max, as this would help extend perceived contrast of wide dynamic range footage. However, we see no indication that Apple is doing so at this time. Thanks to the larger sensor in the main camera and increased processing power, low light performance has been improved as well, with lower noise levels and brighter exposures in very low light. In addition all cameras come with an all-new video stabilization system.

Posted: September 16, 2018, 1:00 pm

Blackmagic Design has announced the public beta of its new Blackmagic RAW video codec. The company says the new format combines the benefits of shooting Raw video with the ease of use and smaller file sizes usually associated with compressed, gamma-encoded video files.

Raw video typically produces very large files and requires lots of processing power to edit when compared to compressed formats. Blackmagic says it has addressed this problem by moving part of the de-mosaic process into the camera, which is able to provide hardware-based acceleration. By performing this process in-camera, editing software like DaVinci Resolve won't need to work nearly as hard to decode the files.

Blackmagic RAW supports two types of compression: constant quality or constant bit rate, allowing users to prioritize image quality or file size based on what they're shooting. Images are encoded using a non-linear 12-bit space designed to provide both high quality color data and dynamic range. According to Blackmagic, its new Raw format will also provide more accurate skin tones and color thanks to its Generation 4 Color Science. (All of this processing does make us wonder whether these Raw files are completely comparable to the Raw files we're used to in the still imaging world.)

The Blackmagic RAW public beta can be downloaded immediately for use on the URSA Mini Pro camera.

The company says the new Raw format will also simplify media management by creating single files rather than directories of still images, as is the case with CinemaDNG. When files are edited in software like DaVinci Resolve a sidecar file will be created, similar to a Raw photo in Adobe Camera Raw.

Speaking of DaVinci Resolve, Blackmagic has just released version 15.1, which includes full support for Blackmagic RAW. For users of Blackmagic cameras, this means it will be possible to shoot, edit, and color grade using the same files through the entire workflow.

Blackmagic has released DaVinci Resolve 15.1, which fully supports its new Blackmagic RAW codec, and is available for download immediately.

For users of other software platforms, Blackmagic has announced a Blackmagic RAW Developer SDK that will allow third party developers to add support for the new format in other applications.

Users can download the public beta of Blackmagic RAW for use with the URSA Mini Pro through the Blackmagic Camera 6.0 Beta update, with the final version shipping in several weeks once testing is complete. DaVinci Resolve 15.1 is available for download immediately from the Blackmagic website. If you happen to be attending IBC 2018 in Amsterdam, you can stop by the Blackmagic booth for a demonstration.

Press release:

Blackmagic Design Announces Advanced New Blackmagic RAW Codec

Revolutionary new and modern codec that’s easier to use and much better quality than popular video formats, but with all the benefits of RAW.

IBC 2018, Amsterdam, Netherlands - September 14, 2018 - Blackmagic Design today announced the public beta of Blackmagic RAW, a new and very modern codec that combines the quality and benefits of RAW with the ease of use, speed and file sizes of traditional video formats. Blackmagic RAW is a more intelligent format that gives customers stunning images, incredible performance, cross platform support and a free developer SDK.

The Blackmagic RAW public beta will be demonstrated on the Blackmagic Design IBC 2018 booth at #7.B45. Customers can download the public beta for use with URSA Mini Pro cameras via the Blackmagic Camera 6.0 Beta Update. In addition, DaVinci Resolve 15.1 Update, which includes support for Blackmagic RAW, is also available free of charge from the Blackmagic Design website.

Blackmagic RAW has been in development for years and is a next generation codec that features multiple new technologies such as an advanced de‑mosaic algorithm, extensive metadata support, highly optimized GPU and CPU accelerated processing and more. It can be used from acquisition throughout post production for editing and color grading, all from a single file.

Traditional RAW codecs have large file sizes and are processor intensive, making them hard to work with. Video file formats are faster, but suffer quality problems due to the use of 4:2:2 video filters that reduce color resolution. Blackmagic RAW solves these problems with an intelligent design that moves part of the de-mosaic process into the camera where it can be hardware accelerated by the camera itself. This results in incredibly efficient encoding that gives customers the same quality, bit depth, dynamic range and controls as RAW, but with much better performance and smaller file sizes than most popular video codecs. Because the processor intensive partial de-mosaic is done by the camera hardware, software such as DaVinci Resolve doesn’t have to do as much work decoding the files. In addition, GPU and CPU acceleration make decoding of frames incredibly fast, so you get extremely smooth performance for editing and grading.

Blackmagic RAW is much more than a simple RAW container format. Its intelligent design actually understands the camera and the sensor. This means the image data, along with the unique characteristics of the image sensor, are encoded and saved into the Blackmagic RAW file, giving customers much better image quality, even at higher compression settings, as well as total control over features such as ISO, white balance, exposure, contrast, saturation and more.

In addition, Blackmagic RAW uses Blackmagic Design Generation 4 Color Science for superior imaging that results in reproducing extremely accurate skin tones and gorgeous, lifelike colors that rival those of cameras costing tens of thousands of dollars more. Images are encoded using a custom non-linear 12-bit space designed to provide the maximum amount of color data and dynamic range.

Blackmagic RAW also makes it easy for any software developer to access all this technology. The free developer SDK lets any third party software application add Blackmagic RAW support on Mac, Windows and Linux. The Blackmagic RAW developer SDK automatically handles the embedded sensor profile metadata, along with Blackmagic Design color science, for predictable and accurate image rendering that yields consistent color throughout the entire pipeline.

Blackmagic RAW features two types of file compression. Customers can choose either constant quality or constant bitrate encoding options, depending on the kind of work they are doing. This lets them prioritize image quality or file size. Constant quality uses variable bitrate encoding so complex frames are encoded at higher data rates to preserve detail and maintain the highest possible quality. Blackmagic RAW Q0 has minimum quantization and yields the highest quality, while Blackmagic RAW Q5 uses moderate quantization for more efficient encoding and a smaller file size. Blackmagic RAW 3:1, 5:1, 8:1 and 12:1 use constant bitrate encoding to give customers the best possible images with predictable and consistent file sizes. The ratios are based on the unprocessed file size of a single frame from the camera’s sensor, making it easy to understand the relative amount of compression being used.

