DP Review

- Digital Photography Review
NASA captured photos and video of the ISS 'photobombing' today's solar eclipse
The International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, is seen in silhouette as it transits the Sun at roughly five miles per second during a partial solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017 near Banner, Wyoming. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Plenty of people were pointing their cameras up at the solar eclipse today, but leave it to NASA to capture a little something extra. From his vantage point in Banner, Wyoming, NASA photo editor Joel Kowsky captured a dual eclipse of sorts: the moon obscuring the sun, and the tiny pinprick of the International Space Station obscuring a little bit of what was left.

As the ISS and its six crew members flew in front of the partially obscured disk of the sun, Kowsky had both still and slow motion video cameras trained on his target.

Here's a closer crop of the photograph above:

Here, a composite that shows the ISS's full transit across the partial eclipse:

And, finally, a slow motion video of the transit, recorded by Kowsky at 1,500 frames a second:

To see these photos and video in their full glory, head over to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Flickr account.

All photos and video courtesy of NASA/Joel Kowsky

Video: Six lighting tips for flash photography newbies

If you're taking our advice from this morning and buying your first flash soon, a few beginner tips on mixing flash with ambient light will really help you take advantage of your new gear. Enter Mango Street's Daniel Inskeep and Rachel Gulotta, who teamed up with photographer and filmmaker Daniel DeArco to share just that.

Mango Street is known for their simple tutorials targeted at beginners, but they mainly use natural light for their photography. So when the topic turned to artificial lighting, they asked DeArco to come on and share some advice. Over the course of two videos, DeArco offers six different tips for getting great results when you mix artificial and natural light.

Video 1

  1. Keep it Simple: Prioritize one light source first. In this case, DeArco prioritizes the natural light.
  2. Have a go-to hard light and soft light setup
  3. Experiment: Knowledge of studio lighting will make you a more well-rounded photographer

Video 2

  1. Use a strobe + reflector as a fill light on your subject to avoid blowing out your background
  2. Look for sun reflecting off buildings to provide a hair light and use your favorite strobe and modifier as a fill
  3. Use a blocked or just-out-of-frame strobe to fake a sunset if you miss golden hour

If you found the tutorials helpful, you can see more from both Mango Street and DeArco on YouTube. And if you're inspired by these techniques, check out our OpEd from this morning on why your next gear purchase should be a flash, not a new lens:

Don't buy another lens, buy a flash instead

These incredibly intricate pinhole cameras are made from clay

Steve Irvine is an incredibly talented ceramic artist, but he's been passionate about photography for almost as long as he's been working with clay. "It only seems natural," he says, "that the two passions should come together." And when they do, the ceramic pinhole cameras you see above are the result.

In the gallery above, each camera is followed by a sample photograph taken with the selfsame camera.

Most are made using a combination of throwing and hand-building techniques, glazed and fired by Irvine, and then improved upon with little antique dials, gadgets and other accents until the final product looks like something out of your favorite steampunk universe. As Irvine explains on his website, these creations are fully-functional cameras:

These are fully functional pinhole cameras. They have no lens, light meter, viewfinder, or automatic shutter, and yet they can produce gallery quality images. I use black and white photo paper in them for the negatives. The negatives are either 4 x 5 inches, or 5 x 8 inches.

You can find more examples of Irvine's pinhole photography at this link. And if you want to see how one of these cameras is made, you can find a step-by-step tutorial on Irvine's website here.

All photos by Steve Irvine and used with permission.

Demo: Gudsen adds 'Mimic Motion Control' to Moza Air gimbal

Chinese gimbal manufacturer Gudsen has released new firmware update for its Moza Air that offers new ways to control the motion of the head, as well as better timelapse features for long exposures. The Moza Air—which is designed for cameras ranging from CSC bodies to high-end enthusiast DSLRs—now allows operators to control the direction and angle of the head remotely just by moving a small handlebar-mounted control unit.

With the supplied thumb controller attached to a set of handle bars, the Bluetooth-paired head mimics the motion of the bars so that the mounted camera can be moved by small increments without the user even touching the gimbal.

Pitch, Roll and Yaw movements can be controlled while a read-out on the thumb controller’s screen lets you know the exact position of the head.

The second part of the update adds improved timelapse functionality, ensuring the head is still during long exposures. It does this by using a 'move-stop-shoot-move' process rather than a continuous moving path across the programmed points. The timelapse interface on the Moza Assistant app has also been updated, allowing more control in a clearer design.

For more information, visit the Gudsen website.

Sony a9 underwater review: Shooting great white sharks

Backscatter Underwater Video & Photo is the largest underwater imaging equipment supplier in the world. They love the water, and they personally dive and shoot with the gear they sell. This article originally appeared on their website, and is reproduced here with permission.

With the high speed shooting of the Sony a9 mirrorless camera and just released Nauticam NA-A9 underwater housing, we decided the best underwater photography test was to take it to the island of Guadalupe off the Baja California coast to shoot great white sharks.

The white sharks are a perfect subject to test with this camera due to their speed, relative unpredictability, stealthiness, and camouflage. All of these factors require a camera to have fast and accurate autofocus, fast continuous shooting mode, and a really deep image buffer to capture as many pictures as possible to nail that one special shot.

Sony designed the Sony a9 to do just that and aimed this camera to directly compete with the Nikon D5 and Canon 1DX II, both of which are the top cameras from Nikon and Canon for high-speed shooting.

Sony a9 Camera, Nauticam NA-A9 Housing, Sony 16-35mm Lens. Shot at 1/250 F8 ISO 320

Blazing Fast Autofocus Performance

The Sony a9 has a crazy amount of AF points at 693 when set in wide mode that covers 93% of the frame and updates focus at a stunning rate of 60 times per second. I used the Sony 16-35mm f/4 lens exclusively for this trip and let the camera pick from the 693 autofocus points on its own.

With this camera and lens combination, I did not have any problems with the camera and lens not tracking the subject, even during high speed “attacks" of the sharks going after the bait, when letting the camera choose on its own among the 693 AF points. Only when a shark was at the limit of visibility did the AF system lose the subject and started to track the water surface instead. When a shark came back to be within the limits of visibility, the AF system immediately picked it back up again. That being said, the visibility at Guadalupe Island is about 70 to 100 feet, which is so far beyond what any acceptable composition distance is for underwater photography.

A major advantage of the autofocus system of the Sony a9 is the ability to track focus WHILE rapid fire burst shooting without any screen or viewfinder blackout. This allows continuous shooting, auto focusing, framing, and zooming all to happen at the same time seamlessly. This was a godsend for the rapidly changing distance to subject and framing that happens as these sharks move through the scene.

For shooting technique, I just mashed down and held the AF-ON button on the back of the camera and the shutter release simultaneously, while at the same time moving the zoom knob and panning the camera for framing the shot. The camera continued to shoot and focus track the subject with no issues. This technique might seem rather crude, but worked quite well given the task at hand.

