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At its Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung has officially unveiled the Galaxy S10 and S10+, both offering a rear triple-camera array, alongside a budget-oriented S10e 'essential' model with a dual camera unit. Also announced is the S10 5G, the largest of the bunch, featuring the unique ability to apply background blur and filters in real-time to video. All four devices offer a stabilized standard wide and a fixed-focus ultra-wide camera, as well as a front-facing selfie camera, while the S10e omits the optically stabilized tele-camera available in the other three. As expected, the S10 series' display is the center of attention with a hole-punch style front-facing camera embedded in the screen in favor of the much-maligned notch.

The rear triple camera array comprises a standard 12MP 'main' wide-angle, 12MP telephoto camera, and a 16MP ultra-wide unit with a 123-degree field-of-view. The F1.5/F2.4 dual aperture feature introduced in the S9 is offered on the main rear camera on all models. The S10+ offers a secondary front-facing RGB depth sensor to allow for blurred background selfies – the S10 and S10e offer a single front-facing camera.

The S10 5G also offers additional depth sensing cameras on both the front and the rear, but these are specialized low resolution (240x160) time-of-flight cameras that can sense distances of nearby objects for real-time effects like background blur. The table below summarizes all camera features for all models.

Models Location Full-frame equiv. FOV Aperture Autofocus Optical Image Stabilization
12MP 'main' camera S10, S10+, S10e, S10 5G Rear 27mm F1.5 / F2.4 Dual-Pixel Yes
12MP telephoto S10, S10+, S10 5G Rear 52mm F2.4 Phase-Detect Yes

16MP wide-angle
(fixed-focus)

S10, S10+, S10e, S10 5G Rear 12mm F2.2 No No
10MP selfie camera S10, S10+, S10e, S10 5G Front 26mm F1.9 Dual-Pixel No

8MP RGB depth-sensing camera

S10, S10+, S10e Front 22mm F2.2 Autofocus (unspecified) No
Time of Flight depth-sensing camera S10 5G Front/Rear N/A N/A N/A N/A

The S10 cameras are equipped with added intelligent features, including a Scene Optimizer capable of recognizing 30 unique scenes, as well as suggestions for optimal compositions. A new 'Bright Night' mode attempts to improve image quality in low light, presumably using long exposure image stacking techniques like Google's Night Sight or Huawei's Night Mode. New bokeh effects have been added to the traditional bokeh effect: spin, zoom and color fade. We'd hoped to see improved image-stacking techniques similar to what the Google Pixel 3 offers for improved noise performance, and super resolution - particularly for improved resolution in zoom ratios in between the 1x and 2x lenses - but there's no mention of such improvements.

The S10 cameras are capable of shooting 4K UHD video using the HDR10+ format, meaning that high contrast scenes can be displayed on HDR displays (and the phone itself) with saturated colors and punch, as opposed to the flat look of traditional HDR capture. This assumes the S10 cameras are capable of capturing high dynamic range in video, which would require multi-exposure read-out like the iPhone XS - something we haven't yet verified. The front-facing cameras can also record at UHD resolution. The time-of-flight depth sensors on both the front and rear of the S10 5G allow it to apply background blur in real time to your videos - the first time we've seen this ability in a consumer device.

Display sizes vary across the series: the S10e offers a 5.8" screen, the S10's measures 6.1" and the S10+ offers a 6.4" display. Each is an AMOLED display supporting HDR10+ video playback (Samsung's version of Dolby Vision), and uses dynamic tone mapping to optimize brightness levels on the fly based on your viewing environment (a clever way of ensuring images appear similar in both dim and bright viewing environments, as we explain here).

Samsung has improved what was already a very color accurate display – these phones cover the full DCI-P3 color gamut, and offer up to a whopping 1200 nits peak brightness. A measured 2 million:1 contrast ratio means incredibly deep blacks, important for HDR viewing. Unfortunately, like all Android phones to date, most (if not all) applications don't 'opt-in' to the wide-gamut mode with proper color management, so images may appear over-saturated relative to color managed devices or what most web viewers would experience.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 will start at $900; the S10+ at $1000 and the S10e at $750. The S10 5G is likely to be priced above $1000.

Posted: February 20, 2019, 8:35 pm

Non-destructive macOS photo editor Picktorial has been updated to version 4.0, which is free for customers who purchased version 3.50. Picktorial 4 brings new workflow and digital asset management (DAM) features, including its own index — a move to shed its reliance on macOS Spotlight — as well as an updated search function with advanced search fields that aren't supported by Spotlight.

With the new search capabilities, Picktorial 4 users can find content globally or within specific folders using filters like capture date, rating, IPTC metadata, tags, and more. The software's DAM also received a number of other changes, including jpeg+raw image stack support, a new image browser with two layout options, batch exporting and editing, support for albums, smart albums, and quick albums, plus the option to sort images in the browser based on rating, name, capture date, and more.

Joining the DAM changes are new workflow features, including automatic adaption to Apple's color scheme for a uniform appearance, a new viewer that displays an image's focus point, support for dual-layer jpegs that save all editing info within the image file, automatic NAS and connected external drive syncing for seamless remote access to projects, and support for high-resolution images up to 100MP.

Picktorial 4 is free for existing version 3.5 customers, but some features, including unlimited adjustment layers and batch editing, are only available to Picktorial Premium customers. The plan is offered for $9.99/month or $4.99/month for an annual subscription. Customers also have a $69.99 perpetual license option that includes a year of free maintenance updates. Existing customers have the option to subscribe for $39.99/year until February 28.

Posted: February 20, 2019, 7:57 pm

Samsung wasted no time unveiling the Galaxy Fold at its Unpacked event today – a foldable device with a 4.6" display when folded, and 7.3" display when unfolded. The device contains a total of six cameras – three on the back, two inside and one front-facing camera.

The company's live presentation includes few camera details – but we've preliminarily gathered the following specs for the cameras included on the Galaxy Fold below (subject to change):

Location Full-frame equiv. FOV Aperture Autofocus Optical Image Stabilization
12MP 'main' camera Rear 27mm F1.5 / F2.4 Dual-Pixel Yes
12MP telephoto Rear 52mm F2.4 Phase-Detect Yes

16MP wide-angle
(fixed-focus)

Rear 12mm F2.2 No No
10MP selfie camera Inside 26mm F1.9 Dual-Pixel No

8MP RGB depth-sensing camera

Inside 22mm F2.2 Autofocus (unspecified) No
10MP selfie camera Front 26mm F1.9 Dual-Pixel No

Other technical specs known at this point are that it will offer 12GB of RAM, and uses two batteries for a 4380mAh combined capacity.

Multi-tasking is a big focus of the device, and Samsung demonstrated the device's ability to maintain continuity within an app as you switch between displays, as well as its ability to run three apps on the larger screen simultaneously.

Black, silver, green or blue color choices with personalized hinge color options will be offered. The Galaxy Fold will start at a steep $1980.

Posted: February 20, 2019, 7:15 pm

We are getting close to the start of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which means we should see a number of high-profile mobile device launches over the coming days. Today Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi has thrown the first punch by launching its new Mi 9 flagship smartphone and, at least on paper, the new Xiaomi looks like an enticing option for smartphone photographers.

The Mi 9's triple-cam setup is built around an 48MP Sony IMX586 1/2" sensor which comes with a quad-bayer filter and produces 12MP image output. The lens offers an F1.75 aperture and 26mm equivalent focal length.

The primary module is joined by an ultra-wide-angle with 17mm equivalent focal length and F2.2 aperture. It uses a 16MP 1/3" Sony IMX481 sensor. The tele offers a 2x magnification for a 50mm equivalent focal length and captures image information on a 12MP 1/3.4" Samsung S5K3M5 sensor with 1.0µm pixels and a F2.2 aperture.

A combination of PDAF and laser is used for focusing and for very dim conditions a LED flash is on board. By default the Mi 9 records 4K video at 30 frames per second but the frame rate can be increased to 60 fps.

Images can be viewed and edited on a 6.39" AMOLED display with 1080p+ resolution and hidden in a display notch you'll find the 20MP front camera with F2.0 aperture which in some regions will use artificial intelligence to power a face-unlock function.

An in-display fingerprint reader and fast charging for the 3,300mAh battery are on board as well and Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 855 chipset is paired with 6GB of RAM to power the Android operating system. Photos and videos can be stored on 64GB or 128GB of internal storage.

Pricing starts at approximately $455 for the 6/128GB version. The 8/128GB variant will set you back approximately $490. No information on exact pricing and availability outside China has been released yet.

Posted: February 20, 2019, 5:44 pm

Photographer Ben Horne has shared a video on his YouTube channel imploring the photography community to help him find the owner of a Fujifilm point-and-shoot camera that a friend of his found while on a hike in Zion National Park in Southwest Utah.