The pristine camera native quality of Blackmagic RAW Q0 and 3:1 are perfect for effects heavy feature film and commercial work. Blackmagic RAW Q5 and 5:1 are extremely high quality making them great for episodic television and independent films. Blackmagic RAW 8:1 and 12:1 offer high quality and speed, making it suitable for productions that wouldn’t normally consider shooting RAW. Now, more customers than ever will be able to use high quality RAW images in an incredibly efficient way that was impossible before.

“Blackmagic RAW could entirely change the workflow going from camera through post production,” said Kees Van Oostrum, Director of Photography and President of the American Society of Cinematographers. “A superb image quality, fine detail and incredibly small file sizes could possibly make Blackmagic RAW the go to format for filmmakers. It will be an important change for post because the editorial team can work with the camera original files, which are fast enough to use for everyday editing. That means less confusion in regards to creative choices I make at the camera. The images can now travel throughout the entire workflow because we’re shooting, editing and grading with the same files! Blackmagic RAW could be a game changer in the way films, television shows and commercials are made.”

Blackmagic RAW dramatically simplifies and speeds up post production workflows. DaVinci Resolve 15.1, which was also released today, includes full support for Blackmagic RAW. The performance of Blackmagic RAW is much faster in DaVinci Resolve than any other RAW format. This makes editing, color correction and visual effects incredibly fast. In addition, working with single files instead of folders full of still image sequences greatly simplifies media management. When the RAW settings are changed in DaVinci Resolve, a .sidecar file can be generated or updated if one already exists. When opened in other software applications that support Blackmagic RAW, the .sidecar file, which contains the RAW settings made in DaVinci Resolve, will be automatically used to display the image. If the .sidecar file is removed then the file will be displayed using the embedded metadata instead. This innovative new workflow gives customers a non-destructive way to change RAW settings while working between different applications.

Featuring a fully scalable design and completely modern CPU and GPU acceleration, Blackmagic RAW is optimized for AVX, AVX2 and SSE4.1 enabled processors, multi-threaded, works across multiple CPU cores and is GPU accelerated with support for Apple Metal, CUDA and OpenCL. Frame decoding and image processing is extremely fast, making it super smooth for editing, color correction and visual effects in DaVinci Resolve. Another benefit of media being stored as single files, and not image sequences, is it makes media management easier and file copying much faster.

The free Blackmagic RAW Developer SDK is available on Mac OS, Windows and Linux. This SDK takes care of all the work for developers, so adding support for Blackmagic RAW to third party software applications is easy and fast. Developers get access to GPU and CPU accelerated algorithms for decoding files, along with unique information about the camera’s image sensor so their applications can accurately decode and display the files. The SDK features highly descriptive and flexible metadata options designed to support today’s modern workflows. Metadata is embedded directly in the .braw file or it can be stored in a .sidecar file. Metadata is important because it contains the RAW settings along with information for the slate, iris, focus, focal length, white balance and a lot more. The metadata in .sidecar files can be used on top of the embedded metadata without overwriting it. Blackmagic RAW also supports frame based metadata so customers can access values, such as focus distance, that often change on a frame by frame basis.

“Blackmagic RAW is the world’s only truly modern, high performance, professional RAW codec that is open, cross platform and free,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “It’s exciting because customers can get the visually lossless image quality of RAW with the speed of traditional video workflows. Best of all, there are no hidden licenses or ongoing fees. Blackmagic RAW has been designed to provide the industry with an open, elegant and standardized high quality image format that can be used across products and in customer workflows absolutely free!”

Availability and Price

Blackmagic RAW is available today as a public beta via the Blackmagic Camera 6.0 Beta Update for URSA Mini Pro. The final release of Blackmagic RAW is expected to ship in several weeks’ time once further testing is complete.

The DaVinci Resolve 15.1 Update, which features support for Blackmagic RAW, has also been released and can be downloaded today free of charge from the Blackmagic Design website.

Posted: September 15, 2018, 12:00 pm

Affinity Photo for iPad has put out a new update that further improves the Photoshop competitor with new features, updated tools and bug fixes.

Serif, the company behind the Affinity suite, also noted there's now more than a quarter of a million people worldwide using Affinity Photo for iPad, following on the heels of Apple's App of the Year accolade it received at WWDC in May 2018.

Affinity Photo version 1.6.9 introduces a long list of changes including 'massively' expanded support for touch gesture control, a tweaked UI designed for more intuitive control and better brush management, a new Export persona for easy exporting of multiple layers and a slew of under-the-hood changes to boost performance.

Below is the full list of features and tools that have been updated in Affinity Photo for iPad:

  • Added support for brush nozzle base texture mode.
  • New Undo/Redo gesture with two and three finger tap.
  • Added drag modifiers to studio icons for color, text, navigator and history.
  • Added canvas rotation control via Navigator Studio.
  • Added swipe gesture to swap primary and secondary colors on the Color Studio
  • Context menu now uses a long-press release gesture to invoke.
  • Added two-finger hold gesture to resize a layer from its centre.
  • During shape creation, a two-finger hold gesture will transform the layer.
  • On the Layers Studio, with a layer selected, a two-finger tap on another layer will select all layers in between.
  • On the Layers Studio, pinch inwards (either vertically or horizontally) to group selected layers. To ungroup, do the opposite and pinch out.
  • With the Move Tool active, a two-finger hold gesture on a layer plus a one finger drag duplicates the selected layer.
  • Easy access to merge and rasterize commands via Layer Studio icons.
  • New Export persona. A new workspace for exporting regions of your image as slices.
  • Improved brush stroke lag and small stroke response.
  • Brushes remember previously used stroke settings.
  • Move any custom brush to any category.
  • Added support for on-screen keyboard trackpad mode.
  • Added Tab key to on-screen keyboard context bar.
  • Updated Persona icons.
  • Numerous other improvements and bug fixes.

To entice new users, Serif has announced a 30% off sale through 7AM ET on Tuesday, September 18th. Normally, Affinity Photo for iPad retails for $20, but with this discount, you can snag it for $14 in the iOS App Store.

Do note Affinity Photo for iPad only supports iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad (early 2017). If you have an older device, it won't run — so don't waste your money.

Posted: September 15, 2018, 11:00 am

The Atomos Ninja V external video recorder and monitor will be ready to ship at the end of this month. Announced in April this year, the 5.2in Ninja V is designed to provide a smaller option for those using more compact video cameras while still offering many of the features of the larger 7-inch models.