The Sony a9 is the fastest shooting full frame camera on the planet. Combined with super fast autofocus, it has the ability to capture the subtlest movements. This image sequence was shoot at 20 frames per second. 1/400, F11, ISO 1000

Fastest Shooting Speed for a Full Frame Camera Ever

The Sony a9 can shoot up to 20 frames per second in RAW with a 241 shot buffer when using the electronic shutter, and 5 frames per second with the mechanical shutter. The electronic shutter does not sync with strobes (not that a strobe could keep up!) while the mechanical shutter does sync with strobes. The custom function button C3 is setup from the factory to allow the photographer to choose between mechanical or electronic shutter.

There are three continuous shooting modes on the camera--high, medium, and low. I kept it on continuous high the whole time and used the C3 button to choose between mechanical and electronic depending on whether I wanted to use strobes in the shots.

For shots with strobes, I kept my strobes at 1/4 power to ensure a super fast recycle that would keep up with the camera’s 5 frames per second shutter. We hope that in the future Sony will make an electronic shutter that will sync with strobes and get past the mechanical flash sync speed limit of 1/250 second.

Sony a9 Camera, Nauticam NA-A9 Housing, Sony 16-35mm Lens. Shot at 1/250 F9 ISO 400

Exposure Technique for White Sharks—Auto ISO

With distances and the amount of light reaching the subject changing rapidly with shooting great white sharks, it’s hard to shoot fully manual and nail each exposure each time.

We’re up against a few limits that aren't exactly ideal for going over to program auto exposure, aperture priority, or shutter priority. A fast shutter speed is needed to freeze the motion of the shark. A higher aperture is needed to get the corners sharp with a wide angle zoom lens behind a dome.

Needing to set both of these in the past has meant needing to shoot full manual exposure, but with Sony’s excellent ISO performance and customizable Auto ISO feature, manual exposure mode with Auto ISO is how I shot each one of these shots in this review.

Sony a9 vs. Sony A7R Mark II vs. Nikon D810

Sony’s stills image quality in their flagship cameras have been at the top of the heap of not only the mirrorless camera category, but also beating out top level SLRs as well for the last few years. The color, sharpness, detail, and noise levels are all excellent and find the Sony a9 among the top of the list in each of these categories.

While the higher resolution cameras of the Sony a7R II and Nikon D810 will edge out the Sony a9 in ultimate image quality, neither of those cameras come close to the speed of this camera, and it’s hard to find another camera besides these two that will outperform the Sony a9 in image quality with what we have available to shoot underwater.

Sony a9 Camera, Nauticam NA-A9 Housing, Sony 16-35mm Lens. Shot at 1/250 F8 ISO 400

Who Is This Camera For?

The Sony a9 doesn’t come cheap. At $4,500, it is the most expensive full frame mirrorless camera on the market today. Then again, it’s designed to run head to head against the Nikon D5 which does 12 frames per second, and the Canon 1DX II, which does 16 frames per second—those cameras are $6,500 and $6,000, respectively.

Sony definitely shakes up the established competition in this area by besting these cameras in terms of overall speed and image quality. While there may be additional features such as 4K 60p video and the best ambient light white balance out there with the Canon 1DX II, the Sony a9 comes in at a much lower price point, especially for the amount of still image shooting performance you’ll get.

If you are someone who likes to shoot fast moving pelagic sea life such as sharks, dolphins, whales, mantas, sailfish, etc., this is definitely the camera for you. The speed of focus, focus tracking and shooting, and 241 RAW shot image buffer is mind boggling and second to none. You’ll be able to get the shot with focus nailed better than any other camera out there today.

For someone who needs more resolution than 24 megapixels, and must have pro level 4K video with accurate custom white balance at depth, those are the only areas where this camera will fall short.

Shooting the solar eclipse at DPReview headquarters

Most of us on the DPReview staff followed our own advice today: we put the cameras down, donned our eclipse glasses and just enjoyed today's total solar eclipse... most of us. Unable to contain himself, our own Rishi Sanyal decided last-minute to ignore all sound advice, hack together a rig and photograph the eclipse from DPReview headquarters, risking the life of a young Sony a7R II in the process.

This is one of those "do as we say, not as we do" moments, because we would never recommend anybody risk their camera gear by not using a proper solar filter to shoot the sun. Rishi knows his stuff, though (to put it mildly) so he stacked a few filters to create a proper rig that would most likely keep the camera safe. The rig included:

  • Sony a7R II
  • Metabones EF-E Smart Adapter (IV)
  • Canon 1.4x II teleconverter
  • Canon EOS 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM
  • B+W MRC Nano UV filter
  • 10 stop glass ND filter with some IR filtration
  • 6 stop glass ND filter
  • Gitzo 1542T tripod + Markins ballhead

Fortunately for him (and that Sony sensor) his gambit worked. Between the UV protection of the UV filter, 16 stops of ND filter, and the IR filtration on the 10 stop glass ND, he was able to capture a few really sharp shots of the eclipse in action without burning a hole in the a7R II's 42.4MP sensor.

Check out the rig, some sample shots, and a few behind the scenes photos from our building's rooftop deck up top. And be sure to share your eclipse experience in the comments!

Zenit is back in business, plans to release full-frame mirrorless camera in 2018

Russian publication RNS has revealed that camera maker Zenit has restarted camera production, and may in fact launch a full-frame mirrorless model on the international market as early as 2018. The initial announcement was reportedly made by Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant's Deputy Director General for Civilian Production and Consumer Goods, Igor Sergeyev, who revealed the plans via Moscow Region Radio 1.

The planned full-frame mirrorless camera will retain iconic, brand-recognizable elements, according to the announcement, including "characteristic contours, ergonomics, [and] camera lines." However, the camera will be modernized for today's market, featuring both light and dark color options as well as leather trim.

The price will exceed that of a "good smartphone," according to Sergeyev, though specifics weren't provided.

Zenit, though once popular, ceased production in 2005 following multiple failed attempts to revive its place in the market. According to Sergeyev, the latest production round will not attempt to compete with big-name camera manufacturers like Canon or Nikon. In fact, an unnamed "leading photographic equipment company" will produce some of the components for this camera.

Additional details on the camera or Zenit's renaissance weren't provided, but we'll let you know just as soon as more is revealed.

Don't buy another lens, buy a flash instead


A bounced, on-camera flash was a quick way for me to take some photo booth snaps in a very dark room without having to set anything up off-camera.

When people really get into photography and start saving their pennies for new gear, one of the first things they buy tends to be a lens, like a telephoto or a fast prime. However, if you've already got a lens or two and you're thinking you'd want another, let me suggest that you pick up an external flash instead.

Why, you ask? What's wrong with natural light? After all, those insert-name-brand-here flashes are just way too expensive.

With the abundance of cheap flashes pouring out of China these days, you should be able to get a TTL, or 'through the lens' metering flash for around $50 US. If it's your first flash, a cheapie one will do just fine, and TTL metering will help you get out and get shooting with it in no time.