As explained in the three minute video, Horne's friend Luke Riding was hiking along the base of Angels Landing — a tall rock formation with a narrow trail at the top where hikers are free to walk along — when he came across a Fujifilm camera that had clearly taken a tumble down the side of the 1,500-foot rock formation.

The camera itself is clearly battered from its treacherous journey down the side of Angels Landing, but the SD card inside remained intact, complete with a collection of date-stamped images captured before the Fujifilm's free-fall. The images Horne has shared include a number of portraits with two younger females posing in various areas of Zion National Park in September 2015, according to the metadata.

Horne has asked to help spread the word in an effort to return the camera and images back to their rightful owner(s). If you happen to know the individuals in the photos or know of anyone who happened to lose their Fujifilm camera while at the top of Angels Landing, you can contact Horne by email (listed in the YouTube video description) or via Instagram.

Posted: February 20, 2019, 5:15 pm

Taiwanese lens manufacturer William Optics is proposing to make a flatfield Petzval lens aimed at star gazers and photographers that it claims is the world’s sharpest 250mm.

Originally conceived as a compact and lightweight telescope for astrophotographers, the Redcat 250mm F4.9 uses a pair of synthetic fluorite elements to correct the usual field curvature of the Pretzval design to produce a sharp image right across the frame, according to the company. It is also claimed the lens is corrected to apochromatic standards.

A manual focus lens with a single aperture setting, the Redcat 250mm F4.9 is being promoted for normal subjects as well as for astrophotography on its Kickstarter campaign page. Those using it at night might not get to appreciate its startling red finish, but daylight photographers shooting wildlife could feel a little conspicuous.

Designed with a 44mm covering circle the lens is good for full frame cameras, and comes with an interchangeable T-mount system that allows options for Canon EF, Nikon F and Sony E cameras, with Micro Four Thirds and Pentax K to follow shortly. The lens weighs 1.47kg / 3.24lbs, measures 225mm x 80mm, and features a field rotation function for turning the camera on the mount, with markings for every degree. A reversible mount on the tripod foot has fittings for Arca-Swiss and Vixen style heads, and the lens comes with what is described as a ‘patented’ Bahtinov Mask for astro-focusing.

Sample shot with the Redcat 250mm f/4.9

At the time of writing the funding campaign had raised over $47,000 – well beyond the goal of $30,000. With most of the discounted deals gone, the lens can be had for $648, which the company says represents 93% of the full retail price. Visit the Redcat 250mm f/4.9 campaign page for more information, or the William Optics website.


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

Posted: February 20, 2019, 2:32 pm

Given that it uses the same sensor and processor as the X-T3, it's no surprise that the Fujifilm X-T30 is capable of producing some excellent photos. We took a pre-production X-T30 all over the Seattle area and have plenty of photos for your viewing pleasure.

Posted: February 20, 2019, 2:00 pm

After a rare Seattle snowstorm finally subsided, DPReview editor Jeff Keller was able to escape the snow and spend some time with the impressive Fujifilm X-T30, a camera that offers a lot of bang for the buck.

Posted: February 20, 2019, 2:00 pm

Tamron has announced three new full-frame lenses slated to launch in the middle of 2019: an SP 35mm F1.4 Di USD and 35-150mm F2.8-4 Di VC OSD for DSLRs, as well as an ultra-wide 17-28mm F2.8 Di III RXD for Sony E-mount cameras.

The SP 35mm F1.4 become's the company's fastest current lens, joining the existing 35mm F1.8 in Tamron's high-end SP line. Calling it "the embodiment of all optical technology and manufacturing knowhow Tamron has developed to date," the company isn't revealing much more detail – only that it will offer fast, high-precision autofocus.

The Tamron 35-150mm F2.8-4 is designed as a compact, do-it-all zoom and is equipped with stabilization. The lens offers a minimum subject distance of 45cm / 17.7in across the entire zoom range, and low dispersion glass elements aim to keep optical aberration under control.

For Sony a7-series shooters, Tamron offers a 17-28mm F2.8 with a notably small diameter and 67mm filter size. It's equipped with a stepping motor (denoted as RXD or Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive) to boost its appeal to video as well as stills shooters.

Pricing isn't available at this time; Tamron plans to launch all three lenses in mid-2019.

Tamron announces the development of three lenses—two for full-frame DSLRs and one for full-frame mirrorless cameras

February 20, 2019, Saitama, Japan - Tamron Co., Ltd. (President & CEO: Shiro Ajisaka), a leading manufacturer of optics for diverse applications, announces the development of two new lenses for full-frame DSLR cameras—the 35-150mm F/2.8-4 Di VC OSD (Model A043) zoom lens and the SP 35mm F/1.4 Di USD (Model F045) fixed focal lens; and a new high-speed ultra-wide-angle zoom lens for Sony E-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras—the 17-28mm F/2.8 Di III RXD (Model A046).

Tamron will display these new lenses at CP+ 2019, the World Premiere show for camera and photo imaging, beginning February 28 through March 3, 2019 at Pacifico Yokohama and at the Wedding and Portrait Professionals International (WPPI), February 27 through March 3, 2019 in Las Vegas.

The lenses are expected to launch in the middle of 2019.

Fast compact Portrait Zoom breaks new ground: 35-150mm F/2.8-4 Di VC OSD (Model A043)

The new compact Model A043 is designed for fast handling and easy transport and features a zoom that extends from 35mm to 150mm, incorporating the 85mm focal length (often regarded as optimum for portrait shooting). It offers a fast F/2.8 aperture at the wide-angle end while maintaining a bright F/4 at the telephoto end. For close-focusing, the MOD (Minimum Object Distance) is 17.7 in across the entire zoom range. Delivering superb image quality, precisely placed LD (Low Dispersion) glass elements and aspherical lenses quash degrading optical aberrations. Furthermore, the Model A043 incorporates the Dual MPU (Micro-Processing Unit) system, which assures optimal AF performance and effective vibration compensation.

Fast fixed focal lens boldly demonstrates Tamron’s lens-making expertise: SP 35mm F/1.4 Di USD (Model F045)

Tamron’s SP lens series was born in 1979, based on the concept of delivering lenses for taking the perfect picture for those who love photography. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the series. In celebration, Tamron has developed the Model F045, the distillation of Tamron’s accumulated lens-making expertise and craftsmanship. This orthodox fixed focal lens, which some consider the most basic of all interchangeable lenses, is the embodiment of all optical technology and manufacturing knowhow Tamron has developed to date.

The Model F045’s unprecedented high-resolution image quality and beautiful, appealing background bokeh lets photographers capture any scene down to the finest details. The external lens barrel was developed through tireless pursuit of operability and durability, focusing constantly on the needs of photographers. This lens is equipped with a fast F/1.4 aperture and high-speed, high-precision AF functionality offering exceptional reliability, plus various other features for increased convenience, making it the perfect everyday lens for your creative pursuits. It is ideally suited for nearly every photographic genre, including photojournalism, landscape, sports, street life, wedding groups and family snapshots.

High-speed ultra-wide-angle zoom lens for Sony E-mount cameras is extremely compact and lightweight: 17-28mm F/2.8 Di III RXD (Model A046)

The Model A046 achieves an astonishingly small diameter for a high-speed ultra-wide-angle zoom lens, as witnessed by its modest 67mm filter size. Its unprecedented light weight and compact size provide excellent balance when used with a full-frame mirrorless camera, making it easy to carry, and enabling it to cater to a wide range of scenes and shooting conditions. The Model A046 offers a fast F/2.8 aperture throughout the entire zoom range and delivers high-resolution and contrast edge to edge. The combination of ultra-wide-angle focal length, fast constant F/2.8 aperture and Minimum Object Distance of 7.5 in at the wide-angle end encourages richly expressive and creative photography in a multitude of scenarios. The Model A046’s AF drive system is powered by the RXD (Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive) stepping motor unit, enabling it to deliver high-speed, high-precision and superbly quiet operation suitable for shooting video as well as still photographs.

Note: All DSLR camera functions are possible when the Models A043 and A045 are attached to a mirrorless camera via the manufacture’s adapter.

*Specifications, appearance, functionality, etc. of the above-mentioned three products are subject to change without prior notice.

Tamron SP 35mm F1.4 Di USD, 35-150mm F2.8-4 Di VC OSD and 17-28mm F2.8 Di III RXD specifications

 Tamron SP 35mm F1.4 Di USDTamron 35-150mm F2.8-4 Di VC OSDTamron 17-28mm F2.8 Di III RXD
Principal specifications
Lens typePrime lensZoom lens
Max Format size35mm FF
Focal length35 mm35–150 mm17–28 mm
Image stabilizationNoYesNo
Lens mountCanon EF, Nikon F (FX)Sony FE
Aperture
Maximum apertureF1.4F2.8
Minimum apertureF4F2.8
Aperture ringNo
Focus
Minimum focus0.45 m (17.72)0.19 m (7.48)
AutofocusYes
Motor typeRing-type ultrasonicMicromotorStepper motor
Full time manualYes
Focus methodInternal
Distance scaleYesNo
DoF scaleNo
Physical
Zoom methodRotary (extending)
Power zoomNo
Zoom lockYes
Posted: February 20, 2019, 7:00 am

Lensrentals is known for its in-depth teardowns of the latest and greatest camera gear, but not everything has to be about destruction. For a change of pace, Lensrentals has decided to build a lens rather than destroy it.