The recorder can handle 4K 60p footage in 10-bit 4:2:2 over HDMI from the collection of recent cameras capable of producing it – such as the new Nikon Z7/Z6 and Canon EOS R mirrorless bodies as well as Fujifilm’s X-T3 and the existing Panasonic Lumix GH5 and GH5s.

The recorder now comes with options for expansion modules to extend its feature-set. These modules are called AtomX, and the first will be the AtomX Ethernet/NDI that allows the cameras to stream broadcast quality footage and to network with multi-camera set-ups and for the Ninja V to receive NDI data from a range of sources.

The AtomX modules will cost ‘less than $199’, while the Ninja V itself costs $695

A second module, the Atomx Sync wirelessly handles and generates timecode to synchronise recordings from multiple devices. The AtomX modules will cost ‘less than $199’, while the Ninja V itself costs $695. For more information see the Atomos website.

Press release:

Atomos Ninja V ready to ship, innovative new AtomX Sync and AtomX Ethernet/NDI modules announced

Atomos is delighted to announce that the highly anticipated Ninja V 4k HDR monitor/recorder is in mass production and on schedule to reach stores before the end of the month – fulfilling our commitment to deliver in Q3. The all new 5" 4kp60 HDR monitor recorder has unrivalled features in a sleek, compact and extremely light form factor that is perfect for mirrorless cameras, DSLRs and gaming consoles.

The 10-bit mirrorless revolution
The timing of shipment coincides with the launch of several new mirrorless cameras with 4k 10-bit HDMI output and Log gammas that partner perfectly with the Ninja V. The new Canon EOS R, Nikon Z6 and Z7 and Fujifilm X-T3 now join the Panasonic GH5 and GH5S in taking full advantage of the Ninja V 4k 10-bit 422 recording to Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHR. The results from the Ninja V and these cameras are extraordinary, with billions of shades of color for smooth gradients and better grading in all NLEs.

New AtomX modules under $199 – the most flexible ecosystem in Pro Video
Modularity is at the heart of the Ninja V with a bi-directional high-speed expansion port breaking out connectivity for I/O of video, audio and power. Atomos created AtomX to ensure users could adapt and connect to any legacy or future wireless or wired video standard. The expansion system offers endless scalability and is demonstrated by the first of many modules - the AtomX Ethernet/NDI® $199 and the AtomX Sync $149 announced today. These dock into the AtomX port and instantly add important features like NDI® over ethernet and Wireless Sync and Bluetooth control to the Ninja V.

Atomos are proud to expand their close partner program with Newtek for the NDI® module and Timecode Systems for Wireless and Bluetooth sync module.

The AtomX Ethernet/NDI module has a wired ethernet (1 GigE) connector that makes it possible to deliver live broadcast-grade video over IP networks. Newtek’s NDI technology harnesses this - allowing for simple installation and control of multi-camera networks, replacing traditional SDI cabling. The AtomX Ethernet/NDI module has NDI input and output with encode, decode, control and sync, allowing Ninja V users to transmit, distribute or receive and monitor NDI from any NDI source. Simply power on the Ninja V with AtomX Ethernet/NDI module installed, plug in your network cable, and your source will be automatically discovered on the NDI network ready for production.

The AtomX Sync module brings professional wireless timecode, genlock and Bluetooth control to Ninja V, perfect for enhancing DSLRs, mirrorless cameras or game recordings. You can sync and/or control literally thousands of Ninja V units equipped with AtomX Sync modules on the same network at ranges of up to 300m. Multi-cam shoots have never been so easy. AtomX modules bring broadcast level standards to any HDMI camera or source, making it easy to integrate large sensor consumer cameras easily into traditional live productions. AtomX Sync has a built-in battery extender that allows for continuous power when swapping batteries, ensuring uninterrupted operation of the Ninja V during a shoot.

Class leading technology partnerships
The beauty of licensing technology from Newtek and Timecode Systems is that all their products are fully compatible with the relevant AtomX modules – so large and small productions currently using NDI’s or Timecode Systems’ class leading products can effortlessly integrate Atomos devices. The simplest application with Newtek is integration with their famous TriCaster products. For Timecode systems the most basic use case is to sync a mirrorless camera to an appropriately equipped audio device for perfect automated sync sound – a huge benefit for anyone from vloggers through to Hollywood productions.

New AtomOS 10 for easier operation
To coincide with the Ninja V release Atomos have announced a major new update to the AtomOS operating system. AtomOS 10 has been redesigned from the ground up to offer simpler operation combined with fewer distractions when monitoring your shot. Operation is quick and intuitive, with extensive use of swipe commands. Redesigned icons have an emphasis on easier HDR production enhancing the creative process. The waveform monitor and audio level meters are clearer than ever. The result is the best monitoring experience available for your DSLR of mirrorless camera bar none.

The perfect small monitor
The near edge-to-edge high bright 5 inch screen has a stunning 1000nits of output coupled with an anti-reflection finish - allowing users to clearly see their images even in daylight. Use the color-accurate display with AtomHDR to see in High Dynamic Range, or load creative LUTs at the touch of a button. Ninja V gives you all the critical monitoring tools you need in SDR - Rec709 or HDR - HLG or PQ. False color, peaking, movable 1-1 and 2-1 pixel magnification, waveform, RGB parade, vectorscope, eight channel audio level meters and more are all available in AtomOS 10.

HDR perfection every time
The AtomHDR engine ensures simple and perfect exposures when shooting HDR every time. It delivers a stunning 10+ stops of dynamic range to the LCD in real time from Log/PQ/HLG camera signals. Playout Log as PQ or HLG to a larger HDR-compatible screen. The Ninja V display can be calibrated to maintain perfect color and brightness accuracy over time.

Why external recording makes sense
Camera manufacturers are already pushing their designs to the limits of computing, heat and power consumption, especially with the new, larger sensors. Despite these efforts, all DSLR and mirrorless cameras on the market are limited in what they can record internally.

This necessitates compromises - limiting the bit depth, codecs used and the data rates used for internal recording. Recognizing that users want better quality and maximum flexibility the camera makers work with Atomos to optimize external recording at higher bit depth and higher bitrates, offering HDR and Post Production quality earlier.