If you're 'into photography' enough to have a couple of lenses, then it's time to consider one of these as well.

Even a 'natural light' shooter can benefit immensely from a better understanding of how light works, and what better way to experiment with light than controlling your own? You may even find that, using artificial lights, you can spend less time looking for shade or big bay windows, and sometimes, you can get away with shooting at the 'wrong' time of day.

'Even a 'natural light' shooter can benefit immensely from a better understanding of how light works, and what better way to experiment with light than controlling your own?'

Lastly, having a flash simply provides you with another tool with which to create images. It's just another option you didn't have before. It can open up new possibilities, and perhaps lead you in a creative direction you never expected. And as you grow, you may find there are some situations that you'd simply never get away with not using strobes.

Getting started using TTL

Even if you tend to use your camera in 'Auto' or 'P' modes, you can gain instant benefits from a small, inexpensive flash. As stated earlier, it'll be important to get TTL capability, which is kind of like 'Auto' or 'P' for flash.

Room a bit dim? A ceiling-bounced flash is one of the easiest ways to brighten it up without looking too unnatural.

So how does TTL work? Before taking the photo, the flash fires a quick burst that reflects off your subject and travels through the lens to the imaging or metering sensor in the camera, which then takes a reading and tells the flash what power it should use. And because this is all happening at the speed of light, there is no perceptible lag in this process.

The best part is that if you're finding your flash is looking too bright or too dim, you can dial in exposure compensation on the flash itself, just like you can on your camera. These are two separate exposure compensations; the flash exposure compensation value will only affect the flash output.

And TTL isn't just to be pooh-pooh'd as the 'amateur' option either, as it can work incredibly well. Many of Joe McNally's excellent shoots with both speedlights and bigger strobes are controlled using TTL and biasing them up or down with exposure compensation.

On-camera flash Bounce flash
Taken on a Nikon D3400 in full auto.

One of the best ways to get instantly better pictures as a result of your new flash is to mount it to the top of you camera, point it up at the ceiling, and photograph some friends indoors. Instead of producing portraits with very bright faces and an almost black background, which built-in flashes tend to do, you're bouncing the light off the ceiling, where it cascades down and lights everything a little more softly.

It's like the difference between shooting in direct sunlight versus shooting on a cloudy day. In direct sunlight (like with direct flash pointed at your subject), you get pretty harsh shadows and more contrast between those shadows and the highlights. With the flash pointed at the ceiling, it's spread out more, similar to how clouds will diffuse sunlight, and shadows are much softer as a result.

A practical case for TTL, or 'How I Shoot Dimly Lit Events'

One of my favorite aspects of TTL metering actually involves keeping my camera in full manual, with the flash doing all of the 'automatic' work for me. This is particularly useful at dimly lit events and wedding receptions, where I'm moving around quickly and almost always using bounce flash, as described just above.

Ambient lighting only.

This first shot is a good example of an approximate base exposure for the ambient lighting in the room. By that I mean that the ambient lights aren't totally blown out, and the background is a little dark but still provides a bit of context. This is important as I mostly want the flash to bring out my main subject without the entire rest of the frame looking horribly under-or-overexposed.

In this particular case, I actually like this dark, moody look for the sax player. But these sorts of ambient, 'moody' shots won't work for everyone all the time. So let's see what difference a flash can make, and how I like to incorporate it in these situations.

Added bounce-flash with TTL.

This second image has some exposure adjustments to bring up the ambient a little more, but I've added a flash mounted to the top of the camera. It was bounced at the ceiling in TTL mode and the flash exposure compensation was adjusted to underexpose slightly.

Of course, these images are extremely different in terms of 'mood,' but I've found that this method of adding 'pops' of bounce flash to subjects at events can allow me to more effectively freeze motion without raising my shutter speed, as well as shoot my lenses a little more stopped down to give me some leeway for focus errors.

What about you?

Image taken with a single off-camera flash through an umbrella.

Are you a flash shooter, or a natural light purist? TTL or all manual, all the time? Let us know in the comments if you've got any strobe tips or tricks that have made a difference to the types of photography you enjoy.

Shooting 101MP black-and-white photos with the Phase One XF IQ3 Achromatic

Phase One recently sent award-winning portrait photographer Rick Wenner on a dream assignment. Equipped with the XF IQ3 Achromatic—the world's only 101MP black-and-white medium format digital back—he was sent to Wildwood, NJ to shoot an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen.

The annual drag racing event features pre-war era hot rods and motorcycles, speeding across the beach. It's the ideal event to shoot in black-and-white, and when you're shooting with the only 101MP digital back out there... well, all the better.

But why black and white only? Wenner explained in an interview with Phase One:

“Black and white photography is a great approach to focus completely on the detail and art of these beautiful machines. [...] You aren’t distracted by a bright blue sky or a yellow-green paint job on a hot rod. You are not distracted by the colorful tattoos or the rust and patina of an old delivery truck. Your eye is only looking at what I want the viewers to see in my photos - detail, texture, facial expressions, style, shapes, and action.”

As for the camera itself, it was... hefty... as you might well assume. In addition to the weight of the XF IQ3 Achromatic, Wenner was using the Schneider Kreuznach 40-80mm LS f/4.0-5.6 and Schneider Kreuznach 75-150mm LS f/4.0-5.6 Blue Ring lenses, neither of which are exactly light.

Speaking with DPReview over email, though, Wenner tells us the extra weight was totally worth it once he got a look at the files:

The camera was heavier than what I’m used to with those zoom lenses but still manageable throughout the day. The files are ENORMOUS, as expected. The .IIQ (raw) files are on average about 150-175 MB. I loved working with the files because of the insane amount of detail captured and how much information can be recovered in highlights and shadows.

Check out the full set of photos from the TROG event up top. And if you want to see more of Wenner's work, visit his website, check out his blog, or give him a follow on Instagram.

All photos by Rick Wenner and used with permission.

How to buy used gear (and not get burned)

Don't get burned!

Photography gear is pricey, and buying used is a great way to keep your wallet from getting too thin, but it also comes with quite a few risks. The high price associated with photo gear sometimes attracts unsavory folks disguising themselves as reputable sellers as a means to part you from your hard earned cash. Thankfully, it's pretty easy to avoid this from happening.

I've been buying gear on a budget for thirteen years now, mostly via eBay and Craigslist, and in that time have come up with a basic set of rules to protect myself from getting burned. And after recently reading a gear-buying horror story, I felt compelled to write down my rules – with the input of my DPReview colleagues – and share them with you.

Note: There are exceptions to these rules and following them does not necessary guarantee you won't get burned by a bad deal. As with any big-ticket purchase, common sense is the best and safest policy.

Buy from reputable used retailers

Buy from reputable used retailers like KEH or from the used department of reputable camera retailers like Adorama or B&H. If you are unsure of whether a camera retailer is reputable, if they are based in the USA, a quick search of the company's name on the Better Business Bureau website should provide you the answer.

As a rule, always be sure to check and understand the retailer's return policy, just in case you have an issue.