In particular, Roger and his team have shared the above video and an accompanying blog post highlighting the construction of the the widest fisheye lens in existence, the C-4 Optics 4.9mm F3.5 Hyperfisheye Prototype.

Photos kindly provided by Lensrentals

Much like the 1970s Nikkor 6mm f/2.8 fisheye lens, the C-4 Optics 4.9mm F3.5 Hyperfisheye Prototype is so wide that it can actually see behind itself. It takes it a step further though; Instead of the 220-degree field of view of the Nikkor lens, the C-4 Optics fisheye, of which only two have been made, has a 270-degree field of view. Not only is it wider though, it's also sharper and has less distortion and vignetting.

An individual element is stacked on top of another during the construction of the lens.

The entire construction is a doozy from beginning to end, with individual elements costing as much as $5,000, but as always Lensrentals manages to get it down with impeccable results. The final result is an unusual-looking lens that has legs and a backplate to help support the massive hunk of glass and metal.

'For those of you who are curious, a smaller Sony camera (A7xxx) fits nicely protected within the legs,' says Roger in his blog post. 'For larger cameras the bottom platform can be removed, the legs extended or removed, and various apparatus (rods, follow focus, aperture control, etc.) mounted directly to the cheese plate.'

Roger notes the lens won't be available to rent, so don't get your hopes up. To see the full build and soak up the details, head over to Lensrentals.

Posted: February 19, 2019, 10:36 pm

The kissing sailor featured in the iconic 'V-J Day in Times Square' photo, George Mendonsa, has died at the age of 95, according to his daughter. Mendonsa suffered a seizure at the Rhode Island assisted living facility where he resided and passed away two days before his 96th birthday.

The photo, which was first published by Life Magazine in 1945, was captured by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt at the end of World War II. Mendosa, a sailor in the U.S. Navy, had been on a date with Rita Petrie, his eventual wife of 70 years, when he heard news of Japan's surrender in August 1945. Overcome with excitement, he grabbed a stranger and kissed her.

The identities of the two people featured in the photo remained a mystery for decades, spurring multiple false claims from individuals who alleged they were the pictured subjects. The issue was laid to rest in 2012 when the U.S. Naval Institute Press published a book title 'The Kissing Sailor' by George Galdorisi and Lawrence Verria.

A combination of expert analysis and facial recognition technology confirmed the image features Mendosa and Greta Friedman, the woman in the nurse's uniform. According to Verria, Mendonsa had been struck by the sight of nurses treating injured sailors during the war. When news of the war's end arrived, Mendonsa saw Friedman in her uniform and pulled her into a kiss.

In a 2005 interview, Friedman explained the experience from her side, saying that she had been working that morning in a dental office when rumors of the war's end began circulating. Later that day, Friedman walked to Times Square and saw a billboard confirming the news.

And so suddenly I was grabbed by a sailor, and it wasn't that much of a kiss, it was more of a jubilant act that he didn't have to go back, I found out later, he was so happy that he did not have to go back to the Pacific where they already had been through the war. And the reason he grabbed someone dressed like a nurse was that he just felt very grateful to nurses who took care of the wounded.

Photographer Eisenstaedt detailed the moment he captured the iconic photo in his book 'Eisenstaedt on Eisenstaedt.'

Posted: February 19, 2019, 7:25 pm

We were live this morning to discuss the new Canon EOS RP mirrorless camera and to answer questions from our community. You can re-watch the video here, and we'll try to address those questions we couldn't get to in the comments below.

Posted: February 19, 2019, 5:28 pm

Skylum Software has announced an update to its Luminar image editing software. Version 3.0.2 comes with new features as well as improvements in performance and stability.

The latter includes faster import of images and folders to the catalog and faster launch times on the Windows platform as well as faster image moving between external and internal drives and better imports of native Luminar files for Apple Mac computers.

On both platforms the software now offers a new 'Locate Folder' command, allowing users to find misplaced or moved folders on their system. There are also new dedicated toolbar buttons for Gallery and Single Image views.

New features for Windows users include nested folders, offline file alerts and new shortcut keys for several functions. On a Mac you can now enjoy automated database backups, new preferences for cache, catalog and backup and Aurora HDR integration among other new functions.

The new version also comes with an updated list of supported cameras to which the following models have been added:

  • Nikon: D3500, P1000, Z6, Z7
  • Panasonic: Lumix DC-LX100 II
  • Fujifilm: GFX 50R, X-T3
  • Sony: RX100VA, RX100VI, DSC-HX99, DSC-HX95
  • Leica: M10-D, M10-P, D-Lux 7

A full list of supported cameras is available on the Luminar website. Luminar is available as a 30-day free trial. A full license will set you back $69 and allows you to install the software on five machines in your household. More information is available on skylum.com/.

Posted: February 19, 2019, 4:35 pm

According to Merriam-Webster, bokeh is a noun that means 'the blurred quality or effect seen in the out-of-focus portion of a photograph taken with a narrow depth of field.' Apple, however, has different plans.

In a recent video advertisement, Apple has turned the word bokeh into a verb, 'bokeh'd.' Not only has Apple turned bokeh into a verb, it's also taken a stance on how the Japanese term is pronounced, a widely debated topic. Based on the video, Apple's pronunciation of choice is 'bok-uh,' a departure from the Japanese pronunciation which sounds more along the lines of 'bow-kayh.'

The advert itself is humorous regardless of your pronunciation preference and, for better or worse, Apple's 'verbing' of the word bokeh may very well become a universally accepted.

Posted: February 19, 2019, 4:01 pm
Silver Award
85%
Overall score

The EF-M 32mm F1.4 STM was an easy lens to miss when it was announced, unveiled at the same time as Canon's all-new EOS R. Quite how the EOS M series will play alongside the newer R line remains to be seen, but its adopters have been clamoring for more wide-aperture native lens options for some time, so it’s nice to finally see a lens of this type join the lineup. And at F1.4, it's the fastest lens in the EOS M system to date.

The third prime lens for the EF-M mount, the lens’s 32mm focal length provides a versatile equivalent focal length of 51mm in full-frame terms on EOS M-series bodies, and an aperture equivalent to an F2.2 lens on full-frame. As the only lens of its kind in the range, it should appeal widely to those already invested in the system, particularly portrait photographers who haven’t really had a suitable alternative as of yet (at least not a native one).

It should also find a lot of love from those shooting in low light, and it also makes sense for those intending to capture nature who don’t need a lens with true macro capabilities. In short, it has plenty of appeal.

Key specifications

  • Focal length: 32mm (equivalent to 51mm in 35mm terms)
  • Aperture range: F1.4-16 (In 1/3 stops)
  • Filter thread: 43mm
  • Close focus: 0.23m (0.76ft)
  • Maximum magnification: 0.25x
  • Diaphragm blades: 7
  • Hood: optional (ES-60)
  • Length / Diameter: approx. 56.5 x 60.9mm (2.22 x 2.40in)
  • Weight: approx. 235g (8.3oz)
  • Optical construction: 14 elements in 8 groups

That wide aperture is arguably even more important here, given that this is only the second lens in the stable not to be furnished with its own image stabilization system. This isn’t a feature we’d expect as standard on a lens of this sort, but it wouldn’t exactly be out of place when you consider that stabilization isn’t found inside any current EOS M-series bodies (at least not mechanically). Its omission from the lens itself is probably less of a concern for anyone intending on shooting portraits, but those planning on using it for static subjects in sub-optimum light might have hoped Canon had found space for this.

Speaking of not finding space for things, it’s a shame to find that a lens hood isn’t included with the EF-M 32mm F1.4 as standard.

Design and handling

The overall design of the EF-M 32mm F1.4 is consistent with the other optics in the series, which is to say smart and understated. Its charcoal grey finish perfectly complements the EOS M50 body I used during this review, while its weight of 235g gives it some substance relative to its size when held on its own. The combination is just as nicely balanced in the hands as it is to the eye, and the whole package will just about fit into a coat pocket.

The streamlined barrel features a large, textured focusing ring, while the rest of the casing has a matte finish that’s smooth to the touch. The overall result is perhaps the most minimally styled lens in the line since the (much smaller) EF-M 22mm F2 STM pancake lens. As with its siblings, there’s no focus-distance window or equivalent markings, and in the absence of an AF/MF switch, alternating between autofocus and manual focus has to be done via the camera.