By moving recording to the Ninja V, DSLR and mirrorless cameras are freed of many of their key video limitations. Record time limits are lifted and easy-to-edit Apple ProRes or Avid DNx codecs recorded, instead of hard to edit H.264 or H.265.

Affordable, reliable AtomX Media.
When recording video with the Ninja V you can shoot to the new generation of Atomos AtomX SSDmini drives, as well as existing MasterCaddy 2 compatible media. These are developed with leading brands and offer high speed and high reliability in a compact metal chassis. Guard your video by recording to proven, economical SATA SSD media.

Atomos CEO Jeromy Young said, “The Ninja V is the best monitor/recorder we’ve ever made and I’m delighted to ship it to our loyal customers on time. The new AtomX modules bring amazing flexibility to the Ninja V, allowing us to seamlessly integrate new technologies faster than ever. This is made possible only by working closely with partners like Newtek and Timecode Systems. I’m looking forward to bringing cutting edge innovation through AtomX into the future.”

Come and see Ninja V and AtomX modules, plus all the other Atomos products on booth (11.D15 & 11.D25) at IBC2018.

Ninja V: http://www.atomos.com/ninjav
AtomX: http://www.atomos.com/AtomX

Posted: September 14, 2018, 4:25 pm

Despite not being tremendously exciting, I believe Canon's EOS R shows a more adventurous attitude, at least by Canon's standards, than we're used to seeing. Having shot with the camera, spoken to Canon and read the tea leaves, here's what I think the EOS R tells us about Canon and the RF's mount's future.

The RF mount

Interestingly, both Canon and Nikon have settled on a similar solution: a short, wide lens mount and have both said it gives them greater design freedom when it comes to making lenses. Canon gave a little more detail about the ways in which it does so.

Both Canon and Nikon have settled on a similar solution: a short and wide lens mount

The shorter flange-back distance allows Canon to mount a large rear lens element much closer to the sensor, and the wide diameter means they can create lenses that don't need to squeeze light through a narrow tunnel. Designing lenses that don't have to make such dramatic adjustments to the course of the light passing through the lens allows lenses with fewer optical aberrations. It also gives the option to use fewer elements, which can make some lenses lighter.

I said I thought it was an uncharacteristically bold move by Nikon to step away from the F-mount and I think you could say the same for Canon. If someone were trying to be really cynical, they might suggest Canon and Nikon are making such a noise about the use of wide and short designs just so they can imply a design limitation in Sony's narrower E mount. But having shot the 28-70mm F2 wide-open a little over the last few days, I'm more likely to believe there's some benefit to what Nikon and Canon say they're doing.

But perhaps that's where the comparisons with the Nikon should end.

The quiet radical

While Nikon tried to mimic its DSLR's behavior as closely as possible, but primarily using its live-view AF modes, Canon seems to have taken a more open-minded approach. The general perception we see from our readers (and it's one we have some sympathy for), is that Canon is a cautious company with a dominant market position that discourages the kinds of unexpected innovation we see from the likes of Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony.

The EOS R has a number of interesting features, including the habit of stopping down its lens on shutdown. This lets the company close the mechanical shutter to reduce dust ingress, since it minimizes the risk of sunlight condensed by the lens warping the shutter blades.

But that's not true of the EOS R. For years we'e been calling on manufacturers to try to work from a blank sheet of paper, rather than just doing what's always been done. And the more we've used the EOS R, the more it feels like Canon has at least tried to do that. Not to the extent of throwing everything away, but at least using this new system as an opportunity to think about which existing elements they want to maintain and where there's room for something new. So not quite a blank sheet, but at least stopping to consider existing assumptions.

It looks to me like a genuine attempt to create the best of both worlds

More so than the Nikon Z cameras, Canon has taken some elements of its live view AF system: Face + AF Tracking mode, for instance, but then blended this with the way AF points work on its DSLRs. It looks to me like a genuine attempt to create the best of both worlds, rather than being completely constrained by trying to deliver what they think their existing customers will expect.

The EOS R takes the Face + Tracking mode from its live view system but adds the custom option from its DSLRs that lets you choose whether to specify the starting subject or let the camera choose.

There is a lot of continuity, though. For instance in continuous autofocus mode, Face + AF Tracking works, by default, analogously to Canon's 61-point auto system: automatically picking a subject and following it. And, like on those DSLRs, there's a menu option to change this behavior so that you specify the starting point and subject for the camera to track. It's an interesting blend of the live view AF mode with DSLR behavior that I think says a lot about the approach Canon has taken.

The EOS R feels like a 'version 1' product

Of course the down-side of starting afresh (relatively), is that you introduce new problems and bugs that you'd ironed-out of your existing interface. There are certainly aspects that make the EOS R feels like a 'version 1' product: something we don't usually expect from Canon.

Innovative touches (for better or worse)

The EOS R also shows some innovative touches in its design, some more visible than others.

The M-Fn Bar along the back of the camera can be customized to act as two buttons and a 'swipeable' control pad. None of us have been very impressed, so far.

The funky 'M-Fn Bar' control strip along the back of the camera, for instance. To me it feels a touch gimmicky. I've yet to find anything I really want to assign to it, find it easy to inadvertently operate and have experienced the occasional glitch when I do intentionally use it (another very un-Canon-like experience).

The M-Fn Bar will need to evolve into something useful or will die-out.

It's a fun idea and a very prominent display of original thinking, but it feels to me like the 'Touchbar' that Apple has added to its recent laptops: a device looking for a purpose and one that I think will need to evolve into something useful or will die-out in a couple of generations. Worse still, it occupies a prime location on the back of the camera and, while you can configure it to essentially just act as two buttons, there's only a limited choice over what those two buttons do.

We were all quite impressed with the clicking control dial on all the RF lenses. We were even more impressed that Canon has made an adapter ring that means you retain the capability when working with EF lenses.

An idea I suspect will persist is the additional, clicking control ring on the RF lenses (whose function, cleverly, is duplicated on one of the EF-to-RF adapters Canon offers). It's a cute move - one first tried by Samsung - that lets you quickly access another camera parameter without the body being overrun by dials. We're also told Canon service centers will (for a fee), 'de-click' the dials on your lenses if you need smooth or silent operation for video work.