Buy from sellers with a positive history

The advantage of buying from a used retailer is generally peace of mind; the disadvantage is you will likely pay more than buying direct from a selling party. That's where consumer-to-consumer sites like eBay and more recently, Amazon Marketplace* come into play.

If you plan on purchasing from a seller on one of these sites, I can not emphasize enough how important it is that they have a positive selling history with multiple completed transactions. At least ten is a good place to start, but the more the merrier. Checking a seller's history is simple on both of the above-mentioned sites.

DPReview.com is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon but is editorially independent of our parent company.

Use safe payment methods

Only pay using a payment method you trust. PayPal is the obvious option, especially if buying on eBay, but there are others out there. Many banks also offer peer-to-peer payment options for a small fee. And be wary of anyone who wants you to pay by wiring money to them via Western Union. If you choose to do so, make sure you’ve developed a sufficient level of trust with the seller.

Buy from other photo enthusiasts and ask questions

Buy from sellers who are photographers/photo enthusiasts. They’ll likely have taken better care of their gear and know more about its operation. The language used in an item's description is usually a good indicator of whether the seller is a photo enthusiast or just someone who picked up some gear at an estate sale. If you are still unsure, reach out to the seller and ask them a question about the gear. If their reply doesn't satisfy you, don't buy it.

Another great place to buy direct from other photographers is the Fred Miranda used gear forum.

Try Craigslist gear paired with your own

If you plan on buying off Craigslist, try the gear with your own lenses/camera before you buy. One of my colleagues went to check out a prospective lens from a Craigslist seller. The lens seemed to function great on the gentleman's camera, but when my buddy mounted it on his, the AF motor started to squeak. My friend had done his research and knew this particular lens occasionally suffers from premature failed AF motors, so he politely said 'no thank you' and moved on. Had he not tried it on his own camera, he might have ended up with a lemon of a lens.

Know the warning signs of gear failure and ask for shutter counts

This is in a similar vein to the previous tip: Always, ALWAYS research warning signs of failure for a piece of used gear you are considering purchasing. Some used gear holds up surprisingly well over time; some does not. For instance, early production Nikon 17-35mm F2.8 lenses suffer from the aforementioned failed focus motor. Knowing the warning signs of failure is essential. And don't be afraid to ask the buyer if 'the AF motor squeaks at all.' These kinds of questions and their answers can help protect you.

On a similar note, when purchasing a used DSLR, always ask for the shutter count. In the same way the odometer in a used car provides a metric for how much wear and tear it's received, so does a shutter count. Because shutters are only guaranteed so many actuations by the manufacturer - though many will pass their quoted shutter counts - it is crucial to check before you buy.

Look into alternative versions, save some dough

Look for alternative versions of gear that may be less expensive. This is less a tip about protecting yourself and more a tip about finding the best deal, but what the heck, we included it anyway. A good example of this is the Leica CL, which goes for a lot more money than a Leitz Minolta CL, despite being the same camera.

Check compatibility

Double check your prospective gear's compatibility with your current gear. This one is pretty commonsense, but if you accidentally buy a Canon FD mount lens for your 5D Mark III, the screw-up is on you, not the seller. Likewise, if you buy a Nikkor-D lens and your DSLR doesn't have a built-in AF motor, that's your problem – not the seller's.

Patience is key

Be patient. If buying on Amazon Marketplace or eBay, you can set automated searches or notifications for products of interest. Don’t rush into buying something because you don’t see a lot of copies for sale.

Update the gear's registration info

If the original owner registered their gear with the manufacturer, make sure that you coordinate changing the registration info to your own. I recently heard an unfortunate story of a photographer sending a piece of gear, bought used, to the manufacturer due to a recall, and the manufacturer sending it back to the original buyer. A sticky wicket for sure! Don't let that happen to you.

Have any used-gear-buying tips of your own?

Dynamic symmetry: The genius of Henri Cartier-Bresson's composition
Breaking down the composition of one of Henri Cartier-Bresson's most famous images. Photo: Magnum Photos, screenshot from video

Henri Cartier-Bresson—the father of modern day street photography and master of the candid shot—was obsessive about the 'geometry' in his photographs. And in this two-part educational series, photographer Tavis Leaf Glover dives into some of Bresson's best-known images to explain the dynamic symmetry at work and help you understand (and implement) it in your own photos.

This is NOT a beginner's guide to composition. To the untrained (and many a trained) eye it can just look like Glover is overlaying so many lines onto each image that SOMEthing is going to line up no matter what. But for all that he coined the term the Decisive Moment, Bresson was extremely deliberate about his compositions.

Both videos dive into that deliberate vision—the way the iconic photographer saw the world around him and fit it into the 35mm frame just so. Check out both parts below, and then let us know what you think in the comments.

Part I

Part II

Photo of the week: Drone portraits bring healing and awareness after wildfire

On November 23, 2016, a fire started along the Chimney Tops 2 that would spread throughout Gatlinburg and become the worst fire in Tennessee of the last 100 years. It claimed 14 lives and over 2,000 homes and businesses.

As the devastation became apparent, I had an idea to use my camera to bring healing and awareness to the region’s victims in a series of photos. From December 14-20, 2016, I photographed as many individuals and families as I could. There were already lots of photographers and drone enthusiasts there but I don’t find that more cameras help in times of need. There has to be a specific idea or angle to tell the story in a different, emotionally-compelling way.

As story-tellers, we have to use the creative director parts of our minds to think differently.

So I had the idea to place a stark white mattress in the middle of these blackened, charred homes and then place the homeowners on the mattress and photograph it from a drone. I had never used drones before but I knew it was the right solution for this project. And I was hopeful that it would be a bit therapeutic for the homeowners to lay down one last time in their former home… a moment of quiet remembrance in a time of distress.

This is the very first photo I took for the project, a portrait of a new friend named Kirk Fleta. He’s a famous musician and had built his home himself, with his own hands.

We had him lay down and then started flying the drone. As soon as I took this first photo, I started crying. I’ve never cried in my entire career, upon seeing one of my images for the first time. But this one got me on every level. Not only was it a successful vision but it uniquely displayed Kirk’s loss and it seemed to represent such a vulnerable moment for him… the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one.

We used a variety of different drones and DSLRs to capture the aerial shots and portraits for the project, respectively. For this shot, we were using a DJI Inspire Pro (X5). You can see the entire project here.

Jeremy Cowart is an award-winning photographer, artist, and entrepreneur whose mission in life is to "explore the intersection of creativity and empathy." His work ranges from celebrity portraiture to deeply personal projects like the Gatlinburg portraits. To see more of his work, visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

Happy World Photo Day: Photos from the staff of DPReview

Happy World Photo Day

World Photo Day is here and to celebrate we've decided to share a staff gallery of some of our favorite images shot over the past year (Note: we did not shot the above image, you can thank the crew of Apollo 17 for that).

The DPReview team is made up of more than just our editorial side – like any web-based publication we also have developers and a business-oriented team. But regardless of each staff members' role, we all share a common passion for photography. And this gallery is a small representation of that passion.