It's only the focus limit switch that physically breaks the lens’ symmetry. We wouldn’t necessarily expect such a lens to be fitted with one, but its inclusion makes some sense when you consider its 0.23m close-focusing limit and broad range of potential applications. This two-mode control allows you to either use the full focusing range or to work between 0.5m (1.64ft) to infinity, and it’s relatively flush with the rest of the barrel and somewhat stiff. This, together with its placement just above the mid-point of the lens, meant that I found it somewhat more awkward to operate than necessary. That said, I imagine for most photographers it won’t be a control used frequently enough to matter.

Like all of Canon's EF-M lenses, the 32mm F1.4 is very compact. At barely 8 ounces in weight it won't weigh you down, either.

The EF-M 32mm F1.4 STM’s mount is made of metal, and there’s no real issue with mounting or un-mounting as such, although the fact that the barrel is the same diameter throughout and that most of it is made up by the rotating focus ring means that you have to grab it right at its base when changing lenses.

As useful as it is to have such a wide aperture, one issue I soon ran into with the EOS M50 was the lack of an electronic shutter that can enable shutter speeds beyond the the mechanical 1/4000sec limit. This applies to other EOS M-series bodies too, and presents an obvious challenge when working outdoors in brighter conditions. Of course, an ND filter can help here, but it's not a convenient solution. (Incidentally, there is a silent shutter option that employs an electronic shutter hidden in the EOS M50’s scene modes, although you have no agency over exposure settings when this is enabled and you can’t otherwise access the feature).

Focus

As with every other current optic in the EF-M series, focusing is handled by an STM stepping motor. Here, it’s a lead gear-type motor that promises smooth and quiet focus for stills and ‘near silence’ when capturing videos.

Canon’s own literature makes it clear that the advantage of this type of motor over the screw-type STM motor used in its other lenses relates to compactness rather than silence and speed. After using it for some time, I’m not sure whether the motor can be described as smooth in its operation when capturing stills, but only because it’s clearly working at speed to acquire focus. I’d certainly prioritize speed over smoothness here, so this is no criticism.

When shooting very close subjects, the EF-M 32mm F1.4 can take a moment to achieve focus, but for arms-length shooting and beyond, focus is fast and snappy.

Converted Raw| ISO 100 | 1/160 sec | F1.4 | Canon EF-M 32mm F1.4

In good light, the lens typically performs a rapid shift to its approximate position before a brief final shuffle for accuracy. While this is audible, these sounds are easily masked by ambient noise, and they're not particularly obtrusive. When the lens hunts, it typically manages to travel between its full range in around a second and a half, although this can obviously be improved if you’re not shooting up close and are happy to limit the focus range to the 0.5m-infinity range.

Using autofocus during video recording will result in an audible low-frequency hum as it transitions between different focusing distances, rather than the more obvious, higher pitched whirring when focusing for stills. These sounds are picked up on recordings, but they’re also not distracting and are, again, easily quashed by ambient noise. These movements are very smooth, and I found the transitions looked very pleasing in resulting footage, assuming the camera found focus without any issues. There’s some noise from the lens as it’s manually focused during video recording, but if you turn the ring slowly enough you will not even notice this.

This image shows the 32mm at its closest focusing distance, with the inner barrel extended from the main body of the lens.

Focus itself isn’t internal; the inner barrel extends by around half an inch or so when at its closest focus distance of 0.23m, although the outer barrel maintains the same length at all times and the focusing ring also stays put. The focusing group isn’t mechanically linked to the ring, and response is speed-sensitive, not linear. This means that the amount of focus adjustment when manually focusing will vary according to how quickly you rotate the ring. You can work through the whole focusing range in as little as three quarters of a full rotation, but turn it too quickly and you may end up needing two-and-half rotations to move between the two extremes. Video shooters manually focusing will miss the option for linear focusing.

In any case, there’s ample room for fine control over manual focus adjustment, and this is helped even further by the peaking option found on every compatible camera, save for the original EOS M. The lens also supports full-time manual focus, which lets you override the AF system by turning the focusing ring.

Overall, while the lens doesn’t operate in complete silence for stills nor video, it works quickly enough for stills and smoothly enough for video.

Posted: February 19, 2019, 2:00 pm

Turns out the 500px data breach we reported on last week wasn't an isolated incident. According to The Register the data breach affected not only 500px but a total of 16 websites, including mobile image sharing platform EyeEm, Animoto, Artsy and Fotolog.

Overall the details of more than 617 million online accounts were stolen and offered for sale on the dark web. Below is a comprehensive list of the affected websites (not all of which are photo related) and accompanying number of accounts that were stolen:

• 8fit (20 million)
• 500px (15 million)
• Animoto (25 million)
• Armor Games (11 million)
• Artsy (1 million)
• BookMate (8 million)
• CoffeeMeetsBagel (6 million)
• DataCamp (700,000)
• Dubsmash (162 million)
• EyeEm (22 million)
• Fotolog (16 million)
• HauteLook (28 million)
• MyFitnessPal (151 million)
• MyHeritage (92 million)
• ShareThis (41 million)
• Whitepages (18 million)

EyeEm sent an email out to its user base, saying 22 million of its accounts had been compromised but no payment or payout data had been affected. The breach exposed users’ names, email addresses, and encrypted versions of passwords, however.

The company also writes that it only recently become aware of the hack, despite the fact that it happened back on July 5th 2018. Upon discovery of the issue all passwords were disabled and emails went out to the EyeEm community.

EyeEm also asks its users to not reuse old passwords, not use the same password on multiple websites, use multi-factor authentication whenever possible and use as password management tool. This is sensible advice, no matter if you're affected by any of the hacks or not.


Update (February 18th, 2019): This article has been updated with more detailed information regarding the compromised sites and the number of accounts believed to be affected. Thanks to DPR reader FalconEyes for pointing this out.

Posted: February 18, 2019, 8:56 pm

Finland-based organization Camera Rescue has rescued 46,000 analog cameras and it plans to more than double that number by 2020. Cameraville recently interviewed the organization's Juho Leppänen to discuss the mission, as well as the unique challenges they face.

Camera Rescue launched in 2018 with the mission of preserving analog cameras for future generations. The organization finds used film photography gear and puts it through what it calls a 'camera rescue process,' which includes testing and, when necessary, repairing the devices. Rescued cameras are then sold through KameraStore.com.

The organization's core team member Juho Leppänen discussed Camera Rescue's mission and work in a 10 minute video from Cameraville, including the technical issues the team has to overcome. A lack of technicians capable of repairing these cameras remains a problem, though the team is addressing that problem by training a new generation of repair technicians.

"We took all the guys we could find that have the experience [and] they've been teaching newer guys," Leppänen explained.

Beyond the organization's own work, Leppänen details technical issues facing the analog photography market. "If we want new cameras, we need a new mechanical shutter," according to Leppänen, who also pointed toward aging scanning technology that must be updated.

"Most of the scanners that are around are based on Windows XP," which is no longer supported, Leppänen said. Though new scanners could be developed, cost remains an issue, with Leppänen explaining that it may cost €3 million just to produce the first batch of new scanning technologies.

The analog photography industry also requires new automated film development machines and an overall low barrier, in terms of difficulty and cost, for new photographers to get started. "If we want new people to come to film," Leppänen explained, "we need to make the first roll very easy, and to make the first roll easy, it needs to be cheap."

Additional videos about Camera Rescue, as well as the team's history, can be found on Cameraville's blog.

Posted: February 18, 2019, 7:09 pm

Sigma has announced its new 28mm T1.5 cine lens for full frame sensor cameras will be available starting in the middle of March. The lens will cost $3499 but will also be offered with luminous markings, to make it easier to use in low light, for $4,499.

The lens is latest of a set of 10 full-frame fixed-focal-length lenses, eight of which have a T1.5 maximum aperture. The lenses have 180° focus ring rotation, and are tested using the company’s 46-million-pixel Foveon sensor.

As with the rest of Sigma's cine series, the 28mm T1.5 FF will be available in PL, EF and E mounts. The company has also announced a new carry case for a set of five lenses that will cost $750. It is designed to hold the 14mm, 28mm, 40mm, 105mm and 135mm lenses, and will be available at the same time as this 28mm lens.

For more information see the Sigma website.

Press release:

Sigma Ships Its 28mm T1.5 Full-Frame Cine Lens

Sigma Corporation of America, a leading still photo and cinema lens, camera, flash and accessory manufacturer, today announced one of its newest additions to the cine prime lens lineup, Sigma 28mm T1.5 FF, will be available in mid March 2019 for $3,499.00 for the regular version and $4,499.00 for the fully luminous (FL) version.

Sigma Cine 28mm T1.5 FF is a fast and sharp T1.5 cine lens compatible with full-frame camera sensors and optimized for ultra-high-resolution 6K-8K productions. Featuring a 180-degree focus rotation, this lens is available in EF, E and PL mounts with lens support foot and cap included.