The illusion of customization

But there are also signs of Canon still being, well, Canon. A criticism we've leveled at Canon over the years is that, even when it does offer customization, it's often very restrictive in how much change it lets you make. Sadly, while the EOS R initially appears to take some steps in the right direction: a large number of buttons are customizable and have an extensive set of custom options available (between 25 and 45, depending on the button), the reality is different. In many instances they're not necessarily the custom options you might want, and you'll still have to learn which features can be placed on which buttons before you can find your preferred setup. Or, at least, the closest to it that Canon allows.

You still can't always do everything you might want: despite lots of options about which dial controls what setting. There's relatively little choice over which dial controls Exposure Compensation, for instance. And there's no easy way to gain access to the Auto ISO threshold setting, without digging into the main menu. There's also little access to drive mode or metering mode, meaning the EOS R is a camera that demands you use the Q.Menu, rather than letting you put everything at your fingertips.

In perhaps the most un-Canon-like move imaginable, it's said it will improve these cameras via firmware updates.

However, in perhaps the most un-Canon-like move imaginable, the company has also said it will implement a new policy of improving these cameras via firmware updates. Fingers crossed.

RF > EOS R

What perhaps makes all of the positives harder to see is that the first camera, the EOS R, isn't very exciting. The pre-launch rumors and use of the 5D IV's sensor led a lot of people to expect an EOS 5D IV level camera, which it most certainly isn't. But even as something more comparable to a 6D Mark II it's still a little underwhelming.

The pictures it takes are great, which shouldn't come as a surprise for a camera with the 5D IV's sensor. The dynamic range isn't class-leading but it's much closer to being competitive than Canon had previously been. It also feels superb when you first pick it up: solid, comfortable and with well-positioned controls, at least for the most part.

After admiring the hand-feel of the camera, the second thing you'll notice is the apparent lack of means of controlling the AF point. The touchpad mode, disabled by default, is the only sensible way to operate the EOS R.

The rest of package is a little less impressive. Heavily cropped 4K video with visible rolling shutter isn't the level of performance most other brands are offering (though the inclusion of Canon-Log and 10-bit output suggest the company wants to do video properly in these cameras). Separate exposure settings for video (which was part of what sounds like an anxiously-made decision to dispense with the conventional mode dial), and separate button custom settings for video are big steps forward.

The EOS R's burst rate (with AF at least) is also poor by contemporary standards, again suggesting a sensor or processor bottleneck.

The bigger picture

But while we're not especially blown-away by the EOS R, I think we're all quite impressed by the system it hints at. It should be pretty obvious that Canon didn't develop a $3000 28-70mm F2 zoom or $2300 50mm F1.2 to be mounted on a $2300 mid-range full frame body. Nor does it seem likely that its engineers works away to produce a 24-105mm F4 with silent autofocus, 1/8th EV aperture control and extremely well controlled focus breathing for a camera whose 4K capture gives it a 40mm equivalent wide-angle field of view.

Canon didn't develop a $3000 28-70mm F2 zoom to be mounted on a mid-range body.

Beyond the system, I also think that the EOS R shows Canon being more flexible and innovative than we're used to seeing, whether it's in the apparent approach to the UI development, the creation of the M-Fn Bar or its stated willingness to improve the camera via firmware updates. Just as I said of Nikon, I hope Canon will retain this more adaptable approach as the system continues to develop.

If you're a Canon DSLR shooter, it's probably not yet time to begin the migration across to the RF system, but the work the company has already done and its apparent approach make us believe it'll look increasingly compelling in the coming years. If that's enough to stop you thinking about jumping-ship (with your existing lenses) to Sony, then I suspect Canon's done what they were trying to achieve. It'll be interesting to see what the RF series leads to.

Posted: September 14, 2018, 1:00 pm

After last week's teaser, lighting manufacturer Profoto has announced its new 'small big' product. The B10 is designed to be used as studio flash head but in a very small body, and has a powerful continuous light source for videographers as well. The 250Ws unit is fully wireless with a removable lithium ion battery and output control via the company’s AirTTL system.


The B10 can also be controlled via the Profoto smartphone app that allows users to adjust flash power as well as the continuous light’s brightness and color temperature. A new Creative Capture feature that lets users preview a scene through the smaertphone’s camera and adjust lights at the same time to achieve the desired effect. The picture can then be captured through the app so the results can be inspected to check exposure and light positioning. The app also offers users the means to download and update firmware as it becomes available.

The lithium ion battery that powers the B10 can be charged while in use, and will provide up to 75 minutes of full power continuous lighting

The continuous LED light has a maximum output of 2500 lm and can be dimmed between 10 and a 100%, with temperature changed between 3000-6500K. The lithium ion battery that powers the B10 can be charged while in use in the head, and will provide up to 75 minutes of full power continuous lighting or 400 full power flashes. It is said to charge in less than an hour and a half.

The B10 measures 11cm / 4.3in wide, is 17.5 / 6.9in long and 10cm / 3.9in high – and it weighs 1.5 kg / 3.3 lbs including the battery. The stand clamp can be removed to fit the light on a tripod, and there are 12 OCF small light modifiers to fit the head, as well as 120 from the full-size range.

The Profoto B10 is shipping now and costs £1175 / $1595. For more information see the Profoto website.

Press release

The power of small

Profoto B10

Size matters, it does. Because how much gear you have to carry matters. How much space you have to set up and work in matters. Being able to move fast, getting in, getting out and nailing the shot matters.

Something else matters too; knowing that the equipment you have will push you forward rather than hold you back - that you'll be inspired to grow and to express yourself creatively. To be you, at your best.

That's why when Profoto set out to create the Profoto B10, their brand new cordless off-camera flash, the company first considered size. Or rather, a lack of it. “We designed the B10 to be small,” said Göran Maren, Product Manager at Profoto. “Just a little bigger than a medium-sized zoom lens. That means you can fit it in your bag with the rest of your gear and because it’s cordless and lightweight, it’s easy to bring and set up anywhere. That said, this is in every way a Profoto light, so the power and quality of light is essential.”

And while the B10 is small, it’s small without compromise. The B10 gives you five times more light than a speedlight; it’s a light that has a natural and beautiful soft fall off.

But this is more than just a flash; it’s also a highly effective continuous light that you can use for both stills and video. And like all Profoto lights, it’s easy to use. A separate dial on the sleek B10 interface allows you to adjust both brightness and color temperature until it blends perfectly with the ambient light.