To accompany each image, the photographer has written a few paragraphs describing the scenario in which it was shot as well as the gear used. Enjoy!

Wenmei Hill

I'm at heart a portrait photographer: my favorite subject is people, my favorite challenge is to capture a bit of their story. This is one of my favorite photos of the year because it shows her in the midst of childhood – she'd just turned seven years old – and her eyes carry the frank directness of a child tinged with a hint of the adult she will become.

I took this photo with the Petzval 58mm on the Nikon D750. The Petzval 58 is a manual focus lens with drop in aperture plates, so she had to wait patiently for me to pick my aperture and find my focus. The depth of the shadows and color also add a quality of stillness that I like, as stillness and patience are not easy to catch in a newly-minted seven year old. Every time I pass this photo in my collection, I stop and take a longer look, remembering and savoring this rare quiet moment.

Vladimir Bobov

This is one of those photos where a fleeting moment was captured by dumb luck. I like getting lucky with a photo because I like knowing that aside from having the right gear and dialing in the right settings, there is also an aspect of randomness to our art, and I enjoy seeing it manifested.

I took this photo at a friend’s lake house, while watching their neighbors set off Independence Day fireworks. I was concentrating on photographing the fireworks, which were coming from different directions, so I was switching around between very different exposure settings. I had taken a couple of pictures of my friends sitting on the dock, but they were sitting apart, and the photos weren’t that strong compositionally.

When a few minutes later, I saw them lean in to each other for just a few seconds, I quickly shot with whatever settings I had dialed for the fireworks, and got this photo. When I saw it on the LCD, I knew that it was going to be a keeper for me, even if it was blurry or out of focus, and I continued shooting the fireworks worry-free, knowing that I already had my shot.

Gear: Canon 5D Mark IV, EF 16-35 f/2.8L II USM at 16mm 0.5sec at f/4 ISO 800

Jeff Keller

I was lucky enough to visit the rugged but beautiful country of Iceland last October during a press event for Olympus. We hit most of the usual tourist spots: Reykjavik, Gullfoss, Skógafoss, Almannagjá and, of course, the Blue Lagoon (we need one of those here in Seattle). Being a press event, it shouldn't be surprising that I was using an Olympus camera, which in this case was an E-M1 Mark II.

On one of the days we headed to the south coast to the famous black sand beach in Vik. On the drive there we encountered sun, rain and hail in a five minute period, which I was told wasn't unusual for Iceland. Prior to our arrival, our guide told us to never turn our back to the dangerous ocean (always sage advice) since many have died at the beach. That was reinforced by a warning sign on the walk down and the presence of a security guard keeping people away from the water.

The scene on the beach was incredibly monochromatic. It was overcast with unbelievably rough seas, whose spray eliminated any color above the ocean. The basalt columns that shoot out of the earth give this spot an almost otherworldly feel (no pun intended). Not long after our arrival it started to hail again. The hail added some much-needed contrast to the scene and it was at the point where I took the photo above. That is indeed a color photo, but the scene on the beach was so grim and gloomy that it ended up looking black & white.

Dan Bracaglia

I shot this image in Tokyo earlier in spring on the Fujifilm GFX 50S and GF 63mm F2.8 R. I've always dreamed of wandering the streets of Tokyo, camera in hand but never expected the camera to be a digital medium-format. Truth is I intended on shooting the streets with my Leica M6 but a stroke of good fortune at the CP+ trade show days prior resulted in DPReview getting our hands on one of the very first GFX 50S' available to the media. And so naturally I put my M6 on the backburner/back in my suitcase and used the Fujifilm for the duration of my trip.

Large and sluggish to focus with the 63mm, it was hardly the ideal kit for walking multiple miles a day, trying to be discreet or attempting to catch decisive moments. But having yearned to visit Tokyo much of my life, I wasn't about to let those factors hold me back on my first visit. Plus, I've always enjoyed shooting with Fujifilm cameras and was pretty excited by this new one.

In the end I worked around the sluggish AF and clunky size and made a ton of images while exploring there, many of which I was pleased with, but none more than the one above. It just goes to show, the photographic tool is much less important than the will of the photographer. Also thanks to the high-res chip, I was able to crop to taste in post without any worry.

Rishi Sanyal

I showed up to this shoot with a Sony a7R II and a set of primes. I brought a Nikon D5 and 70-200 F2.8E FL ED VR. Just in case.

I chose Volunteer Park in Seattle as the backdrop, because of the lush greenery everywhere. Close to sunset, the sun shines through numerous trees, affording ample opportunity for backlit scenarios and light shining through trees. I started off shooting with the a7R II. Looking through the EVF, I was able to carefully tune my exposure on-the-fly - a huge advantage of mirrorless.

But something was missing. I didn't like what I was seeing through the EVF. I saw a flat, dull representation of the love story in front of me. Why? Because Sony's JPEG engine rendered lackluster colors and a flat preview that tries to pack in a bunch of scene dynamic range into the EVF preview so you can see the wide range of tones in your scene. That's actually a good thing, in most cases. But the resulting images on the LCD were, well, meh.

Somewhat uninspired, I whipped out the D5. It hurt. Like I think a couple of bones cracked and a nerve rubbed me the wrong way. But then I took a shot. I looked at it on the back of the LCD and I was like 'whoa'. The retina-esque resolution of the D5 LCD combined with Nikon's improved JPEG color rendition that gets it at least part of the way to Canon (whose colors - along with Fujifilm - we unanimously love in the office) left me inspired. But not just that - seeing a scene through the optical viewfinder and concentrating on it, and only after taking the shot realizing I'd created something quite pleasing was satisfying. Satisfying like those days when I picked up my Velvia slides after a weekend getaway.

I packed away the a7R II for the rest of the shoot. Boy was I glad I brought that D5 just in case. Good thing I didn't need to shoot any video.

Carey Rose

As has already been well-documented, I brought only a 50mm-equivalent lens on a trip to Thailand as a personal challenge. I'm used to wider focal lengths, and after a couple of days, I had accepted that most of my photos from this trip would probably suck.

But I kept on shooting anyway. I was in Thailand, after all. I gradually became somewhat more comfortable with the focal length, and didn't constantly feel like I needed to take five steps back whenever I raised the camera to my eye.

We visited the Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand in the final days of our trip, and I like to think of this photo as a sort of happy accident that stemmed from my personal challenge. If I had a 28mm lens, this would probably be one of those 'here is an elephant in a field' sorts of pictures. But because of the tighter field of view, I was able to more clearly see and frame the curves of the elephant's back against an almost mirror-image of them in the landscape, and captured what I found to be a much more compelling image.

So despite my initial reservations, I like this image not only because, well, I like it, but also because it serves as a reminder to keep on challenging myself to 'see' a little differently.

Dale Baskin

The Aurora Borealis is one of Earth’s truly magical natural phenomena, and under the right conditions it can turn a nighttime landscape into an otherworldly place. A few months back I was in Canada’s Northwest Territories to photograph the aurora and caught this image almost by accident.