One of the key focal lengths to achieve a true cinematic look, the wide-angle perspective of a 28mm lens has long become an industry standard in shooting motion pictures. DPs and filmmakers of all genres will now have the opportunity to add this gem to their Sigma Cine lens collection to further enable their creative vision and enhance their workflow.
In addition, Sigma is now offering a five-piece case that can hold the 14mm, 28mm, 40mm, 105mm and 135mm cine lenses to safely transport your gear. The new case is also available for purchase in mid March for $750.00.


Prominent Characteristics of Sigma Cine Lenses

  • Individual inspection of every single lens with A1 proprietary Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) measuring system using 46-megapixel Foveon direct image sensors. Even previously undetectable high-frequency details are now within the scope of their quality control inspections.
  • Computer-based ray tracing has been used from the design stage onward to minimize flare and ghosting and enhance contrast in backlit conditions. Ghosting has also been checked at every prototype stage, with its causes identified, assessed and eliminated.
  • Color balance standardized across the line to make color correction a breeze.
  • Dust-proof and splash-proof construction, with each ring and mount sealed to prevent water and dust from entering.
  • The body is made 100% of metal to stand up to tough professional use over the long term.
  • Luminous paint for enhanced visibility
  • Laser engraving for enhanced durability
  • Mount Conversion Service allows users to convert their lenses to and from EF and E-mounts (charges apply). If the camera system changes, it is possible to simply convert the mount system to continue using the high-performance Sigma lenses.
Posted: February 18, 2019, 5:15 pm

Panasonic has announced it's adding two new zoom cameras to its Lumix lineup: the Lumix ZS80 (TZ95 outside of North America) compact camera and the Lumix FZ1000 II superzoom camera.

Lumix ZS80/TZ95

First up is the Lumix Z80, the latest camera in Panasonic's travel zoom series. At the heart of the ZS80 is a 20.3-megapixel 1/2.3-inch sensor. Beyond stills, the ZS80 can capture 4K/30p video. In front of the sensor is an optically stabilized 24mm (35mm equivalent) Leica lens with 30x optical zoom, giving it a maximum focal length of 720mm (35mm equivalent).

The ZS80 can capture Raw photos and features a maximum burst rate of 10 frames per second (fps). On the rear of the camera is a three-inch 1040K-dot tilting touchscreen and a 2,330K-dot equivalent Live View Finder (LVF).

Panasonic's signature 4K Photo mode makes an appearance in the ZS80 and adds a new Auto Marking feature that makes it easy to pick out individual frames within a 4K video file.

TheZS80 includes both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for connecting to and transferring images to smartphones or tablets and tagging the GPS location information within images.

Panasonic says theZS80 can capture approximately 380 shots per charge and in the event the battery does die, USB charging is possible.

The Panasonic Lumix ZS80/TZ95 will be available at the end of April 2019 in black and silver for $449 / £399 / €449.

Lumix FZ1000

The new Lumix FZ1000 II features a 1-inch 20.1-megapixel sensor behind a 16x optical zoom Leica lens with a 25-400mm (35mm equivalent) focal length range and F2.8-4.0 aperture range. The lens features Panasonic's 5-axis hybrid Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.+) with a Level Shot function that automatically detects horizontal lines within an image and keeps it level while shooting.

In addition to stills at up to 12 fps, the FZ1000 II can capture 4K/30p video in the MP4 format at 100Mbps with the option for 120 fps recording at 1080p. Like the TZ95, the FZ1000 II features Panasonic's 4K Photo mode with the new Auto Marking feature.

The rear of the camera features an articulating three-inch 1.24M-dot touchscreen as well as an OLED 0.39-inch 2.36M-dot EVF.

The FZ1000 II includes built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for wireless connection to mobile devices. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery is rated for 440 shots per charge when working with the rear LCD and 290 shots when using the EVF (430 shots per charge when using the EVF in the 'eco' setting, which limited it to 30 fps).

The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II will be available at the end of March 2019 for $899 / £769 / €849.

Posted: February 18, 2019, 3:48 pm

A closer look at Fujifilm's medium format GFX concepts

At Dubai's recent Gulf Photo Plus event, Fujifilm gave us a good look at a couple of its forthcoming products, and also allowed us a peek back in time, into the design of existing GFX cameras.

What you're about to see is a collection of mockups of concept GFX designs, dating from before the launch of the GFX 50S and 50R. Some of these mockups appear very familiar, some less so. Click through to take a closer look.

A closer look at Fujifilm's medium format GFX concepts

First up is the camera that got most of the X-Summit audience talking - the very earliest concept mockup for what became the original GFX 50S. As you can see, there are a lot of similarities to the camera that eventually shipped in 2017.

A closer look at Fujifilm's medium format GFX concepts

Top-mounted dials, a central pentaprism-style EVF, lots of controls, a nice big sticky-outy grip...

A closer look at Fujifilm's medium format GFX concepts

But in fact, the camera is fully modular. The EVF and grip are optional accessories to the core body of the camera, which consists of the mount, sensor and controls for the key exposure parameters.

Fujifilm's representatives confirmed that the 'Omega' concept was directly inspired by Hasselblad's iconic 500-series square format film cameras. Note the distinctive annular shutter speed dial, positioned around the lens mount itself.

A closer look at Fujifilm's medium format GFX concepts

As originally envisaged, the Omega had a direct control for aspect ratio, and unusual 'roller' style controls, rather than the final GFX's more conventional dials.

A closer look at Fujifilm's medium format GFX concepts

Here are the three main modules - a grip component, the main body of the camera, and a removable EVF. The spirit of the Omega lives on in the design of the GFX 50S's viewfinder, which can be removed to make a slightly smaller, lighter camera.

The main reason why this even more modular design never saw it to production is simple - the shutter mechanism for such a large sensor was simply too large for the concept. That doesn't mean we'll never see a modular GFX, but we might have to wait for global shutters to become a practical reality first.

A closer look at Fujifilm's medium format GFX concepts

Next up is 'Gamma', a design which takes a lot of cues from contemporary XT-series APS-C format cameras.

A closer look at Fujifilm's medium format GFX concepts

Essentially a scaled-up XT, the Gamma would have offered a larger sensor, in a body very familiar to Fujifilm's existing APS-C shooters.

A closer look at Fujifilm's medium format GFX concepts

It's unclear why this design didn't make it beyond the concept stage, but it's possible that Fujifilm wanted to draw a cleaner line between the APS-C lineup and the (inevitably) more expensive GFX range. Also, notice that there's no room for a top-plate display screen in this design.

A closer look at Fujifilm's medium format GFX concepts

A second, unnamed XT-style concept removes the exposure compensation dial and combines shutter speed and ISO into a single (arguably still unnecessary) dial, reducing the amount of bulk on the right hand side of the body. Again, there's no top-plate mounted status screen either.

A closer look at Fujifilm's medium format GFX concepts

Of the two XT-style concepts, this is my personal favorite. The narrower body and simple control layout, with such a large grip is lovely to handle.

A closer look at Fujifilm's medium format GFX concepts

Finally, a glimpse at what the eventual GFX 50R could have been. This is an early concept mockup for a rangefinder-style GFX, but minus the viewfinder. As such, the 'SP-X' actually resembles a cross between the X-Pro 2 and the X70 and XF10 compacts.

A closer look at Fujifilm's medium format GFX concepts

From the rear, the angular SP-X looks fairly familiar - sub-dial ISO control notwithstanding - but with this concept, Fujifilm's design team wanted to experiment with a rear screen that truly blended in to the back of the camera. You can't really tell in this shot, but...

A closer look at Fujifilm's medium format GFX concepts

...the screen is designed so that when the camera is held in a shooting position, it reversed against the camera.

A closer look at Fujifilm's medium format GFX concepts

To use the screen, it must be folded out, which suits waist-level shooting and image review (but in this position, not much more than that). It's not clear whether Fujifilm envisaged a more complex reversing hinge for the final design, but either way - this is definitely the most conceptual of the concepts. Still though, put an EVF in there and I might be interested.

What do you think? As always, let us know in the comments.

Posted: February 18, 2019, 2:00 pm

Jack Lam is a cinematographer based in Beijing and Hong Kong. His body of work includes TV commercials, seasonal TV drama series and theatrical feature films. His commercial clients include Cathay Pacific, Lenovo, Airbnb, Alibaba, and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. He also works with DJI as a design consultant for their cinema products.

This guest editorial has been lightly edited for style and clarity.


As a working cinematographer, I am super excited by Panasonic’s announcement of the Lumix S mirrorless camera system. The Panasonic GH5 is so well-designed, it has become a reliable workhorse for many video shooters. I have no doubt a full-frame version of it will be amazing, and everything I read about the S1/S1R confirms that.

However, Lumix S has the potential to become much greater that what we see in this product launch. With this brand new camera system, Panasonic has a unique opportunity to create the perfect small camera system for professional cinematographers. But doing so requires Panasonic to address a long-standing problem that is overlooked by all other camera makers, as well as some rethinking of conventional ideas on camera design.

This missing feature - one that can become a potential killer feature for Panasonic - is good manual focus control for video.