The continuous light is just one example of the extreme flexibility contained within the B10. The stand mount and the battery are prime examples. The stand mount can be swiftly removed. As a result, you can mount the B10 on any camera tripod. It is just as quick to replace the battery too, and you can charge it while you’re using it.

Göran Marén continues: “every part of the B10 has been designed to help the photographer to be more creative with light on location. We felt that the more flexibility we built in, the more an image creator can adapt to any issues or opportunities that a location might offer.”

Better still, the possibilities don’t end there since your creativity can run riot with an enormous range of Profoto light shaping tools that are as flexible as the B10. There are a dozen light shapers in Profoto’s compact and lightweight OCF series to start with, and if they’re not enough, there are 120 more light shaping tools in the full Profoto range.

Controlling the B10 off-camera is also easy. You can trigger and control the B10 wirelessly from any Profoto AirTTL remote or the Profoto A1. From up to 300metres/1000ft you can point and shoot with TTL or switch to manual control at any time. AirTTL Remotes are available for all major camera brands.

To further capture the imagination, Profoto has added smart connectivity in the form of a unique and innovative smartphone app. With the B10 connected to the Profoto app you always have the latest B10 updates available at your fingertips. The app also gives you an ingenious remote control that lets you view and control all B10 settings from your smartphone screen.

But the most exciting part of the app might be the unique smartphone camera that brings smartphone photography and the creative use of light closer together than ever before. Göran adds: “we wanted to inspire new ways of being creative with light, and to give photographers a glimpse into the future of photography.” Ultimately the B10 is a big light in a small package. And that means the possibilities are enormous.

The final words belong to Göran. “It’s what we like to call, ‘the power of small.’ It’s the power to be creative with light in so many more ways. It's the ability to take all those incredible images that live in your imagination – and make them real.”

The Profoto B10 is light unleashed. Actually, it’s more than that – it’s you unleashed.

Posted: September 14, 2018, 12:00 pm

Konseen has launched Photo Studio, a new light box tent large enough to photograph people, in addition to smaller objects like clothing and jewelry. Photo Studio is offered in two sizes, one measuring 47 x 39 x 78in / 119 x 99 x 198cm with enough room for adults, the other 47 x 32 x 63in / 120 x 80 x 160cm, which is large enough for children. Both models include LED lights, a silver reflector, and multiple backgrounds.

Features include three soft cloth backgrounds, as well as three PVC backgrounds

The Konseen Photo Studio features a pipe-based frame with a tent cloth that zips over the structure. Users assemble the tent, which includes the option of attaching light panels to any of the frame pipes. The smaller Photo Studio model includes six light boards, each with 96 LEDs; the larger model includes 8 light boards, each also featuring 96 LEDs.

Each light board includes its own dimmable AC adapter. Other features include three soft cloth backgrounds, as well as three PVC backgrounds in white, black, and blue colors. The light color temperature is 5500K and each board has a dimming range from 1- to 100-percent.

The Photo Studio is priced at $280 USD (small model) and $340 USD (large model).

Via: PetaPixel

Posted: September 14, 2018, 11:00 am

Seagate has introduced new hard drives for Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices: the 14TB IronWolf and 14TB IronWolf Pro HDDs. The new models offer users access to high-performance hardware alongside management and recovery tools, making it possible to upload and download large amounts of data remotely without stressing about drive failures.

Both the 14TB IronWolf and IronWolf Pro models feature Seagate's AgileArray technology, which optimizes the HDDs for multi-drive storage systems. Both models also offer up to 256MB cache, but the IronWolf Pro has a longer mean time between failures (MTBF) of 1.2 million hours versus the IronWolf's 1 million hours.

As well, the 14TB IronWolf comes with a 3-year warranty, whereas the IronWolf Pro has a 5-year warranty. The regular IronWolf model is targeted at small businesses and home use with a 180TB/year workload rating, while the IronWolf Pro is intended for creative professionals, among others, with a 300TB/year workload rating.

The Pro model includes data rescue services, which are an optional addition for the IronWolf model

Both the 14TB IronWolf and IronWolf Pro feature rotational vibration sensors, but differ in support for multi-drive configurations: the IronWolf can be used in devices with up to 8 bays and the IronWolf Pro can be used in devices with up to 24 bays. The Pro model includes data rescue services, which are an optional addition for the IronWolf model.

Seagate's IronWolf product page doesn't currently include the 14TB model in its retailer availability search, but Tom's Hardware reports that the 14TB IronWolf costs $530 USD and the 14TB IronWolf Pro costs $600 USD.

Via: Seagate

Posted: September 13, 2018, 6:35 pm

Smartphone accessory lens maker Moment has started shipping its new Battery Photo Case for the iPhone X and the new iPhone XS, just in time for the launch of Apple's new iPhone models.

The case was first announced earlier this year as a Kickstarter campaign and comes with a range of features aimed at iPhone photographers. There is a two-stage shutter button that locks focus on half-press and the case is of course compatible with the Moment lens lineup which comprises of telephoto, wide, super fish and macro lenses, as well as a soon-to-be-released Anamorphic lens.

The battery portion of the case is compatible with the Qi wireless charging standard and offers a 3,100mAh capacity for charging your device on the go. An integrated lightning port and a wrist/neck strap attachment point are on board as well.

The case is available now for $99 on the Moment website. Updated versions for the brand new iPhones XS Max and XR are expected in November.

Posted: September 13, 2018, 5:00 pm

Manfrotto has added a new two-in-one tripod to its Befree Live lineup — a tripod it calls 'the most versatile model in the Befree range.'

Appropriately named the Manfrotto Befree 2N1, the contraption is both a tripod and monopod. 'The Befree 2N1 is made to enable quick and easy switching from a tripod to a monopod,' says Manfrotto. 'After a half-turn anticlockwise, a red rubber ring will appear on the tripod leg, providing the user with visual feedback that the tube can be safely removed for use as a monopod.'

The Befree 2N1 comes in two versions: one with Manfrotto's Quick Power Lock lever setup and one with its M-Lock twist setup. Both versions, which use Manfrotto's 494 Ball Head with 200PL PRO Plate for mounting the camera to, hold up to 8.07kg/17.8lbs and fold down to 40.64cm/16in long. The legs extend using four dedicated sections and extends just shy of 152cm/60in for both models.