I had a couple other cameras shooting time-lapse sequences in a clearing when something drew me into the woods nearby. It wasn’t until I looked up through the trees of the taiga forest that I realized why. I was surrounded on all sides by aurora that dipped almost to the horizon, creating stark silhouettes of the trees. A window of stars opened straight above. I quickly mounted my camera on a tripod, pointed upward, and took a series of shots. A few minutes later the aurora had moved and the scene was gone forever.

This picture is one of my favorites from the past year because it captures the essence of what it’s like to stand alone in a remote northern forest, spellbound, as the northern lights dance around you. It’s a supernatural, spiritual experience that’s good for your soul.

Photographed with a Nikon D750 and Rokinon 14mm F2.8 lens. ISO 5000, 10 sec, F2.8.

Richard Butler

One of my favorite photos from this year is actually a composite of two images. The fourth of May this year saw a storm approach from the west. A bright afternoon became darker and darker as threatening clouds rolled in and the forecast of lightning (uncharacteristic for Seattle) began to look more likely. I grabbed the highest-res camera I could and a Tamron lens we needed to shoot samples on, and raced to the most Southerly end of the building, hoping to capture the mood without also including one of city’s many construction cranes.

The clouds looked ever more moody, and it was visibly apparent where they were raining: the mountains to the North West were still lit by sunshine, but there was no visibility at all as you turned to the South. I started snapping, immediately struck by the Tamron’s ability to stabilize 1/80th of a second and 130mm while carefully aimed between the tilted-open window and its outer frame. I kept shooting as the lightning started.

The flashes seem so long-lived, illuminating the banks and fold of cloud for an appreciable time after the initial burst of light. I wondered whether I could roughly anticipate the next flash, with a long enough shutter speed. No. Then I thought I’d see if my reaction times, combined with the lingering glow in the clouds would be enough. Sure enough, on the third bolt of lightning, I managed to catch the tail-end of the strike. It wasn’t the most dramatic lightning shot I’ve ever seen, but it felt pretty satisfying, given my complete lack of preparation.

I quickly chimped: more than acceptably sharp, considering I was trying to hand-hold a 50MP camera. Then I zoomed out and realized that, while trying to focus on getting the timing right, I’d let the camera slip slightly and inadvertently cropped the top off the Space Needle. So the end result is a composite: a fractionally sharper shot taken a few moments earlier, with the darker clouds and lightning merged in from the better-timed image. I'd like to think I've created a 50MP image which looks eye-catching even as a thumbnail but also allows you to zoom in on the Washington State Ferries, apparently sheltering in the harbor on Bainbridge Island. And, since it's not photojournalism or a competition entry, why not?

Allison Johnson

This is a photo I shot almost exactly a year ago, but just under, so I think it still counts. It's shot with the Canon M10 and EF-M 22mm, which is a nice combination, and nobody checking your bag bats an eye at it.

Mason, Ohio is a suburb north of Cincinnati best known for its amusement park and annual pro tennis tournament. This is sunset on Grandstand Court, which is the second-largest court and has a more intimate feel than the neighboring Center Court. I saw Roger Federer play here once. He hasn't played on the second-largest court in a long, long time since then.

There are things I don't love about this photo but so much that I do when I come back to it. It takes me back to warm August nights, the hush over the crowd, the hum from the nearby interstate during quiet moments as points are played. I like focusing on the crowd here rather than the players. We had a day of intense rainstorms and the sunset was spectacular that night. It's kind of a Field of Dreams moment – this incredible tournament with the world's best players pretty much in the middle of a field, in what used to be rural Ohio.

I feel like this moment captures what that week in August is like, at least to me, and that kind of thing makes me really excited about taking pictures. It's both meaningful to me personally, and a lovely, fleeting moment captured and made still. Now that I'm on a photo book-making kick, I feel like this might end up in a tennis photo album soon.

Eugene Hsu

This is a photo of a mother bear and two cubs sharing a salmon at the Katmai National Park and Preserve at Brooks Camp in late 2016. At this remote national park, there are only a small number of people and a huge number of bears. Safety is your number one priority as you always give bears the right of way, which results in a unique wildlife experience. Viewing platforms at various points in the Brooks Falls area give photographers some great angles whether they are hauling around tens-of-thousands of dollars in lenses – or the compact super-zoom Sony RX10 III that I used in this shot.


We love ducks. They're a staff favorite. Mainly because there are lots of them at the nearby park and they're always around when we don't have any other models. At some point we should probably get them to sign model releases.

We have so many photos of ducks that we couldn't pick a single favorite, so this was a random selection to represent the multitude of duck portraits we captured last year. Quack on.

French President Macron takes legal action against photographer over invasion of privacy
Photo: Kremlin.ru

French President Emmanuel Macron has filed a legal complaint against a photographer over allegations that he violated the presidential couple's privacy while they were on a holiday vacation. According to UK newspaper The Telegraph, Macron and his wife were on a private holiday in France when an unnamed photographer failed to honor their request for privacy.

The photographer is accused of stalking the president and his wife during their stay in the French city of Marseille, having at times acted in 'a risky and perilous manner' while ignoring warnings from Macron's security personnel to back off. None of that got him arrested, however; it was the photographer's alleged unauthorized entrance into the couple's private property that led to the cops being called and a legal complaint being filed.

The unnamed photographer reportedly told French newspaper VSD that he was subjected to a police search, which included having officials search his bags and gear. He complained of being treated like a criminal and being forced to remove his watch and shoelaces, and characterized the police officers' search of him as 'totally illegal.'

Oldest known portrait of a US president unearthed after over 100 years in storage

The oldest known original photo of a U.S. president will go up for auction at Sotheby's on October 5th, the auction house has revealed. The daguerreotype is a black and white silver-plate portrait of John Quincy Adams, who is featured sitting in a chair as a Massachusetts congressman following his term as president.

The photo was originally gifted by Adams to Vermont congressman Horace Everett, who remained in possession of the photo until the time of his death.

Though the photo had remained at Everett's house since it was first gifted to the congressman, it was only recently realized to be a photo of Adams. The image was taken by photographer Philip Haas in Washington DC, according to journal entries made by Adams, who described visiting the photographer's studio twice in March of 1843. The previous oldest original portrait of a president was also of Adams, taken only a handful of months later in August 1843.

The back of the framed portrait features Everett's name, as well as the initials 'J. Q. Adams,' the date 'Feb. 1843,' and a bookplate that reads, 'Presented by J.Q.A to his Kinsman H.E. 1843.' The auction house has the portrait listed with an estimated sale price of $150,000 to $250,000.

Sigma updates firmware for popular 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens and MC-11 converters

Sigma has released firmware updates for both its 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Art lens and its Mount Converter MC-11 SA-E and EF-E. Both updates address an issue in which the optical stabilization mechanism malfunctions when the lens is used with either of the aforementioned MC-11 mount converters.