“What’s the big deal with MF?” one may ask, “Don’t most cameras already have MF?” Well, when I say good manual focus control, I mean good enough for real working professionals - advanced documentarians and Hollywood cameramen alike.

The new Lumix S series cameras present an excellent opportunity for Panasonic to redefine the interface between mirrorless cameras and cinematographers who need pro-level focus control.

I want MF control that is simple, accurate, reliable, repeatable, predictable, measurable and ergonomically sound. It should also be wireless-capable and highly integrated as part of the camera (so that we can keep the camera small and don’t need to add six other accessories just to pull focus). Do you know of any small (DSLR/mirrorless) camera in the market that fulfills all of the above requirements? I have found none.

My perspective

My work varies widely in budget and crew size, ranging from run-and-gun documentaries, TV commercials to feature films for national theatrical releases. While the Arri Alexa is my go-to camera of choice for most of my work, I also use small form-factor mirrorless cameras when I see fit. I used to own every Panasonic GH model from the GH1 to the GH4, before I took a break from the m43 system for the full-frame Sony A7S.

This missing feature – one that can become a potential killer feature for Panasonic – is good manual focus control for video.

There are many instances where a smaller camera is the better camera for the job (for example, run-and-gun docs, sensitive locations, small gimbal, special car rigs, crash cams, etc.). Unfortunately, every time I shoot with a small camera I am faced with one big problem, a problem that haunts every video shooter but one that receives very little attentions in camera reviews: how do I pull focus? To be more specific, how do I pull focus effectively and professionally, as my director expects me to? How do I make sure I can nail the focus equally well in the first take, the second take, and each take thereafter?

The problem with focus pulling in today's cameras

I am sure every DSLR video shooter shares this experience. Ever since the so-called DSLR video revolution, anyone looking to get into this game must build their own camera rig with all kinds of third-party components as if making a science project. Finding the right combination of lenses, lens adapters, focus gears rings, follow focus system, and the rig cage to hold everything together… All of these take a lot of time and energy to experiment and to troubleshoot, while we should really be focusing our time on our own artistic growth. The worst thing is, despite all the time and money we spend, the resulting rigs we built are never very good. They are unreliable, clumsy to use, and not very ergonomic.

The need to piece together unstandardized third-party camera parts also introduce uncertainties to productions. While we can order an Arri Alexa kit from any rental house in the world and have a pretty good idea of what to expect, it is never the case with DSLR/mirrorless camera rentals. Running a multi-camera shoot usually means operating with camera rigs from multiple brands, and their parts are not always compatible with each other.

All such desperate attempts in rig-building are primarily meant to provide a means of focus control. At the heart of this problem is the fact that camera manufacturers have failed to provide a good solution for focus pulling as part of their camera design.

Would you call such a monster user friendly?

Autofocus is not the answer for professionals

With the incredible progress in autofocus technology, can AF help us achieve good focus pulling, or even replace MF altogether? The answer is a resounding NO. Autofocus IS NOT and WILL NEVER be a good solution for professional cinematographers.

I have tried the AF in some of the latest cameras in the market. Dual pixel phase detection, facial recognition, AI subject tracking… I have to say the amount of technology is very impressive. AF works amazingly for stills, but for video I find it only useful under very limited conditions. Perhaps AF can be useful when I am following only ONE subject with a small gimbal without a focus puller’s help. Maybe I can give AF a try when I am shooting a sit-down interview on a slider. But when it comes to professional filmmaking, these said situations are just 'kindergarten focus pulling'.

With the incredible progress in autofocus technology, can AF help us achieve good focus pulling, or even replace MF altogether? The answer is a resounding NO. Autofocus IS NOT and WILL NEVER be a good solution for professional cinematographers.

Real focus-pulling in a professional setting is much more complicated and much more nuanced. It often involves multiple actors and multiple marks. The camera may be panning from actor to actor, who may or may not be hitting their marks. We need to synchronize our focus shifts with dialogue beats, action beats, and emotion beats. Sometimes we need to predict the action and rack focus before the actor moves. Sometimes we don’t want to focus on the actor's eyes. In fact, even the term 'follow focus' can be misleading because sometimes we intend to not follow anything at all to create a certain mood. Until the day arrives when a computer can understand dialogues, emotion, and esthetics, it is only foolish to think that AF can replace a focus puller.

I would even argue that the reason why some video shooters would even consider trying AF is only because there is no good MF control available to them. If we have an easy way to control MF reliably, most of us wouldn’t even need to bother with AF at all.

After all, why dumb down to artificial intelligence when we have the intelligence (and heart) of a real human being?

Focus control for stills and video are two different animals

The old saying goes, “To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” When camera engineers started making still cameras that shoot video, the obvious solution for focus control was to use the existing AF system that works so well for stills and applied it to the video mode. Then the marketing department finished the job by calling it the new frontier of filmmaking.

However, focus control for motion picture is a very different task than getting sharp focus in a still image in many ways. For stills, all we need is to place the focal plane at the right subject as quickly as possible. How the image looks during the focusing process does not matter. For video, there is an element of time, and every frame counts. During a focus pull, the soft frames are just as important as the sharp ones as a form of artistic expression. That means hunting for focus is not an acceptable strategy.

For stills, all we need is to place the focal plane at the right subject as quickly as possible... For video, there is an element of time, and every frame counts.

To put it simply, focusing for stills is a question of WHAT to focus on. Focusing for video involves the interpretation of WHAT, WHEN, and HOW FAST to focus, and that makes it a much more complex problem for a computer to solve because it requires the understanding of intention.

Besides, focus pulls that look timely and confident often require one to know the focal distance of out-of-frame subjects ahead of time. Camera-based AF technology simply can't do that.

Touchscreen tapping IS NOT focus pulling

There is an element of performing art in focus pulling. To a focus puller, the focus wheel is like piano keys are to a pianist. A focus puller’s distance scale is like a musician’s octave scale. A real focus puller thinks in terms of feet and inches, and prefers to have total control of focal distance. Then there is rhythm and timing in focus pulling, just like music.

For the same reasons why a piano app on an iPad can never replace a real piano, touchscreen tapping can never truly replace the focus wheel. If you want to build a camera that is loved by real professionals, you must first understand and respect the way a professional works.

If a professional musician can't fit a grand piano in his tiny New York apartment, what would he get instead? The same goes for focus pulling with small cameras.

Focus pulling truly is an art form (let the pros do it their way)

If you still have any doubt in the above statement, this YouTube video by Fandor does a great job explaining the intricacy of focus pulling.

Please note - many of the focus pulls featured in this video, while being very easy to perform manually, are simply not possible with AF.

This YouTube video by Fandor does a great job explaining the intricacy of focus pulling. Many of the focus pulls featured in this video, while being very easy to perform manually, are simply not possible with AF.

Small cameras deserve professional manual focus control too

Skeptics may say, “if you care so much about the art of focus pulling, you should be using those big, expensive camera systems.”

This is certainly not true. Even big Hollywood productions have a need for small cameras with good focus control. I once spoke with cinematographer Tom Stern, ASC, about his experience shooting the movie American Sniper (2014). He shared that one day they had an interior helicopter scene, and it took a very long time to set up their Alexa XT cameras inside the tiny space. Director Clint Eastwood figured they were running out of time and made the call to “let’s bring in that little camera”. They ended up shooting the whole scene with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.

In retrospect, Mr. Stern expressed disappointment with this camera for two reasons: 1) the image didn’t match well with the Alexa; 2) the pocket-sized camera wasn’t so small anymore after the cinema lens and the Preston follow focus system (and the required accessories to support it) were mounted.

Sadly, four years after the movie was made, we still don't have a small camera that fully answers Mr. Stern's demands.

Posted: February 17, 2019, 2:00 pm

Lens manufacturer Irix has announced it's expanding its presence into the Japanese market.

Founded in Switzerland in 2016 by an international team of professional photographers, Irix quickly expanded into all areas of the European market and beyond, creating unique and affordable lenses, filters and accessories for photographers around the globe.

The announcement appropriately comes ahead of CP+ 2019, which is taking place in Japan. Irix will be at booth G-62 every day over the course of CP+ (February 28th through March 3rd) and says 'each guest will be able to test every Irix product and personally speak with Irix team members.'


Update (February 17th, 2019): This article has been updated to clarify that while Irix is officially located in Switzerland, the lenses themselves aren't Swiss made.

Posted: February 16, 2019, 5:08 pm
There's no reason APS-C can't be a good enthusiast format, with the right lenses.

Full-frame is being touted as the future of enthusiast as well as professional photography. But I’d argue that APS-C is still a highly capable format and one that makes sense for a lot of people. That could be true for an even broader group if it was properly supported as an enthusiast format. And, I’d contest, one company has consistently done more to support the big brand's users than the camera makers themselves.