There's also a kit version of the lever-lock Befree 2N1 that comes with Manfrotto's fluid head and a dedicated case. This system is oriented more towards videography content capture.

Both versions of the Manfrotto Befree 2N1 tripods will retail for $220, while the video-centric kit version will retail for $240. You can pre-order all three models on B&H now. They're set to ship later September 2018.

Posted: September 13, 2018, 4:00 pm

Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L
$149.95 | PeakDesign.com

Peak Design's Everyday Sling 10L.

It seems almost impossible to talk about camera carrying options without mentioning Peak Design. I use the brand's Everyday Backpack to carry all my gear when shooting events like multi-day music festivals. But when carrying everything isn't necessary, the Peak Design 10L Sling has become one of my favorite bags.

It combines the sensibilities of traditional camera shoulder bag with the stylish and sleek design elements that Peak Design has become known for. The 10L comes in at $149.95 and is available in three color options including Ash, Charcoal and Black (we reviewed Black). There's also a $99.95 5L option which I'll come back to later.

Specifications

  • Interior volume: 10L
  • Exterior dimensions: 16 x 9 x 5.5in / 40 x 23 x 14cm
  • Tablet/laptop sleeve size: 12.5 x 8.65 x 0.75in / 32 x 22 x 2cm
  • Weight: 1.5lbs / 680g

Compared to other bags

It's worth noting that the price tag - as with other Peak Design products - is on the high side. Ruggard, for instance, sells a similarly-sized bag for about $55. In fact, before I got the sling, I was using an older model of this Ruggard bag and it served me extremely well for several years with few issues. That being said, comparatively, Peak Design's bag offers a much more rugged construction and MUCH more weather resistance. It also looks a lot nicer in my opinion.

Compared to the similarly-priced MindShift Exposure bags, Peak Design's sling looks distinctly less like a camera pack and more just like a cool bag. Options like ThinkTank's Retrospective series feel a bit flimsier and less protective than the Peak Design Sling, while their style-focused Signature series cost quite a bit more for the same size. And both of those options weigh nearly twice as much as the Peak Design.

Design and construction

A look inside the Peak Design Sling.

Like every Peak Design product, this bag feels very sturdy. The weatherproof 400D nylon canvas exterior is protective and easy to clean. The two outer zippers have weather sealing and all the exterior hardware is made of anodized aluminum offering strength while maintaining a light weight. The interior 'poly-spun mixed twill' material is soft to the touch. And the high density EVA foam Flex-Fold dividers we've come to know and love continue to feel protective and secure, while offering versatility.

These Flex-Fold dividers are similar to those included in other Peak Design packs. The bag ships with 2 dividers which open up like origami, allowing for multilevel storage.

In use

When it comes to usability Peak Design has made their reputation around listening to the needs of those photographers buying and using their gear. This bag exemplifies the company's approach. It can fit many varieties of camera and lens combinations comfortably and ultimately that's what you're buying here: a sling that you can mold and adapt to whatever system makes sense for you.

It can fit many varieties of camera and lens combinations comfortably... and can mold and adapt to whatever system makes sense for you

For me, I usually carry a full-frame DSLR body with 2-3 lenses. I can pack the Everyday Sling 10L with a Nikon D750, 28-70mm zoom, 35mm F2 prime and 50mm F1.4 prime and still have some room left over for additional pieces. The Peak Design website shows the bag with a full-frame body and 70-200mm zoom, but in my experience a lens that large on a body doesn't fit very well.

The bag also includes two anchor points for Peak Design's Capture Clip system, though that system makes a lot more sense attached to the shoulder strap of a backpack than it does on the side of a sling.

Here's a look at one of my setups (Clockwise from top left): 20mm prime lens, Nikon D750 w/ 28-70 2.8 attached, Nikkormat FTN with 24mm Prime, memory card case, Moleskine notebook.

Accessory-space-wise, you've got an interior zipper pocket on the inside of the "lid" that can fit cards, hard drives, filters or spare batteries. While this pocket is spacious, it's still limited mainly by the fact that you need to be able to zip close the lid, so you can't really pack it with a ton of stuff.

...getting the zipper around the corners of the lid flap can be a little tough/awkward

Speaking of the zipper, one of my few complaints with this bag is that getting the zipper around the corners of the lid flap can be a little tough/awkward. This might be due to the way I'm wearing the pack at my side - it also might loosen up and be easier to close over time.

For more accessory space, there is a front zipper pocket (see below). According to Peak Design's website this pocket "holds jackets, snacks, and other everyday carry." I think jackets is a bit of a stretch but I'm sure if you had the right jacket and the elbow grease you could get it in there, but you'd suddenly have a much bulkier bag. Still, this pocket is really useful to separate your non-camera oriented things such as wallets, passports, pens, chapstick, snacks, etc.

One of my favorite parts of this bag is that it can fit very snugly on my back. I'm fairly skinny but tightening the strap allows me to wear it flush against my body regardless of how much weight I have in it. That being said I can also loosen the strap quite a bit and wear it more like a messenger bag at my side.

A 'quick adjuster handle' (see below) allows you to make the transition between these two modes - it works really well but does feel a bit flimsy. It doesn't really "hard" lock the strap and though I haven't had any issues with it yet, if there was something that was going to break on this bag, I'd expect it to be this piece. For more permanent strap adjustments you simply adjust the strap tail where it meets the bag.

The 'quick adjuster handle' makes it very easy to change the length of the strap, but we worry about its longevity.

There are also two adjustable straps on the front of the bag that can be loosened too to cradle a tripod/other items or cinched to compress the outer accessory pocket. I wouldn't recommend using the straps to carry a tripod though as it really limits the comfort of the bag.

What's the bottom line

The rugged exterior of this bag is durable and weather resistant.

This bag does have two things missing that I'd love to see in future iterations. First, a quick releasing option for the lid. Most Peak Design bags offer a MagLatch for easy and fast access to your gear, a nice alternative to constant unzipping and re-zipping. Secondly, I'd love to see some kind of metal carabiner attachment options on the sides of the bag (near the Capture Clip anchor points). The main reason for this is that there isn't really a good place on this bag to carry any sort of water bottle and something as simple as a carabiner-ready loop would make solving that problem very easy.