The products can be updated using Sigma Optimization Pro 1.4.1 or greater for Windows or version 1.4.0 or greater for Mac, as well as with the Sigma USB Dock.

$11,000 Leica Noctilux lens shattered, or: Why you never check camera gear when flying
RIP Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux. Photo credit: Leica Store Manchester

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, here's your 1,000 words about why you should never check in your camera gear when flying. This $11,000 Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux ASPH lens and the $7,000 Leica M10 it was attached to are both broken, possibly beyond repair, after the owner checked them into the hold on a flight instead of carrying them onto the plane.

The lens showed up like this at the Leica Store Manchester, who posted this photo to their Instagram and Facebook pages as a warning for other photographers who have considered checking their camera gear. It might be easier, but you never know what kind of treatment your bag is going to get.

Case in point: the murdered Noctilux above arrived at its destination with two front lens elements shattered... through a filter. What's left of the poor filter is stuck in the lens' filter threads. The owner has sent the lens and and camera to a Leica service center, but while the camera might be fixable, we doubt there's anything to be done about the lens.

Shall we consider this lesson learned?

Photo by Leica Store Manchester and used with permission.

New Google research thwarts automatic watermark removal
Warped watermarks leave visible artifacts when removed automatically. Image: Google

Watermarks are widely used by photographers and stock agencies to protect their digital property in an online world where very little stands between an eager image thief and your photography. However, even complex watermarks might not be as secure as you'd think when the same pattern is applied to a large number of accessible images.

A research team at Google recently embarked on a two-part experiment. First, they developed a method of quickly,. effectively and automatically removing watermarks from a large set of images. Then, they found a way to thwart their own automatic system, creating a more secure way to watermark.

Automatic Watermark Removal

It's a tedious task to remove a watermark manually, which can can take even image editing experts several minutes. Even for a computer it is very difficult to automatically detect and remove a watermark on a single image. However, if watermarks are added in a consistent manner to many images, automatic removal becomes much easier.

In the first step, an algorithm identifies which image structures are repeating in an image collection. If a similar watermark is embedded in many images, the watermark becomes the signal and images become the noise. At that point, a few simple image operations can generate a rough estimation of the watermark pattern.

In the second step, the watermark is separated into its image and opacity components while reconstructing a subset of clean images. The end result is a much more accurate estimation of the watermark pattern, which can then easily be removed from the marked images—no manual photo editing required.

Making More Secure Watermarks

As the vulnerability of current watermarking techniques lies in the consistency in watermarks across image collections, the research team at Google developed a method to introduce inconsistencies when embedding watermarks.

They found that simply changing the watermark position or random changes in its opacity do not improve security by much; however, slightly warping the watermark when embedding it in the image did the trick by producing a watermark that is very similar to the original but leaves very visible artifacts when removed by an algorithm. Estimating the random warp field that was applied to the watermark is simply too difficult for current algorithms.

According to the researchers, there is no guarantee that there will not be a way to break randomized watermarking schemes in the future, but randomized warping will make it fundamentally more difficult to automatically remove watermarks from image collections.

More detail and sample images are available on the Google Research Blog.

Cheap purchases that will help improve your photography

Cheap items that will help improve your photography

Photography gear isn't cheap. If you're looking to take your photography to the next level, there's no shortage of expensive lenses and accessories that will beckon to you.

Sometimes it's worth it to save up for the right piece of equipment, but you don't necessarily have to make a serious investment if you're looking to make gains in your creative pursuit. Here are a few relatively cheap buys that will pay off dividends if you're looking to try something new, build on your current photography skills, or just add another visual trick to your arsenal.

Go back to school

To really master the arts of things like lighting or post-processing, online courses are invaluable. They can also be pretty expensive. But if you're looking to pick up some additional knowledge on the cheap, Creative Live hosts classes on an array of topics – and best of all, they're free when you watch live. The Creative Live app also offers a free lesson of the day.

Along those lines, maybe read some books for inspiration. Remember the library? The library! Learn about past masters of photography or see what current photographers are doing. Bryan Petersen has a whole slew of instructional books, or you could look for some creativity boosters like David du Chemin's follow-along lessons.

Join the club

Local photography groups can help you get out the door and put you in good company. Being around other photographers and making connections within your area's photography community are great ways to keep furthering your skills, and organizations often have very affordable yearly membership fees or suggested donations – one Seattle group suggests $20 per year. Many clubs organize through meetup.com, which is a good place to start looking.

For an even lower barrier to entry, join a local photography group on Facebook for sharing and critiquing photos. And if you're looking for extra incentive, think about starting a 365 or 52 project, where you take a photo a day or a photo a week for a year. There are tons of online groups to join for support and critiques, and there are also options for 30-day projects if you feel overwhelmed by an entire year.

White and black poster board

A couple of pieces of white and black poster board make for quick and cheap ways to play with lighting. White poster board can act as a reflector, and a piece of black poster board can help tame unwanted light and reflections. It's not fancy, but it's a very cheap way to add some visual tricks to product and still life photos. And depending on the situation, poster board can act as a makeshift backdrop for portraits.

Photo by northfromseattle, licensed under CC 2.0

Colored plexiglass

A bit of bold color can make your product photography pop. A brightly colored sheet of plexiglass costs somewhere around $10 and can lend product shots a new level of professional polish. Out here, west coast retailer TAP Plastics offers plenty of affordable options, but online options abound. Make sure to add on a bottle of glass cleaner to your order, if you haven't got some already – the fingerprints will accumulate faster than you think.

Pop up flash diffuser

If you're not ready to spring for a flashgun, you can dip your toe into the vast waters of lighting by modifying the light from your camera's pop-up flash. Sure, a Gary Fong Puffer or a Light Scoop looks a little silly, but at $20 and $30 respectively, they're a reasonably priced way to make more of what your camera already offers.

Speedlight modifier

If you've gone ahead and purchased a flashgun, congratulations – you're already reaping the benefits of a more powerful and pliable source of illumination. But there's a lot more you can do. For less than $10 you can start with a bounce diffuser, and for around $30-50 you can add something a little more exotic, like a Rogue FlashBender.

Or go no further than your local craft store: if you're just looking to experiment, some construction paper can be fashioned into a snoot and taped to a flashgun. It doesn't get much cheaper than that.

Wireless flash trigger

Moving your flash off camera will also open up new possibilities, and third-party radio flash triggers are more affordable than ever – a Yongnuo wireless trigger kit can be had for about $30. It's a whole new ballgame when you free your flashgun from the confines of your camera hotshoe.

LED flashlight

You can drop a whole lot of cash on a fancy LED light for photography, but if your aim is to experiment with another kind of off-camera illumination, pick up an LED flashlight. They're a great way to play with light painting, and if you're feeling industrious, an LED flashlight can be modified into a makeshift Ice Light for a fraction of the cost of the real thing.


If you find yourself spending a lot of your photo editing time nudging the color temperature slider back and forth, ExpoDisc is worth looking at. At $50 it's on the expensive end of 'cheap' but we know a number of wedding and portrait photographers who swear by it.