The past few years have seen a wave of full-frame launches and, from the original EOS 5D through to the Sony a7 series and EOS RP, the falling prices of full-frame cameras have made them accessible to an ever-wider number of people. This focus on relatively profitable models (and lenses) is only likely to continue as the camera market contracts back to catering for a core of dedicated photographers, rather than trying to sell to everyone. But what does this mean for APS-C?

While all the buzz is around full-frame, the industry still sells more APS-C cameras and there are many, many times more of the smaller-chipped cameras in circulation than there are full-framers. Should these countless millions of cameras be seen as a temporary aberration, now being corrected, or can APS-C still be a good fit for enthusiasts?

The aberrant puny stepchild camera

Sony's new a6400 camera has an APS-C sensor and some of the best autofocus performance around. It's also got a decent lens on it in this photo, but it's a lens that costs just as much as the camera itself.

There’s an argument that APS-C is simply a quirk of history: that camera makers only embraced it because it was the largest format they could manufacture affordably enough to actually sell, and that they were always going to revert to ‘full-frame’ as soon as it became cost-effective. But, while much of this is true, it that doesn’t mean that APS-C is too small or can only be a stop-gap. After all, there’s nothing intrinsically optimal about full-frame*.

After all, there's nothing intrinsically optimal about full frame

You could equally make the opposite argument: that full-frame is an arbitrary reference point for comparisons that remained in the imagination because of the popularity of the film format it’s based on, not any inherent ‘rightness’ of it. But, I’d argue, it’s also because the SLR makers didn’t want to give up on all the money they’d invested in designing extensive lineups of lenses for film, so never really committed to APS-C as a serious format.

Serious support?

Way back, photographers could get a Nikon 17-55mm F2.8 'pro' lens for APS-C cameras like the D80. Today, users can get the same lens or newer and more ambitious offerings from Sigma. (And the 35mm F1.8 DX seen here is one of only four DX primes Nikon has ever released.)

To make the most of any format, you need bright lenses. And that will mean different things to different photographers. I'm going to argue that what you really need is a choice of bright primes and F2.8 (or faster) zooms if you're going to make a format useful to a range of enthusiasts.

Look across the ranges of Nikon and Canon and you’ll see a smattering of APS-C-specific lenses: a pro-grade 17-55 F2.8, a wide-angle zoom with a moderate maximum aperture and perhaps a macro or two. That’s often the extent of the support for enthusiasts. Sure there’ll be countless kit-zooms, maybe a mid-market 18-one-hundred-and-something and an 18-200mm for the all-in-one crowd. But look for a decent prime and chances are your options are limited to full-frame lenses.

To make the most of APS-C you really need
a choice of bright primes and
F2.8 (or faster) zooms

Want an 85-90mm equiv portrait lens? Shush! Buy a 50mm and learn not to frame so tight, or accept that you'll have to use something longer, buy an 85mm and SPEAK UP A BIT so your subject can hear you. Looking for a 24mm equiv prime (hardly the most exotic request)? Well, sorry about that.

And it’s this lack of lens support, rather than any shortcoming of the format that I’d argue has always undermined it. Which is odd, as Nikon has, with the D300/D500 and D7000 series cameras, made some very nice enthusiast models. Likewise Canon with its EOS X0D models. But the net effect is the implication that full-frame is the ideal end-point and that APS-C isn’t suitable for enthusiasts: it's purely a stepping-stone.

S for sufficient?

What's that? An 85mm F1.8 equivalent prime? Fujifilm's lens lineup lets you get 'full-frame image quality' when you need it, without having to lug full frame lenses round the rest of the time.

But APS-C can be a highly capable format. Like Micro Four Thirds, it can be small and affordable when you want it to be, but you can extend its capability considerably if you add a bright lens where you need it. Image sensors have improved to an amazing extent over the lifespan of APS-C, with technology improving to push both low light performance and dynamic range to new limits. And, while full-frame chips have gotten better by a similar amount, there’s no reason to think that people’s needs and expectations have become more demanding at the same rate.

APS-C can be a highly capable format: it can be small and affordable when you want it to be, but you can extend its capability if you add a bright lens where you need it

If APS-C has exceeded ‘good enough’ for a lot of applications, then what does it matter that full-frame has gotten even better? (I’ll concede that reviews can contribute to this: we can show which camera is better, but can’t tell you whether you, personally, need that improvement). Finally, it’s worth noting that in the era of mirrorless, there’s no direct connection between sensor size and viewfinder size/brightness, so there are fewer downsides than ever to APS-C.

Sigma to the rescue

Lenses like the Sigma 56mm F1.4 give you great low light performance and subject separation on crop-sensor cameras like Sony's a6500.
ISO 1000 | 1/100 sec | F1.4

But in the end, you just need lens support. And I’d argue that Sigma has done more to support APS-C as an enthusiast format than the big camera makers have. Fujifilm should get some recognition: having picked APS-C as its enthusiast format, it's built the most comprehensive lineup there's ever been (and perhaps Canon's 32mm F1.4 for EF-M is the beginning of something interesting for that system) but Sigma deserves credit not just for its commitment but also for its innovation.

Fujifilm has built the most comprehensive APS-C lineup there's ever been

As a third-party lens maker, Sigma offered some affordable alternatives to the camera makers’ own, such as its 17-50mm F2.8, but it also branched-out to offer lenses that neither of the big two made. Its 50-150mm F2.8 remains one of my favorite lenses of the period: it offered the coverage of a 70-200mm had on film, but was smaller, lighter and cheaper, giving it a real advantage over an actual 70-200. (Pentax also deserves credit for its 50-135mm F2.8, part of the most complete own-brand APS-C lens lineups for DSLR).

But in recent years, Sigma’s commitment to APS-C has been redoubled: creating lenses that extend what you can expect the format to do. The 18-35mm F1.8 is a lens that lets APS-C cameras match the depth-of-field and low-light performance of a full-frame camera with a 27-52mm F2.8 zoom, obviating the need to upgrade, perhaps. On top of this, it’s made a 50-100mm F1.8, letting APS-C match a full-framer with a 75-150mm F2.8. Again, this lets an enthusiast who likes to dabble in sports gain ‘full-frame image quality’ for their sports shooting, without having to bear the weight and cost of full-frame when they’re shooting other subjects.

And onward

Sigma's 16mm F1.4 is a fantastic lens for Sony E-Mount (and, of course, Micro Four Thirds)

Sigma’s continued this trend into the mirrorless space. Sony started its E-mount system with a 16mm F2.8 prime: exactly the sort of lens I was saying was always missing from the DSLR lineups (even if that particular lens is a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’). It's produced a couple of interesting primes since then but now seems to have totally shifted its attention to full-frame. This again risking the door being closed on APS-C as an enthusiast format. But, again, Sigma has stepped in.

Not only has Sigma made a F1.4 16mm for Sony’s APS-C E-mount, it’s also created a 30mm and a 56mm F1.4. It hasn't made any fast zooms for mirrorless, but this trio of primes again allows APS-C shooters to squeeze the most out IQ of their cameras, if they don’t need full-frame performance all the time. Something worth considering if you’re thinking about switching systems.

Another thing to consider might be that the standout lenses for the fledgling full-frame mirrorless cameras are often the 24-105mm and 24-70mm F4s: lenses that could be matched in capability by a 16-70mm F2.8 on APS-C. If anyone feels like making one. Hint, hint.


*Anyone saying it allows an ideal compromise between image quality and lens/camera size clearly hasn’t been keeping track of the increasing bulk of the lenses for the latest mirrorless full-frame cameras.

Posted: February 16, 2019, 2:00 pm

International Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

'Fireworks' by Jill Welham | IGPOTY

The winning photographs from the International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 12 have been announced, with the top prize going to photographer Jill Welham of North Yorkshire, England for the above photograph titled 'Fireworks' that was submitted under the Abstract category.

Passionate about the cyanotype print process, 'Fireworks' showcases the details of three Allium heads created using a wet cyanotype process.

'This image of three Allium heads was created using a technique known as wet cyanotype. Two chemicals, ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide, are mixed together to create a photosensitive solution which is painted onto the surface of watercolour paper and left to dry,' says Welham in the image's description. 'This process needs to be conducted away from UV light, and once dry the paper must be kept in a light-proof bag until it is used.'

In addition to Welham's photograph, we've rounded up the remaining dozen winners from each of the remaining twelve categories. The winning photographs were narrowed down from more than 19,000 entries from over 50 countries.

The IGPOTY Competition 13 contest is already taking submissions. You can find out more information and submit your work on the IGPOTY website.

International Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

'Bressingham Gardens in Autumn' by Richard Bloom | IGPOTY

'Bressingham Gardens in Autumn' by Richard Bloom | IGPOTY

1st Place in Beautiful Gardens

Norfolk, England, UK

Glorious early morning sun bathed TheSummer Garden at Bressingham in rich, warming light. Ornamental grasses are featured with swathes of Aster and Rudbeckia.

Gear/Settings: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Canon 16-35mm lens, 1/4sec at f/16, ISO 100. Tripod, cable release, polarising filter, neutral density graduated filter.