This bag really does a great job at filling the needs of everyday shooters and travelers while maintaining style and comfort

This bag really does a great job at fulfilling the needs of everyday shooters and travelers while maintaining style and comfort. I find that when I'm going out with the intentions of shooting, this bag is my first choice. The only time I choose the Everyday Backpack instead is on days that I need to bring a wider range of options to a shoot (such as a full day wedding shoot requiring multiple lenses, flash, etc.).

If you shoot mirrorless the 5L Everyday Sling may be a good option as well though, I wouldn't recommend it as a primary shooting bag if you're using any full-frame DSLR or similar sized camera (My Hasselblad fits great in the 10L!)

What we like

  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Customizable and expandable
  • Stylish

What we don't:

  • A little pricey
  • Zippers can be tough to close
  • Quick adjuster handle a little flimsy
Posted: September 13, 2018, 1:00 pm
A screen shot of Aurora HDR 2019.

In May Skylum Software set up the 'Skylum AI' artificial intelligence lab. Now we are seeing the first product results coming out of the new lab. Today Skylum has announced the latest version of its high dynamic range editing software, Aurora HDR 2019, which comes with a new AI-powered Quantum HDR Engine.

The new HDR engine is the core element of this new update and provides AI-powered tone mapping technology that analyzes your images for optimized merging. The Quantum engine was fine-tuned by testing it against thousands of images in order to ensure natural-looking results. Skylum says the new software can be used to reduce highlight and channel clipping, loss of contrast, noise and ghosting artifacts and works with both single images and bracketed shots.

Before and after processing in Aurora HDR 2019.

Other new features include Smart Structure technology, which Skylum says can bring out detail without creating artifacts. There's also a new LUT mapping tool with instant preview for color-grading your images. Aurora 'HDR Looks' replaces what was called 'Presets'. And the company has also commissioned a number of professional photographers to develop their own Aurora HDR Looks.

Aurora HDR 2019 is available for pre-order from today and costs $89 for a new purchase and $49 for an upgrade. When released on October 4th, prices will increase to $99 and $59 respectively. More information is available on the Skylum website.

Press Release:

Aurora HDR 2019 introduces AI-powered Quantum HDR Engine

Aurora HDR 2019 has Skylum’s new AI-powered Quantum HDR Engine with new tone mapping technology to create the most realistic, immersive high dynamic range photographs possible. Pre-orders for the Aurora HDR 2019 start September 12th.

Bellevue, WA - September 12, 2018 — Skylum Software is excited to open pre-orders for the fourth major version of its award-winning HDR program Aurora HDR — the most sophisticated version since being released in 2015. New users can purchase the new version for $89 and current users of Aurora HDR may upgrade for a limited time at a special price of $49 at skylum.com/aurorahdr.

Skylum’s ultimate goal is to give photographers an easy-to-use yet powerful tool to create vivid, captivating, and incredibly dynamic images. The company is to deliver on that goal with the all-new Aurora HDR — an impressive HDR photo editing tool that blends power and intelligent technology with intuition and a seamless workflow.

With a press of the button, you get amazing images that look as natural as they did when you pressed the shutter. To achieve your own creative vision, Aurora HDR’s many powerful filters, tools, and Aurora HDR Looks are also on hand for you to utilize. It’s a capable HDR editing software designed not only for professional, experienced and beginner photographers, but also as a solution for real estate marketing.

At the core of this update is Skylum’s revolutionary Quantum HDR EngineTM, an AI-powered tone mapping technology that's been three years in the making within Skylum's AI lab. Now, when creating an HDR image using multiple bracketed shots, Quantum HDR Engine meticulously analyzes the photos and intelligently merges them. Not only does it minimize the major issues that other HDR merging tools have, but it also generates stunning results, producing images that are dynamic yet natural-looking.

Specifically, whether you’re working with bracketed shots or a single image, the Quantum HDR Engine reduces burned colors, loss of contrast, and noise, as well as mitigates unnatural lighting caused by halos and unstable deghosting. To do this, Skylum developers tested thousands of bracketed shots through a neural network and took those findings to develop the technology needed to create incredible HDR photographs. The result is an editing software with a solid performance for even the highest end architecture and real estate photography projects.

“We are incredibly excited to get Aurora HDR 2019 into the hands of photographers from around the world. The results are so accurate and natural that the final images appear as though you’re looking at the scene with your own two eyes. Simply put, it’s HDR finally done right.” — Dima Sytnyk, CTO and co-founder of Skylum.

A new HDR Smart Structure technology gives you the precise amount of details, structure, and sharpness in an image without creating excess artifacts that can make an HDR image look over-the-top. This allows Aurora HDR to produce images with the incredible details and realism favored by architecture and real estate photographers.

To deliver creative color toning, perfect black and white conversions, and digital film looks in seconds, Aurora HDR 2019 also boasts new LUT mapping integration with instant preview. Utilizing the same tools used in motion pictures, you can now stylize your images through color grading, giving your images the perfect look and toning to bring out the awe in each and every one of your photos.

To give that perfect finishing touch to an image, or to create a signature look you’re going for, the new Aurora HDR 2019 introduces Aurora HDR Looks to replace Presets as well as offer more selective aesthetic choices and more refined toning. Aurora HDR Looks can also include textures and masks, making for an almost infinite number of HDR editing possibilities.

World renowned photographers have created their signature Aurora HDR Look packs exclusively for Aurora HDR 2019, among which are Aurora HDR Looks for Real Estate by Randy Van Duinen, and signature Aurora HDR Looks from Trey Ratcliff, co-developer of Aurora HDR 2019, and Serge Ramelli.

All in all, Aurora HDR 2019 is designed to create the natural-looking HDR images without the need for a complicated workflow. Whether you're working with a single exposure or twelve bracketed shots, Aurora HDR 2019 gets it done.

Aurora HDR 2019 is available for pre-order starting September 12th. Pre-orders include bonus downloadable content and costs $89 for a new purchase and $49 for an upgrade. When released on October 4st, the price will jump to $99 new and $59 for an upgrade.

The bonus pack includes:

  • Video tutorial “Getting the Most from Aurora HDR 2019” by Trey Ratcliff
  • The Landscape Photography Handbook by David Johnston
  • Exclusive interior Aurora Looks by Richard Harrington
  • Burning Mood LUTs by Richard Harrington
  • 3-month 500px Pro membership
  • $300 OFF a multi-day Iceland Photo Tour
Posted: September 12, 2018, 8:09 pm

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