It's a magical world – go exploring

To quote an extremely wise and temperamental philosopher, "It's a magical world out there, Hobbes ol' buddy... let's go exploring!" Photography is in itself a wonderful excuse to get out and explore. A new neighborhood, a historical site, a park – going somewhere new can spark creativity, awaken a new interest, and generally be a good exercise for the mind and the body. Pick a location, set yourself a goal, grab your camera and get out the door.

Video: Four top-notch portrait photographers shoot the same model

There are two types of kind-of-clichéd photography challenges that are actually quite inspirational and informative: (1) A great photographer using a cheap camera, and (2) Several top-notch photographers shooting the same thing. This video by portrait shooter Jessica Kobeissi is a great example of the latter.

In the latest episode of her new series "4 photographers shoot the same model," Kobeissi goes up against Joey L, Dani Diamond and Brandon Woelfel to see who can capture the most consistently great portraits of the same model—in this case, Charlotte McKee.

All four photographers get to pick one location and outfit, and the entire group has to shoot each of the scenarios. In practical terms, that means only one of the outfits and locations will be 'familiar' and 'comfortable' for each photographer. Oh, and you only get three minutes to shoot...

To see the final shots from each of the four photographer, check out the video up top. And then scroll down to reveal who shot each photograph:

Outfit 1
J.1 - Brandon
J.2 - Dani
J.3 - Jessica
J.4 - Joey

Outfit 2
D.1 - Jessica
D.2 - Brandon
D.3 - Joey
D.4 - Dani

Outfit 3
JL.1 - Dani
JL.2 - Joey
JL.3 - Brandon
JL.4 - Jessica

Outfit 4
B.1 - Jessica
B.2 - Joey
B.3 - Brandon
B.4 - Dani

Asus ZenFone 4 Pro dual-cam comes with 2x zoom and portrait blur

Taiwanese manufacturer Asus is a pioneer in the area of smartphone zoom, and so it does not come as a surprise that its latest flagship model, the ZenFone 4 Pro, comes with a quite impressive looking dual-camera setup that offers 2x zoom capability.

The main sensor in the dual-camera is a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 that comes with large 1.4um pixels and sees the world through a fast F1.7 aperture and 4-axis optical image stabilization. In terms of autofocus, Asus bundles PDAF with laser-based time-of-flight technology for reliable performance in all light conditions.

The main camera also comes with a manual mode that allows for up to 32 second shutter speeds, and 120 fps slow-motion video at 1080p resolution in addition to a 4K mode. Finally, a super-resolution mode can create 48MP images out of four 12MP captures.

The secondary camera uses a smaller Sony IMX351 sensor with 1um pixels and a slower F2.6 aperture. The camera offers both 2x optical zoom and a background-blurring bokeh-effect, but the smaller sensor and a lack of OIS and PDAF in the tele-module probably means those modes are best reserved for bright-light shooting.

In the front camera you'll find an 8MP Sony chip with 1.4um pixels and an F1.9 aperture, alongside other flagship-worthy specifications: the Android OS is powered by a Snapdragon 835 chipset, images can be viewed on a 5.5" 1080p AMOLED display, and the phone is wrapped up in a glass-metal-glass sandwich design body.

Prices for the ZenFone 4 Pro start at $600.

Key Specifications:

  • Dual-cam with 2x zoom
  • Main camera with 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 sensor, F1.7 aperture and 4-axis OIS
  • PDAF and laser AF
  • 4K video, 1080p slow-motion at 120 fps
  • Tele camera with Sony IMX351 sensor with 1um pixels and F2.6 aperture
  • 8MP / F1.9 front camera
  • Snapdragon 835 chipset
  • 5.5" 1080p AMOLED display
  • up to 6GB RAM
  • up to 128GB internal storage
  • microSD support

Picktorial's new X-Pack lets you add Fuji's film simulation profiles to X-Trans raw files

When Picktorial 3 debuted back in April, it offered "superior support" for Fujifilm X-Trans RAW files, including compressed and uncompressed RAF. This was a big deal, and it has been so well received that Picktorial Innovations, Ltd. has announced another major addition for Fuji users this week: they've added Fuji film simulation color profiles.

Released as a $15 "X-Pack" add-on to Picktorial 3, the preset pack is described as, "a package of pitch-perfect film simulation color profiles for Fujifilm RAF files."

With this unique add-on to Picktorial 3, the simple yet powerful non- destructive RAW photo editing platform for Mac, Fuji photographers can enjoy the renowned look of the Fujifilm Film-Simulation yet retain the capability and latitude of the X-Trans sensor output.

The X-Pack features 14 color profiles, which accurately reproduce the much-loved Fuji film simulation modes you find in-camera when shooting JPEG. The difference here being, of course, that you can apply these profiles to raw RAF files to achieve the same looks without losing the editing latitude of raw.

Here are a few before and after images of the X-Pack in action:

The add-on requires Picktorial version 3.0.4 or newer, which will cost you $40 to buy new as of this writing. The X-Pack itself costs $15, and can be purchased at this link.

Picktorial’s new X-Pack film simulation color profiles offer further appeal for Fuji RAF users

Jerusalem, Israel - August 16, 2017 - Picktorial Innovations, Ltd. is excited to announce its latest offering to the Fuji community with X-Pack, a package of pitch-perfect film simulation color profiles for Fujifilm RAF files. With this unique add-on to Picktorial 3, the simple yet powerful non- destructive RAW photo editing platform for Mac, Fuji photographers can enjoy the renowned look of the Fujifilm Film-Simulation yet retain the capability and latitude of the X-Trans sensor output.

Already a favorite within the Fuji community due to its superior X-Trans RAW support, Picktorial has added the X-Pack with 14 color profiles reproducing the Fuji Film-Simulation modes found in- camera when shooting in JPEG format. These profiles, based on the original films, are considered one of the most beloved features in the Fuji X-series digital cameras.

Picktorial continues to develop new features in line with its mission: providing intuitive, pro-level tools to every photographer, expanding creative opportunities while saving editing time. Since its launch in April 2017, Picktorial 3 has received rave reviews from both leading publications and users alike.

Included in the X-Pack are the following profiles:

  2. Camera ACROS
  3. Camera ACROS+Ye
  4. Camera ACROS+R
  5. Camera ACROS+G
  6. Camera Velvia/VIVID
  8. Camera PRO Neg. Hi
  9. Camera PRO Neg. Std
  10. Camera ASTIA/SOFT
  11. Camera MONOCHROME
  12. Camera MONOCHROME+Ye
  13. Camera MONOCHROME+R
  14. Camera MONOCHROME+G

The camera profiles are compatible with Fujifilm X-Trans(TM) RAF files.


Picktorial 3.0.4 or later

Availability and Pricing:

The X-Pack is now available for download at www.picktorial.com/xpack for $15.

More tutorials and resources can be found at www.youtube.com/picktorial