Post-capture: basic image management.

International Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

'Farewell' by Andrea Pozzi | IGPOTY

'Farewell' by Andrea Pozzi | IGPOTY

1st Place in Breathing Spaces

Torres del Paine National Park,Patagonia,Chile

The sun had already risen and the dawn had been incredible. Wandering through the vegetation, however, I realised that the essence of the territory was only revealing itself in that moment. The extraordinary colours of the sunrise had dissolved, leaving behind a unique intimate feeling amongst one of the most beautiful mountain ranges on Earth.

Gear/Settings: Canon EOS 6D, Canon 24-70mm lens, 1.3sec at f/13, ISO 200. Tripod, neutral density graduated filter, polarising filter.

Post-capture: basic image management.

International Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

'Lost in the Lush Beauty' by Vincenzo Di Nuzzo | IGPOTY

'Lost in the Lush Beauty' by Vincenzo Di Nuzzo | IGPOTY

1st Place in Captured at Kew

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, England, UK

Opening the door of the Palm House at Kew is like entering a hidden paradise. It never fails to amaze me how fascinated and stunned I become in the presence of such natural beauty. I took this photograph whilst my friend was having a similar reaction to the sheer scale and abundance of lush tropical plants.

Gear/Settings: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 24-105mm lens, 1/60sec at f/8, ISO 400. Post-capture: basic image management

International Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

'Cork Oak' by Scott Simpson | IGPOTY

1st Place in European Garden Photography Award

Gazebo Cádiz, Andalucía, Spain

There cannot be too many gardens in Europe that combinecork oaks (Quercus suber) with manicured gardens. I was commissioned to photograph such a place at a luxury real estate property in Andalucía. The garden had the added bonus of a raised gazebo, which was nestled amongst the mature cork oaks.

Gear/Settings: Canon EOS 7D, Canon 70-200mm lens, 1/30sec at f/13, ISO 100. Tripod.

Post-capture: basic image management.

International Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

'Greenbelt' by Halu Chow | IGPOTY

'Greenbelt' by Halu Chow | IGPOTY

1st Place in Greening the City

Kowloon, Hong Kong, China

I used infrared to precisely define the exact locations of plant life around the city, highlighting the scale and proximity of their presence. It is easy to forget the intimacy and importance of this relationship.

Gear/Settings: Canon IXUS860 IS, Canon 28-105mmlens, 1/100sec at f/2.8, ISO 100.Infrared converted camera.

Post-capture: basic image management.

International Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

'Tropical Wonderland' by Jocelyn Horsfall | IGPOTY

'Tropical Wonderland' by Jocelyn Horsfall | IGPOTY

1st Place: Portfolios, Abstract Views

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, England, UK

The magical, dreamlike effect of infrared was the perfect way to express the mystery and exotic intrigue of the Palm House at Kew Gardens. I captured a selection of different plants and foliage to feature across the portfolio in order to show the subtle variety of textures and forms within this tropical paradise. Together the images vividly demonstrate the sense of lushness and tranquillity that the space provides.

Gear/Settings: Fujifilm X-E1, Fujifilm 14mm lens + Fujifilm 18-55mm lens + Fujifilm 18-135mm lens, 1/750sec to 1/125sec at f/7.1 to f/13, ISO 500 to ISO 800. Infrared converted camera.

Post-capture: colour tones matched across portfolio, Topaz filter, basic image management.

International Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

'Lotus Tango' by Kathleen Furey | IGPOTY

'Lotus Tango' by Kathleen Furey | IGPOTY

1st Place in The Beauty of Plants

Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens, Washington D.C., USA

There are many stages of lotus growth on display at theAquatic Gardens, but to come across two twisted dancing stems of Nelumbo nuciferawas unexpected and quite magical.

Gear/Settings: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, Olympus 14-150mm lens, 1/320sec at f/5.3, ISO 200.

Post-capture: basic image management

International Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

'Colourful Fields' by Suwandi Chandra | IGPOTY

'Colourful Fields' by Suwandi Chandra | IGPOTY

1st Place in The Bountiful Earth

Sembalun Lawang, Lombok, Indonesia

I hiked to the top of Pergasingan Hill early in the morning to catch the sunrise. The view was amazing as it overlooked the rolling hills opposite and Sembalun village below. Since most of the people here are farmers, they transform the valley floor into a patchwork of agriculture, growing rice, vegetables and even strawberries.

Gear/Settings: Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm lens, 1/2sec at f/8, ISO 100. Tripod, neutral density graduated filter.

Post-capture: basic image management.

International Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

'View Over Trauttmansdorff' by Harry Tremp | IGPOTY

'View Over Trauttmansdorff' by Harry Tremp | IGPOTY

1st Place in The Spirit of Trauttmansdorff, a special award that celebrates the unique character and beauty of The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castlein Merano, South Tyrol, Italy.

The golden hour was just approaching when I captured this view of Trauttmansdorff in October, the green of the deciduous trees just starting to begin their autumn transformation.

Gear/Settings: Sony α7R Mark III, Sony 24-105mm lens, 1/50sec at f/13, ISO 400.

Post-capture: basic image management

International Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

'Misty Bayou' by Roberto Marchegiani | IGPOTY

'Misty Bayou' by Roberto Marchegiani | IGPOTY


1st Place in Trees, Woods & Forests

Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana, USA

The Louisiana wetlands are a giant tangle of canals, swamps and forests of palm and cypress trees that encompass the great Mississippi estuary. Populated by numerous snakes, alligators, birds and venomous spiders, the often-hostile environment is capable of stunning beauty. Every day at dawn and dusk we motored out on a small swamp boat –the only way to get around the bayou –looking for the best light and conditions. A fog finally descended around a singular majestic cypress (Taxodium), framed by the other trees and adorned with Spanish moss.

Gear/Settings: Nikon D850, Nikon 70-200mm lens,1/50sec at f/7.1, ISO 64.

Post-capture: basic image management.

International Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

'Mount Rainier in the Mist' by Robert Gibbons | IGPOTY

'Mount Rainier in the Mist' by Robert Gibbons | IGPOTY

1st Place in Wildflower Landscapes

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, USA

I came across a spectacular array of summer alpine flowers on Mazama Ridge, including Castilleja, Lupinusand Anemone occidentalis, all adding character and texture to the scene as if by design.

Gear/Settings: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 24mm tilt-shift lens, 1/13sec at f/20, ISO 200. Tripod.

Post-capture: basic image management

International Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

'Starlings' by Jonathan Need | IGPOTY

'Starlings' by Jonathan Need | IGPOTY

1st Place in Wildlife in the Garden

Snowdonia National Park, Wales, UK

A heavy snowfall brought a lot of hungry birds to my garden feeder. This old nearby tap provided a convenient resting place for this trio of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) while they waited for their turn to feed.

Gear/Settings: Nikon D3S, Sigma 500mm lens, 1/500sec at f/5, ISO 800. Tripod.

Post-capture: basic image management.

International Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

'Ladies of the Meadow' by Jake Kneale | IGPOTY

'Ladies of the Meadow' by Jake Kneale | IGPOTY

1st Place in Young Garden Photographer of the Year

Wiltshire, England, UK

The rising sun backlit this group of lady’s smock (Cardamine pratensis) in a Wiltshire meadow.I used the aperture to turn the water droplets into beautiful bokeh and created a smooth, clean and glistening background.

Gear/Settings: Canon EOS 7D, Canon 70-200mm lens, 1/160sec at f/7.1, ISO 100.

Post-capture: basic image management.

Posted: February 15, 2019, 9:19 pm

Kosmo Foto has launched pre-orders for its Mono film in 120 format, adding the new product alongside the 35mm version launched in 2017. According to the company, the first batch of Mono 120 has entered production and will be sold exclusively through the Kosmo Foto shop. Future batches of the film will be available through Kosmo's retailers and distributors, as well.

In its announcement today, the company explained:

Mono has proven to be really popular with film photographers – it’s now stocked in photography shops all over the world, and been bought by photographers from Greenland to Greece and Costa Rica to the Czech Republic.

Not everyone, however, shoots 35mm film. The resurgence that film has enjoyed over the last few years has also seen many people shooting on medium format cameras from humble Holgas through to Hasselblads.

So Kosmo Foto is very pleased to be able to say that Kosmo Foto Mono 120 is now available to pre-order.

According to Kosmo Foto, Mono features a traditional black-and-white chemistry that can be developed using Tetanal, Rodinal, Perceptol, and similar formulations, but it can't be developed by mini-labs with only C41 processing. Mono 120 is suitable for use in a variety of shooting conditions, including both sunny and overcast environments.

Kosmo Foto requires pre-order customers to purchase at least three, but no more than 10, rolls of Mono 120 when ordering. Each roll costs £4.50 / $5.80 and is available now through the Kosmo Foto store; the company expects its first batch to be ready for shipment in May.

Posted: February 15, 2019, 8:54 pm

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